OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Kyle Hibert (R-Bristow) has passed seven bills in the House of Representatives this legislative session. The bills are a mixture of local control issues or ones that will result in increased public safety protections or greater economic development benefits for state residents.
“It’s gratifying to have all of my legislation passed in the House before any of our legislative deadlines,” Hilbert said. “Each of my bills have received overwhelming bipartisan support, which shows that they are matters of good governance broadly supported by people on each side of an issue.”
Hilbert presented House Bill 2472, authored by House Speaker Charles McCall, to the House.
Currently, trains are not allowed to block an intersection for more than ten minutes unless there are certain extenuating circumstances. Unfortunately, there is not much “teeth” to this prohibition, Hilbert explained. HB2472 seeks to add a $10,000 fine per occurrence to those entities who violate this provision without good cause.
“This is not only a nuisance, but also a public safety issue where trains are blocking first responders from getting from one side of town to another,” he said.
The bill passed by a vote of 92-5 in the House.
House Bill 1257 is a local control issue. Currently, the state limits county governments to matching employee contributions to savings accounts at $50 per month. This bill removes that state restriction and allows counties to set their own limits.
“If a county has the financial means and the desire to provide a greater benefit to their employees, then the state should not stand in the way,” Hilbert said.
Tulsa County requested he run this bill. The bill passed in the House by a vote of 96-0.
House Bill 1259 is a repeat of a bill that Gov. Fallin vetoed last year. Currently, it is illegal for voters to encourage others to vote by posting a picture of their ballot on social media. Hilbert is working to clarify the language to make it legal to take a picture of a person’s own ballot and to set up guidelines for how that should and should not take place. This is already being done by voters, and this removes criminal penalties for those who are not seeking to unduly influence the outcome of elections. The measure passed the House with a vote of 92-5.
House Bill 1260 is a request bill by the state Department of Labor. It allows the department to keep a maximum of $30,000 in a fund from violations of the Oklahoma Occupational Health and Safety Standards Act. The funds are to be used for the production and dissemination of workplace safety educational materials, presentations and training, or for the acquisition of workplace safety equipment, to be provided by the Department of Labor to employers. The bill passed the House by a vote of 98-1.
House Bill 1261 is a sales tax exemption for rolling stock (locomotives, auto cars and railroad cars) scheduled to expire this summer.
“This exemption has brought great jobs to the state that would not otherwise be here and has had a positive return for the state,” Hilbert said.
This bill extends the sunset date by five years and modifies definitions. The measure passed the House by a vote of 93-5.
House Bill 1262 provides a sales tax exemption for purchases of prosthetic devices, durable medical equipment and mobility enhancing equipment when prescribed by a medical practitioner. Currently the exemption only exists for Medicaid and Medicare purchases. This was a bill requested by a constituent. The measure passed the House by a vote of 99-0.
House Bill 1263 would allow companies to carry forward their zero-emission tax credits instead of requiring the state to reimburse them. Currently, if a company is receiving a zero-emission tax credit, they are required to receive a check from the state in lieu of the credit applying to future tax liability if their tax liability is reduced to $0. This bill would allow a company to irrevocably elect to carry forward the balance of their tax credit instead of receiving a check from the state. This bill will have a $4 million to $5 million positive fiscal impact on this year’s budget. It is important to note that no “new” zero- emission tax credits are being distributed. These were ten-year credits that we ended in 2017. The measure passed the House with a vote of 92-5.
All measures now move to the state Senate for consideration.