State has many new laws on the books

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - NEWS - BY DALE DENWALT Capi­tol Bureau dden­walt@ok­la­

More than 200 bills be­came state law Thurs­day, in­clud­ing mea­sures to help pro­tect preg­nant in­mates, re­li­gious adop­tion ser­vices and vic­tims of sex crimes.

Law­mak­ers also passed sev­eral bills in the wake of Ok­la­homa’s fis­cal cri­sis that could help them sta­bi­lize the state bud­get.

One bill, which be­came law on Nov. 1, would let the pub­lic an­a­lyze how much money tax­pay­ers are sav­ing by claim­ing tax cred­its. While the law is in ef­fect, the Ok­la­homa Tax Com­mis­sion has un­til Jan. 1, 2020, to pub­lish the in­for­ma­tion. It could be use­ful to law­mak­ers as they gauge whether cred­its are worth the cost.

The Ok­la­homa Leg­is­la­ture fin­ished work in May, but new laws tra­di­tion­ally don’t be­come ac­tive un­til Nov. 1. The Leg­is­la­ture re­turns to the Capi­tol in Fe­bru­ary for an­other ses­sion.

House Bill 3584 was adopted in the wake of the Ok­la­homa Depart­ment of Health fi­nan­cial scan­dal. The new law re­quires that two Board of Health mem­bers have at least five years of ex­ec­u­tive lead­er­ship ex­pe­ri­ence in a healthre­lated in­dus­try, with ed­u­ca­tion and ex­pe­ri­ence in fi­nance, law, busi­ness plan­ning or op­er­a­tional de­ci­sion-mak­ing.

An­other new law will pre­vent shack­ling of preg­nant women who are in state cus­tody.

“The pre­sump­tion is that no re­straints of any kind shall be used, un­less oth­er­wise di­rected by the physi­cian in charge,” states House Bill 3393.

Cor­rec­tional of­fi­cers and jail­ers are pro­hib­ited from us­ing ab­dom­i­nal re­straints, four-point re­straints, plac­ing a preg­nant woman in a face­down po­si­tion, re­straints that could in­crease the risk of a fall and any kind of re­straint where the woman is linked to an­other in­mate. The bill also re­quires that when an in­mate goes into la­bor, of­fi­cials must al­low a cer­ti­fied doula, fam­ily mem­ber or clergy in the room.

One of the most con­tro­ver­sial new laws from the 2018 ses­sion ex­empts re­li­gious adop­tion agen­cies from ac­tiv­i­ties that vi­o­late their re­li­gious be­liefs. Se­nate Bill 1140 was strongly backed by the Arch­dio­cese of Ok­la­homa City. It would al­low groups to re­ceive pub­lic fund­ing even if they of­fer adop­tion ser­vices only to those who share their be­liefs.

An­other new law closes a loop­hole that al­lowed sex of­fend­ers to live near their vic­tims. The law cre­ates a 2,000-foot “zone of safety” around the vic­tim’s home. Per­pe­tra­tors are also now pro­hib­ited from loi­ter­ing within 1,000 feet of their vic­tim’s res­i­dence.

Other bills that be­came law Thurs­day in­clude:

• HB 2932: Trig­gers the process that could re­quire some Med­ic­aid re­cip­i­ents to meet work re­quire­ments.

• HB 2987: Ex­pands a school loan re­pay­ment pro­gram for doc­tors to in­clude physi­cian as­sis­tants and al­lows re­cip­i­ents to prac­tice in more pop­u­lated ar­eas.

• SB 1367: Pre­vents some­one from be­ing ar­rested and charged with drug pos­ses­sion if they call emer­gency ser­vices be­cause of an over­dose.

• HB 2860: Re­quires schools to link to ex­pen­di­ture in­for­ma­tion on their web­site and pub­li­cize the su­per­in­ten­dents’ full com­pen­sa­tion pack­age.

• HB 3290: Clar­i­fies that re­stric­tions on driv­ing in the left lane don’t ap­ply within city lim­its, un­less the road­way is part of the na­tional high­way sys­tem.

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