Lawmakers Begin Work on Senate Bills

Lawmakers Begin Work on Senate Bills

By State Rep. Mike Sanders

House lawmakers are gearing up to review Senate bills in committee. I will be carrying five Senate bills in the House. As for the legislation I filed this year, I am pleased to report that every bill passed the House and now awaits action in the Senate.

I was proud to support the passage of legislation that will clarify Oklahoma’s position regarding the federal regulation of firearms made and kept in the state. House Bill 2994 states that firearms, accessories, and ammunition made and sold in Oklahoma are not subject to federal regulation. The federal government only has the right to regulate interstate commerce, according to the U.S. Constitution.

For the firearm to get protection under the bill, it must be clearly marked “Made in Oklahoma”. The intent of this provision is to avoid an unnecessary burden for law enforcement officials.

Under another bill recently passed, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner would be able to withhold from the public certain information on autopsy reports if distributing that information could compromise an ongoing homicide investigation. House Bill 3155 would amend the Oklahoma Open Records Act to allow the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to withhold certain information in autopsy reports where the stated manner of death is homicide, unknown or pending until it is discoverable by law. Though I value our open record laws, I believe most Oklahomans would prioritize the arrest and conviction of a murderer above total access.

I also supported legislation to ban a legal alternative to marijuana that has been found in some Oklahoma schools. House Bill 3241 adds five new drugs to the list of Schedule I controlled substances. All are found in K-2 smoke blends, which mimic the effects of marijuana. Schedule I drugs are those with high potential for abuse and that are not accepted for medical use in the United States. This list includes drugs like heroin, LSD, and marijuana.

A Senate bill to eliminate the state grocery tax concerns me. Our smaller towns depend on this sales tax to fund wastewater systems and provide for police and fire protection. As a staunch conservative, I am in favor of ridding ourselves of unnecessary taxes. However, the lifeblood of our smaller communities in Western Oklahoma depend on the tax. I would greatly appreciate your input on this issue.

I would like to congratulate the Watonga Eagles and the Woodward Boomers boy’s basketball teams for making the state basketball tournament.

Census workers are beginning to visit Western Oklahoma. I urge residents to fill out the requested information and send it in as soon as possible. This is not the census of old. There are about 10 simple questions that should take you less than 10 minutes to fill out.

I will keep you regularly updated on the activities of the Legislature through this column. As always, I would love to hear from you. I can be reached at the Capitol at (405) 557-7407.

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