Last week was a shorter week at the State Capitol, but still packed with plenty of activity and drama. This coming week holds the deadline for bills to be heard in the chamber of origin (House or Senate) so expect to see an increase in legislative chatter!
On the House floor:
A particular bill on housing that we oppose passed, HB 1737. This bill would allow for persons who have been ejected from lodging at an inn or hotel be considered a trespasser and be removed by law enforcement. We oppose measures such as this that open the door for more criminalization of individuals that potentially have no home. Housing is outrageously unaffordable, and this only continues to criminalize people from all areas of life.
One of the most widely discussed of the past week comes from Rep. Talley of Stillwater. HB 1028 seeks to prohibit school personnel from using corporal punishment on any student with disabilities. One of the few bills that seemed nonpartisan, it failed in the House with a vote of 45-43, it needs 50 to pass.
A difficult bill to watch debate for, it received personal testimony and support from Minority Floor Leader Rep. Munson. The bill’s author, Rep. Talley, cited that 63 school districts still use corporal punishment on students with disabilities, and had over 400 cases last year. This totals over 1,800 schools, with 22% of cases involving students with disabilities.
The charge against the bill was led by Rep. Olsen and Rep. Randleman. Rep. Olsen used a plethora of bible quotes to defend the use of corporal punishment, while Rep. Talley emphasized this only bars school personnel from doing using corporal punishment, not parents. Co-author Rep. Moore (R) apologized to Rep. Talley as he could not have anticipated this bill failing when he signed on.
It has a chance to be heard again this week. Check in with your legislator to see how they voted!
Another questionable one regarding voting fell on an (almost) party line vote. HB 1950 from Rep. McCall and sponsored on the Senate side by Sen. Treat would require the Secretary of the State Election Board to obtain death records from the Social Security Administration and from other states to compare against voter registration database.
One we do support from Rep. Blancett succeeded last week. HB 2827 would create a school grant program for nurses, counselors, and mental health professionals to provide services to students.
On the Senate side:
With fewer members, in the initial part of session the Senate is a little easier to keep up with. However, when bills cross over after next week they will have a mighty task ahead of them.
SB 136 advanced, which would increase sheriff’s fees for serving writs, warrants and other notices from $50 to $150.
Another bill (that was shockingly not already in statute) SB 722 would prohibit first responders from transmitting or posting any photo or video content from collision or crime scenes without authorization from investigators. If it passes through the House, violators would be guilty of a misdemeanor.