From the desk: Clearing up misinformation on HB 3098

by Jessica Garvin

The Senate just passed its third major deadline of this session, and both chambers will soon

begin sending a deluge of bills to the governor’s desk. April 11 was the deadline for House bills

to be heard in Senate committees and Senate bills to be heard in House committees. That means

both chambers have completed the majority of their committee work for this session. The full

Senate will spend the next two weeks voting on bills on the floor.

Many of those bills that pass the House and Senate chambers will go straight to Gov. Kevin

Stitt’s desk. Amended bills return to their chamber of origin so lawmakers can vote on the new

version. If Senate and House lawmakers disagree on the particulars of a bill, a small group of

members will hash out the details in a conference committee.

About 564 bills — 330 from the House and 234 from the Senate — are still eligible to advance

in the legislative process. More than 2,070 pieces of legislation were filed before the start of this

session. More than 40 House bills, including one I sponsored to make health insurance

companies’ prior authorization process more transparent, have stalled in the Senate

Appropriations Committee. Senate appropriations leaders refused to hear any House bills that

have a fiscal impact until the House unveils its proposed budget for the upcoming year. Although

the committee deadline has passed, I’m optimistic those bills will still get a hearing sometime


I want to address some misinformation I’ve seen about House Bill 3098, which I’m

cosponsoring. This bill would add chlamydia, hepatitis B, genital herpes, HPV and

trichomoniasis to the state’s list of diseases for which a person can face criminal charges for

knowingly spreading. I’ve gotten questions about this bill, and I’ve seen some misleading

information on social media. Only someone who intentionally and recklessly spreads one of

these sexually transmitted infections could be charged with a felony.

No one could be charged with a crime for simply having an STI.

Oklahomans with one or more of these STIs should seek treatment before pursuing a sexual

relationship. Or they should disclose their diagnosis to their partner prior to any intimate activity.

State law already criminalizes the intentional spreading of HIV/AIDS, syphilis, gonorrhea and

smallpox, so this is not a new concept here in Oklahoma. I firmly believe someone should face

consequences for knowingly infecting another person with a disease.

Oklahoma ranks among the worst states for many of these STIs. The state has the fourth-highest

rate of syphilis and fifth-highest rate of congenital syphilis, according to the Centers for Disease

Control and Prevention.

Oklahoma ranks 13th for its rate of gonorrhea and 20th for its chlamydia rate.

This bill is not intended to deter Oklahomans from getting tested for STIs. I’m hopeful this

proposal will encourage more Oklahomans to get tested to ensure they aren’t spreading STIs to

anyone else. This bill should be heard on the Senate floor sometime in the coming weeks.

To stay informed about what’s happening in the Senate, visit, along with my

Facebook page @SenatorJessicaGarvin. You can also follow the main Senate Facebook

@oksenate or the Senate GOP page @OKSenateGOP.

If you have any questions or concerns on legislative matters, please contact me at the Capitol by

emailing me at, calling me at (405) 521-5522 or writing to Senator

Jessica Garvin, State Capitol, 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd.

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