More Than 225 New Laws Go Into Effect In Oklahoma

<p>More than 225 new state laws go into effect Tuesday. Here's a look at just a few new laws Oklahomans can expect to see.</p>

Tuesday, November 1st 2016, 7:39 am

By: News On 6


More than 225 new state laws go into effect Tuesday.

Oklahoma consistently ranks in the top 10 for the number of domestic violence cases, and victim advocates say one of the new laws will better protect victims and hold perpetrators accountable.

Senate Bill 1491 says that anyone showing a pattern of domestic violence will be guilty of a felony. The new definition of what a "pattern of domestic violence" is what to pay attention to.

Under the new law, a perpetrator with two or more instances of domestic violence can be charged with felony - and there's no timeline on how recent or how long ago the assaults had to happen, as long as there is proof of each prior incident established by sworn testimony or third party who witnessed the abuse.

Before the law, perpetrators would only face a felony conviction if they had three instances of domestic abuse, but all three had to happen within a 12-month time period.

Victim advocates, like the associate director for DVIS Donna Matthews, said those standards let many perpetrators slip through the cracks.

"We're always happy to see the legislature pass something that will really have an impact on our survivors’ lives. And it shows that the state wants to provide safety for families here in Oklahoma. It really does show their care and concerns for Oklahoma citizens that they want to provide care sooner than later," she said.

If convicted, the perpetrator could face a $5,000 fine, 10 years behind bars, or both a fine and jail time.

Repeat drunk drivers will face stiffer punishments thanks to a new law that better keeps track of violations.

House Bill 3146 created the Impaired Driving Elimination Act or IDEA. House representative Mike Sanders says this act is ultimately about protecting Oklahoma drivers.

Under the new law, DUI cases will now be moved to district courts. Before, municipal courts handled many of the cases.

Most municipal courts across the state don't keep records; so people with multiple DUI arrests were often treated as first-time offenders because the arrests aren't being flagged.

The law is four-pronged:

  • It revokes repeat offenders driver’s licenses.
  • Implements harsher punishment.
  • It also gives the district attorneys the option to develop treatment plans for offenders.
  • And establishes a database.

Sanders said, "From November 1, 2016, moving forward, we'll be able to track every DUI on every city street, every county road and every state highway. We all know DUI is a black eye on the state of Oklahoma."

Another new law includes a change in what weapons you're allowed to carry.

Senate Bill 1159 modifies the list of weapons that are now illegal to carry. It excludes daggers, bowie knives, dirk knives and sword canes.

One of the new laws allows schools to team up with private or public organizations to start mentoring and internship programs for high school junior and seniors.

Schools and youth sports will also have stronger guidelines for athletes who suffer concussions.

Another new law now requires out of state companies to tell Oklahoma residents how much they spent online in a given year so residents can pay state taxes on those purchases.

The Retail Protection Act requires those companies to either start voluntarily collecting sales tax or send customers an end of year notice to pay the tax. It's one of the ways the Legislature is trying to bring in more money after a $1.3-billion budget shortfall this year.

Oklahoma's Blue Alert system also became law Tuesday.

Law enforcement activated the ODOT signs last Monday, one week early, during the manhunt for wanted fugitive Michael Vance.

The Blue Alert system is a way to warn people about someone who is a threat to law enforcement or the public.

Another new law taking effect Tuesday tackles school sports injuries. Senate Bill 1164 says game and team officials will be responsible for noticing signs and symptoms of a concussion.

If a player is removed from a game or practice, he or she won't be allowed back in the game that same day and they can only play again after a doctor gives written consent.

People looking to cash in on scrap metal will see changes in how dealers keep sales records thanks to Senate Bill 1270, which is expected to cut down on the amount of stolen scrap metal.

Starting Tuesday, dealers will have to keep a written or electronic record of all sales. They’ll include a copy of the seller's ID, vehicle description and tag number.

The dealer will also take pictures of the seller and the merchandise for purchases over 30-pounds.

There are just a few of the new laws that went into effect Tuesday.

If you’d like to know more, you can find a list of bill numbers here, then, you can take the number and copy it here to learn more about that particular bill.

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