This was a week of committee substitutes and flexing of House rules to manipulate the passing of controversial partisan legislation. We see this every year.

Last year, most notably, a bill reinstating barriers to voting after the State Supreme Court ruled them unnecessary, was pushed through the legislature on a bill that was originally written to expand contract opportunities between the state and private agencies. This bill was floating around in the either from the year before (legislative sessions are two years) unlikely to make it to the Governor’s desk.

(Read more about this 2020 voting rights shenanigan here https://www.readfrontier.org/stories/opinion-suppressive-oklahoma-voting-system-exacerbated-by-covid-19/)

All bills must be filed by a certain date every year. So once this date passes, supposedly, new legislation cannot be filed. However, another bill, which was filed by the deadline, may be used as a vehicle to pass new legislation quickly. How you ask? By gutting all original language and title and dropping in new language.

According to the rules though, the new language must be “germane” to the original filed bill. Meaning the bill modification must be relevant to the subject under consideration. You’d think this would serve as a proper check and balance for transparency and ethical legislation. However, the rule of germaneness is at the mercy of interpretation by those having the power to do so.

This week a bill authored by Rep. Danny Williams (R- Seminole) banning gender and sexual diversity training, which had died the death of a thousand bills before by not making it past a deadline, was resurrected via the same manner stated above. The language of this discriminatory bill, formerly known as HB 1888, was inserted into Senate Bill 627. SB 627 was originally a measure regarding the Red River Boundary Commission.

Representatives Cyndi Munson and Denise Brewer objected to hearing this bill in committee due to the rule of germaneness. However, committee chair, Kevin West (R- Moore), ignored their objections pretending like he didn’t hear then gaslighted Munson, saying she hadn’t objected at the right time and that the time for objections based on rules had passed and it was now time for voting. West later said Williams’ bill was germane as both the original bill and the new language are in state statute under Title 74 (state government).

However, the trickery continues, as the new language only appears in Title 74 because Williams created a new section of law in the same bill, SB 627, solely for this legislation.

It’s like playing volleyball with the kid who extends the court boundaries when his ball goes out of bounds. Only these aren’t children, they’re people we have elected to serve us.

Below is a list of other bill highlights from the week that CAIR-OK is watching. If you have questions or would like to reach out to your elected leaders please don’t hesitate to call, text, or email. LHabrock@cair.com | (405) 532-3944

Civil Rights

HB 1102; Daniels
Requires penalty by supervisory board for physicians who perform abortions.
(Sen. Hicks) Are we criminalizing a legal medical procedure?
(Sen. Daniels) Yes We are attempting to limit the procedure because it kills a child
The bill passed: 7 ayes; 3 nays

HB 2441; Daniels
Attempts to limit the performance of abortions in the state. Abortions may not be performed if there is a fetal heartbeat, unless for medical emergencies.
The bill passed: 7 ayes; 3 nays

HB 1904; Garvin
Allows for a change in language to require only board certified OBGYNs in the state of Oklahoma to perform abortions.
The bill passed: 8 ayes; 3 nays

SB 584; Olsen
Expands something already in statute. Currently, any entity or group convicted of trafficking fetal parts cannot get federal funding; this just expands it
The bill passed: 8 ayes; 2 nays

SB 815; Bullard
Authorizes the display of the national motto of the United States in a place of prominence in county and municipal buildings.
Do pass 5 Yea, 1 Nay

Immigration
SB 572; Steagall
Prohibits any sort of illegal alien sanctuary city in Oklahoma by adding more clarity to the definition
The bill passed: 7 ayes; 2 nays

SB 781; Roberts
Pertains to honoring immigration detainer requests
The bill passed: 7 aye; 1 nay

Protest
SB 560; West
Provides that a person who makes a reasonable effort to escape from a person unlawfully blocking the road or surrounding the vehicle will not be subject to civil prosecution
The bill passed: 8 ayes; 2 nays

HB 1674; West
Makes willful obstruction of public roads by standing or approaching motor vehicles or pedestrians a misdemeanor and makes unintentional injury of death caused by vehicles fleeing riot activity not criminally or civilly liable.
The bill passed: 15 ayes; 4 nays

Voting

SB 253; Crosswhite Hader
Requires potential candidates for elected office to submit information on party registration dates within their chosen county on the Declaration of Candidacy form.
The bill passed: 5 ayes; 2 nays

Criminal Justice and Police Reform

SB 806; Weaver
Increases punishment for assault on a police officer. Provides punishment for remaining at the scene of a riot.
The bill passed: 5 ayes; 1 nay

SB 172; Walke
Ida’s Law – passed house earlier with unanimous vote. Allows us to obtain federal funding to create a legislative liaison office to investigate missing and murdered indigenous persons.
The bill passed: 9 ayes; 0 nays

SB 848; McEntire
Directs DMH to contract with public and private entities to provide crisis intervention and counselling training for law enforcement and other emergency services
The bill passed: 10 ayes; 0 nays

SB 968; Dills
Requires law enforcement agencies to deny access to recordings depicting the death of a law enforcement officer while on duty.
The bill passed: 6 ayes; 2 nays

Firearms

SB 644; Roberts
Extends liability protections in the event of an employee discharge of a firearm to municipalities
The bill passed: 8 ayes; 2 nays

SB 631; Roberts
Second amendment state act. Does not change who or what someone can carry
The bill passed: 7 ayes; 2 nays

SB 730; Steagall
Amendment filed: the amendment submitted adds clarifying language and explains who the provisions to secure individual’s right to transport and carry firearms in their own personal vehicles; it does not apply to a company vehicle
The bill passed: 8 ayes; 2 nays

SB 925; Steagall
Amendment: removes section 1, 2, and 3 to try and clean up language
Clarifies when it is legal or not legal to point a firearm in self defense
The bill passed: 8 ayes; 2 nays

Pin It on Pinterest

Care to share?

Would anyone else you know be interested? Please share!