County sheriffs throughout Oklahoma have received much-needed support with the passage of Senate Bill 244 this past session.  The measure, by Senate principal author Micheal Bergstrom, R-Adair, and House principal author Rep. Zack Taylor, R-Seminole, ends a practice that often resulted in county jails having to pay for the cost of housing inmates awaiting transport to facilities operated by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections (DOC). The new law took effect on August 30.

SB 244 authorizes DOC to establish a dedicated electronic address to receive all electronically-submitted judgement and sentence documents and removes the penalty for county sheriffs related to the five-day notification requirement for county jails transferring a prisoner to DOC custody.

“For years the Oklahoma Department of Corrections has been refusing to pay under certain circumstances for housing those who have been convicted and are awaiting transport to DOC facilities,” Bergstrom said.  “This has resulted in lawsuits against the state by counties, financial hardships for county jails and was simply unconstitutional.  Senate Bill 244 changes that, and it provides a more efficient mechanism for counties to notify DOC that inmates are ready for transport.  This bill is essentially just common sense and fair play.  I’m glad I was able to get it passed and that Governor Stitt signed it into law.”