Each year for the past two years, I’ve posted a list of some of the most important laws that the Oklahoma Legislature has passed. This year, the Legislature passed over four hundred new laws. Many of the new laws go into effect on November 1; some went into effect immediately upon passing.
Below, is a list of some of the most important new laws the Legislature passed this year. To see all of the laws the Legislature passed in 2022, click here.
SB 612 – Makes performing an abortion a felony punishable by up to ten years in prison, and/or a fine of up to $100,000. Allows an exception for an abortion necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman in a medical emergency.
SB 1503 – Prohibits performing an abortion where a fetal heartbeat is detected. Allows “any person” to bring a civil lawsuit against anyone who performs or induces an abortion where a fetal heartbeat is detected, or against anyone who knowingly engages in conduct that aides or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion where a fetal heartbeat is detected. Requires a court to order injunctive relief to prevent a defendant from violating this act. Requires a court to award statutory damages of at least $10,000 for each abortion performed or induced in violation of the act, and for each abortion performed or induced in violation of the act that the defendant aided or abetted. Requires a court to award court costs and attorney’s fees. Allows the lawsuit to be filed in any county where the events occurred, the county of residence of any defendant, and the county of residence of the claimant.
HB 1100 – Requires birth certificates to register a child’s biological sex as male or female, and prohibits nonbinary designations.
HB 3381 – Allows service of process in a lawsuit by delivering a copy of the summons and petition at an agreed meeting place with a person residing in the defendant’s home.
HB 2992 – Allows a child under eighteen to testify outside the courtroom in a deprived child case, if testimony outside the courtroom is necessary. Allows a therapeutic dog to accompany the child witness. Allows the child’s guardian ad litem to be present when the child is testifying.
HB 3076 – Allows a person having legal custody of a minor to enter into a settlement agreement with a party against whom the minor has a claim, if a conservator or guardian ad litem has not been appointed for the minor, the amount of the settlement is $25,000 or less, the minor will be fully compensated by the settlement, and the money is deposited into a federally insured bank account in the minor’s name in compliance with the statute.
HB 4224 – No child who is a victim of human trafficking shall be subject to juvenile delinquency or criminal proceedings for prostitution offenses that occurred as a result of the child being a victim of human trafficking. No child shall be subject to delinquency proceedings or child-in-need-of-supervision proceedings for prostitution offenses, or misdemeanor or nonviolent felony offenses committed as a result of being a victim of human trafficking. Allows people in prosecution for criminal, youthful offender, or delinquent offenses to raise an affirmative defense that they were victims of human trafficking at the time of the alleged commission of the offense.
HB 3270 – In calculating whether a person can pay his fines, fees, costs, or assessments, the court may not count money from a federal or state need-based assistance program as personal income.
HB 3024 – Allows a person to file for expungement, if the person was charged with no more than two felony offenses, none of which were specified violent felony offenses or would require the offender to register as a sex offender, and the charges were dismissed after the offender completed a deferred sentence, and no felony or misdemeanor charges are pending, and at least ten years have passed since the charges were dismissed.
HB 4194 – Says that if a person was arrested for a crime listed in the Protective from Domestic Abuse Act, or a violent crime listed in 57 O.S. § 571, the judge must look at “prior patterns of abuse”, and must make written findings, when setting the amount of bail.
SB 1163 – Allows district attorneys to develop multidisciplinary teams for investigating and prosecuting elderly and vulnerable adult abuse.
HB 3316 – Allows certain persons to have their criminal records expunged automatically, without petitioning the court. Every month, the OSBI is to examine its records and see if any persons have what the law defines as a “clean slate eligible case.” If a person has a clean slate eligible case, the OSBI is to notify all prosecuting agencies and arresting agencies involved in the case. If no agency objects within 45 days, the OSBI is to send the case to the appropriate judge, who must then sign an order to expunge, and provide all agencies with the expungement order. Each agency presented with an expungement order must seal the records.
SB 1738 – Prohibits the execution of anyone “mentally incompetent to be executed” and provides for procedures made for a defendant’s attorney to raise the issue of mental competency.
SB 974 – Requires that the prosecution of a sex crime against a victim over age eighteen be commenced within twelve years after the discovery of the crime. Requires that a prosecution for human trafficking be commenced within three years after the discovery of the crime. “Discovery” means the date the crime was reported to a law enforcement agency.
SB 1742 – Says that a person who uses deadly force against an intruder, or a person who uses deadly force when attacked in a place where he has a right to be, is immune from prosecution. If such a person is prosecuted and files a pre-trial motion in court asserting that he is immune from prosecution, and the court denies the motion, he may appeal the denial to the Court of Criminal Appeals within ten days. If the court finds that he is immune from prosecution, the state may appeal the court’s decision that he is immune.
HB 3171 – Prohibits the use of drones for eavesdropping or surveillance on private property, in airspace within 400 feet above private property, or in any place where the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy. Prohibits landing a drone on lands or in water that is the private property of another without the consent of the owner or lessee.
HB 3258 – Says that “rape” includes any sexual intercourse where the victim is a high school student concurrently enrolled at an institution of higher education, and the perpetrator is an employee of the institution. “Employee” does not include a student-employee who is less than three years older than the victim.
HB 3648 – Requires that a court schedule a preliminary hearing within nine months of the defendant’s initial appearance. If the hearing is delayed past the nine-month limit, the court must hold a hearing to show the cause of why the preliminary hearing must be delayed. If the court fails to find good cause to delay the preliminary hearing, the court must set a preliminary hearing “as soon as practicable.”
SB 1691 – Says that a criminal conviction, plea of guilty or no contest, or pending criminal charge shall not be grounds for denying a professional license unless “the underlying offense substantially relates to the duties and responsibilities of the occupation and poses a reasonable threat to public safety, health, or welfare.” Provides guidelines for determining whether a criminal offense “substantially relates” to the duties and responsibilities of the occupation. Provides an appeal process for anyone denied a professional license for a criminal charge or conviction.
HB 3564 – To deal with Oklahoma’s teacher shortage, this bill establishes a teacher scholarship and incentive program. This program is available to a “prospective teacher” who has graduated from an Oklahoma high school, is majoring in an approved Oklahoma teacher education program, and agrees to teach Pre-K through 12th grade at an Oklahoma public school for five consecutive years after graduation from college. A prospective teacher in the program, who has less than ninety credit hours of college, may receive $1,000 per year for up to three years. A prospective teacher in the program, who has more than ninety credit hours of college, may receive $2,500 per year for up to the final year. After graduating, a teacher may receive incentive payments of $4,000 for up to five years.
SB 2 – Prohibits “students of the male sex” from competing on any school athletic team designated for females, women, or girls, in any public school, public charter school, or any institution in the Oklahoma State System for Higher Education. Requires a student’s parent or legal guardian (or the student, if the student is over 18) to sign an affidavit acknowledging the student’s biological sex at birth. Allows any student injured by a violation of this law to file suit against the school who violated the law. If a school, school athletic association, or intercollegiate athletic association retaliates against a student who reports a violation, the student may sue the school or association.
HB 3543 – Creates “Oklahoma Free Speech Committee” to review free speech policies at state universities, review university training for free speech, and make recommendations to universities on improvements to free speech policies and training. Allows people to report free speech concerns to the committee. Requires free speech committee to advise complainants of their rights. Requires free speech training for college deans, heads of departments, and individuals responsible for establishing university policies or handling free speech complaints.
SB 1307 – Requires public schools and charter schools that issue student ID cards, to print the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and the Crisis Text Line, on the card. Requires public and private higher education institutions, that issue student ID cards, to print, on the card, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the Crisis Text Line, and the campus police phone number, or if there is no campus police phone number, the local non-emergency telephone number.
HB 3092 – Requires school library resources to be “reflective of the community standards” and “age-appropriate.”
SB 615 – Prohibits public schools and charter schools from allowing people to enter a restroom or changing room designated for the opposite sex. Makes an exception for entering for custodial, maintenance, or inspection purposes, or to render emergency medical assistance. “Sex” means the physical condition of being male or female based on genetics and physiology, as identified on the individual’s original birth certificate. Allowing a parent or legal guardian of a student to have a cause of action for violating this law. Any school that does not comply shall receive a 5% decrease in state funding.
HB 3046 – Prohibits the private funding of elections. Says that no “person” may pay the costs of administering an election. “Person” means “any individual, proprietorship, firm, partnership, joint venture, syndicate, labor union, business trust, company, association, committee, corporation, whether or not operated for profit, or any other organization or group of persons acting in concert, or any other nongovernmental third-party entity.” Says that all costs and expenses of conducting and administering elections must be paid for with public funds.
HB 2974 – Requires the State Election Board to annually look at the state voter registration database. If more than ten registered voters share the same address, the state election board must notify the county election board in the county where the address is. The county election board must notify the district attorney, who must conduct an investigation to see if there is any fraud.
HB 3193 – Says that if a mother and father have not married, but have agreed as to the father of the child and have signed an acknowledgment of paternity on a form provided by DHS, the mother and father have equal rights and obligations to the child, and the child shall be treated as if his parents were married at the time of his birth.
HB 3075 – If people apply for a marriage license, either or both parties may change their name. But, a party’s new name must be some combination of the names of either party – it can’t be an entirely new name.
Also, when a minister signs the marriage license, all the minister needs to do is certify on the marriage certificate that he holds credentials from his church or synagogue. He does not have to file his credentials with the court clerk. (Previously, a minister had to file credentials with the court clerk in order to perform marriages.)
SB 1726 – Prohibits the business of any medical marijuana grower from being within 1,000 feet of any public or private school. The definition of “school” includes technology center schools.
HB 3971 – Allows the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority to employ secret shoppers to investigate for compliance with marijuana law.
SB 401 – Exempts military retirement benefits from state income tax.
HB 3168 – Places restrictions on making commercial sales calls by telephone, and allows people who receive commercial sales calls in violation of this statute to sue the vendor who made the call.
HB 3315 – Repeals the law that fines persons under 21 for purchasing and receiving tobacco products, or presenting fraudulent proof of age to attempt to buy tobacco products. Instead of a fine, they will be required to complete an education or tobacco use cessation program.
HB 3501 – Says that a conviction for a traffic violation in an Indian tribal court shall have the same effect on a person’s driver’s license as a conviction in a state or city court.
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