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  • Writer's pictureKyle Persaud

New Oklahoma Laws 2023

Every year, I publish a list of new laws that the Oklahoma legislature has enacted in the past year. What follows, is a list of some of the most important laws passed in 2023. Most of these laws take effect on November 1, 2023, some of the laws have already taken effect earlier this year.


Thanks to L. Michelle Sutton, attorney and lobbyist for the Capitol Resource Group, for writing many of the bill summaries that appear in this post.


ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, & CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES


· HB 1715 makes significant changes to the state’s alcohol laws including adjusting the definition of beer, allowing certain alcoholic distributors to host off-site events with approval by the ABLE Commission, and allowing licensed vendors to sell up to six bottles or cans of beer in original packaging or a reusable container for consumption on the premises.

· HB 2095 makes changes to the state’s medical marijuana laws. Affected areas include enforcement, licensing, and operations. Also extends moratorium on processing and issuing business licenses until 2026.

· HB 2165 requires the completion of a tobacco cessation program for any person under the age of twenty-one who purchases tobacco products with a fake license. Additionally, allows for municipal enforcement.

· HB 2281 prohibits the use of a “straw party or person” to purchase any license or registration needed to distribute, possess, prescribe, or manufacture any controlled dangerous substance on behalf of any third party.

· SB 813 makes additional changes to medical marijuana laws regarding application and licensing fees and authorizes the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority to operate a compliance lab.

· SB 18X creates the Medical Marijuana Tax Fund. At the discretion of the Legislature, monies accruing in the account may be appropriated to fund substance abuse programs and common education.

· SB 913 – Requires any commercial marijuana grower to post a bond with the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority. The bond must be for at least $50,000, and must be with a surety company licensed to do business in Oklahoma as a surety. An “appropriate agency” may recall the bond if the property is abandoned, if the Medical Marijuana Authority revokes the grower license, or in response to receiving notice of any violation that necessitates remedial action.



CHARITABLE DONATIONS

· HB 1542 – If a restaurant donates food, the restaurant may not be sued for damage caused by the food, unless the damages resulted from an intentional act or omission, gross negligence, or the restaurant knew or should have known that the condition of the food resulted in damages.


CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

· HB 2452 prohibits local authorities from promulgating regulations that permit or require licensees of family childcare homes to exceed or limit the statutory capacity.

· HB 2462 clarifies that a parent must file a specific motion to vacate the order to terminate parental rights.

· SB 159 relates to deprived children. Permits a parent or legal guardian to voluntarily participate in services related to the behaviors and conditions that led to the petition. Such participation shall not be considered an admission that a child is deprived.

· SB 178 revises the Children’s Code regarding the standards for trial reunification including the requirement that a child cannot spend more than twelve months in a trial reunification.

· SB 32X requires the Department of Human Services (DHS) to use $10 million dollars of its funding to provide home and community-based waiver services to individuals with developmental disabilities with the goal of eliminating the waitlist for services for this population. Also, requires DHS to maintain funding levels for senior nutrition programs and prohibits senior nutrition centers from being closed without approval from both the House and Senate. Furthermore, DHS must make the $5.00 supplemental daily reimbursement rate, provided during COVID to childcare providers, permanent.

· SB 40X makes an appropriation to DHS for $10.3 million to enhance and increase the capacity for programs in the Tulsa area and surrounding rural areas to assist justice-involved women, their children, and caregivers and appropriates $2.5 million statewide to assist working families in obtaining high quality childcare.


CORRECTIONS

· HB 1546 – Requires the Department of Corrections to create an “Orange Alert” system to notify any resident within a 40-mile radius of a prison, when an inmate has escaped.

· SB 844 puts in place the mechanisms to enact the provisions of State Question 780 which required savings accrued due to the reduction in number and length of incarcerations, attributed to the Question, be used to fund substance abuse rehabilitation, treatment, housing, etc.

· SB 12X amends the requirements for mental health transports by law enforcement.


COUNTY AND MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT

· HB 1066 clarifies language regarding surplus property actions during an election cycle for county commissioners that meet certain criteria.

· HB 2361 amends the definition of nuisance property and requires a reserve minimum bid on properties being sold by the county. Such a bid shall cover any taxes, abatement costs, penalties, interest, and any other costs owed to a municipality. Also allows certain property to be sold in the name of a municipality if that municipality has outstanding liens on the property.

· SB 951 increases the travel allowance for county officers.


CRIMINAL JUSTICE

· HB 1328 provides for civil asset forfeiture for any equipment used in the theft of catalytic converters or copper.

· HB 2041 allows law enforcement to issue a warning to a person about the existence of a misdemeanor warrant in another county and to further advise the person to contact the court clerk to resolve the matter.

· HB 2054 modifies prostitution laws including making it unlawful for any person who pays a fee for a sexual encounter to publish a review of that encounter or to publish a review of the pelvic area, buttocks, or breasts experienced in the sexual encounter on a website that facilitates, encourages, offers, solicits, or promotes sexual conduct with another for a fee. The crime is a felony and punishment for violations increases with each subsequent offense.

· HB 2153 – Possession of controlled dangerous substances (CDS) is a felony, if it is the person’s fourth CDS conviction within the past ten years.

· HB 2210 under certain circumstances, allows a court to depart from a mandatory minimum sentence or sentence enhancement for sex trafficking, sexual abuse, or sexual assault of a minor convicted as an adult.

· HB 2490 requires any person who received a suspended sentence that exceeds five years, upon request, to receive an early evaluation hearing after five years to determine whether the length of the suspended sentence should be modified. An early evaluation may be requested under certain circumstances after four years. Split decisions are also addressed.

· HB 2649 makes misdemeanors eligible under the Community Sentencing Act. No longer requires a felony for participation.

· SB 420 increases the period that a person can file with the Crime Victims Compensation Board from one year to thirty months. In addition, makes changes to compensatory amounts and addresses self-harm.

· SB 537 amends the definition of violent crime to include domestic assault and battery resulting in great bodily injury and removes the requirement that any person who commits any assault and battery by strangulation must intend to cause great bodily harm.

· SB 1000 allows the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations (OSBI) to inquire as to the condition and location of a sexual assault evidence kit that has not been submitted to a forensic lab within twenty days after receipt by a law enforcement agency. The OSBI may also initiate an investigation on any previously untested or partially tested sexual assault evidence kit.

· SB 1046 increases from a misdemeanor to a felony domestic abuse committed against a pregnant woman with knowledge of the pregnancy. Increases penalty from one year to not more than five years.

· HB 2172 – Makes it a crime to post personally identifiable information about a medical care provider with the intent to threaten, intimidate, harass, or facilitate another person to threaten, intimidate or harass the medical care provider.

· HB 2154 – Makes it a felony, punishable by up to two years in prison or a fine of up to $1,000, or both, to assault any employee working for a health care facility.

· SB 481 – Makes it a felony, punishable by up to six months in jail or a fine of up to $1,000, or both, to threaten or impersonate an election official.

· SB 650 – Makes it a crime to use computer software to scalp tickets to entertainment events.

· HB 2490 – Allows a person who has a suspended sentence of over five years, for certain crimes, to have an early evaluation hearing where he can ask that his suspended sentence be reduced.

· HB 2054 – Makes it a felony to solicit prostitution.


ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND BUSINESS

· HB 1965 allows an easement for electric services to also be used to provide or expand broadband services.

· SB 1176 modifies the standards for a business to qualify for a rebate under the Large-Scale Economic Activity Development Act (LEAD).

· SB 1177 creates the Perform Act. This Act is created until July 1, 2032, as an investment rebate program for the cost of qualified capital expenditures by an establishment that creates a certain number of new direct jobs.

· SB 1179 makes an appropriation of $180 million to the Perform Fund for the investment rebate program created by the Reform Act.

· HB 1031X establishes the Oklahoma Homebuilder Program to create more affordable housing developments in rural and urban areas by providing loans to homebuilders at interest rates as low as zero percent.

· HB 1038X appropriates $145 million to the Commerce Department to provide site improvements and facility upgrades at an industrial park.

· SB 13X extends from 15 years to 30 years the length of time that a sports team can participate in the Quality Jobs Program.

· SB 14X increases the cumulative inducements provided pursuant to the Oklahoma Tourism Development Act from $15 million to $30 million.

· SB 39X makes an appropriation of $500,000 to the Health Care Workforce Training Commission to establish a grant program with Northwestern OSU for the purpose of recruiting, educating, and stabilizing the state’s healthcare workforce.

EDUCATION (Common)

· HB 1934 creates the Oklahoma Parental Choice Tax Credit Act which provides refundable tax credits for children enrolled in private schools.

· HB 2901 makes an appropriation to the School Building Equalization Fund in the amount of $125 million. Allocates a reoccurring appropriation to the school funding formula in the amount of $500 million.

· HB 2903 requires the Department of Education to establish and maintain a three-year pilot program known as the School Resource Officer Program. Those participating in the program must complete active shooter emergency response training.

· HB 2904 makes an appropriation of $150 million to help pay for the School Resource Officer Program.

· SB 429 – Allows students to wear tribal regalia to graduation ceremonies

· SB 516 abolishes the Statewide Virtual Charter School Board (SVCSB) and creates the Statewide Charter School Board which will assume the powers and responsibilities of the SVCSB.

· SB 1118 makes an appropriation of $10 million to the Department of Education for a literary instructional team pilot program.

· SB 1119 allocates funds for teacher pay raises. The amount ranges from $3000 to $6000 depending on years of experience.

· SB 1121 provides teachers who have been employed for at least one year with six weeks of paid maternity leave.

· HB 1934 – Provides parents a tax credit for tuition paid to send their children to private school.

· SB 100 – Requires all school districts to undergo a “a risk and vulnerability assessment” by July 1, 2026. Requires an institution of higher education, technology center school, public school, or private school to complete a risk and vulnerability assessment in order to continue receiving an Oklahoma School Security Grant.


EDUCATION (Higher)

· HB 2863 creates the OSU Veterinary Medicine Authority to support the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine.

· SB 840 modifies the Name, Image, and Likeness Rights Act (NIL) regarding student athlete compensation.

· HB 1013X authorizes the expenditure of $79 million to construct or expand an animal teaching hospital.

· SB 28X appropriates $129 million to the State Regents for Higher Education. Monies to fund the following: incentive scholarship program, teacher employment incentive program, National Guard Educational Assistance Fund, faculty pay raises, expansion of engineering programs, application-based health care, critical workforce development initiative, student success and institutional excellence, and creation of a food pantry.



ELECTION AND ETHICS

· HB 2052 prohibits the Secretary of the State Election Board from joining a multistate voter list maintenance organization if certain requirements are a condition of membership. In addition, it states that motor vehicle license data shall not be provided to a maintenance organization for persons who are identified as not being citizens of the United States.

· HB 2682 clarifies what shall not be considered a contribution, donation, or thing of value for the purposes of conducting or administering an election.

· SB 290 increases the compensation provided to certain election officials.

· SB 377 makes changes to voter registrations, mailings, and cancellations including cancellation for being excused from jury duty for not being a citizen of the United States.

· SB 481 defines election official and makes it a crime to use an electronic communication device to make publicly available personally identifiable information of said official to threaten, intimidate or harass. Makes certain information confidential. Makes it a crime to impersonate an election official and to threaten or intimidate an election official with the intent to improperly influence an election.

· SB 677 – Requires that a candidate for state elective office provide their home address to the state election board; however, the state election board must keep this information confidential. If an opposing candidate contests the candidate’s eligibility, the election board must make this information available to the opposing candidate, candidate representative, or other lawful authority.


ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES

· HB 2239 creates the Terry Peach North Canadian Watershed Restoration Act which establishes a pilot program to address invasive woody species in the North Canadian Watershed.

· HB 2888 makes an appropriation of $38.62 million to the Water Resources Board for upgrades to water and wastewater systems in northeast Oklahoma.

· HB 2942 makes an appropriation of $28 million to the Water Resources Board for improvements to water infrastructure, especially in rural areas.

· SB 502 creates the Electric Vehicle Charging Act which addresses provisions regarding the regulation of electric motor vehicle charging stations.


HEALTH AND LONG-TERM CARE

· HB 1843 replaces the Insurance Commissioner with the Attorney General regarding the regulation, investigation, and enforcement of pharmacy network access for pharmacy benefit managers.

· HB 2175 renames the Mental Health Loan Repayment Fund to the Behavioral Health Workforce Development Fund and expands uses of the fund to include among other things, increasing the number of psychiatric residencies.

· HB 2422 authorizes Oklahoma to become a member state of the Recognition of EMS Personnel Licensure Interstate Compact.

· HB 2753 requires the Attorney General to maintain a Vulnerable Adult Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation registry. Certain criteria to be included on the registry. Registry must be updated quarterly.

· HB 2824 transfers the Oklahoma State Board of Examiners for Long-Term Care Administrators to the Health Department along with all employees, powers, functions, and duties.

· SB 575 creates the Counseling Compact with the goal of improving public access to counseling services.

· SB 613 – Prohibits health care providers from administering “gender transition procedures” to anyone under the age of eighteen. A health care provider who performs gender transition procedures may be convicted of a felony, and may lose his license.

· SB 710 permits authorized school personnel to administer opiate antagonists to individuals suspected of overdosing regardless of any prescription or standing order.

· SB 711 requires the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services to provide emergency opioid antagonists to the Department of Corrections and to county jails for inmates with a known opioid addiction or opioid-related offense.

· SB 712 requires the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services to provide emergency opioid antagonists to hospitals for individuals showing signs of an opioid overdose.

· SB 32X makes an appropriation to the Health Care Authority for medical providers to connect to the Health Information Exchange, increase reimbursement to long-term care facilities, and provide one-time funding to critical access hospitals and hospitals participating in the Supplemental Offset Payment Program.


INSURANCE

· HB 1736 requires health benefit plans to implement a clear and transparent process for a participant or beneficiary with chronic respiratory failure consequent to chronic pulmonary disease (CRF-COPD) to request an exception to step therapy protocol in certain circumstances and cover requested treatment.

· SB 557 requires health care providers reviewing claims for mental health or substance use disorder treatments and services to have appropriate, qualified, and specialized credentials with respect to those treatments and services.


JUDICIARY

· HB 1396 gives court reporters eligible for longevity payments an annual equipment allowance of $3000. Also, increases pay for certain credentialing.

· HB 2794 – Allows judges to request that government agencies keep private the home address, personal telephone number, e-mail address, and other personal information about the judge. Prohibits businesses and private persons from publishing judges’ home address and contact information or posting such information online.

· HB 1024X raises the daily pay of a juror from $20 a day to $50 a day.

· SB 19X creates the Family Representation and Advocacy Act to ensure uniform and high-quality legal representation for children and indigent parents, legal guardians, and Indian custodians in deprived child actions.


PROTECTIVE ORDERS

· SB 291 – Allows a victim of child abuse to file a protective order against her abuser, whether or not the victim is related to the abuser. If the victim is a minor, someone else may file on the victim’s behalf.


PUBLIC FINANCE

· SB 1131 repeals the bonding authority for construction of a new state health lab.

· HB 1002 X creates the Legacy Capital Financing Fund (LCF) using surplus revenue to self-finance current and future capital needs without utilizing the bond markets. Self-financing capital projects totaling $350 million were approved this Session, including:

o HB 1009X which authorizes $46 million for upgrades to existing Oklahoma Historical Society facilities.

o HB 1011X which authorizes $70 million for upgrades to the Jim Thorpe Building, $26.3 million to renovate the Kelly Building and Kelly Annex as a daycare facility, and $19 million for repairs to the Capitol complex tunnels.

o HB 1012X which authorizes the following to the Department of Public Safety: $59.6 million to build a training center, $20 million to create a wireless information network, and $8 million to upgrade facilities.

o HB 1013X which authorizes $79 million to construct a new veterinary teaching hospital.

o HB 1014X which authorizes $17.6 million for upgrades to Department of Libraries facilities.

o HB 1032X which authorizes $3.9 million for construction of a new training facility for the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training.

· HB 1004X is the fiscal year 2024 general appropriations bill. The measure distributes $11.3 billion to state agencies. Including supplements, the total appropriated dollars for fiscal year 2024 is $12.9 billion.


PUBLIC SAFETY

· HB 1390 extends from thirty days to two months the period in which purchasers of used motor vehicles must obtain title and registration. Also adjusts period for temporary license plates.

· HB 1590 requires the 911 Management Authority to provide online training for operators. Increases fees to fund Next Generation 911 technology. Modifies the distribution of revenue from 911 fees.

· HB 1962 – If someone is over 14 and under 17, and lives or works on a farm, they may apply for a “farm permit” driver’s license. This farm permit allows the licensee to drive while going to and from the farm in connection with any farm-related work. If the driver lives on the farm, he may use the farm permit to drive to and from school over the most direct and accessible route between the farm and school. To qualify for a farm permit, a person under 16 must have completed at least fifty hours of adult-supervised driving, with at least ten of those hours at night.

· HB 2010 requires certain motorboats to have a carbon monoxide sticker in plain view of the interior of the vessel.

· HB 2011 requires Service OK to develop rules and procedures to establish a biennial registration option for most vehicles.

· HB 2684 provides that a person shall be guilty of endangerment of an emergency worker for certain driving offenses including failing to change lanes into a lane that is not adjacent to a stationary emergency vehicle, maintenance vehicle, or licensed wrecker if the highway consists of two or more lanes. Penalties increase for subsequent violations.

· SB 623 updates statutory references from the Department of Public Safety and the Tax Commission to Service OK. Allows commercial and driver learner permits to be issued for one year. Makes other changes regarding background checks, restricted commercial licenses, and drivers’ education instructors.

· SB 37X establishes Service OK as a stand-alone agency.

· HB 1077 – Establishes a “Kasey Alert” for missing adults, similar to the “Amber Alert” for missing children. Requires the State Department of Public Safety (DPS) to develop procedures for issuing a Kasey Alert, and requires DPS to devise a method by which information on critically missing adults is distributed to statewide media outlets. Requires law enforcement agencies to enter the data on missing adults into the National Crime Information Center database, and to conduct an investigation into the disappearance of the critically missing adult.

· HB 2242 – If someone is a victim of domestic violence, stalking, or harassment, the person shall be exempt from the initial deposit or credit requirements of any public utility. To be eligible for this exemption, the person must have been determined as a “victim” by an existing protective order, law enforcement personnel, or a designated representative of a certified domestic violence shelter or certified domestic violence program.


REAL ESTATE

· SB 212 – No one who is not a U.S. citizen may own land in Oklahoma. A non-citizen may not directly own Oklahoma land, and a non-citizen may not own land through a business entity or trust. When any land deed is recorded in the county clerk’s office, the deed must include an affidavit, signed by the new owner, that the new owner is complying with this law.


RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

· SB 404 deems it a substantial burden to exclude persons or entities in the receipt of governmental funds, benefits, or programs based solely on religious affiliation.


REVENUE AND TAXATION

· HB 2542 expands a tax credit for investments in clean-burning motor vehicles to include hydrogen powered vehicles and hydrogen car conversion equipment.

· SB 984 modifies sales tax calculations for certain motor vehicle and equipment sales when a vehicle is traded in towards the cost of a new purchase.

· HB 1008X raises the income limit for persons to qualify for an additional homestead exemption from $25,000 to $30,000.

· HB 1029X creates the Caring for Caregivers Act which provides a tax credit for family caregivers under certain circumstances.

· HB 1039X will eliminate the franchise tax beginning in 2024.

· HB 1040X expands the portion of taxable income assessed at 3.75 percent for joint filers for state income taxes from $2400 to $4600. This change addresses what is often called the “income tax marriage penalty.”


STATE GOVERNMENT

· HB 1774 exempts the Tourism and Recreation Commission from certain competitive bid requirements of the Central Purchasing Act. Clarifies that leasing or contracting of state-owned restaurants are not exempt from the bid process.

· HB 2263 modifies who can make appointments to the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority. Reduces term limits.

· HB 2820 extends the sunset of OETA until 2026.

· Hb 1027X increases from 480 hours to 640 hours the annual leave accumulation and carryover limits for state employees with five or more years of service.

· SB 16x – Allows any full-time state employee, who has been employed by the state agency for at least two years, to take up to six weeks of paid maternity leave following the birth or adoption of the child.


STATE POWERS

· HJR 1017 requests Congress call a constitutional convention to propose an amendment to the Constitution to enact term limits for US Representatives and US Senators.


TRANSPORTATION

· SB 930 creates the Aero Students Pathways for Aerospace Careers and Education (AeroSPACE). This program is designed to respond to workforce needs in this industry by establishing a statewide educational curriculum initiative.

· SB 939 increases the term limit for members of the Board of Directors for the Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority. Also clarifies that accepting an appointment to complete an unexpired term does not count toward that member’s term limit.


VETERANS AND MILITARY AFFAIRS

· HB 1036 creates the Veteran Suicide Prevention Task Force to study and make recommendations regarding causes and prevention of suicide among the state’s veterans.

· HB 2887 makes an appropriation of $10.9 million to the Department of Veterans Affairs for construction costs at the long-term care facility being built in Sallisaw.

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