Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Cockroft Column: Session Update

     The first session of the 55th Oklahoma Legislature has now passed an important deadline. House committee work on House bills has ended. At the same time, we passed several bills on the House floor.

    The Oklahoma House of Representatives has voted to improve the procedure for collecting DNA samples from those individuals convicted of a felony or violent misdemeanor. House Bill 1683 allows the offices of district attorneys to collect the DNA sample from a convicted criminal. The DNA samples are submitted to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Laboratory for processing and inclusion in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). The legislation was approved by a vote of 93-3.

    A bill aimed at curbing the dangerous trend of texting while driving also passed a vote on the House floor. House Bill 1965 strengthens language aimed at preventing texting while driving, marking a first offense fine at $250. Subsequent offenses would register a $500 fine. The bill passed by a 96-2 margin.

    We also approved a measure that would create Rural Opportunity Zones in counties across the state. House Bill 1747 allows for the creation of 25 Rural Opportunity Zones across the state. For taxable years beginning in 2016, the legislation would allow for a five-year tax exemption for anyone who moves from out-of-state into a county projected to see a population loss between the effective date and 2075 per the 2012 Demographic State of the State Report – Oklahoma State and County Population Projections through 2075. The legislation passed by a 64-11 margin.

    A measure that would ban “dismemberment” abortions was approved by the House. House Bill 1721 was approved by a vote of 84-2.

    Finally, the House unanimously approved a bill that would increase the input from experts on coordinated care of patients with chronic conditions on an advisory panel that helps set state health policies. House Bill 1085 modifies the Home Care and Hospice Advisory Council to include palliative care and specifies membership of the Home Care, Hospice and Palliative Care Advisory Council. The measure directs the council to identify ways to improve the quality and delivery of palliative care.

   The legislation, which will increase the panel’s membership from seven to nine members, was approved by a vote of 90-0.

    In several weeks, these bills will be considered in the Oklahoma Senate. I look forward to telling you about their progress.

    It is an honor to serve you. It matters not if you are Republican, Democrat, or Independent; I am here to serve you. Please visit my policy blog at www.RepJoshCockroft.blogspot.com. Communication is important to me. I want to know how to I can better serve and lead for our district and our state. I am always a phone call away at: (405) 557-7349. You can also email me at: Josh.Cockroft@okhouse.gov.


  1. The legislation, which will increase the panel’s membership from seven to nine members, was approved by a vote of 90-0. Josh please explain the need to increase the panel by two members

  2. I believe that measure simply increased the board to include two members from different healthcare groups/professions which were not a part of the board before

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