The new Oklahoma laws include a wide range of topics, from a state astronomical object to permitless carry.
The legislation passed during the 2019 Oklahoma Legislative Session is in effect as of Nov. 1. A total of 324 pieces of legislation were passed; most were relatively trivial, such as House Bill 2380, which made it illegal to use credit card skimmers and scanners, or Senate Bill 21, which made ribeye steak the official steak of Oklahoma.
However, some legislation was passed that has the potential to have an impact on the lives of many Oklahomans.
House bill 1071 increases the maximum legal speed limit that may be set on a turnpike not within any city limits to 80 mph and state highways not within any city limits to 75 mph, though this legislation itself did not raise any speed limits, instead only opening the doorway for speeds as high as 80 mph. The maximum speed limit on stretches of expressways within the limits of any city or municipality is still 65 mph, however.
House bill 2339 mandates that, if a public school vaccinates students on-campus, they must first have written parental consent.
Senate bill 89 states that drivers must switch lanes to put distance between themselves and a vehicle on the shoulder of a road with hazard lights on, or slow down if they can’t switch lanes.
House bill 1050 increases the maximum time that a substitute teacher may serve per year, from 90 school days to a maximum of 145.
The state of Oklahoma now has a state astronomical object, the Rosette Nebula. The Rosette Nebula is about 5,200 light years from Earth and is visible through telescopes with low magnification, provided that one is well removed from major sources of light pollution.
Temperature must now exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit for a burn ban to be enacted, after the passing of House Bill 1218.
House Bill 2252 states that convicted felons may now vote after the end of their sentences.
A few of the new bills carry controversy.
For example, House Bill 2325 allows minors to be in liquor stores if they are accompanied by their parent or guardian, the idea being that parents will not have to leave their children in the car. This has faced backlash for a perceived “glorification” of alcohol as it essentially allows minors to enter a store dedicated entirely to selling alcohol and watch those they look up to purchase alcohol.
The bill’s defenders argue that liquor is already present in places where minors are allowed (grocery stores, gas stations, et al.) and that the Forget-Me-Not Vehicle Safety Act of 2008 makes it illegal for children six or under to be left in a car, meaning that some people have been placed in situations where they must either break the law by leaving their child in their car or break the law by taking their child into a liquor store.
House Bills 2597 and 2010 both deal with public possession of firearms. Bill 2597 makes it legal to carry firearms, concealed or open, without a concealed carry permit and without a license. Bill 2010 allows concealed carry in publicly-owned places such as the Tulsa and Oklahoma City zoos, although any location under a public trust may choose to ban or allow open carry. Opponents argue that this only encourages gun violence and empowers those with ill intent, but proponents argue that this legislation does not affect requirements for owning a gun and that broader legal access to guns does not affect criminal gun possession or use.
This is only a partial list of the legislation which is now in effect. For a complete list, visit oklegislature.gov and search for “2019 regular session.”