Bill allowing videoconferencing in district court becomes law

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OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (news release) — Rep. Nicole Miller (R) was joined by representatives from the Oklahoma Dept. of Corrections and the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office as Gov. Kevin Stitt signed House Bill 3756 in a ceremony last week.

House Bill 3756, authored by Miller, authorizes the use of videoconferencing technology in all stages of civil or criminal proceedings except in jury trials or trials before judges.

We started working on this legislation in September 2019 because video conferencing seemed like a simple solution to help save our criminal justice system both time and money, as well as maintaining public safety. Of course, we never could have predicted how much more valuable and useful the bill would become. There couldn’t be a better time to offer videoconferencing to Oklahoma’s district court system, which in turn impacts county jails and the Department of Corrections, and I appreciate the work done by its supporters to pass the legislation.

Rep. Nicole Miller

Miller said the idea was proposed to her by Frank Urbanic, a criminal defense attorney and a constituent of House District 82.

What initially started as a way to allow an attorney to plead for his or her client without that client being physically present turned into a bill that brings our courts into the 21st century. We’re only scratching the surface right now on the efficiencies produced by this legislation. Something we didn’t envision when we started working on this legislation was the impact a pandemic would have on our court system. This legislation assures every court in the future that video teleconferencing is authorized when there are public health concerns.

Frank Urbanic

The bill was formally signed into law in May and will go into effect Nov. 1.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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