The Oklahoma Senate

Week In Review
For the week of Monday, April 16 to Thursday, April 19, 2001

Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Other News


Monday, April 16th

  • With six weeks remaining in the legislative session, action continued to focus on the floor as the Senate worked towards the April 19th deadline for third reading on House Bills. Among the nearly 30 measures considered on Monday, the Senate approved the following bills:

    -HB 1727 by Sen. Dick Wilkerson which adds the Office of the Attorney General to the list of agencies responsible for investigating allegations of misconduct involving nursing homes. However the Senate adopted an amendment that would hold abortion providers liable for the cost of any subsequent medical treatment that results from abortions performed on minors without parental consent.

    -HB 1724 by Sen. Kevin Easley relates to oil and gas and requires appraisers used when negotiating surface damages to possess certification and be affiliated with certain organizations.

    -SR 12 by Sen. Ted Fisher congratulates the Central Technology Center for its telecommunication program, which was recently honored in Washington D.C. as only one of two such programs in the nation.

    -HB 1439 by Sen. Jonathan Nichols allows a credit on the excise tax in the sale of aircraft with a selling price in excess of $2.5 million. The bill was amended to restore the title.

    -HB 1636 by Sen. Bernest Cain relates to schools and modifies an exemption allowing adults to smoke in an educational facility under certain circumstances. The bill was amended to remove the new language from its current location in statute to a separate section. The title was restored before its passage.

    -HB 1470 by Sen. Ben Robinson makes a number of changes related to the Department of Rehabilitation Services that Robinson said would bring the Oklahoma School for the Deaf and Oklahoma School for the Blind into compliance with public schools. Robinson said the bill also repealed several sections of "archaic language" relating to the schools. The bill was amended by Sen. James Williamson to remove language requiring the addition of a "check-off" box for donations on the state income tax form.

  • The State House considered some 25 measures on Monday. Those winning approval by the full House included:

    -SB 25 as amended by Rep. Bill Nations exempts higher education entertainment ticket sales from sales tax. The enacting clause was stricken.

    -SB 46 as amended by Rep. Ray McCarter making assault and battery on a school employee a felony.

    -SB 417 by Rep. William Paulk requires an employee of a state agency to answer the telephones. The enacting clause was stricken.

    -SB 723 as amended by Rep. Joe Sweeden authorizes the Department of Corrections to award the identification badge and firearm to certain retiring employees.

    -SB 743 by Rep. Terry Ingmire requires a uniform reporting standard for reporting criminal offenses to information systems by the Oklahoma Criminal Justice Resource Center.

Tuesday, April 17th

  • In another day of heavy floor action, the State Senate considered more than 90 measures, including several appropriations bills. Among the substantive legislation approved Tuesday:

    -HB 1375 by Senator Frank Shurden, who amended the measure with language that calls for a vote of the people on granting citizens the constitutional right to hunt, fish and engage in such activities as rodeos, livestock shows and cockfighting. The measure must now return to the House for consideration of Senate amendments.

    -HB 1074 by Sen. Gene Stipe was reconsidered. The bill would amend the Oklahoma Consumer Protection Act. It was amended to require a five-day review period for commodity purchase contracts.

    -HB 1436 by Sen. Jim Maddox would extend the small business incubation period to 10 years. The title and enacting clause were restored.

    -HB 1741 by Sen. Keith Leftwich would set aside 1 percent of the motor vehicle tax for public transit.

    -HB 1372 by Sen. Maxine Horner would create the Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board.

    -HB 1670 by Sen. Penny Williams creates the Investing in Stronger Oklahoma Families Act, aimed at strengthening the chances for permanent placement of foster children.

    -HB 1382 by Sen. Jeff Rabon pushes quail season back one month for the southeastern portion of the state.

  • During Tuesday's session, the House of Representatives considered more than 30 measures, including the attempted override three sections of the general appropriations bill which were line item vetoed by Governor Keating, including the appropriation for the Department of Agriculture. The vetoes were sustained. Legislation approved on Tuesday by the House included:

    -SB 352 as amended by Rep. M.C. Leist would give the Ethics Commission the ability to decide whether a political candidate willfully lied about another candidate, with a possible fine of up to $50,000.

    -SB 157 by Rep. Todd Hiett creates the Juvenile Sex Offender Registration Act. The enacting clause was stricken.

    -SB 454 by Rep. Chris Hastings changes the population requirements for having a county office of public defender.

    -SB 1692 by Rep. James Dunegan relates to qualifications for Highway Patrolman, Highway Patrol salaries and salaries for Lake Patrol and Capitol Patrol, including monthly bonus pay and retroactive pay.

    -SB 660 by Rep. Larry Rice designates the Department of Agriculture as an official environmental regulatory agency for agricultural point source and nonpoint source pollution. The title and enacting clauses were stricken.

Wednesday, April 18th

  • The State Senate considered some 20 measures as they continued to work toward the Thursday deadline for third reading action on House measures. Those being approved included:

    -HCR 1007 by Sen. Kevin Easley designates a portion of United States Highway 169 beginning at Memorial Road and extending north to the Tulsa County line as "Pearl Harbor Memorial Expressway." The bill was amended on the floor by Sen. Grover Campbell to clarify the boundaries of the designation so that the portion of U.S. 169 from the intersection of I-44 north to the Tulsa County line remain the "Owasso Expressway."

    -HB 1736 by Sen. Mike Morgan extends the list of charities exempt from ad valorem taxes to include any "continuum of care retirement community providing housing for the aged, licensed under Oklahoma law, owned by a nonprofit entity in a county with a population of more than five hundred thousand."

    -HB 1640 Sen. Jeff Rabon would give the Oklahoma Supreme Court original jurisdiction over bond applications. The bill would also give those applications priority in the court. The title and the enacting clause were restored on the measure. The bill was amended to clarify some language.

    -HB 1276 by Sen. Enoch Kelly Haney would require state agencies and websites to include meeting schedules and agendas on their websites.

    -HB 1723 by Sen. Kevin Easley would modify the certification process for those who install more than 10 sewage disposal systems each year by requiring each installer to go through training with the Department of Environmental Quality.

    -HB 1964 by Sen. Mike Morgan would assign the licensing duties for micropigmentation to the Department of Health. An amendment to the bill dealt with concerns the medical industry had with the supervisory provisions in the bill.

    -HB 1639 by Sen. Johnnie Crutchfield is a request from the Department of Public Transportation. The bill would make emergency vehicle operators exempt from laws against illegal maneuvers and double the fines in DPS work zones.

  • The State House passed SJR 1 by Rep. Jack Begley and Sen. Dave Herbert, which would allow the voters to decide whether to adopt right-to-work in Oklahoma. However a special election feature which called for a statewide vote of the people on August 14 failed to get the required 68 votes needed for passage. The measure will now be filed with the Secretary of State, and placed on the November 2002 general election ballot. Other measures approved Wednesday by the House included:

    -SB 788 by Rep. don Ross creates the Greenwood Education Scholarship Act for direct descendants of the victims and survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot.

    -SB 57 by Rep. Jack Begley relates to the membership requirements of the Physician Manpower Training Commission by modifying the number of ex-officio members of the Commission.

    -SB 733 by Rep. Jari Askins requires insurers to provide colon cancer screening and approved cancer clinical trial coverage. The enacting clause was stricken.

Thursday, April 19th

  • The Senate met for a brief floor session on Thursday, which was the final day for action on House Measures. The Senate will reconvene on Monday, April 23rd at 1:30 p.m.

Other News

  • The ongoing energy crisis that's left California with rolling blackouts and sky-high energy costs could actually be good for Oklahoma. That's according to State Senate leader Stratton Taylor. The Pro Tempore asked the state Commerce Department to make a major recruiting effort in California, and said this was an excellent opportunity to showcase Oklahoma with its abundant and affordable electricity, water and land, more productive work force, lower cost of living and better quality of life.

  • The State House Redistricting Subcommittee reported they were considering adding a new House district to adjust for population growth in northeastern Oklahoma. However adding a district to northeastern Oklahoma would result in the loss of a district from another part of the state. Not including Tulsa, northeastern Oklahoma currently has 17 House districts.

  • A new lecture series has been named for State Senator Penny Williams. While a member of the House of Representatives in 1983, Williams authored legislation that led to the creation of the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics. The lecture series was created and endowed by friends of Senator Williams. The inaugural speaker selected for the "Senator Penny Williams Distinguished Lecture Series" was Nobel Laureate Dr. Baruch Blumberg who was scheduled to address OSSM students, faculty and supporters on April 19th.

  • If a handful of House members get enough support on their initiative petition, Oklahoma voters could decide whether to end employment at-will in Oklahoma. Rep. Opio Toure turned in the petition to the Secretary of State this week. The "Employee Fairness Act" is also sponsored by Rep. Al Lindley and Rep. Darrell Gilbert. If enough valid signatures are collected, the question would be put on the November 5, 2002 ballot, which could be the same election voters will decide whether to approve right-to-work. Just over 98,000 valid signatures must be collected by July 15th in order for the proposed constitutional amendment to be placed on the ballot.