Say farewell to an increase in the state’s minimum wage. Resign yourself to springing forward and falling back for at least another year.

Go on drinking your fake milk.

Thursday’s first legislative deadline consigned almost three-fourths of the 5,200 bills and joint resolutions available for consideration this legislative session to the digital beyond, including every effort to raise Oklahoma’s minimum wage, eliminate Daylight Savings Time and prevent anything not produced by the mammary glands of a four-legged animal from being called milk.

Also cast aside were several bills to expand protections against discrimination, as well as measures reviving the Equal Rights Amendment, making law enforcement liable for damaging property while carrying out searches that yield no evidence or contraband and providing for paid family medical leave.

And you’re out of luck if you were counting on this being the year Oklahoma reconstituted the Red River Boundary Commission.

Thursday was the last day most legislation could be reported out of committee in the chamber of origin. Exceptions are made for general appropriations bills, which aren’t introduced until the last weeks or even days of the session, and for special bills filed by legislative leadership.

Most of those failing Thursday’s deadline were never even heard in committee; many were carried over from last year’s first session of the 57th Legislature.

But as is often said, nothing is ever really dead in the Oklahoma House and Senate. Many of the objectives outlined in the bills and resolutions that died Thursday live on, either in duplicate legislation or through a parliamentary transmigration of souls. Those that haven’t already found another bill number to inhabit may yet before the end of session.

For the next two weeks, though, the focus will be on getting the 1,400-plus surviving bills and resolutions off the House and Senate floors. The deadline for doing that is March 12, less than two weeks away.

Many of those bills are considered works in progress. They were passed from committee on the assurance that changes would be made.

Most of those bills will have their titles struck in the next two weeks. Striking title is a way of amending a bill without substantively altering the text; this is done so that the measure can’t have a final vote and be sent to the governor until the final wording is agreed upon.

Among bills that did survive the first deadline were a full arsenal of gun rights measures, some criminal justice reform measures and legislation to bring more financial and academic scrutiny to virtual charter schools.

Also still alive are bans on surprise out-of-network medical billing, conversion therapy and a tax deduction for infertility treatments.

One bill still in the hopper allows college athletes to be paid for the use of their likenesses. Another would allow nicotine edibles to be sold as nontobacco products.

Murdered and missing indigent people are still on track for attention.

One of the session’s biggest issues, though, has yet to be addressed: Gov. Kevin Stitt’s SoonerCare 2.0 Medicaid expansion.

A bill to provide the funding for the proposal was submitted suddenly and just as suddenly pulled last week, but Stitt said Friday he’s still intent on implementing his plan by July 1.

What bills are still alive for Oklahoma’s 2020 legislative session?


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