With the State of the State address already seeming as though it was a month ago, many advocates feel that this is the bumpiest start to an Oklahoma Legislative Session. Resolutions have already been pushed through, with only hours’ notice and many bills are flying through committees onto their respective floors.  

Here are some notable bills that we are tracking and what was said about them during the first two weeks of the session! 

Currently, bills have until February 29th to be scheduled and heard in committees in their chambers of origin. Dozens of bills are being heard in committee each day that the legislature is in session.

House Side

Judiciary (Criminal) Committee 

This committee often hears many bills that seek to criminalize certain activities or behaviors. One such bill of this nature passed this committee already, House Bill (HB) 3073, by Rep. Hays (HD 13, Checotah) which makes the utilization of anyone’s name image or likeness to deceive the public as a first-time offense a misdemeanor, and multiple offenses a felony. 

Another bill made it through, HB 3566 by Rep. Manger (HD 101, OKC), that adds eluding a peace officer for “youth” (ages 15-17) to be tried as youthful offenders. Questions were raised by Rep. Lowe highlighting that this might put teenagers who already do “stupid stuff” at risk of criminalization.  

Other notable bills that were heard include HB 3666 by Rep. Miller (HD 82, Edmond) on creating a misdemeanor for impersonating school personnel, passed unanimously. HB 3002 by Rep. Worthen (HD 64, Lawton) which would include unborn children as victims for assault and battery passed with a lone no vote from Rep. Lowe. Questions raised included that even if the person is unaware that they are pregnant, they can still be at risk for criminal charges

States’ Powers Committee  

The House States’ Powers committee began with remarks from the chair welcoming people there to observe the committee. He also reminded everyone that “members are here to work” and any demonstrations need to be held in the rotunda, although no one was noticeably disruptive. Last session, Rep. West authored several bills targeting freedom of expression that garnered much protest from the Oklahoma community.

Only one bill ended up being heard, HB 3217, the “Patriotism not Pride Act” by Rep. Kevin West (HD 54, Moore), seeking to restrict any funds from being used to promote pride month in state agencies, boards, and state grounds which would include external aspects of schools. There were a few amendments made and this bill will be a work in progress.

The debate against the bill was led by Rep. John Waldron and Rep. Amanda Swope, who focused on the concerns of freedom of expression and entering new territory on who gets to pick what is advertised and what is not. Rep. West cited the denial of the 10 commandments on the capitol grounds as an example of why such a bill is necessary, to put people on equal playing fields. However, Rep. Waldron also highlighted the importance of student groups and inclusion in schools, and the fact that rhetoric such as this seems to pick the “winners and losers”.  

Elections and Ethics Committee 

 A busy committee this past week, House Elections and Ethics Committee heard a few voting-related bills of note. The first, HB 3325 by Rep. Staires (HD 66, Skiatook) seeks to change language on eligibility for voter registration from all citizens to “only citizens” and “bona fide residents of the state.” This is already part of our State’s Constitution and legislation of this nature is unnecessary. It passed with 2 nay votes from Rep. Mickey Dollens and Rep. Amanda Swope, who point out that this bill is not solving any problem that is not currently already addressed by existing legislation.

HB 3156 by Rep. Roberts (HD 83, OKC) was also heard, which seeks to prohibit ranked choice voting, preferential voting and instant runoff voting. Questions in opposition were led by Rep. Dollens, with concerns on local control, and the benefits systems like ranked choice voting provide. The bill passed. We remain concerned about efforts that make voting less accessible, and any attempt to preemptively block any expansion in voting rights should be suspect in an open democracy. 

Senate Side  

Judiciary Committee  

A notable bill that received debate during committee, Senate Bill (SB) 1660 by Sen. Weaver (SD 24, Moore) would allow for search warrants to be issued for persons who have an arrest warrant. With several questions raised by Sen. Boren (SD 16, Norman), there is a fair amount of concern of this being used to target people and diminishing 4th amendment rights. The Fourth Amendment is supposed to guarantee the rights of people to be secure in their homes and be protected against unreasonable search and seizure. This bill would allow officers to enter third-party houses where the person in question might be, and the homeowner might not know the circumstances. The defending arguments stated that the priority is catching the suspect over the privacy of the third-party resident.  

However, a positive bill did move out of this committee as well, SB 1663, by Sen. Gollihare (SD 12, Kellyville) which would allow courts to terminate a term of probation under certain circumstances. Probation periods are often punitive for people trying to rejoin society, as probation terms are sometimes so inflexible that they interfere with holding down gainful employment, accessing certifications and training that would increase income, or prevent parents from caring for their children. While it is true that people must be held accountable for their actions, we also must applaud any efforts that allow full rehabilitation and reentry to those who have served their time.

Business and Commerce Committee  

With no debate, SB 1573 by Sen. Pemberton (SD 9, Muskogee) passed out of committee, which would make a felony the impersonation of a bondsman by unlicensed persons. It would also make it a felony for a bail bondsman to conspire with such persons impersonating a bondsman. Oklahoma needs to seek better options than continually pushing for more measures that incarcerate more people, for longer sentences such as this.  

Education Committee

A positive bill passed out of this committee last week. SB 1302 by Sen. Rader (SD 39, Tulsa) would allow children placed in Department of Human Services (DHS) custody a longer time frame to apply for Oklahoma’s Promise, a scholarship program for technology center tuition.  Another bill that would benefit students, SB 1339 by Sen. Seifried (SD 2, Claremore), also received a successful vote. It seeks to create the “Oklahoma Opportunity Scholarship Act” that would provide financial assistance to students with intellectual disabilities.  

Health and Human Services

SB 1740, by Sen. Gollihare (SD 12, Kellyville) adds language to “the Good Samaritan Act” which offers civil liability protection for people assisting in situations around substance abuse. This bill would protect people helping administer opioid antagonists such as naloxone for people suffering from an overdose.  


Only two weeks into legislative session and we can already see significant progress for both bad and good bills. Of the over 4,000 bills in consideration, likely fewer than 500 will end up being signed into law. We will be watching closely to see how the legislature chooses to prioritize its limited time. You can also follow our Bill Tracker, which will update you on specific bills as they move through the complex process of becoming law.