Carl’s Capitol Comments: Bills going to Senate

By the time you read this, the deadline for House bills to have passed the House floor will have passed. We considered 242 bills or resolutions last week and advanced 416 to the state Senate. We’ll take a brief pause as staff on both sides of the rotunda work to get legislation moved to the opposite chamber, and then we’ll begin hearing Senate bills in committee.

Our main concern in passing legislation is to take care of the people of Oklahoma.

One of the concerns we’ve heard from constituents is about the protection of personal property. Last summer, in many places in our nation and even here in Oklahoma, we saw violent riots that caused some deaths and millions of dollars in property damage.

In Tulsa, a man driving a truck with his wife and two school-aged children as passengers was suddenly surrounded by rioters who spilled out onto the roadway, beat on his vehicle and threatened him and his family. The man drove out of the protesters, but later was chastised for trying to harm them and even faced the possibility of criminal charges.

We passed House Bill 1674 to clarify protections for motorists trying to flee such scenarios and to update punishments for those convicted of illegal activity during the course of riots. Peaceful protests are protected as free speech. But burning, looting, destruction of property and threatening physical harm is quite another matter. No matter what the underlying cause, riots are never warranted.

Oklahomans also are greatly concerned with protecting unborn lives.

The House passed three pro-life bills in recent weeks to reduce the number of abortions in our state.

House Bill 1102 would revoke for at least a year the licenses of physicians who perform abortions, except to save the life of the mother.

House Bill 2441 would stop abortions from being performed once an unborn child is determined to have a detectable heartbeat.

House Bill 1904 would require any physician performing an abortion in the state to specialize in obstetrics and gynecology and be board certified. This would at least protect a woman’s health should an abortion be performed.

We hear arguments all the time that this type of legislation will not withstand court challenges, but we must continue to do all we can to end the practice of abortion in our state until the day Roe v. Wade is reversed in our nation.

We’ve also passed legislation in recent weeks to protect our state’s rights from unconstitutional federal mandates or executive orders as well as several bills that better clarify and protect our Second Amendment rights.

This is just a small sampling of the legislation we’ve heard in the last few weeks. I’ll share more in future columns.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. You may reach me by email at carl.newton@okhouse.gov, or phone me at 405-557-7339.  May God Bless you and the State of Oklahoma.

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