The Legislative Digest is your weekly look at the happenings of Oklahoma’s state legislature and the bills and politics you need to know.
With 2817 bills introduced thus far this legislative session, we’re continuing to highlight important bills, good and bad. These bills will be (or have been) announced, and will then be shuffled into a committee. That committee will then make a recommendation for that bill, which the chamber can then use to inform their votes.
HB2214: Oklahoma made headlines this week for House Bill 2214, and in true Oklahoma fashion, it wasn’t for our progressive politics and compassionate justice. This bill would prohibit “school strike or shutdown by board of education or school employees.” Certifications issued to strikers by the Board of Education would be revoked, and strikers would not get their full wages they would have earned during the strike.
The bill was authored by Republican Representative Todd Russ of District 55. He has been in office since 2011 and should know better. He owes his job to the teachers who taught him growing up and the teachers who are his constituents. What life do you live to not understand that striking, that organized protest, is one of the only powers that the common worker has? It is not just disappointing but disgusting to see such legislature coming from our state.
SB13: The “Abolition of Abortion Act” is another disappointing-but-not-surprising bill introduced in 2019. It would establish that a) the state’s conception of life would begin when sperm meets and egg, b) extend all rights and protections to the supposed life in questions and c) disregard any federal and other legal measures that would deprive the child of life.
The bill won’t be passed, but that’s hardly the point. The point is that people in power, who can and will if given the opportunity, want to strip people of their autonomy over the potential for a child. This would mean no Plan B after a condom broke (what if the egg and sperm have touched?), no abortion even if the child will die soon after birth or kill the parent in the process and no choice in the matter for the person carrying that maybe-baby.
And for what? Power over the people, mostly women, who carry children? Over something that might not exist? This is a bill to watch, if only to know who to not vote for in the next election when the Senators begin voting for and against it.
SB198: In better news, a bill we should all get behind: Senate Bill 198 would require all state agencies to develop social media policies for their employees. This standards would bar employees from posting and contributing to obscenity, harassment, disclosure of sensitive information and other common-sense internet transgressions.
This is, frankly, long overdue. Most on-campus organizations have standards of online conduct; the state government shouldn’t be held to lesser standards. All employees in the internet age, employed by the state or not, should be held to standards of conduct online that include no dick pics, no racism and other basic decencies.