2013 Legislative Priorities

     During the February and March 2013 Board Meetings, the Board of Directors of the Oklahoma Women’s Coalition voted to take a formal position on the following bills in the state legislature this session (four of which were signed into law by Governor Mary Fallin).

The following bills were signed by Governor Fallin:

Human Trafficking: HB1058, by Representative Sally Kern, expunges court records relating to charge or conviction for a prostitution-related offense committed as a result of the defendant having been a victim of human trafficking.

 Protective Order: HB1912, by House Speaker T.W. Shannon, prohibits a judge from ordering a domestic violence victim to attend counseling with the offender.  Also, changes language from police officer “may” arrest a violator of a protective order to “shall” arrest a violator of a protective order.

Wellness: HB1113, by Representative Wade Rousselot, establishes a Wellness Council to provide incentive to employees participating in wellness activities.

Human trafficking bill: HB1508, by Representative Peterson and Senator David, expands the scope of subpoena powers for the Director of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Narcotics with regards to human trafficking cases.

The following bills did not pass this legislative session, but they started the conversation on several challenging issues:

Domestic Violence: SB624, by Sentator Susan Paddack, changes current procedures related to protective orders, including prohibiting a judge from charging a victim for the cost of filing a protective order.

Crimes and Punishment: Unlawful Peeping: HB1120, by Wade Rousselot, insured that a person who uses photographic, electronic, video equipment to capture and make public the image of a private area of another person without their consent shall be guilty of a felony (changes this from a misdemeanor).

Tanning Beds: SB816, by Senator Patrick Anderson, prohibits the use of tanning beds by minors under the age of 18; requires proof of age. This bill was never heard in Committee and died. There was a similar bill assigned to the Public Health Committee in the House: SB 345, by Senator Paddack and Representative Enns, requiring written consent for minors under 18 to be able to use a tanning bed. It also did not pass out of the House.

Tobacco Use: HB1375, by Representative Emily Virgin, prohibits smoking cigarettes with a child in your car.

Tobacco Use/Smoke free bill: SB36, by Senator Frank Simpson, restores local rights to cities and towns to control tobacco use on public property.

Public Safety: HB1516, by Representative Peterson and Representative Nelson, authorizes the Department of Public Safety to enter into agreements with persons whose license has been suspended, revoked, cancelled or denied to allow persons to have a provisional driver license for use under certain circumstances. Persons convicted of driving under the influence or manslaughter while operating a motor vehicle are not eligible for a provisional license. Persons must pay $25 per month toward the satisfaction of outstanding driver license reinstatement fees.

The Coalition opposed the following bills: (both of which did not pass)

Sales and Use Tax: SB313, by Senator Mike Mazzei, levies a 4.5% excise tax on the proceeds of certain sales, impacting the Girl Scouts, Campfire Girls and Boy Scouts.

Prevention Programs: HB1063, by Representative Mark McCullough, creates the Prevention Programs Accountability Act; Repeals the Children First Program.

We also want to take the time to highlight a few bills that our coalition sponsors supported this legislative session:

American Heart Association:

Newborn Heart Defect Screening (Pulse-Ox): HB1347, by Representative Dan Kirby and Senator Kim David ensures that pulse oximetry screenings are now required for all newborns prior to leaving a birthing facility. This will reduce death and disability caused by Congenital Heart Defects.

Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (OCADVSA):

Crimes and Punishment: HB1067, by Representative Denney provides presumption for certain persons charged with prostitution.

 

      We want to thank you for all of your support this session. The Oklahoma Women’s Coalition values your dedication to our cause and we hope that next year will be just as successful. We will keep you up to date as the 2014 session approaches and all of the legislation we intend to support.