Weekly Legislative Update: April 16, 2018

Candidate Filing

Filing for statewide and legislative offices occurred April 11-13. In addition to members of the U.S. House of Representatives; Governor; Lieutenant Governor; Attorney General; Insurance Commissioner; and other statewide posts, all members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives and the even-numbered districts of the Oklahoma State Senate seats are up for election. The OSMA and OMPAC will be evaluating each of these races and determining “pro-medicine” candidates to whom support may be provided. YOUR INVESTMENT in OMPAC is crucial!

Please mark these election dates on your calendar:

Primary Election:                             June 26**           (Voter Registration Deadline: June 1)

Run-Off Primary Election:              August 28            (Voter Registration Deadline: August 3)

General Election:                             November 6       (Voter Registration Deadline: October 12)

**SQ 788, so-called “Medical” Marijuana ballot initiative, will be on the Primary Election Ballot. Please see a detailed description of the measure and the reasons why OSMA OPPOSES the passage of SQ 788.


The second week of a statewide teacher “walk-out” continued to impact activity at the Capitol; however, with the passage of revenue raising and funding measures mentioned in the previous two Weekly Legislative Updates, Oklahoma’s common education system received a funding increase of approximately 20%. With virtually all of their funding requests accomplished, the Oklahoma Education Association finally called for an end to the historic event. Negotiations for the FY 2019 Budget are ongoing.

Important Issues to OSMA

The deadline for measures to pass out of Committee in the opposite House (Senate Bills out of House Committees and House Bills out of Senate Committees) was Thursday, April 12. In order to remain under consideration, measures must pass the Floor of the opposite house by April 26.

*E-Prescribing: In order to combat the current opioid epidemic considered to be a federal health care crisis, the Oklahoma Commission on Opioid Abuse made several recommendations to the legislature designed to combat this predicament. One of those proposals was developing an electronic-prescription requirement for opioids and other Class II narcotics. OSMA requested Sen. Yen, MD, to author an e-prescription measure: SB 1128 (Yen/Derby). Another e-prescribing measure originating from the House, HB 2931 (Mulready/David), has also moved through the legislative process. After negotiations spearheaded by OSMA, a new version of SB 1128 was presented in the House Judiciary Committee calling for a one-year pilot project in counties of 200K+ in population while allowing an “opt-out” provision for physicians without a computer system and electronic medical records (EMR’s). Statewide E-Prescribing would have an effective date of January 1, 2020.  (SB 1128 Passed Senate; Passed House Judiciary; to House Floor & HB 2931 passed House; Passed Senate Health and Human Services Committee; to Senate Floor). These two measures will most likely go to a Conference Committee where one bill will be the vehicle for e-prescribing.

*Pill Limits: Restricting the availability of opioids is a recommendation from the Oklahoma Commission on Opioid Abuse. OSMA requested Sen. Sykes to author a Pill Limit bill: SB 1446 (Sykes/Derby). Some members on the Commission desired a maximum opioid prescription of 3-days. Due to negotiations spearheaded by OSMA, this measure allows for a 7-day prescription of opioids or Class II narcotics for acute pain associated with post-surgery, post-injury, or disease. A second 7-day prescription may be written but could not be filled until after the first prescription expires. Subsequently, if deemed necessary by the physician, 30-day prescriptions associated with a pain management plan and three-month “course of treatment” reviews must be established – (Passed Senate; Passed House Judiciary with Title ON; to House Floor)

*Pain Management Clinic Regulation: Pain Management Clinics in Oklahoma should be licensed and regulated. Currently, they can be owned by non-physicians and provide limited oversight. Clinics should be owned by an individual or group of MD’s or DO’s and should designate a physician who is responsible for complying with clinic operations. OSMA requested Sen. Yen, MD, to author a Pain Management Clinic Regulation bill. SB 1124 (Yen/Derby) – (Title Stricken; Passed Senate; passed House Judiciary; to House Floor) OSMA Active in Negotiation 

*Good Samaritan Law: When a person is attempting to help another in the case of a suspected overdose of a Schedule I or Schedule II controlled dangerous substance and that person cooperates with emergency responders and peace officers at the scene, they would be immune from prosecution based solely on an offense of drug possession or use. OSMA requested Sen Yen, MD, to author this “Good Samaritan Law”, SB 1367 (Yen/Derby), which is a Medical Student Advocacy Bill. – (Passed Senate; passed House Judiciary with Title ON; to House Floor) OSMA STRONGLY SUPPORTS  

Scope of Practice: OSMA STRONGLY OPPOSES efforts to undermine the authority and experience MD’s and DO’s provide to the medical profession. They should continue to deliver proper oversight of every patient’s well-being. In addition, in light of the opioid epidemic faced by our state and nation, the legislature should not consider expanding prescriptive authority. The efforts this session to allow independent practice for APN’s have FAILED to meet Committee Deadlines.

  • SB 1329 (Scott/Teague): Creates a Radiologic Technologist Advisory Committee within the State Medical Licensure Board and creates a license for radiologist technicians. (Passed Senate; assigned to House Rules; FAILED to be heard by Committee deadline) OSMA OPPOSES

Sunscreen for Students: SB 950 (Stanislawski/Rogers) requires public schools to allow a student to possess and self-apply sunscreen regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) without previous written authorization. This measure is another Medical Student Advocacy Bill. (Passed Senate; Passed House Common Education with Title ON; to House Floor) OSMA SUPPORTS   

Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET): SJR 45 (Fields/Echols) creates a State Question allowing TSET dollars to be utilized to fund Oklahoma’s Graduate Medical Education (GME) programs housed within the OU and OSU medical schools. TSET funds are utilized for tobacco prevention and cessation programs as well as medical research grants. OSMA OPPOSES the diversion of TSET dollars and continues to support ongoing negotiations between the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to assure full funding to these vital GME programs. (Title Stricken; Passed Senate; to House Rules; FAILED to be heard by Committee deadline)

Appointment Authority: HB 3036 (Lepak/Treat) provides that the State Board of Health shall become an advisory board only. The bill provides that the State Commissioner of Health, appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall have complete authority over the Department of Health and may be removed or replaced by the Governor without cause. (Passed House; Passed Senate Health and Human Service; passed Senate A&B; to Senate Floor; Title is OFF) OSMA OPPOSES

Occupational Licensing: SB 1475 (Pugh/Osburn) creates an Occupational Licensing Advisory Commission designed to review each occupational or professional licensing act every four years and make recommendations to the legislature on whether a license should be maintained, modified or repealed. An amended measure specifying a representative of the medical community serve on the Commission was passed in House Rules Committee (Passed Senate; passed House Rules as amended; to House Floor) OSMA OPPOSES 

HB 2933 (Mulready/David) provides for a first-year license fee waiver for low-income individuals. (Passed House; Passed Senate Business, Commerce and Tourism Committee & Senate Appropriations Committee; to Senate Floor; Title is OFF) OSMA OPPOSES

*These measures reflect recommendations generated from Attorney General Mike Hunter’s Oklahoma Commission on Opioid Abuse on which Kevin Taubman, MD, OSMA President was an active participant.

**State Question 788, the so-called “Medical” Marijuana ballot question, will be considered by a vote of the people on June 26. This initiative petition, which was certified in September, 2016, has weathered a variety of court challenges and a ballot rewrite. Medical marijuana is legal in 29 states and D.C., and cannabis oil is legal in an additional 15 states, including Oklahoma. In 2015, Oklahoma authorized clinical trials of cannabis oil for persons 18 years of age or younger with severe forms of epilepsy.

If SQ 788 passes, obtaining a state-issued medical marijuana “license” would require a board-certified physician’s signature. However, in Oklahoma, the broad utilization of the term “physician” includes not only MD’s and DO’s, but also includes dentists; chiropractors; podiatrists; optometrists; and, veterinarians. There would be no specific qualifying conditions to receive a “medical” marijuana license.

The physician would not offer a traditional prescription but would provide a patient with an authorization license to purchase marijuana at a state certified dispensary operating under a license provided by the Oklahoma Department of Health.

Individuals with licenses would be permitted to possess up to three ounces of marijuana on their person and eight ounces of marijuana in their residence. A seven percent (7%) tax would be levied on marijuana sales, with revenue being allocated to administrative costs, education, and drug and alcohol rehabilitation. Licenses would be required to operate dispensaries, commercial growing operations, and processing operations. Municipalities would be prohibited from restricting zoning laws to prevent marijuana dispensaries.

OSMA does not have policy opposing the use of medical marijuana; however, due to the fact that the ballot language does NOT require any qualifying medical conditions and allows non-MD’s and DO’s authority to provide licenses to purchase, grow and possess the Class I narcotic, OSMA OPPOSES the passage of SQ 788.