Capitol Week In Review: State Lawmakers Confront Emotionally Charged Issues
Oklahoma City, OK - It was a busy week at the state Capitol with lawmakers confronting emotionally charged issues.
This week, demonstrators prayed, sang and rallied together, pushing for the passage of Senate Bill 13, which would abolish abortion in Oklahoma. There would be no exceptions for rape, incest or the mother’s life.
“The idea that we need legislation to incrementally slow down abortion or that we need legislation that keeps abortion safe and rare. No. A thousand times no,” Former Senator Randy Brogdon told the crowd. “We need legislation that abolishes abortion.”
The state House of Representatives passed a bill that would allow Oklahomans to carry a gun without a license or the training and background check that comes with it.
“I think of a big billboard on on the border of Oklahoma. Welcome to the wild wild west,” Representative Jason Lowe (D) Midwest City told lawmakers.
House Bill 2597, known as “permitless carry,” would do away with the license, but backers say all the other rules still apply.
“If you have a felony or if you’ve been convicted of domestic violence you still cannot lawfully have a firearm. If you’d been adjudicated with a mental illness you still cannot legally have a firearm,” said Representative Kevin West (R) Moore.
Senate leaders expect it to pass, and the governor has indicated he will sign it.
Last year, the legislature passed similar legislation that was vetoed by Governor Mary Fallin.
And a legislative committee came up with rules governing medical marijuana. The committee focused on testing marijuana to make sure it is free of pesticides and contains the right amount of THC, while maintaining the will of the people who voted to legalize it for medicinal use.
“We have recommended a testing system and labeling system,” said Senator Greg McCourtney (R) Ada.
Medical marijuana advocate Bud Scott said, “It’s been very clearly conveyed to our elected officials that this is a law that’s widely supported across Oklahoma.”
That proposal now goes to the legislature for a vote.