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
-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
-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
-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
-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.
- 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
-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
-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.
- 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.