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Legislative Update
Rehabilitation and Disability Issues
February 8, 2013

National News

New Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) Commissioner:

President Obama has nominated Janet LaBreck, Commissioner of Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB) since 2007, to be the next RSA Commissioner.  Ms. LaBreck joined the MCB in 1985 as Consumer Advocate. She has served in a number of positions at MCB, including Independent Living Coordinator, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, and Regional Director of Central Massachusetts. In addition to her work with MCB, Ms. LaBreck teaches college courses in rehabilitation of the blind and case management.  She is legally blind and attended Perkins School for the Blind as a child. The U.S. Senate must confirm Ms. LaBreck’s nomination.  

Affordable Care Act (ACA) Provisions and Timelines:

To find out about how the federal Affordable Care Act may affect you or your clients, check out an excellent summary of ACA provisions and effective dates, prepared by the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The two-page summary is available at
http://www.ncsl.org/portals/1/documents/health/HRACA.pdf.

By increasing the number of people covered by health insurance, making it more affordable and emphasizing prevention, the Affordable Care Act also has the potential to offset some of the client medical costs that are now paid by Vocational Rehabilitation agencies.  This will especially be true in states that decide to participate in the Medicaid expansion and health insurance exchange pieces of the ACA.  Even though Oklahoma has thus far opted out of both these features of the ACA, some medical cost offset for the VR program may be achieved due to requirements for increased health insurance coverage of prevention services and acceptance of individuals with pre-existing conditions.  For information on the possibilities, read the summary of findings from Bobby Silverstein’s report on the ACA and VR, available at http://vr-rrtc.org/sites/vr-rrtc.org/files/Silverstein ACA_VR.pdf.

2013 State Legislation

Introduced bills affecting rehabilitation, disability programs and Oklahomans with disabilities

Over 1150 new bills have been introduced in the Oklahoma Senate this year and 1350 have been filed by House members.  Major topics of legislation include workers’ compensation, state government reforms and agency accountability, state employee pension systems, school reforms and funding, school testing, firearms and the state tax system.  Following are just some of the bills that may directly or indirectly impact disability programs, staff, clients and other Oklahomans with disabilities.  For example, the list includes measures that may affect the availability of a comparable benefit for clients or impact test accommodations for students with disabilities.  Bills are grouped in these categories:

• Bills that directly affect DRS
• Bills that affect state programs and employees
• Bills that affect students with disabilities
• Bills that affect health care and Medicaid
• Bills that affect individuals with disabilities
• Tax bills that may impact consumers and clients
• Bills that impact disability prevention and public health
• Bills that affect mental health services

In addition to bills listed, a number of “shell” bills may evolve into measures of interest.  These are bills that have no substantive language as introduced, but content may be supplied later in the legislative process.  Many of these “shell” bills deal with government reform, state employees, tax reform and workers’ compensation reform.  

To read bills of interest, go to www.oklegislature.gov and enter the bill number at “Find Legislation.”  Select the Versions tab to find PDF versions of the bill at each step in the legislative process.  Word versions are available by selecting Legislation on the main menu, then selecting Text of Measures, where you may specify Senate or House bills, version (e.g. Introduced) and file type preferred (PDF or Word).

Bills that directly affect DRS:

Rehabilitation counselors
SB-182
David
As introduced, this bill exempts rehabilitation counselors from the Licensed Professional Counselors Act.  (Note:  The bill may be modified in committee to specify that the State Department of Rehabilitation Services may license and contract with or hire rehabilitation counselors from rehabilitation counselor programs that are nationally accredited and certified by the Commission on Rehabilitation Services as meeting such standards.)

OSB and OSD; school testing accommodations
SB-251
Garrison; Hulbert
Providing that with regard to the End of Instruction tests required for high school graduation, reasonable accommodation determinations for students who have individualized education programs or Section 504 plans, and are enrolled at the Oklahoma School for the Blind or the Oklahoma School for the Deaf shall be made by the superintendent of the applicable school.

DRS; Disability Determination Division
HB-2158
Nelson
State Department of Rehabilitation Services; modifying number of unclassified positions in the Disability Determination Division.

DRS; disability Determination Division
SB-458
David
Increasing unclassified positions in the Disability Determination Division of the Department of Rehabilitation Services.

Bills that affect state programs and employees:

State employee salaries
SB-10
Anderson
Increases the salaries of certain state employees by five percent for employees making under $40,000 per year; increases salaries by two percent for employees making $40,000 or more per year.

State employees
SB-31
Brown
Creating the Oklahoma Paycheck Protection Act; eliminates the option for state employees to have OPEA membership dues deducted from their paychecks.  Eliminates the option for school employees to have payroll deductions for member dues to associations representing teachers or school personnel.

State agencies; administrative rules
SB-51
Allen
Requiring legislative approval of any agency administrative rule which is determined by the agency to have a probable economic impact upon business entities or consumer groups, as described in the rule impact statement the agency must prepare for each proposed rule or rule change.

State government; regulations
SB-87
Paddack
Creating the task force on unnecessary government regulation.  The task force would examine state laws and agency rules to determine which ones adversely impact economic development, business, and employment.  It would recommend repeal or change in laws or rules with adverse impact in these areas and suggest any changes in the Administrative Procedures Act that would aid identification of such rule impact in the future.

State and local government; public meetings; firearms
SB-176
Griffin
Deleting the existing section of law that prohibits open or concealed carry of handguns into meetings of any city, town, county, state or federal officials, school board members, legislative members, or any other elected or appointed officials.  Under this bill as introduced it would still be unlawful to bring a handgun into local or state government buildings.  

Workers compensation; state and local agencies
SB-249
Bingman
Providing that state and local governmental entities shall not be liable for exemplary or punitive damages in any employee lawsuit award that may stem from the agency’s unlawful discharge of the employee in violation of the Workers’ Compensation Code.

State employee salary increase
SB-279
Bass
Providing a 2% pay increase for state employees and teachers, beginning July 1, 2013.  

State government
SB-310
Holt
Creating the Spring Cleaning Commission to review state laws in need of revision or update.  This Commission would identify not only laws it thinks need updating or repeal, but also programs that it believes have outlived their usefulness, regulations that seem to hamper businesses, bureaucratic procedures that could be streamlined and other changes it believes could improve government structure and operations.  The Commission would recommend changes or repeal of laws, agency rules and procedures.  Members of the Commission would be appointed by the House Speaker and Senate President Pro Tempore and would be former members of the Legislature.  This would be an ongoing Commission, with member terms limited to 8 years.  

State agencies; administrative rules
SB-444
Sparks
Requiring that both houses of the Legislature approve of agency administrative rules in order for them to go into effect.

State agencies; state purchasing contracts
SB-461
Holt
Providing that no state contract for purchase of goods or services including sole source purchase contracts, shall be eligible to be renewed for any period longer than the initial contract period without first reopening the bid for competition.

State employees
SB-462
Shumate
Deleting notification requirement for employee time off to vote.

State employees; salaries
SB-524
Sparks
As introduced, the bill would provide a 5 percent pay increase for employees making $40,000 or less, and a 2 percent increase for t hose making over $40,000.

Firearms; state employees
SB-548
Dahm
Creating the 2nd Amendment Preservation Act.  Stating that it shall be the duty of the Legislature to enact any and all measures as may be necessary to prevent the enforcement of all federal laws, orders, rules, regulations, bans or registration requirements regarding firearms within Oklahoma.  The bill makes it a felony for federal employees or others to assist the federal government in enforcing federal gun restrictions, with penalties of up to 5 years in prison, up to $5,000 or both.  The bill would make it illegal for any Oklahoma state or local employee to aid the enforcement of any federal gun restrictions, with the penalty being a misdemeanor with up to 2 years in jail,  $1,000 fine or both.

Government facilities; public health and safety; firearms
SB-205
Anderson
Removing sections of law that currently prohibit carrying of handguns in meetings of public officials, at professional sports events and in places where pari-mutual wagering is permitted.  The bill also provides that any person with a valid handgun license when entering any state, city or county facility that requires persons to pass through a security checkpoint shall be authorized to bypass the security checkpoint upon presenting the handgun license and Oklahoma driver license or ID card.  This provision does not authorize a law enforcement officer to search any person or inspect any weapon properly concealed or unconcealed without probable cause that a crime has been committed.

State agencies; accountability measures; budgets
SB-596
Holt
This bill requires the Director of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services to develop a method of accountability for performance and efficiency to be used by state agencies. The accountability method shall at a minimum determine the actual cost of each agency program, detail the agency's cost-containment and other cost-avoidance measures, assess the cost-effectiveness of each agency program, and include a cost/benefit analysis for each program. The bill provides that in preparing the Governor’s proposed budget, the OMES Director shall not include funds for any agency programs that have not been shown to be effective according to the cost/benefit analysis done by OMES.

State agencies; state contracts
SB-630
Jolley
Sole source purchase contracts; authorizing substitution for certain products; prohibiting geographical restrictions.

State agencies; audits; financial operations
SB-646
Jolley
Creating the Recovery Audits for Government Overpayments of Tax Dollars Act; authorizing contracts for recovery audits.

Firearms
SB-835
Shortey
Firearms; modifying officials allowed to carry firearm under certain circumstances. Allowing legislators to carry firearms anywhere at any time.

Firearms
SB-837
Shortey
Firearm carry; deleting certain requirement for licensure,

Firearms; state government; public safety
SB-840
Shortey
Unlawful carry; modifying provisions that prohibit persons from carrying in certain places; authorizing certain bypass of security check points. Deleting the prohibition against carrying firearms into meetings of government officials, state agencies, legislators, schools boards, etc.  Also deleting the prohibition against firearms at professional sports events and in places of pari-mutual wagering. Removing restrictions related to carrying guns into parks, recreational areas, and fairgrounds. The bill also allows anyone with a handgun license to bypass the security checks in any government building.  

State employee retirement
SB-847
Jolley
Creating Oklahoma Pension Stabilization Fund; providing for transfer and allocation of certain surplus funds.  The fund would be made up of money from the General Fund that may be available at the end of each fiscal year after the required deposit has been made into the Constitutional Reserve Fund. The fund would be used to help reduce the unfunded liability of any of the state pension systems.

Firearms; state government; public safety
SB-855
Simpson
Firearms; modifying permission to carry in certain places; modifying certain eligibility requirements. Removing the prohibition against bringing firearms into meetings of public officials, government agencies, school boards, legislators and other entities.

State government; state employees
SB-979
Newberry
State employees; creating joint task force to study effectiveness of the Oklahoma Personnel Act.

State government; privatization
SB-1008
Treat
Office of Privatization; creating Oklahoma Office of Privatization Act; authorizing rulemaking; requiring Governor approval.

State agencies
SB-1007
Treat
State agency reporting requirements; creating Task Force on Reducing Unnecessary State Agency Reporting Requirements.

State employee health insurance
HB-1107
Mulready
Enacting the Oklahoma State Employees Health Insurance Reform Act. This is a shell bill as introduced.

State employee retirement system
HB-1325
McDaniel
This bill provides that for new state employees hired as of July 1, 2013, retirement benefits will be calculated based on the five highest years of pay out of the 10 years preceding retirement.  (Current state employees will still use the highest 3 years out of the last 10 years.)  

State boards and commissions
HB-1379
Virgin
Expanding permitted purposes for executive sessions of public bodies, to include discussion of strategies related to administrative efficiencies, school consolidation and matters that would have an immediate adverse financial impact on the agency.

State contracts
HB-1394
Smalley
Creating the Modernization of Public Contracting and Ethics Act of 2013. Prohibits conflicts of interest in award of state contracts.  Makes it unlawful for any officer to award, approve a claim, appropriate funds to or vote to enter into a contract between a governmental agency and a business in which the officer has a significant interest.

State employees; repealing affirmative action
HB-1414
Hall
This bill repeals affirmative action requirements on state agencies, in conformance with the 2012 passage of a State Question to end affirmative action in state government.

State agencies; technology review
HB-1431
Turner
Electronic Resource Act of 2013.  This bill adds to the duties of the State Governmental Technology Applications Review Board.  It authorizes the Board to create a recovery-of-cost policy through which agencies may establish guidelines for the issuance of technology resources to users of services provided by the public entity.  (This may allow an agency to charge members of the public who receive any technology generated services.)

State boards and commissions
HB-1466
Murphey
State government; authorizing certain officials to replace certain appointments; providing exceptions. Providing that, in addition to any appointments created by expiring terms or vacancies provided by law, the Governor and any other executive branch official with appointing authority shall have the power to make a one-time replacement to each and every one of their office’s appointments to any board or commission.  This same ability to replace existing appointees would apply to the Senate President and House Speaker.

State employee compensation
HB-1717
Osborn
Creating the State Employee Compensation Act of 2013.

State agencies
HB-1720
Osborn
Creating the Joint Committee on Accountability, a legislative committee that would study executive branch agencies, recommend changes and look into any matter requested by the Senate President or House Speaker.  The Committee could request the State Auditor and Inspector to audit any agency.  

State agency directors
HB-1737
Osborn
Creating the Director Salary Act of 2013.

Organ and tissue donation
HB-1846
Shelton
Authorizing leave of absence for certain donations for certain employees.  This provides for leave for employees for purposes of organ or tissue donation.

State agencies; administrative rules
HB-1913
Shannon
Modifying various provisions of the Administrative Procedures Act.  Requiring the Legislature to affirmatively approve of all state agency rules and rule changes.  Approval would be by passage of a joint resolution.  The measure bars any state agency from raising any fees until July 1, 2015, unless mandated to raise a fee by the legislature or a federal order or by court order. The bill provides that the Governor shall indicate approval of a rule by signing the joint resolution passed by the legislature and shall indicate disapproval by vetoing such resolution. Rules that are not approved by the legislature and Governor will not go into effect.

State agencies; fees
HB-1914
Shannon
State government; creating the Public Agency Fee Moratorium Justification and Disclosure Act of 2013; prohibiting certain entities from creating or increasing fees.

State agency funding
HB-1917
Shannon
Requiring each state agency to develop a plan and budget for a cut in federal funds of 25%, and to submit these documents 30 days from the effective date of this law to Director of OMES, Governor and legislative leaders.  Agencies would also have to report annually on the federal funds they receive, by expenditure category, and list the federal funds ranking the most important source of federal funds first and listing other sources in descending order of importance.  Agencies would also have to provide an annual list of the cost of obtaining its federal funds, by rank from the most expensive federal funds (highest state match) to the least expensive federal funds.

State agencies; administrative rules
HB-1930
Jackson
Modifying approval of emergency rules.  Requiring emergency rules shall not be approved unless they meet all criteria for an emergency to exist, instead of one of the criteria. Rule impact statements would be required to accompany proposed emergency rules, and the Governor could not waive this requirement.  

State agencies; state vehicles
HB-1984
Brumbaugh
This bill instructs the Director of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services to form a working group to study how state owned vehicles are managed.  The group shall study, but not be limited to, methods by which state agencies can save money through the use of either state-owned or privately owned vehicles, methods for driving down the cost of vehicle use by state employees, and the need to eliminate reporting, marking and other loopholes in current statutes that allow state agencies to secure and use vehicles without approval of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services.

State agencies; administrative rules
HB-2018
Roberts
Making all state agency rules subject to affirmative approval by the Legislature via joint resolution.  The Legislature’s failure to pass a joint resolution approving an agency’s rules and rule changes would prevent them from going into effect.

State employee retirement
HB-2041
Shannon
Public retirement systems; Oklahoma Defined Benefit Pension Plan Study and Evaluation Act of 2013.  Shell.

State agencies; administrative rules
HB-2055
Jackson
Creating the Repeal of the Administrative Procedures Act.  Repealing all sections of the APA.

State agencies; information and telecommunications technology
HB-2062
Jackson
Updating language and modifying duties of the Chief Information Officer.

State employee pension systems
HB-2077
Randy McDaniel
Public retirement systems; Sooner Save Special Act; defined contribution retirement plans; employee contributions; employer matching; vesting schedule; plan accounts; procedures.

Bills that affect students with disabilities:

School testing; high school graduation
SB-194
Paddack
Allowing certain ACT and ACT Workkeys scores to meet end-of-instruction test requirements.

School testing
SB-226
Ford
Providing for remediation and intervention for students who fail end-of-instruction testing requirements.

Schools
SB-314
Ford
Enacting the School District Empowerment Program.  Allowing school district boards of education to request an exemption from all state rules and laws pertaining to public schools, similar to what charter schools can do under existing law on charter schools.  The request would need to explain what benefits and cost savings would be achieved by being exempt from all state laws and rules affecting public education.  The State Board of Education would have 90 days to rule on the exemption request.  School districts could not be exempt from some state laws, mainly those affecting employees.  They would still have to comply with minimum teacher salaries, provide employee health insurance and retirement and hire appropriately certified professional staff.  Students would still be subject to graduation requirements.

Schools
SB-425
Jolley
Providing scholarships for students who graduate from high school in fewer than four years and who do not need remedial instruction.  The amount of the scholarship would be the amount that would have otherwise been appropriated to the school district for the student.  The State Department of Education would calculate the number of students eligible for the early graduation scholarship and the State Aid funds that would have gone to schools for these students, and reserve these funds from the annual State Aid appropriation for schools.  Scholarships would come out of these reserved funds and be paid to the college each such student attends.

College and vocational student aid
SB-432
Ford
Extending OHLAP, also known as Oklahoma's Career Promise Act, to provide aid to students seeking certification in a vocational-technical field through training programs in the Oklahoma Higher Education System.

Schools; scholarship for students with disabilities
SB-463
Burrage
Directing schools that accept Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarships to meet certain requirements. Private schools accepting transfer of students with disabilities using the scholarships would have to comply with all federal and state laws pertaining to education of students with disabilities.  They would have to participate in school testing as established by the Oklahoma School Testing Program Act and the Achieving Classroom Excellence Act.  

Schools
SB-492
Sparks
Directing public schools and private schools licensed by the State Department of Education to train students in CPR, use of automated external defibrillators and the Heimlich maneuver. The bill states how the training will be developed and specifies grade level range for students who will receive the training.

Schools; firearms
SB-529
Brecheen
Firearms on school property; increasing from $100 to $200 the administrative fine charged to a licensed handgun owner who brings a gun on school property in violation of law.  This is in addition to felony penalties in existing law.

Special education
SB-534
Sparks
Allowing special education related services personnel to participate in professional development training offered by school districts.

Schools; technology literacy standards; OSB and OSD
SB-631
Jolley
Creating a task force to study technological integration into academic standards.  The task force of 9 members appointed by the Governor would recommend technological literacy standards for the state’s schools.  High school and elementary teachers from specified disciplines would be on the task force, but there is no required representation from educators of children with disabilities.

School testing; graduation
SB-638
Jolley
Authorizing the State Board of Education to adopt alternative tests that students could take.  Those who demonstrate mastery on such tests could be promoted to the next grade or graduate, regardless of any instructional time requirements that would normally apply for such students.

Firearms; schools; OSB and OSD
SB-658
Brooks
Modifying the prohibition against carrying firearms on elementary and secondary school property by allowing guns to be carried on school property set aside for parking or vehicle use, whether a vehicle is attended or unattended, provided the gun is carried or stored as required by law.

College fees
SB-760
Sykes.
Requiring legislative approval of higher education fee increases.

Schools; funding
SB-761
Ford
Modifying factors used to calculate school funding.

Firearms; schools; OSB and OSD
SB-829
Shortey
Allows school officials, teachers and other employees who are licensed to carry handguns to have them on school property so long as the guns are carried concealed or locked in an office or lock box.  The employees would also have to let their supervisor know they are carrying a gun.

Firearms; schools
SB-830
Shortey
Allowing people to carry firearms in school parking and vehicular areas provided the guns are carried or stored according to law.

Firearms; schools; OSB and OSD
SB-833
Shortey
Firearms; making it lawful to carry a concealed handgun in certain places under certain circumstances.  Removing the specific prohibition against carrying firearms in any elementary or secondary schools. Amending sections that permit carrying or storing guns in vehicles in parking or vehicular areas to include elementary and secondary school parking and vehicle areas.  Allowing school administrators to give permission for other places in school where firearms may be carried.  

Schools; OSB and OSD
SB-858
Treat
Deleting statutory language that prohibits charter schools from being established for the purpose of providing educational programs now provided by the state school for the blind and state school for the deaf.  Deleting the provision enacted last year to require information on OSB and OSD programs be provided in IEP meetings to parents of students with visual or hearing impairments and requiring instead that information on any programs for vision or hearing impaired children be provided in the IEP process.

Schools; state government; education funding; special education
SJR-7
Holt
Constitutional amendment; prohibiting acceptance of certain federal education funds.  This bill would require a vote of the people on a Constitutional amendment stating that the state will not accept any federal education funds if they require the state to implement any federal education program.  This provision would not expressly prohibit the state from deciding to accept certain funds including those available through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Schools
HB-1027
Reynolds
Creating the Opportunity Scholarship Act;

Firearms; public safety; state agencies; schools
HB-1059
McCullough
Eliminating some restrictions on carrying of firearms into government buildings.  Amending current restrictions from carrying guns into government offices and buildings to just restrict such carry when the building has a security guard or security check-point.  Also modifying other provisions to allow carrying of handguns in a purse or other container on certain premises. Also allowing guns to be carried into meetings of government officials, legislators, school boards and similar meetings.  Eliminating the specific prohibition against carrying guns into elementary and secondary schools and allowing guns and weapons to be carried hidden in locked vehicles in school parking areas.  Modifying penalties for violation of law.

Firearms; schools
HB-1062
McCullough
Allowing certain persons to carry handguns on school property.  Allowing teachers and other school personnel to carry guns into school if they have completed a police training course for reserves, if the district board of education has adopted a policy that allows guns in the school.

School performance rating; students with disabilities
HB-1072
Renegar
Providing for the exclusion of a certain number of students with disabilities from certain calculations and determinations related to school testing.  This bill provides that if the number of students with disabilities taking alternative and modified alternative tests at a school is greater than the federal cap on the percentage of such alternative tests a school may utilize, then the school shall only use test results of the number of such students up to the cap level in calculation of its academic performance rating.

Schools; vision screening
HB-1117
Rousselot
Adding a public school nurse to the vision screening advisory committee.

Special education; teacher certification and pay
HB-1233
Coody
Providing for a provisional certification for certain individuals in the field of special education teaching for children with cognitive disabilities or emotional disabilities.  Providing that certified teachers working with children in the severe-profound range and children with emotional disabilities shall be paid at 10 percent above the salary for teachers of non-disabled students. Providing also that certified special education teachers who serve for at least five years teaching special education in a district will be paid at 5 percent above teachers of nondisabled students – this provision being in addition to any other incentive salary adjustment provided elsewhere in law.

Special education
HB-1264
Nelson
Extending the Rethinking Special Education, Competency and Transition Task Force until May of 2014.  The charge of this Task Force, currently set to end in May of 2013, includes looking at many aspects of special education and issues surrounding it.  To be considered are questions of the best way to organize special education, resource adequacy, resource sharing, personnel preparation,  how special education can be enhanced through improved economies of scale, federal law issues and many other topics.  Task Force members include the director of DRS or State Transition Coordinator.

College student aid
HB-1281
Moore
Repealing the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Act.

College tuition
HB-1332
Lockhart
Requiring legislative approval for certain college tuition increases.

School testing
HB-1360
Hulbert
Replacing requirement for completion of certain end-of-instruction tests with taking the American College Test assessment.

Special education teacher certification

HB-1377
Virgin
Requiring State Board of Education to issue a one-year provisional teaching certificate to teach children with mild-moderate or severe-profound cognitive disabilities for individuals who have completed a 150-hour special education teaching boot camp.  The provisional certificate could be renewed twice.  Providing a pay advantage for certified teachers working with children in the severe-profound range and children with emotional disabilities.

Higher education; cost information; VR client services
HB-1434
Turner
Creating the Modern Student Personal Budgeting Act. Requires college faculty to include in a course syllabus the costs of course instructional materials, laboratory fees, licenses and other costs.

Sales tax; school supplies
HB-1460
Ownbey
Allows computers less than $1000 to be purchased exempt of tax during Oklahoma's back to school tax free weekend.

School testing
HB-1519
Wood
Replacing requirement for completion of certain end-of-instruction tests with taking certain American College Test assessments.

School tests
HB-1621
Cannaday
Requiring certain end-of-instruction criterion-referenced tests to be correlated with the ACT tests.

Schools; firearms
HB-1622
Kern
Modifying manner in which handguns may be transported onto private school property.

School testing
HB-1673
Blackwell
Allowing certain score on the American College Testing (ACT) test to count for certain graduation testing requirements.

Schools; unfunded mandates
HB-1711
Thomsen
Establishing the School District Unfunded Mandate Relief Program.  Schools could decide not to abide by state or Board prescribed unfunded or underfunded mandates.  They would notify the State Department of Education of which mandates they do not want to follow.  The SDE would also publish a list of all the state and Board of Education requirements, how much it costs to comply with each of them, and regulations issued on them.

College student aid
HB-1721
Osborn
Deleting certain income requirement for determining financial need for the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program.

School testing; graduation
HB-1755
Nollan
Allowing certain score on the American College Testing (ACT) test to count for certain graduation testing requirements.

Schools; appeals of diploma denial
HB-1756
Nollan
Modifying appeal process for students denied a standard diploma.

Schools; firearms
HB-1893
Cockroft
Authorizing the carrying of handguns onto elementary and secondary school property under certain circumstance.

Student aid; vocational training
HB-1898
Cockroft
Higher education; allowing for Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program awards for certain vocational-technical courses or programs under certain circumstances.

Schools; lottery funds; teacher pay
HB-1915
Shannon
Schools; providing for appropriation of Oklahoma Education Lottery Trust Fund monies for teacher incentive pay awards.

School security; firearms
HB-1939
Bennett
School security; allowing certain persons to carry handguns on school property.

Schools; firearms
HB-2020
Roberts
Creating the Oklahoma Safe Schools Handgun Licensing Act.  Providing a special handgun license for school personnel.  The license would be issued by CLEET which would set training standards and provide training.  Applicants for the school handgun license would have to include with their application a statement as to whether they are receiving mental health treatment or have been committed for mental health treatment in the past.  CLEET would verify with the Department of Mental Health whether the applicant has been involuntarily committed for mental health treatment in a state institution in the past.  School personnel licensed under this Act could carry handguns anywhere in the state including into any public or private school.

Schools; deregulation
HB-2087
Nelson
Creating the Allowing Local Administrators More Options Act.  Allowing any school district to petition the State Board of Education for an exemption from all of the state laws and regulations from which charter schools are allowed to be exempt. The school district would have to submit a deregulation plan that would specify the goals to be met as a result of the deregulation.  Schools could not be exempted from certain listed requirements such as those affecting teacher qualifications, pay and benefits.

Children with disabilities
HB-2099
Nelson
Creating the Children with Disabilities Comprehensive Systems of Services Fund Act of 2013.   Shell as filed.

Schools; student medical treatment
HB-2101
Fourkiller
Allowing schools to have policies for use of epinephrine pens when a student appears to be having a life-threatening allergic reaction.  The policies would have to include informing parents and providing that only the school nurse or other trained personnel could administer the medication.

School deregulation
HB-2131
Hickman
Creating the Education Improvement Act of 2013.  This bill amends existing law to provide that school districts may develop deregulation plans that would exempt all or parts of the school system from certain education-related laws and state regulations.  The district voters would have to approve the plan.  The bill stipulates that school districts may not seek deregulation from federal laws or state laws and rules that pertain to safety, health, civil rights or insurance.  In addition, schools could not deregulate from state school testing law, state accounting and auditing requirements, laws related to education of children with disabilities, laws relating to suspension of students, teacher retirement and some other rules.  SDE would annually prepare a list of laws and rules which schools could not be deregulated from.  

College tuition and fees
HB-2133
Hickman
Limiting annual resident tuition and mandatory fee increases to the lesser of 3% or the inflation rate.

Schools; federal programs and funds
HB-2244
Nelson
Stating that no school district shall request a waiver or flexibility from any federal program or funding without first getting permission from the State Department of Education.

School funding
HB-2245
Nelson
Creating the Public School Funding and Finance Task Force.  The purpose of the Task Force shall be to study school funding and finance issues and make recommendations on ways to update and improve the public school state aid funding formula and other funding and finance provisions.  A report is due by December 31, 2013.

Bills that affect health care and Medicaid:

Medicaid; false Medicaid claims
SB-27
Brecheen
The Oklahoma Medical False Claims Act.  Providing that any person who reports a false Medicaid claim may receive from 15% to 25% of the recovered amount. Effective November 1, 2013.

Health care
SB-93
Anderson
Providing that the Legislature declares that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 are not authorized by the United States Constitution and are null and void.  Directing the Legislature to do anything it can to prevent the implementation of these laws.

Health care; government employees
SB-203
Dahm
This bill states that the Legislature finds that the Affordable Care Act and additional 2010 federal health care legislation are not authorized by the US constitution and are therefore invalid in Oklahoma.  The bill further provides that any US government employee or official, or any persons under contract with the US government, who attempts to implement any provision of these health care laws shall be guilty of a felony punishable by a fine not to exceed $5,000 or imprisonment not to exceed five years, or both.  Any state of Oklahoma official or employee who tries to follow any provision of either of these health laws will be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a jail term not to exceed 2 years, a fine not to exceed $1,000 or both.

Public health; health information; health care planning
SB-219
Dahm
Providing that Oklahoma Health Information Exchange Trust will cease to exist on January 1, 2014.  Any grants received by the Trust would be administered by the Health Department but no new grants would be sought.

Medicaid
SB-254
David
Medicaid; adding entities used for verifying individual's income.

Medicaid
SB-272
David
Directing the Health Care Authority to conduct a pilot program in one area of the state for a fully capitated managed care system for Medicaid recipients in the pilot area.  OHCA is directed to seek such Medicaid plan amendments or federal waivers as may be needed to initiate the pilot program, and to seek vendor contracts for implementing the managed care pilot.

Health
SB-351
Shumate
Creating Oklahoma Personal Health Investment Act.  For tax years after December 31, 2013, employers would have an income tax deduction for the amounts they pay for health or fitness club memberships for employees.  For state employees, the bill authorizes inclusion of health or fitness club membership fees in the state flexible benefits plan, at such time as that is permitted under federal law.

Emergency medical care
SB-433
Sharp
This bill amends current law that limits the liability of a person for providing certain emergency care to include measures taken with respect to a suspected type of drug overdose.

Emergency medical care
SB-457
David
Allowing first responders to administer medicine to counteract opiate drug overdose without a prescription, and giving them protection from liability under the Good Samaritan Act.

Hospice
SB-459
Shumate
Creating the Task Force on Regulatory Standards for Hospice Care; defining membership and duties.

Chiropractors; health insurance
SB-547
Brown
Prohibiting health benefit plans from charging higher copayments for health services provided by chiropractors. Stating that such copayments cannot be higher than copayments charged for primary care physicians.

Medicaid

SB-777
Burrage
Declaring that the state shall expand its Medicaid program in accordance with the Affordable Care Act. Directing the Health Care Authority to take any steps necessary to achieve the Medicaid expansion and directing the Legislature to provide such annual appropriations as are needed to fund the expansion.  

Health care; nondiscrimination
SB-915
Sykes
Creating the Nondiscrimination in Treatment Act.  The bill states that a health care provider shall not deny life-sustaining treatment to a person who requests it or whose representative requests it on the basis of a belief that the life of an elderly, disabled or terminally ill person is less worthy of extending than that of another person.  The health provider would also be prohibited from denying such life-sustaining treatment because he or she disagrees with the person or their representative about the tradeoff between extending life and risk of disability.  

Chiropractors; health insurance
SB-992
Marlatt
Prohibiting health insurance plans from charging copayments for chiropractor services that are greater than the copayments being charged for primary care physician visits.,

Physical therapy
HB-1020
Cox
Professions and occupations; allowing Advanced Practice Registered Nurses to refer individuals for physical therapy.

Health care
HB-1021
Ritze
Stating that the Legislature declares that the Affordable Care Act and other health care laws are not authorized by the US constitution and that they are invalid in Oklahoma and shall not be recognized.

Emergency medical services; immunity from liability
HB-1049
Roberts
Prohibiting entity and individual civil liability for act or omission while rendering life support services.

Medical research; neurological diseases
HB-1053
Jeannie McDaniel
Authorizing the Commissioner of Health to enter into agreements with entities such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the purpose of collecting existing data sets on neurological diseases such as MS.

Health care
HB-1099
Hulbert
Creating the Rural Oklahoma Healthcare Task Force.

Health care
HB-1254
Moore
Stating that the Legislature believes that the Affordable Care Act and other federal health are laws are not authorized by the US Constitution and Oklahoma will not abide by them.

Health care; life-sustaining treatment
HB-1403
Johnson
Creates the Nondiscrimination in Treatment Act.  Mandates that health care providers not deny life-preserving care to patients on the basis that extending the life of an elderly or disabled patient is of lower value than that of a younger or nondisabled patient.

Employment; hospitals
HB-1488
Ritze
Exempting hospitals from existing law that prohibits making employment conditional on nonsmoking.

Medicaid
HB-1552
McCullough
Oklahoma Medicaid Reform Act of 2013.

Medicaid; American Indians
HB-1581
Scott
Creating the Oklahoma Tribal Medicaid Reform Act of 2013.

Medical care
HB-1837
Williams
Creating the Oklahoma Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment Act.

Medicaid fraud prevention
HB-1983
Brumbaugh
Creating the Oklahoma Reduction of Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Act of 2013.  This bill requires certain measures be taken to detect and reduce payment of fraudulent Medicaid claims by providers.  It provides for collection and automated comparison of data to detect ineligible providers before paying them and to suggest providers at high risk for fraud.  The bill describes a sophisticated technology for analyzing claims and related data.  It directs the state to contract with a vendor for providing this technology-driven fraud prevention system.  The fraud prevention technology would be paid for by the savings in Medicaid expenditures by reduced fraud, and the bill allows the technology vendor contract to specify a percentage of the savings as payment to the provider.   

Medicaid
HB-2017
Roberts
Poor persons; providing for copayment for SoonerCare services.

Health care
HB-2073
Fisher
Stating that Oklahoma will not abide by the Affordable Care Act and other federal health care law.  Contending that the US Constitution and its Tenth Amendment set forth certain powers the states may cede to the federal government and health care laws are not among those powers granted to the federal government by the states.

Health insurance; information for patients
HB-2074
Fisher
Providing that a hospital shall notify each patient prior to treatment, or when appropriate the patient’s representative, of the name or names of any physician who shall provide treatment to the patient who is not in the same insurance network provider of such hospital.

Medicaid
HB-2151
Hickman
Creating the Oklahoma Medicaid Block Grants Act of 2013. Shell.

Hospice
HB-2169
Echols
Repealing certification of hospice administrators.

Health insurance
HB-2202
Derby
Requiring health benefit plans to provide coverage for certain cancer medications.

Bills that affect individuals with disabilities:

Developmental disabilities
SB-38
Brecheen
Creating a task force on vocational services for persons with developmental disabilities.  The task force will study vocational programs provided or contracted by DHS, reimbursement rates for vocational service providers, any abuses in the system and legislation that may be needed to improve it.  

Voting; absentee voting
SB-80
Crain
Dealing with procedures for counting and securing absentee ballots.

Autism
SB-101
Anderson
Establishing the Task Force on State Services for Adults with Asperger's Syndrome and Autism.  The task force will study the needs of persons with autism spectrum conditions, the services currently available for this population, and make any recommendations for legislation to further address the needs.

Disabled parking
SB-204
Paddack
Directing municipalities and political subdivisions with authority to regulate parking of vehicles to enact ordinances, by October 1, 2013, that provide penalties for violating disability parking provisions in state law (47 OS 15-113; 11-1007).  

Voting; absentee voting for disabled
SB-276
Bass
Modifying absentee ballot procedures for physically incapacitated voters.  In addition to mail and fax applications, a person who cannot vote at the polls due to disability could have an agent make the absentee ballot application in person at the county election board.  Such agent would have to be age 16 or over, not the employer of the voter, and not related closely to any of the candidates on the ballot.  The agent could only apply for an absentee ballot for one individual for any election.

Public transportation
SB-296
Barrington; Denney
Appropriating $2 million plus to the Department of Transportation for the Public Transit Revolving Fund for each year starting with state fiscal year 2014 and ending with fiscal year 2020.

Physician licensure
SB-298
McAffrey
Providing that if a doctor meets the qualifications for licensure as a medical doctor, the Board of Medical Licensure shall not deny the person the right to advertise him/herself as board certified solely because the individual’s practice or therapies used are experimental or nontraditional.

Developmental disabilities
SB-303
Paddack
Stating that resource centers for the developmentally disabled (NORCE and SORC) shall provide services to persons living in community settings and intermediate care facilities, to include beds for acute care, behavior and medical stabilization; respite; dental; vocational services, medical and pharmacy; therapy and psychological care.  NORCE would retain at least 50 beds for acute care and stabilization services and SORC would retain at least 30 beds for these purposes.

Developmental disabilities
SB-304
Paddack
Requiring that residents of NORCE and SORC who are placed in alternative residential settings shall be placed within 60 miles of their legal guardians or within 60 miles of the resource center in which they formerly lived.

Voting; absentee voting
SB-311
Holt
Modifying days and hours for in-person absentee voting; modifying absentee ballot deadline.

Alzheimer’s
SB-315
Crain
Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET); requiring certain training on issues related to dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

Nonprofit organizations
SB-372
Paddack
Solicitation of Charitable Contributions Act; modifying information required to be provided by charitable organizations.

Disabled parking
SB-377
Paddack
Providing that 20 percent of each physically disabled parking fine shall be remitted to the Department of Public Safety.

Human rights; anti-discrimination law
SB-396
Jolley
This bill follows up on the previous transfer of the Human Rights Commission to the Attorney General.  The bill transfers specific duties and powers related to state civil rights complaints to the Attorney General.   

Transportation funding
SB-449
Sparks
Authorizing the Department of Transportation to accept proposals from public-private partnerships for construction of public transportation projects.  Such proposals would be subject to legislative and governor approval.

Prescription drugs
SB-577
Brinkley
Requiring prescription drug labels to include the purpose or symptom for which the medicine is prescribed, if the patient requests it.  

Down Syndrome
SB-586
Barrington
Requiring health care entities that provide prenatal care, postnatal care or genetic counseling to provide parents with information with information related to Down Syndrome if they have received a test result indicating Down Syndrome.  The information would be prepared by the State Department of Health and reflect current medical knowledge.  It would be prepared in consultation with medical experts and Down Syndrome organizations and would include a wide range of information including information on resources and services.

Nursing homes
SB-587
Justice
Nursing facilities; permitting use of electronic recording devices in nursing facilities; requiring resident approval.

Assisted living
SB-592
Holt
Assisted living facilities; creating alternative dispute resolution panel for assisted living centers; providing membership.

TANF
SB-673
Standridge
Public assistance; denying TANF eligibility for persons convicted of a felony for drug possession, unless the person shows proof of completion of a drug treatment program. An applicant who has a felony conviction for drug trafficking would not be eligible for TANF under any conditions.  The bill also eliminated the increment in benefits for an additional child.

Cerebral palsy
SB-726
Holt
Renaming the Oklahoma Cerebral Palsy Commission as the J.D. McCarty Center Commission; removing obsolete references.

Cancer; health insurance
SB-765
Treat
Requiring certain health insurance coverage for cancer treatment.

Nursing homes
SB-852
Treat
Nursing home administrators; prohibiting certain requirements related to licensing and certification.

Poor persons; food assistance
SB-887
Holt
Clarifying that it is illegal for an individual who is eligible and receiving food stamp benefits to transfer his/her food stamp card to any other person and that it is illegal for any unauthorized person to possess or use a food stamp card or coupon that is not his/hers.  Penalties are increased for violation of these provisions.  (Note:  Impact on persons with disabilities who cannot physically go out to the store is uncertain under this measure.).   

Transportation
SB-960
Crain
Recreating the Eastern Flyer Rail Development Task Force.

Service dogs
SB-997
Schulz
Authorizing licensed trainers of guide, signal or service dogs and the dogs being trained to travel on passenger carriers (planes, trains, buses, etc.).

Employment
SB-1047
Shortey
Creating the Oklahoma Work Program to provide for employer conducted job training for individuals who are drawing unemployment benefits or who have recently ended UI benefits. Employers could volunteer to provide job training, which would be unpaid for the trainee except for a stipend to be paid when training is completed.  UI benefits would continue while the person is in training but would end if the employer hired the trainee.

Developmental disabilities; DHS
SJR-32
Treat
Department of Human Services; directing use of savings from closure of NORCE and SORC.

Prescription drugs
HB-1275
Kern
Dealing with prescription drug labeling.  Requiring the symptom or purpose for which a medicine is prescribed to appear on the prescription label if that information is provided by the medical practitioner or his/her representative.  The bill requires the medical practitioner to provide this information unless the patient requests otherwise.

Vehicle accessibility
HB-1321
Enns
Making it illegal for any new vehicle dealer.to sell any truck, SUV or van after 2014 unless the dealer agrees to install, at the buyer’s expense, a handle above the driver side door to facilitate vehicle access for drivers with disabilities.

Workers compensation
HB-1362
Hulbert
Creating an administrative workers compensation system.  This bill establishes the Division of Workers Compensation within the State Insurance Department, to be directed by a Commissioner of Workers Compensation.  This Division would replace the Workers Compensation Court.  The Division would issue rules related to the Workers Compensation Code, investigate complaints, promote alternative dispute resolution methods for resolving claims, facilitate prompt health care and services for injured workers, and facilitate services that result in the injured worker’s return to work.  Also established is an Office of Injured Workers’ Counsel to represent injured workers.

ID procedures; access to proof of identity and citizenship documents
HB-1491
Ritze
Requiring the health Department to allow people to request birth certificates through a website and requiring the agency to put clear notice on its website of the method for requesting such certificates,

Medicaid; human services; administrative rules
HB-1549
McCullough
Creating the Medicaid and Human Services Accountability and Prevention of Federal Overreach Act.  Requiring affirmative legislative approval of any administrative rules of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority and the Department of Human Services.

Disabled parking
HB-1555
Wesselhoft
Directing municipal courts to remit a percentage of each disability parking violation fine to the Department of Public Safety.

Firearms; public safety; public transportation
HB-1558
Wesselhoft; Loveless
Under current law, anyone found boarding a bus with a firearm, concealed or otherwise, would be guilty of a felony. House Bill 1558 would allow licensed gun owners to board a bus with their firearm without fear of reprimand.

Office of Disability Concerns
HB-1560
Wesselhoft
Designating the Steve Stokes Memorial Highway.

Advance directives
HB-1589
Hamilton
Adding certain acknowledgment to advance directive form.

Tax return checkoff; cochlear implants
HB-1612
McPeak
Providing income tax checkoff for Hearts for Hearing.

Social services
HB-1628
Ortega
Creating the Oklahoma Social Programs Act.

Transportation funding
HB-1657
Morrissette
Authorizing the Department of Transportation to enter into public-private partnerships with private entities to fund construction of transportation facilities including public transportation facilities.  Such project would be exempt from competitive bidding requirements.  

Prescription drugs
HB-1672
Blackwell
Insurance; creating the Continuity of Care Act of 2013.  This bill requires certain types of health insurance plans to provide consumers with information on any drug formularies they use and any changes they may make in prescription drug coverage.  It provides for appeal of adverse decisions about prescription drug coverage.

Orthotics and prosthetics
HB-1690
Blackwell
Sunset; Advisory Committee on Orthotics and Prosthetics; re-creating Committee; modifying termination date.

Workers compensation
HB-1754
Moore
Requiring drug and alcohol testing during initial treatment received by injured workers through workers compensation.

Voting; absentee voting
HB-1891
Cockroft
Requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote; providing for verification of signature and production of certain identification for absentee ballots.   Proof of citizenship would have to be provided when registering to vote in person.  If registering by mail the person would have to send a photocopy of acceptable proof of citizenship.  Acceptable documents to prove U.S. citizenship would be   a state driver license or official state ID, firth certificate, passport, naturalization documents, BIA or tribe enrollment card, Consular Report verifying birth abroad, official military record, and certain hospital records. County election boards would have to verify that the signature of a person requesting an absentee ballot by mail is the same as the signature they have on file from the initial voter registration application.  If the signature does not seem to match the election board could provide a provisional ballot, not to be counted without signature verification.  Absentee ballot requests would also require the voter to provide driver license or ID card number or photocopy.  No provision is made in this section for an individual who cannot write by hand due to a disability.

Human services
HB-1909
Shannon
Poor persons.  Requiring certain individuals to be engaged in work activities to be eligible for food stamp benefits.

Unemployment insurance
HB-1911
Shannon
Amending Employment Security law.  Providing a person will not be eligible for unemployment benefits until he has been working in Oklahoma for at least 3 months.   Requiring a person to sign an affidavit when filing an initial claim for UI indicating that he/she does not meet any of the criteria that would create ineligibility for UI benefits.  Individuals discharged for misconduct would have the burden to prove that they did not engage in misconduct.  “Misconduct” is defined and includes unsuitability for the work.  “Unsuitability” can mean the person does not meet the employer’s expectations for performance of the work. If an employer provides evidence of offering suitable work to a UI claimant who refused the job, the claimant’s UI benefits will be discontinued.

Nonprofit organizations
HB-1996
Grau
Corporations; creating Revised Uniform Unincorporated Nonprofit Association Act.

Poor persons; food assistance
HB-2014
Roberts
This bill directs the Governor to tell the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that Oklahoma chooses not to opt out of the federal law that allows states to deny food assistance to persons convicted of a state or federal felony involving use of illegal drugs.  The bill would also deny food assistance to anyone who maintains over $2,000 in a bank account.

Human services
HB-2053
Jackson
Creating the Department of Human Services Act of 2013.  Shell.

Workers compensation
HB-2054
Jackson
Amending the provision of law that makes an injury not compensable by workers compensation if it is caused in major part by the worker’s use of alcohol or illegal drugs.  The injury would not be compensable if the worker tests positive for alcohol or drug use following the injury or refuses to submit to a drug/alcohol test.

Voting; proof of identity
HB-2116
Roberts
Eliminating acceptance of the voter identification card as proof of identity required when voting.

Lupus
HB-2171
Echols
Revenue and taxation; Truth-In Lupus Foundation State Tax Incentive Act of 2013.  Shell.

Unemployment benefits
HB-2178
Echols
Modifying conditions for drawing unemployment benefits and providing for benefits to cease immediately under certain condition.  Under this measure, a person would have to have been working in Oklahoma for at least 3 months in order to be able to draw unemployment benefits.  If an employer can show that he has offered a suitable job to a claimant and the individual has rejected the offer, UI benefits for the individual would immediately cease.

Transportation; rail
HB-2180
Joyner
Creating the Oklahoma Railways Commission. The Commission would be empowered and directed to encourage, foster, and assist in the development of rail transportation in this state and to encourage the establishment of railways and public rail transportation facilities.

Assisted living
HB-2190
Schwartz
Permitting assisted living center to participate in informal dispute resolution panel.

Prescription drugs
HB-2271
Nollan
Requiring medical practitioners to check the central Anti-Drug Diversion registry to determine a patient’s history related to controlled drugs before prescribing medications for the person.  The registry would have to be checked before initially prescribing a medication and annually while prescribing medicine for the person.  Exceptions are made for emergency situations, nursing homes and surgical and obstetric facilities.  Registrants (medical practitioners) may be liable under this bill for any damages claimed as a result of either accessing or failing to access the central registry.

Employment; career internships
HB-2289
Pittman
Creating the Oklahoma Career Internship Program Act.  This bill creates a career internship program for students in high school, post-secondary education and individuals who are less than 24 months separated from school.  The State Department of Education is designated to take the lead in developing the program and coordinating resources.  SDE would involve the Governor’s Workforce Council and other agencies that have workforce and training funds.  No new funding is identified in the bill but it authorizes the use of both existing and new funds that may become available.  The internships would provide training and real work experiences intended to build appropriate work skills, attitudes and likelihood of future employment.

Tax bills that may impact consumers and clients:

Income tax; deduction for students
SB-94
Sparks
Providing an income deduction of 100% of the income earned in a tax year by a full-time college or vo-tech student who is in school at least 8 months of the year and who has an income of $35,000 or less if single and $70,000 or less if filing as a couple.

Income tax
SB-240
Anderson
Setting a flat income tax rate of 2.95% for all individual taxpayers, regardless of income.  A number of tax credits and deductions would be disallowed.  Eliminates the $1,000 income tax exemption for blindness, the exemption for low-income persons age 65 and over, and the deduction for taxpayers with physical disabilities for making a workplace, home or vehicle accessible.  Deductions for a portion of retirement income and for federal income taxes paid would be eliminated.  The exemption of Social Security benefits included in the person’s federal adjusted gross income would also be eliminated. Contributions to medical savings accounts would no longer be deductible. Many other adjustments currently used to arrive at a person’s adjusted gross income would be eliminated.

Income tax
SB-471
Holt
Phases in a reduction in the top personal income tax rate over several years starting in 2014.

Income tax
SB-585
Mazzei
Modifying income tax rates during specified time periods; limiting ability to claim certain tax preferences.  Starting in the 2015 tax year the top level individual and joint top income tax rate would be lowered to 4.75%.  In 2015 certain tax exemptions and deductions would phase out for some people.  After that date, individuals could not claim the personal exemption if they were claiming four or more other exemptions, or if the person’s income exceeds $35,000 ($70,000 for couples).  In the introduced bill, the exemptions for blindness and low-income elderly appear to remain.  The deduction for a person with a physical disability for making a work place, home or vehicle accessible remains.  For taxpayers who itemize, a reduction in the amount that can be deducted would be put in place starting in 2015 for individuals making over $100,000 and couples making over $200,000.

Income tax
SB-873
Jolley
Lowering the top marginal income tax rate for individuals and couples to 4.95% beginning in 2014.

Income tax
HB-1101
Sears
Reducing the top marginal income tax rate incrementally based on a state revenue trigger.

Income tax; retirement benefits
HB-1124
Rousselot
Exempting a person’s civil service or state retirement benefits from calculation of adjusted gross income for income tax purposes.  For future years, exempting 100% of retirement benefits received by a low-income person age 65 or over from calculation of adjusted gross income.

Income tax; health insurance
HB-1315
Enns
Providing a state income tax deduction for health insurance premiums up to $4,000 for an individual and up to $6,000 for a couple filing jointly.  This would only apply to premiums paid by the taxpayer herself.

Sales tax; hearing aids
HB-1367
Dank
Creating a sales tax exemption for hearing aids.

Tax credits
HB-1369
Dank
Requiring tax credit measures to allow identification of recipients; requiring credits generate jobs, terminate by a date certain and be pre-approved; requiring audits and cost/benefit analysis; banning passage in last week of session.

Income tax deductions; students
HB-1432
Turner
Oklahoma Quality Workers Act of 2013.  This bill creates an income tax deduction for any income received by a full-time student in a program leading to a high school diploma, a degree, other certificate or occupational license.  The income tax deduction for income would continue for seven years after the person has received a diploma, degree or other occupational credential, with the amount of the deduction reduced toward the end of the seven years.  

Income tax deductions; health care
HB-1918
Shannon
Allowing a business to take an income tax deduction for any amount paid as a penalty or fine to the federal government imposed pursuant to the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, when the fine is a result of a business judgment decision made by a for-profit business not to offer or to delay the offer of an employee health care insurance product which provides contraceptives, sterilization or related services to the employees of the business.

Tax reform
HB-2137
Hickman
Creating the Task Force on Comprehensive Tax Reform for Oklahomans.  The purpose of the task force is to study and develop a comprehensive plan to accomplish thoughtful reform in the Oklahoma tax system focused on revenue-neutral combinations of tax elimination and offsetting credit, exemption or deduction elimination.  The task force examination shall include current and potential tax types as well as applicable credits, exemption and deductions.  A report is due by December 31, 2014.

Bills that impact disability prevention and public health:

Public health; disability prevention; firearms
SB-173
Griffin
Firearms and business owners rights; making certain decisions about the lack of prohibition of carrying certain weapons immune from certain liability.  Stating that any person, business or other entity that does not choose to prohibit the carrying of firearms on its premises will be immune from any liability resulting from that decision (i.e. the business or individual will not be liable for any death, injury or other harm resulting from gun use on his premises).  

Disability prevention; texting while driving
SB-400
Paddack
Making it unlawful to text while driving.

Disability prevention; texting while driving
SB-442
Sharp
Prohibiting texting while driving except in emergency situations for communicating with law enforcement or medical facilities.

HIV testing of prisoners
SB-539
Crain
Medical examination of arrested persons; requiring testing for HIV within a certain time period after arrest.

Firearms; public safety
SB-552
Dahm
Changing current law that allows a person to carry a rifle, shotgun or pistol open and unloaded in a vehicle.  Providing that anyone over 21, other than a convicted felon, may carry a loaded pistol in their vehicle for self-defense purposes without having to have a handgun license.  Also providing that a person can leave a concealed, loaded gun in a locked parked or unattended vehicle.

Firearms; public safety
SB-831
Shortey
Allowing any person age 21 or older, except a convicted felon, to carry a fun loaded or unloaded in a vehicle without having a handgun license.  A person without a handgun license could also leave a loaded or unloaded gun in a vehicle that is locked, whether attended or unattended.  A law officer could not inspect or confiscate a gun in a car without having probable cause that a crime has been committed.  The bill further provides that any person who is 18 or older can carry a rifle, shotgun or pistol in a car so long as it is open and visible.  The bill deletes a provision that allowed a law enforcement officer to fine a person transporting a gun without a license.

Testing while driving
SB-994
Crain
Adding use of cell phones and electronic communication devices while driving to the reasons why the Department of Public Safety may suspend or cancel a learner permit or intermediate Class D driver’s license. Making it illegal for any driver under age 18 to drive while using a cell phone or texting.

Disability prevention; texting while driving
HB-1055
Jeannie McDaniel
Prohibiting texting while driving except in emergency situations.

Disability prevention; reckless driving
HB-1057
Jeannie McDaniel
Deleting reckless driving without regard for the safety of others as a behavior that requires mandatory revocation of a person’s driver license. Other penalties related to speeding and reckless driving remain elsewhere in law (see 47 OS 11-801).

Disability prevention; texting while driving
HB-1097
Shoemake
Prohibiting texting while driving, using either a cell phone or other electronic communication device.

Public safety; injury prevention
HB-1105
Brown
Outlawing texting while driving in certain places, including school zones, construction areas and within 500 feet of an intersection.

Firearms
HB-1277
Vaughan
Allowing persons who have been convicted of illegal drug use, assault and battery causing physical harm, aggravated assault and battery and persons with multiple such convictions to be eligible for handgun licenses – providing that these conditions shall no longer be a reason to deny gun licenses to such persons.

Public safety; injury prevention
HB-1496
Ritze
Raising the speed limit on turnpikes to 80 miles per hour.

Disability prevention; texting while driving
HB-1503
Curtis McDaniel
Prohibiting texting while driving, unless by law enforcement or emergency response personnel in the line of duty.

Firearms; public safety
HB-1877
Walker
Authorizing the transport of open, loaded or unloaded pistols in vehicles.

Health care; public health
HB-1892
Cockroft
Requiring health care facilities to grant religious exemptions to employees who object to immunization against influenza.

Firearms; public safety
HB-2220
Newell
Authorizing the transport of open, loaded or unloaded pistols in vehicles.

Bills that affect mental health services:

Mental health
SB-271
Brecheen
Creating the Protection Against Sexual Exploitation By a Mental Health Services Provider Act.

Mental health
SB-369
Ivester
Modifying provisions related to inspection of mental health records of individuals ordered to receive mental health evaluation or treatment.  Allowing the individual’s treatment advocate to view such records.

Mental health; law enforcement
SB-480
Griffin
Modifying duties and responsibilities of sheriffs and peace officers regarding transportation of individuals to mental health evaluation, treatment or protective custody.  Deleting responsibility to transport individuals for inpatient services or individuals who voluntarily commit themselves for treatment. City or county law enforcement entities could enter into agreements with the Department of Mental Health for providing other transportation related to mental health care.  Law enforcement responsibility for individuals after they have been transported to mental health facilities is deleted.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
SB-527
Crain
Establishing a pilot programs relating to PTSD; providing for workshops and funding.

Mental health
SB-581
Ivester
This bill amends the section of law dealing with procedures for obtaining mental health evaluation and treatment for persons who may require mental health intervention. The changes affect who can file a petition asking a court to order treatment, and who must receive notice of the court hearing and any decision rendered.  Notice of such proceedings is to be provided to the individual’s treatment advocate, in addition to others.

Counselors
SB-680
David
This bill transfers licensure of Licensed Professional Counselors, Marital and Family therapists and Licensed Behavioral Practitioners from the Department of Health to the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. It also creates the Professional Counselors Advisory Committee.

Counselors; mental health
SB-702
David
Designating licensed alcohol and drug counselors as licensed mental health professionals.

Counselors; mental health
SB-725
David
Designating licensed drug and alcohol counselors as licensed mental health professionals.

Mental health
SB-755
Ivester
Treatment advocates; authorizing access to certain information by treatment advocates.

Public safety; substance abuse treatment
HB-1069
Denney
Substance abuse treatment; modifying manner in which certain courses and treatment programs may be paid.  Deleting the requirement that substance abuse treatment programs taken by persons convicted of DUI be paid for by the individual and specifying that payment may be by the person or a third party, but not the state.  Making certain substance abuse programs offered by the Department of Corrections acceptable for meeting certain court required substance abuse programs.

Mental health
HB-1109
Coody
This bill provides that, in determining whether a person should be committed for mental health treatment, a court can designate a panel of three mental health professionals to evaluate the person and recommend whether treatment is required and what treatment is appropriate.

Mental health; firearms; public safety
HB-1311
Enns
Deleting the section of Oklahoma law that prohibits handgun licensing of persons who are adjudicated as incompetent under the state’s Mental Health Law.  Modifying current law that prohibits a person with evidence of mental instability from being licensed to carry a gun, to require that such evidence has been diagnosed by a physician and includes the determination that the person is a danger to himself or others or is incapable of managing his own affairs.  With regard to the existing gun license preclusion for persons undergoing mental health treatment, the bill deletes persons being treated for PTSD from this definition.  The current permanent preclusion for persons who have been involuntarily committee for mental health treatment is removed.

Substance abuse treatment
HB-1655
Hulbert
New law providing that the State Board of Health shall promulgate rules and standards to license private facilities and organizations which provide treatment, counseling, recovery and rehabilitation services directed toward alcohol- and drug-dependent persons.

Firearms; mental health
HB-2139
Hickman
This bill provides that courts shall forward mental health commitment or adjudication orders to the FBI for inclusion in the national Instant Background Check database.  The bill also provides a person can petition the court for removal of any such records from the background check database.  If the petition is granted and the commitment record removed from the background check system, the individual would be eligible to own firearms based on the laws of the state.

Firearms; mental health
HB-2280
Pittman
Firearms; directing court clerks to forward commitment orders to certain entities.  New law providing that when a court orders a commitment for inpatient or outpatient mental health treatment or makes a finding or adjudication under the laws of this state regarding the mental health status of a person, the court shall forward a certified copy of the commitment order, finding or adjudication to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for inclusion in the National Instant Criminal Background Check system database.