Oklahoma Lawmakers Ax Thousands Of Bills

Monday, March 2nd 2020, 7:42 pm
By: Aaron Brilbeck

We are one month into the state legislative session, and lawmakers have killed thousands of bills. 

Last week was the first deadline week of the session when bills that don’t make it through committee essentially die. In all, nearly 75% of the 5,200 bills proposed this year got the ax.

A bill to do away with daylight saving time and an increase in the minimum wage are just a couple of the bills that died in the legislature’s first deadline week. 

A plan by the governor to increase hospital fees to pay for Medicaid expansion was shut down by legislators.

“That idea is not going to come to fruition right now.  Obviously, we’re still open to discussions,” said Senator Greg Treat (R) President Pro Tempore.

State Question 13 abolishing abortion was not heard in committee along with several other pro-life bills.

Two bills that would have provided bonuses to teachers, Senate Bills 1357 and 1406, were not heard in committee.

Home delivery of medical marijuana, dubbed “Doober” by some lawmakers, passed in committee.

“This would allow a medical marijuana dispensary to offer a home delivery service and the patients would have to go through all the same requirements as if they walked into the store,” said Representative Scott Fetgatter (R) Assistant Floor Leader.

Senate Bill 1154, which would have required open records requests to be fulfilled within 30-days died.

“Right now, we have individuals that have requested information in Governor Fallin’s first administration, and they’ve still not responded. We are one of the weakest states in the United States for responding to freedom of information requests,” said Senator Ron Sharp (R) Shawnee.

House bill 2777, a bill that would increase penalties against porch pirates, advanced along with a bill that would eliminate traffic ticket quotas.

“Members of law enforcement have been very supportive. The main opposition has been from those small towns that are operating those speed traps,” said Sen. Nathan Dahm (R) Broken Arrow.

For the next two weeks, lawmakers will focus on getting the remaining 1,400 or so bills passed. That includes a funding mechanism for Medicaid expansion.