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Can you believe that we’re already halfway through the 2019 legislative session? After last week’s deadline, just over 800 of the 2,600-plus bills filed remain up for consideration. Here’s a quick recap on some of the priorities AFP-OK has been working on.
Government Reform: The legislature delivered on a package of bills that have now been signed into law by Gov. Kevin Stitt. These bills give Oklahomans more of a say in government regulation that affects their everyday activities.
Health care: As we know, Oklahoma is struggling to meet the need for access to quality medical care in our communities. Unfortunately, two bills, SB 801 and SB 839, that would have eliminated artificial barriers that prevent nurses from treating patients to the fullest extent of their training, were sidelined by the Senate and will not proceed this session.
Education: SB 407 passed the Senate and can be taken up by the House. The measure would raise the cap on the Equal Opportunity Scholarship Fund, which provides educational opportunities to students who could otherwise not afford them. A portion of the funds are also available for grants to public schools across the state.
SB 361 was approved by the full Senate and will head to the House. The bill seeks to protect the rights of students to exercise their constitutional rights to freedom of speech and expression on our college campuses.
Criminal Justice & Occupational Licensing Reform: HB 1373passed the House by the overwhelming margin of 96-2. The bill would give formerly incarcerated individuals a better chance at re-entering society by curtailing restrictions that keep them from obtaining occupational licenses. Another measure, HB 2134, seeks to accomplish the same goal and is eligible to be considered in the Senate.
Lastly, SB 252 would remove barriers by ending the practice of pretrial detention for misdemeanors and non-violent felony charges. Oklahomans shouldn’t lose their jobs because they’ve been locked up for a crime that they have not been convicted of.
These are just a few of the many bills AFP-OK has been watching over the first half of this year’s legislative session. We hope you will join us in the fight to give Oklahoma a more customer-focused state government. If any of these issues has piqued your interest and you would like to get involved, or you would like more information, please do not hesitate to reach out to your AFP-OK team.