A chaotic week in the People’s House, Week 5 of the Oklahoma Legislative Session was an unfortunately memorable one.

Following the deadline for bills to be heard in committee, it is now a desperate scramble for bills to be voted on the floor of origin (House or Senate) so that they can cross over to the other chamber.

This week also saw a partisan vote to censure Rep. Mauree Turner, removing them from committee positions. The censure took place following Rep. Turner letting a protestor stay in their office temporarily following an arrest.

This censure occurred while Rep. Turner had no charges filed against them. Two members of House leadership currently have felony charges and no censure.


In terms of legislation, this week saw some contentious, harmful bills being voted in the respective chambers while many good bills for Oklahoma died that did not get assigned a committee.

On the House floor, here are some of the bills we noted:

HB 2056, which would require a sixty-day waiting period after cancelling voter registration, received a heavy amount of questioning and push back from several Democratic representatives. The bill would also affect voting centers.

With voter turnout already low, this would further limit people’s enthusiasm to engage with their civil rights. Furthermore, with polling places already short-staffed.

Another problematic voting bill passed the House, HB 1415. This bill would direct any federal requirements related to elections to only apply to federal elections.

HB 2210 passed unanimously with no debate. By Rep. Stark, it would allow courts to use discretion when determining sentencing for minors who were victims of trafficking or assault.

One popular and problematic bill that was voted on and passed was HB 2161. Receiving ample questions from Rep. Goodwin in committee and on the floor, it would require two-thirds of the membership on any body or organization investigation law enforcement to consist of law enforcement officers. We do not support this bill, as it limits proper review of law enforcement actions which should be done by neutral third parties.

A positive bill that passed was HB 2827 by Rep. Blancett that would create a school grant program for nurses, counselors, and mental health professionals to provide services to students.  Also related to schools, HB 1029 advanced that would direct the Department of Education to gather information on homeless students.

On the Senate floor, here are some bills up for discussion:

A positive bill we support was voted on and passed, SB 286 would limit the use of mechanical restraints during transport for people with mental health concerns.

Two bills from the Senate side have been received in the house related to criminal justice reform that we are concerned about. SB 452 which would add two designer opioids to the Schedule I Controlled Dangerous Substances List. In a state with an overburdened prison system and broke justice system, we oppose measures that will further criminalize Oklahomans.

SB 1046 would increase the penalty for a first offense of domestic abuse against a pregnant woman to a felony. Further penalizing abusers to the extent of a felony will only complicate situations of abuse. SB 537 which has moved from the Senate to the House follows this same trend. It would remove intent stipulation from assault and battery in domestic abuse situations and adds these to violent crimes.

It is no secret in Oklahoma that our justice system does not serve people of color, our prison populations disproportionately represent these communities. Bills that seek to increase felony charges and decrease transparency will never have our support.

SB 465 has also crossed over to the House. Seeking to allow for rental termination in cases of domestic violence, we are excited to see this pass the Senate.