JUNE 2017
Churches and society are confronted by many issues such as poverty, the environment, immigration, education, health, and criminal justice. By working together, individuals, churches, and communities can share information, organize efforts, and share resources. The OCC Social Justice Ministry Network gives us a vitally important tool enabling us to do this.

How does it work? Each representative is kept informed by OCC of important issues, including the work of the OCC  
Committee as it tracks Oklahoma legislation. Where appropriate, we will produce relevant statements and recommend responsible action. Network representatives will then determine how best to disseminate this information to members of their own congregation and other interested persons. To join the Social Justice Ministry Network, send an e-mail to SJMN@okchurches.org.
Legislative Wrap Up

A Look at the 2017 Oklahoma Legislature Numbers
  • 2460 Bills and Joint Resolutions were filed in the 2017 Legislative Session
  • 410 of 2460 made it to the Governor's Desk (16.7% of bills made it through the Legislative process)
  • 393 of the 410 bills were signed by the Governor (98.5%)
  • 17 of the 410 were vetoed (4.15%)

The Issues

The budget and its funding took center stage in the 2017 Oklahoma Legislative Session. The results once again were a patched together plan with possible constitutional problems. While efforts were made to identify long-term funding solutions and identification of essential services, no progress resulted. Funding and essential services will once again be a major emphasis next year as lawmakers are tasked with finding legislative answers to the State's budgetary crisis.

Public Statements

The Oklahoma Conference of Churches engages in legislation in many ways, including making public statements as an organization. The following is a list of the public statements made this legislative session.

Bill Summary

The 2017 Oklahoma legislative session began with the introduction of 2,460 bills, down from previous years, with 393 completed. The OCC IMPACT Committee scrutinized each bill and identified those that impact one of six focus areas, Criminal Justice, Education, Environment, Health, Immigration, and Poverty for a total of 787 tracked. Some were strongly supported by the Committee with others just as strongly opposed. Most were considered neutral bills but watched to see if amendments might change our perspective.

The following table describes some of the most important legislation tracked by the IMPACT Committee this session.

Criminal Justice
HB1121 Creates integrated domestic violence court Failed
Criminal Justice HB2281 Modifies penalties and crimes Failed
Criminal Justice HB2286 Pardon/Parole application of earned credits and admin parole Failed
Criminal Justice HB2290 Drug and mental health court Failed
Criminal Justice HB1127 Sexual Assault requres a judge to instruct juries on the meaning of "consent" Passed
Criminal Justice HB1306 Blue Lives Matter in Oklahoma Act of 2017 established rules related to use of the death penalty regarding the killing of a police officer Passed
Criminal Justice HB1324 Modifies pre-sentencing investigation procedures and increases the defendant's cost of the investigation from $250 to $500 Passed
Criminal Justice SB0377 Electronic Monitoring Failed
Criminal Justice SB0649 Modifies court and handling procedures Failed
Criminal Justice SB0650 Restriction from enlistment of convicted of certain offenses Failed
Criminal Justice SB0689 Modifies certain sentencing provisions Failed
Criminal Justice SB0786 Burglary, Maximum Sentences; establishing offenses Failed
Criminal Justice SB0793 Creates corrections and oversight taskforce Failed
Criminal Justice SB0826 Reintegration Failed
Education HB1206 Competency Examinations--redefines requirements for special education teachers, eliminating the need to pass a required test Passed
Education HB1622 Teacher Retirement--amended the requirement for meeting the minimum retirement payment with 30 days written notice Passed
Education HB1623 Regulates the use of corporal punishment for students with significant cognitive disabilities unless it is included in the individualized education program and has the approval of the parent or guardian Passed
Environment HB1123 Makes trespassing and vandalism illegal regarding certain infrastructure such as pipelines Passed
Environment HB1304 Oklahoma Swine Feeding Operations Act--allows waiver of the requirement that activities be at least 3 miles from the town Passed
Environment HB1377 Oklahoma Oil and Gas Regulation Modernization Task Force Failed
Environment HB2151 Exemption of Oil and Gas Task Force from Open Meeting requirements Failed
Environment HB2298 Amends Wind Tax Credits Passed
Environment SB0147 Animal Feeding Operations--allows waiver of the requirement that activities be at least 3 miles from the town Passed
Health HB1357 Caregiver support--allows Department of Human Services to expand services within current resources to support caregivers Passed
Health HB1620 Requires State Health Department to develop rules for caregivers working with persons with dementia Passed
Health HB1894 Creates rules related to health care decisions made for patients. Clarifies who can make health care decisions related to adults who are unable to make decisions for minor children Passed
Immigration HB1845 The Real ID Act--Updates information required on diver's licenses to bring Oklahoma into compliance with federal regulations Passed
Poverty HB1913 Raised the interest rate on certain payday loans Passed-
Vetoed by Gov. Fallin
Poverty SB0506 The Healthy Food Financing Act provides a rotating fund to encourage the development and availability of healthy, inexpensive food in low-income areas Passed
The Oklahoma Conference of Churchs' IMPACT Committee will continue to monitor legislative activity during the interim session. We will continue to keep you updated with all that is happening and how it affects our communities of faith and those we serve. 

301 N.W. 36th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73118
www.okchurches.org    (405) 525-2928
  The Rev. Dr. William Tabbernee, Executive Director