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Status Report, March 9, 2011

Oklahoma Bills with Disability Impact


Health insurance; hospital-caused conditions



Beginning January 1, 2012, prohibiting State employee insurance and the Health Care Authority (Medicaid) from reimbursing hospitals for any conditions that could be the fault of the hospital.  This would prohibit these health insurance programs from covering members for certain infections, blood clots, surgical mistakes and other conditions occurring in a hospital.  Dormant.


Health insurance



New law requiring health insurance to cover any service deemed to be medically necessary, with the exception of abortion.  Dormant.


Health insurance; right to renew coverage



Prohibiting health insurance plans from denying renewal of a person’s health policy for any reason other than the person’s failure to pay premiums or provision of misinformation on the application.  Prohibiting insurance plans from saying that conditions for which an insured was treated prior to a plan renewal were preexisting conditions not eligible for coverage when the health plan is renewed.  Dormant.


Health care for the uninsured



Health care; creating pilot program for a comprehensive health program for the uninsured.  Dormant.


College tuition; defining resident students


Sykes; Christian

This bill requires the State Regents to issue rules allowing in-state college tuition rates for non-resident students who have a grandparent living in Oklahoma who is both a U.S. citizen and an Oklahoma resident and who has filed an Oklahoma income tax return for the previous 10 years.  The student would also have to be a U.S. citizen.  Passed Senate Appropriations Committee.


Health insurance


Brown; Ritze

Creating the Health Care Choice Act.  The bill would allow health and accident insurance companies in other states to sell insurance in Oklahoma.  The bill’s purpose is to give Oklahoma individuals and employers a chance to purchase less costly and more flexible insurance plans.  The State Insurance Commission would be given authority to negotiate compacts with out of-state insurers.  The compacts would spell out any requirements the Insurance Commission decides to impose related to the insurer’s conduct and financial solvency.  The compacts would be subject to disapproval of both houses of the Legislature.  The Legislature would need to review a compact before it becomes effective.  Without Legislative disapproval, a compact would become effective.  Out-of-state insurers would not be required to provide health services mandated by Oklahoma law.  Passed the Senate.


Head injuries; student athletes; schools



Head injuries in youth athletes; permitting a religious exemption for the required medical examination after a suspected head injury. Athletes refusing a medical examination on religious grounds would have to sit out of practice and games for two weeks following the injury. Dormant.


Mental health facilities



Amending current law that permits the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services to administer certain mental health facilities to require that DMHSAS maintain these listed facilities (changing “may” to “shall”).  This would have the effect of requiring legislative action for the closure of certain facilities.  Dormant.


College tuition; tax credits



Income tax; creating Oklahoma College Degree Encouragement Act; providing tax credits for certain payments and commitments for payment; creating Oklahoma College Degree Encouragement Act Endowment Fund.  Dormant.


Rural health care; tax exemption for primary care providers



Income tax; providing exemption for income earned by physicians and osteopaths.  Providing a temporary exemption from taxable income for physicians and osteopaths serving as primary care physicians in rural communities with populations of less than 20,000 and not located within large SMSAs.  Dormant.


DHS; benefit cards; recipient ID


Russell; Enns

Directing DHS to put the photographs of benefit recipients on their benefit cards.  Passed the Senate Appropriations Committee and awaiting Senate vote.


Medical research; stem cell research



Prohibiting medical research using any parts or cells from a human embryo or fetus.  Making it a felony to supply such cells or tissues or conduct medical research using such cells or parts.  Violation would be punishable by imprisonment from one year to life and a fine of at least $100,000.  (The bill would appear to outlaw stem cell research using embryonic stem cells.)  Dormant.





Creating the Bottle Recycling Act.  The bill applies to all beverages manufactured, distributed or retailed in Oklahoma.  It requires beverage containers to be recyclable and requires that the consumer pay a deposit on each beverage purchased.  It requires a retailer to pay out deposits on returned beverage containers of the same type sold in the business, whether or not they were actually purchased at the business.  Deposit amounts would vary but be at least five cents per container.  Dealers could refuse to pay out deposits if there is a container redemption center located nearby.  (Note:  The bill impacts space constraints, storage capacity, hygiene, cash flow and customer service in vending facilities under the Business Enterprise Program.)  Dormant.


Injury prevention; texting while driving



Prohibiting texting while driving.  Exceptions are provided for law enforcement, emergency vehicle drivers, persons summoning help and other situations and occupations.  The penalty for first violation is up to $175 and later violations can be fined up to $500 with increased fines when the violation is associated with an accident.  Passed Senate Public Safety Committee.


Students with disabilities; public schools



The bill expands existing law regarding bullying in schools to include cyber-bullying.  It also expands on the definition of bullying to include harassment based on many factors including physical, mental emotional and learning disabilities.  Dormant.


Alzheimer’s Disease:



Directing DJS to create an Alzheimer’s Disease Information and Referral System, to connect families with services and resources.  As introduced, no funding provisions are made.  Dormant.


Developmental disabilities:



Relating to Southern Oklahoma Resource Center.  Providing that the revolving fund containing funds from oil and gas leases on SORC land shall be used for capital improvements to SORC facilities.  Amended and voted from committee.


Developmental disabilities; personal care services:



Allowing for waiver of the legal provision forbidding Medicaid or DHS from employing community services workers with felony backgrounds, when the felony was drug or alcohol related and the individual has completed an approved treatment program.  Dormant.


State employee health insurance:



Modifying the definition of “dependent” for purpose of eligibility for coverage through state employee health insurance.  Under the bill, a dependent could include the employee’s spouse, any child under age 26, and a child of any age who is incapable of self-support due to a disability if the disability started before age 26.  Failed in Senate on 21 Yes to 19 No vote, held on motion to reconsider on 3-7.


Mental health:



This bill expands the group of former Department of Mental Health employees with whom the Department may contract at any time.  Current law specifies DMHSAS may contract at any time with physicians who have resigned or retired from the agency.  This bill adds nurses, mental health professionals and others in the mental health field.  (Note:  State law restricts most state agencies from contracting with former employees for a year after separation from the agency.)  Dormant.  Never heard in committee.


Disability prevention:



Stating it is the intent of the Legislature to remove barriers to cooperation between schools and communities to promote shared use of exercise facilities so area residents have exercise opportunities close to home.  The bill creates the Task Force on Healthier Neighborhood Living to last until November 30, 2011.  The Task Force would study liability issues and consider law changes to relieve schools of liability for use of their exercise facilities by other entities.  Task Force members would include persons representing groups working on prevention of diabetes, stroke and heart disease.  Passed Senate Appropriations with title stricken.


Rural health care:



Providing an income tax credit for physicians and osteopaths who provide primary care in small communities outside the Tulsa and Oklahoma City metropolitan areas.  The credit could not exceed $5,000 per year and could be taken for five years.   Passed Senate Finance with title stricken and set on Senate floor 3-7.


Mental health services:



Modifies the definition of ‘person requiring treatment” for purposes of mental health intervention.  As modified, the definition would elaborate on the issue of risk of harm to self or others, indicate what evidence is necessary to show such risk, and allow use of past mental health records in addition to other evidence to determine if an immediate risk exists.  Dormant.


Medicaid rules:



This bill states legislative disapproval of two Health Care Authority rules and specifically directs the Authority to issue rules that eliminate the income cap for eligibility for a Medicaid Pension Income Trust and set the resource limit for a community spouse at $101,640.  Dormant.


Education; school testing:



This bill would make changes in school testing instruments and methods.  It amends the charge of the existing Task Force on Quality Assessment and Accountability to direct study of a different approach to assessment.  It changes state law to require a new school testing system that includes computer-based assessments.  (Note:  The legislation could impact school testing accessibility issues.).  Passed Senate committees on Education and Appropriations, title stricken.


Education; School testing:



Modifying school testing requirements.  (Note:  Bill is watched for possible impact on testing accessibility for students with disabilities.)


State employees:



Creating the Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System Reform Act of 2011. (Shell bill as filed.)  Passed Senate Rules Committee.  Senate floor version still appears as shell.





Authorizing joint public and private financing of transportation projects.  Encouraging cooperation between public and private entities to find innovative methods of funding transportation projects.  Dormant.


Nursing homes:


Rob Johnson

Directing a legislative study of state agency regulation of nursing homes to determine if more than one agency is regulating the same service and if the current Medicaid payment rate for nursing homes is adequate.  Passed Senate Appropriations Committee with title stricken.


Children’s health; dental care:


Rob Johnson

Requiring parents or guardians of public school students in kindergarten or first grade provide proof that their child has received a dental health examination during the past year.  There is an exception for parents who cannot afford a dental appointment or do not consent to it.  State Department of Health and Department of Education would have to post information on their websites related to dental health and its impact on general health and learning, forms for dentists to use for the examination and related information. Dormant.


Health care; physicians; liability protection



Including under the definition of “employee” for purposes of coverage under the Governmental Tort Claims Act physicians who charge no more than the Medicare reimbursement rate for all patients.  Dormant.


Special education:



Permitting related services personnel in the special education field to participate in teacher professional development programs offered by schools.  Passed Senate Education Committee amended.


Developmental disabilities:



Creating the Task Force on Vocational Services for Persons with Developmental Disabilities.  The Task Force would examine rates currently paid to providers who offer employment opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities, and consider whether there are any abuses or inefficiencies that need correction.  The Task Force could recommend legislation to address issues related to this subject.  Task Force members would be appointed by the Senate President Pro Tempore and Speaker of the House and include legislative members as well as provider and advocate representatives.  Dormant.


State employees:



Forbidding an employer from releasing a current of former employee’s personal identifying information to the public unless the employee has given written permission for the release of such information for a specific purpose. Laid over in Committee. Dormant. 


Oklahoma School for the Deaf/Oklahoma School for the Blind:



Requiring DRS to report annually to the Legislature on how funds from the OSD/OSB Revolving Fund from tax return check-off donations has been utilized.  (Note:  The tax refund check-off for OSB and OSD has been removed from the tax form due to insufficient use.  The schools are not receiving any funds from this source.  It is expected the bill will be withdrawn.)  Dormant.  Heard in committee and laid over.


Injury prevention:



Requiring the drivers license exam include questions to test an applicant’s knowledge of bicycle safety provisions in Oklahoma traffic law.  (Note: Included for relevance to injury and disability prevention; also could be a vehicle for pedestrian safety issue and White Cane Safety.)  This bill passed the Senate Public Safety Committee amended.  The bill going to the full Senate requires the driver’s exam to include questions on traffic rules related to bicycle and motorcycle safety.


Developmental disabilities; aging services; privatization:



New law relating to the privatization of human services.  The intent of the Legislature is for state agencies to utilize private service providers whenever feasible to carry out statutory duties in order to increase efficiency and minimize administrative costs.  The Department of Human Services is directed to seek federal approval as necessary to facilitate the involvement of private service providers in the administration of services, including, but not limited to, the Aging Services Division, Children and Family Services Division, and Developmental Disabilities Services Division.  On the effective date of this law, the Director of DHS is instructed to report to the Senate President and Speaker of the House on the extent to which DHS is using private providers, and the Director must make this report quarterly thereafter.  By January 1, 2012, the Director would have to submit to legislative leaders a plan for DHS to increase use of private providers, with follow-up reports annually.  This bill was amended in committee.   It passed the Senate 42-2 with title stricken.  The bill directs DHS to seek federal approval to privatize the Aging Services Division, Developmental Disabilities Services and Children and Family Services and other functions as determined feasible.


Injury prevention:



Creating the Oklahoma Bicycle Safety Awareness Act.  Establishing the Oklahoma Bicycle Safety Awareness Revolving Fund.  All applicants for initial or renewal driver licenses and state identification cards would be given the choice to donate a dollar or more to go into this fund.  Monies in the fund would be used to provide awareness to the road traveling public of the presence of bicyclists by any media promotions, publications or signage.  Passed Senate Appropriations Committee with title stricken.


Vulnerable adults:



Adding self-neglect and financial neglect to those conditions which may be considered to present an emergency when there is immediate risk of harm to a vulnerable adult.  Authorizing local law enforcement to transport an incapacitated adult when needed for emergency treatment, housing and protective services, and providing for reimbursement of the transportation cost.  Passed Senate Appropriations Committee with title stricken.


Low income persons:



Establishing drug testing for persons on TANF (welfare) and state elected officials.  Dormant.


State agencies; administrative rules:



Providing that the Legislature shall not delegate rulemaking authority to state agencies. (Currently and historically, agencies write rules to implement laws and govern operations, and such rules can be disapproved and blocked by the Legislature when it so desires.)  This bill would revoke all existing rules previously established by state agencies.  If an agency believes it needs certain rules, it would be allowed to petition the Legislature to write a bill to put such rules into law.  The bill deletes much of the existing Administrative Procedures Act.  Dormant.


State agencies; administrative rules:



Deleting provisions relating to emergency rules; requiring legislative approval of agency rules.  Has passed Senate Rules Committee but has not passed the Judiciary Committee to which it was also referred.


State agencies; legislative activities:



Requiring state agency employees who work on behalf of their agency with the Legislature to register as lobbyists.  Dormant.


State agencies; legislative activities:



Prohibiting use of state funds to employ or retain a lobbyist.  Dormant.


Health care:



Requiring federally qualified health centers to comply with federal guidance for such centers.  Dormant.


Home care:



Providing that licensed health care practitioners and other individuals working in a professional capacity shall only make referrals for home care agencies that are licensed pursuant to the Home Care Act when making a referral for home care services.  Violators would be guilty of a misdemeanor.  Unlicensed home care agencies would also be guilty of a misdemeanor.  Dormant.


Medical marijuana


Constance Johnson

Creating the Compassionate Use Act of 2011.  Allowing patients to possess and use marijuana when use is recommended by a doctor for medical purposes.  Dormant.


Agency directors; DRS:



Removing the authority of state agency boards and commissions to hire the agency director.  Providing the Governor shall appoint the director of all state agencies including the Department of Rehabilitation Services, and that agency directors shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor.  Passed Senate Rules Committee.


Public transportation:



Requiring any vehicle used for the purpose of public transportation, including buses, vans, trolley cars and similar vehicles, to utilize headlamps, tail lamps and other appropriate lighting equipment at all times, subject to exception for parked vehicles.  Passed Senate.


Children’s health:



Establishing nutritional requirements for public schools and charter schools.  The requirements are to ensure that students have access to food and beverages that are relatively low-fat, low, calorie and healthy.  Dormant.


Certification and licensure:



Requiring all state agencies or boards that evaluate qualifications and oversee licenses for occupations to have in place a means of appealing a license denial in cases where the applicant has been convicted of a crime involving substance abuse, mental illness or a nonviolent offense.  (Note:  Licensing boards already have to provide this option to persons whose crimes were due to substance abuse or mental illness – the addition in this bill is a nonviolent offense.)  The bill is watched for possible impact on DRS QAST interpreter certification.  A substitute bill passed Senate Business and Commerce.  Set on Senate floor agenda.


Inmates; health and mental health:


Constance Johnson

Requiring health and mental health screenings for inmates upon admission to jails and correctional facilities.  Dormant.


Substance abuse treatment:


David; Peterson

Dealing with scope of practice of licensed drug and alcohol counselors.  Adding to the definition of “co-occurring disorders” a mental health disorder likely to produce a substance abuse problem.  Passed Senate Appropriations Committee; now goes to full Senate.





Authorizing OHCA to impose administrative sanctions to penalize Medicaid recipients who abuse the system.  Dormant.


Kidney disease:


Constance Johnson

Providing for licensure of end stage renal disease treatment facilities (dialysis centers).  Dormant.


Medical records:


Aldridge; Sullivan

Providing that in addition to a patient and his/her legal representative, next of kin of a deceased patient can request medical records of the person.  Also allowing medical records to be provided in a digital format and limiting the cost to $50.  Passed Senate Judiciary Committee.


Aging services; senior nutrition:



Exempting senior nutrition entities from the state Central Purchasing Act.  Passed Senate Appropriations Committee.


Civil rights:



Creating the Office of Civil Rights Enforcement in the Attorney General’s office.  This bill merges the Oklahoma Human Rights Commission with the AG’s office. Passed Senate Judiciary and passed Senate Appropriations with title stricken.


Occupational licensing; agency consolidation:



This is a consolidation bill which transfers a number of occupational licensing functions from various agencies, boards and commissions into the Department of Commerce.  A new office within Commerce would be created to manage the licensing functions, with Governor’s appointment of its director.  Watched for possible impact on DRS QAST interpreter certification program.  A substitute bill passed Senate Appropriations.


Disability prevention; state employee health coverage:



Requiring the State and Education Employees Group Insurance Board to develop a cost-neutral or cost-positive for bariatric surgery coverage for employees.  Dormant.  Laid over in committee.


State employees:



Increasing longevity pay for state employees.  Dormant.


Sign language interpreters; licensure:


Halligan; Williams

Creating the Oklahoma Licensed Interpreter Act.  Dormant.


Vendors; BEP:



This bill provides that certain sales tax exemptions will be handled differently.  In the case of some sales tax exemptions, the vendor would need to collect the sales tax, and the person eligible for the exemption would then apply to the Tax Commission for a rebate of the tax paid.  There would still be some exemptions that the vendor would have to honor at point of sale.  Dormant.


Anti-discrimination laws


Rob Johnson

Amends title 25 with respect to discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. After veto of similar legislation last year, this bill once again would add the stipulation that protection against employment discrimination for individuals with disabilities is not available if an employer can demonstrate that an undue burden would result by accommodating the individual.  SB-836 and 837 are alike.  Dormant.


Anti-discrimination laws:



Amends title 25 with respect to discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. After veto of similar legislation last year, this bill once again would add the stipulation that protection against employment discrimination for individuals with disabilities is not available if an employer can demonstrate that an undue burden would result by accommodating the individual.  Passed committee and a full Senate vote set on 3-7.


State agencies; legal services



Stipulating that any state agency that wishes to hire a private attorney for any purpose where the cost is expected to exceed $5,000 shall first issue a Request for Proposal and take bids.  The RFP must be posted on the main page of the agency’s website.  After a certain number of days, the agency must provide the RFP and names of all who bid to any member of the public who requests the information.  (Note:  Of interest to agencies that may require legal expertise in specialty areas such as the Randolph-Sheppard program.)  Passed committee.


State employees; retirement systems:



Modifying provisions related to cost-of-living increases for state retirees and making other changes to the Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System.  Passed committee with title stricken.


Official English:


Shortey; Terrill

Creating the Oklahoma Official English Language Implementation Act.  Promotes and requires the use of English by state and education agencies unless otherwise required by the state or U.S. Constitution.  (Watched for potential impact on disability service delivery.)  Passed Senate Judiciary Committee. 


Occupations and professions; licensure:



Creating a task force to consider consolidation of entities providing licensure for various professions.  (Watched for possible impact on DRS QAST interpreter certification.) Passed committee.


OSB and OSD:


Jolley; Faught

Providing that for the purposes of 70 O.S. Section 18-200.1 (which deals with school funding through the state aid formula) and Section 18-201.1 (which deals with calculation of state aid to schools and use of weighted criteria) the School for the Blind and the School for the Deaf shall be considered to be school districts.  Passed Senate Education; passed Senate Appropriations, title stricken.


Developmental disabilities:



Encouraging the Department of Human Services to provide maintenance and upkeep at Southern Oklahoma Resource Center.  Direct to calendar.


State employee retirement


Randy McDaniel

Converting Oklahoma public employee pension plans from defined benefit plans to defined contribution plans.  Passed committee in the House.  However, it is reported this bill will not be taken up by the full House.


Colleges; removing residence restrictions



Requiring Oklahoma colleges and universities to have policies that allow students to live either on-campus or off-campus, as they choose.  Colleges would no longer be able to require students to live in on-campus housing.  Dormant.


State agencies; administrative rules


Faught; Sykes

This bill started out to require affirmative legislative approval of all state agency administrative rules.  It has been changed in process.  At this point the bill requires agencies to provide citations of any law or other authority that requires the proposed rule.  It requires that the legislature must approve, by joint resolution, any proposed rules that raise fees or any rules that derive their authority from Title 59 of the Oklahoma Statutes.  This bill has passed committee and is ready to be taken up by the full House.


DRS; background checks



The bill authorizes the Department of Rehabilitation Services to request national criminal background checks of employees.  Do Pass as substituted from House Human Services 2-21.  On House floor agenda.


Low income families:


Dustin Roberts

Requiring DHS to drug test applicants for TANF (welfare) assistance and making those who refuse to test or show positive for drug use ineligible for TANF assistance.  The bill also limits TANF benefits to no more than three dependents and specifies there shall be no increase in benefits if a recipient has more than three children.  The bill also requires dependents over the age of 18, in addition to the parent, to participate in work activities for at least 20 hours per week.  Dormant.


Organ donation; state employees:


Shelton; Anderson

Authorizing state agencies to provide leave to employees in cases when they serve as bone marrow or organ donors.  Passed House Economic Development Committee.


State assistance; drug testing:



Requiring all applicants for state assistance, their spouses and dependents, to undergo drug testing.  The state agencies involved would have to pay the cost of the drug testing but could take the cost out of the recipient’s first assistance payment.  The cost of the drug test could not be withheld from any payments to persons assisted through the Developmental Disabilities Services Division of DHS.  Applicants could document any medications they have taken in the 15 days before the drug test, which would be by urine sample.  Applicants who fail to provide the urine specimen would be denied assistance for a specified period of time.  Periodic (repeat) drug testing would be required, with DDSD clients required to drug test every two years.  (Note:  it is unclear in the introduced bill whether State Aid to the Aged, Blind and Disabled is considered “state assistance” or whether other state programs could be affected.)  Assigned to A & B Subcommittee on Human Services.  This is one of several bills requiring drug testing of welfare recipients, but this bill goes much farther and requires periodic drug testing of any recipient of state assistance.  Dormant.


Department of Rehabilitation Services; appropriation:



Office of Disability Concerns; appropriation:



Department of Human Services; appropriation:




Transportation; appropriation:



General appropriations:




Hearing aids:


Jeannie McDaniel

Providing a sales tax exemption for the sale of hearing aids and other devices prescribed for a person with a hearing impairment by an audiologist or fitter who is licensed according to state law.  Dormant.


State Government:


Scott Martin (replaces Murphey as principal author)

Originally this bill gave the Governor the power to replace any previous Governor’s appointees and the power to replace all state agency directors, with a few exceptions. A committee substitute passed by the Government Modernization Committee changed the bill to provide that in addition to any appointments created by expiring terms or vacancies provided by law, the Governor shall have the power, subject to Senate confirmation, to appoint and replace any gubernatorial appointments on any agency, board, or commission.  Goes next to House floor.


Low-income persons:



Providing a tax credit for individuals for contributions they make to charitable organizations that help the poor.  The amount of the credit would be limited to $200 for an individual and up to $400 for a married couple, and would be based on the amount of contribution that exceeds charitable donations made and deducted in a previous (baseline) year.  If giving to a campaign such as United Way, the individual would need to specify the donation is for an entity that helps low-income persons.  Sent to A & B Subcommittee on Revenue and Taxation.  No action yet.


Mental  health:



Creating the Prevention Services Consolidation Act of 2011.  Making prevention of family fragmentation a priority of the state.  The bill seeks to coordinate services of various agencies that address family fragmentation and support families.  Making the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse the agency responsible for coordinating programs including but not limited to some DHS programs for children and families, some Health Department programs including Child Guidance, mental health and substance abuse programs and any other programs identified by the prevention collaboration board as related to preventing family fragmentation..   Giving DMHSAS the authority to eliminate, consolidate, change, and redirect funds of any of these programs unless the programs are controlled by federal law.  The bill also requires a plan for coordinating such programs and requires that it result in a 20% reduction in the overall cost of these programs.  This bill has passed committee and is due for a full House vote.


State agencies; legal services:



The House floor version of this bill limits the ability of state agencies to hire private attorneys to provide legal services.  Agencies are required to use the office of the Attorney General for legal services unless the AG’s Office declines to provide the needed legal services and AG approval is obtained to contract for such services.  When an agency needs to obtain outside legal services it would have to post a Request for Proposals on the Internet and take bids.  Bill passed the House Government Modernization, Transparency and Accountability Committee and goes next to the full House.


Workers compensation:



Revising the state’s workers compensation system.  Included in the bill is a requirement that the workers comp system hire a Director of Vocational Rehabilitation to oversee vocational rehabilitation for injured workers.  Dormant.


Sheltered workshops:



Creating the Sheltered Workshop Act, which establishes licensure for sheltered workshops and their programs.  The Department of Human Services is designated as the licensing agency.  This bill passed the House Appropriations Committee as a substitute and goes next to the House floor.


BEP; blind vendors:



Creating a Task Force on Beverage Container Recycling.  Dormant.


State agencies:



Prohibiting state agencies from contracting with lobbyists.  Dormant.


Autism; health insurance:



Creating autism spectrum disorder high risk insurance pool.  Dormant.


Mental health:


Coody; Barrington

Modifying the definition of a person requiring mental health treatment. Passed the House and received in the Senate.


State revenue; tax credits and incentives:



Creating Task Force for the Study of State Tax Credits and Economic Incentives.  Passed committee and ready for a House vote.


Injury prevention:



Providing that a person shall not operate a motor vehicle on the public streets or highways of this state while using a cellular telephone or a wireless electronic communication device to converse with another person, write, send, or read a text-based communication while the motor vehicle is in motion.  Exceptions would be made for law enforcement, emergency vehicle drivers and others acting in emergency situations.  Violation would be punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.   Dormant.


Long term care:


Peters; Jolley

Creating the Oklahoma Choices for Long Term Care Act.  This bill would create a presumptive eligibility for the Advantage Program based on a physician’s order that is the same as that which creates eligibility for nursing home care.  The intent of the legislation is to make it easier for frail elderly and disabled adults to more quickly and easily receive in-home long-term care services rather than be forced into nursing homes.  Passed the House and received in the Senate.





Establishing the Oklahoma Railways Commission by removing the Rails Division from ODOT and making it a free-standing agency.  This bill was not heard in the A&B Subcommittee to which it was first assigned, but was rereferred to the House Transportation Committee which passed the bill in a substitute version.


State employees’ health insurance; obesity:


Cox; Jolley

Directing State and Education Employees Group Insurance Board to develop a bariatric surgery plan.  Passed House Public Health Committee and next foes to full House.


Medical research; stem cell research


Faught; Russell

Prohibiting medical research in Oklahoma that involves destruction of cells of a human embryo, such as stem cell research.  Passed House Public Health Committee.


Official English:



Oklahoma Official English Implementation Act.  Emphasizing the requirement for conduct of state business and provision of state services using English, unless otherwise provided by the U.S. or state Constitution.  Dormant.


Sign language interpreters; certification:



Creating the Oklahoma Licensed Interpreters Act.  Dormant.





Creating the Transportation Funding Act.  This bill failed in House Appropriations Committee and is dormant.


Health costs; premium and medical expenses exclusion from taxable income:



This bill would exclude from the calculation of adjusted gross income the health insurance premiums paid by an individual and any unreimbursed allowable medical costs paid by an individual, and in the case of a person who is an employer, the amount the employer pays for insurance premiums of his employees.  In the case of a person who pays for insurance for his employees, the person must pay over 50% of the premium cost for the employee.  In addition, the exclusion would not apply when the employer and employee participate in the state’s premium assistance program. Dormant.


Commission for Rehabilitation Services:



This bill abolishes the Commission for Rehabilitation Services.  It repeals 74 O.S. Section 166 parts 2, 3, 5, 7, and 8: 

Part 2 eliminates the Commission for Rehabilitation Services.

Part 3 covers Commission meetings, employees, office.

Part 5 covers Commission duties and Trust for the schools.

Part 7 covers a disbursement fund.

Part 8 covers employee recognition.



State agency consolidation:



As introduced this bill transferred the Office of Disability Concerns into the Department of Rehabilitation Services and directed DRS to show a cost savings as a result of the consolidation.  A committee substitute approved by the House Modernization Committee removes provisions transferring ODC and instead merges the Human Rights Commission with the Attorney General’s office and adds a couple of small agencies to the Department of Commerce.


Long term care options:


Kern; Anderson

Creating the Oklahoma Options Counseling for Long Term Care Program Act.  Providing that information on long-term care options shall be provided through the Aging and Disability Consortium of the DHS Aging Services Division, with options counseling to be provided by partner community agencies.  The program is authorized contingent on availability of funding.  Passed the House.


State agencies; administrative rules:


Scott Martin

Requiring both houses of the Legislature to approve of agency administrative rules and rule changes in order for them to become effective.  (Note:  Currently, proposed agency rules become effective unless they are disapproved by the Legislature or Governor.)  Passed in committee.


Healthy communities:


Scott Martin

Creating the Task Force on Healthier Neighborhood Living. Promoting share use of exercise facilities by schools, local governments and organizations, to increase opportunities for people to access exercise facilities close to home.  Dormant.


Autism; health insurance:



Requiring a vote of the people on a proposal to require health insurance coverage plans in Oklahoma to cover treatment for autism.  Dormant.


Prosthetic and orthotic devices; Medicaid:


Enns; Rob Johnson

Requiring the Health Care Authority to study and recommend Medicaid coverage for orthotic and prosthetic devices.  Approved by House Public Health Committee.


Developmental disabilities; SORC:



Directing the Department of Central Services to make several specific capital improvements at Southern Oklahoma Resource Center. Dormant.


Children with disabilities; Sooner Start:


Stating that the State Board of Health may establish a schedule of family cost-participation fees for early intervention (Sooner Start) services for infants and toddlers with disabilities.  Such fees shall not include services to be provided to families at no cost pursuant to Part C of the IDEA.  Fees shall be based on a sliding scale that includes, but is not limited to:

a.         adjusted gross income,

b.         family size,

c.         financial hardship, and

d.         Medicaid eligibility,

No fee could be established for any family making less than or equal to one hundred eighty-five percent (185%) of the federal poverty guidelines in adjusted gross income.

2.  All amounts generated by the family cost-participation fees shall be used to cover any costs associated with the early intervention services program. A substitute bill passed in the House Common Education Committee.




Morrissette; Crain

Creating the Eastern Flyer Passenger Rail Development Task Force to study and recommend a plan for establishing conventional or high speed rail service between Tulsa and Oklahoma City.  Passed House Transportation Committee and sent to House floor.


Disabled parking:



Beginning January 1, 2012, authorizing cities and towns to designate a minimum of one parking space that is reserved for physically disabled wheelchair users.  A physically disabled wheelchair user parking space shall meet current ADA standards.  All physically disabled parking spaces reserved for wheelchair users shall have a sign that includes the word “Wheelchair User Only” and shall be painted a distinctive orange color so as to provide a contrast to surrounding physically disabled parking spaces.  A substitute bill passed House General Government Committee.  (Note: The substitute version is essentially the same as the first version, except it specifies compliance with ADA standards rather than placing specific measurements in the law.)


Hearing aids:



Sales tax exemption for hearing aids.  Dormant.




Peterson; Jolley

Defining and setting penalties for Medicaid fraud on the part of an applicant who falsifies income or resource information, hides income or resources, or otherwise contrives to provide inaccurate information in the application for Medicaid or Insure Oklahoma.  Passed House and received in Senate.


State employees; health insurance:


Moore; Brown

Modifying calculation of state employees’ benefit allowance.  Providing that for the next three years there shall be no increase or decrease in the benefit allowance.  After three years the Legislature would set the benefit allowance for state employees.  Passed in Government Modernization, Transparency and Accountability Committee.


Students with disabilities:


Nelson; Anderson

Modifying the Lindsay Nichole Henry Scholarship law, passed last year as HB-3393, to allow use of public school funds to pay private school tuition for students with disabilities to attend schools of a parent’s choice.  Passed House Common Education Committee.


Special education:



Creating the Oklahoma Special Education Scholarship Act.  Providing a tax credit, not to exceed $100,000 in a year, for a person who makes a contribution to a scholarship-granting organization that provides scholarships to special needs students to attend private schools.  Dormant.


Low-income housing:



Low-income Housing Remodeling Tax Incentive Act.  Dormant.


Special education:



Creating the Special Education Cooperative Task Force.  Dormant.


Special education:



Clarifying language relating to the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program. Dormant.


State agencies:



Outsourcing of Public Relations Act.  Shell as filed.  Dormant.


Students with disabilities:


Requiring private schools participating in the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program to adopt an antidiscrimination policy.  Dormant.


Special education; due process:



Requiring the State Board of Education to provide legal services to school districts for special education proceedings. Dormant.


Access to restrooms:



Creating the Restroom Access Act.  This bill requires retail businesses to permit access to employee toilets by customers with medical conditions such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, any other inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, or any other medical condition that requires immediate access to a toilet facility.  Businesses would not have to grant such permission if fewer than three employees are on the premises.  The bill also protects the business from liability in these situations, under most circumstances. Dormant.


Sickle cell disease:


Pittman; Jolley

Providing that contingent upon available funding, the State Department of Health in cooperation with the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine shall develop a program of comprehensive service for adults with sickle cell disease.  A substitute bill passed committee and the bill goes next to the full House.





Enacting the Oklahoma Multi-modal Transportation Authority Act.  Shell as filed.  A substitute bill passed committee and the bill goes next to the full House.


Health care professionals:



As introduced, created the Oklahoma Health Care Professionals Act.  The bill was substantially changed after introduction and is now the Oklahoma Diabetic Eye Disease Detection Initiative.  As funding allows, it directs the Oklahoma Board of Medical Licensure to create this initiative to evaluate current medical research related to diabetic retinopathy.  The Board could accept grants and other funding for this purpose.  The bill passed House Public Health Committee and now goes to the House floor.


Schools; dyslexia:


Dorman; Paddack

Requiring screening and treatment for dyslexia in the public schools.  A substitute bill passed the House Appropriations Committee.


Assisted living:


Dorman; Brinkley

Directing the issuance of rules under the Continuum of Care and Assisted Living Act for emergency power supplies (generators) in facilities with fifty or more residents.  Some exceptions are provided.  Passed committee and goes next to full House.


Visually impaired students



Specifying that students with visual impairments shall be evaluated by a qualified teacher of the visually impaired and screened or evaluated by a certified orientation and mobility specialist in order to determine the student’s needs and educational program.  Providing that required school tests shall be administered in the student’s preferred reading media, as specified in the IEP.  Dormant.





Creating the Transportation and Light Rail Act.  Shell as filed.  Dormant.


State employment; persons with disabilities:



Creating the Adults with Disabilities Employment Act.  Shell as filed.  Dormant.


Medical records:



Allowing medical record to be provided in digital form with the cost to the patient or other authorized requesting person not to exceed $50.  A substitute bill approved by the House judiciary Committee allows a surviving spouse or next of kin to request a patient’s medical records.  It also specifies that records provided in digital format shall not cost more than ten cents per page with a total cost not over $50.  The bill is ready for a House vote.


State agencies; information services:



Stating that no state agency, nor the Purchasing Division of the Department of Central Services, unless otherwise provided by federal law, shall enter into a contract for the acquisition of computer software developed exclusively for the agency or the state, unless the vendor agrees to provide to the agency or the state the source code for the software.  Dormant.


State employees; retirement:



Requiring that no cost-of-living increase shall be given to state government retirees unless the funded ratio of the pension plan is at least 85%.  Dormant.


Official English; state services:



Oklahoma Official English Implementation Act.  Passed House General Government Committee.


State employees; disability benefits



State Employees Disability Program Act.   Shell as filed.  Dormant.


Special education funding:


Hickman; Marlatt

Directing the State Board of Education to develop a funding mechanism for the disbursement of federal funds to reimburse local educational agencies for the excessive costs of high-need students who have an individual education program (IEP).  Requiring that the excess cost-funding mechanism must divide the available federal funds evenly between funding for out-of-state residential placements and other excessive costs to the local education agency for high-need students, when the costs are at least three times the average per pupil expenditure in Oklahoma and the total excessive costs of all high-need students are at least ten percent (10%) of the flow-through allocation for the local education agency. Passed House Appropriations Committee and sent to House floor.


BEP: State Capitol facilities:


Hickman; Newberry

Amends title 7 of the Oklahoma Statutes to exempt space under the control of the Legislature from the state’s mini-Randolph-Sheppard Act.  The bill establishes that the areas in the Capitol used for vending facilities will henceforth be considered space under the control of the Legislature.  The bill further provides that the Legislature may lease the vending facility space to a private vendor.  However, it states that It is the intent of the Legislature that rental income and any other payments due under such a lease shall be paid to the Department of Rehabilitation Services.  This bill passed the House General Government Committee 10-0 and next goes to the full House.


Lawsuit reform; personal injuries:



Placing limitations on damages for bodily injury; modifying recovery cap on certain noneconomic damages.  Lowering from $400,000 to $300,000 the limit on noneconomic damages a court can award to a person in a lawsuit brought due to personal injury.  Passed House Judiciary Committee.


Health insurance; uninsured persons:


Steele; Jolley

Modifying duties of the Health Care for the Uninsured Board.  A substitute bill passed the House Public Health Committee.


Education; grants and scholarships; tax credit:



Providing a tax credit for contributions to an educational improvement grant organization or education improvement scholarship organization for grants and scholarships they provide to eligible Oklahoma school programs and students.  The focus would be on innovative programs for education improvement.  Dormant.


State agencies; consolidation:


Steele; Bingman

 State Government Administrative Process Consolidation and Reorganization Reform Act of 2011.  This bill consolidates the Department of Central Services, Office of Personnel Management, Oklahoma Merit Protection Commission, Oklahoma Department of Libraries, Oklahoma State Employees Benefits Council and Oklahoma State and Education Employees Group Insurance Board into the Office of State Finance and makes the OSF Director the director of all these functions.  The bill passed the House but minus an emergency clause.  It next goes to the Senate.


State Boards and Commissions:



Creating the Appointments to Public Bodies Act.  Dormant.


State agencies; consolidation:



Oklahoma Governmental Consolidation Act.  Shell bill as filed.  Dormant.


House deadlines

March 3:  Deadline for reporting House bills and joint resolutions from House committees

March 17:  Final Legislative Day for Third Reading and Final Passage of a Measure in House of origin

April 14:  Deadline for reporting Senate bills and joint resolutions from House committees

April 28:  Final Legislative Day for Third Reading and Final Passage of a Measure in Opposite House of origin

May 27:  Adjournment, no later than 5:00 p.m.


Senate deadlines

February 21:  Double-assigned Senate Bills Reported from 1st Committee Deadline

February 28:  Single-assigned Senate Bills in Senate Committees Deadline

March 3:  Double-assigned Senate Bills Reported from 2nd Committee Deadline

March 17:  Third Reading in House of Origin

March 31:  Double-assigned House Bills Reported from 1st Committee Deadline

April 7:  Single-assigned House Bills in Senate Committees Deadline

April 14:  Double-assigned House Bills Reported from 2nd Committee Deadline*

April 28:  Third Reading in Opposite House

May 27:  Adjournment