Weekly Legislative Update: April 9, 2018


This was another historic week. As a reminder, last week, the state Legislature passed, by margins greater than the three-fourths majority required by the Constitution, the largest revenue raising measure in state history. This was the first revenue raising measure passed by the Legislature since the passage of SQ 640 in 1992, which placed the 75 percent margin requirement in order for the Legislature to pass any tax increase without going to a vote of the people.

HB 1010XX, signed into law by Gov. Fallin, increases the state’s cigarette tax by one dollar per pack (while equalizing the tax on little cigars); increases the state’s gas tax by $.03 and diesel tax by $.06; places a $5 per room night tax on hotel and motel rooms; and, raises the gross production tax on all oil and gas wells from 2 percent to 5 percent. This measure raises more than $425M used for school teacher pay-raises (an average of $6,100/year); in-classroom funding including textbooks; increased salary for public school support staff; and, public employee pay-raises on a graduated scale.

After July 1, 2019, the dollars generated from the cigarette tax increase will be placed into the State Health Care Enhancement Fund and dedicated to health care related expenditures as deemed necessary by the state Legislature.

This week, the teacher “walk-out” filled the halls of the Capitol when tens of thousands of teachers, students, parents, supporters and others protested at the Capitol every day. Both inside and outside the Capitol, their voices supporting enhanced funding for not only a teacher pay raise, but classroom funding were loud and clear.

Additional revenue raising measures passed by the Legislature this week include:

  • HB 1011XX Caps individual income tax itemized deductions to $17K except for health care related and charitable donations. Signed by the governor.
  • HB 1012XX Repeals the $5 per room night tax on hotels and motels contained in the HB 1010XX. The revenue lost because of the repealer is replaced by revenue housed within HB 1019XX and HB 3345. Sent to the governor on April 6.
  • HB 1019XX (So-called “Amazon Bill”) Requires all third-party venders who sell products via any online vender and do not have a “brick and mortar” location in the state shall collect and remit Oklahoma sales tax. The revenue shall be dedicated to the common education formula. Sent to the governor on April 6.
  • HB 3375 (So called “Ball and Dice Bill”), allows tribal casinos to use marble balls for roulette wheels and dice for crap tables which is anticipated to increase the amount of “table game” tribal compact revenue generated to the state. Sent to the governor on April 6. 

Other Important Issues to the OSMA

Several measures of interest to the OSMA were set on committee agendas this week; however, due to the overwhelming crowds and interruptions caused by the teacher protests, many committee meetings were cancelled. We anticipate next week’s committee agendas to be full. The deadline for bills to be out of their opposite house (House bills out of Senate committee and Senate bills out of House committee) is April 12.

The following represents the status of some of the measures important to the OSMA:

*E-Prescribing: OSMA understands the difficulty of accessibility, expense and time management associated with the implementation of such a structure. While deliberating, the Legislature should also consider an alternative method for compliance. OSMA requested Sen. Yen, MD, to author an e-prescription measure. SB 1128 (Yen/Derby) – (Title Stricken; Passed Senate; to House Judiciary) OSMA Active in Negotiations

*Pill Limits: Restricting the availability of opioids is a recommendation from the Oklahoma Commission on Opioid Abuse. In order to assure a physician’s ability to address each case independently, an MD or DO should be able to consider prescriptive authority on a case-by-case basis. OSMA requested Sen. Sykes to author a Pill Limit bill. SB 1446 (Sykes/Derby) – (Passed Senate; to House Judiciary) OSMA Active in Negotiations

*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; to House Judiciary) OSMA Active in Negotiations

*Good Samaritan Law: Instances whereby a person is attempting to help another in the case of a suspected overdose and who also cooperates with emergency responders should be immune from prosecution based solely on an offense of drug possession or use. This is a Medical Student Advocacy Bill. (OSMA requested Sen Yen, MD, to author a Good Samaritan Law bill. SB 1367 (Yen/Derby) – (Title Stricken; Passed Senate; to House Judiciary) 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.

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; to House Common Education) 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. After the Title was stricken, assuring the Senate would have another chance to consider the measure, the measure passed the Senate 28-10. 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)

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; sent to Senate A&B) 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. (Passed Senate; to House Rules) 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.