Steve Lewis served as Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 1989-1991. He currently practices law in Tulsa and represents clients at the Capitol.
Yesterday, January 19th, was the second formal deadline of the upcoming session. All bills creating new substantive law had to be filed by the close of business. House and Senate members have developed a custom of waiting until right before the deadline before filing their bills. As of Monday, only 119 bills and 1 Joint Resolution had been filed in the House, and 171 bills and 8 Joint Resolutions had been filed in the Senate. By Thursday night, a total of 2,148 bills and resolutions had been filed for consideration this session.
Going through all of these proposals makes for a frenetic several weeks. It takes a while for all the proposed legislation to be discovered and understood. When most all the bills are filed at the same time, some tend to get buried. You can always count on a collection of gun bills, abortion bills, and other “values” legislation to grab a lot of attention. This is the time people get very worried and spend a lot of energy on measures that may be going nowhere. It’s a good idea to keep in mind that these proposals are important to someone or they wouldn’t get filed. And you can’t stop a legislator from filing legislation. While it pays to pay attention, just because a bill gets filed doesn’t mean it’s going to become law.
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