With the 2022 legislative session and June special session in the books, lawmakers are preparing to return to Capitol for interim studies.
Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat approved 41 of 60 interim study requests on July 1. In the lower chamber, House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, approved all 82 study proposals in a week later.
These study sessions, which run from August through November, typically don’t generate formal reports or recommendations. They do present an opportunity for lawmakers to discuss issues, which sometimes translates into legislation.
For example, last year Rep. Nicole Miller, R-Edmond, held an interim study on expungement reform. Among the solutions discussed during the hearing was creating a computer algorithm to initiate the expungement process, potentially aiding tens of thousands of people with aging criminal records.
This year Miller sponsored House Bill 3316, which authorizes the state to automatically seal certain criminal records. The measure easily cleared the House and Senate and was signed into law by Gov. Kevin Stitt in May.
Here are five interim studies that caught my attention:
- Modernizing the open meeting act: Requested by Reps. Andy Fugate, D-Oklahoma City Daniel Pae, R-Lawton and Sen. Brent Howard, R-Altus.
- Studying best practices for ethics systems for state elected officials: Requested by Sen. Julia Kirt, D-Oklahoma City.
- School security in Oklahoma: Requested by Reps. Jacob Rosecrants, D-Norman and Daniel Pae, R-Lawton.
- Mitigating the loss of college-educated talent from the state of Oklahoma: Requested by Rep. Mark Lawson, R-Sapulpa.
- The scope and impact of unsafe and unhealthy housing conditions across Oklahoma: Requested by Rep. Mickey Dollens, D-Oklahoma City.
The registration deadline for the August 23 primary runoff election is fast approaching.
Prospective voters have until July 29 to submit their application and be eligible to vote next month. For already registered voters, the deadline to request an absentee ballot is August 8.
You can fill out the registration form on the State Election Board website, but you’ll have to print it out, sign it and deliver it (in-person or via mail) to your county election board.
What I’m Reading This Week
- Panasonic picks Kansas over Oklahoma for $4B EV Battery Facility: Oklahoma reportedly had been in the running for the factory, offering hundreds of millions of dollars in incentives to build the factory in Pryor. The deal will reportedly produce 4,000 jobs in De Soto, Kansas. [Tulsa World]
- OSBI Launches a Criminal Investigation Into the Commissioners of the Land Office: Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater asked the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation to investigate the Land Office after allegations surfaced of misappropriation of taxpayer funds, conflicts of interest and improper use of office by a state official. [The Frontier]
- Does the Oklahoma Constitution Protect Abortion Rights? Providers Say Yes: Abortion providers are asking the Oklahoma Supreme Court to block the enforcement of anti-abortion laws, arguing that the state constitution contains broad protection for individual liberty. [The Oklahoman]
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