Bills Updating Head Lice, Communicable Disease Policy Passes Out Of House 

Monday, March 21st 2022, 5:24 pm


A pair of bills seeking to update head lice and communicable disease policy in Oklahoma schools passed off the House floor on Monday.  

Moore Representative Kevin West (R) is carrying this legislation.  

There was lot of debate about what these bills will actually do. 

West says HB 3159 cleans up language in statute that bans kids with lice or contagious disease from coming to class.  

It passed with 55 yes and 35 no's, splitting the Republican vote. 

It repeals a section of language banning kids with disease, which West says is redundant and exists elsewhere.  

Then, its partner bill HB 3145 which also passed Monday, would organize language in a difference section of the law.  

West says the bill doesn’t change much.  

But Tulsa Representative Regina Goodwin says this is an issue pitting local control issues against statewide public health interests and lessons protections in schools.  

“School board control, it talks about more parental control, it talks about a doctor, not necessarily connected with the State Department of Health, that can now weight in,” Rep. Goodwin said.  

The language of the bill says school boards ‘shall’ work with the State Health Department in creating policy – West says schools will still have control over local policies.  

“It puts the school policy above that, and the health departments input would be advisory,” Rep. West said.  

West said new standards of best practice about how to handle head lice cases in schools will be reflected in the changes.  

There’s a deadline this week for most bills to pass out of their chamber of origin – that’s this Thursday.  

The bills now head to the State Senate where they are authored by Yukon Sen. Jake Merrick (R).