This week we’ve spent most of our time on the Senate floor, hearing bills that passed in various committees during the last month.

We’ve heard close to 100 bills this week, as we work diligently towards our March 24 deadline when all bills must be heard in their House of origin or they will not advance this session.

Two of my bills, Senate Bill 668 and Senate Bill 75, both passed this week on the Senate floor.

SB 668 reiterates the importance of preserving the scenic beauty of free-flowing streams and rivers, and recognizes the Scenic Rivers Act’s role in encouraging the preservation of the areas designated as a scenic river area in their natural scenic state.

SB 75 would extend the designated scenic river area for the Illinois River approximately three miles above the Horseshoe Bend public use area boat ramp of Tenkiller Ferry Lake.

Also, earlier this month, the governor signed the REAL ID Act, which brings Oklahoma into compliance with the federal program enacted in 2005 in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The new state law will establish compliant driver licenses and allow an opt-out choice for those who choose not to request a federally compliant ID. Those who opt-out will need to have a passport in order to board an airliner or access federal buildings.

Since the federal program was enacted, Oklahoma has received several extensions that permitted our state driver licenses and identification cards to be used to access federal facilities and air transportation, but the most recently extension granted in October was expected to be the last opportunity, so it was time to take action.

The new law takes effect immediately, but it’s expected to take several months to fully implement the program, as the Department of Public Safety will issue a request for proposals for a license and identification card issuing system. The cost of all ID cards and licenses, regardless of REAL ID compliance will increase by $5 for a four-year renewal.

Senator Wayne Shaw (R-Grove) serves District 3 in the Oklahoma State Senate. He may be contacted at 405-521-5574 or shaw@oksenate.gov.