By Senator James Leewright
Thursday, February 27 marked the deadline day for Senate committees to debate and vote on bills that were introduced in this chamber. It was an intense but extremely productive week with committees approving dozens of bills, along with floor votes on legislation that had already made it through the committee process.
I value the input I get from folks here in the district about their issues and concerns—that contact sometimes results in legislation being filed to address specific areas of law. That’s the case with Senate Bill 1739 which I authored this session, creating the “Barbara E. Hoover Act.”
A few years ago, Oklahoma enacted legislation to ensure the right of families and residents to install video equipment in nursing rooms to monitor the safety and care of residents—many nursing homes had blocked the use of such equipment before that law was passed.
SB 1739 updates current law to make sure that residents in assisted living centers and continuum of care facilities have the same rights as nursing home residents to have video monitoring equipment in their room with the patient’s consent It also protects residents from fear of eviction or retaliation for using cameras or video equipment in their own room or apartment. SB 1739 was approved this past Monday in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
I also wanted to mention Senate Bill 1081, which was approved in the Senate Judiciary Committee this past week. This legislation is called the “Anti-Red Flag Act,” and would nullify any new attempt from the federal government to bring so-called red flag laws into our state. These red-flag laws allow an individual’s firearms to be confiscated in violation of the U.S. Constitution. SB 1081 will ensure all Oklahomans will be protected from this violation of their constitutional rights.
In addition to committee and floor votes on bills, this week I presented a citation in the Senate recognizing the Drumright and Sapulpa campuses of Central Tech in celebration of 50 years of training in high-demand occupations. Representatives Kyle Hilbert, Mark Lawson, and Ty Burns were also part of the presentation.
As part of the Oklahoma CareerTech system, Central Tech serves around 25 communities, including 18 high schools. They prepare secondary and post-secondary students for the workforce, armed with industry-recognized credentials. They’ve received the Oklahoma Gold Star Award for excellence for 30 consecutive years—something no others have achieved.
I want to extend my thanks to Superintendent Ron Dyer, Keith Burris, Assistant Superintendent and CFO, and Joe Naifeh, Central Tech Board of Education President, for their leadership and for being a part of our recognition ceremony.
Finally, I want to remind everyone, we have an election coming up on Tuesday, March 3. I want to urge everyone to exercise your right to cast your ballot and be a part of the political process.
I thank you for the privilege of being your voice at the State Capitol. If you have any questions or concerns about legislation or other issues at the state level, please feel free to contact my office by calling 405-521-5528, or email James.Leewright@oksenate.gov.