The Legislative Digest is your weekly look at the happenings of Oklahoma’s state legislature and upcoming bills and the terms to know.
This week, we’re looking into the helpful and hilarious bills introduced for the upcoming legislative session of Oklahoma’s Congress. SB stands for a Senate Bill and HB stands for “House Bill,” both ways to note that the document was introduced by a member from their respective chambers of Congress.
SB917: Government should take money out of politics. Aside from being a nonsensical phrase (are you advocating for a volunteer government? Why would you hate yourself and hate competent government like that? Does money ever not matter?), the heart of it has a strong point. Senator Brecheen filed a bill that would cap lobbyists’ spending on gifts and meals. The exact amount depends if the lobbyist in question represents one or more lobbyist principals, with a $100 allowance per calendar year allowed for certain kinds of goods (such as meals or gifts at appropriate times) for a singular principal and $200 if the lobbyist represents more than one principal. Previously, the law allowed for up to $500 in spending per calendar year.
HB3693: Brace yourselves, because I’m going to break a longstanding personal tradition here: I like and agree with the revisions House Bill 3693 would make to the procedures for handgun licenses. Representative Calvey’s proposed bill deletes multiple pages of text from the 35-page legislation. It reroutes background checks to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Best yet, it sets the expiration date for licenses at five years, where previously applicants could choose between a five-year and ten-year option. The application processing fee would drop to $25 for Oklahoma residents and $50 for nonresidents in 2020, and the money would go back into the system. People can apply for licenses more easily and effectively, which benefits us all. More licenses gun-carriers are better than unlicensed gun-carriers, as a rule.
HB3008: This bill modifies the legislation on special license plates. Every title introducing the section has been corrected to read as singular — for instance, “Environmental Awareness License Plates” becomes “Environmental Awareness License Plate.” It’s exactly the kind of petty revision that I want to see more of in this world. It would also add a Techlahoma license plate, the proceeds of which would go to the Techlahoma Foundation, a professional network with monthly events, among other things. The addition of the Techlahoma plate would push the number of available special license plates up to 73. An extra license plate might also make driving on Oklahoma roads less annoying and maybe even a tad more interesting.
SB1108: This bill would make daylight saving time the “year-round standard of time” in Oklahoma. Imagine it, a world without having to adjust your clock and your sleep schedule and accompanying inconveniences. That future is out there. It’s real in Arizona, Hawaii and other U.S. territories. It could be a reality here. A reality with consistent time, where numbers and time make sense. It’s a beautiful dream. It’s a concise bill, clocking in at a single page. Some things are beautiful in their simplicity.