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7.1.21 – Tulsa World

Here are 10 highlights from the 79 pieces of legislation signed by Gov. Kevin Stitt that take effect July 1, 2021. The Oklahoma Religious Freedom Act, Senate Bill 

Thursday also marks the beginning of a new fiscal year for state of Oklahoma agencies, so a number of budget-related measures, including the general appropriations bill, House Bill 2900, also took effect. 

The state’s fiscal year 2022 budget is $9.1 billion.

Here are 10 highlights from the 79 pieces of legislation signed by Gov. Kevin Stitt that take effect July 1, 2021.

The Oklahoma Religious Freedom Act, Senate Bill 368

The government may not close places of worship during emergencies, as was seen during the COVID-19 pandemic. The measure would not prevent church leaders from closing or suspending operations at houses of worship on their own. Ian Maule, Tulsa World file

House Bill 1775 – teaching aspects of race

Students may not be taught that one race or gender is superior to another, nor that a person (by virtue of race or sex) “bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex.” Gender or diversity training in a college setting must be voluntary. Rep. Kevin West, R-Moore, author, said he rejects the idea that his bill could prohibit the teaching of authentic history.Stephen Pingry, Tulsa World file

Senate Bill 658 – masks in schools

Schools may not implement a mask mandate for students who have not been vaccinated against the coronavirus.Ian Maule, Tulsa World file

Proof of vaccination

Schools are not allowed to require that students present proof of a COVID-19 vaccination as a condition for admittance.Jeff Chiu, Associated Press file

House Bill 2946

A big push last session for House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, was to make the internet more accessible in underserved or unserved areas.A new law provides a sales tax exemption in the form of a rebate on sales of certain equipment outside the establishment receiving the service such as fiber, poles, towers, wireless transmitters, conduit – the core infrastructure – that the telecommunications provider must purchase and maintain. It does not apply to most items inside the establishment receiving the service, like modems and wireless routers, that the consumer usually buys or leases from the provider.Matt Rourke, Associated Press file

Senate Bill 608 – Filmed in Oklahoma Act of 2021

A new film and television incentive builds on an existing program upping the rebate cap from $8 million to $30 million. Supporters said the measure was necessary to help diversify the state’s economy. Pictured, “Killers of the Flower Moon” is filmed in Pawhuska on May 24.Mike Simons, Tulsa World file

Senate Bill 960

A new law allows for a baby to be relinquished to a rescuer or medical provider until the child reaches 30 days old. The new law, increasing the age from 7 days old, provides a defense to child abandonment charges.Tulsa World file

Senate Bill 121 – lactation rights for teachers

School districts must adopt policies that allow lactating employees reasonable daily break time and “provide a private, secure and sanitary room or other location, other than a toilet stall, where an employee can express her milk or breastfeed her child,” according to the measure.Sen. Carri Hicks, D-Oklahoma City, the author, a bill was passed a few years ago that gave the accommodation to state employees, but it didn’t apply school employees.Tulsa World file

House Bill 2272 – For medical marijuana businesses

The new law requires that licensees of the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority disclose any foreign interests held in the medical marijuana industry. It also allows OMMA to conduct on-site compliance checks starting Sept. 1 and mandates inspections to determine whether a licensee remains active and compliant.Mike Simons, Tulsa World

House Bill 1236 – States’ rights

The law creates a unit within the Attorney General’s Office to monitor and evaluate federal government actions for possible Tenth Amendment violations. The Legislature would, by majority, be able to rule any federal executive order, federal agency rule or federal legislative action unconstitutional. The AG’s Office unit would be funded through tax appropriations
.Associated Press file