House members endured hearing a flurry of hundreds of bills on the floor over the past two weeks as we reached our third-reading deadline for bills in their chamber of origin. As a member of the floor leader team, this meant many long days and nights as the 101 members of the House negotiated to have their bills considered. Of the 1,988 bills and joint and concurrent resolutions filed, we advanced only 416 to the state Senate.
I don’t have final numbers from that chamber, but I expect it to be about the same.
We now will give House staff time to get the bills engrossed to the opposite chamber and to begin receiving bills from the other side of the rotunda. Then we’ll jump right back into the committee process.
We have until March 29 to advance bills out of Appropriations and Budget subcommittees, until April 8 to pass them in standing committees, until April 16 to move them out of the full A&B Committee and until April 22 to hear them on the House floor.
Bills that make it all the way through both chambers can be sent to the governor for his consideration to be signed into law.
One bill I co-authored has already made it through that process. The governor this week signed House Bill 1246 into law. It takes effect immediately.
This bill allows any Oklahoman to obtain a prescription using their Social Security Number if they have a state-issued ID card that has been expired for no more than one year and if they possess no other form of ID.
Oklahomans have had a tremendously hard time getting a driver’s license or state ID or a renewal recently. The Department of Public Safety cites two reasons for this. First, COVID restrictions caused the department to shut down sites last spring. When they did reopen, they reduced the number of people they served because of social distancing requirements. They also have experienced many problems with new technology being used as they transition to the REAL ID system required under federal law.
DPS says they are working around the clock to address the challenges. The governor last month signed an executive order waiving restrictions on local tag agents, making it easier to obtain a driver’s license renewal and allowing Oklahomans to obtain a downgraded license if a REAL ID is not available. The order also allows your local tag agents to renew an Oklahoma license that is expired and allows third parties to administer driver’s license examinations.
This should help, but to get people their necessary medications, we took the additional step in legislation of allowing a Social Security number to be used alongside a valid ID that has been expired for no more than one year. If I can do anything to help or to get you information, please feel free to reach out to my office at (405) 557-7332 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.