Hundreds of bills filed for session

At the conclusion of the bill-filing deadline – the last day for state legislators to submit legislation – there were 1,340 bills and 24 joint resolutions filed in the Oklahoma House of Representatives for the First Session of the 56th Legislature.

Last year, the Clerk of the House reported representatives filed 921 bills and 31 joint resolutions by the deadline for the 2016 session.

There are currently 100 representatives, including 32 freshman lawmakers. House District 28 will hold a special election in May to fill its vacant seat.

The Senate has completed filing bills for the first session of the 56th Legislature.  A total of 831 Senate Bills were filed, along with 46 senate joint resolutions and one senate concurrent resolution. In 2015, a total of 815 Senate bills were filed, along with 32 senate joint resolutions.

The deadline does not apply to appropriations bills which can be filed throughout the session.  In addition, the rules adopted on organizational day allow substantive bills to be introduced during the session after the filing deadline.

In order for this to occur, the bill is assigned to committee by the Majority Floor Leader and the entire committee becomes the published author of the bill.

Such bills must still be heard on the floor by March 23, the deadline for floor votes on legislation originating in the Senate.  Measures not heard within that time frame can still be considered in the 2018 session.

The process of authoring bills by committee was first adopted by the Senate in 2015 to do away with shell bills which were basically placeholders for members to use as vehicles for measures later in the session.  The change was aimed at increasing transparency in the legislative process.

The public can read and download current legislation by going to the official State Senate website at www.oksenate.gov. The Senate website also includes daily agendas, meeting notices, calendars and other information.

The legislative session will begin on Monday, February 6.