Ford Passes Trio of Bills in the House

Mike Seals - March 10, 2021 11:15 am

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Ross Ford, R-Broken Arrow, on Tuesday passed three bills on the House floor that will update state statutes related to wrecker services, police and firefighter bargaining agreements, and jury duty for law enforcement.

House Bill 2741 would modernize the towing and wrecker system as well as Department of Safety regulations. Ford said the upgrade will allow for vehicles to be identified more easily as a potential crime scene before evidence gets lost at the impound yard.

“Properly processing these vehicles could help us in finding missing persons quicker and solving some of the state’s cold cases,” said Ford, a former police officer.

This measure also would allow Oklahomans to more easily find their vehicle if it is sent to an impound yard and would allow family members to retrieve impounded cars for their relatives.

The measure also allows an application fee increase for a wrecker license, something that has not been changed in 40 years. The increase is approved by the Oklahoma Wrecker Owner Association. Ford said the fees are much needed to improve the system.

The measure passed the House with a vote of 62-34.

House Bill 2747 eliminates the Public Employees Relations Board and requires a municipal employer to recognize an association selected by a majority of its firefighters or police officers as the exclusive bargaining agent for those firefighters or officers.

“This just streamlines the collective bargaining process for these civil servants,” Ford said.

The House passed the measure with a vote of 92-2.

House Bill 2746 exempts from jury duty municipal or state law enforcement officers employed in a county with a population of more than 255,000 and federal law enforcement officers. In counties with a population of less than 255,000, officers may serve on noncriminal actions only.

Ford explained this measure protects smaller communities from losing the services of their law enforcement officers, which in many cases are already severely limited. He said many times the officers are not chosen for jury duty anyway because of an obvious conflict of interest, but being called and having to wait until they are dismissed removes them from duty, leaving their departments and the citizens they serve without public safety services.

The measure passed 89-7.

These three measures now move to the state Senate.

Ross Ford represents District 76 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which includes part of Tulsa County.

 

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