Most of the action this week was in the governor’s office as the House and Senate continued to battle over education. The governor vetoed a few more bills and signed some others.
Budget subcommittee and committee chairs have started having meetings to work on finishing up the budget but rumors of a special session have started due to speculation that the education issue and the budget cannot be wrapped up on schedule by the last Friday in May. We will see what happens. In the meantime, a few policy bills remain in play awaiting acceptance or rejection of amendments. Those that are rejected will go into conference committee for more work.
Bills of note that the governor has signed:
- HB2424 – allows pharmacies to dispense and sell a wider variety of opioid antagonists to counteract overdoses.
- SB665 – removes the requirement for providers of buprenorphine with naloxone, as used for medication-assisted treatment services, to register with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control.
- SB668 – removes ephedrine, phenylpropanolamine, and pseudoephedrine from the list of substances that require a person or business to obtain a permit from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control.
- SB442 – requires insurance companies to publish and update an electronic provider directory for each of its network plans and to make sure the information is correct. The measure is designed to provide a more accurate picture of available mental health providers to patients.
- BHHB2154 – extends protections of assault and battery against health care professionals to all health care facility personnel.
- HBHHHHB2172 – adds medical care provider to the list of persons it is a crime to threaten, intimidate or harass by use of an electronic communication device by knowingly publishing, posting or making available personally identifiable information. The measure clarifies that the law would not apply when the incident is unrelated to the provider's professional duties.
- HSB1094 – allows a medical power of attorney to be signed in front of a notary or two witnesses.
- SBBHB1504 – is designed to end the practice of direct pay to patients for out-of-network procedures. It includes some requirements for good faith estimates.
Among the bills the governor vetoed in the last two weeks were:
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- SB249 – would have allowed a practitioner who ordered a controlled dangerous substance to be administered through a hospice program in either the private residence or a long-term care facility where the patient resided to be exempt from electronic prescription requirements. The governor’s veto message stated that he planned to continue to veto bills authored by senators not supporting the education tax credit plan.
- SB711 – would have directed the Oklahoma State Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services to provide hospitals with opioid antagonists to be given, under certain conditions, to people upon discharge from emergency rooms when they arrived with symptoms of opioid overdose. The same veto message was provided.