Governor signs public safety measures into law

By Rep. RICK WEST 

House Bill 1123 will allow law enforcement officers responding to the scenes of fatal accidents the authority to remove the bodies of the deceased in a more timely manner. Currently, bodies may not be moved until a medical examiner completes an on-site investigation. In rural areas, this can sometimes take hours or even all day. I authored this bill, which gives law enforcement officers the ability to have the bodies removed once they’ve documented the accident scene and taken pictures and measurements.

House Bill 3530 will give grants to local sheriffs’ departments so they can assign deputies to assist the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority in their inspections of marijuana grows. The $65,000 grant LeFlore County Sheriff Rodney Derryberry will receive will help in cracking down on illegal operations.

Our county sheriffs know our local areas best, and this will improve public safety by ensuring only legal businesses are operating in our county and not drug cartels. OMMA inspectors are not law enforcement, and they don’t carry firearms. Yet they are often met with armed guards at medical marijuana facilities who are not always willing to allow entrance to those seeking to ensure operations are legal.

OMMA compliance inspectors were denied access to properties 181 times between April 2021 and February 2022. This accounts for 9.6% of all inspections during that period.

House Bill 3278 bill will ensure 911 dispatchers receive the training they need to administer life-saving first aid instructions over the phone. Dispatchers are literal first responders, and making sure they can help somebody administer CPR or other first-aid until emergency help can arrive will save lives.

This bill changes the title of a 911 dispatcher to public safety telecommunicators, which identifies them as first responders who perform a public service by receiving and dispatching calls for emergency assistance. This will ensure they receive the specialized training other emergency medical services (EMS) personnel undergo. This bill is part of an ongoing process to modernize 911 services and training in our state, helping ensure the best outcomes possible in emergency situations.

Finally, the governor signed into law Senate Bill 1100, which prohibits nonbinary classifications on state birth certificates. The biological sex designation may only be male or female. The author of the bill says rightly that people are free to identify however they’d like to, but our official state documents need to include factual information, including the correct biological sex designation. This helps law enforcement and emergency responders to appropriately identify an individual they may be called upon to assist or transport. Plus, this is just common sense and does away with a lot of nonsense.

Remember to listen to me on KPRV Radio at 7:30 a.m. every Thursday for my legislative update.

As always, if I can help you with anything, feel free to call my Capitol office at (405) 557-7413 or email me at rick.west@okhouse.gov.  

Rick West serves District 3 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. His district includes part of LeFlore County.


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