The Oklahoma Senate

Week In Review
For the week of Monday, April 23 to Thursday, April 26, 2001

Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Other News


Monday, April 23rd

  • As of Monday, April 23rd, there were five weeks remaining in the legislative session. Having passed the April 19th deadline for third reading of bills from the opposite chamber, the focus begins to shift on consideration of amendments, assignment of bills to conference committees, and budget work within various subcommittees of the General Conference Committee on Appropriations. The Senate considered House amendments to more than 90 pieces of legislation on Monday. While many were rejected and a conference committee was requested, the following were given final approval:

    -SB 707 by Senator Glenn Coffee creates the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Protection of Children from Violence in the Media to examine the issue of violence in the media and develop recommendations on possible legislation. The bill initially called for an 18-member task force with six appointees each from the Governor, Speaker of the House and President Pro Tempore of the Senate. The task force was expanded in the House to 24 members, and specifies that one appointee from each of the three appointing authorities be a member of the clergy and a parent with minor children or represent a parent-teacher association.

    -SB 84 by Sen. Gilmer Capps modifies the lettering requirement for commercial vehicles and deletes a requirement for a physical inspection by the tag agent.

    -SB 422 by Sen. Robert Milacek allows retiring school board members with 10 years of service to participate in the state insurance program.

    -SB 377 by Sen. Angela Monson amends various sections of the Oklahoma Nursing Practice Act.

    -SB 114 by Sen. Dave Herbert is a request from the Oklahoma Municipal League that modifies the boundary width relating to petitions to annex unincorporated territory from 200 feet to 20 feet.

    The Senate moved to reject House amendments and request further conference for: SB 200-247, SB 249, SB 304, SB 305, SB 307, SB 309-312, SB 314-321, SB 323-330, SB 332-334, SB 733, SB 784, SB 81, SB 660, SB 157, SBB 353, SB 520, SB 571, SB 578, SB 748, SB 788, SB 466, SB 172, SB 417, SB 198, SB 79, SB 419, SB 627, SB 354, SB 721, SB 168, SB 753 and SB 596.

    On Monday, Governor Frank Keating signed the following Senate measures into law:

    -SB 790 by Sen. Penny Williams requires the State Department of Education to issue an annual report on its Advanced Placement Incentive Program.

    -SB 101 by Sen. Billy Mickle modifies the qualifications for the receipt of a five-year ad valorem tax exemption.

    -SB 384 by Sen. Paul Muegge makes several modifications to the public Warehouse and Commodity Indemnity Act.

    -SB 516 by Sen. J. Berry Harrison directs the Oklahoma Water Resources Board to complete an annual audit of the Wastewater Facility Construction Revolving Loan Account.

    -SB 533 by Sen. Ted Fisher limits the period of time for which certain property may not qualify for certain ad valorem tax incentives or exemptions.

    -SB 743 by Sen. Dick Wilkerson, directs the Oklahoma Criminal Justice Resource Center to create and publish an annual uniform reporting standard for citing state criminal statutes to be used in reporting information to and from all criminal justice information systems in the state.

  • The State House approved Senate amendments and gave final passage to HB 1122 by Rep. Susan Winchester. The so-called "abandoned baby" bill would remove the criminal penalty for the abandonment of an infant seven days old or younger, if the baby is left with a medical service provider or a child rescuer. Other measures gaining approval of Senate amendments and receiving final passage included:

    -HB 1063 by Rep. M.C. Leist which provides for the issuance of heirloom birth certificates by the State Department of Health.

    -HB 1035 by Rep. Gary Taylor modifies certain bidding procedures relating to county purchasing.

    -HB 1044 by Rep. Randall Erwin relates to continuing education requirements for school board members.

    -HB 1219 by Rep. Bill Case grants special fuel tax exemption-tax credit for investment in alternative fuels.

    -HB 1246 by Rep. J.T. Stites relates to compensation of certain personnel at Oklahoma horse racing tracks.

    -HCR 1019 by Rep. Loyd Benson memorializes Congress and the President to enact legislation that recognizes the importance of the United States government maintaining its commitment to America's military retirees by providing lifetime health care for military retirees over 65 years of age.

    The following House measures were signed into law by Governor Keating on Monday:

    -HB 1439 by Rep. Bill Nations allows a credit on the excise tax in the sale of aircraft with a selling price in excess of $2.5 million.

    -HB 1772 by Rep. Mike Tyler authorizes "circuit engineering districts" to participate in the County Road Machinery and Equipment Revolving Fund.

Tuesday, April 24th

  • In a moving ceremony, the State Senate approved a HCR 1012 by Sen. Mike Morgan honoring the victims of the January OSU basketball team plane crash, which claimed the lives of ten individuals. The Senate also paid tribute to their families as well as OSU officials including Coach Eddie Sutton and OSU President James Halligan. Other legislation gaining final approval on Tuesday included:

    -SB 129 by Sen. Sam Helton which authorizes school districts to grant diplomas to World War II veterans and encourages districts to present diplomas in conjunction with appropriate Veterans Day programs. In order to be eligible to receive the honorary diploma, a veteran must have been honorably discharged from the American armed forces, have served a minimum of 18 consecutive months of active duty between the dates of September 16, 1940 and December 31, 1946 or have been discharged with a service-connected disability, as well as being able to establish residency in Oklahoma at the time of entry into the military.

    -SB 617 by Sen. Rick Littlefield requires members of Rural Water District boards to receive up to six hours of continuing education during their term.

    -SB 472 by Sen. Frank Shurden expands the definition of a "potentially dangerous dog" to include any dog that, when unproved, either bites a human or kills a domestic animal. The bill also expands the definition of a "dangerous dog" to include a dog that has been previously found to be potentially dangerous and the dog later kills a domestic animal.

    -SB 678 by Sen. Rick Littlefield authorizes juveniles to frequent pool halls without being accompanied by a parent. Littlefield said legal counsel for a youth recreational center being built in his district requested the bill. The bill was amended in the House to change the price of a billiard hall license from $10 a year to $25 for three years.

    -SB 1889 by Sen. James Maddox creates the Orthotics and Prosthetics practice Act, which directs the State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision to develop rules for licensure of those involved in orthotics and prosthetics.

    -SB 774 by Sen. Brooks Douglass adds a lay member to the Oklahoma Professional Boxing Commission.

    -SCR 13 by Sen. Stratton Taylor mourning the loss of the late Charles Schusterman, a noted philanthropist.

    -SCR 14 By Sen. Stratton Taylor which honors Claremore resident Phillip Driskill upon his promotion to manager of statewide programs for Oklahoma's Department of Veterans Affairs.

    The Senate rejected House amendments and requested further conference on the following bills: SB 447, SB 495, SB 635, SB 124, SB 110, SB 695, SB 118, SB 605, SB 676, SB 3, SB 453, SB 465, SB 341 and SB 813.

  • During Tuesday's session, the House of Representatives gave final approval HB 1081 by Rep. Richard Phillips, which was amended in by Senator Glenn Coffee to do away with mandatory yearly vehicle inspections. Other measures gaining approval in the House included :

    -HB 1021 by Rep. Mary Easley recreates the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board.

    -HB 1062 by Rep. Bill Case requires the placement of children with a noncustodial parent under certain conditions.

    -HB 1092 by Rep. Mike Wilt modifies prohibition concerning use of wireless telecommunications devices by students and allows school districts to adopt rules prohibiting use of such devices.

    -HB 1378 By Rep. James Covey modifies certain definitions in the Oklahoma Agricultural Code.

    -HB 1429 by Rep. Loyd Benson authorizes the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to offer to eligible contracted physician providers an income deferral program.

    -HB 1486 Rep. Jim Glover relates to the licensing of new and used motor vehicle dealers.

    -HB 1603 by Rep. Ron Peters authorizes the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Commission to implement an incentive program to improve private concession maintenance with certain properties.

    -HB 1736 By Rep. Russ Roach modifies tax exemption for certain charitable institutions.

    -HB 1952 by Rep. Joe Sweeden creates the Oklahoma Producer Licensing Act.

Wednesday, April 25th

  • The State Senate approved a motion to suspend the rules to allow consideration of HJR 1033 after the deadline for consideration had passed. That measure would establish a September 25 2001 date for a statewide vote on right to work. Among legislation gaining final approval by the full Senate on Wednesday:

    -SB 716 by Sen. Jonathan Nichols adds to the definition of rape the "narrow circumstances" in which the victim is in between the ages of 16 and 18 and a student at a school who engages in sexual intercourse with an employee of that school that exercises authority over the victim.

    -SB 115 by Sen. Keith Leftwich D-Oklahoma City authorizes certain contracts by the County Jail Trust Authority.

    -SB 476 by Sen. Gene Stipe modifies the remedy for taking outdoor advertising structures.

    -SB 382 by Sen. Jerry Smith expands the scope of interrogation under civil procedures.

    -SB 83 by Sen. Bruce Price relates to abandoned vehicles and requires the wrecker service to file the towing with the sheriff's office if the real property is outside of an incorporated municipality.

    -SB 394 by Sen. Jerry Smith relates to civil procedures that exempt certain time provisions.

    -SB 555 by Sen. Cal Hobson modifies the percentage of pari-mutuel wagers retained and the length of fair association race meetings.

  • The State House approved HJR 1033 by Rep. Fred Morgan which orders a special election to be held on September 25, 2001 on right-to-work. The House suspended the rules to hear the resolution by unanimous consent. An attempted override of Governor Frank Keating's veto of legislation to move the Oklahoma Aeronautics and Space Commission from the Department of Transportation and make it a separate agency was unsuccessful. Other legislation gaining final approval by the House on Wednesday included:

    -HB 1041 by Rep. Randall Erwin authorizing the lease of Hugo State Park and provides for name changes of certain state parks.

    -HB 1109 by Rep. Darrell Gilbert creates the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee of the State Medicaid Program.

    -HB 116 by Rep. Susan Winchester authorizes Department of Human Services to be reimbursed for actual and necessary expenses for the purpose of escorting certain children and adults.

    -HB 1361 by Rep. Stuart Ericson authorizes courts to require persons to reimburse Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation for cleaning up illegal drug laboratory sites.

Thursday, April 26th

  • The Senate met in a brief floor session on Thursday before adjourning for the week. The Senate will reconvene at 1:30 p.m. Monday, April 30th. As of next Monday, there will be four weeks remaining in the 2001 legislative session.

Other News

  • U.S. Department of Commerce figures show that for the fourth straight year, Oklahoma ranked 43rd in per capita personal income (PCPI). According to the report Oklahoma's PCPI level did grow by 2.46 percent or $534 in 2000, compared to 3.97 percent or $1,134 nationally. Oklahoma's 20000 PCPI growth rate was 38th highest in the nation and ahead of only New Mexico, 1.60 percent and Arkansas, 0.06 percent in its seven state region. Senate President Pro Tem Stratton Taylor has argued that his "Texas Plan" proposal will help boost personal income by attracting more businesses with higher paying jobs.

    The original plan called for replacing the Oklahoma Tax code with that of Texas. However University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University recently informed Senator Taylor that it might not be possible to complete the complete studies of both the Oklahoma and Texas Tax systems by the end of the session. They also expressed concerns over the logistics of replacing the entire tax code of Oklahoma with a new system. Based on that information, Minority Leader Jim Dunlap called for passage of a one-half percent cut in the state's income tax. However Senator Taylor insisted a better plan would be to craft a new tax system using the best elements of tax programs from several different states, which would still entirely eliminate personal income tax altogether, as well as the sales tax on groceries, capital gains, and alterations of the estate tax.

    Senator Taylor said by refining the measure he called the "Texas Plus Plan" it would still be feasible to bring this proposal to state lawmakers before the end of May, with a vote by the people this fall.

  • According to the Oklahoma Tax Commission, there has been a tremendous increase in the numbers of Oklahomans choosing to file their taxes on-line. This is the third year OTC has offered on-line filing. The number of those using this option went from 2,000 the first year to over 60,000 this year, with the final figures not yet in.