Legislative Update – Fighting Domestic Violence, Government Waste

Public safety and the pro-life movement got a boost this week from House lawmakers who approved a bill to protect women and their unborn children from domestic violence.

Domestic violence is a problem in Oklahoma as it is nationally. There are men who attack their pregnant wife or girlfriend if their wife or girlfriend refuses to abort their child. According to the American Pregnant Association, 240,000 pregnant women are subject to domestic violence each year. The Senate bill passed by the House would give women the right to use lethal force to protect the life of their unborn babies.

Oklahoma is one of only four states without a centralized technology officer. House lawmakers voted to change that, approving legislation that would streamline and consolidate technology services across state agencies. By consolidating the technology purchases under a chief information officer, the state is estimated to save millions by improving Oklahoma’s purchasing power.

A bill I authored and that I’ve mentioned in past columns has now passed the state Senate with the help of state Sen. Bryce Marlatt. House Bill 1470, which would raise the amount of money that a county can use to reward anyone with information about the vandalism of county property. The bill will now head to the governor’s desk, and with his signature, become law.

The last item I will touch upon is a resolution passed by the House urging the federal government to encourage natural gas vehicle usage. House leadership has already been pushing through legislation to diversify Oklahoma’s energy production to help protect our local economy and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. One measure incentivized the purchase of a compressed natural gas vehicle. The resolution urges the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to quickly revise and restructure its natural gas vehicle certification requirements.

Natural gas is a domestic fuel that is plentiful in Oklahoma and now composes the greater portion of the oil and gas industry in the state. Because current EPA regulations are hindering the natural gas vehicle market, we have asked them in the resolution to help make these conversions as safe and inexpensive as possible to give Oklahomans access to alternative fuel vehicles. The resolution also encourages the EPA to continue a natural gas vehicle research, development and demonstration funding program.

The ultimate goal would be to increase the number of natural gas vehicles on the market and on the road, which would allow industry and the public to more quickly decrease the dependency of the nation on imported petroleum.

I would like to thank Kingfisher residents Mr. and Mrs. John Gooden for stopping by the Capitol and meeting with me. As always, I would love to hear from you. I can be reached at the Capitol at (405) 557-7407.

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