If Oklahoma’s Congress can pass legislation, you can pass your classes. Here’s a look at the local legislation, this week focusing on recently passed bills and resolutions, celebrating the triumphs of bureaucracy and residents of this great state.
HB1428: The Handgun Carry Military Age Exemption Act is a convoluted title for a common sense update on a law pertaining to handguns. Previously, only people over 21 could carry handguns legally in Oklahoma. The update allows people in or retired from the military to carry a handgun if they are over 18, provided that they meet the same qualifications (training, competence and licensing) as their 21-and-older counterparts. If people are old enough to fight in a war, they’re old enough to handle a handgun at home so long as the state finds them capable of using the gun safely.
HB1875: Schools can now donate excess cafeteria food and other edible goods to nonprofit organizations if the food passes local and federal guidelines for food donations (guidelines that typically ensure that food is okay to eat) thanks to House Bill 1875. The bill also includes a clause deferring culpability should the food spoil or cause harm to consumers, except in cases where the people involved were “grossly negligent” or committed otherwise reckless behavior. In other words, grandmothers everywhere were delighted to find that saying “waste not, want not,” had not been a pointless exercise, and that food can go to those who want it instead of garbage cans that contribute to the massive amounts of food waste in this country.
SB372: Insurance paperwork can now be delivered and signed electronically. Consent is important not just between physical partners, but business partners as well — the company must inform the insured persons about the programs and details needed for electronic paperwork. Beyond that, so long as the insured and insurance company make a good faith effort to communicate clearly and send paperwork accurately, the world can save a few trees as insurance shifts to a more electronic approach.
HR1010: The House passed a resolution applauding the relationship between Oklahoma and Académie d’Amiens. The Académie d’Amiens, of Picardy-area France, partners with Oklahoma to promote international education. The partnership includes an exchange program that allows participants to travel from the US to France or from France to the US, practice their language skills and gain new experiences. There’s comfort in knowing that international cooperation is holding steady even when our nation is uncertain about its president and its future.
HB1887: Congress passed and Governor Mary Fallin approved of a bill on April 6, 2017. Previously, a child would have to be related to their potential adoptive parent or to have lived with the unrelated potential adoptive parent for two or more years in order for the potential parents to access their medical and social history without approval from the state or the biological parents. The bill decreases the time a child must live in an unrelated prospective parent’s home for the parents to freely access the child’s information from a minimum of two years to a minimum of 12 months.
SR9: A new Poet Laureate has arrived! Dr. Jeanetta Calhoun Mish wrote three books, an essayist and poet and teacher, earned her PhD at the University of Oklahoma in American Studies. She is also the newest Poet Laureate, though not the first. The position has been filled since 1923. A new Poet Laureate is appointed by the governor every odd year, and the poet retains their title for those two years. Dr. Jeanetta Calhoun Mish will remain Oklahoma’s Poet Laureate until the end of 2018. Congress recognized her hard work and position in Senate Resolution 9, a formal way of noting her dedication to and talent for poetry and the arts.
SR12: The Seiling Lady Cats are officially back-to-back Class A basketball state champions. Congress not only knows that, but passed a resolution to inform the citizens of Oklahoma of their achievements. If this were a comprehensive test on knowledge of current events in Oklahoma, Congress would at least ace the sports section.