On Friday CAIR-OK issued a press release condemning the passage of resolution HR 1035 in blind support of Israeli actions against Palestinians. Democrats in the House opposed the resolution stating it does not seek peace nor does it recognized the suffering of the Palestinian people during this crisis. “What the Palestinian people have and continue to go through is no different than what the indigenous native people of America went through when European colonizers occupied their lands and destroyed every aspect of their life,” said CAIR-OK Executive Director Adam Soltani. “In a place like Oklahoma, where we are home to so many indigenous tribes and also the location that native Americans were sent on the trail of tears, we should be much more compassionate and understanding of human rights of all people.”
Representative Mauree Turner issued a statement saying, “we can promote peace without aiding in the suffering of the Palestinian people, the murder of the Palestinian people. I really hoped that we would be able to see the direct connection between what’s happening in Jerusalem to the Palestinian people and what European settlers, armed with scripture and their interpretation of the Christian faith, did to the indigenous people here in America.”
This week voting continued to be minimal on the floor, however legislators were hard at work developing the budget. Thursday a state legislature released a budget. (Note: this budget still needs to be approved through the legislature and signed by the governor.) Some key takeaways are the reinstatement of the EITC (earned income tax credit) which will help many Oklahoma families. State agencies are breathing a sigh of relief as there are no agency budget cuts in this proposed budget. Education funding was increased by 6%. To see more details of the proposed budget click here. The general appropriations budget will be voted on under HB 2900.
The most important bills to pass were the House and Senate versions of the redistricting bills; both passed their respective chambers unanimously. However, the legislature will call a special session later this year when the census bureau provides the latest numbers from the 2020 census. Representative Martinez, who has carried much of the weight for this bill, expects minimal changes even with the updated numbers. The new districts will be in place for the next election cycle. However, these bills currently do not have congressional districts since the federal government does not allow for any variance as the districts must be drawn to the individual person.
HB 2645 expands on where one can lawfully carry a firearm under the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act. The bill states that firearms cannot be carried into any location containing “minimum security”, which could include places with a single entry point and an officer on duty, a metal detector, etc. The bill also places into statute that one can lawfully carry firearms on any state, city, or municipal property that lacks these minimum-security specifications.
Other bills this week have gone into conference, meaning the House and Senate conferees must agree to a singular version for each of the bills. HB 1236 is the “state reserved powers protection unit” which puts ten million dollars towards allowing the attorney general to challenge federal legislation. Party leadership disagrees on this bill. The House is seeking to add a clause which would allow a legislative body to declare any federal law unconstitutional (which is also an unconstitutional act), while the leadership of the Senate is aiming to retain the separation of powers.
HB 1752 requires that deceased voters be removed from the rolls within thirty days; this practice is already standard, but the legislature wants to set a deadline. SB 644 allows municipalities to authorize employees for concealed carry on the premises. The issue of liability in the event of a discharge is still be worked out between the two chambers, as there were worries that this bill would give preemptive immunity to any municipal employee who discharged their firearm. Lastly, SB 858 allows law enforcement to request that the information of officers not be made publicly available and instead be kept at the county clerk’s office.