The Oklahoma Senate

Week In Review
For the week of Monday, April 2 to Thursday, April 5, 2001

Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Other News


Monday, April 2nd

  • In the two previous weeks, legislators concentrated their efforts on committee work, with the Senate approving some 270 House bills, and the House approving 283 Senate Measures. With the deadline for committee action on bills behind them, attention now shifts to meeting the April 19th deadline for third reading on those measures. Among the more than thirty bills acted on by the Full Senate, those receiving approval included:

    -HB 1002 by Sen. Dave Herbert would create a sales tax holiday for up to $100 on clothing, footwear and school supplies for a designated time period in August.

    -HB 1394 by Sen. Dave Herbert would permit jailers to use non-lethal weapons on prisoners such as pepper spray and stun guns to subdue prisoners when the need arises. The title was stricken from the bill.

    -HB 1122 by Sen. Bernest Cain would prohibit prosecution for leaving a newborn infant with a medical provider or child rescuer. The bill also would allow the rescue provider to give and request information from the individual who delivers the baby.

    -HB 1034 by Sen. Bruce Price would give county commissioners the right to accept donations of right-of-ways and easements and the power to regulate the construction of communications towers in unincorporated parts of the county.

    -HB 1217 by Sen. Paul Muegge would create the Oklahoma Ethanol Development Study Act Advisory Committee.

    -HB 1225 by Sen. Gilmer Capps would give tax credits to ethanol producers in Oklahoma.

    -HB 1300 by Sen. Ben Robinson would require telephone companies to provide customers with a 30-day notice of any rate increases.

    -HB 1152 by Sen. Robinson would allow the Corporation Commission to charge a fine of up to $500 a day to telecommunications companies not providing 911 emergency service to their customers.

    Six Senate bills were signed into law Monday by Governor Frank Keating:

    -SB 2 by Sen. Dave Herbert and Rep. Bill Nations reduces the amount of state liquor license fee paid by Amtrak from $950 to $100.

    -SB 24 by Sen. Dave Herbert and Rep. Mike Ervin exempts certain persons from remitting sales or use taxes to the state.

    -SB 154 by Sen. Frank Shurden and Rep. Dale Turner requires osteopathic physicians who engage in the prescription of drugs, devices, or treatment via electronic means to do so only in the context of an appropriate physician/patient relationship wherein a proper patient record is maintained.

    -SB 385 By Sen. Ben Robinson and Rep. Debbie Blackburn modifies the composition of the Long-Term Care Facility Advisory Board.

    -SB 451 by Sen. Frank Shurden and Rep. Kevin Cox extends maximum term of restitution agreement for bogus checks. The measure quadruples the length of a deferred sentence for passing a bogus check from six months to two years. During a deferment period a defendant must make restitution and avoid committing another offense.

    -SB 620 by Sen. Rick Littlefield and Rep. Jerry Hefner modifies certain exemptions for persons holding dual public offices.

  • Likewise, attention in the House was focused on heavy floor action, with the chamber considering nearly 30 pieces of legislation. Among those approved on Monday:

    -SB 440 by Rep. Jim Glover eliminates the date in state law for "the implementation of full retail consumer choice" of the electric utility industry. Current law calls for restructuring by July 1, 2002. SB 440 would create a new Electric Advisory Task Force composed of seven members.

    -SB 511 by Rep. Kevin Cox would allow the Attorney General to put names on the register of people who want their name removed from call lists of those telemarketing businesses in the state of Oklahoma. States cannot pass laws regulating telemarketing across state lines.

    -SB 117 by Rep. Larry Rice provides a sales tax exemption for Internet inputs. The enacting clause was stricken.

    -SB 372 by Rep. David Braddock relates to protection of the Tobacco Settlement Fund.

    -SB 750 as amended by Rep. Richard Phillips relates to Internet-based classes. The amendments apply the bill only to public schools and also require the local and state Boards of Education to approve the classes.

Tuesday, April 3rd

  • The full Senate continued consideration of House measures, approving more than 40 pieces of legislation, including:

    -HB 1203 by Sen. Angela Monson which includes reductions in personal income tax, the elimination of the sales tax on groceries and over-the-counter drugs and elimination of the franchise tax for companies earning less than $30,000 annually. The measure now moves to a House-Senate conference committee.

    -HB 1097 by Sen. Dave Herbert would give residents of counties with populations of less than 200,000 the opportunity to vote on a lodging tax for hotels and motels. The tax could not exceed 5 percent.

    -HB 1142 by Sen. Jim Reynolds would expand the actions constituting arson to include accidentally burning down a structure while trying to produce a controlled, dangerous substance.

    -HB 1177 by Sen. Bernest Cain is a request from the OSBI. The bill would delete requirements that a report of any hate crime be submitted to the bureau within 72 hours and that a quarterly report be prepared by law enforcement agencies. The two reports would be replaced with one monthly report.

    -HB 1072 by Sen. Angela Monson would direct the State Regents for Higher Education to establish a cancer research facility in Oklahoma. The expected cost to the state is $25 million.

    -HB 1691 by Johnnie Crutchfield creates the 911 Wireless Emergency Number Act and would allow county commissioners to submit an emergency wireless telephone fee to voters.

    -HB 1633 by Sen. J. Berry Harrison requires any landowner wishing to conduct a prescribed burn to notify all adjoining landowners and the local rural fire department at least 60 days prior to conducting the burn. The title was stricken.

    Seven Senate bills were signed into law by Governor Keating on Tuesday:

    -SB 373 by Sen. Keith Leftwich, and Rep. John Nance allows the State Board of Education to wave the certification requirements for school superintendents in Oklahoma City and Tulsa.

    -SB 67 by Sen. Sam Helton and Rep. Loyd Benson allows the Lawton/Fort Sill veterans facility to use the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs Revolving Fund.

    -SB 112 by Sen. Cal Hobson and Rep. Jerry Hefner excludes certain claims for notice requirements under the state's lien law.

    -SB 346 by Sen. Mike Johnson and Rep. Joe Hutchison adds a federally recognized tribal government to those entities that can make certain agreements with municipalities.

    -SB 348 by Sen. Robert Milacek and Rep. Curt Roggow requires specification of fire departments and allocations thereto in certain county sales tax instrument and ballot title.

    -SB 526 by Sen. Ted Fisher and Rep. Richard Phillips modifies date upon which certain security interests on motor vehicles are considered perfected.

    -SB 724 by Sen. Dick Wilkerson and Rep. Dan Webb empowers the director of the Department of Corrections to provide paid leaves to department employees involved in critical incidents.

  • During Tuesday's session, the House of Representatives approved some 30 Senate measures, including:

    -SB 397 By Speaker Larry Adair would lower the blood alcohol limit from 0.1 to 0.08 percent. The measure was also amended to provide that a jury trial on a felony DUI charge would be split into two phases. During the first phase, guilt or innocence would be decided. If the verdict is guilty, during a second phase evidence of prior offense and other evidence relevant to punishment could be introduced.

    -SB 42 by Rep. Danny Hilliard relates to minimum salary levels for the Oklahoma School for the Blind and the Oklahoma School for the Deaf administration.

    -SB 170 by Rep. Bill Mitchell would allow a taxpayer to earmark $2 or $5 or some other amount from their sales tax rebate for maintenance of the School for the Deaf and the School for the Blind. The enacting clause was stricken and the bill was returned to the Senate.

    -SB 129 by Rep. Ray McCarter authorizes school districts to grant high school diplomas to military veterans who quit high school to drop out to fight in World War II. To qualify, a veteran would have to be an Oklahoma resident honorably discharged after at least 18 consecutive months of active duty, or discharged between September 16, 1940 and December 31, 1946 with a service-related disability. The bill would encourage school districts to present the soldiers/sailors with their diplomas "in conjunction with appropriate Veterans Day Programs. The measure was returned to the Senate.

Wednesday, April 4th

  • The full Senate considered close to 50 measures on Wednesday. Among those being approved:

    -HB 1351 by Sen. Glenn Coffee would amend the current Sex Offender Registration law to require convicted sex offenders to notify law enforcement officials at least three days before moving to a new residence. The change is intended to help law enforcement increase the accuracy of the registry. Failure to notify officials of a change of residency could result in up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5000.

    -HB 1220 by Sen. Dave Herbert would create an income tax refund for federal retirees.

    -HB 1794 by Sen. Grover Campbell seeks to reduce the number of drivers who have had their license suspended or revoked yet continue to drive. Violators would face a misdemeanor and a fine of between $500 and $1000.

    -HB 1009 by Sen. Stratton Taylor creates the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust Fund Act.

    -HB 1009 by Sen. Stratton Taylor enacts the Oklahoma Tobacco Use Prevention and Cessation Act. The goal of the bill is to establish a committee at the Oklahoma State Department of Health to review grant proposals for smoking cessation projects.

    -HB 1050 by Sen. Mark Snyder creates the Construction Industries Commission Act, which would move oversight of the various construction industries from the Health Department to the new stand-alone agency established in the bill.

    -HB 1171 by Sen. Penny Williams specifies compensation for employees of the Oklahoma School for the Blind and the Oklahoma School for the Deaf. Williams said the bill would bring the salary levels for teachers at the schools to a level equal to other teachers in the state.

    -HB 1266 by Sen. Jerry Smith modifies statutes relating to soliciting sex with a minor to help police officers conduct undercover stings over the Internet.

    -HB 1073 by Sen. Jim Dunlap eliminates the liability of sheriffs for medical costs of an inmate if the costs are the direct result of the reckless, illegal or unauthorized actions of an inmate.

    -HB 1231 by Sen. Dick Wilkerson establishes the Oklahoma Police Corps Act, a scholarship program in the Department of Public Safety offered for college students who promise service as a police officer.

  • On Wednesday, the House considered approximately 40 measure. Among those approved by the House:

    -SB 716 by Rep. Carolyn Coleman would make sexual intercourse between a teacher or other school employee and a student younger than 18 a felony crime of rape, regardless of whether the relationship was consensual.

    -SB 696 by Rep. Ray Vaughn would create a statewide information collection and analysis system to monitor marriages and divorces in Oklahoma. The State Health Department and the Administrative Office of the Courts would develop the database.

    -SB 446 by Rep. Jim Wilson would allow the Scenic Rivers Commission to modify its rates for use of Flint Creek, the Illinois River and portions of Barren Creek that flow through Cherokee County. The measure proposes a user fee of $2 per trip per raft as well as a $1 per trip per flotation device. SB 446 also would allow the Scenic Rivers Commission to collect a fee for use of campsites in public use and access areas within its territory.

    -SB 390 by Rep. Don Ross creates the Task force on Sickel Cell Anemia. The 10 member task force would develop recommendations relating to possibly requiring testing for sickle cell anemia in order to obtain an Oklahoma marriage license.

    -SB 55 by Rep. James Covey qualifies space transportation vehicle providers for tax credits. The enacting clause was stricken.

Thursday, April 5th

  • The State Senate convened at 9 a.m. and continued working through House Bills remaining on General Order. The Senate will reconvene at 1:30 p.m. Monday.

Other News

  • Senate President Pro Tem Stratton Taylor released a study showing states without income tax are growing faster than states such as Oklahoma. Texas, Florida, Nevada, Tennessee and Washington posted a greater rate of population growth than Oklahoma did during the 1990's. Those states added four new congressmen in the last census while Oklahoma lost one. Those five states also have a higher per capital personal income and have more Forbes 400 companies than Oklahoma. Senator Taylor said the study bolsters his case for adopting the "Texas Plan." The plan would include a vote of the people on replacing Oklahoma's tax system with that of Texas, which has no income tax and no tax on groceries.

  • State Tourism Director Jane Jayroe said they may be forced to close several swimming pools and campgrounds at state parks this summer to make up for money lost due to bad weather during the previous fall and winter. Such a move would save $60,000. Jayroe said officials would make a decision on the proposal within the next two weeks. Tourism Deputy Director Doug Enevoldesen said golf courses and lost more than $1.4 million due to drought in the summer and rain during the fall. Enevoldsen said they'd made up most of the money by a 20 percent staff reduction at the state's 11 golf courses, however revenue is $555,000 short.

  • Senator Penny Williams and Representative Don Ross announced plans to hold an interim study on a plan to authorize school districts to transport students to and from day care centers. That after the proposal died in a House committee after winning Senate approval.

  • Speaker Larry Adair announced on Wednesday that the full House of Representatives would vote next week on SJR 1, which calls for a vote of the people on right to work.

  • First Lady Cathy Keating will make an announcement in Tulsa this Saturday. It is expected that Keating will confirm candidacy for the 1st Congressional District. That seat is currently held by Steve Largent who has already announced he will to run for Governor in 2002.