Weekly Review by Senator Joseph Silk

Oklahoma State Senate
Senator Joseph Silk
Senate District 5

April 28, 2017

Contact: Senator Joseph Silk

State Capitol: (405) 521-5614

Email: silk@oksenate.gov

Weekly Review by Senator Joseph Silk
The 2017 legislative session is quickly coming to a close, and although I am typically annoyed and frustrated with what the Legislature is doing, and usually don’t believe what lawmakers are doing is best for the average Oklahoman, there are some good things happening here too. I would like to give a brief update on three bills that I had the pleasure of co-authoring that passed the Senate this week.
During my three years in the state Legislature, I have seen firsthand that one of the greatest challenges our state has is how powerful and unchecked our bureaucracies are. The number of state agencies we have is tremendous and they have previously been given the authority to come up with whatever rules they see fit and force them on the citizens of Oklahoma. The majority of the time, when my constituents are having an issue that they need help with, it is often times not with a state statute, but with a rule that some bureaucracy has created.
That being said, HB 1999 implemented a new law that every four years during the interim, a joint committee made up of elected state representatives and senators will review all agency rules and make sure they are actually benefiting Oklahoma residents. If issues are found or changes need to be made, the Legislature will make those changes during session. This is the first step in a long process but it is a big one, and I am excited to be a part of it.
The next two on the list have an interesting story. The first one arose after I was contacted by a constituent not too long ago and he expressed a strong desire to pass legislation that would increase the penalty for people who knowingly shoot uniformed peace officers. He was also seeking a way to have convicted trespassers pay land owners for damages to their property.
I agree with both issues, especially since there has been a rash of lawless people taking the liberty of shooting our peace officers. Tragically, some have been killed in the line of duty. This disrespect of law enforcement must be addressed. HB 1306, which is called “Blue Lives Matter in Oklahoma Act of 2017”, essentially says that anyone who shoots and kills a uniformed police officer will either be sentenced to life without parole or the death penalty. The issue still needs to be addressed if someone shoots and only wounds a peace officer, but this was a good first step.
Lastly, HB 2128 creates a law that holds anyone convicted of trespassing liable for any damages done to the property. It is crazy this law isn’t already in place, but the concept of the state protecting someone’s private property is the epitome of what the state is here to do.
In summary, although I’m typically frustrated with the direction the state is going, every so often good, sensible laws that protect the citizens of Oklahoma are passed, which is what I was sent to the Capitol to do.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this or any other issue, so please feel free to contact me anytime. My office can be reached by calling 405-521-5614 or by email at silk@oksenate.gov.


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