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AM NewsBrief: Feb. 16, 2023

This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023.

Trans healthcare bill

The Oklahoma Legislature took another step toward banning gender affirming healthcare for transgender youth Wednesday. StateImpact’s Beth Wallis reports the state senate voted overwhelmingly to pass a bill that would ban transgender youth healthcare interventions like hormone therapy and surgery.

BW: Senate Bill 613 by Bartlesville Republican Julie Daniels would punish doctors found in violation of the law by having their licenses revoked and charging them with a felony that could result in up to $100,000 in fines or ten years in prison. On the Senate Floor, lawmakers battled over their ideals. Some, like Shawnee Republican Shane Jett, compared gender affirming care for kids to parental abuse -

SJ: We have some parents who chain up their little baby boy and put him in a cage. This happened, I’m not making this up. We have parents who kill their children.

BW: Oklahoma City Democrat Carri Hicks spoke directly to her constituents:

CH: To the families who have reached out time and time again as their children are being attacked by this body in our words and in our deeds: I do not condone the actions of my colleagues who would seek to deny your mere existence by denying you access to best medical treatments - safe medical treatments.

BW: The bill now heads to the House. For StateImpact, I’m Beth Wallis.

Legislation to combat fentanyl overdoses passes through committee

Legislation to combat the rising number of fentanyl overdose deaths in Oklahoma has passed through a House Committee. Rep. Mickey Dollen’s House Bill 1987 would allow citizens to legally carry fentanyl test strips without them being considered drug paraphernalia. According to the State Health Department, Oklahoma has seen a sharp rise in fentanyl-related deaths, with 300 in 2022 compared to just 47 in 2019. The Oklahoma State Department of Health has welcomed the proposed legislation. It now heads to the House floor for further discussion.

Carbon monoxide warning stickers on boats

The Oklahoma House Public Safety committee passed a bill requiring all boats purchased or operated in Oklahoma to prominently display a carbon monoxide warning sticker. OPMX’s Graycen Wheeler has more.

GW: The bill is named after Andrew Free, a nine-year-old from Broken Arrow who died of carbon monoxide poisoning after a day of boating on Lake Eufaula in 2020. Broken Arrow Representative Dean Davis authored Andy's Law. He says Free’s death hit close to home.

DAVIS: I have nieces that are boaters and they wakeboard and we sit on the boat. And so many of my friends and family just never had the realization that this was a danger.

GW: Gasoline-powered boat engines and generators release carbon monoxide. The colorless, odorless gas can build up in a boat’s cabin and around its open-air swim deck, especially on crafts that have been idling or moving at slow speeds. Early signs of carbon monoxide poisoning include nausea, dizziness, weakness and confusion. In Oklahoma City, I’m Graycen Wheeler.

Bill filed to bring competition to Oklahoma's electricity market

An Oklahoma lawmaker has filed a bill that aims to bring competition to Oklahoma’s electricity market. Rep. Ryan Martinez’s House Bill 1602 would give business owners and homeowners the option to choose their electricity provider, rather than having one assigned based on geography. If the measure passes, Commercial and industrial customers currently within the territories of OG&E or PSO would be given the option to purchase electricity from other vendors beginning in January 2025, with residential consumers following in January 2027. The proposal has drawn criticism from the utilities, but has been endorsed by the Alliance for Electrical Restructuring in Oklahoma, with supporters arguing it will increase competition and reduce prices for consumers.

Curfew for Bricktown

Young visitors to Oklahoma City’s Bricktown might have to call it a night a little bit earlier. OPMX’s Robby Korth reports on a new curfew proposal for the entertainment district.

RK: Under a proposal to the Oklahoma City Council, minors would need to clear out of Bricktown by 9 p.m. The current curfew in the area is 11 p.m., and OKC’s city-wide curfew for anyone under 18 is a minute after midnight during the week and 1 am on weekends. Bricktown’s business association supports the move, saying it will increase safety in the district. City officials say they still hope young people will go to Bricktown, but will leave earlier to return to their families or engage in “other youth-oriented activities.” The ordinance is due to have a public hearing before council on February 23rd and would be up for a full vote on March 14th. It would go into effect immediately upon approval. In Oklahoma City I’m Robby Korth.

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