Treatment bill advances
The House Long-Term Care and Senior Services Committee passed a bill Tuesday that would require doctors to provide life-preserving health care to every patient regardless if they are elderly, disabled or terminally ill. The committee voted 7-1 to pass Senate Bill 915. It now goes to the House Calendar Committee, which will decide if it gets a hearing in the House. Dr. Bryan Struck, of Oklahoma City, said doctors don't go against the wishes of their patients who have advance directives and that SB 915 takes away the ability of doctors to make the best decision for patients who don't have directives. Dr. Doug Schram, of Tulsa, said SB 915 could be troublesome when relatives demand certain care for a terminal patient when it isn't in the patient's best interest. Tony Lauinger, chairman of Oklahomans for Life, said doctors aren't trained to determine the value of life, sometimes doctors have different religious views than patients, and the benefit of the doubt should be given to life.
Vehicle insurance measure passes
The House Judiciary Committee passed a bill Tuesday that would prohibit any financial recovery of damages from a motor vehicle accident claimed by a motorist who does not have vehicle insurance. Exceptions include the insured driver being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, an injured passenger who didn't own the vehicle, or if the insured motorist caused the crash intentionally or left the scene. Senate Bill 691 passed 10-6. It goes to the House Calendar Committee, which will decide if it gets a hearing in the House.
Election changes go to committee
A committee approved a bill Tuesday that would reduce the burden of getting a political party recognized in Oklahoma. Under Senate Bill 668, the number of petition signatures to get a party recognized must be at least 5 percent of the votes cast in the last gubernatorial general election. Current law requires 5 percent of the votes cast in the last general election, which includes the presidential election, when turnout is much greater. SB 668 also would give the state Election Board the authority to determine who can put names on a ballot. The House Judiciary Committee voted 16-0 to pass SB 668. It now goes to the House Calendar Committee.