Last Thursday was the deadline to pass Senate bills through their House committees, and the House passed 348 Senate bills by the deadline. We’ve spent hours on the floor this week to begin considering these remaining Senate bills, and a number of them have already been signed into law.
Among those was Senate Bill 509, which I co-authored and Gov. Stitt signed Wednesday. This much-needed bill protects patients from the harmful insurance practice known as ‘step therapy’ by requiring health insurance plans utilizing step therapy protocol to establish guidelines governing the use of step therapy protocol using clinical practice guidelines. SB509 improves the healthcare of Oklahomans by providing patients with the proper medication to live their lives without pain.
The Governor also signed House Bill 2640, commonly known as “Francine’s Law,” which requires law enforcement, medical examiners and coroners to enter all missing and unidentified persons’ information into the national unidentified persons’ database. The database provides free forensic services for families of missing persons to better help them find and identify their loved ones.
One of my own bills is available to be signed by the Governor. HB2161 promotes self-governance and accountability within the Oklahoma State Firefighters Association by giving more power to their board of directors. I worked with Sen. Chuck Hall from Perry to pass the bill through both chambers, and it passed the Senate 37-2 this week.
Last week, the Capitol parking lot was overtaken by the course of the popular TV show American Ninja Warrior. Once the course was set up, they let legislators attempt the first two obstacles. I successfully passed both obstacles, but some of my colleagues weren’t so lucky and ended up in the pools beneath the course!
In each city the show visits, they pour money into the local economy. Their staff runs about 150 people total, and when factoring in hotel rooms, food and entertainment for the 10 days they’re here, the amount they invest in the cities really adds up. The show also hires hands from the area to assist, rents equipment from nearby businesses and provides food from local catering companies while filming. The show brings in hundreds of contestants from around the region to compete, and those hotel and food costs invest even more in our economy.
My family and I attended the Saturday night taping of the show as well to watch the finalists compete on the entire course. It was incredibly entertaining, even for starting past midnight, but you’ll have to watch the episode to see the results!
Between this week’s floor sessions, I had a little time to visit with high school students who visited the Capitol Wednesday for the 22nd 4-H Day. It was great to see so many intelligent and passionate students visiting with their representatives!
During session Thursday, the House took time to remember the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing. Friday is the 24th anniversary of that horrific day. I still distinctly remember sitting in my second period accounting class as a high school senior and noticing the windows shaking, even all the way in Guthrie.
April 19, 1995 was a devastating day for our state and country, but Oklahomans have a unique ability to persevere and return stronger than ever, and that’s what I saw happen after the bombing and every year since. It’s important that we teach the next generation of Oklahomans what occurred on that awful day and that we never forget the families whose lives were changed forever that morning. The Memorial Museum is free all day Friday for the anniversary, and I encourage you to visit if you’re able.
As always, I encourage my constituents in District 31 to contact my office with questions or comments on legislation. Thank you for the opportunity to serve the community of District 31!