The dust is settling on the 2024 legislative session.

Most of the hundreds of bills passed from February to late May are minor tweaks to existing law with little bearing on day-to-day life. But a handful will shape how Oklahomans interact with state government.

Here’s an overview of how laws passed this session will impact a variety of Oklahomans:

Taxpayers: Oklahomans have something to look forward to when the summer winds down. House Bill 1955, which eliminates the 4.5% state tax on groceries, will take effect in late August. Republicans and Democrats alike backed the legislation, arguing that it will help low and middle-income earners stretch their dollar.

Educators and Students: Beginning with the class of 2030, Oklahoma high school students will be required to take and pass at least four math courses to graduate. House Bill 3278 also makes foreign language courses optional. Proponents say the changes are necessary to prepare students for post-secondary programs where math and science skills are critical.

Voters and Election Officials: Lawmakers didn’t take up any sweeping changes ahead of the November general election, but did enact a ranked-choice voting ban. House Bill 3156 prohibits the state and municipalities alike from implementing the preference based voting system. The Legislature also passed a bill to increase the public protest period for initiative petitions from 10 to 90 days.

Healthcare Providers and Patients: Insurance companies will soon be required to make prior authorization requirements publicly available online. House Bill 3190 also requires insurance companies to use licensed medical professionals when seeking to deny care.

Judges, Jailers and Prisoners: A years-long effort to modernize Oklahoma’s criminal code is on the governor’s desk. Proponents of Senate Bill 1792 say categorizing felony offenses will help give prosecutors and victims certainly and lower the likelihood of abnormally long sentences. The measure, which is not retroactive, will take effect in 2026 if signed into law.

— Keaton Ross

Recommended Reading

  • Housing groups launch new homelessness council after Stitt dissolved the official one: The new Interagency Council on Homeless will craft a statewide plan to address homelessness, track data to share with the state and federal governments and bring together agencies and providers from across the state to coordinate funding and programs. The group may eventually ask the Legislature to formalize its efforts. [The Frontier]
  • Rep. Ajay Pittman Agrees to Pay $35,000 to Settle Campaign Violations: According to the settlement, Pittman made an improper withdrawal of campaign funds totaling $17,858.52 through checking and ATM accounts for personal credit card payments. Pittman emailed a statement blaming the improper use of campaign funds on “a clerical error.” [NonDoc]
  • Lawsuit alleges widespread abuse, cover-up at Tulsa Juvenile Center: Accused employees include a nurse who gave dubious one-on-one “heat treatments” to a youth, and a guard who shared explicit photos. Defendants allegedly exchanged items like vape pens, marijuana gummies and snacks with those they assaulted. [Tulsa Public Radio]

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