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By Sen. GEORGE BURN
We’re officially about halfway through the legislative session after passing the March 24 deadline to approve Senate bills out of our chamber. We’ve now returned to our committees to study and vote on legislation that was approved by the House and sent to us. Likewise, the bills we approved have been sent to the House for their review.
Bills must go through a very strenuous review process before becoming law. All measures must be approved by both the Senate and House committee they are assigned to, the full bodies of both chambers, and the governor before they are signed into law. So far, only about 20 percent of the Senate bills that were initially available for our review are still “alive” in this process, and the House won’t approve or hear all the measures we sent their way, further reducing this number.
One piece of legislation that’s still available to be heard this session is my SB 1123, which would allow a body to be moved from the scene of a vehicle accident once law enforcement has completed their investigation. Currently, a medical examiner (ME) must come to the scene and complete their investigation before the deceased can be removed. Unfortunately, it can sometimes take hours before an ME is available to come to the scene, creating a tragic situation for the family of the victim, not to mention dangerous road conditions and backed up traffic due to the accident unable to be cleared.
This was a request bill from a constituent who was in this situation, and I’m thankful they came to me for help. I can’t imagine being in this scenario, and I want to protect others from the same. The full Senate approved this measure and it’s now awaiting the go ahead by the House of Representatives, where my colleague Rep. Rick West from Heavener is carrying the measure.
Likewise, I’m carrying two of Rep. West’s House bills in the Senate. The first, HB 2972, was approved out of the Judiciary Committee this past week and would allow physician assistants (PA) and advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) to provide medical exemptions for prospective jurors who cannot serve on jury duty due to a medical condition. This bill is now eligible to be heard by the full Senate.
HB 2979 is the Oklahoma Right to Garden Act of 2022 and would prohibit local governments from regulating gardens on residential properties. While this isn’t an issue currently, the federal government and some local municipalities have had a reoccurring habit of overreaching their limits, so we want to put it in state statute that Oklahomans will always be able to grow their own food. This bill has been assigned to the Rules Committee.
It’s an honor to serve as your state Senator. If you have any questions about legislation, or need assistance with an issue, please contact me by email at George.Burns@oksenate.gov or by phone at 405-521-5614.