OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma state senator has filed a bill that he says will protect nonprofit hospitals.

Sen. George Burns, R-Pollard, has filed Senate Bill 304 to add nonprofit hospitals to the list of entities that receive sales tax exemptions for goods and services.

“In rural communities, hospitals provide essential medical services, and provide critically needed jobs in the area,” Burns said. “Unfortunately, many community hospitals have had to shut their doors over the years. Giving these nonprofits a sales tax exemption is one step we can take to provide relief and financial assistance to these facilities as they continue to serve Oklahomans.”

Officials say 501(c)(3) organizations that are operating in buildings owned by a county or local government in counties with populations of 100,000 or less would be eligible for the exemption.