Stillwater News Press

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November 1, 2011

New state laws in Oklahoma Tuesday

STILLWATER, Okla. — By Ricky O’Bannon

Today 186 new laws will go into effect in the state’s books.

The laws are the result of the Oklahoma Legislature’s 2011 session.

Below is short summary of a few of the bills that became law today.

Abortion law

State lawmakers passed three abortion-related laws. However, only two will take effect Tuesday. One of those laws requires that elective abortion procedures not be covered as part of standard insurance policies. The procedure can be covered by optional supplements. Another law would ban abortions after 20 weeks, which is lower than the current 24 weeks. The law, titled the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” provides exceptions for cases where the mother’s health is at risk.

The last bill passed by the Legislature has been suspended temporarily while it faces a legal challenge. The law restricts certain abortion-inducing drugs including the drug RU 486 or mifepristone. The Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit via the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice in early October against Oklahoma Commissioner of Health Terry Cline. The judge in the case issued a temporary injunction on the law, preventing it from going into effect before the case is settled.

Criminal code

While there was an initiative aimed at limiting prison overcrowding for nonviolent offenders, one law aimed at hashish production looked to lengthen some jail sentences.

Hash oil is made by dissolving marijuana into a solvent. The oil residue contains highly concentrated THC. A new law makes a first-time conviction of producing hash oil punishable by a minimum of two years incarceration, with a maximum of a life sentence. Sentencing times double on a second offense.

Another law would remove public urination from the list of offenses that require registration as a sex offender, unless the urination is sexual in purpose.

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