2019 Legislative Session

Flickr / Marco Verch

A new law cracks down on giving antipsychotic drugs to patients in nursing homes in Oklahoma.

Senate Bill 142, signed by Governor Kevin Stitt last week, requires informed consent for nursing home patients and their families regarding the use of powerful antipsychotic drugs.

The bill’s author, Senator Stephanie Bice, says Oklahoma ranks as the worst state in the nation when it comes to the use of antipsychotics on nursing home patients with no psychiatric diagnosis.

Ryan LaCroix / KOSU

Oklahoma lawmakers are facing a deadline to finish their work in the next three weeks.

The most important duty before the 2019 legislature ends is crafting a budget for the 2020 fiscal year, which starts on July 1. But, so far, nothing has been released.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about a row in a Senate committee over a gubernatorial nomination for Finance Secretary as worry grows concerning executive power over state agencies, criminal justice advocates worry about a former corrections reform opponent working on Stitt's team and the House opens an investigation against a Republican lawmakers leveled by the co-founder of the Sooner Tea Party.

Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

Tulsa liquor wholesaler Bryan Hendershot had a lot of money on the line when the Senate voted 34-11 to pass Senate Bill 608 on Monday.

The legislation, which passed the House earlier by a single vote, seeks to roll back a narrow part of 2016’s voter-approved alcohol-sales reforms by allowing top wine and spirit brands to be sold by all distributors in the state, instead of allowing manufacturers to decide who can sell their wine and spirits.

Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Criminal justice measures moving through the legislative process got a boost this week as Gov. Kevin Stitt announced a new initiative Wednesday focused on giving offenders second chances.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and siting in for Ryan Kiesel is ACLU Oklahoma Political and Advocacy Director Nicole McAfee about the State Supreme Court overturning a law limiting abortion-inducing medication, Governor Stitt signing a bill forcing abortion clinics to put up signs saying a drug induced abortion is reversible and the governor vetoing a bill giving overtime pay to state workers making less than $31,000 a year.

Jackie Fortier / Stateimpact Oklahoma

A couple of hundred people rallied in support of Medicaid expansion at the state capitol on April 24. The rally was organized by a coalition of groups called Together Oklahoma, with the goal of pressuring state lawmakers to pass a bill expanding Medicaid in some form this legislative session. Supporters were bused in from Tulsa, Norman, Ardmore, McAlester, and Lawton.

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

A bill allowing optometrists to practice in big-box stores like Walmart is quietly making its way through the state legislature. It may look familiar to Oklahoma voters, who defeated a similar state question last fall.

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

Energized by new conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court, abortion opponents believe that the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the U.S. could be overturned. If that happens, the regulation of abortion returns to the states. Some state legislatures led by liberal Democrats, such as New York, have decided to protect the right to an abortion.

The new anti-abortion tilt of the U.S. Supreme Court has inspired some states to further restrict the procedure during the first trimester of pregnancy and move to outlaw abortion entirely if Roe v. Wade ever falls. But the rush to regulate has exposed division among groups and lawmakers who consider themselves staunch abortion opponents.