Rehabilitation and Disability Issues
February 6, 2014
2014 Legislative Session Underway
On February 3 Governor Mary Fallin addressed both houses of the State Legislature with recommendations for action in the coming session. Faced with an estimated $170 million less to spend on state government in State Fiscal Year 2015 than this year, Fallin called for a 5% funding cut for most state agencies, including DRS. Modest increases were proposed for the Department of Human Services, Education, public safety and mental health.
The Governor also noted that a recent state employee compensation study showed Oklahoma state employees are about equal with surrounding states in total employee compensation, but Oklahoma benefits are high while pay is low. She said our state employee compensation system needs reform, aiming toward a better balance between pay and benefits. She also said the system should reward performance rather than length of service. In regard to pensions, the Governor expressed her support for moving to a defined contribution pension system for new state employees.
On health care, the Governor indicated she would continue to negotiate with federal authorities to preserve the Insure Oklahoma program, while reiterating her opposition to the Affordable Care Act. She also called for Medicaid reform and state action to promote healthy living and prevention efforts that could improve the health of Oklahoma citizens in the future.
Bills affecting rehabilitation, disability programs, rehabilitation clients and other Oklahomans with disabilities
Disability services and employment
State government funding; tax credits; injured workers
Placing a time limit on the tax credit employers can currently take for certain wages paid to injured workers and for the cost of modifications or new tools needed to accommodate the injured worker. The tax credit for wages is currently 10% of gross wages paid for 90 days, not to exceed $5,000 per individual. The credit for modifications and new tools is limited to no more than $1,000 per individual. Under this bill the credits would end January 1, 2017.
Vending facility program; State Capitol
Requiring OMES to do a study of the feasibility of having private food services vendors in the Capitol.
Repealing the Oklahoma Employee Injury Benefit Act, which is law enacted in 2013 that allows an employer to voluntarily choose to be exempted from the Oklahoma Administrative Workers Compensation Act if the employer meets certain requirements.
Providing that the Department of Human Services shall seek and must obtain approval of the Legislature prior to any consolidation, reorganization, reconfiguration, or any other modification of the eleven (11) area agencies on aging funded by the Department's Aging Services Division. (Note: Area agencies on aging provide many services that are needed by older adults with disabilities, as well as information on resources for individuals of all ages with disabilities.)
Creating the task force on the effect of Alzheimer’s disease in Oklahoma.
Creating the Unemployment Anti-Discrimination Act. Making it an illegal discriminatory practice for an employer or employment agency to discriminate against an individual because he or she is unemployed at the time of job application.
Prohibiting the use of credit reports in hiring decisions. Providing conditions under which an employer may use an employee’s credit report in decisions related to the individual’s employment.
Employment; unemployment insurance
Tightening up on what is considered employee misconduct making a worker ineligible for unemployment benefits.
Nursing homes; drug testing
Providing that any person who seeks employment in a nursing home will be required to undergo drug testing, and all nursing home employees will be subject to random drug testing. Requiring that all nursing homes adopt a policy on drug testing for applicants and employees, in accordance with the state’s Standards for Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Act.
Exempting from state sales tax the sale of hearing aids or other apparatus to aid hearing for persons age 62 or older when prescribed by an audiologist or hearing aid dealer.
Providing a sales tax exemption for hearing aids.
Blackwell and Treat
Extending until 2020 the Group Homes for Persons with Developmental or Physical Disabilities Advisory Board; re-creating Board.
Raising the Oklahoma minimum wage to $10 an hour or the current federal minimum wage if greater.
Creating the Oklahoma Vocational Trade Training and Certification Scholarship Program.
Providing for employment leave of absence for organ or tissue donation.
Several bills address the Governor’s Council on Workforce and Economic Development. Some are shell bills with no content as yet. These include SB-1638 and SB-1639 by Bingman, and HB-3036 and HB-3037 by Shannon.
Providing that the Oklahoma Department of Commerce shall serve as the lead state agency in establishing a workforce development strategy and plan for the state. Providing that Commerce shall assist the Governor in coordinating the activities of state agencies which have an impact on the solution of workforce development problems and the implementation of workforce development plans.
Workforce education; creating the Skills for Jobs Working Group to study the state's workforce needs
Disability Agencies and Employees
State disability agencies will be affected by state revenue available to fund programs and operations, changes related to state employees, Open Meeting and Open Records law changes, and new requirements for purchasing or other procedures.
Several bills introduced this year affect state revenue by limiting duration of tax credits, reducing the top rates of the personal state income tax, establishing new tax credits or exemptions, and changing the way state revenue is allocated. Other bills will establish legislative spending priorities. Since the Legislature expects to have $170 million less to spend in the next fiscal year which begins July 1, bills that set spending levels or tax revenue could all have an impact on existing state programs.
State disability agencies and staff
DRS; Disability Determination Division
Amending language which relates to the Department of Rehabilitation Services personnel. This is a shell bill which may be used to authorize additional unclassified positions needed in DDD.
State agencies and employees
Relates to data collection. Creates the Fourth Amendment Protection Act. Prohibits state and local agencies and employees from providing any assistance, participation or cooperation with any federal agency for the purpose of collecting electronic data related to any person unless a warrant with specifics is issued. Also stating that no state or local entity or employees shall comply with any federal law that requires electronic data collection without a warrant. No entity that cooperates with the federal government or acts in accordance with federal law to collect electronic data shall be eligible for any state funds, and if any state or local employee assists in such data collection, they would lose their job immediately.
Public safety; government offices; firearms
Modifies where handguns can be carried either concealed or unconcealed. Specifies that individuals cannot carry concealed or unconcealed handguns into federal government offices that have a security checkpoint for detection of weapons, but deletes the current prohibition against carrying guns into state, county or other government offices or buildings. Adds courthouses to those places where it is unlawful to carry handguns. Eliminates the fine for violation of the prohibition against carrying guns onto the federal properties specified in this section of law.
State employee pay
Providing for a minimum wage of $10/hr. for state employees.
State employee pay
Providing a $500 (annualized) pay increases for most state employees effective July 1, 2014.
State agencies; open meetings
Providing that any person denied entrance to a state agency open meeting may bring civil suit for declaratory or injunctive relief, and if successful, may be awarded attorney fees. If the agency prevails and the lawsuit is deemed frivolous, the agency may be awarded attorney fees.
State agencies and employees
Authorizing state agencies, at their discretion, to offer their employees an option to voluntarily elect to be paid one time annually, for a certain number of hours of unused accrued annual leave. OMES would be directed to appoint a committee to advise on the issuance of rules setting number of hours that could be eligible for this option.
State employees and teachers; pay increase
Providing a 2% salary increase for state employees, effective July 1, 2014. Also providing an increase in the teacher minimum salary schedule to become effective in the 2014-2015 school year.
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.
Authorizing state agencies to have employee suggestion programs.
Providing that whenever the state Attorney General believes that a person or business is being harmed by the Affordable Care Act or related federal law, he may bring suit in the name of the state to prevent the entity or person implementing the ACA or related law from continuing the action that is believed to be causing harm to the individual or business. Forbidding the state, any state agency or local government from applying for or receiving any funds under the ACA and forbidding them from participating in any way in implementation of the ACA. Making it illegal for the state or any political subdivision of the state to create a health insurance exchange or acquire health insurance through a health insurance exchange run by another organization.
Modifying benefits for state employees. With regard to provision of dependent coverage, allowing an employee’s flexible benefit allowance to include Health Savings Accounts.
State employee retirement system
Creating the Oklahoma Unified Pension Board, consolidating the pension systems for state workers including the Oklahoma Public Employee Retirement System.
State employee retirement
Creating the Pension Protection Act. Directing the Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System to establish a defined contribution pension plan effective November 1, 2015. All state employees who participate in OPERS and are hired after July 1, 2015 would automatically be placed in the defined contribution plan, except for hazardous duty employees. Employee contributions into the plan would be a minimum of 3% of salary, and employing agencies could match employee contributions of up to 7%.
State agencies; regulations
Urging Congress to adopt the Regulation Freedom Amendment to the US Constitution. The amendment states that whenever one quarter of the Members of the U.S. House or the U.S. Senate transmit to the President their written declaration of opposition to a proposed federal regulation, it shall require a majority vote of the House and Senate to adopt that regulation.
State agencies; employee compensation
Providing a 3% salary increase for state employees in classified and unclassified service, except that employees who have received a salary increase of 3% or more in the current state fiscal year are not eligible for the additional increase.
State agencies; open meetings
Permitting persons to being civil suit for violation of the Open Meetings Act. This would be in addition to existing penalties which make violation of Open Meetings law a misdemeanor and establish a fine.
State employee retirement
Amending the Oklahoma Pension Legislation Actuarial Analysis Act. This bill amends the existing law that restricts the introduction of state employee retirement bills with fiscal impact to odd-numbered years and any voting on such bills to even-numbered years. The amendment provides that a retirement bill with fiscal impact can be introduced and voted on in any year if a two-thirds majority of members of the committees of assignment vote to consider the bill.
State agencies; eligibility policies
Creating the Modernization of Eligibility Policies Act. As introduced, this bill has no content, but is worth watching due to the subject being addressed.
State agencies; pay increases
Prohibiting any state agency from giving any employee a pay increase of over 20% in any year.
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.
State employee retirement
Directing the Legislature to provide to each state public retirement system the amount of revenue, whether through employer contributions, dedicated revenue, appropriations or other means, needed to meet the actuarially required contribution (ARC) amount identified in the annual actuarial valuation prepared by the actuaries of each respective public retirement system. This would not have to occur in years when the funds needed to meet the ARC exceed 15% of the revenue certified to be available for expenditure from the General Revenue Fund. This bill has passed the House financial Services Committee.
State employee retirement
This act is named the Retirement Security and Freedom Act. It requires the Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System to establish a defined contribution retirement plan by July 1, 2015 for individuals who become employees with the state after that date.
Requires state agencies and political subdivisions to report annually on the aggregate value of funds and other receipts received in the previous year from the federal government. The report shall also indicate how the agency will manage a 5% and a 25% reduction in federal funds. The reports would then be considered by legislative committee which could recommend reducing or eliminating funding for the agency, doing nothing, or taking other action as preferred by the committee.
State agencies; federal funding
Prohibiting state agencies from applying for any federal grants, other than disaster funds, without the prior approval of the Legislature by concurrent resolution.
State agency policies; administrative procedures act
Requiring state agencies to issue family impact statements for every proposed rule.
State agencies; shared services
Providing that when a state agency is contracted with OMES to provide financial or other services, the agency may discontinue the contract with OMES if it can document to the OMES director that it can provide the same service at less cost.
Blackwell and Treat
Extending until 2020 the Electronic Information Accessibility Advisory Council.
State employee pay
State Employee Pay Act of 2014. Shell.
Creating the Merit Reform Act. Shell,
Requiring each state agency to develop a contingency plan and budget for up to a 25% reduction in federal funds.
Tax related bills
State government funding; income tax
State income tax. Reducing the top individual and married income tax rates down from 5.5% to 4.85% contingent on the Board of Equalization’s determination that expected state revenue will be sufficient to meet criteria the bill establishes for implementing the tax cut.
State funding; income tax
Lowers the state’s individual income tax rate to 4.75 percent on January 1, 2015, then to 4.50 percent on January 1, 2016, 4.25 percent on January 1, 2017, and finally, four percent on January 1, 2018. Same as HB-3291 by Osborn and Newell.
State funding; income tax
Reducing top marginal income tax rates.
State funding; tax credits; Affordable Care Act
Providing an income tax credit for 100% of any fine assessed a person under the Affordable Care Act.
State funding; income tax
Modifying top marginal income tax rates.
State funding; income tax credit
Providing an income tax credit for any fines paid by a person for failure to obtain insurance in compliance with the Affordable Care Act.
State funding; income tax
Lowering the top income tax rate. Adjusting apportionment of income tax revenue to accommodate repair of the State Capitol.
Students with disabilities
OSD, OSB and special education
Note: This year many bills were introduced dealing with education. Common topics include school testing, graduation requirements, standards and curriculum, reading instruction and requirements, school safety, and parent involvement. Education bills – particularly those dealing with testing and standards – are too numerous to list here, but an extended list can be requested from Jean Jones at email@example.com.
Dealing with school district professional development plans. Requiring that school professional development programs shall allow related services personnel in special education to be provided the opportunity to participate in training applicable to their field that will enable them to maintain professional licensure.
OSB and OSD
Providing that OSB and OSD shall have access to certain juvenile records for students enrolled at the schools.
Schools; OSB and OSD
The bill requires that beginning in the 2015-2016 school year, all public schools and all private schools that are accredited by the State Board of Education shall provide all students with instruction in CPR and use of an automated external defibrillator. Such instruction must occur at least once between grades seven and twelve. Students taking physical education would also receive instruction in the Heimlich maneuver.
School safety; firearms
Deleting permission for handguns to be carried in vehicles on school property.
Transition; training for employment
High school to work partnerships. Providing that the State Board of Career and Technology Education shall develop guidelines for high school to work partnerships between high schools and local businesses to help students enter apprenticeships, internships or job shadow programs. Technology centers would help high schools create these partnerships.
OSD; deaf students
Creating a task force to study the effectiveness of the School for the Deaf. The task force would have nine members, three each appointed by the Governor, Senate President Pro-Tempore and Speaker of the House. A report would be due to Governor and Legislature by December 14, 2014.
Schools; students with disabilities
Exempting students with individualized education programs from certain retention requirements under the Reading Sufficiency Act; modifying certain good-cause exemptions.
Students with disabilities
Exempting certain students from certain public school attendance requirement under the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program. Providing that a student who has been provided services under an Individual Family Service Plan through the SoonerStart program and during transition was evaluated and determined to be eligible for school district services shall be exempt from the eligibility requirement of having attended public school with an IEP in the year previous to application for the LNH scholarship. This change allows a young child to use a LNH scholarship when first becoming school age.
Extending the termination date for the Rethinking Special Education, Competency and Transition Task Force until May 31, 2015.
School testing reports
Providing that the annual school test result reports issued by the State Department of Education shall include student achievement results for all schools that directly or indirectly receive state funding. This includes charter or private schools that educate children with disabilities through the Lindsay Nicole Henry scholarship program that uses state funds for private school education of students with disabilities.
Modifying certain requirements for certification as a special education teacher.
Students with disabilities; school tests
Adding an option allowing certain students with an individualized education program to graduate with a standard diploma. Allowing a parent to request an exemption from end-of-instruction tests for a student on an IEP under certain conditions.
Providing an appeals process for students who have individualized education programs and who have been denied a standard diploma for failure to score well enough on end-of-instruction tests. The appeal would be to the district board of education w hose decision would be final and nonappealable.
School safety; handguns
Allowing handguns to be carried in school parking areas and specifying that when they are left in an unattended vehicle, the gun is to be concealed and the vehicle locked.
Increasing the teachers’ minimum salary schedule.
Schools; students with dyslexia
Requiring certain screening and training for students with dyslexia; requiring certain teacher training in teaching methods for students with dyslexia
Providing that all students must take the end-of-instruction tests but do not have to obtain a proficient score in order to graduate from high school, Students who do not obtain a proficient score on any EOI test will receive remediation and intervention and will have the opportunity to take an alternative test.
Schools; state funding for private school options
Creating the Oklahoma School Savings Account. The Act would use state education funds to establish individual Educational Savings Accounts for children of low income families or students who are currently or have in the past used the Lindsey Nicole Scholarship program for students with disabilities. The individual accounts would be used to enroll students in private or virtual schools, or to cover home school costs. The bill sets forth eligible expenses and costs that cannot be covered using the savings account.
Modifying provisions under the Educational Interpreters for the Deaf Act.
Special education teacher pay.
Developmental disabilities; state facilities
Directing the Department of Human Services to sell the northern Oklahoma Resource Center and the Southern Oklahoma Resource Center to the municipalities in which they are located, each for the sum of $100,000.
Developmental disabilities; NORCE and SORC
Requiring DHS to enter into a contract with a private vendor for operation and provisions of services at state resource centers for individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities – NORCE and SORC.
Requiring direct care staff DDSD programs to be provided with certain training.
Directing that wherever the terms “mentally retarded” or “mental retardation” appear in Oklahoma law or contracts, such term shall be deemed to mean “individual with an intellectual disability.”
A resolution stating that the U.S. Supreme Court in Olmstead found that individuals with developmental disabilities have a legal right to live in institutions if such placement is appropriate, and directing the Department of Human Services to provide the option of institutional care to individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
Department of Human Services; creating the Developmental Disabilities Services Division Act; effective date. Shell.
Injury and disability prevention
Creates new section of law making texting while driving unlawful and authorizing municipalities to enact ordinances to implement the law. The law shall not apply if the driver is using the cellular device to communicate with emergency personnel, a hospital, ambulance services, law enforcement or firefighters.
Motor vehicle passengers. Eliminates a current exception in law that allows passengers to ride in the back of pick-up trucks on the roads. The effect would be to prohibit individuals riding in pick-up beds unless properly secured.
Disability prevention; texting while driving
Prohibits texting while driving. Provides exceptions for law enforcement, medical or other emergencies, public and for-hire transportation dispatch communications, and selecting phone numbers for making telephone calls.
Injury prevention; traffic safety
Prohibiting the use of cell phones or electronic communication devices while driving in school zones. Exceptions are made for emergency situations.
Injury prevention; texting while driving
Outlawing texting while driving except in emergency situations.
Disability prevention; vehicle passenger safety
This bill addresses vehicle passenger safety. Current law requires passengers to ride inside the vehicle passenger compartment but provides an exception for riding in the bed of a pick-up. This bill would amend that law to permit riding in a pick-up bed on public streets only if the person uses an approved passenger restraint system.
Disability prevention; seat belt law
Requiring use of seat belts by all passengers in vehicles, not front seat only.
Disability prevention; texting while driving
Prohibiting texting while driving any vehicle, with exceptions.
Disability prevention; texting while driving
Prohibiting texting while driving.
Requiring pain management clinics to obtain special registration from the State Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control. Certain facilities are exempt, such as medical and dental school clinics and medical facilities operated by the state. Before prescribing certain pain medicines, doctors at pain management clinics would be required to check the medication profile of the patient.
Adding to the persons and entities which a health benefit plan must credential prior to providing coverage for the services provided by such individual or entity. The bill would include a requirement that health benefit plans credential mental health providers and agencies, as well as other health care agencies. Under current law, such credentialing entails obtaining documentation of the qualifications of a health provider.
Directing the Health Care Authority to develop and implement a managed care model for Oklahoma Medicaid, to be completed by January 1, 2016.
Health care professionals
Requiring applicants for licensure or renewal of license in health care professions to show evidence of completion of a course in cultural competency related to health care provision, as provided by their respective licensing boards.
Creating the Hepatitis C Adult Screening Act. Providing that persons born between 1945 and 1965 who are receiving inpatient or outpatient treatment in a hospital or primary care services shall be offered a screening or diagnostic test for Hepatitis C and referred to treatment if testing positive for the disease. Data on the number of persons screened, tested and receiving treatment would be reported to the Governor and Legislature.
In-home caregivers; hospitals
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.
Rural emergency medical care
Establishing the Rural Emergency Medical Service Survival Program. The purpose of the program is to ensure access of emergency medical care to rural and medically under-served areas of this state by funding assessment, logistics, operations, managerial and capital support to local areas. The Program would be administered by the State Department of Health and funded annually based on need, but in no case would the annual allocation be less than $10 million.
Veterans; traumatic brain injury
Creating the Oklahoma Veterans Recovery Plan Act of 2014. Making arrangements for veterans with traumatic brain injuries to receive treatment using hyperbaric chambers at approved medical facilities. A separate bill establishes a revolving fund for the program.
Medical treatment information
Requiring the State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision to publish a brochure explaining the obligations and rights of health care providers under certain laws including laws that deal with expending hydration and nutrition to patients who may be terminally ill and unable to make such decisions themselves, the state’s nondiscrimination in treatment law, advance directive provisions and related laws.
Removing the restriction requiring physician referral for physical therapy treatment, and allowing individuals to self-refer.
Creating Organ Donor Education and Awareness Advisory Council.
Providing that a doctor’s failure to comply with or breach of any federal law, regulation or guideline shall not be admissible in determining negligence in any medical liability case.
Health care; charity care
Establishing provisions related to non-profit hospitals and their provision of charity care or government-reimbursed indigent care.
Creating the Lupus Awareness Revolving Fund in the State Department of Health.
Requiring the State Health Department to issue rules related the End Stage Renal Disease dialysis facilities. The rules would provide for standards and licensure of such facilities.
Providing that no person in this state shall be subject to use of electroconvulsive therapy against his or her will.
Creating the Medicaid Sustainability and Cost Containment Act. This bill requires the Department of Health to issue rules that establish 0.95% Medicaid-to-Medicare provider rates, require prior authorization for all controlled substances, require prior authorization for all nongeneric drugs, decrease to five per month the number of prescriptions covered for Medicaid recipients over the age of 18 except for nursing home residents who could receive up to 8 prescriptions monthly, limit payment for emergency room visits to 6 visits per year, and require a study to determine potential cost savings of requiring competitive bidding for durable medical equipment and diabetic supplies.
Prohibiting a licensed medical assistant from providing medication to a nursing home resident unless a licensed registered nurse is physically present when the medicine is provided.
Creating the Oklahoma Increased Access to Healthcare through Telemedicine Act of 2014.
Health care information
Creating the Oklahoma Health Care Cost Reduction and Transparency Act of 2014; requiring State Department of Health to make available hospital pricing information on its website.
Creating the Health Insurance Marketplace Innovation Act of 2014. Prohibiting any person from functioning as a health insurance exchange navigator unless the person is licensed by the State Insurance Department.
Prohibiting the state from aiding in enforcement of the Affordable Care Act; prohibiting the state from establishing a health care exchange.
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.
Home health care
Requiring home health agencies to adopt drug-testing policies. Requiring anyone who applies for work as a home health aide to undergo drug testing.
Converting Oklahoma Medicaid to a managed care model and authorizing the Health Care Authority to contract with managed care plans for provision of health services for Medicaid recipients.
Requiring that at the time of enrollment in Medicaid, a person must make a designation of a primary care physician, a pharmacy and a hospital in which to receive services.
Creating the Health Care Price Disclosure Act. Providing that a health care professional shall make available to the public on request in a single document the direct-pay price for at least his/her twenty-five most commonly provided services. Health care facilities would have to supply a price list for the fifty most cost common diagnosis-related groups of services.
Health Insurance High Risk Pool
Repealing the Oklahoma High Risk Health Insurance Pool Act.
Health care information
Requiring navigators who provide ACA information to consumers to be licensed by the Oklahoma Insurance Department.
Establishing a managed care program for Medicaid and requiring submission of a waiver request to implement the managed care system.
Establishing the Oklahoma health benefit exchange; requiring State Department of Health to promulgate certain rules.
Creating the Kidney Health Revolving Fund. Shell.
Prescription drug offenses
Providing for conditions when a law enforcement officer may not take into custody a person on the basis of a prescription drug offense. These conditions would include when a person is requesting emergency medical assistance for self or another person due to a suspected prescription drug overdose, so long as the person provides identification and cooperates with emergency medical personnel and law enforcement.
Public health; crimes and punishments
Making it a felony for any person to know they have HIV, HPV, or hepatitis C and knowingly or recklessly transmit the disease to another person. This action would be punishable by not more than five years in prison or less than two years in prison.
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.
Firearms and mental disabilities
Providing a procedure for notifying the State Bureau of Investigation and the National Criminal Background Check of an individual’s commitment or adjudication related to a mental disability. Providing that the OSBI will destroy such record of a person who is not licensed to carry a handgun.
Requiring Department of Public Safety to develop statewide alert system for missing persons with mental illness.
Modifying law relating to law enforcement officials transporting individuals needing mental health intervention or treatment. Permitting law enforcement officials to provide such transportation but not requiring it.
Making law enforcement transport of certain mentally ill persons permissive but not mandatory.
Public transportation; passenger safety; firearms
Relates to the Bus Passenger Safety Act; modifies definitions and updates language. Allows persons who have a license to carry open or concealed handguns to carry such firearms on public buses. Makes it illegal to fire such weapons unless the person is acting in self-defense or defending others or is a law enforcement officer. Changes the definition of dangerous weapons to exclude handguns, so that the prohibition against carrying dangerous weapons onto buses does not apply to handguns.
Requiring the Department of Transportation to maintain and repair municipal sidewalks that it has originally constructed.
Amending state law related to ridesharing. Shell as introduced.
Transportation and economic development districts
Mending existing law that provides for establishment of regional transportation and economic development districts. Defines “regional district” and provides these districts may be comprised of a combination of cities, towns and counties or portions thereof.
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.
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.
Facilitating public-private partnerships with the Department of Transportation. Providing criteria for projects that may be considered.
Rehabilitation services: higher education
College and tech center campus safety
Providing that any college, university or technology center may establish a firearm carrying policy for the general public as opposed to giving individual written permission for a licensed gun owner to carry a firearm on school property. Eliminating the provision for colleges or technology centers to report any violations of this section of law and eliminating penalties for violations.
Higher education campus safety; firearms on postsecondary school property
Making colleges, universities and technical schools immune from liability for any adverse consequences that result from any policy they have adopted or individual they have approved to carry firearms on the school property. Also deleting the current provision allowing such schools to report violations of law prohibiting or limiting the carrying of firearms on campuses, and deleting penalties that can now be assessed for such violations.
State government funding; income tax; college students
Providing an income tax deduction of 100% of the income of a person who during the tax year was enrolled for at least 8 months in a state college or university or an accredited private institution of higher education in the state, or in a program at a state CareerTech center, if the individual’s income is $35,000 or less or if married and filing jointly, $70,000 or less.
Higher education; student aid
Creating the Oklahoma Career Promise Act. Requiring the Department of Commerce to annually publish a list of industry occupations that meet certain criteria for generating wealth, growth potential and competitive advantage. The State Regents for Higher Education would then identify associate degree programs in the Oklahoma system of higher education that meet the skills needs of the identified industry occupations. Such degree programs would need to meet criteria for federal aid and include a certain number of hours or credit hours. The Promise program would pay for resident student fees for students who are OHLAP eligible and who pursue an associate’s degree in one of the Career Promise programs.
Authorizing the State Regents for Higher Education to consider a pilot program in which a student could attend college without paying tuition or fees if he/she signs a binding contract to pay back a percentage of gross income for a certain number of years after graduating or leaving college.
Creating the Oklahoma Student Loan Public University Competition Act. Authorizing state colleges and universities to establish programs in which a student may attend full time for a bachelor’s degree without paying tuition and fees, if the student signs a binding contract agreeing to pay a portion of his/her income following graduation, for a determined number of years.
Higher education student aid
Limiting OHLAP payment for courses dropped by a student.
Higher education tuition
Prohibiting state college and university tuition increases before 2019 and requiring Legislative approval of subsequent tuition increases recommended by the State Regents.
Higher education; student safety; firearm policies
Providing that in lieu of providing individual consent for the carrying of handguns on campus, a college or technical school may choose to establish a campus-wide policy allowing the general public to carry firearms on the property. When a campus-wide policy is in effect, individuals would not be required to carry letters indicating they have individual permission to carry handguns on campus.
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.
Social services, utilities, and resources for low-income citizens
Allowing municipal water, sewer and trash utilities to deny service to new customer applicants who are determined to have outstanding delinquent utility bills from other utility services.
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.
Authorizes withholding of TANF benefits if a child is truant. Allows TANF payments to be reinstated if the problem is corrected.
Public utility rates
Stating that the Corporation Commission has a responsibility to ensure the lowest reasonable consumer utility rates.
The Title 56 Poor Persons Repealer Act. (Note: Title 56 of the Oklahoma Statutes is named “Poor Persons” and contains law on TANF, food stamps, Medicaid and other forms of public assistance. Since HB-3114 is a shell bill as introduced, it is not yet known whether the bill will be used to make significant changes to assistance programs or whether repealed sections will be minor or updating in nature. Another shell bill by Roberts, HB-3124, is called the Department of Human Services Reform Act.)
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families; directing DHS to maintain minimum work participation rate.
Prohibiting Department of Human Services from requesting a federal TANF work requirement waiver.
TANF drug testing
Requiring waiver of chemical drug test by DHS if a TANF applicant is undergoing medical treatment for cancer.
To read a bill or check its status, go to www.oksenate.gov or www.okhouse.gov. At the “Find Legislation” bar, enter the bill number and Search.
For more information, contact
Jean Jones, Legislative Information, firstname.lastname@example.org