By Rep. Cynthia Roe
House District 42 saw severe weather this past week, including the overnight tornado in Pauls Valley and flooding throughout the area. I hope everyone stayed safe.
The attorney general’s office has advised Oklahomans who have storm damage to be mindful when selecting a company to repair your property. It’s strongly recommended to get multiple estimates in writing from well-established, local companies who are insured and licensed.
The bad weather across our state didn’t stop your elected officials from continuing to work for the people of Oklahoma.
The Senate moved forward House Bill 2663, which would extend early voting opportunities for presidential elections.
Oklahomans would have the chance to vote on the Wednesday immediately preceding a presidential election, in addition to the days of Thursday, Friday and Saturday already in practice.
In the 2020 presidential election, thousands were waiting up to four hours to vote early on these days.
Expanding the days people can vote early would give more time and opportunities to Oklahomans. This bill would not affect the early voting days of Thursdays and Fridays during other elections.
Providing this additional time to vote early will hopefully encourage more Oklahomans to vote. HB2663 is currently on the governor’s desk.
The governor has already signed legislation to help high school students become more informed and engaged citizens.
House Bill 2030 would require high school students to pass the U.S. Civics test, which is part of the naturalization process, in order to graduate beginning in the 2022-23 school year.
This is the same test a person must pass in order to become a U.S. citizen. Fourteen other states have adopted similar requirements. These students will become better-informed citizens after taking this test.
Gov. Stitt has also signed multiple bills this session to uphold our most vulnerable citizens’ right to life, including a bill I authored.
House Bill 1904, which I passed through the House, would require that abortions be performed only by physicians who are licensed in obstetrics and gynecology. This will help lower the abortion rate in Oklahoma.
Another pro-life bill signed this week was House Bill 1102. This would revoke the medical license of doctors who perform abortions that are not medically necessary to prevent "irreversible physical impairment" or death of the mother.
The third signed this week was House Bill 2441 to prohibit abortions from being performed once the unborn child is determined to have detectable heartbeat. A heartbeat is proof that the child is alive and is deserving of all protections granted to any other person.
The bill has an exception in situations where the life of the mother is at stake.
The Oklahoma Religious Freedom Act also became law this week.
House Bill 2648 says that any government intervention to close places of worship would be considered an infringement on people’s freedom of religion. The legislation was filed after witnessing how many states’ governments had forced places of worship to close throughout the pandemic.
We’ll continue considering legislation over the next few weeks as our budget discussions also ramp up. You can reach out to my office at (405) 557-7365 or at email@example.com with any questions or concerns about legislation we may be considering.
(Rep. Cynthia Roe, a Republican, represents District 42 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which includes Garvin and McClain counties.)