From the Desk of Sen. Jessica Garvin: OMMA, Education, Women's Caucus, OU Day and Veterans

by Jessica Garvin

The Senate and House have now begun the legislative process over but with bills from the opposite chamber. Around 480 House bills were sent to us for consideration in our committees. I’m serving as the principal Senate author for 24 House bills, some of which were heard this week.

Three of the measures, approved Monday by the Senate Business and Commerce Committee, are part of the ongoing effort to reform the medical marijuana industry. HB 1349 would create a nine-member Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) Board to focus on rulemaking.

HB 1350 would create an OMMA temporary licensing program for commercial growers, processors, dispensaries, transporters, and other businesses. Temporary licenses, valid for 180 days, could be purchased for a nonrefundable $1,000 fee. These could be extended by OMMA for an additional 90-day period, not to exceed 18 months. Each extension would cost an additional $1,000.

HB 1734 would require dispensaries or anywhere marijuana or THC products are sold to display signage, reading, "WARNING: INGESTING THC PRODUCTS WHILE PREGNANT IS NOT HEALTHY FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF AN UNBORN CHILD." We want to ensure that expectant mothers realize that while THC may be safe for them to personally ingest, these chemicals can be dangerous for unborn babies and can cause serious health problems for them.

This week, I’ll also be presenting HB 1424 creating a voluntary Education Employee Assistance Program within the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services to help school district employees with mental health, problem resolution, medical referrals, drug and alcohol addiction, or other personal problems.

HB 1445 would require school districts that have issued a bond proposal to post the following information on their website 30 days prior to the bond vote – a copy of the bond proposal, including each project to be funded; each project description; and each project’s estimated cost. This would remain online throughout the approved bond, and a year after completion. This is to improve transparency and ensure voters know exactly what they’re considering.

Last week, our Women’s Caucus was honored to hear from Col. Shelby Dreyer, the Oklahoma Air National Guard Vice Commander of the 137th Special Operations Wing at Will Rogers and Kristi Jordan, the Chief of Strategic Plans, Programs and Readiness Division at Tinker Air Force Base. It wasn’t too long ago that women wouldn’t have been considered for such leadership positions in our military, so it’s truly a pleasure to meet those who have shattered that glass ceiling and are leading the way for other strong, brilliant women.

On Wednesday, we had a great time celebrating OU Day and visiting with students, athletes, and faculty, including Coach Brent Venables and Athletic Director Joe Castiglione. We also recognized the OU women’s gymnastics team and softball team for their outstanding 2022 seasons.

We also honored American and Oklahoma hero, retired Col. Charles “Chuck” DeBellevue, on National Vietnam War Veterans Day and the 50th anniversary of the last U.S. combat troops departing Vietnam. A 30-year Air Force veteran, he’s the last American ACE pilot on active duty, who had six confirmed aerial victories in Vietnam, making him the leading ACE of that war. He has dedicated his life to supporting his fellow veterans and young pilots.

I was also happy to welcome Dr. Jeanette Kelley, DO, of Blanchard to the Senate Wednesday, and am grateful she volunteered to serve as our Doctor of the Day.

Please feel free to contact me at Senator Jessica Garvin, State Capitol, 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd. Room 237, Oklahoma City, OK, 73105;; or (405) 521-5522.

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