The House to date has considered 183 House bills and joint resolutions on the floor, failing only four. Almost 300 measures are still eligible to be heard before the March 11 third-reading deadline. By this date, all measures have to be advanced out of their chamber of origin to stay alive this session.
We went into the evening several nights last week, and will likely go even later in the coming week. Then we’ll take a brief break and prepare to start considering Senate bills.
As I’ve said previously, this is an exhausting part of the legislative process. It’s necessary, but tiring for anyone listening or participating. We hear bill after bill – an average of at least 50 per day. Some go very quickly because they’ve already been explained in committee, and the legislation and summaries of the bills have been online for some time for public viewing. Often, a bill’s author will also share talking points with other members and their constituents explaining their intent for running specific legislation. For this reason, there are numerous bills that get no questions or debate on the House floor. Other measures, however, grind the process to a crawl. Sometimes, we’ll spend hours questioning and debating one bill or resolution.
One of my bills that passed in the House this week thankfully went very quickly through the process with only a brief explanation required.
House Bill 2119 would require the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to allocate to nursing homes and long-term health care facilities the enhanced COVID Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) money due them. OHCA was given the funding by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services during the pandemic, but the authority is still holding the money. Our nursing homes and long-term care facilities desperately need these funds to enhance care for their patients. They have been on the frontline in this pandemic and have born extra costs as a result. This bill would help move that money along to its proper recipients.
This bill passed the House unanimously with a vote of 93-0 and already has been first read in the Senate. I’m hoping it goes as smoothly through the remainder of the process in that chamber and can be signed into law to grant the desired relief.
In the meantime, if I can be of any assistance, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (405) 557-7327.