2019 Legislative Session

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

Kjelsea McDonald just finished her shift as a nuclear medicine technologist at the Seiling Regional Medical Center. She’s still wearing her teal scrubs at the Crooked Arrow Cafe during the dinner rush. She worked as a waitress here for years, including when she was a junior in high school — and pregnant.

“When you hear ‘teen pregnancy,’ you think, ‘That would never be me,’ or ‘That would never be my kid.’ And then all of a sudden it is, it literally could be anybody,” she said. “I would not have picked me out as someone who would have been a teen mom until I became one.”

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about accusations of thousands of dollars in back child support against House Appropriations Chairman Kevin Wallace, legislators are heading into the 2019 session with more than 2,800 bills and one of those is a bipartisan measure to make State Question 780 retroactive.

Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Two state lawmakers filed a bipartisan bill Thursday to make State Question 780 retroactive.

The 2016 ballot initiative reclassified felony drug possession and some felony property crimes often associated with addiction as misdemeanors. Generally, the most severe sentence for a misdemeanor conviction is a year in county jail.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about lawmakers elected leaders of both parties in the lead up to the 2019 legislative session, the state House passes new controversial rules including a ban on videos by lawmakers on the House floor and the state of Oklahoma is getting ready for a new governor with inaugural parties this weekend.

Jacob McCleland / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Twenty-nineteen means a new governor for Oklahoma and a fresh class of state legislators — nearly 40 percent of whom have zero political experience. It’s a new year, but the state government’s slate hasn’t been wiped clean.

Here’s a roundup of some of the biggest policy issues on deck for the upcoming year and legislative session.

Energy & Environment

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about the State Health Department passing rules for edible medical marijuana, Governor-elect Kevin Stitt might have to wait a while before moving into his new offices because of construction at the State Capitol and a southeast Oklahoma Democratic State Representative defects to the Republican Party.

Lindsay Fox / EcigaretteReviewed.com

One Oklahoma Senator wants to ban vaping in schools.

Senator J.J. Dossett has filed a bill to ban vaping products in schools, including non-combustible devices and cartridges, regardless of if they contain nicotine.

The bill would extend the ban under the state’s Tobacco-Free Schools Act, which also bans tobacco products for public and private school buildings and vehicles.

Whitney Dinger, spokesperson for the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, says the state has been on trend with the increasing national vaping rates.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about the commitment from Republican leaders in the House and Senate for education funding,  a the Chair of the Canadian County Republican Party calls on his GOP lawmakers to, in essence, defund education and state Senators file bills to make abortions a homicide and allow anyone to carry a gun without a license.

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