Public Safety

House Committee

Committee on Public Safety

Committees News & Announcements


Feb 23, 2024
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Reps. Smith and Rick West Hold Meetings with Rural Fire Coordinators

OKLAHOMA CITY – Reps. David Smith, R-Arpelar, and Rick West, R-Heavener, held a meeting Feb. 21 with 11 rural fire coordinators from across the state who voiced concerns about new mandatory training requirements from the state fire marshal in accordance with state statutes. The meeting was standing room only in Smith's Capitol office. "Volunteer rural firefighters are rural Oklahoma's first line of defense," Smith said. "They're upset because of some of the rumors they are hearing about what might be required of them going forward. It was important to us that we heard their concerns. Now, we are focused on helping facilitate discussions between the coordinators, fire chiefs and the state fire marshal so everyone can be on the same page about the new training requirements." Smith said the next meeting will include State Fire Marshal Keith Bryant as well as fire chiefs and rural fire coordinators from across the state. The meeting will be public for anyone that wishes to attend, space allowing. It is set for 10 a.m. March 13 in Room 450 in the state Capitol, 2300 N Lincoln Blvd. Smith and West also are discussing holding a potential interim study to examine incentives to help recruit and retain rural firefighters. "These are volunteer positions, but they are vital for the safety of all who live and work in rural Oklahoma," West said. "I'm glad we're going to be able to get everyone around the table to discuss ways to improve conditions for these volunteer firefighters and those they serve."



Feb 22, 2024
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Sims Passes Two Bills Before House Committees

Rep. Lonnie Sims, R-Jenks, passed two bills out of House committees on Tuesday.   The House Public Safety Committee approved House Bill 3820, which creates a “whole-of-government” approach to disaster planning, mitigation, preparedness, and response across state agencies by creating the Oklahoma Interagency Resilience Coordination Council.  This council led by the Office of Emergency Management will provide strategic direction to resilience efforts across the state and provide an annual report to the legislature on risk mitigation needs, progress, and priorities across Oklahoma to minimize future impact of natural disasters. The deadline for the first report is October 2025. "When I led an interim study on the Arkansas River Flood Event back in 2019, we learned Oklahoma didn’t just have a flooding problem, we have a natural disaster problem," Sims said. "Improved coordination between state agencies would help our state better prepare for, respond to and even mitigate the risk of future disasters."  HB3820 passed committee unanimously and now moves to the House floor for consideration.  House Bill 1522, heard in the House Insurance Committee, creates the Consumer Health Choice Empowerment Act. The measure would expand choice to healthcare consumers by requiring insurance carriers to provide the “average allowed amount” for comparable health services. Empowered with this information, the consumer or patient would then be able to shop for often more local out-of-network providers willing to charge less than the carrier’s in-network average allowed amount for the same service.  Sims, who has a background in insurance, told the committee that seven other states have already implemented this program with several others introducing similar legislation to do so this year. One specific example mentioned was the state of New Hampshire who implemented the system 3 years ago and has already saved more than $11 million. "Health insurance companies have become the de facto director of care for patients by telling them where they can or can't go for services and what doctors they can or cannot see," said Sims. "House Bill 1522 in a small way puts the power back in both the patients and their physicians’ hands when it comes to personal medical decisions."  HB1522 passed the House Insurance Committee 4-2 and is now eligible to be heard on the House floor. 



Mar 22, 2023
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Bill Changing Felony Classification System Moves to Senate

A bill that could make major changes to Oklahoma's criminal code was approved by the Oklahoma House of Representatives on Wednesday. Rep. Mike Osburn, R-Edmond, has been working with various stakeholders on House Bill 1792 to organize the 1,100 felonies in Oklahoma's criminal code into standard offense classes with tiered sentence lengths and enhancements based on the severity of the crimes. "We are working with stakeholders on all sides of this issue to make sure this legislation moves the needle in a positive way," Osburn said. "It is important that the resulting system is constructive and workable for law enforcement, prosecutors and judges while making a meaningful impact on the state's prison population. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to improve the safety of our neighborhoods while saving taxpayer dollars." Osburn said the current language is not final, but the bill had to be approved by the House by the March 23 deadline in order to remain active for the legislative session. The felony classification system will take the next steps in the work begun by the Criminal Justice Reclassification Coordination Council. The Council was created by the Legislature in 2018 to review the criminal code and propose a felony classification system that would strengthen public safety while reducing or holding constant the size of the prison population. While the measure passed the House 71-19, it passed with its title off to allow for future amendments and a second House vote on the updated bill. HB1792 moves to the Senate for consideration as work continues.


Committee Members

(8)

Chair

Robert Manger

R

District 101

Vice Chair

John George

R

District 36

Regina Goodwin

D

District 73

David Hardin

R

District 86

Justin Humphrey

R

District 19

John Kane

R

District 11

Jason Lowe

D

District 97

Stan May

R

District 80

House Staff Assigned

Brad Wolgamott

Director of Research

Grace Shelton

Deputy Chief Counsel

Jeff Hubbard

Staff Attorney III

Robert Flipping

Fiscal Policy Analyst