Issue Areas: Economic Development, Taxation and Financial Services; Energy/Natural Resources

Outside the capitol, American Ninja Warrior contestants were successfully making it through their course challenges. Inside the building, many bills lost their chance at crossing the finish line during this second committee deadline week.

HB 2100 was one that didn’t make the cut, and that’s good news for business. This legislation attempted to expand the authority of the Corporation Commission to regulate pipeline safety incidents above $5,000. The federal threshold is currently $50,0000 and may be increased significantly in the next year.

Bills still on track include the following....

SB 608 requires the top 25 spirit and liquor brand manufacturers to offer to contract with all licensed wholesalers in the state. State Question 792 (alcohol modernization) was approved overwhelmingly by Oklahoma voters in 2016. The Oklahoma Constitution was amended to allow a winery or distiller to choose which wholesalers will distribute its products. This bill undoes that amendment for the top 25 brands by requiring those brands to contract with all wholesalers.

SB 485 eliminates the tax credit for incubators and the Quality Jobs Investment Program. This bill follows the Incentive Evaluation Commission's recommendations to eliminate these programs, which are no longer being used.

SB 1003 creates an Audit Privilege Act in Oklahoma that mirrors our surrounding states. This reform will allow businesses to more efficiently bring newly acquired facilities into compliance with environmental laws and rules.

HB 2667 corrects an issue created by HB 1011XX during special session last year. HB 2667 nets gambling losses from winning for tax purposes. This prevents the taxpayer from paying taxes on losses.

HB 1403 authorizes the Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB) to determine instream flow for each treasured stream, allow for future permitting and adjust instream flows. Additional permitting and regulation would reduce water available for business and industry. We have longstanding policy opposing this additional regulation.

Issue Areas: Health Care; Workforce Development

A bill supported by the OK2030 plan passed off the Senate floor this week and is one step closer to the Governor’s desk. HB 2351 opts Oklahoma into the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, which provides an expedited licensure pathway for eligible physicians that improves license portability and increases patient access to care. The Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC) represents a national solution that builds upon and reinforces a system of state-based regulation proven to protect patients and ensure safe delivery of health care.

In the area of criminal justice reform, HB 2134 unfortunately didn’t receive a final hearing before this week’s committee deadline. The bill would have provided new workforce opportunities for individuals with criminal records. This bill remains property of the Senate Business, Commerce and Tourism committee and will hopefully be revived next session. A bill that made its way through two committee meetings this week, HB 1269 , would allow for sentence modifications for certain offenders who committed simple drug possession and low-level property crimes. These crimes were reclassified in 2016 through State Question 780, which was approved by Oklahoma voters.

By the end of the week, a key education reform for the Senate Republican Caucus was coupled with the teacher pay raise priority in the House. SB 441 , which adjusts a school district’s option to implement a four-day school week, was amended to include the $1,200 teacher pay raise language from HB 1780 . Several questions were asked during the House Rules committee meeting on Thursday, and the bill sailed out of committee with a 7 to 1 vote.

Aerospace, Defense, Technology and Telecommunications;
Transportation & Infrastructure

Before the deadline this week, SB 378 reforming commercial drivers' license (CDL) testing passed from the House Rules Committee. This legislation directs the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety to create a process for third-party testers to administer CDL skills exams to address the backlog of CDL tests in the state. In the same meeting SB 365 was approved, establishing the Oklahoma Driving Automation System Uniformity Act and ensuring uniformity across Oklahoma for the testing and use of autonomous vehicles. 

In the Senate, both HB 2142 and HB 2143 were passed this week. These bills will help the ports and businesses along the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigational System (MKARNS).  HB 2142 creates the Tri-State Commission on MKARNS—along with Arkansas and Kansas—to seek appropriate federal funding for the backlog of $235 million in critical needs maintenance.  HB 2143 creates a new fund at the state-level that can receive federal or state money that can be used for maintenance or economic development projects along MKARNS.  The State Chamber Research Foundation's issue brief on MKARNS discusses the maintenance backlog as well as the economic benefits to the state of Oklahoma. 

Human Resources & Labor Law; Legal Reform; Workers' Compensation

Committee deadline week at the capitol was a busy one. Several measures we actively supported moved through committee this week before the deadline, including reform measures recommended by the Occupational Licensing Advisory Commission. HB 1094 changes the way that people who sell new and used vehicles and manufactured homes obtain their occupational licensing. Currently, salespersons must pay a yearly fee for their license, but no testing or application is required to enter the industry. Under this bill, the employer would pay the registration fee for their new employees, removing a barrier that keeps people from entering this profession. The bill was passed by the full Senate 41-0 and is now headed to the Governor for signature. SB 670, the Military Service Occupation, Education and Credentialing Act, received a unanimous vote in the House Government Efficiency committee this week. This bill would allow military members who are stationed in Oklahoma to receive reciprocity on occupational licenses and certificates without additional paying fees.

SB 1030, a bill relating to cities’ ability to create zoning regulations for medical marijuana-related businesses, passed through House Rules just before the deadline on Thursday, while a handful of other marijuana-related bills, including SB 305—a standalone bill containing the employment and workplace safety provisions from the Unity bill—were not heard. SB 754 was amended during committee to allow certified nurse practitioners to be authorized to provide recommendations (similar to prescriptions) for patients to receive a medical marijuana license.

There are two omnibus Workers’ Compensation bills still alive at the Legislature: HB 2367 and SB 701. Both have their titles stricken as the authors continue negotiations with stakeholders, including the State Chamber, on what should be included in the bills. HB 2367 was heavily amended during Senate Judiciary committee on Tuesday and SB 701 received a last-minute amendment during House Rules committee on Thursday. 

Annual Meeting Registration Now Open!
You won’t want to miss our 2019 Annual Meeting, which offers high-level networking, the results of our legislative agenda, our member video, the inauguration of a new chairman and much more!

This year’s keynote speaker, Kim Lear, is at the forefront of cutting-edge research to uncover cultural shifts that revolutionize how organizations engage employees and consumers and will discuss the trends that most impact your organization. 

Date: Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Location: National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.    Board of Directors Meeting (breakfast to be served)
10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.   Annual Meeting Networking Hour
11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.    Annual Meeting (lunch to be served)

Contact: Lindsey Sparks
A group of state attorney generals filed a lawsuit in July 2018 arguing the federal rules authorizing the development of Association Health Plans (AHPs) were written to undermine the Affordable Care Act (ACA). A federal judge in the U.S. District Court of D.C. ruled in late March that portions of the rules were “intended and designed to end run the requirements of the ACA.”

Dozens of chambers of commerce across the country—including the State Chamber of Oklahoma—have launched, or are in the process of launching new Association Health Plans, as permitted by the final rule, with over 20,000 individuals currently covered by robust and affordable plans. In addition to the individuals currently covered, dozens of other state and local chambers are in the process of launching a new AHP and estimate that more than 300,000 individuals will obtain coverage through this opportunity in the coming year.

The U.S. Department of Labor has several options to consider in response to the Court’s decision to ensure AHPs can move forward. Regardless, the Oklahoma Chamber Blue program remains in force.

If you are enrolled in the Oklahoma Chamber Blue Association Health Plan and have questions about your coverage, please contact Emily Crouch.
Stay Connected With OK2030!
We’re seeing significant progress again this year on OK2030-related legislation to improve our state's business climate, quality of life, governance and workforce. Stay connected to what's happening by signing up for text updates on the latest OK2030 news, regional forums & more!

In the News
Become an Event Sponsor
Our Event Sponsorship Program offers pre-purchased registrations to our four membership-wide annual events (Legislative Reception, Annual Meeting, Golf Classic at Karsten Creek and Public Affairs Forum) plus recognition as an event sponsor at these events.

It's a great way to get your company's name in front of hundreds of Oklahoma's most distinguished business leaders.

Click here  for more information or if you have additional questions, please contact Emily Duren .
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