Bills are starting to head to the governor

Sen. Bill Coleman

We’re getting into the exciting part of the session. After days, weeks and months of grueling work to perfect bill language, educate our legislative colleagues and build support to get our measures through the process, they’re going to the governor’s desk. We’re finally seeing our hard work come to fruition, which is so gratifying.

While my Senate bills are still awaiting consideration on the House floor, two of the House bills I’m carrying, HB 1096 and 1877, were sent to the governor.

The first one is the companion bill to my SB 269, which clarifies the laws relating to social media communications between a brewer and a retail establishment and what is and isn’t considered an inducement. Under this bill, which is supported by the Craft Brewers Association of Oklahoma, the ABLE Commission must follow federal guidelines.

I mentioned HB 1877 a couple of weeks ago. It addresses the dangerous overprescribing of antipsychotic drugs to seniors in long-term care and assisted living centers. Those categorized as needing medical assistance who have been prescribed an antipsychotic must be monitored quarterly for adverse effects, and the patient or their representative must be kept informed of their condition. It also requires staff to be trained to be aware of the side effects of antipsychotic use.

Two more of my House bills, HB 2122 and HB 2367, were amended by the Senate, so they have to return to the House for approval of those changes before moving on to the governor’s office.

The first creates the Oklahoma Cocktails To Go Act of 2021. Originally, the bill was only going to be in effect for a year, but the support was so strong from consumers and the restaurant industry, we decided to make the change permanent.

HB 2367 was a request from the Oklahoma City nonprofit, Pivot, which provides a variety of services for homeless youth including counseling, education, job assistance, food and clothing. They also provide short- and long-term housing for these kids, which is what this bill addresses. They have constructed tiny homes on their property as a way to help youth learn how to be self-sufficient and learn life skills like paying rent and utilities.

Being that the organization helps youth, fifth grade and up, it has run into an issue with allowing those 16 and older to sign a contract for one of the tiny homes. HB 2367 changes law to help our homeless youth, ages 16 and 17, in unique situations like this be able to enter into contracts to obtain housing if they receive a certification of unaccompanied status from a youth services provider with DHS. The certification will verify that the child is homeless or a victim of domestic violence of abuse.

Parents or guardians must be notified that the child is seeking unaccompanied child status, but the certification won’t discharge the parent or guardian of parental or legal authority. I’m excited about this measure and the assistance it will provide to Oklahoma’s youth who are homeless or being victimized.

As for other happenings in the Senate, the full body did approve former Sen. Eddie Fields’ gubernatorial appointment to the Oklahoma Mining Commission. We will be considering many more nominations before the end of session.

Last week, I was pleased to welcome Pawhuska High School agriculture education and FFA teacher Jared Lemmons and some of his students to the Capitol.

It’s always a pleasure having folks from the district visit the Capitol and get to see our legislative work firsthand.  

You can contact me by calling 405-521-5581 or emailing Bill.Coleman@oksenate.gov.