This week was the House floor deadline week, where we worked late into the night multiple days in a row. Thursday was our last day to pass bills out of their chamber of origin, which means we had to pass House bills by this day so they could be transferred to the Senate.
In the House this year, legislators filed a total of 1,502 bills and resolutions. Of those, 380 passed ahead of the deadline and are now moving to the Senate. My seven priority bills that I detailed for you in my last update all passed the House floor ahead of deadline and are now all headed to the Senate to be considered.
I want to highlight a few of the bills the House approved this week. Each of these bills I was proud to support and vote for, and for many of them, I signed on as a coauthor as well.
House Joint Resolution 1047 would freeze the assessed value of a home for the purposes of ad valorem taxes after the homeowner reaches the age of 65. If the resolution passes the Senate, Oklahomans would have the chance to approve the state question. Older Oklahomans are much more likely to be on a fixed income, and freezing this valuation can help them better budget for the year.
The House also took a strong stand for the lives of unborn children this week by approving House Bill 4327. The bill would significantly reduce abortions in Oklahoma and is very similar to the abortion bill passed in Texas last year that has been upheld in court several times. HB4327 provides an avenue for private civil lawsuits to be filed against any person who knowingly performs or attempts to perform an abortion except in cases of medical emergency to save the life of the mother.
Last year, the Legislature approved the No Patient Left Alone Act to ensure everybody hospitalized can designate a visitor, regardless of what they’re hospitalized for. Unfortunately, the Act lacked an enforcement mechanism so the rights of Oklahomans were still being ignored. Under this year’s House Bill 3313, families or patients could now file civil litigation against a hospital if their visitation rights are denied.
House Bill 3693 would grant Oklahoma veterans a full tax exemption or retirement benefits they receive as a result of their service. Veterans would maintain the current exemption through Dec. 31, 2022, but would receive a 100% tax exemption on their retirement benefits beginning Jan. 1, 2023.
We also furthered broadband expansion efforts this year. House Bill 3363 creates the Rural Broadband Expansion Act, which proposes a plan to get 95% of Oklahomans broadband coverage in the next five years.
On the other side of the Capitol Rotunda, the Senate passed Senate Bill 2, also known as the Save Women’s Sports Act, which would prohibit any biological male from playing on athletic teams designated for women or girls. The House passed SB2 last year, so this bill now advances to the Governor’s desk to consider signing into law.
The Senate passed just over 300 bills, and I am the House author for eight Senate bills that passed and are now headed to the House to be considered. Next week, I’ll be starting the process with these bills to schedule them for committee hearings and trying to advance them through the House process while the House bills I authored do the same in the Senate. We have approx. 5 weeks to complete this process before the next Floor deadline and then we will have another few weeks after that to finalize our budget prior to ending session.
As always, please reach out to my office to share thoughts on legislation or any other issues. Thank you for the honor of representing House District 51—God bless!