On Tap for Oklahoma Legislature: Weapons, Texting While Driving, Smoking

Oklahoma legislators are preparing for the 2012 state legislative session, starting Feb. 6, reports TulsaWorld.com. Lawmakers face a deadline of Thursday to file bills they want considered during this session.

Open Carry Weapons, Texting While Driving, Smoking

Senator Steve Russell, R-Oklahoma City, has filed Senate Bill 1092 that would allow the open carry of weapons by individuals who meet certain requirements. Russell is also interested in the issue of allowing hunters to use sound suppressors on their weapons.

Ardmore's Republican senator, Frank Robinson, authored Senate Bill 1032 that would give cities and municipalities to enact ordinances against smoking that would be stricter than those laws of the state.

The issue of banning texting while driving is the subject of Senate Bill 1027 introduced by Senator Jerry Ellis, D-Valliant. The wording of the proposed law would prohibit drivers of any motor vehicle on public streets or highways from writing, reading or sending text messages, but would allow for reading, selecting or entering a phone number for the purpose of making a call.

Three of these proposals -- the open carry of weapons, smoking laws and prohibition of texting while driving were considered during the 2011 legislative session.

Anyone interested in following the progress of any or all of these proposals can do so by visiting the Oklahoma Legislature's website at oklegislature.gov.

Personhood

Rep. Mike Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City, has drafted proposed legislation that would prohibit women from obtaining abortions unless the mother's life was in danger from the pregnancy on the basis that the unborn child is a person from the moment of conception. That determination, changing how the state defines at what point does an unborn fetus become a person, would be placed on the November ballot for consideration by voters, reports NewsOK.com.

With the current wording of the proposal, women who became pregnant as a result of rape or incest would not be able to obtain an abortion legally in Oklahoma.

Reduction of Personal Income Tax

House Speaker Kris Steele, R-Shawnee, told NewsOK.com that a reduction in the top tier of the state's personal income tax rate is a "viable option" in the 2012 legislative session.

Rep. Earl Sears, R-Bartlesville, Chairman of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee, agrees that the time has come to act on reducing the personal income tax rate. Sears told NewsOK.com that his committee would always have the reduction as a high priority.

Smack dab in the middle of the baby boomer generation, L.L. Woodard is a proud resident of "The Red Man" state. With what he hopes is an everyman's view of life's concerns both in his state and throughout the nation, Woodard presents facts and opinions based on common-sense solutions.