Public health, safety bills continue

Staff Writer
Pawhuska Journal-Capital
Rep. Sean Roberts

Three of my bills passed committee last week and are now eligible to be heard on the House floor. In my own committee, Public Health, I presented House Bill 2339, which deals with vaccination permissions on school grounds. Some schools offer vaccinations on school grounds and this bill simply clarifies that a student shouldn’t be vaccinated at school or on school grounds without written authorization from their parent or guardian. It passed committee with a 9-1 vote.

A second bill also passed the Public Health Committee, HB2341. Currently, advanced practice nurses are able to refer patients to therapists, but they are not allowed to actually set the referral. This bill would allow them to do so, and I’m grateful it passed the committee with unanimous support.

My third bill to pass committee was HB2336, which was a request bill from Osage County Sheriff Eddie Virden. Sheriff Virden is working with local schools to help develop ways they can protect themselves and contacted me to help draft this bill. The bill would allow a local school board to determine the criteria for onsite safety personnel who can help protect students and teachers in the event of an emergency or active shooter and gives school districts final say in their protection measures. Having someone onsite who can respond to a situation that arises is critical, especially if law enforcement is 30 minutes away. I’m glad Sheriff Virden was able to attend the committee meeting and offer his expertise on this issue. I look forward to presenting HB2336 on the House floor in the coming weeks.

On Thursday, Feb. 21, the House passed HB1780, which funds a $1,200 across-the-board teacher pay raise. I was proud to work as a coauthor on the bill, which is part of an ongoing effort to address the statewide teacher shortage. This raise moves us closer to that goal. Oklahoma’s teachers should be the highest paid in the region so our state remains competitive and attracts the capable, qualified teachers. This bill is one of Gov. Kevin Stitt’s top priorities, and I’m glad it unanimously passed the House.

We’re approaching our next legislative deadline, and I’m working hard to ensure that bills passed are in the best interest of District 36 and Oklahoma. If you have questions, comments, or concerns, please reach out to my office to share. Thank you for the opportunity to serve.

State Rep. Sean Roberts, R-Hominy, represents District 36, which includes Osage and Tulsa counties.