With only four days left for bills to get out of their house of origin, things are getting busier every week! For more information on the bills we’re watching, keep an eye on our Bill Tracker, which is updated weekly.

Senate Floor:

Senate Bill (SB) 1854 by Senator Weaver (SD 24, Moore) and Representative Chris Kannady (HD 91, OKC) would prohibit unauthorized camps on state lands. Similar laws have been passed in other states.This bill received a fair amount of debate from Sen. Julia Kirt (SD 30, OKC), who’s been championing bills focused on housing stability. The author said the focus is on encampments near underpasses and state lands, but that individuals would be permitted to move across the street to land that is not state owned. Sen. Kirt raised concerns about how this does not solve the problem of being unhoused and continues to create situations where individuals are at risk of being criminalized.  Oklahoma already has a shortage of affordable housing, and this bill does nothing to rectify such problems. This bill is being pushed by a national agenda seeking to further criminalize people without homes, and Oklahomans deserve better and to create policy from their own districts. The authors are running a concurrent bill of the same nature on the house side, HB 3686.

SB 1655 by Sen. Dave Rader (SD 39, Tulsa) and Rep. Boatman (HD 67, Tulsa) which would prohibit the creation and distribution of deepfakes for candidates running for office. The bill passed with title off, which means if it continues through the process it will need to get title restored before the final steps to become a law.

SB 325 by Sen. Julie Daniels (SD 29, Bartlesville) passed off the Senate floor with only 1 no votes. The bill seeks to modify times for criminal prosecutions and changes the speedy trial statute from one year to nine months for people claiming not to be brought to court in a timely manner.

A bill that passed unanimously that supports better health access, SB 1578 by Sen. Greg McCortney (SD 13, Ada) and Rep. Cynthia Roe (HD 42, Lindsay) would authorize school personnel to use electronic glucose monitoring software.

House Floor:

A positive bill that would help some of Oklahoma’s most at-risk passed the House floor with just two no votes last week. House Bill (HB) 3231 by Rep. Mark Lawson (HD 30, Sapulpa) and Sen. Brenda Stanley (SD 42, OKC) aims to identify and create a pathway to acquire a REAL ID for underage homeless persons. The bill passed with the title off, so more work will need to be done.

On a party line vote, HB 3002 by Rep. Rande Worthen (HD 64) and Sen. Darrell Weaver (SD 24, Moore) was voted through the House chamber. This bill plans to include “unborn children” as victims for the crime of assault or battery. This bill focuses particularly on the “unborn child” but does not provide a legal definition for that term. Rep. Regina Goodwin (HD 73, Tulsa) highlighted there are already statutes focused on domestic violence that that talks about similar crimes that include language “with knowledge of the pregnancy” which this bill does not have.

One bill failed on the House floor, HB 3729, which would have provided automatic expungement of nonviolent misdemeanor offenses under certain conditions. The vote held 35 ayes and 47 nays, by Rep. Jason Lowe (HD 79, OKC) and Sen. Kevin Matthews (SD 11), he held it to work on language and provide another opportunity for a vote next week.

HB 3958, by Rep. Sherrie Conley (HD 20, Newcastle) and Sen. Adam Pugh (SD 41, Edmond) did pass with only 10 no votes. This bill would prohibit school personnel from engaging in electronic or digital communication with a student without including the guardian. Education advocacy groups are concerned about bills of this nature, while other groups note the issues it could create for students in abusive households.