This was a major deadline week at the Legislature. Thursday was the final day to pass bills through the opposite chamber, so we spent hours each day on the House floor considering Senate bills. Ultimately, we passed 214 Senate measures through the House.

With this deadline behind us, we’ll spend quite a bit of time hearing the amendments made in the Senate to House bills. Changes can either be accepted or rejected; if they’re rejected, members from both chambers meet in Joint Conference Committee to discuss a compromise before the bill returns to each chamber for final consideration.

A few of my House bills were amended in the Senate, so I’ll accept the amendments to House Bill 3205 and House Bill 3073 on the House floor before the House votes once again. These bills will then go to the Governor’s desk, where a couple of my other bills landed this week. House Bill 3045 was signed into law by the Governor on Monday, and Senate Bill 1781 awaits his approval.

Additionally, the House recently passed an amendment to Senate Bill 615 to address the bathroom policy issue the Stillwater School Board is currently facing.

I have heard from many constituents who were concerned about the privacy of their children as a result of the current bathroom policy in Stillwater public schools.

I have been in ongoing discussions with members of the school board to assess the best way to address parents’ concerns. I also reached out to State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister and Attorney General John O’Connor requesting they provide clear guidance to the school board on this issue. After numerous conversations, it became clear that legislation was necessary.

The Attorney General assured me that basing bathrooms on biological sex is not against the law and asked that the Legislature act quickly to clarify state statute on this.

All week, several of my colleagues and I worked on drafting language to add into Senate Bill 615. The legislation makes clear that school restrooms should be designated based on biological sex, and that students should use the restroom that aligns with their biological sex identified at birth. All students are free to use a “single-use” restroom also.

I appreciate Rep. Kevin West for filing the agreed-upon language and presenting the legislation before the House, where it passed on the day of the deadline. Since the bill was amended in the House, it returns to the Senate for further consideration before it can move to the Governor for his signature.

A major focus in the month of May is finalizing our state budget proposal. We work with agencies and state leaders throughout session to draft a budget for the next fiscal year ahead of our deadline to adjourn sine die on the last Friday in May.

I’ll continue to provide updates on the budget as well as other significant legislation as it moves through the democratic process. Please reach out if you have any questions or concerns about legislation. You may contact me at 405-557-7304 or john.talley@okhouse.gov. Thank you for the honor of serving House District 33!

Rep. John Talley, a Republican, serves District 33 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which covers Logan and Payne Counties.

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