Garvin bills focus on healthcare, childcare
The past two months have flown by, and I’ve been looking so forward to session starting. I hope everyone can tune in Monday. We’ll begin session in our respective chambers before meeting in joint session in the House Chamber for Gov. Stitt’s State of the State Address that will begin at noon. We will then return to the Senate Chamber for further business.
During the first week of session, leadership will still be assigning bills to committee so currently there are no meetings scheduled. We’ll meet daily on the Senate floor to have a prayer, recognize guests, and announce any upcoming meetings.
With the bill filing deadline last week, we’re focused on advocating for our bills among our colleagues and finding coauthors.
I ended up filing nearly 20 bills this session. My bills focus on healthcare issues from pharmacies to tracking health stats to long-term care, along with childcare investigations, medical consent, and teacher retirement among many others. You can read all of my bills and other filed this session on the Senate website at www.oksenate.gov.
In total, there were just over 1,000 Senate bills and nearly 30 joint resolutions, which typically create state questions for voter consideration. The House filed nearly 1,950 bills and just over 40 joint resolutions. Altogether, the two chambers will be considering nearly 3,050 bills and joint resolutions.
We will spend the month of February working in our committees and considering those bills that make it out of committee on the Senate floor. All committee meetings are available to view live on the Senate website under “Live Proceedings” at the top. And if you happen to watch something after the fact, video is archived in the same location on the site by selecting the monthly calendar on the left side of the screen.
In non-legislative news, I was pleased by the Department of Education’s announcement about a new way that students and staff can easily report school threats. Individuals can already call any suspected threats in to 855-337-8300 or submit them online at www.tipline.ok.gov, but these simply aren’t as easy as texting a message in. Now people can text suspicious activity or concerns to “OKSThreat” to 226787. This is an anonymous service that also accepts images and videos 24 hours a day.
This important safety measure was made available from a $250,000 U.S. Department of Justice grant given to the state Department of Education. I hope you will share this vital info for your children to protect themselves and their school. Hopefully, they never have to use it, but it’s better to be proactive than reactive. It’s imperative that if someone sees something that makes them uncomfortable or scares them that they share it immediately.
Another exciting statewide announcement is the launch of the updated version of Oklahoma Mobile ID, which now allows Oklahomans to enroll for REAL ID. We were the second state in the nation in 2019 to launch Mobile ID. This provides a digitized version of a physical driver’s license that’s available on one’s smart phone. The technology is very secure, and users will be able to control their privacy settings and who they want to share their personal information with if needs be. This will not only be easier and more efficient for users, but for the businesses and organizations they visit as they can easily verify necessary information since credentials are continually updated against the Department of Public Safety’s system of record. Please know that you will still need to show your physical ID to law enforcement and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
Lastly, as vaccines continue statewide, the Oklahoma Medical reserve Corps (OKMRC) is looking for medical and non-medical volunteers to support efforts around the state. There are more than 50 location statewide that need assistance. You can apply or learn more at OKRC.org. Training will be provided. Among other duties, volunteers are needed to give vaccinations (medical staff), review forms, help with registration, control traffic, assist the elderly and help sanitize the facility. Background checks will be conducted.
If you have any questions or concerns on legislative matters, please contact me at the Capitol. Please write to Senator Jessica Garvin, State Capitol, 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd. Room 237, Oklahoma City, OK, 73105, email me at Jessica.Garvin@oksenate.gov or call (405) 521-5522.
Please support The Comanche Times by subscribing today!