Legislative Update – Pro-Life Measures Will Become Law

Pro-life advocates arrived at the Capitol this week to celebrate the first pro-life measure signed into law this year by Gov. Brad Henry. Oklahoma is the first state to sign into law a measure to allow mothers to use lethal force in defending an unborn child.

I am encouraged to see such high-spirited activism regarding the protection of human lives. According to the American Pregnancy Association, 240,000 pregnant women are subject to domestic violence each year and pregnant women face twice the risk of battery. This legislation is aimed at affording those women the right to defend themselves and their unborn children.

I attended The Americans United for Life press conference marking the event. Not only is the passage of the legislation important, but getting the word out is also important. It encourages those who believe in the right to life who may not have yet gotten involved in the movement, to consider getting involved.

Unfortunately, Gov. Brad Henry vetoed a measure banning embryonic stem cell research. The bill drew opposition from the Oklahoma City and Tulsa chambers of commerce and I believe that the governor was influenced by the misinformation they spread. For others who may have been mislead, let me make it clear that the numerous state representatives who voted for the ban are not opposed to the use of adult stem cells for medical research. They are also acutely aware of the fact that only adult stem cell research has led to both cures and medical advances while the use of stem cells created from human embryos have not produced a single cure or medical advance.

A Senate bill I sponsored in the House will increase the amount of a county purchasing agent can spend on the next highest bidder if the low bidder cannot meet the terms of a contract. It increases the amount that can be spent from $5,000 to $10,000. The House passed the legislation by a 63-28 vote and it will now return to the Senate before being sent to Gov. Brad Henry.

I would also like to note the House passage of a Senate bill that would increase the penalties for trespassing and theft or vandalism on farms and ranches. The measure was approved almost unanimously and protects Oklahoma’s agricultural providers from losses due to theft or damage to livestock and farm equipment that can be quite costly. I was a proud supporter of the measure.

Thank you for stopping by my office, Ernest and Flo Hellewege of Kingfisher. I would also like to thank Mark Huff, a fire marshal from Watonga for stopping in.

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

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