May 4, 2016

Health care providers discuss health crisis

Representatives of the state’s struggling rural health care providers provided their insight and concerns about proposed cuts the state’s Medicaid system, during a press conference sponsored Wednesday by the Oklahoma Democratic Party (ODP).               

ODP Chair Mark Hammons said the event was nonpartisan as matters regarding Oklahoma’s health care should not be partisan.               

“What’s occurring in our rural hospitals, our nursing homes [and to] our private practitioners is much too important to categorize as a Democratic or Republican issue,” Hammons said.

gb

May 4, 2016

Gun laws would require ‘strict scrutiny’

A proposed state constitutional amendment would require “strict scrutiny” of any limits placed on Oklahomans’ gun rights by the Legislature, under a conference committee report present Wednesday to the House Conference Committee on Rules.               

Rep. Dan Fisher, R-El Reno, said the addition of the language, “Any regulation of this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny,” was the only change to HJR1009 since it was approved by the Senate and the House.

 

gb

May 4, 2016

Senate approves measure consolidating Scenic River

The Senate approved a bill Wednesday that will consolidate the Scenic Rivers Commission into the Grand River Dam Authority. Four other bills also won the chamber’s approval Wednesday               

After some questions concerning the fate of the commission and language related to the prohibition of plastic foam on the Illinois River, the Senate adopted House amendments to SB1388 and passed the bill and its emergency clause 37 to 8.               

“It is just the best fit for this area,” said Sen. Kim David, R-Porter and the Senate author of the measure.

 

May 4, 2016

Transportation Conference Committee hears one bill

The House Conference Committee on Transportation met briefly Wednesday to hear one bill creating multiple specialty license plates.

HB2293, by Rep. Wade Rousselot, D-Wagoner, and Sen. Frank Simpson, R-Ardmore, was amended in early April in the Senate Finance Committee removing language that created the Former Oklahoma House Member License Plates.

Rousselot said the CCR put that language back in the bill at the request of Speaker Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview.

May 4, 2016

Bill addressing forcible sodomy discrepancy

Members of the Conference Committee on Criminal Justice and Corrections signed out of conference Wednesday a bill trying to address a recent court ruling that said the state's forcible sodomy law does not apply when the victim is intoxicated or unconscious.

Rep. Scott Biggs, author of HB2398, said the intent was to fix “the embarrassment Oklahoma suffered” by this court decision that “allowed a rapist to walk free.” 

“It makes it crystal clear that Oklahoma wants to protect victims of sexual assault and there’s no room for court interpretation,” said Biggs, R-Chickasha.

gb

May 4, 2016

House Conference Committee on Public Safety hears

A bill that would allow Oklahomans to openly carry a handgun without obtaining a license was heard in the House Conference Committee on Public Safety Wednesday and is now available to electronically receive signatures before heading back to the House floor.

HB3098, by Rep. Jeff Coody, R-Grandfield, and Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, allows constitutional open carry in the state of Oklahoma for legal residents 21 years or older who is not a convicted felon and is not involved in a crime.

Last week on the House floor, Coody rejected the Senate amendment regarding the requirement to identify possession of a firearm when coming in contact with a law enforcement officer. The conference committee report (CCR) added that language back in to the bill because of the concern that, under the currently language, law enforcement would not be able to identify whether or not an individual is legally allowed to carry during the course of any arrest, detainment or routine traffic stop.


gb