Our Lawmakers have finished this year’s work of constructing new laws that will determine how our state will function. However, there are still bills sitting on the Governor’s desk. 

All bills must be signed or vetoed by the Governor by May 18th. If a bill is left unsigned after this date, it is considered a “pocket veto” and does not become law.

Governor Fallin may take action on any of these bills at any time within the 15 days following Sine Die (final adjournment of the legislative session).

Below are some highlights of this year’s legislative session.

Bills waiting for the Governor’s signature (as of May 11, 2018):

  • SB 1140 allowing private owned child placement agencies to discriminate based on religious or moral conviction and still receive money from the state.
  • SB 1212 allowing anyone over 21 to carry a firearm without license or training.
  • * NOTE: Between the drafting of this wrap-up and its publication, Gov. Fallin vetoed a problematic bill, SB 1212. This is evidence of how quickly things can change during legislative session – particularly towards the end. It is also evidence of how your voice can change the course of Oklahoma’s lawmaking!
  • SB 1221 allowing juveniles as young as 13 to be sentenced to life without parole.

If you wish to make your voice heard on any of these bills, please call Governor Fallin’s office and leave a voicemail stating your position. (405) 521-2342

Bills already signed by the Governor:

The good:

  • HB 1010 helped pave the way to fund teacher pay raises by: increasing cigarette tax by $1.00 per pack, and increasing fuel tax on gas by $0.03 per gallon and on diesel by $0.06 per gallon. It also raises the gross production tax rate (GPT) to 5%.
  • Several bills passed allocating funds for teacher, staff, and state employee raises. HB 1023HB 1026HB 1024
  • HB 3393 ending the shackling of pregnant inmates during labor and childbirth.

The bad:

  • HB 2932 requiring recipients to work 20 hours per week to receive Medicaid. This may set barriers for many to receive healthcare. Single parents struggling to find affordable child care or reliable public transportation may have a tough time filling this work order. Those with criminal records who struggle to find jobs and Oklahomans with mental health disorders may also find themselves out of work and thus without healthcare. “They’re going after Healthcare for very vulnerable citizens of Oklahoma who really need it, and it’s morally the wrong thing to do. This is another example of what happens when budgets get tight; poor people are the first to suffer in this state.” Rep. Forrest Bennett, D-Oklahoma City. HB 2932 takes effect Nov 1.

The ugly:

  • HB2632 “Guns in churches” bill was signed by the Governor, allowing firearms to be carried in churches and houses of worship and extending the “stand your ground” legal defense to include shootings that take place in houses of worship.

Supreme Court:

  • Oklahoma Supreme Court upheld a controversial law requiring voters to provide a federal or state government issued ID that includes a photograph and expiration date past the date of voting. This law was contested on the basis of creating “new barriers” for voters and is an ongoing debate among many states in the nation.

A missed opportunity:

  • SB 1104 a bill to end “lunch shaming” by prohibiting schools from throwing away or denying food to a child based on their ability to pay. It also prohibits publicly identifying or stigmatizing students who cannot pay. This bill passed out of committee but was never given a hearing on the House floor.

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