November 1st of each year is a common date for new statutes to become effective. This year is no exception. I have assembled information about a few of the new laws that have gone into effect this month.
HB 1847 provides that all children up to age four must be secured in a child passenger restraint system and that the system must be a rear facing restraint system until the child either turns two or reaches the weight or height limit of the rear facing seat.
Children ages four through eight must be secured in either a child passenger restraint system or a booster seat unless they are taller than four feet, nine inches. Children over age eight or taller than four feet, nine inches are no longer subject to child restraint laws
U TEXT. U DRIVE. U PAY.
HB 1965 makes it illegal to use a hand held electronic device to manually compose, send or read an electronic text message while operating a moving motor vehicle. The law does not prevent using the device to make or receive phone calls and does not prohibit the use of text based messaging at a stop-light or while the vehicle is not moving.
Oklahoma’s anti-texting law makes our state the 46th in the country to ban texting while driving and establishes a fine for violations in the amount of $100. It also provides exceptions when making an emergency call to a fire department, law enforcement or for medical services.
HB 2179 allows nonviolent offenders who are on probation to obtain Commercial Drivers Licenses for employment purposes and HB 2187 allows electronic monitoring devices with GPS functions to be used for parolees or as a means to keep from sending non-violent offenders to prison.
HB 1630 removes red tape as offenders move between county jails and the Department of Corrections and HB 1879 allows the state to use nitrogen hypoxia as an alternative to lethal injection as a means of capital punishment.
HB 2181 makes it easier for a third party to be formed and receive ballot access by reducing the number of required signatures.
Oil and Gas
SB 809 prohibits cities and towns from adopting regulations of oil and gas wells that are not consistent with Corporation Commission rules and existing state law and prevents municipalities from banning oil and gas activity within city limits.
SB 20 allows out of state teachers with five years’ experience to teach in Oklahoma without having to take Oklahoma’s competency examinations. SB 782 allows charter schools to be established anywhere in the state over the objection of the local school board. SB 706 delays the implementation of a controversial new teacher evaluation format and SB 630 delays the automatic retention rules connected with third grade reading testing.
— David Perryman, a Chickasha Democrat, serves District 56 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives