This week the legislature took action on two important measures both of which I have been privileged to co-sponsor. While the House of Representatives prepared to debate pro-life legislation (SB 719), a Senate committee was taking action on HB 1804, the immigration reform proposal.
SB 719 is a comprehensive approach to stopping the use of taxpayer funds for abortions and establishing more in-depth disclosure reporting requirements from Oklahoma's abortion industry. The bill became elevated in profile after two major Oklahoma medical groups came out in opposition to it. This unprecedented action seemed to give courage to opponents of the proposal and so debate on the floor of the House became vigorous.
Those opposed to the bill argued that by taking away the ability of people to use Medicaid for abortions, we are punishing the poor who can not afford it. Proponents debated in favor of the bill by stating that taxpayers should not be forced to provide for an action which is in such opposition to the deeply felt values held by many Oklahomans.
SB 719 passed the house by a margin of about 3-1. I appreciated the number of House District 31 residents who contacted me to encourage support for this bill. It was a privilege to represent your values on the issue.
The potential watering down of this bill was one of my greatest fears due to the nature of the opposition. However, it appears as if most of the bill's language was left in place, with the Chamber lobby agreeing to slight changes. For the most part, this bill will still encourage employers to avoid "looking the other way" in their hiring practices.
HB 1804 passed the Senate Judiciary Committee by a narrow 5-3 margin. Due to new Senate rules, if a bill fails a vote in committee, it is dead for the next two years. So, for now, by a slight margin, comprehensive immigration reform remains alive and heads to the full Senate for a vote.
As always, please do not hesitate to give me a call at 557-7350 or visit on the web at www.HouseDistrict31.com.