Communications & Public Affairs
Feb. 15, 2022

Contact: Rep. Merleyn Bell

Olmstead Legislation Passes House Committee

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Merleyn Bell, D-Norman, ushered legislation, which ensures Oklahomans with disabilities have a voice in the delivery of state services, through the House Government Modernization and Efficiency Committee on Tuesday.

House Bill 3977 renews and renames the Strategic Planning Committee on the Olmstead Decision to the Commission on Independence and Ability and requires that a majority of committee members be Oklahomans with disabilities.

“Decisions made related to disability services should be informed by people living with those disabilities,” Bell said. “By engaging with and learning from them, we will get better results for Oklahomans across the state.”

The legislation also asks the committee to develop a five-year implementation plan to ensure state Medicaid services meet the Olmstead three-part test to ensure the needs of people with disabilities are met:

the person’s treatment professionals determine that community supports are appropriate;
the person does not object to living in the community; and
the provision of services in the community would be a reasonable accommodation when balanced with other similarly situated individuals with disabilities.

“Conversations around the delivery of state services, especially when it comes to health care, are happening every day at the Capitol,” Bell said. “This legislation will ensure that Oklahomans with disabilities are engaged in that conversation.”

HB3977 passed the House Government and Modernization and Efficiency Committee unanimously with a vote of 9 to 0, and it is now eligible to be heard on the House floor.

“I appreciate the support of the committee,” Bell said. “This is important legislation that speaks to who we are as a state.”

Constituents can Rep. Merleyn Bell office at (405)557-7386 or at