Public Health

House Committee

Committee on Public Health

Committees News & Announcements

Feb 7, 2024
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House Honors Sanctity of Life with Rose Day

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma House of Representatives today honored the right to life of the unborn with a presentation for Rose Day on the chamber floor and the adoption of a resolution recognizing the significance of the day. House Resolution 1022, authored by House Majority Leader Tammy West, R-Oklahoma City, and co-authored by a majority of House Republicans, recognizes the significance of Rose Day, Oklahoma's annual pro-life rally at the Capitol. "Rose Day has a rich heritage in our state Legislature," West said. "Hundreds of people that value life, beginning at conception, gather to pass out roses to state representatives and other elected officials to remind us of the importance of protecting the unborn. It's a beautiful tradition and a reminder of one of the gifts we hold most sacred." HR1022 states that "one of the great hallmarks of our American form of government is the right of our citizens to express their opinions on matters of great import to their elected officials," and that "members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives greatly esteem and respect this right of the citizens to give their considered input and insight to elected members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, who are solemnly charged with crafting legislation for the people as a whole." The measure goes onto state that "the right to life of the unborn is one of the great public policy issues of our day, both for the American people and for Oklahomans of whatever political philosophy or persuasion," and that "members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives affirm that all human life is sacred from the point of conception." HR1022 also makes note that the majority of members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives have led the nation in adopting legislation to defend unborn children and will continue to do so. They also have opposed any policy that would require citizens to pay for abortions through their taxpayer dollars or medical insurance premiums.  The resolution reads, "on Rose Day 2024, hundreds of our fellow Oklahomans will take time out of their busy lives to come to their State Capitol to make a public statement respecting the sanctity of human life and the worth of every unborn individual and to speak with their elected officials," and "members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives greatly appreciate the heartfelt involvement of these committed Oklahoma citizens, both young and old, male and female." This year, abortion survivor Josiah Presley shared his story on the House floor. Presley currently serves as the student minister for North Pointe Baptist Church in Edmond and is married to Bethany and father to the couple's daughter, Julia. 

Feb 2, 2024
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Crosswhite Hader Bill Would Penalize Purveyance of Abortion-Inducing Drugs

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Denise Crosswhite Hader, R-Piedmont, has filed legislation that would penalize with a felony anyone who distributes or possesses with the intent to distribute abortion-inducing drugs when the intent is to cause an abortion.  House Bill 3013 would result in a felony upon conviction for any person who knows or has reason to know that another person intends to use an abortion-inducing drug to cause an unlawful abortion and who knowingly or intentionally delivers an abortion-inducing drug to that person; possesses an abortion-inducing drug with the intent to deliver the drug to that person or offers or advertises the drug for sale or delivers to that person; or who commits trafficking of the drug. The penalty is consistent with the current penalty for performing an illegal abortion in an effort to create constancy. The act does not apply to a pharmacist or manufacturer or distributor of surgical supplies who lawfully manufactures, possesses, offers, sells, or distributes, in the usual course of that entity's business or profession, any drug, medicine or instrument intended for any lawful medical purpose. Under state law, abortions can only be performed to preserve the life of the mother in a medical emergency.  "Abortion-inducing drugs pose great physical and mental threat to women who use them for this purpose" Crosswhite Hader said. "I'm concerned that a woman given these drugs to take in isolation could die by herself, and they could keep her from being able to carry to term a pregnancy at a later date should that be desired." Under the provisions of the act, a person convicted of trafficking or attempting to traffic abortion-inducing drugs shall be guilty of a felony punishable by a fine not to exceed $100,000 or by imprisonment for a term not to exceed 10 years or by both.  Crosswhite Hader said her goal is to protect women's health by stopping the trafficking or sharing of abortion-inducing drugs. She said there are numerous reports of women being given these drugs by non-medical professionals who do not understand what the medications can do to a woman if administered incorrectly. The drugs are often taken in isolation. This leaves the woman to go through cramping and bleeding and the shedding of her pregnancy with no medical expert on hand to help her through not only the physical pain and after-effects of the drugs, but also the mental anguish that can result from seeing her pre-term pregnancy in a non-viable state.  She said just like legislators enacted punishments for adults who give alcohol to minors, penalties are attached in this act to hopefully give people who would distribute these drugs pause. Crosswhite Hader said even more alarming are reports that only the second drug in a two-drug sequence are being given in some instances. The first drug is intended to stop the growth of the pregnancy. The second is to evacuate. To give the second drug without the first presents a greater danger to the woman, she said. If signed into law, the act would become effective Nov. 1. The bill will be eligible for consideration during the upcoming legislative session, which starts Feb. 5.

Nov 10, 2023
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Mental Health Caucus Hosts Workforce Interim Study

OKLAHOMA CITY – Chairs of the Oklahoma Legislative Mental Health Caucus—Rep. Jeff Boatman, R-Tulsa, Rep. Melissa Provenzano , D-Tulsa, Sen. Julia Kirt, D-Oklahoma City, and Sen. Jessica Garvin, R-Duncan—hosted a joint interim study on Tuesday before the House Public Health Committee about the most pressing challenges facing Oklahoma’s behavioral health workforce. “Oklahoma faces critical shortages of nearly every type of behavioral health clinician,” said Boatman. “The Legislature has made investments in behavioral health workforce development, including the passage of House Bill 2036 earlier this year to create a pilot incentive program through the OSU Medical Authority. However, more needs to be done, and I encourage my colleagues in both chambers to seriously consider additional investments during the next legislative session.” During the interim study, Tequia Sier, project director for behavioral health workforce at Healthy Minds Policy Initiative, noted that Oklahoma’s psychiatrist workforce is 22% smaller than the per-capita national average. Sier mentioned the state's psychologist workforce is less than half as robust as the rest of the nation and Oklahoma also meets less than 29% of the estimated need for psychiatric advanced practice nurses. "This study provided a poignant look at the gap between the size of our mental health workforce and the need by Oklahomans, in particular psychologists and psychiatrists,” said Provenzano. “The limited number of university internships and residency opportunities in Oklahoma means our future doctors must overwhelmingly move out of state to complete their training. When they go, they tend not to return. It’s time for Oklahoma to grow our capacity and retain these doctors here at home.” Sier said the state’s degree programs supporting behavioral health careers are graduating more students than ever, but not enough to meet the state’s growing need for treatment services after workforce attrition. In-state training opportunities are particularly limited for the most-needed, most highly trained behavioral health professions — psychiatry and psychology. “The challenges facing Oklahoma’s behavioral health workforce are especially acute in our rural communities,” said Garvin. “We need to grow this workforce in ways that help Oklahomans better access services and find quality care for themselves and their families.” “Despite the dire urgency, this study was hopeful,” said Kirt. “It showed us that we do not have to accept long waits for care or underprepared professionals. We have a clear roadmap for improving Oklahoma’s behavioral health workforce through boosts in investment.” Recommendations for strategies to address the state’s key challenges and opportunities included incentivizing students into expedient training pathways, expanding training that fuels in-state retention of critically needed clinicians, enhancing educational programs tailored to treatment system needs and providing upskilling opportunities for paraprofessionals. “Policymakers have practical and realistic options for addressing the state's most pressing behavioral health workforce challenges,” said Healthy Minds Executive Director Zack Stoycoff. “With roughly $30 million in targeted funding and policy initiatives, Oklahoma can significantly strengthen workforce pipelines to meet the state’s growing need for behavioral health professionals.” Other speakers at the interim study included Dr. Melissa Craft, associate dean for clinical affairs at University of Oklahoma College of Nursing; Dr. Julie Miller-Cribbs, director of the Anne and Henry Zarrow School of Social Work at University of Oklahoma ; Dr. Sara Coffey, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences; Jim Serratt, of Parkside Psychiatric Hospital and Clinic; and Josh Cantwell, COO of GRAND Mental Health.

Committee Members



Cynthia Roe


District 42

Vice Chair

Toni Hasenbeck


District 65

Carl Newton


District 58

Randy Randleman


District 15

Trish Ranson


District 34

Marilyn Stark


District 100

House Staff Assigned

Matthew Brenchley

Research Analyst

Tess Jackson

Staff Attorney I

Alexandra Lander

Fiscal Policy Analyst