Senate Update

The state Senate worked through a heavy legislative workload last week, approving a number of important related to school choice and public safety.

The Senate Education Committee advanced House Bill 2753, which removes many restrictions that previous prohibited the advancement of charter schools.  Passage of the measure is a positive stride in giving charter schools the freedom to provide quality education choices to parents and children across the state. 

The measure authorizes school districts, technology center school districts, and comprehensive or regional institutions in the State System of Higher Education to sponsor charter schools, provided the charter school is located in a school district that has a school site on the school improvement list.  It also removes the requirement that the State Board of Education determine whether a new charter school exceeds the limit on establishing more than three charter schools per year in each county having more than 500,000 in population. HB 2753 also removes the requirement that the board not fund any schools that are over that limit.
After having been approved by a House panel last week, my proposal to allow law enforcement to electronically monitor the state’s most dangerous sex offenders will soon be considered on the floor of the House.  Senate Bill 2301 would make electronic monitoring devices mandatory for all Level Two and Three sex offenders who have been released from custody.  Level Two and Three offenders are considered the state’s most dangerous.  This is an important step in providing a strong deterrent for those who would prey on the weakest and most vulnerable members of our society.  We already understand the importance of monitoring individuals who have shown a pattern of violent behavior to women or children, and this proposal takes a logical step toward electronic monitoring for the most active and dangerous sex offenders.
A House committee also approved Senate Bill 2242, my proposal to expand the penalty for battery or assault by a person in the custody of the Office of Juvenile Affairs against employees of the agency to include a minimum of six months incarceration at a facility determined by the court.
Senate leaders are still doing everything in their power to shield the state from the federal government’s takeover of healthcare.  Last week, we called on the Attorney General to file a lawsuit blocking the law from taking effect, and we approved my measure that would allow Oklahoma voters to decide whether to amend our Constitution to stop Obamacare from being forced on our state.  I will keep you aware of any updates as we examine every course available to halt this intrusion into the lives of private citizens and businesses.  It’s clear the political powers that be in Washington may have thought they could run over private citizens and the U.S. Constitution, but here in Oklahoma, we are doing everything we can to stop that runaway train in its tracks.