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2.2.21 – KTUL -by Jeffrey Morgan, KTUL staff

Lawmakers are back to work in Oklahoma City today as the state legislative session is underway.

With bills on minimum wage, abortion rights, gun rights, medical marijuana, and the pandemic already introduced, senators and representatives are back ready to address all of those issues.

“It will be somewhat as close to normal as we can be, and one of the things I’m most excited about is committee meetings,” said Senator John Haste of Broken Arrow.

The senators and representatives won’t be required to wear masks in the chambers.

“We practice social distancing, and within our offices, we have certain protocol within our offices, so we thought that was a fair way to handle it,” said Representative Terry O’Donnell, the speaker pro tempore.

Three bills have been introduced that would raise the minimum wage: one to $10.50, another to $13, and another to $15.

On abortions, a bill could allow doctors to have their medical license suspended for up to a year for performing an abortion where the mother’s life is not in jeopardy.

Republicans hold a majority in the state legislature, meaning they wouldn’t need any votes from Democrats to get bills passed.

“Some broad themes for the Senate would fall into economic development, diversification, modernizing government, make government work better for our taxpayers, and focus on children and families,” said Senator Haste.

Sen. Haste is co-authoring a bill around mental health.

“Where we’ll look at the dollars spent around mental health,” said Sen. Haste.

Sen. Haste will also co-author a bill to help law enforcement deal with mental health calls.

The legislative session ends on May 28.