An idea from high school students is now a state law. And several Shawnee High School students worked on the proposal got to see it signed into law during a special ceremony at the state Capitol.
“It was like a privilege to come up here and watch him sign it,” said Korbin Williams, who will be a sophomore later this year at Shawnee High School.
The governor actually signed House Bill 2705 into law last week. But he held a ceremonial signing Tuesday in the Blue Room at the Capitol so the students – some of whom attended legislative committee meetings earlier this year – could watch the final step.
HB 2705, by Rep. Kris Steele, R-Shawnee , and Sen. Charles Laster, D-Shawnee, requires drug-and-alcohol abuse-and-prevention education to be included in all prenatal care offered to expectant parents in Oklahoma. The measure took effect when the governor signed it.
The bill “just make imminent sense and it will save lives and improve lives,” Henry said.
“We just wanted to make a difference in our state,” said Gabrielle Spradling, who will be a junior when she returns to classes later this year. “We thought that this was very important – that the parent understand what alcohol and drugs can do to their children.”
Spradling and Williams belong to the Shawnee Youth Coalition, which has about 100
Shawnee students in grades eight through 12. Students in the coalition developed the bill after they were challenged by Steele to come up with a proposal that would have a statewide effect. Steele took their suggestion and developed it into HB 2705.
Braxton Henderson, who will be a freshman, said it was motivational to watch the governor sign the measure into law.
It showed that “we teenagers can actually help our community,” he said. “Now we can come up with something else.”
Steele said he wanted as many of the Shawnee students, who now are on summer break, to come to the Capitol for the bill-signing ceremony.
“We wanted to make sure that they understood that their ideas are important,” he said. “We believe that young people can and do make a difference when they share their ideas and work together in a positive direction to move our state forward.”
- Michael McNutt, Capitol Bureau