OKLAHOMA CITY - More than 200 state laws take effect Nov. 1, dealing with everything from firearms to firefighters and from driving to drugs.
Beginning at midnight:
- Texting and driving is illegal when your car is in motion, punishable by a $100 fine. Actually, any sort of typing into a cell phone or device is forbidden, except in an emergency. Many municipalities have passed texting bans of their own to make the state ordinance easier to enforce.
- Fire departments may take volunteer firefighters age 45 and older. Those firefighters would be eligible to join the department without accepting a pension. The law is designed to help rural, largely volunteer fire departments that have had a difficult time attracting new members.
- Assaulting an off-duty law enforcement officer will soon be a felony, instead of a misdemeanor.
- Terminally-ill patients will have the opportunity to use potentially life-saving drugs that may be years away from reaching pharmacy shelves. The so-called 'Right to Try' law applies to medicines that have passed the first phase of approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
- People with misdemeanor drug convictions will be able to buy firearms. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation will issue gun licenses to people who have been convicted of illegal drug use or possession of drug paraphernalia, as long as they served out their sentences more than ten years ago.