Thursday was the final day to pass any remaining Senate bills through their House committees, a major deadline in the Legislature. In total, the House passed 348 Senate Bills through committee and has already passed 61 Senate Bills off the House floor.

We’ve spent a lot of time in committees this week to consider as many Senate bills as possible. I presented a Senate bill I coauthored with Sen. Frank Simpson before the House Appropriations & Budget Committee before deadline.

Senate Bill 310 modifies state statue surrounding the sales tax exemption received by Oklahoma 100 percent disabled veterans and their surviving spouses. It increases the sales tax exemption for veterans’ spouses from $1,000 to $5,000 each year.

Often, these veterans are the main income earners in their families and their spouses struggle financially after their death. This will give these spouses some financial assistance to ease that burden. Our state’s veterans have sacrificed so much to serve us, and they deserve the best care and services we can provide. The bill breezed through committee with a 28-0 vote and I anticipate presenting it on the House floor sometime in the next two weeks.

Last week, I introduced another Senate bill, SB435, before the House Health and Long-Term Care Committee. SB435 was authored in the Senate by my colleague from Edmond, Sen. Adam Pugh, and implements vital steps to ensure our elderly who deal with dementia or Alzheimer’s are being properly taken care of.

The bill requires all Adult Protective Services specialists in DHS to undergo training to recognize individuals with cognitive impairment so they can intervene in abuse or exploitation cases of people suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s. SB435 passed its committee 11-0.

I also presented SB429 before the House Public Health Committee last week, where it received a unanimous vote. This legislation was brought forward by Sen. Stephanie Bice to address postpartum depression from pre- and post-natal care for the new mother throughout the first year of the child’s life.

The bill starts the conversation between licensed health care professionals and expecting mothers about perinatal mental health disorders, which can include depression and anxiety both during and after pregnancy. This is an often overlooked area of health care in our state for expecting and new mothers, and we hope that by sparking a conversation about these disorders before and after birth, women suffering can get the treatment they need to care for themselves and their new child.

Over the next two weeks, we’ll dedicate hours to the House floor to hear Senate bills that passed their committees. We have 287 Senate bills to hear by our next deadline, April 25.

The end of session is on the horizon, but I encourage my constituents in District 82 to reach out to my office with questions or concerns about legislation. You can reach me at (405) 557-7357 or nicole.miller@okhouse.gov.