Oklahoma lawmakers have filed dozens of bills this year to expand eligibility to social service programs, improve child welfare policies and increase access to maternal health care after enacting one of the strictest abortion bans in the country.
Here’s a summary some of those proposals.
Additional Reading: After banning abortion, Oklahoma lawmakers eye expanding maternal health care and other supports
- Senate Bill 1046 by Sen. Darrell Weaver, R-Moore, would make domestic abuse against a pregnant woman a felony on the first offense.
- Senate Bill 182 by Carri Hicks, D-Oklahoma City, would direct the state’s Medicaid program to cover breast pumps.
- Senate Bill 183 by Hicks would direct the state’s Medicaid program to have an enhanced reimbursement rate at hospitals deemed “baby friendly.”
- At least three bills would raise the initial financial limit from $1,000 to $3,500 for any person, lawyer or adoption organization to cover a birth mothers’ living and transportation expenses. These include House Bill 1930 by House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, Senate Bill 187 by Sen. George Burns, R-Pollard, and House Bill 1033 by Rep. Mark Lawson, R-Sapulpa.
- Senate Bill 256 by Sen. David Bullard, R-Durant, would give $1.75 million to the State Department of Health to reimburse pregnancy resource centers that perform ultrasounds.
- Senate Bill 281 by Sen. Bill Coleman, R-Ponca City, would allow families to have one car per household and still be eligible for the federally funded cash assistance program TANF. Currently, families can only have one car worth less than $5,000 to qualify.
- Senate Bill 400 by Sen. Jo Anna Dossett, D-Tulsa, would exempt a portion of monthly child support payments from resource determinations to receive TANF.
- Senate Bill 561 by Sen. John Haste, R-Broken Arrow, and House Bill 1931 by McCall would allow TANF applicants to still participate in the program after failing a drug test by adding substance use treatment and mental health counseling to program work requirements.
- Senate Bill 594 by Sen. Jessica Garvin, R-Duncan, would require the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to create an enhanced reimbursement rate for maternity care provided to Medicaid beneficiaries in areas with low or no access to care.
- Senate Bill 538 by Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, would modify grant provisions under the Choosing Childbirth Act, clarifying how the State Department of Health can spend the money and also adding substance use and mental health treatment to allowable expenses.
- Senate Bill 992 by Sen. Brenda Stanley, R-Midwest City, would allow taxpayers to claim “any unborn child with a detectable human heartbeat” as a dependent on their taxes.
- Senate Bill 757 by Bullard would create a statewide telecare support network to provide community outreach and care coordination for women facing an unexpected pregnancy. The bill says the network cannot include groups that perform or assist with abortions or refer anyone to an entity that performs or recommends abortions. The program would be open to anyone with a child under age 2 or who is pregnant.
- Senate Bill 656 by Bullard would create the Paternal Responsibility Act, making fathers responsible for covering part of prenatal care costs unless the parties involved have made a legally binding arrangement to the contrary. House Bill 1783 by Rep. Danny Williams, R-Seminole, and House Bill 1985 by Rep. Cody Maynard, R-Durant, also add payment obligations for fathers.
- Senate Bill 694 by Treat and House Bill 1932 by McCall would extend TANF eligibility to pregnant applicants.
- House Bill 1929 by McCall would allow participation in Successful Adulthood Act programs until the age of 25 instead of 21. The law supports people aging out of foster care with education and life-skills training programs.
- House Bill 1047 by Lawson and Senate Bill 423 by Sen. Adam Pugh, R-Edmond would allow a parent to relinquish a child that is 60 days old or younger without being prosecuted for child abandonment or neglect.
- House Bill 2511 by Rep. Ajay Pittman, D-Oklahoma City, and House Bill 2152 by Rep. Cynthia Roe, R-Lindsey, would require hospitals and licensed birth centers to make a “reasonable and good-faith effort” to report all deaths that happen during pregnancy or within one year of the termination of a pregnancy to the local coroner or medical examiner’s office.
- Senate Bill 1086 by Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow would require children in state care under 1 year old to have a service plan with a goal for a permanent home within one year after being declared deprived.
- Senate Bill 642 by Sen. Cody Rogers, R-Tulsa, would allow a person who is the subject of a Department of Human Services’ investigation to review the investigative findings.
- At least four bills propose some version of paid family leave. House Bill 2100 by Rep. Forrest Bennett, D-Oklahoma City, and House Bill 1994 by Rep. Mickey Dollens, D-Oklahoma City, would send paid family leave to voters in the form of a legislative referendum. Senate Bill 990 by Garvin would create a paid family leave program under the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, and Senate Bill 364 by Pugh would require school districts to provide some teachers at least 12 weeks of maternity leave.
- House Bill 1630 by Rep. Regina Goodwin, D-Tulsa, would require the state Department of Human Services to provide information on foster care, kinship placements and resources to families during the department’s initial contact with them over allegations of child abuse or neglect.
- House Bill 1017 by Lawson would create a legal representation program for biological parents in child welfare cases.
- House Bill 1018 by Lawson would encourage parents to participate early in services to correct conditions that led to involvement in the child welfare system. Participation wouldn’t count as an admission of guilt.
- Senate Bill 708 by Sen. Roland Pederson, R-Burlington, would require the court to rule at every child welfare hearing whether the child’s attorney has complied with their duties under the law.
- Senate Bill 834 by Sen. Julie Daniels, R-Bartlesville, would add exceptions to the state’s abortion ban for pregnancies that are the result of rape reported to law enforcement or incest of a minor and protections for IVF treatment and contraception. House Bill 1655 by Rep. Marcus McEntire, R-Duncan, also adds exceptions to the abortion ban.
- Senate Bill 368 by Garvin would add protections for contraceptive drugs, surgeries and other treatments.
- Senate Bill 500 by Sen. Paul Rosino, R-Oklahoma City, would allow state employees to take a 10-day leave of absence when a child in the custody of the Department of Human Services is placed in their home.