Bills Jump Over April 12 Hurdle

By State Rep. Mike Sanders

I am very pleased that many bills important to House District 59 cleared the committee process by the April 12 deadline. Although some have been modified from their original form, they will continue to make progress regarding the concerns of Western Oklahomans.

Oklahoma’s tax dollars should not perpetuate the problem of substance abuse. Legislation was modified and approved through a Senate committee that would authorize drug testing of potential Temporary Assistance for Needy Families recipients. Originally, the bill required potential recipients to pay for the testing. Under the modified legislation, the state will be responsible for that cost. Fortunately, the bill should reduce TANF costs, resulting in a net benefit for taxpayers.

I co-authored legislation that would ban assisted living centers from penalizing residents for using the pharmacy of their choice. House Bill 2566 supports local businesses, protects access to health care and protects our right to use our pharmacy of choice. The bill passed its assigned Senate committee and awaits consideration by the full Senate.

The Department of Human Services reforms have completed the committee process. Some will be referred to a conference committee because of the many changes that have been made to the language of the bills. Others could be voted on shortly and sent to the governor’s desk to become law, as long as no additional changes are made. The accountability bill I am sponsoring will include language that will make it a felony to falsify agency records in cases where that fraud led to the death of a child.

Three county request bills I have sponsored in the House have all made it past the April 12 committee deadline. House Bill 2373 authorizes county commissioners to execute deeds of conveyance of county lands acquired at tax resale to the Oklahoma Health Care Authority. House Bill 2371 will raise the amount that counties can issue as a blanket purchase order to cover the repair of county equipment to $5,000, making our policies consistent with current law. Senate Bill 221 modifies county purchase order processing by allowing purchase orders to be paid at the first meeting of the board of county commissioners five days after presentation for payment.

A fourth bill, Senate Bill 223, takes the responsibility of the fair board elections from the county clerks to the election board. This makes all fair board elections conform under the state election board.

As always, I would love to hear from you. I can be reached at the Capitol at (405) 557-7407.

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