Mike Seals - April 1, 2021 9:30 pm
By Sen. Bill Coleman
Session is moving right along as the committee deadline is coming up on Thursday. By then each chamber must have completed work on bills from the opposite chamber. We then will have until Thursday, April 22 to wrap up floor work on those measures approved in committee.
So far, two of my Senate bills have made it to the House floor and nine of my 17 House bills have moved on to the next step in the process. I’d like to mention two of those that have received strong support.
House Bill 1877 addresses a major problem we have not only in Oklahoma, but nationwide, and that’s the overprescribing of antipsychotic drugs to seniors in our long-term care and assisted living centers.
Similar legislation was passed in 2019 to address this problem in nursing homes, which led to a significant drop in their misuse in those particular facilities. This bill will extend those protections to long-term care and assisted living centers to ensure all of Oklahomans seniors are protected.
Under HB 1877, patients who are categorized as needing medical assistance and have been prescribed an antipsychotic must be monitored quarterly for adverse effects and the patient or their representative must be kept informed of their condition. It also requires staff to be trained to be aware of the side effects of antipsychotic use. Antipsychotics are used to reduce agitation and other disruptive behaviors, which are often symptoms of underlying illnesses or conditions that, without a proper medical diagnosis, may go untreated. These drugs are often prescribed to patients with dementia, and numerous studies have found that their use can contribute to accelerated cognitive decline and an increased risk of stroke, pneumonia, and death. For this reason, we must do all we can to stop the over-prescribing of these dangerous sedatives.
I’m proud to say that this bill is strongly supported by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Oklahoma, Oklahoma Assisted Living Association (OKALA), Alzheimer’s Association of Oklahoma, LeadingAge Oklahoma, Oklahoma Aging Partnership, Oklahoma Silver Haired Legislature, and the State Long-term Care Ombudsman.
Another popular bill is House Bill 2122, the Oklahoma Cocktails To Go Act of 2021. This will allow establishments holding a caterer’s license, or a mixed beverage license, to sell single-serve wine and cocktails to-go as long as they are in a sealed, tamper-proof container. The following restrictions also apply. If delivered, the cocktail or wine must be delivered by an employee of the establishment who is at least 21 years old and can verify the age of the person buying the cocktail. If delivered or picked up, the beverage must be placed in the trunk of the vehicle, or in the rear compartment of the vehicle if there is no trunk. Finally, the sealed container must include a label containing the ingredients, name and address of the establishment, and the volume of the cocktail.
Under the bill, third-party deliveries of cocktails are prohibited. Entities holding a license to manufacture alcoholic liquors or beverages are prohibited from being able to sell cocktails to-go. It also requires all establishments authorized to sell cocktails to-go, to be held responsible for violations of any alcoholic beverage law or rule.
Alcohol sales are a major revenue source for restaurants and other social establishments, so it’s important we do what we can to continue supporting them.
Besides legislative work, I had the pleasure of having dinner with Governor Stitt at the Phillips 66 Pavilion last Monday to discuss the session and my bills. Before I close, I also want to thank everyone who came out for Ponca Politics and the Tonkawa Chamber Forum last Friday. We had a great time. I want to wish everyone a blessed Easter, and hope you get to enjoy some time with your friends and family.
You can contact me by calling (405) 521-5581 or emailing [email protected].