OKLAHOMA CITY — Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill on Thursday that allows for curbside pickup and delivery of alcohol in sealed original containers to those 21 years old and older.
The legislation, Senate Bill 1928, applies to wine, beer and spirits.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission allowed restaurants, grocery and liquor stores to serve customers through curbside service and delivery,” said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Roger Thompson, R-Okemah. “I’ve talked to many citizens that really appreciated the convenience and didn’t want to see it end. This measure will allow that service to continue.”
Stitt also signed House Bill 3350, which provides a cost-of-living adjustment to first responders, teachers and state employees.
The increase applies to members of the Oklahoma Firefighters Pension and Retirement System, Oklahoma Police Pension and Retirement System, Uniform Retirement System for Justices and Judges, Teachers’ Retirement System of Oklahoma and Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System.
Benefits increase by 2% if the person has been retired for between two and five years as of July 1, 2020, and by 4% if the person has been retired for five or more years as of July 1, 2020.
“I am proud to support our first responders, teachers and state employees with this needed increase,” Stitt said. “I told Oklahomans on the campaign trail that I would work to get this across the finish line, and I am delivering on my promise.”
The last increase was 12 years ago. The bill Stitt signed Wednesday is effective immediately.
“Since the COLA was funded from the pension funds themselves, retirees wanted to make sure the raise could be accomplished without jeopardizing future pension payments,” said Sterling Zearley, Oklahoma Public Employees Association executive director. “The actuarial study confirmed that Oklahoma’s public pension systems were healthy enough to make this COLA possible without harming the pension funds or taking away resources from core services.”
Stitt signed one measure to fund SoonerCare 2.0, his Medicaid expansion proposal, but vetoed another.
Stitt vetoed SB 1046, which would have capped the Supplemental Hospital Offset Payment Program fee at 4% and dedicated 1.7 percentage points to pay for a Medicaid expansion that includes premiums, work requirements and caps on the amount of federal money that can be drawn down.
Not all hospitals pay the fee.
In his written veto message, Stitt said that when he initially proposed SoonerCare 2.0, unemployment rates were 3.2% but have since soared to more than 14% as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This will not only increase the number of individuals currently enrolled in Medicaid, but will also increase the number of potential enrollees in the expanded population,” he wrote. “Furthermore, Senate Bill 1046 does not fully fund SoonerCare 2.0 in year one, and it does not consider funding for year two.
“We must work together to design a healthcare system that is both affordable and sustainable that addresses the unique needs of Oklahoma while improving health outcomes.”
But Stitt signed SB 1935, which allows the state Office of Management and Enterprise Services to transfer money from the Revenue Stabilization fund to pay for SoonerCare 2.0.
Meanwhile, voters will be asked on June 30 to approve State Question 802, which would expand Medicaid with no caps, premiums or work requirements. The measure would leave the funding mechanism up to legislators.
Stitt also signed SB 1946, which gives civil liability immunity to businesses if they are following the guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Lawmakers will return to the Capitol on Friday to attempt to override some of Stitt’s vetoes. The Republican-controlled Legislature has already overridden Stitt’s vetoes of four budget bills, including the general appropriations bill.
Stitt is a Republican serving his second year in office.