The Capitol was much quieter last week compared to the continual bustle of the building prior to last week’s major deadline. March 14 was the third reading deadline, which meant bills that originated in the House had to be heard by that day in order to continue in the legislative process.
The House met on Monday and Tuesday, March 18-19, to advance Senate bills past first and second readings. Once a bill passes the second reading, it can be assigned to the appropriate committee. If it passes committee, the bill is eligible to be heard on the House floor. Since these bills have already passed the Senate, if they pass the floor, then they’d go to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.
Before the third reading deadline, however, I coauthored several other House bills that passed the floor. HB 1557 requires that healthcare providers accept multiple payment methods from an insurer or health maintenance organization, including payment by credit card. It passed the floor 97-0. Another bill I coauthored is HB 2010, which allows a person to carry concealed, but not openly, in any municipal zoo or park of any size. It passed the House 94-0.
I also coauthored HB 2150, which specifies that certain actions by a municipality be considered a taking pursuant to Article 2 of the Constitution. These actions include substantially interfering with use and enjoyment of mineral estate, imposing a limitation that adversely impacts use of minerals or prohibiting access to develop the mineral state. The bill passed 63-32.
The fourth House bill I coauthored is HB 2592, which appropriates $2 million to the State Dept. of Health to fund Choosing Childbirth Act grants, which will specifically go to clinics that encourage mothers to choose pro-life. The legislation is modeled after similar grants in Texas and Pennsylvania, and HB 2592 passed 79-19.
The House was not officially in session on Wednesday or Thursday last week so members could spend time with their families during Oklahoma’s spring break. Before leaving Oklahoma City, however, many legislators attended the Oklahoma Youth Expo, where we participated in the Legislative Celebrity Show. This annual event has continued for nearly a century and brings together FFA and 4-H youth from all 77 counties to compete with their best livestock for prizes and scholarships.
All the livestock this year were beautiful, and I especially commend Kaycee Denny from Cleveland’s 4-H chapter for her hard work this year. I showed her sheep in the Legislative Celebrity Show to compete against my colleagues in the Legislature. It was a great evening spent celebrating the accomplishments of these young people and the importance of the agriculture industry in our state.
This week we will have broken into committees again to hear the Senate bills. I encourage my constituents to reach out about legislation they’re passionate about. It’s a privilege to serve House District 36.