Feb. 1—Oklahoma lawmakers return to the state
After the COVID-19 pandemic complicated the 2020 legislative session, state lawmakers are poised to kickoff the four-month 2021 session with renewed energy.
Lawmakers filed a record-breaking amount of legislation — more than 3,000 bills and resolutions — for the 2021 legislative session.
Typically less than 20% of the bills filed make it to the governor's desk.
Here's a look at some of the top issues lawmakers will tackle this year.
Mask mandates, COVID-19 vaccines and pandemic-inspired business closures are top of mind for state lawmakers as they attempt to address the impacts of the worst health crisis in recent history.
Lawmakers filed a slew of bills related to the COVID-19 pandemic. At this point, it's not clear which bills will go the distance, but it's obvious legislators will be discussing the pandemic at length.
As for how the nearly 150 members of the
Senate Pro Tem
But the threat of a COVID-19 outbreak at the
State lawmakers will be tasked with coming up with roughly
After voters narrowly passed State Question 802 last year,
Intertwined in the discussion of Medicaid expansion, a fight could be brewing over Gov.
Stitt wants to outsource care for more than 700,000 Medicaid recipients, including those who will be covered by the expansion, to four for-profit health insurance companies through what is referred to as a managed care model. But Stitt's plan to privatize much of the state's Medicaid program will come with a roughly
A supporter of managed care, Senate Majority Floor Leader
"Constitutionally, we have to fund the expansion population, so there's no doubt that we will absolutely fund this," said David, R-
Initiative petition reform
After the passage of Medicaid expansion last year,
Republican lawmakers met the call with numerous bills to make it harder for initiative petitions to pass.
Some lawmakers have proposed increasing the percentage of votes required to pass initiative petitions above the current threshold of a simple majority. Others have proposed legislation to impose geographical requirements on signature-gathering or vote majorities.
Virtual public meetings
At the top of legislators' to-do list is fast-tracking legislation to let public bodies resume meeting virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senate Bill 1031 would reinstate an exception to the Open Meeting Act to let public bodies meet via teleconference or videoconference so long as the governor's emergency declaration in response to the COVID-19 pandemic is in effect.
"Your virtual meetings legislation will be on the governor's desk shortly," House Majority Floor Leader
Lawmakers likely won't get population figures from the
Treat and McCall have vowed redistricting efforts will be open, transparent and include widespread citizen input throughout. The public will also be able to submit their own recommendations for new maps once Census data is released this spring.
With the high-profile 2020 presidential election in the rearview mirror,
Some seek to make it easier to register to vote or cast a ballot. Some bills seek to restrict voting.
After some early voters found themselves waiting in line for hours to cast their in-person absentee ballots in the days leading up to the
House Elections and Ethics Chairman Rep.
As for if legislators filed more election bills than in previous years, Olsen said he wouldn't be surprised if that was the case because of the whopping number of bills lawmakers filed this year and because elections have been a hot topic as of late.
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