Joint Administrative Rules Committee postpones vote on HB 1775


Megan Prather

The House and Senate sides of the Joint Administrative Rules Committee met for the first time Thursday afternoon, and co-chair Rep. Terry O’Donnell (R-Catoosa) withdrew a resolution to reject rules promulgated by the Oklahoma Department of State. of Education related to HB 1775, a 2021 bill that prohibited the teaching of certain concepts regarding race and gender in Oklahoma public schools.

The resolution, HJR 1066, was submitted by Rep. Tom Gann (R-Inola) and states that OSDE’s submitted standing rules regarding the implementation of HB 1775 do not reflect the intent of the US legislature. Oklahoma.

“In light of the disapproval of this rule and the creation of a vacuum and no rules at all, it would seem that the direction of the 1775 legislation needs to be adapted in order to change the rules,” said O’ Donnell said at Thursday’s meeting. . “In other words, we shouldn’t try to do by rule what we haven’t done by legislation.”

After a JCAR meeting in the Senate last week, Sen. David Bullard (R-Durant), author of HB 1775, told NonDoc that he thinks OSDE’s permanent rules have too many holes and loopholes. At last week’s meeting, JCAR members were also caught up in a debate over the definition of the word ‘course’. Bullard said “academic or non-academic programs and extracurricular activities” were included in the bill and that the OSDE’s definition of “courses” could leave the door open for school districts to violate the law.

“While the rule may not meet everyone’s expectations across the entire legislature, it likely does comply with the law,” O’Donnell said after Thursday’s meeting. “It’s probably better to have something in place for the education community than just sending it back to the State Department (of Education) and their board and them trying to revise something .”

JCAR Senate Vice President Sen. Julie Daniels (R-Bartlesville) said she was a little frustrated with Thursday’s inaction.

“We could have done it today,” Daniels said. “I wanted to vote on it. I think everyone around the table was ready to vote on it. If it had been me, I would have made the motion of disapproval, we could have debated. I would have voted against in disapproving of the rules and others would have voted for it.

O’Donnell said the HB 1775 rules will go into a resolution to be voted on by JCAR, potentially by next week.

Lawmakers passed HB 1775 last year to prohibit Oklahoma public school teachers from teaching that “every individual, because of race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, consciously or unknowingly “, that “every individual should feel bad feelings, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex” or that “meritocracy or traits such as a work ethic hardline are racist or sexist or were created by members of a particular race to oppress members of another race.

O’Donnell said he expects the HB 1775 rules to eventually pass, likely bundled with a number of other rules in an approval bill.

“It’s going to have to be pretty quick,” he added. “It will have to be next week.

“I don’t think we should summon the time machine”

JCAR members approved SJR 50, which included a series of state agency administrative rules, including:

Oklahoma Department of Commerce

Oklahoma Board of Nursing

Banking department

Council of Veterinary Medical Examiners

Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission

Oklahoma Funeral Board

Grand River Dam Authority

Aeronautics Commission

Oklahoma Job Security Commission

Environmental Quality Department

Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services

Alcohol and Drug Influence Testing Council

Wildlife Conservation Department

Board of District Attorneys

Secretary of State

Department of Mines

Insurance Department

Workmen’s Compensation Board

Committee members also discussed Liquified Petroleum Gas Administration and Oklahoma Securities Commission rules, which were deferred for future discussion.

Sen. Dave Rader (R-Tulsa) asked to defer a vote on HJR 1065, also submitted by Gann, which would disapprove of the Building Industries Council’s permanent rules.

“The problem with this particular rule is that it essentially prohibits a home inspector from estimating or speculating on the cost of repairs to a home,” O’Donnell said at the meeting.

Oklahoma Construction Industries Board Legislative Liaison Debra Wojtek, testifying before the committee, said the rules were originally approved by the House in 2020 through an omnibus bill. She said the rules are necessary because there are no minimum standards for building inspectors to give accurate estimates of home repairs.

Wojtek said an incorrect repair estimate could negatively affect the sale of a home for tens of thousands of dollars. For example, she said an inspector might give a $1,000 estimate for electrical work to a homebuyer who then buys the house for $1,000 less. However, a real electrician might determine that the repairs could cost $15,000.

“Who is this owner going to say, ‘I haven’t gotten all the information,'” Wojtek said. “It’s to protect the public so they have accurate information, and not just a speculation, to get that real estimate of the cost so that he makes that purchase knowingly.”

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Kay Floyd (D-OKC) questioned JCAR’s authority to challenge administrative rules already approved by the Legislative Assembly.

“Can you tell me what process and procedure there is that this committee can go back 16 months after a rule has been approved by the governor and the legislature through an omnibus bill and change it unilaterally, at this point, without having a public hearing, public discussion or public notice about it? said Floyd.

O’Donnell said he could not review the history of this particular Construction Industries Council rule, but said the committee had the power to review permanent rules or newly submitted rules.

The committee, he said, has “the right to disapprove a proposed permanent, enacted, or emergency rule at any time if the Legislature determines that such rule constitutes an eminent injury to the health, safety or the welfare of the public or the state or if the Legislature determines that this rule does not conform to the intention of the Legislature.

Floyd also questioned why the rules weren’t considered contrary to legislative intent when they were originally approved 16 months ago.

“I don’t think we have to summon the time machine,” O’Donnell said. “If this is inconsistent with our legislative intent today, we are free to revoke or modify the rule.”

Sen. Michael Brooks (D-OKC) asked why Gann, who originally drafted and championed the omnibus bill in 2020, was not present at Thursday’s meeting to testify to the bill’s legislative intent.

“If this information was important to you, I would have assumed you would have done this research before we got here today,” O’Donnell said.


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