State Sen. George Young, D-Oklahoma City, released a statement after the passage of House Bill 4455, also known as the LEAD Act of 2022.
“I asked about House Bill 4455 today, which asked the Oklahoma Senate to approve a plan to induce and induce an unknown company to build a facility in the area of Tulsa County. We need economic development in Oklahoma, and we need to diversify our economy, because we’ve let oil and gas dominate our economic well-being for too long.
“This bill and the accompanying legislation have the potential to positively impact the growth and development of our state, but my concern and question remains: how do we ensure that the thousands of new jobs are filled taking into account diversity?
“My district is not geographically close to this proposed project, but I represent a significant minority population. My concern is, will there be an effort to create a diverse workforce by advertising these positions and focusing on providing a diverse candidate pool?
“We always seem to get the answer, “yes, it will be diverse.” Yet there seems to be a gap between diversity and who is found to fill these jobs. I propose that we have a system to monitor the level of diversity of new recruits. I’m not afraid of words or terms like ‘quotas’ or ‘affirmative action’, and if we’re going to create standards to ensure that happens, we need to do it now – before the cement is laid on the foundations of this great project. .”
The measure won 41-5 in the upper house Thursday (April 21), with Young voting yes. In the House of Representatives, legislation possesses past 81-17 Tuesday (April 19).
The grants, in exchange for meeting certain hiring and other criteria, could reach $700 million. Although not named by state officials, the possible deal is widely believed (based on well-documented news reports) to be with Panasonic Corporation, for an electric car battery plant.
Tesla Corporation is, according to numerous reports, a possible participant in the planned work. The Tulsa metropolitan area — Oklahoma’s second-largest population concentration — seems the likely location for the project, if it comes to fruition.