The Legislature is taking a brief break this week to give staff time to transfer bills between chambers, but I wanted to use this opportunity to update my constituents on some bills I decided to lay over this year. I laid these over because I found a way to address these issues outside of legislation, which will ultimately be better for Oklahomans.

House Bill 1637 passed the House Public Health Committee on Feb. 24, which initiated a conversation with Carrie Slatton-Hodges, the commissioner of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, along with Rep. Marcus McEntire.

Together, we established a plan to assess the area in eastern Oklahoma for a community mental health center. The center would contain an urgent care as well as a stabilization unit, which determines an individual’s needs and provides a short-term placement.

The goal would be to release these individuals to mental health therapists instead of placing them in a hospital, which will also allow families to participate in the treatment. Research indicates that this is one of the better ways to provide help for these individuals and continue lasting care with the family involved.

This is an exciting development in providing mental health services for people in eastern Oklahoma. This will prevent us from transferring kids to Tulsa, Oklahoma City, and Miami, Oklahoma, to get the help they need. Furthermore, it will prevent lost revenue when people cross the state line and go to Arkansas for treatment. This was one of my main goals when I took office, and I will continue to work hard at establishing more services for our area!

I also laid over House Bill 1613, which seeks to modify the way child care centers receive their funding from Department of Human Services. I am working with DHS directly to come up with a plan to stabilize these day cares so that funding will be available for them to keep their doors open in the event of another hardship like the pandemic.

I also filed House Bill 2931 at the start of the year, but ultimately did not bring it to committee. I plan to continue working on this before I pursue it in the Legislature. I will be working with cell service providers and the Sheriff’s Association to develop filters that would stop youths from being able to access pornography on their phones, as well as addressing other related issues.

As we begin hearing Senate bills, please share your thoughts about legislation with me at (405) 557-7375 or randy.randleman@okhouse.gov. Thank you for the privilege of representing you at the State Capitol!

Rep. Randy Randleman represents District 15 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which includes portions of Haskell, Le Flore, McIntosh, Muskogee, Pittsburg and Seqouyah counties.

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