If you are not familiar with the legislative process, you may not know that there are actually several different kinds of legislation filed each session. For example a bill is a proposed new law or a proposed current law to be presented to the Legislature for consideration. There are other kinds of legislation besides bills called resolutions, including simple resolutions, concurrent resolutions and joint resolutions.
Resolutions can be used to express the opinion of one or both chambers, such as offering congratulations or condolences, bringing attention to the work of an organization or a state or national event or expressing the view of state lawmakers on a federal issue. They can also be used to send an issue to voters to decide, or to help create public policy through the creation of special task forces or pilot programs.
This session we used a resolution to address two important issues for our state. Senate Concurrent Resolution 6 ran with complete support in the Senate and the House to create the Veteran’s Pilot Program in Oklahoma. This allows for a comprehensive study of how veterans receive health care and other support services. With over 300,000 military veterans in our state the need to address their needs grows daily. The task force requires all service organizations, health institutions, military branches, government agencies and others vested in building a world-class system of care for veterans to join forces and find our strengths and weaknesses as a state.
We recently put this resolution in motion via a pilot program. All Oklahoma veterans are asked to participate in the first phase by completing a survey regarding their needs. The survey is on-line at okvetshealth.com or you can call the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs at 405-523-4000.
I was pleased to also work on SCR 12 during the session. This request came from the office of Attorney General Mike Hunter and creates the Opioid Abuse task force. Since I arrived in the Senate, one of my goals has been to tackle the epidemic of overdose deaths and destroyed lives due to addiction and overuse of painkillers. We have chipped away at this problem, but still lose far too many Oklahomans to this preventable death. I am encouraged that now we can address the problem with an approach that requires the medical community, law enforcement, prosecutors, mental health professionals, and pharmacies to work together to find solutions.
Passing new permanent laws isn’t the only way to impact change. Resolutions are also important to our work in the legislature and can be useful in addressing the problems we face as a state.
As always, please feel free to contact my Capitol office with any questions or concerns you may have about legislation or other issues impacting our state at 405.521.5628 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.