Alva Review-Courier -

Carl's Capitol Comments

 

February 19, 2017



Lawmakers in the Oklahoma House of Representatives were able to accomplish a big win for the state last week.

A REAL ID bill passed the House Floor with a bipartisan vote of 78-18. The measure brings the state into compliance with federal law for licenses and identification cards.

Currently, Oklahoma has an exemption from the Department of Homeland Security allowing our state-issued licenses to be accepted at federal buildings and military bases. But that exemption is set to expire in June. Furthermore, beginning next year, you will need a REAL ID-compliant license or identification card to board a commercial aircraft.

House Bill 1845 gives Oklahomans two options. If you don’t have a need to enter military bases or federal buildings or if you’d rather use your passport when boarding a commercial aircraft, you can opt out of the REAL ID version.

If you want to upgrade to a federally compliant version, you can do so by obtaining a REAL ID license or identification card.

These cards will look completely different from each other. They will be different colors. They’ll have different markings, but they’ll both be valid forms of identification in the state of Oklahoma.

The bill now heads to the Senate.

Another important measure made its way to the Senate last week. House Bill 2332 by Rep. Jeff Coody transfers the online compulsory insurance verification system from the Department of Public Safety to the Oklahoma Insurance Department.

According to the Insurance Information Institute’s data from 2012, Oklahoma ranks first in the nation for percentage of uninsured motorists. The data show 1 in 4 Oklahoma drivers are uninsured, and I’m hopeful this transfer of the verification system helps combat this issue.

It makes sense: the Insurance Department is better suited to deal with issues dealing with insurance, and this bill makes that happen. And based on the vote on the House Floor, which was 92 to 3, mostly everyone in the Legislature agrees.

We have some big weeks ahead of us. All bills have to make it out of their committees of origin by the beginning of next month. That likely means some long meetings and late nights as we continue to cull down legislation before it hits the House floor, but I know included in those bills will be things people are interested in, things like teacher pay raise proposals, revenue-raising measures and a handful of other issues.

As always, I depend on you to help keep me informed with what the folks in House District 58 are thinking about bills coming up. My door is always open. My address is 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd., room 300, Oklahoma City, OK, 73105, or you can email at [email protected] Rose Mary is my legislative assistant, and she’d be happy to talk to you if you call 405-557-7339. Thank you, and I pray The Lord will continue to bless you and our great state.

 

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