By Rep. Mike Sanders
The first four weeks of the legislative session is primarily devoted to the committee process. Once bills pass committee, they are eligible to be heard on the House floor and voted on by the entire chamber.
I have several bills making their way through committees currently. One is my bill that would grant the Oklahoma American Legion tax-exempt status.
With our revenue up this year, I am hopeful I can accomplish this. There are 180 American Legion posts in Oklahoma. It is the largest and oldest military organization in the state that does not have tax-exempt status. Other organizations, such as the VFW and Daughters of the American Revolution, have this status. It is time to give it to the American Legion. This organization helps our veterans who have obviously helped us. They hold coat drives and pancake suppers and so many other events that help raise money and support for veterans in need. The bill passed out of the House Appropriations & Budget Finance Subcommittee with a vote of 7 to 0. It will now move to the full Appropriations & Budget Committee.
Another bill of mine, House Bill 2052, passed in the Agriculture & Rural Development Committee. The bill would prohibit the misrepresentation of products created in a laboratory from being labeled as meat. We want the public to know when they are buying something labeled as beef, for instance, that the product is directly harvested from a four-footed, living animal that ate grass in a rancher’s field and not something grown in a lab dish. The bill passed with a vote of 19 to 0.
Another very important piece of legislation, House Bill 2591, has passed the House and moved to the Senate. This is a pro-life bill that prohibits government funding of medical providers that are found guilty of failing to report statutory rape of a minor child.
I have always stood on the side of life. This includes for babies in the womb to the elderly. I am for the protection of life from the moment of conception until the moment of natural death.
I eagerly await the day the atrocious abortion and assisted suicide laws other states – like Virginia and New York – are passing are overturned and that the law of our great nation once again protects all life. Until that day, I will always vote for pro-life bills.
There are a number of pro-life bills I will support this year. These include bills that facilitates the provision of federal or state funds for pro-life pregnancy resource centers that help vulnerable women during their pregnancies and after their babies are born; that provide women to be given information about the possibility of reversing the intended side effects of a chemical abortion as part of their informed-consent process prior to undergoing such a procedure; and that guard against assisted suicide by requiring accurate reporting of the cause of death on death certificates.
Another bill that has passed in the House that caught some people’s attention is House Bill 2597, also known as Constitutional Carry. This bill would allow anyone who is legally allowed to carry a firearm to do so without having to obtain a separate license through the state. It evens the playing field for Oklahomans as the state already allows law-abiding citizens from other states to carry in Oklahoma without a state permit. This measure precludes felons, people with an adjudicated mental illness or a domestic violence conviction or illegal aliens from possessing or carrying firearms. It also continues the restrictions of firearms where carry is already prohibited. It allows private businesses and higher education facilities to decide for themselves if carry will be allowed.
On a final note, thank you for the great responses to my survey. I’ve received many. If you haven’t already, send yours back to me. This will help me make decisions about legislation going forward.
As always, I would love to hear from you. I can be reached at (405) 557-7407 or firstname.lastname@example.org.