Thursday, June 01, 2023

Senate Pro Tem Treat Comments on Conclusion of the 2023 Regular Session

Senate Pro Tem Treat Comments on Conclusion of the 2023 Regular Session

OKLAHOMA CITY (May 26th) – Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, today commented on the conclusion of today’s regular session that began in February.

The pro tem said the Senate Republican caucus was more united than ever before and built momentum going into the summer, which he hopes to carry into next year.

“I am proud beyond measure of all of our accomplishments this session,” Pro Tem Treat said. “We passed comprehensive school choice, significant teacher pay raises, record investments in schools and many more policy initiatives that will benefit Oklahomans across the state for generations. We also accomplished a lot for business development that will create jobs and opportunities for communities across the state.

“I appreciate the leadership team, the members of the Senate Republican caucus, the Senate staff and everyone involved this session. We wouldn’t have been able to accomplish as much as we have without everyone working in the same direction. After this year’s session, members of the Oklahoma Senate can say without a doubt that they have made Oklahoma a better place for the future of the state.”  

The following are notable accomplishments by Senate Republicans this year where they worked with their House counterparts to get the measures passed and signed into law.  

Education Package

The Oklahoma Parental Choice Tax Credit Act provides refundable tax credits to parents. The following are the income brackets and annual amount of for each tax credit:

  • $7,500 per student in households earning under $75,000;
  • $7,000 per student in households earning between $75,000 - $150,000;
  • $6,500 per student in households earning between $150,000 - $225,000;
  • $6,000 per student in households earning between $225,000 - $250,000; and
  • $5,000 per student in households earning over $250,000 annually.
  • The act also provides $1,000 per child for parents who homeschool their kids.

Additional public education measures include:

  • $625 million recurring total investment into public education.
  • $500 million directly into the education funding formula, including six weeks of paid maternity leave.
  • Longevity-based pay raises for all certified staff, ranging from a $3,000 increase for teachers with 0-4 years' experience; $4,000 for 5 to 9 years; $5,000 for 10-14 years; and $6,000 for teachers employed 15 years or more. .
  • An additional $10 million into a three-year literacy program to employ a literacy instructional team to support school districts.
  • $125 million to the Redbud Fund, largely benefiting rural schools that don’t have the same ad valorem tax collection as other districts.
  • An additional $150 million into a three-year pilot program for school safety and security. This will provide every district with a school resource officer, or security upgrades depending on needs. For each year of the program, each public school district in the state will receive approximately $96,000.

Tax Reform

  • The elimination of the franchise tax will save businesses in the state around $55 million annually, which put Oklahoma at a competitive advantage over neighboring state, Texas.
  • Eliminating the ‘marriage tax’ will treat married couples fairly, while saving married couples in Oklahoma around $14.7 million annually.

Collegiate Athlete Name Image and Likeness Legislation  

  • Oklahoma’s NIL bill is transformative for Oklahoma’s universities and is a model for other states. 
  • The legislation allows for college athletes to make a profit off of their names, image or likeness.
  • Among other things, the measure also allows schools to set parameters to prevent NIL activities from interfering with school or team activities;
  • Allows schools to be compensated for use of logos or facilities;
  • Prohibits students from securing NIL compensation using a school logo; and
  • Allows schools to require that athletes take financial literacy and contract courses.
  • It does not count scholarships as compensation.

Cracking Down on Illegal Marijuana Grows

  • This law is intended to help law enforcement crack down on illegal marijuana cultivation in the state. 
  • The measure allows the Attorney General’s Office to subpoena business documents, conduct unannounced on-site inspections, seize and destroy illegal products, and enter into agreements with other state agencies to combat illegal marijuana grow operations.
  • The new law also extends a moratorium on new grow licenses through 2026 to give law enforcement additional time to shut down illegal marijuana farms.

Expanding Religious Freedom

  • Senate Bill 404 clarified Oklahoma law to prevent discrimination against religious entities.
  • Oklahoma is one of 23 states that has enacted a state-level Religious Freedom Restoration Act, providing protections for religious freedom. 
  • This law amends Oklahoma’s Religious Freedom Act to state that it shall be deemed a substantial burden to exclude any person or entity from participation in or receipt of governmental funds, benefits, programs, or exemptions based solely on the religious character or affiliation of the person or entity.

Stronger Human Trafficking Laws

  • A new law addresses the demand side of human trafficking. 
  • The law will strengthen the penalty for changing the crime of paying a person for sex from a misdemeanor to a felony. 
  • Attaching a felony to these crimes will hopefully deter this kind of behavior and help stem human trafficking. 


  • The legislature allocated the final $56 million of federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.
  • The projects will address critical needs like expanding broadband services, increasing access to health and mental health care, including children needing long-term care and treatment, assisting hunger programs, replacing and updating water and wastewater systems, and strengthening workforce development in key fields like nursing and healthcare.

Access to NARCAN

  • Senate Bill 710 allows school nurses and other designated personnel to administer an emergency opioid antagonist as a rescue medication without a prescription or standing order when dealing with a student who may be overdosing on opioids.
  • Senate Bill 711 provides emergency opioid antagonists and overdose education to the Department of Corrections and county jails, and inmates diagnosed with an opioid use disorder would also get this education and two doses of this rescue medicine upon their release.
  • Senate Bill 712 would require hospitals to provide education and two doses of emergency antagonist medication when emergency rooms discharge someone with opioid overdose symptoms.

Protecting and supporting vulnerable seniors

  • Senate Bill 369 better protects seniors living in nursing homes by requiring employers to conduct criminal background checks on nurse aides before hiring them. It also prohibits long-term care facilities from employing anyone on the Juvenile Sex Offender Registry or who has been convicted of human trafficking. Currently, the Juvenile Sex Offender Registry is closed to the public due to it including the information of minors.
  • Senate Bill 369 would grant long-term care facilities access to the registry to properly vet prospective employees. The bill also decreases the time period that nurse aides may be precluded from employment by such facilities for nonviolent offenses from seven to five years.
  • Senate Bill 249 removing a regulatory barrier to better ensuring hospice patients living in nursing homes can have access to pain management through exception from electronic prescription requirement.


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