The Legislative Digest is your weekly look at the happenings of Oklahoma’s state legislature, and the bills and politics you need to know.
To cheer us all up from the impending horror that is finals and, worse, all the projects and homework due before finals, here is your reminder that if legislation can pass through government, then you can pass your classes. The following bills were passed in both chambers and have been sent to Governor Fallin to be signed.
SB279: This bill adds a clause allowing county sheriffs to contract with public or private transportation companies for the care of prisoners and detainees. On the one hand, sometimes you need more help than the government can give you. On the other, for-profit incarceration and associated services is the least sexy kind of capitalism. Of course, there’s a big difference between legislation and the application of the law, so time will tell how this move works out.
SB939: This bill also updates existing law. It adds more detail to a controlled substance methylphenidate, which can be used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy, specifying that its “salts, isomers and salts of isomers” are included in the substances’ inclusion on the list. I’m no chemistry major, but that makes sense.
SB937: Access to information relevant to the Anti-Drug Diversion Act has been extended to tribal law enforcement authorities and their legal counterparts under this act. I am, as ever, baffled on how tribal authorities were left out of this in the first place, but I’m not surprised. This seems like an important amendment to keep tribal authorities in the information loop.
HB3576: The State Safety Oversight Program was a short bill passed by both chambers. It will oversee all “rail fixed-guideway public transportation systems statewide that are not administered by the federal Railroad Administration.” This doesn’t seem like a pressing concern in the sense that I don’t know how many railroads could not be overseen by the federal Railroad Administration, but to be fair, even one does seem like too many.
HB2592: Immediate family of law enforcement would have the same opt-in privacy rights from the State Election Board of other law enforcement personnel. The family would have to legally be considered family (biological or adopted children, spouses, etc.). It’s not only a kind gesture, but further protects the address and other information that the law enforcement officer would like to remain private.
HB2935: This bill adds information to the Electrical Licensing Act. “Electrical work” is given an exacting definition, and guidelines for circuits and their exemptions from certain rules. Which … is helpful to electrical workers and very few other people. Still, helpful legislation is helpful legislation, and the bill is at least clear in its changes.