OKLAHOMA CITY — Lawmakers have filed a variety of bills for the upcoming session on topics ranging from the carrying of firearms to the removal of vaccination exemptions.
Lawmakers return to the Capitol on Feb. 6.
Sen. Ervin Yen, R-Oklahoma City, has a filed a bill to remove two of the three exemptions to mandatory vaccinations.
His measure, Senate Bill 83, would allow a child to be exempt from vaccinations only if a doctor says the physical condition of the child is such that immunization would endanger the life or health of the child.
The measure is expected to face an uphill battle.
“This will be an annual bill, I promise, until we pass it,” said Yen, a medical doctor. “This is a no-brainer to me, but apparently not to my Senate colleagues.”
Critics say the decision should be left to the parents, some of whom fear vaccinations can lead to other illnesses.
The state currently has exemptions for personal or religious reasons.
Lawmakers also have filed a number of measures dealing with firearms.
Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, has filed Senate Bill 66, which would allow those with a valid handgun license to carry a weapon in the Capitol.
Dahm is also the author of Senate Bill 65, which would prohibit a public officer or their employees from using public money to advocate for or promote gun control.
Dahm could not be reached for comment.
Sen. Paul Scott, R-Duncan, has filed Senate Bill 79, which would prohibit those who are not in the country legally from possessing a firearm.
Sen. Josh Brecheen, R-Coalgate, is the author of Senate Bill 6 that would allow certain officials to carry a firearm anywhere in the state if they have certain training.
It would apply to: governor; lieutenant governor; state auditor and inspector; secretary of state; attorney general; treasurer; superintendent of public instruction; labor commissioner; corporation commissioners; U.S. House and Senate members; and U.S. attorneys and U.S. assistant attorneys.
Sen. Rob Standridge, R-Norman, is the author of Senate Bill 31 that would prevent former state employees from becoming a lobbyist or getting paid for lobbying for at least two years after the end of their public service.
Standridge said he may modify the measure to apply to those who had influence over contracts or were involved in funding issues.
Standridge said he didn’t think it was appropriate for state employees who were intricately involved in funding or contact with the private sector to leave state employment and go work for those entities.
Meanwhile, Sen. Ron Sharp, R-Shawnee, has a bill that would let individuals send and receive text messages while driving if it is done over a hands-free device. The measure is Senate Bill 44.
The measure also would ban the use of a cellular device while the car is in motion, but allow for the use of hands-free devices.
“You just can’t have it in your hand while the car is in motion,” Sharp said.
Sharp said the measure is needed to bolster a recent state law that banned texting while driving.
Sen. Wayne Shaw, R-Grove, is the author of Senate Bill 73, which would call for the revocation of a person’s driver’s license if they are driving a boat while intoxicated.
“If someone owns a $50,000 boat, a $1,000 fine is probably not a big deal,” Shaw said.