As state lawmakers prepared a massive economic development proposal to lure an anonymous company to northeast Oklahoma, Gov. Kevin Stitt signed half a dozen measures affecting educators and students.
The bills varied in scope and impact, from a new free speech advisory council for colleges to requiring student ID cards to include suicide prevention phone numbers.
- SB 1190 by Sen. Adam Pugh, R-Edmond, allows the State Board of Career and Technology Education to approve courses in hydrogen energy.
- HB 3543 by Rep. Chad Caldwell, R-Enid, establishes the Oklahoma Free Speech Committee, which will respond to state regents for higher education and review and advise colleges on their policies on of freedom of expression. The committee will also receive complaints of violations of freedom of expression.
- SB 1307 by Sen. Bill Coleman, R-Ponca City, requires school districts that issue student ID cards to students in grades 7-12 and colleges to include the National Suicide Prevention phone number Lifeline.
- SB 1659 by Sen. Joe Newhouse, R-Tulsa, increases the frequency with which organizations — primarily private schools — that participate in the Equal Opportunity Scholarship Program must submit an audit report. Currently it is four years, but now it will be every two years.
- SB 1416 and SB 1418 by Sen. Kim David, R-Porter, are companion bills that make all members of the Oklahoma National Guard eligible for in-state tuition and create a revolving fund to take paying the tuition fees of a member of the guard.
Hundreds of education bills have been introduced this year, but the number remaining alive is dwindling as lawmakers approach the home stretch of the legislative session.