The Oklahoma Senate

Week In Review
For the week of Monday, February 11 to Thursday, February 14, 2002

Monday, February 11th

  • With the deadline for committee approval of legislation from the house of origin in less than two weeks, most of the Senate's attention on Monday was focused on committee action. Among those bills winning approval by various committees:

    -SB 1502 by Sen. Keith Leftwich would substantially raise fines for crimes associated with prostitution.

    -SB 822 by Sen. Frank Shurden defines terms and criminalizes acts of terrorism, terrorism hoaxes, biochemical assault, and manufacturing substances with intent of terrorist activity. The Act states punishments and requires restitution to state and political subdivisions for emergency response cost.

    -SB 1638 by Sen. Brad Henry requires DNA evidence samples to be taken and entered into the OSBI DNA database for felons and repeals a duplicate section of legislation.

    -SB 1574 by Sen. Carol Martin relates to the inspection of county jails and provides a noncompliance penalty.

    -SB 910 by Sen. Ben Robinson requires any passenger six years of age or younger to be seated in a child passenger restraint system, and removes a section of law exempting nonresident drivers from this provision.

    -SB 982 by Sen. Robert M. Kerr requires applicants for a driver license or identification card to be fingerprinted for proof of identity.

    -SB 950 by Sen. Keith Leftwich would require the Attorney General to establish a directory of consumers who do not wish to receive unsolicited telemarketing calls.

    -SB 1461 by Sen. Larry Dickerson would require employers of employees who are members of the immediate family of a victim of violent crime to provide unpaid leave to attend judicial or other proceedings directly related to the violent crime.

    -SB 1547 by Sen. Jim Reynolds would prohibit disclosure of information about a consumer to nonaffiliated third parties unless a company or agent obtains express consent.

    -SB 1000 by Sen. Scott Pruitt gives county commissioners the authority to adopt ordinances to regulate sexually oriented businesses and activities.
  • In addition to heavy action in various committees, the full House approved these measures on the floor:

    -HB 1979 by Rep. M.C. Leist authorizes donations from income tax refunds to be used for the benefit of the Oklahoma Silver Haired Legislature - Excellence in State Government Revolving Fund.

    -HB 2064 by Rep. Larry Adair and Rep. Larry Rice clarifies language relating to public finance and specifies the extent to which public trusts may act directly on their own behalf.

    -HB 2155 by Rep. M.C. Leist adds the option of sending pregnant drug or alcohol addicted women who are convicted of certain crimes to a rehabilitation center for the term of the pregnancy.

    -SCR 51 by Rep. Larry Adair sets the date of adjournment sine die to May 24th, 2002.

Tuesday, February 12th

  • While most of the legislature is focused on working through bills still in committee, the full Senate did approve HB 2315, by Senator Brad Henry. The legislation would give a $3 million tax credit to Great Plains Airlines each year over the next three years. Henry said the measure would enable the airlines to increase existing flights and add new routes to coastal cities. Additional legislation winning committee approval included:

    -SB 861 by Sen. Johnnie Crutchfield which would create a three-day state sales tax holiday beginning in the first Friday in August and ending the following Sunday.

    -SB 935 by Sen. Jonathon Nichols exempts tangible personal property sales made at estate sales from sales taxes.

    -SB 817 by Sen. Gilmer Capps modifies the income tax credit for space transportation vehicle providers.

    -SB 839 by Sen. Maxine Horner authorizes donations from income tax refunds to be used to benefit the Oklahoma Silver Haired Legislature Excellence in State Government Revolving fund.

    -SB 1262 by Sen. Glenn Coffee would make communications expressing sympathy or condolences inadmissible in civil court proceedings.
  • The House on Tuesday also focused on committee work. Among those measures winning approval:

    -HB 2300 by Rep. David Braddock prohibits a deferred sentence for indecent exposure and adds sexual assault to the list of crimes for which an individual must be listed with the state sex offender registry.

    -HB 2301 by Rep. David Braddock expands circumstances which shall constitute lewd proposals to a child to include proposals to persons an individual believes to be under sixteen years of age. The Act also states that no defense can be constituted based on the fact that an undercover operative or law enforcement officer was involved in the detection or investigation of an offense relating to lewd or indecent proposals to a child.

    -HB 2195 by Rep. Bill Mitchell makes it unlawful to send unsolicited mail which is harmful to minors.

    -HB 2755 by Rep. Leonard Sullivan requires airport employees and new applicants for employment to submit to a criminal background check.

Wednesday, February 13th

  • Raising concerns about increased high school drop-outs, unfunded mandates and a negative impact on Career-tech, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee voted against legislation that would have required high school students to take four years of math, science, social studies and English. Senator Kathleen Wilcoxson, author of SB 1446 had argued for the 4 x 4 program saying it would better prepare Oklahoma students for college, Career-tech and the workforce, and that it included options that would protect Career-tech enrollment and let up to 15 percent of seniors to opt out of the program. Other measures winning approval by various Senate committees included:

    -SJR 40 by Sen. Brad Henry which would create the Oklahoma Lottery for Education Act and would let Oklahomans vote whether to accept or reject a lottery to be used to fund tuition for all Oklahomans to state colleges and universities as well as funding early childhood programs and teachers' health care.

    -SB 1421 by Sen. Cal Hobson would allow youth community service programs to count toward the three units of social studies requirements for High School graduation, and strongly encourages school districts to provide those programs.

    -SB 1631 by Sen. Johnnie Crutchfield would provide mathematics remediation for certain third through eighth grade students and require satisfactory mathematics ability at the eighth-grade level to obtain driver's license.

    -SB 1668 by Sen. Bernest Cain, would require the State Department of Education to require that students participate in health education and physical activity in schools and that access to vending machines containing foods with little or no nutritional value be denied to students in elementary schools and limited access be given to middle and high school students.

    -SB 1462 by Sen. Kathleen Wilcoxson would increase the limitation on out-of-state teaching experience related to the teacher minimum salary schedule and repeal duplicate legislation related to the minimum salary schedule.

    -SB 1567 by Sen. Dick Wilkerson would make any act of terrorism a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Under the legislation providing material support to a terrorist or communicating a false terrorist threat are also felonies punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

    -SB 1428 by Sen. Jonathan Nichols removes the statute of limitations on prosecution for rape, forcible sodomy, lewd molestation of a child or sexual abuse of a child when DNA evidence is collected from the victim of a crime scene and is properly maintained as an identifier of a perpetrator of such offences.

    -SB 989 by Sen. Frank Shurden provides that lottery activities of churches, schools and affiliated entities and certain organizations will not be deemed in violation of lottery or gambling laws of the state.
  • The House Appropriations and Budget Subcommittee on Education approved a measure to provide full payment for teacher's health insurance; however, author Kenneth Corn said the bill included language stipulating this would only be enacted if funds become available. The legislation would have a fiscal impact of $110 million, however Corn admitted it was unlikely those funds would be available for the coming budget year. In addition to committee action, nine bills were approved by the full House including:

    -HB 2216 by Rep. Fred Morgan would allow the use of a murder victim's photographs during a criminal prosecution.

    -HB 2111 by Rep. David Braddock, a shell bill relating to the Criminal Justice Committee Act. The title was stricken.

    -HB 2921 by Rep. Fred Morgan authorizes an address confidentiality program for victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault or stalking.

    -HB 2115 by Rep. David Braddock removes "the growing of certain vegetation" from the list of property uses that may be restricted by city ordinance within five miles of an active-duty United States Air Force military installation.

    -HB 2207 by Rep. Barbara Staggs modifies requirements for governor appointments to the State Board of Career and Technology Education. The bill requires board members to have a high school diploma or equivalent and to complete workshop requirements.

    -HB 2086 by Rep. Ron Kirby amends the cancellation of voter registration for convicted felons, requiring a court clerk to transmit information to the State Election Board. The bill also removes the restriction limiting voter registration cancellation to only persons convicted of felonies whose convictions have become final.

Thursday, February 14th

  • The Senate met briefly before adjourning so that committees could continue hearing legislation. The deadline for final action by committees on legislation from the house of origin is February 21. The full Senate will reconvene on Monday, February 18 at 1:30 p.m.

Other News

  • State legislative leaders announced an agreement to pass emergency funding to prevent pending cuts to health care programs for the elderly, disabled and children. The plan was announced on Wednesday, with House Speaker Larry Adair and Senate President Protempore Stratton Taylor calling for quick passage of a $15.6 million supplemental appropriation for the Oklahoma Health Care Authority. The full House completed passage of the supplemental on Thursday. The OHCA was preparing to send out letters to 15,000 elderly and disabled health care recipients on Friday the 15th informing them that their programs would soon be cut. Shortly after the House action, Senate Republican Leaders announced they would call for an audit of the OHCA, questioning yearly spending increases and supplemental requests by the agency.

  • A report released by the State Department of Education showed that more Oklahoma students have access to computers and the Internet in the classroom than ever before. According to the survey, the ratio of students to standard computers is now 5 to 1, compared to 6 to 1 last year and 7 to 1 in 1999, compared to a 2002 national ratio of 4.7 to 1. In addition, the data showed that all but one Oklahoma school district now has Internet access compared to only 98.1 percent in 1999, and that a total of 250 schools are sharing 323 secondary level courses helping to alleviate teacher shortages in subject areas including foreign language, algebra, trigonometry, physics and art.