Weekly Legislative Update: April 2, 2018

We’re at the mid-way point of this year’s legislative session…and don’t forget the Special Sessions called by Governor Fallin to address funding needs for the current FY 2018 budget. This was a historic week when the state Legislature passed, by margins greater than the three-fourths majority required by the Constitution, the largest revenue raising measure in state history. The measure has been signed into law by the Governor. Read about the details and receive a Legislative UPDATE on many measure of importance to OSMA.


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. HB 1010XX, signed into law by Governor 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; and, raises the gross production tax on all oil and gas wells from 2 percent to 5 percent. This measure generates more than $425M used for school teacher pay-raises (an average of $6,100/year); 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. 

Other Important Issues to OSMA

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 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/Dustin Roberts) 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; to Senate Health and Human Service) 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 A&B) 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.