The Legislative Digest is your weekly look at the happenings of Oklahoma’s state legislature and the bills and politics you need to know
After three years of weekly write-ups on the bills passing through Oklahoma legislature in the spring, this is my final article. While I might no longer be around to yell into the void over Oklahoma policies, know that you can always get your updates through the Oklahoma legislature’s website (www.oklegislature.gov) or through www.legiscan.com, where you can keep track of bills from any state and see what’s happening every step of the way. And remember kids: voting is the only way to keep people like Donald Trump from ever getting into office again. More important, voting shapes the bills you’ve seen in this column every spring semester. Don’t hesitate to vote and then, when your representatives make choices you disagree with, call, email or write to their offices to let them know what they’re doing wrong.
SB1024: There’s a lot to unpack here. Not that it’s a controversial bill, there’s just a lot of things I didn’t know. First, this bill was signed into effect by Governor Stitt on April 4 and repeals the Oklahoma American Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission. “Sesquicentennial” isn’t, unfortunately, a fake word; it means the 150th anniversary of an event. The commission was created in 2009 and set to last until 2015. That makes sense, as the American Civil War occurred between 1861–1865. The commission assisted the Oklahoma Historical Society and the Oklahoma History Center with preparation for the anniversary. The commission consisted of 12 members and seems to have been successful if the documents I found while researching this are any indication.
HB2334: Another bill on commissions! This bill, though, is called the “Maternal Mortality Review Act” and would create one. The Maternal Mortality Review Commission would review pregnancy-related deaths to determine if the death could have been prevented; it would work with other agency to prevent future deaths; and it would “Identify gaps in the provision of health care services including, but not limited to, quality of care, access to the most appropriate health care, transportation and lack of financial resources.” That’s a win all around! The results will likely be that the healthcare system is failing us, but you can’t fix a problem without discovering the specific causes and promoting attainable, implementable solutions. This is a good start, and will hopefully inspire similar legislation and interest for other health-related causes in Oklahoma. It’s not created yet, though. The Maternal Mortality Review Act has been engrossed to the Senate, where it received approval from the Appropriations Committee and the Health and Human Services Committee. It has not been voted on by the chamber at large.