For the week of Monday, February
18 to Thursday, February 21, 2002
Monday, February 18th
- With the Thursday deadline for committee
approval for bills from the house of origin fast approaching, Senate
action once again focused on the committee level. Among those bills
-SB 1471 by Sen. Kathleen Wilcoxson which requires an applicant for
employment with a school district to sign a statement authorizing
the disclosure of unprofessional conduct. The bill was successfully
amended by Senator Glenn Coffee to implement a daily moment of silence
in Oklahoma classrooms.
-SB 900 by Sen. Johnnie Crutchfield removes the 18-month service requirement
from legislation that allows school districts to grant high school
diplomas to veterans of World War II.
-SB 992 by Sen. Herb Rozell creates the School Bullying Prevention
Act and requires district policy to prohibit harassment, intimidation,
and bullying of students.
-SR 28 by Sen. Glenn Coffee honoring former Oklahoma County District
Attorney Robert Macy for his 21 years of service.
-SB 917 by Sen. Keith Leftwich requires fugitives to reimburse the
county sheriff for the costs of returning the fugitive by adding the
reimbursement to the court costs.
-SB 1350 by Sen. Larry Dickerson requires an address other than a
post office box to change voter registration, changes requirements
for receiving bids for printing the ballots. The bill also requires
precincts within school districts to be open for all elections, as
well as limiting the number of signatures a person can witness on
affidavits of persons who swear they are physically incapacitated
and unable to vote in person at their precinct on election day to
50. The bill also authorizes family members of military personnel
the right to vote when they were unable to register during the required
time. The title was stricken.
-SB 1398 by Sen. Keith Leftwich provides for next of kin of deceased
persons to cancel voter registration and authorizes the use of private
mail service to return absentee ballots.
- Likewise, action was heavy in various
House Committees on Monday. Among those bills winning approval:
-HB 2697 by Rep. Al Lindley aimed
at increasing Oklahoma schools' compliance with the federal Individuals
with Disabilities Education Act.
-HB 2144 by Rep. Opio Toure would
prevent predatory lending practices which proponents say hurt seniors
and low and moderate income households. The legislation would limit
prepayment penalties on all loans, prohibit single premium credit
insurance on all loans and prohibit loan-flipping, or refinancing
without a tangible benefit to the borrower.
-HB 1982 by Rep. M.C. Leist restricts
the type of punishment a municipality may impose for seat belt violations.
-HB 2142 by Rep. Opio Toure enacts
the Oklahoma Cloning Prohibition Act, defines terms relating to cloning,
makes certain activities unlawful, requires individuals intending
to perform human somatic cell nuclear transfer technology to register
with the State Commissioner of Health and provides penalties for those
participating in unlawful acts relating to cloning. An attempt to
amend the bill to include a ban on therapeutic cloning failed.
Tuesday, February 19th
- The Senate approved more than 100 appropriation
shell bills on Tuesday in order to keep the legislative process moving,
while committee action continued to focus on substantive legislation.
Among those bills approved at that level:
-SB 815 by Sen. Jeff Rabon which would require school districts to
enforce a daily recognition of one minute of silence.
-SB 1286 by Sen. Mark Snyder modifies amount of tax due on certain
capital gains, gradually phasing out the tax over a period of several
-SJR 30 by Sen. Robert Milacek would send to the voters a proposal
to increase the tax on gasoline by two cents per gallon per year until
a total increase of five cents per gallon is reached. Diesel fuel
taxes would increase by two cents per gallon per year until a total
increase of seven cents is reached. If approved, the measure would
provide additional funds for transportation.
-SB 905 by Sen. Ted Fisher would make it unlawful for trains to block
vehicle traffic longer than 10 minutes.
-SB 937 by Sen. Frank Shurden increases the cost of a lifetime fishing
license from $150 to $175, increases a lifetime hunting license from
$400 to $626, and increases the combination hunting and fishing license
from $525 to $750.
- While attention on the House side was
also focused on committee work, eleven bills were approved by the
full chamber, including:
-HB 2613 by Rep. Susan Winchester
raising the income tax deduction allowed for nonrecurring adoption
expenses from $10,000 to $20,000. The title was stricken.
-HB 2330 by Rep. Elmer Maddux sets
criteria for determining recreational facilities for purposes of swine
animal feeding operations.
-SJR 42 by Rep. William Paulk creates
the Office of the Interim Oklahoma Security Director.
- The full Senate voted 44-3 on Wednesday
in favor of a $15,598,947 supplemental appropriation for the Oklahoma
Health Care Authority after that agency had said it would be forced
to deny coverage to thousands of Oklahomans without the additional
funding. The OHCA Board contended the shortfall was due to increased
enrollment and rising healthcare costs, however several Senate Republicans
said greater accountability was needed for the agency which is charged
with administering the state's Medicaid program. Several other legislative
measures were approved by various committees on Wednesday, including:
-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 987 by Sen. Frank Shurden would allow rape in the first degree
to be punishable with a sentence of life or life without parole.
-SB 989 by Sen. Frank Shurden would provide 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
-SB 1239 by Sen. Jim Maddox would require that telephones at state
agencies be answered by a person during normal business hours of the
-SB 1259 by Sen. Glenn Coffee would provide judicial procedures for
return of property that comes into custody of law enforcement officers
and prohibits the return of certain weapons.
-SB 1361 by Sen. Larry Dickerson would increase annualized salary
for state employees by 4.5%. The title was stricken.
-SB 1363 by Sen. Larry Dickerson would require state employees to
receive one and one-half times their regular hourly rate for each
hour of work on a state holiday, and would allow for just compensation
of employees working less than desirable shifts. The title was stricken.
-SB 1428 by Sen. Jonathan Nichols would remove 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 or crime scene and is properly maintained as an identifier
of a perpetrator of such offense.
-SB1464 by Sen. Robert Milacek would increase certain fees and punishments
for uninsured drivers.
-SB 1468 by Sen. Jim Maddox would create the Healthy Oklahoma Prescription
Benefit Program Act and would require the Oklahoma Health Care Authority
to implement and administer the program.
-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 a driver's
- The House considered legislation on
Wednesday that would have repealed the state income tax increase trigger
law, but the measure failed by one vote. Other legislation winning
approval by included the following:
-HB 1923 by Rep. William Paulk would create the Oklahoma No-Call List
Act relating to telemarketing.
-HB 2049 by Rep. Gary Taylor relates to the eligibility of county
officers to run for state office.
-HB 2202 by Rep. Odilia Dank eliminates the statute of limitations
for sex crimes against children.
-HB 2244 by Rep. Kris Steele adds Korean War veterans to those veterans
eligible to receive high school diplomas.
-HB 2275 by Rep. Dan Webb removes limits on application and examination
fees for those seeking certification as an accountant.
- The following measures were approved
by House committees on Wednesday:
-HB 2041 by Rep. Clay Pope would
eliminate the state franchise and estate taxes, provide for a flat
rate income tax of five percent, and raise the state sales tax from
four and one half percent to six and one-quarter percent.
-HB 2014 by Rep. Greg Piatt creates
a sales tax exemption for clothing, footwear and school supplies if
the article or school supply is less than one hundred dollars, between
12:01 a.m. on the first Monday in August and 12 midnight on the following
Sunday. Clothing or footwear designed primarily for athletic activity
or protection, accessories and rental clothing or footwear are not
eligible for sales tax exemption.
-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 21st
- The Senate met briefly before adjourning
so that committees could continue hearing legislation. This marked
the final day for committee action on the house of origin. The full
Senate will reconvene on Monday, February 15 at 1:30 p.m.
- The State Equalization Board met on
Tuesday declaring the state's budget shortfall is worse than previous
estimates had indicated. The board announced the shortfall for the
current fiscal year is $21.4 million more than projections approved
in December. As a result, agency allocations will be cut over the
next four months an average of 4.5 percent each month. The board also
disclosed that the FY 2003 budget would be $350.3 million less than
the current budget year. The main reason for the reduced revenue figures
is lower revenues from the gross production tax on natural gas, which
were 54.9 percent less than last year's projection.
- Also on Tuesday, Governor Frank Keating
signed House Bill 2315 into law. The legislation, authored by Representative
Russ Roach and Senator Brad Henry will give Great Plains Airlines
$9 million in tax credits over the next three years. Henry and Roach
contended the money would enable the airlines to increase flights
to current destinations as well as adding new direct flights.
- In a case that originated in Owasso,
Oklahoma, The United States Supreme Court ruled that allowing students
to grade each other's papers was not a violation of federal privacy
law. The case began after an Owasso student was ridiculed by the classmate
grading his paper. After the high court's ruling, the mother of that
student said she hoped Congress would pass a new law banning the practice,
or that schools would voluntarily end it.