Oklahoma’s Parental Bill of Rights is an important piece of legislation that was introduced and signed into law in May 2014 by then-Governor Mary Fallin. It reaffirms that parents have the liberty to direct the upbringing, care and education of theirchildren.
This fundamental right allows parents to make final decisions about their children’s schooling, religious training, and care or treatment for their medical and mental health.
The exception to this, of course, is a situation in which a child is endangered. The Parental Bill of Rights does not allow parents to do anything that is illegal, abusive or negligent to a child. The vast majority of parents make smart and responsible decisions, but unfortunately there are some who do not.
Anytime there is legislation involving children, the Parental Bill of Rights is always part of the discussion. Last year, the Legislature amended the Parental Bill of Rights to allow parents to give permission for the use of telemedicine services for their children while in school. The bill was proposed by Rep. Randy Randleman, a child psychologist and close colleague of mine in the Legislature.
Telemedicine services help improve care in rural areas of the state where access to healthcare providers and resources are limited. Telehealth visits also keep children in school by reducing the risk of transference of an illness to other students, something that will likely be especially important in the upcoming school year.
While our usual work is slow at the Capitol right now, we still have much to do to prepare for the next legislative session. I have been working to set up meetings with constituents and other policymakers to discuss potential legislation for next year.
Next week, the Speaker of the House is expected to announce the approved interim studies. Interim studies are detailed studies of policy issues that often address areas of legislation that failed to pass in previous sessions or need more in-depth conversation. Topics are requested by legislators and then considered by leadership. Sometimes topics that are very similar are combined into one study.
Local and national experts are often invited to testify at meetings, and the information brought forward is used to guide future legislation.
For the next several months, I will continue to review potential legislation to file next year. If you have a suggestion to improve policy, please contact my office so I can talk to you about it!
There is also a runoff election coming up at the end of August to determine the party nominee in recent races where no candidate received 50% of the vote. In Logan County, Republican voters will consider their nominee for the county commissioner in district 2. Payne County Republicans will be asked to vote for their nominee for the county sheriff.
For the August 25 election, July 31 is the final day to register to vote. August 18 is the final day to request absentee ballots. These ballots will likely need to be notarized as per the usual rule, since the Governor’s health emergency expired and copies of valid identification are no longer considered a substitute for notarization.
Before finishing this update, I want to encourage District 33 residents to keep up the fantastic work of filling out the U.S. census! Oklahoma still lags behind the national response rate, but we have seen significant improvement over the last few months.
Officials from the U.S. Census Bureau may soon begin visiting homes of those who have not responded, so I encourage you to fill out your census online at 2020census.gov. An accurate count will ensure Oklahoma receives adequate federal funding for our schools and roads, among many other things.
My office is available to help with any questions or concerns you may have. You can reach me at (405) 557-7304 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for the opportunity to serve!
Rep. John Talley, a Republican, serves District 33 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which covers Logan and Payne Counties.