Capitol Considerations by Sen. Bill Coleman

Oklahoma Senate - April 30, 2022 9:12 am

Senator Bill Coleman-Ponca City

We survived another deadline week, sending just over 200 House bills on to the governor’s desk or back to their chamber for further consideration. Across the rotunda, the House approved more than 200 Senate bills as well. Governor Stitt has also been busy, and has signed approximately 100 measures into law, including two of my Senate bills and two House bills.

Beginning with the 2023 school year, SB 1307 will require schools that issue ID cards for students in 7th through 12th grades to print the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number on them. While the national number is 800-273-8255, efforts are ongoing nationwide to activate 988 as an easier way to reach this critical lifeline. The shorter, easier to remember version will be rolled out in Oklahoma this July. My bill will also allow schools to print the Crisis Text line on their ID cards, which is available by texting HOME to 741741. This new law also encourages public and private colleges and universities in the state to print these life-saving numbers along with the campus police number on their student badges. Hopefully, having these resources at their fingertips will help Oklahoma students during times of crisis and prevent future, senseless deaths.

SB 1784 allows licensed beer distributors and wine and spirits wholesalers to hire employees under the age of 21 as long as the employee is at least 18, is accompanied by a coworker who is at least 21, and enters for the sole purpose of merchandising or delivering product to the licensee. This new law went into effect upon the governor signing it.

SB 3135 modifies the definition of an “eligible offender” as used in the Oklahoma Community Sentencing Act to remove the requirement that the offender be convicted of a felony crime before being considered for eligibility. This is necessary to include those charged with misdemeanors, like drug possession, following the recent criminal justice reforms approved by voters that made drug possession a misdemeanor. Again, many with these types of charges suffer from addiction and community sentencing has proven to be a life-changing opportunity for them rather than remaining incarcerated. It also helps get these nonviolent offenders back into the workforce so they can become independent, productive citizens. This new law will go into effect Nov. 1, 2022.

Also, on Nov. 1, state agencies accepting a service contract, whether bid or no bid, will be required under HB 3484 to start listing the city, state, and country where the services will be provided. Also, for any state contract not strictly awarded by the lowest price and going to a company not preparing or producing the services in Oklahoma, the agency’s director would have to provide an explanation why.  Whenever possible, we’ve got to start using and supporting our Oklahoma businesses rather than sending our state tax dollars to out-of-state companies.

Finally, SB 257 was approved in the House this past week and sent on to the governor. It allows the Oklahoma Arts Council to contract with other state agencies and/or nonprofit organizations to create an irrevocable endowment to trade, sell, or barter donated items or pieces that do not conform to its collection policies. Proceeds from the sales may only be used for the acquisition, conservation, or care of collections that are owned and controlled by the Oklahoma Arts Council. If approved, this new law would go into effect immediately.

The remainder of my bills have been returned to their original chamber for further consideration of amendments. If the amendments are approved, they’ll move on to the governor’s desk. If not, they will be assigned to conference committee. I’ll be working hard to ensure they get to the governor as quickly as possible as the end of session is drawing near.

You can contact me by calling (405) 521-5581 or emailing [email protected]

 

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