• Kyle Persaud

New Oklahoma Laws 2020

Updated: Sep 24

L. Michelle Sutton, an Oklahoma lawyer and lobbyist, has compiled a list of some of the most important new laws in Oklahoma for 2020.


Ms. Sutton has graciously allowed us to repost her list on our blog. Below, here is Ms. Sutton’s listing and description of some of the most important legislation that the state legislature has passed this year:


(Note: This is not a complete collection of all new Oklahoma laws. To see all laws the legislature has enacted in recent terms, click here.)

AGRICULTURE


1. HB 1048: Allows a landowner to severe the groundwater rights in an eminent domain case.


2. HB 2008: Due to COVID-19 disrupting food supply lines, this legislation authorizes the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture to promulgate rules to assist cattle and bison producers in offering products to customers directly across state lines. It also allows for meat inspection flexibility, as long as safety is not compromised, due to the bottleneck of supply.


BANKING


SB 1682: Prohibits any municipality or other political subdivision of this state from adopting, enforcing, or disrupting a business licensed by the Department of Consumer Credit. Basically, preempts a city or town from regulating the interest rates and fees of check cashing and payday loan types of businesses.


BUSINESS & LABOR


SB1928: Makes permanent, the ability of certain establishments that hold alcohol licenses, to deliver and sell curbside, alcoholic beverages.


CHILDREN, YOUTH, & FAMILIES


1. HB 1276: Ends the revocation of professional licenses and driving privileges in cases where parents are in noncompliance with required child support payments.


2. HB 1282: Children ages 14 and younger cannot be placed in a juvenile detention facility without certain conditions being met. Detention of children ages 12 or younger must be judicially reviewed.


3. HB 2588: Requires specific authorization to be granted, by court order, for guardians to permit the withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining procedures from wards.


4. SB 1739: Extends the provisions of electronic monitoring, by families with loved ones in nursing homes, to assisted living centers and continuum of care facilities.


COUNTY & MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT


1. HB 3271: Allows counties to develop online bidding procedures.


2. HB 3619: Prohibits municipalities and political subdivisions from adopting any real estate development building or construction ordinance which prohibits connections to facilities of utility providers operating lawfully in the state.


3. SB 187: For fiscal year 2021, allows a municipality to adopt a temporary budget due to effects of COVID-19 on sales’ tax revenue projections.


4. SB 1713: Prohibits county and municipal regulation of residential building design elements, unless certain criteria are met, including zoning requirements or a historic designation.


CRIMINAL JUSTICE


1. HB 2777: Creates the Porch Piracy Act and establishes a misdemeanor for the first and second offense of stealing from the mailbox or premises of another person or stealing from a delivery vehicle.


2. HB 3251: Adds the following to the violent crimes’ definitions: domestic abuse by strangulation, domestic assault with a dangerous weapon, domestic assault and battery with a dangerous weapon or domestic assault and battery with a deadly weapon.


3. SB 1385: Relates to criminal informants’ testimony by requiring the disclosure of certain details including the informants' criminal history and any cooperation with law enforcement. District attorneys' offices are required to keep central records of such details.


4. SB 1462: Makes it a felony to disseminate private sexual images for personal gain or attempted personal gain. A second conviction requires registration as a sex offender.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT


1. HB 4018: Creates a Council to study rural broadband access in Oklahoma.


2. SB 1362: Removes certain limitations on fund matching under the Local Development and Enterprise Zone Incentive Leverage Act, for projects which provide for more than 10% of the net leasable space of a development to be used for retail, by raising the retail limit to 50%.


EDUCATION


1. HB 2804: Directs the Oklahoma Board of Education to develop policies for dyslexia screening and requires any student enrolled in kindergarten, first, second or third grade in a public school who doesn’t meet grade-level targets in reading to be screened for dyslexia beginning with the 2022-2023 school year.


2. HB 2905: Creates the Virtual Charter School Reform and Transparency Act of 2020. This Act addresses transfer, attendance, and truancy policies.


3. HB 3142: Exempts individuals that have earned a master's degree in education before July 1, 2005 from the requirement of having to complete a program in education administration to be qualified to be a principal.


4. HB 3223: Allows for certain entities to retain tissue from bodies distributed to them and to donate the tissue for the purpose of training dogs to search for human remains.


5. HB 3398: Requires an Oklahoma criminal history record check, as well as a national criminal history record check, for any teacher currently employed by an Oklahoma public school. These checks must be completed upon the next renewal of their standard teaching certificate. Teachers that are eligible for retirement and any other school personnel must complete these background checks by July 1, 2022.


6. HB 3466: Modifies the process for selecting textbooks used in Oklahoma public schools.


7. SB 1115: Permits The Oklahoma Board of Education to renew emergency or provisional teaching certificates if certain criteria are met.


8. SB 1125: Requires the Oklahoma Board of Education to issue a teaching certificate to anyone with a valid out-of-state teaching certificate. Competency exams are waved if certain criteria are met.


9. SB 1198: Requires school districts to coordinate with local emergency medical services’ providers to develop emergency medical services’ plans for school activities and athletic events.


ELECTIONS


1. HB 3826: Makes various adjustments to information and matching requirements for initiative petition signatures.


2. HB 3827: Amends the definition of “state question” in statute to refer to any question to which the Secretary of State has assigned a number. Previously, it was defined as any question for which the Governor has declared an election date. This change was made to address when campaign reporting requirements must be made to the Oklahoma Ethics Commission.


3. SB 1779: Makes absentee ballot harvesting a crime. Harvesting includes but is not limited to: collecting a ballot on behalf of another person with the intention of turning it in for said person to election officials, requesting or receiving a ballot for another person, and completing an application for an absentee ballot for another person without said person’s consent.


4. SB 210: Provides for an alternative method of certifying absentee ballots during COVID-19 by adjusting the notary requirements.


EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT


1. SB 1269: Requires the Oklahoma Water Resources Board to develop a state flood plan for state and local flood control.


2. SB 1938: To repair high hazard dams or dams that people live below, the Oklahoma Capitol Improvement Authority will issue $17.5 million in bonds on behalf of the Conservation Commission.


ENERGY & UTILITY REGULATION


1. SB 1225: Limits the proposed area of work identified in notices sent to affected operators to 500 linear feet in an incorporated area or one linear mile for an unincorporated area, per the Oklahoma Underground Facilities Damage Prevention Act.


2. SB 1875: Creates the Oil and Gas Produced and Wastewater Recycling and Reuse Act. This Act clarifies ownership of, and proceeds from, water and waste produced from the borehole of an oil and gas well. It also protects persons that use the recycled water or treated waste components from liability if they are processed in a suitable manner. Finally, it clarifies the applicability of the Oklahoma Brine Development Act to produced water and waste, depending on how each is used.


GENERAL GOVERNMENT


1. HB 3819: Requires all state agencies to make available the details of any agreement or contract upon request by a member of the Legislature and prohibits agencies from preventing contracted entities from communicating with members of the Legislature.


2. HB 3967: Prohibits the state from contracting with companies that boycott Israel or putting into place policies that have the effect of inducing or requiring a company to boycott Israel. Applies to the acquisition of goods or services with an aggregate value of $100,000. Compliance may be waived by the Secretary of State if impractical.


3. HB 4025: Requires all state agencies to transmit to the Office of Fiscal Transparency raw data sets as requested by the Legislature.


4. SB 1422: Makes changes to the Oklahoma Central Purchasing Act, including raising the acquisition threshold on agency purchases requiring a competitive bid process from $5,000 to $25,000.


5. SB 1944: Requires the Director of Office of Management and Enterprise Services to publish daily reports of all expenditures of funds from the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act to the Oklahoma Checkbook page of the state website.


HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES


1. HB 3862: Increases the scope of practice of optometrists by allowing those in the practice of optometry to dispense drugs for the treatment of ocular abnormalities.

2. HB 4041: Requires funeral directors to notify employees of certain exposure risks of communicable diseases and directs affected agencies to provide relevant information to funeral directors. It also requires that any person transporting or preparing a body for disposition be notified by the funeral director or embalmer if a deceased person has tested positive for a communicable disease.


3. SB 801: Increases the scope of practice of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA) by requiring that the administration of anesthesia be in collaboration with a physician/dentist rather than under the supervision of a physician/dentist. Collaboration is defined as an agreement between a physician/dentist and a CRNA on an anesthesia plan.


4. SB 1290: Makes it a felony to assault any medical provider. Previously, it was only a felony to assault emergency medical providers.


5. SB 1718: Requires all health benefit plans to provide benefits for treatment of mental health conditions and substance use disorders. Non-quantitative limitations on mental health and substance use disorder benefits cannot be more stringent than those placed on medical and surgical benefits.


6. SB 1748: Modifies multiple statutes related to hospital licensure.


7. SB 1823: Requires oversight and licensing of midwifery by the Oklahoma Department of Health and requires midwives to be certified by either the North American Registry of Midwives or the American Midwifery Certification Board.


8. SB 1915: Makes significant changes to the Physician Assistant Act including but not limited to: expansion of scope of practice by allowing physician assistants (PA) to practice under the delegation of a physician instead of under the supervision of a physician, allowing a PA to have practice agreements with multiple physicians, and allowing PAs to be considered primary care providers for insurance purposes.


INSURANCE


HB 2587: In order to determine the health care coverage of those with disabilities, use of dollar-per-quality adjusted life calculations are prohibited.


JUDICIARY


1. HB 2668: Includes jail trusts created by a board of county commissioners, in counties with populations greater than 600,000, in the list of political subdivisions that are under the jurisdiction of courts of record for money judgements.


2. HB 3756: Permits the use of videoconferencing technology to conduct all stages of criminal and civil proceedings except trial by jury and bench trials.


3. SB 300: Creates the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Limited Liability Act which provides for liability protections to health care facilities and providers offering COVID-19 services.


4. SB 1728: Creates the Unborn Person Wrongful Death Act. This Act allows parents and grandparents of an unborn child to seek damages against a physician for performing an abortion under certain circumstances.


5. SB 1946: Provides that persons conducting business in this state shall not be liable in a civil action claiming injury from exposure to COVID-19 if the business conduct was in compliance with regulations in place at the time of alleged exposure.


6. SB 1947: Provides that persons or businesses providing COVID-19-related goods such as cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment are immune from civil liability with exceptions.


MEDICAID


SJR 27: This joint resolution is a constitutional amendment to lower the portion of annual tobacco settlement payments to the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust from 75% to 25%. The reallocated funds will be used to help offset the cost of Medicaid expansion. This amendment to the state Constitution will be on November’s ballot as SQ 814.


MISCELLANEOUS


1. SB 285: Requires lactating state employees be given reasonable paid break time to pump their breast milk.


2. SB 1877: Requires a lactation room in buildings owned or leased by the state for employees’ use.

PUBLIC SAFETY


1. HB 2877: Establishes a set fee of $75 to attend a victims’ impact panel.


2. HB 3270: Allows for operation of a vehicle for 15 days after purchase with a temporary tag. Also, allows for electronic versions of registration certificates and for an operator to redact certain address information.


3. SB 408: Makes it a misdemeanor to operate a vehicle that requires endorsements without the proper license and endorsements.


4. SB 1081: Creates the Anti Red Flag Act. This Act requires due process to confiscate firearms. It applies to any order, ordinance, or regulation by any municipality or other political subdivision that authorizes such a seizure.


RETIREMENT


1. HB 2272: Designates as hazard duty members, deputy sheriffs and jailers first employed on or after 11/1/20. This designation allows for enhanced retirement benefits under the Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System.


2. HB 3330: Amends disability pension standards by requiring the Board of Trustees of the Oklahoma Police Pension and Retirement System to determine that any police officer that sustains an injury during a violent act while in the performance of their duties is 100% disabled and entitled to a 100% normal disability benefit.


3. HB 3350: Requires a cost of living adjustment (COLA) for the following pension systems: teachers, firefighters, public employees, judges and justices, and law enforcement and police. The COLA shall be between 2 and 4% depending on certain factors.


REVENUE & TAXATION


1. HB 2504: Extends the ad valorem tax exemption granted for all property used exclusively and directly for religious purposes to real property owned by a church that is used as a religious pre-K through grade 12 school, as long as the church does not charge the entity operating the school rent or execute a formal lease agreement with the entity for use of its property.


2. HB 2740: Permits boards of county commissioners to postpone delinquent tax sales and related notifications upon request of county treasurers for up to one year in the event of a Catastrophic Health Emergency declared by the Governor.


3. HB 3068: Implements wage garnishment of state employees with state tax debt until the debt is satisfied. State law previously required employees to be fired for failure to pay income tax.


4. HB 4142: Upon request of the Legislature, requires the Oklahoma Tax Commission to provide all revenue analysis and methodology provided or made available to the Oklahoma Board of Equalization when it is used for an official action by said Board.


5. SB 1149: Permits the Oklahoma Tax Commission to release the full social security number, of persons opting to receive card-based tax refunds, to companies contracted to provide such service.


TOURISM


In order to construct, repair, and rehabilitate state park facilities, the Oklahoma Capitol Improvement Authority is required to issue $48.6 million in bonds on behalf of the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation.


TRANSPORTATION


HB 3508: Requires 18 wheelers carrying cargo to carry general liability insurance in an amount sufficient to cover the clean-up costs of any substance spilled or deposited on Oklahoma roadways or right-of-ways.


WORKERS’ COMPENSATION


SB 1375: Adds chiropractic care to the list of treatment options an employer must provide an employee with a compensable injury.

Cover photo credit: Wikimedia Commons. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

NOTE: The information provided on this website is not intended to be, and does not constitute, the giving of legal advice. The information provided here is not intended to be, and should not be used as, a substitute for individual reliance on privately retained legal counsel. Information provided on this site may not constitute the most current or complete information with respect to legal topics or developments. Mr. Persaud expressly disclaims all liability based on any information contained on this site.”

© 2020, by Kyle Persaud.