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21 Jan
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Legislation To Establish ‘Veterans Suicide Awareness Week’ Filed

Communications & Public Affairs
January 21, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: State Rep. Jacob Rosecrants
Phone: (405) 557-7329
[email protected]

Legislation To Establish ‘Veterans Suicide Awareness Week’ Filed

OKLAHOMA CITY — State Rep. Jacob Rosecrants (D-Norman) filed legislation for consideration during the 2020 Legislative Session designed to bring awareness to veteran suicide.

House Bill 2891 would establish “Veterans Suicide Awareness Week” in Oklahoma, which would take place the second week of every October. The legislation was prompted by one of Rosecrants’ constituents whose son died by suicide. Damien Eckstein was a US Army veteran of the Iraq War who died Oct. 14, 2013.

“These men and women were willing to go to some pretty dark places in the world in service to this country. Now, when they are home, they need our help,” Rosecrants said. “As a lawmaker, I feel like its part of my duty to provide support to these individuals anyway I can.”

According to the 2019 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report — published by the US Department of Veteran Affairs — the most recent data suggests that veterans are 1.5 times more likely to attempt suicide than men and women who haven’t served. In 2017, 85 Oklahoma veterans died by suicide.

“This legislation is about bringing awareness to this problem and hopefully building some momentum to solve it,” Rosecrants said.

Rosecrants encourages anyone with comments or suggestions on this legislation to call (405)557-7329 or email [email protected]

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21 Jan
0

Lowe Files Legislation Concerning Firearms and Public Safety

Communications & Public Affairs
January 21, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: State Rep. Jason Lowe
Office: (405) 557-7367
Email: [email protected]

Lowe Files Legislation Concerning Firearms and Public Safety

Bills would Repeal Permitless Carry, Ban Long-Barrel Firearms in Restaurants

OKLAHOMA CITY — State Rep. Jason Lowe (D-OKC) has filed two pieces of legislation focused on making public spaces safer for Oklahomans.

House Bill 3357 would repeal last year’s permitless carry legislation.

“There is no doubt in my mind that if people got to vote on whether firearm safety training should be necessary to carry a firearm in public, where our children are, permitless carry would not be the law,” Lowe said. “This legislation is a product of the hundreds of conversations I have had personally with Oklahomans who don’t want irresponsible gun owners to carry firearms in public.”

House Bill 3897 would ban long-barrel firearms from Oklahoma restaurants. This legislation is meant to make these spaces safer and more welcoming to citizens.

“Having patrons carry long-barrel firearms into a restaurant isn’t good for business or the mental health of the restaurant’s patrons,” Lowe said. “Oklahomans, especially children, veterans suffering from PTSD, people suffering from mental illness, should have the ability to enter a restaurant in Oklahoma and not feel threatened or endangered by the presence of military-style weapons.”

While public safety is paramount, a byproduct of Lowe’s legislation would be a fix to an unintended consequence caused by the passage of permitless carry.

“The business owners I have spoken with don’t like being drug into this highly controversial issue,” Lowe said. “When we told store owners that they could decide who could and couldn’t carry in their place of business, we forced them to pick sides and alienate customers. Our government should make laws that help small businesses not hurt them.”

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21 Jan
0

Drug/Alcohol Rehab Pilot Program Legislation Introduced

Communications & Public Affairs
January 21, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: State Rep. Forrest Bennett
Office: (405) 557-7404
[email protected]

Drug/Alcohol Rehab Pilot Program Legislation Introduced

OKLAHOMA CITY — State Rep. Forrest Bennett (D-OKC) introduced legislation for the second half of the 57th Legislative Session that seeks to offer additional support in the fight against drug and alcohol addiction.

House Bill 2990 would establish a pilot program through the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health to open drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers in the three Oklahoma counties with the highest rates for opioid overdose.

“For my lifetime and more, we have thrown millions of dollars away incarcerating people with a drug problem,” Bennett said. “As we continue down the road of criminal justice reform, we should supplement policy changes with an investment into the mental health of our citizens.”

Roughly 88,000 people die per year due to alcohol in the United States, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. In Oklahoma, more than 750 people die per year from a drug overdose.

“The effects of these deaths aren’t just felt by the individual,” Bennett said. “They are felt by the families. They are felt by our communities. This pilot program is an opportunity for the state to roll up its sleeves and meet our citizens directly at the point of need.”

Oklahomans wanting to voice their opinion about this legislation are encouraged to call (405)557-7404 or email [email protected]

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17 Jan
0

House Completes Bill Filing Process for 2020 Session

Communications & Public Affairs
Jan. 17, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Tori Garrett
Phone: (405) 962-7671
Email: [email protected]

House Completes Bill Filing Process for 2020 Session

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma House of Representatives completed bill filing Thursday for the second session of the 57th Legislature. A total of 1,361 House Bills, 16 House Joint Resolutions and 4 House Concurrent Resolutions were filed.

The full text of the bills, along with additional information including authors and coauthors, can be found online at www.okhouse.gov.

Last year, the Clerk of the House reported 1,733 House bills and 21 House Joint Resolutions were filed. For the 2018 session, 1,193 House bills and 32 House Joint Resolutions were filed.

The House is comprised of 23 Democrats and 77 Republicans, with one vacant seat. The second session of the 57th Legislature will begin Monday, Feb. 3 at noon with the State of the State address from Gov. Kevin Stitt in the House Chamber.

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16 Jan
0

Legislation Filed To Tackle Homeless Youth Quality-of-Life Issues

Communications & Public Affairs
Jan. 15, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: State Rep. Chelsey Branham
Phone: (405) 557-7409

Legislation Filed To Tackle Homeless Youth Quality-of-Life Issues

OKLAHOMA CITY — State Rep. Chelsey Branham has filed legislation that hopes to increase opportunity and improve the quality of life among Oklahoma’s homeless youth population.

House Bill 2927, authored by Branham, would create the “Unit for Runaway, Homeless and At-Risk Youth,” which would be a public-private partnership between the Oklahoma Department of Human Services and organizations working with Oklahoma’s homeless youth population. The legislation would also establish criteria that allow homeless youth to voluntarily seek assistance from the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.

“Last January, during the coldest time of the year, 85 metro youth had no place to live,” Branham said. “This legislation and the mission of this coalition speaks directly to the needs of those children. We have a duty as lawmakers to protect and speak up for our vulnerable citizens. This legislation hopes to begin a movement that ushers in a new way of thinking and new solutions to the problems facing our state’s homeless population.”

By offering an avenue to have DHS act as an administrative guardian, Branham’s legislation would make it easier for homeless youth to take part in regular activities like play sports, receive healthcare, and apply for a driver’s license.

“These young people still need the same things as other youth,” said Pivot President and CEO Jennifer Goodrich. “Birth certificates, social security cards, IDs, mental health and medical health services. Representative Branham’s willingness to address this issue has opened up new avenues of understanding of current statutes that provide allowances and identifying areas where work needs to be done. Statutes aren’t enough – it will take continued understanding, education and partnership to change the way things are currently responded to.”

Goodrich and Branham were joined at a press conference today announcing the legislation with Sisu Youth Executive Director Jamie Caves. Sisu Youth is the only 18 and under homeless youth shelter in Oklahoma

“Sisu Youth is thrilled to work with Representative Branham to bring forward legislation aimed at improving outcomes for youth experiencing homelessness,” said Sisu Youth Executive Director Jamie Caves. “This bill will encourage even greater communication between the Department of Human Services and service providers around our state, making it easier to obtain health care, housing, and identification on behalf of youth in the absence of a parent or guardian. We look forward to continuing collaboration and additional legislation that will assist in bettering the lives of this vulnerable population.”

In a statement released today, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services Director Justin Brown praised the coalition’s efforts and advocated for the legislation.

“This has truly been a collaborative effort between Rep. Branham, Sisu Youth Services, Pivot, former Oklahoma foster youth, David Hall, and OKDHS to meet the needs of this unique population of youth,” Brown said. “These are youth who do not have the supports afforded in a typical family situation and they have also not been adjudicated deprived and brought into foster care. This legislation will meet these youth right where they are, giving them the support they need to thrive and build tools to help them successfully enter adulthood.”

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