Trio of bipartisan measures await governor’s signature
Mike Seals - April 19, 2021 9:35 pm
OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. Kay Floyd said she was very gratified that three bipartisan bills she’d introduced this session are now one step closer to becoming law. Floyd, Senate Democratic Leader, said Senate Bills 16, 21 and 22 have now been approved by both chambers and are awaiting the governor’s signature.
Floyd, D-Oklahoma City, said SB 16 is a request from the state’s Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence (SAFE) task force, which Floyd has served on for several years. The group was formed to address the backlog of sexual assault forensic evidence kits.
“Processing these kits is important for victims, but it can also be traumatic,” Floyd said. “SB 16 will further support sexual assault victims by giving them access to resources for counseling.”
Rep. Carol Bush, R-Tulsa, is House principal author of SB 16, which passed both chambers unanimously.
“Sexual assault victims who have had to endure the wait for their backlogged kits to be tested deserve our help, and I’m thankful to my colleagues in both the House and Senate for their understanding on this bill,” Bush said.
SB 21 requires school districts to provide suicide awareness and prevention training to teachers and staff every two years.
“Suicide is now the second leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 10 and 24,” Floyd said. “The material would be provided free to school districts by the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, and would only take an hour to complete, but we know from looking at other states that are already doing this that we can save lives.”
The suicide prevention measure also passed both chambers unanimously. The House principal author is Rep. Marcus McEntire, R-Duncan.
“Having children in high school, I’m acutely aware of the prevalence of talk of suicide among students in our public schools,” McEntire said. “I’m thankful to Senator Floyd and the lawmakers who supported this legislation to get our students this necessary help.”
SB 22 is aimed at helping charities that lease vacant schools from school districts.
“My district includes Oklahoma City Public Schools, and they’ve had a handful of nonprofits lease closed school buildings and use the buildings to provide their services. By making improvements to those facilities, these nonprofits have helped ensure surrounding neighborhoods are not left with a large, vacant building in their area,” Floyd said. “This bill simply gives nonprofits the right of first refusal if a school district later decides to sell the building.”
Rep. Tammy West, R-Oklahoma City, is principal House author of SB 22, which passed 44 to 2 in the Senate and unanimously in the House.
“I’m happy to help our nonprofits in this way,” West said. “Helping them stay in the buildings they currently call home will allow them to continue to serve their clients and their missions without disruption.”
Floyd thanked her House authors for their work on the measures.
“I’m grateful to Representative Bush, Representative McEntire and Representative West for their hard work and to all our members in both chambers who supported each of these bills,” Floyd said. “Assisting crime victims, preventing suicide and supporting charities are positive efforts on behalf of our entire state, and I am very gratified we were able to all come together to address these issues.”
For more information, contact Sen. Kay Floyd at (405) 521-5610, or email [email protected].