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Rehabilitation and Disability Issues
To quickly find bills of interest, check bill topic lines or search by keyword.
Status of surviving bills
This bill originally created the Medicaid Sustainability and Cost Containment Act, which would require the State Board of Health to issue rules limiting certain Medicaid services. After passing the House, the bill was sent to two Senate committees. The Senate Appropriations Committee adopted a substitute bill which is very different from the original bill. This latest version amends a section of law dealing with the Medicaid Prescription Drug Utilization Board, and deletes Hepatitis C as a condition for which special protocols may be established for dispensing such drugs without prior authorization. The title and enacting clauses are off the bill. A floor amendment has been filed to add a section related to treatment for Hepatitis C.
State agencies; employee travel
Amends the State Travel Reimbursement Act; provides for filing of a travel claim in lieu of affidavit when the employee directly purchases an airline ticket. The bill has been sent to the Governor.
Children with disabilities; education
This bill allows children with disabilities in Sooner Start to become eligible for the Lindsey Nicole Henry private school scholarship immediately on moving out of the Sooner Start program, without having to first attend a public school where an Individual Education Program is developed for the child, as is currently required under the law. Both houses have approved the bill.
Amends current law relating to establishment of regional transportation and economic development districts. The bill allows portions of cities and counties to decide by a vote of residents to become part of a regional district for the purpose of funding and providing regional transportation or economic development projects. Both House and Senate have approved the bill, but the Senate did amend it to state that such a regional district cannot vote to levy a sales tax in addition to any other such levy already in place.
Schools; reading assessment; students with disabilities
Directing the State Department of Education to conduct a study of reading instruction and retention in third grade of students who do not score adequately on third-grade reading tests. The study is to consider socioeconomic conditions, learning disabilities and other factors that may influence reading achievement. A report would be due by December 31, 2015, and annually thereafter. Recommendations for best practices in reading instruction would be made. The Senate has passed a floor substitute version, so the bill will need to go back to the House for approval of Senate Amendments.
State agency furloughs; unemployment insurance
The original bill as it passed the House required that any back pay received by an employee on furlough shall be subtracted from unemployment benefit amounts the individual received for the time not working. A Senate committee adopted another version which amended the definition of “misconduct” as a reason for which an employee may be discharged and ineligible to draw unemployment benefits. The bill is ready for a full Senate vote
State funding; income tax
Providing an income tax reduction from 5.25% to 5% for the top income tax rate, to be triggered based on an increase in state revenue. The bill has passed the House and a Senate committee, and is ready for a full Senate vote
Public assistance; food stamps
Redefining what constitutes food stamp fraud. Defining trafficking in food stamps as exchanging food stamp benefits for things of value other than food, redeeming container deposits or selling food products for money. The bill has passed the Senate Appropriations Committee with title stricken. A Senate floor vote is pending.
Prescription drug offenses
This bill would add morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone and benzodiazepine to drugs listed under current drug trafficking law. Carrying 1,000 grams of a morphine mixture, 400 grams of an oxycodone mixture, 50 grams of an oxycodone substance or 15 grams of a benzodiazepine mixture would carry a penalty of a $100,000-$500,000 fine and prison time. Subsequent violations would carry added penalties. The bill has passed the House and passed the Senate which adopted a floor amendment. It will next return to the House for consideration of Senate Amendments.
Creating the Medical Treatment Laws Information Act. Directing the state Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision to publish a brochure with information for medical providers on their rights and responsibilities under various Oklahoma laws affecting medical practice, including laws affecting nutrition and hydration for terminally ill individuals, nondiscrimination in medical treatment and other laws. The bill has passed both houses and been sent to the Governor.
State employee retirement
The House voted 57-42 to pass HB-2630 to convert the state employee pension system from a defined benefit system to a defined contribution pension system for NEW state employees starting on or after November 1, 2015. The bill has now passed both houses, minus its title and enacting clause. A similar bill, SB-2120 by Brinkley and McDaniel, has passed the Senate. These bills are expected to go to a conference committee for development of the final version.
State agencies; information services
Requiring state agencies to annually obtain a risk assessment analysis of their information system security. If the agency wants to do the risk assessment itself, it must submit certification of its expertise to do such an assessment. Otherwise, the agency can choose from one of two or more outside vendors identified by the Office of Management and Enterprise Services. Agencies affected by this requirement appear to be those that are not currently part of the IT consolidation in OMES, or agencies that otherwise retain some of their IT operations. Both houses have passed the bill.
Modifying certain requirements for certification as a special education teacher. Dealing with provisional certification to teach children with mild-moderate or severe-profound disabilities. Also modifying criteria for being designated as highly qualified to teach elementary grades. The bill has passed both houses and been sent to the Governor.
As it will be considered on the Senate floor, this bill provides that at the time of enrollment, a Medicaid-eligible individual shall be required to designate a primary care physician, a pharmacy and a hospital in which to receive Medicaid services. However, a floor substitute has been filed by Standridge to completely change the content of the measure, instead focusing on overutilization of emergency rooms by Medicaid recipients and requiring a study to produce possible solutions. So this may be the version ultimately voted on by the full Senate.
State agencies; shared services
As introduced this bill provided that when a state agency is contracted with OMES to provide financial or other services, the agency may discontinue the contract if it can document to OMES that it can provide the same service at less cost. The bill was modified in the process and no longer contains this provision. Instead, the bill now amends a section of law specifying the contents of a report to be issued by OMES on shared services and their cost. As amended, this section of law would no longer refer only to agency financial services, but would refer to any shared services as defined by administrative rule. The Senate has passed the bill and it has been sent to the Governor.
State agencies; human resources
The Senate floor version of this bill deletes the requirement that state agencies report semiannually to OMES on position reallocations and other personnel actions affecting the classified and unclassified service. A floor substitute bill was adopted which would change the bill to require that OMES provide an annual electronic report on all position reallocations in the career service and a report on all new positions in both career service and the executive service. The bill passed the Senate.
Mental health facilities
Amends language relating to the Oklahoma Telecommunications Act of 1997; makes not-for-profit mental health and substance abuse facilities eligible to receive certain Special Universal Services. This bill failed to pass the Senate but it may be reconsidered.
State agencies and employees; individual proceedings
Amending the state Administrative Procedures Act with regard to individual proceedings such as fair hearings. The bill establishes who may or may not be present in sessions where the agency renders a final decision. The Senate has passed the bill with title stricken.
State agencies; financial operations
Providing that the OMES Division of Central Accounting and Reporting shall prescribe accounting forms, systems and procedures for all state agencies, unless otherwise exempt. Has passed Senate Appropriations, with next stop the full Senate.
As passed by Senate committee, this bill clarifies what tests students must take among the End-of-Instruction tests, provides that Biology I must be among the tests taken, and provides more flexibility for use of alternative tests for some purposes. The bill has passed the Senate.
Recreating the Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Advisory Council. Signed by Governor.
Recreating the Group Homes for Persons with Developmental or Physical Disabilities Board. Signed by Governor.
State agencies; purchasing
Increasing from $35,000 to $75000 the amount limit for emergency contracts that may be exempted from standard notice and bidding requirements. A Senate floor vote is pending.
The bill repeals the state’s High Risk Health Insurance Pool Act. The bill has passed both houses.
State employee pay
The bill directs the Legislature to provide funds in the amount of 3% of the previous year’s state payroll cost for an OMES funds to be used to provide pay raises for state employees. OMES is designated to set pay structures and to determine what raises will be given to what employees. Rep. Osborn has stated she will kill the bill is it is not funded. Legislative discussion on the bill has focused on the need for pay raises in Corrections, public safety and welfare programs. The bill is ready for a Senate vote, and is expected to go to a conference committee for final work.
State personnel system
This bill reforms the state personnel system. It gives OMES the duty of developing the new system, job classifications and pay structures. The classified and unclassified categories would be replaced by a large career services category and a very small executive service group. Many positions that are currently unclassified would be placed in the career services category. The bill repeals the Merit Protection Commission and gives its duties to OMES. Changes are made in state employment provisions related to veterans, the Carl Albert Internship and State Work Incentive programs. This bill is waiting on a Senate floor vote, and will likely go to conference to be finalized.
Employment; employer tax credit; injured workers
Providing a 2017 end date for the existing income tax credit available to employers for a portion of the wages and workplace modification expenses for an employee who has been injured on the job and receives workers’ compensation. Passed by both houses.
State agencies; administrative rules
Requiring legislative resolutions to approve state agency policies to attach the text of rule changes or new rules, or make that text electronically available to the public and legislators at least 48 hours in advance of a vote. A House floor vote is pending.
Vending facility program
Originally this bill required OMES to study the feasibility of having private food services vendors in the Capitol. A substitute bill adopted by the Senate General Government Committee provides instead that the licensed blind vendor managing the State Capitol facility may, in consultation with the Business Enterprise Program, contract for supplementary catering during legislative session. DRS is also authorized to establish an e-commerce website to support food ordering by customers. On the House floor the bill was amended to delete the e-commerce feature. The full House has approved the bill, which goes next to the Senate for a vote on House Amendments
Vending facility managers
This bill affects businesses and individuals who are responsible for collecting, reporting and remitting sales taxes, income tax withholding on employees or motor fuels taxes. It provides that the person or persons directly responsible for or in control of the collection and remitting of such taxes shall be liable for payment of the taxes to the Tax Commission and will be held liable for past due payments or assessments by the Tax Commission. The bill strikes current language that makes the principal officer, managers or board members of a business personally liable for such tax payments. The bill has been passed by both houses.
Private colleges and vocational schools
This bill makes a variety of changes to state licensure for private colleges and vocational schools. The bill has passed both houses.
Modifies language and dates relating to schools, accreditation, and text book adoption requirements. Passed Senate and is ready for a House floor vote.
Mental health; staff development
This bill provides that the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services may make employee college loan repayment not to exceed $10,000 in any 112-month period and not to exceed a cumulative figure of $25,000 for any one employee. (Note: Existing law allows state agencies to repay employee college loans that meet certain criteria not to exceed $5,000 per year or $10,000 total.) This bill has passed the Senate and been approved by the House Appropriations Committee.
State agencies; open meetings
As amended by the House Judiciary Committee, this bill provides that a citizen may bring a civil suit charging a state agency with failure to comply with the state’s Open Meetings Act. The citizen could seek declaratory or injunctive relief, or both, and if he/she prevails, could be awarded payment for attorney fees. If the court determines the suit is frivolous or without merit, the state agency could be awarded attorney fees. The bill has passed the House and next goes back to the Senate for consideration of House Amendments.
Mental health; community services
Defining an “assisted outpatient” and an “assisted outpatient program,” which refers to services ordered by a court to assist an individual with mental illness to live in the community and prevent institutionalization or other adverse outcomes. The bill provides for protection of the rights of the individual in proceedings that may result in a court order for assisted outpatient treatment, and in development of a plan for treatment or services. Requiring the State Board of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services to issue rules for certification of entities to serve as assisted outpatient treatment programs. Passed both houses, with title and enacting clause stricken.
As passed by the House, this bill authorizes state agencies, at their discretion to twice yearly offer their employees payment for up to 200 hours of unused annual leave. When the bill becomes effective, the Director of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services would appoint a committee to decide on employee eligibility criteria and rules for the program. This bill has passed both houses. (Note: the bill does not address any interaction or conflict with the existing provision allowing state employees to be paid for a limited amount of unused annual leave on separation from employment.)
OSB and OSD
This bill allows the School for the Deaf and School for the Blind to have access to certain juvenile records of students or prospective students, with confidentiality to be maintained. As amended by the House, the bill also changes from April 10 to the first Monday in June the date by which OSB and OSD must notify teachers of contract renewal, to match the contract renewal deadline in place for public schools in the state. Both houses have passed this bill. It will need to go before the Senate again for approval of House Amendments.
Providing patients who enter the hospital an opportunity to designate a person who will be a caregiver for them on returning home. If the patient declines to name such a caregiver, that would be noted in their hospital record. The patient would need to give written consent for the hospital to share medical information with the designated caregiver. A substitute version of the bill passed by the House Public Health Committee clarifies that this new law shall not be construed as requiring a patient to designate a specific caregiver to assist him/her after discharge from the hospital. This bill is ready for a House floor vote.
Veterans; traumatic brain injury
The bill creates a revolving fund in the Department of Veterans Affairs to be used to reimburse facilities for providing hyperbaric oxygen treatment for veterans with traumatic brain injuries. Veterans would not be charged for the treatment. Both houses have passed the bill.
Workforce development; employee training
As it passed the Senate, this bill provided for reimbursement of 105% of employer costs in providing employee training that leads to a credential in an occupational area approved by the state Department of Commerce. The bill initially failed on the House floor, but was brought back up for reconsideration with the intent of amending the bill to address concerns of opponents. A motion to suspend House rules to allow consideration of an untimely filed amendment did not get the needed two-thirds vote, but the vote may be tried again. If the proposed amendment is allowed, it would provide a sunset date of 2018 for the reimbursement plan, limit overall yearly cost of the reimbursements to $5 million, clarify that the money for this would come from state use, sales and income tax revenues, and require Commerce to provide an annual c cost-benefit report.
Providing penalties for using TANF or other public assistance benefit cards in certain places such as casinos, liquor stores, tobacco stores and adult-oriented businesses. The penalties extend from partial and temporary loss of benefits to ineligibility for benefits for repeat violators. This bill has been signed into law by the Governor.
Employment; unemployment insurance
Tightening up on what is considered employee misconduct making a worker ineligible for unemployment benefits. The bill provides that a first incident of misconduct is grounds for denial of UI benefits. It establishes that a finding by a state or federal agency of an employee’s failure to meet civil, criminal or professional standards constitutes misconduct and thus makes the person terminated for these reasons ineligible for UI benefits. Passed by both houses.
State agencies; fiscal impact information
Requiring OMES to post on its Open Books website any fiscal impact statement which has been required to accompany legislation affecting any agency, and requiring that the fiscal impact statements also be posted on the affected agency websites. After a certain time, each agency to which a fiscal impact statement applies must also post specific numbers and documents related to the actual fiscal impact experienced. This bill has been approved by both houses.
Creating the Task force on the Effect of Alzheimer’s Disease in Oklahoma and requiring a report by September of 2015. The bill has passed House committee and should next go to the House floor.
Mental disabilities; firearms
Providing a procedure for notifying the State Bureau of Investigation and the OSBI of an individual’s commitment or adjudication related to a mental disability. The bill also provides a means for an individual to petition a court for removal of the record of the mental disability. If such record is removed or changed, the appropriate law enforcement agencies would be notified and correct their databases. Both houses have passed the bill.
Health care; medical liability
This bill provides that a health care provider's failure to comply with the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 and any regulation established under these laws shall not be admissible, used to determine the standard of care, or the legal basis for a presumption of negligence in any medical liability action in this state. The bill has passed both houses, with title off.
State employee retirement
The bill converts the state employee pension system to a defined contribution system for new state employees. It has passed both houses but will go to conference.
Bills that are dead for this session
Injury prevention; public safety
States that no person shall be allowed to ride outside the passenger compartment of a vehicle unless on private property, parade, or special event; nor shall ride in the bed of a truck without federally approved restraints. This bill passed the House Public Safety Committee but made it no further and is dead.
Providing an exemption from accreditation requirements for religiously-based colleges; specifying alternative requirements for such schools. The bill was never heard in committee and is dead. A similar bill by Kern, HB-2352, was never considered.
Allowing DHS to withhold TANF benefits is a child is truant and providing for reinstatement of TANF when the truancy is corrected. This bill was never heard in House committee and is dead.
Disability prevention; public safety
Prohibiting texting while driving, with exceptions. Never heard in House committee. Dead for the session, All other bills restricting texting while driving have also fallen by the wayside so there will be no ban on texting while driving this year.
Creating the Common Sense Zero Tolerance Act. Prohibiting schools from disciplining students for certain behaviors that mimic violence, gun or weapon use or threats, etc. This bill passed the House Common Education Committee but was not taken up on the House floor, so is dead.
State agencies; open meetings
Allowing anyone who is denied access to a public meeting to sue and receive attorney’s fees if the suit prevails. The bill passed the House Government and Modernization Committee but was not taken up on the House floor. It is dead for this year.
Requiring drug testing of nursing home employees and applicants for employment. The bill was never taken up in House committee and is dead.
State agencies; public meetings
Requiring state agencies to make video recordings of public meetings and post them prominently on their websites. The bill passed House committee but was not taken up by the full House. It is dead for this year.
Prohibiting medical assistants from providing medication to a nursing home resident unless supervised by a registered nurse. Not heard in House committee; dead.
This bill amends existing law which allows the state to file and enforce a lien against the homestead of a person to recoup some of the cost of providing nursing ho me care to the person through Medicaid. Current law assumes that if a person stays in a nursing home for one year he/she cannot reasonably be expected to return home, and provides that a lien can be filed after one year of Medicaid-compensated nursing home care, unless a spouse or dependents are living in the home. The amendments say any stay of one year in a nursing home (not necessarily paid for by Medicaid) will constitute a determination by the Health Care Authority that the person cannot reasonably be expected to return home or has declared the intent not to return home. The law is further amended to provide that the amount of the lien will cover nursing home care paid by Medicaid plus any other medical care the person receives while in the nursing home. This bill passed the House 74-15. However, it was not considered in Senate committee and is dead.
Requiring health insurance exchange navigators assisting individuals to gain information on options under the Affordable Care Act to be licensed by the State Insurance Department. Not heard in House States; Rights Committee; dead.
Prohibits the state from aiding in the enforcement of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010; permitting tax deductions for those subjected to taxation by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Voted down in the House Public Health Committee; dead.
Requiring the Department of Public Safety to develop an alert system for missing persons with mental illness. Did not get out of House committee; dead.
Providing that companies in Oklahoma that participate in embryonic stem cell research shall be prohibited from receiving tax credits or research grants. Not heard in House Appropriations Committee; dead.
Creates the Oklahoma Student Loan Public University Competition Act; authorizes certain higher education institutions to establish a tuition payback program. Passed the House but did not meet the deadline for committee passage in the Senate; dead.
State agencies; public documents
Requiring that the Department of Libraries twice yearly publish a listing of state agencies’ publications on documents.ok.gov and if an agency has not complied with the statutory timelines for transmission of its publications to the Publications Clearinghouse, the Department will also note this in a prominent place on the website. Passed House Government and Modernization Committee but received no further action; dead.
Prohibiting any state agency from making a payment for government relations or lobbying services to any person or business that has functioned as a lobbyist under Ethics Commission rules at any time in the previous two years. This bill passed the House Government Modernization Committee but failed in a House floor vote,
Extending the termination date and report due date for the Rethinking Special Education, Competency and Transition Task Force. The bill passed the House Rules Committee but was not taken up on the House floor; it is dead/
State employee retirement
Creating the Oklahoma Pension Improvement Revolving Fund, to be used for cost-of-living increases for state retirees or to reduce unfunded liability of the retirement systems. The bill redirects revenue from the state excise tax on storage, use or consumption of tangible personal property from its current uses to the Pension Improvement Fund. The excise tax is currently apportioned to the General Fund, Teachers’ Retirement System, Historical Society and a few other government activities. This bill passed the House Appropriations Committee but was never taken up by the full House.
State employees; retirement system
Imposing a requirement on the Legislature to provide the actuarially required contributions to public retirement systems annually, with an exception. This bill passed the House but was voted down in the Senate Pensions Committee.
Providing a sales tax exemption for hearing aids and related technology for persons age 62 and older. The bill passed the House but has died in the Senate.
Medicare; home health
Requires Medicare home care agencies to adopt drug testing policies for certain applicants. Passed the House but was not considered in the Senate.
Higher education student aid
Limiting OHLAP payment for courses dropped by a student. The bill passed the House but was not taken up in the Senate.
Higher education; tuition
Requiring legislative approval for college tuition hikes. Not heard in House committee; dead.
Expands the authority of the Medicaid fraud unit to investigate allegations of Medicaid fraud by both providers and Medicaid beneficiaries. The bill passed the House Public Health Committee but was not heard on the House floor; dead.
Directing the Health Care Authority to apply for a Medicaid waiver that would allow the state to set Medicaid eligibility criteria that would reduce any inadvertent anti-marriage penalties. Passed House Public Health but was not taken up by the full House.
Making it state policy to refuse material support, participation or assistance to any federal agency which has authority to collect electronic data of any person pursuant to any action not based on a warrant. Agencies violating this policy would be subject to loss of state funds. Passed House States; rights Committee but not heard by the full House; dead.
Providing that no person who provides information about a state agency’s misuse of federal funds shall be penalized in any way for such action. Did not meet House committee passage deadline; dead.
State employees; health insurance
State agencies; federal funding
Prohibiting state agencies from applying for any federal grants, other than disaster funds, without the prior approval of the Legislature. Did not clear House committee and is dead.
State agency policies; administrative procedures act
Requiring state agencies to issue family impact statements for every proposed rule. Not considered at House committee level; dead.
Creating the Oklahoma Railways Commission. Transferring the Rails Division in the state Department of Transportation to the new Commission. The Commission will foster the development of rail transportation in Oklahoma, including passenger rail. Passed the House Transportation Committee but was never heard by the full House; dead.
Higher education facilities; student safety; firearms
Prohibiting colleges and technology centers from denying any licensed handgun owner consent to carry a gun on college, university or technology center school property unless evidence is shown that the person was previously involved in a violent incident or acted on campus with reckless disregard for the health or safety of others. A substitute bill passed by a House committee allowed any college, university or technology center to establish a gun carry policy for the general public in lieu of requiring people to make individual application for permission to carry guns on campus. The bill makes colleges and tech centers immune from any liability arising from their gun carry policies. The House passed this bill but it has not been heard in the Senate and is dead. Other similar bills have not survived.
Creating the Oklahoma Multimodal Transportation Act and the ConnectOklahoma Mass Transit and Infrastructure Revolving Fund within the state Transportation Infrastructure Bank. The fund is to be used to develop marine, rail and public transit infrastructure and to assist localities in developing multimodal transportation facilities. Monies deposited into the Fund could come from various sources but would include funds available under Title 69 Section 403 of the Oklahoma Statutes, which establishes the Transportation Infrastructure Bank and eligible projects. The bill was approved by the House Transportation Committee but never heard on the House floor.
Facilitating public-private partnerships with the Department of Transportation. Providing criteria for projects that may be considered. Passed by the House Transportation Committee but not heard by the full House; dead.
Schools; special education
Allowing parents or guardians and teachers to make third-grade retention decisions under the Reading Sufficiency Act under certain circumstances. After passing 81-10 in the House, the bill did not make it out of the Senate Education Committee.
Disability prevention; texting while driving
A number of bills limiting or prohibiting texting while driving were introduced this year, but none have survived in the legislative process. Distracted driving when texting or using other electronic communications devices has been shown to be a significant factor in traffic accidents that produce injuries and death.
Directs the Health Care Authority to establish a pilot program to test the use of a managed care system for Oklahoma Medicaid. The bill does not provide detail on the location or scope of the pilot program, but directs the Health Care Authority to apply for any waivers or plan amendments needed to establish the managed care pilot. Passed the Senate but was not heard in the House Appropriations Committee; dead.
This bill was called the Oklahoma Ridesharing Act. It made special provisions for Uber, a company which uses an online or digital dispatching system to link riders with drivers for hire. The bill relieved this company from the municipal permitting and rules required of currently operating taxi companies. It established separate requirements of drivers used by the company, and provided oversight from the Corporation Commission. The bill passed the Senate but was not heard in the House.
Federal funds; local programs and projects
Prohibiting cities or counties from accepting any federal funds, nongovernmental organization funds or other funds for any project without first adopting a financial plan for how the project will be funded in future. Passed by Senate but not heard in the House.
State agencies; Affordable Care Act
Originally the bill barred the state, any state agency or local government from applying for or receiving any funds under the Affordable Care Act and prohibited them from participating in any way in implementation of the ACA. The bill made it illegal for the state or any political subdivision to create a health insurance exchange or acquire health insurance through a health insurance exchange run by another organization. Two Senate committees passed a substitute version of the bill which simply prohibits the state or any political subdivision from establishing a health care exchange for the purpose of making health insurance available to Oklahomans. The bill as revised passed the Senate but was not taken up in the House.
To check the status of a bill:
Go to www.oklegislature.gov and use the “Find Legislation” form to check the status of individual bills.
Update prepared by:
State of Oklahoma
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