I had a busy week at the Capitol last week presenting bills in committee, which is the first step a Senate bill must take before heading to the Senate floor for a vote. I presented six bills in committee, so I wanted to share details about some of the bills that passed.

I recently discussed Senate Bill 1208 in my column, which implements a telemedicine program for law enforcement officers to use when called to a scene requiring mental health assistance. I’m pleased to report this measure passed out of the Health and Human Services Committee and will next be considered in front of the full Senate.

The Agriculture and Wildlife Committee passed Senate Bill 1271, which moves the regulatory authority of meat labeling to the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry. The bill also regulates that plant-based meat alternatives must utilize a uniform font in size and prominence on the packaging, so consumers recognize that the product is plant-based. This bill protects both agricultural producers and consumers in our state.

The Finance Committee passed both Senate Bill 1094 and 1152 this week. Senate Bill 1094 eliminates the sales tax exemption for qualified tangible personal property to be used in the construction or expansion of manufacturing or distribution facilities.

Senate Bill 1152 repeals the Oklahoma Research and Development Incentives Act, which included a tax exemption for the sale of computers, data processing equipment, telephone, telegraph, telecommunications service or related equipment to any new or expanding business. This tax exemption was out-of-date and no longer working for our state. I firmly believe we must identify the exemptions that are no longer working and remove them from our regulatory system.

Finally, I was pleased the Transportation Committee passed Senate Bill 1131, which creates a special license plate for members of the Oklahoma Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary. This was a constituent request, and I’m hopeful we can get these license plates produced for our auxiliary members.

The deadline to hear Senate bills and Senate joint resolutions in committee is Feb. 27, so we have a busy few weeks ahead of us.

If you have any questions about bills, or if there is anything I can help you with, please call my office at 405-521-5561 or email me at Micheal.Bergstrom@oksenate.gov.

Sen. Micheal Bergstrom (R-Adair) was elected in 2016 as the state senator from District 1 which encompasses the northeast corner of Oklahoma including Ottawa, Craig, Delaware and Mayes counties.