The Legislative Digest is your weekly look at the happenings of Oklahoma’s state legislature and the bills and politics you need to know
In the penultimate Legislative Digest, we’re looking at bills that affect children and the elderly in disparate ways. One remains in its first committee; the second was engrossed to the Senate, meaning that it was approved by the House already.
HB2456: The “Youth Mental Health Protection Act,” House Bill 2456, would ban conversion therapy on children younger than 18 years of age. Conversion therapy, in this bill, is defined as “any effort to change behaviors or gender expressions or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward persons of the same sex.” That’s a tame way to phrase it, but we’ll take it. Will the bill actually succeed in Oklahoma? Absolutely not, but it’s nice to think that it might.
The bill was referred to the Public Health Committee, and there is still time for the state legislature to vote in favor of not subjecting children to horrific “therapy” that increases risk of suicide. If the therapy itself won’t, the fact that families push for it sure does. According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), compared to LGBT+ youth who were accepted by their families, youth who were rejected are eight times more likely to attempt suicide. So, maybe we as a society shouldn’t promote and legally endorse ways to increase child suicide.
HB2304: This bill would increase pensions for certain retirees, like former firefighters or police officers, by four percent in 2020 to account for inflation and a higher cost of living. It’s about time! Life is expensive and the elderly have expenses different from their younger counterparts, but that doesn’t magically make them go away. The bill was engrossed to the Senate, then to the Retirement and Insurance Committee, then the Appropriations Committee.