It’s been a hard few weeks but we crossed the finish line last Thursday afternoon, bringing our committee work to an end. The Senate began with more than 850 bills plus more than 600 that carried over from last session. Of those bills, just over 400 received approval in committee and moved forward to the full Senate.


I had four more bills get out of committee last week, bringing my total to 10 bills making it through the committee process.


SB 1195 removes language requiring the Oklahoma Court-Appointed Special Advocate Association to pay the costs associated with a criminal background check conducted on prospective court-appointed special advocate volunteers and employees of the local court-appointed special advocate program.


SB 1298 directs the Department of Corrections to create a certificate of rehabilitation that will certify what reentry programs that the offender has completed while incarcerated. The measure states that the certificate may include social and behavioral programs, substance abuse counseling, mentoring programs, financial planning, physical and mental health programs, and housing and federal assistance programs in addition to educational and vocational programs.


SB 1366 authorizes district attorneys to destroy records pertaining to wildlife cases relating to a misdemeanor after a period of 5 years since the last action on the case and if the district attorney has digitized the records. The measure also adds digitization, in addition to computer storage provided for in current law, as a valid method of record keeping, as it relates to the destruction of records involving felonies, juvenile offenses, and civil cases.


SB 1725 authorizes a manufacturer owning 15% of the stock to have a financial interest in a retail location upon which alcoholic beverages are sold, provided the manufacturer doesn’t sell any product resulting from their manufacturing operation.


I’ll be working hard to educate my fellow Senate members about my bills that will be up for consideration in the next couple of weeks. Just like all of you, we also have to advocate for our bills among our fellow legislators.


So far, we have heard nearly 50 bills on the Senate Floor and have until Thursday, March 12 to wrap up work on the remaining Senate bills.


Since we spent so much time in our committees last week, it was difficult to get to see all of our visitors but I was glad to get to talk to some of them.


Sydney Moffitt, a pre-service teacher from Skiatook, stopped by to learn how to be an effective advocate for education.


Many think just sending an email or sharing a post on Facebook is sufficient, but it takes a lot of work to advocate for issues. We deal with thousands of issues each session. If you have an issue you’re passionate about, I highly recommend you familiarize yourself with our Senate website so you can track bills dealing with your issue.


You’ll need to find out who the authors of bills are, as well as who sits on the House and Senate committees that will hear those bills. Those members are the ones you need to be coming and visiting with, emailing or calling. Be sure you’re also familiar with our daily schedules, which can be found on our website. That will make it easier for you to find us or ensure we can meet with you at a specific time.


Ponca City teacher MacKenzie Pruett came to discuss COLAs and where the Legislature is in discussions on these.


Members of the Kay County Department of Health stopped in to give us an update on the Coronavirus. I am confident the State Department of Health is prepared.


On Wednesday of last week, the Pioneer Technology Center came to the Capitol for Career Tech Day. Kay County Sheriff Steve Kelly and Undersheriff Sean Grigsba also stopped by.


On Thursday of last week, about 15 participants in the Newkirk Leadership Class came for their State Government Day to visit with legislators and learn more about the process. I sure wish I had had more time to talk to them, things can get pretty hectic as a last-minute caucus meeting was called.


I had an early start Friday morning with a legislative breakfast with the Tonkawa Chamber, and then a legislative review with Newkirk Mainstreet. I finished up with the Ponca City Chamber of Commerce Political Forum. On Saturday, I attended the Kay County OK 2A meeting.


In my spare time, I’ll be reviewing requests to serve as the Senate author or coauthor of House bills.


It is such a privilege to serve as your voice in the state Capitol and to bring your ideas and concerns to the legislature. If I can ever be of service, please you can contact me at the state Capitol by calling 405-521-5581 or by email at bill.coleman@oksenate.gov.


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