We’ve now officially passed the deadline to hear most House bills in our chamber, and at the conclusion of floor work on April 22, we’d approved about 280 of the 320 eligible measures from the House.
I was proud to co-author a couple of the House bills we passed in our chamber, and I’d like to share a little about these measures with you.
House Bill 2648 protects freedom of religion in our state by deeming any order or rule issued by a government entity to close any place of worship due to an emergency a “substantial burden.” Due to limits on capacity during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many churches were forced to close their doors. Freedom of religion is one of the bedrocks our country was founded upon, and I’ll always do what I can to ensure Oklahomans, regardless of religion, can worship in peace.
Another measure – House Bill 2995 – would ensure that a person arrested for violation of a protective order, domestic violence, domestic abuse, stalking or harassment cannot be eligible for personal recognizance, meaning they cannot be released from jail without being required to post any money for his or her bond. Those let out on personal recognizance are basically being let out on their word to show up to their next court date.
My hope is both of these measures will help protect Oklahomans – whether from governmental overreach on religious freedoms or from dangerous abusers.
I was also proud to be a co-author for Senate Bill 631, which was signed into law by the governor on Monday. This measure makes Oklahoma a Second Amendment Sanctuary State, meaning further federal restrictions on firearms cannot be enforced in our state. I know protecting our Second Amendment rights is important to many of you, and it’s a top priority for me as well.
In addition to our legislative work, the redrawn legislative district lines were also introduced this past week. While the changes to Senate District 19 are minimal compared to other districts, the new lines now extend east to 77 highway and will include Newkirk. The redrawn maps must now be approved by both the Senate and House, and that process will begin this week.
While the past few weeks have been extremely busy hearing and voting on legislation, I made time last week to attend two ground-breaking events. The first was the ground-breaking of the Robert M. Greer Center in Enid. The Greer Center is an intermediate care facility for individuals with intellectual disabilities. The work of the center is lifechanging for those caring for and with intellectual disabilities, and I’m glad they’ll soon be receiving updated facilities.
I also was honored to attend the ground-breaking for the New Frontiers Agricultural Hall in Stillwater at Oklahoma State University. I’m a proud supporter of the OSU college of agriculture, and I’m pleased that the college will finally be receiving a well-deserved upgrade. It was an exciting day to wear America’s Brightest Orange.
Thank you for allowing me to serve as your state Senator. Please feel free to reach out if there is anything we can help you with. You can contact me at 405-521-5630 or via email at Roland.Pederson@oksenate.gov.