By Rep. Mike Sanders
The first piece of legislation recommended by the Oklahoma Commission on Opioid Abuse was signed into law by the governor this week.
Senate Bill 1078 adds fentanyl, a powerful opioid, to the list of drugs eligible for a felony trafficking charge, along with marijuana, cocaine, heroin, oxycodone and others. The law takes effectNov. 1.
Opioid abuse is a serious problem in Oklahoma, and fentanyl is one of the most deadly drugs. Law enforcement reports that fentanyl causes 1,000 Oklahoma deaths per year and thousands of deaths nationwide. They say even the dust from fentanyl is enough to cause a fatal overdose.
Other bills from the commission are making their way through the legislative process, and hopefully will be signed into law soon.
Also headed to the governor’s desk is a bill that will put the rights and protections of Oklahoma’s children in foster care into state statute.
House Bill 2552 establishes certain rights for the 9,600 children in the custody of the Department of Human Services (DHS) with regard to their placement, safety, privacy, communication and personal growth. It also directs DHS and child placing agencies to develop grievance procedures for children in its custody. The measure also ensures the families who welcome these children into their homes are equally informed about these rights and the grievance procedure. Protecting these children is of the utmost importance.
Another bill making its way through the legislative process is one requested by Oklahoma firefighters. It would modify the arbitration process by eliminating the Public Employees Relations Board, replacing it with the Oklahoma Department of Labor.
I’ve had several constituents ask about state agency audits. Late last fall, House leadership formed the Agency Performance and Accountability Commission to audit the top 20 appropriated state agencies. The commission is auditing the first four right now – the Oklahoma Tax Commission, the Office of Management and Enterprise Services, the Department of Corrections and the District Attorney’s Council. The Department of Health is next in line. We will find cost savings through these audits and root out any inefficiency, waste or abuse.
In the meantime, if I can help you with anything, please feel free to contact me. I can be reached at (405) 557-7407 or firstname.lastname@example.org.