The Oklahoma Senate

Week In Review
For the week of Monday, March 4 to Thursday, March 7, 2002

Monday, March 4th

  • The full Senate continued working through measures on general order in an attempt to finalize floor action before the March 14th deadline for legislation from the house of origin. Among those measures winning approval and now bound for the House of Representatives:

    -SB 822 by Sen. Frank Shurden defines terms and criminalizes acts of terrorism, terrorism hoaxes, biochemical assaults, and manufacturing of substances with the intent of terrorist activity. The act also requires restitution to victims and reimbursement to state and political subdivisions for emergency response costs.

    -SB 1292 by Sen. Johnnie Crutchfield increases the enforcement powers of security officers at state buildings in Oklahoma and Tulsa counties, and makes it a misdemeanor for persons causing a disturbance on state property and refusing to leave when ordered to by a peace officer, sergeant-at-arms, or other security personnel.

    -SB 1530 by Sen. Dick Wilkerson would allow the Department of Corrections to lease privately constructed facilities and staff those facilities with DOC employees.

    -SB 1304 by Sen. Ted Fisher dealing with banks and trust companies; allowing an adult sibling to be among those persons permitted to open and examine contents of a deceased person's safe deposit box.

    -SB 947 by Sen. Johnnie Crutchfield modifying gross production tax rate on gas; modifying qualifications for gross production tax exemptions aimed at protecting marginal wells. The estimated fiscal impact to the state would be $3 million.

    -SB 839 by Sen. Maxine Horner allowing an income tax check-off for the Silver Haired Legislature. The legislation would have no fiscal impact.

    -SB 1537 by Sen. Dick Wilkerson dealing with the DNA Offender Database, allowing for the collection of saliva samples for analysis for the DNA database.

    -SB 837 by Sen. Carol Martin allowing school districts to voluntarily share administrative costs. The measure also prohibits forced consolidation unless the patrons vote for such action. The title was stricken.

    -SB 1567 by Sen. Dick Wilkerson relating to homeland security; criminalizing acts of terrorism.

    -SB 1329 by Sen. Bernest Cain, placing limits on the Oklahoma Subsidized Adoption Act to avoid duplication of a similar federal program to assist with the adoption of hard to place children.

  • " Likewise, attention was focused on the House floor on Monday. Among those bills winning approval:

    -HB 1974 by Rep. Fred Perry makes it an unlawful telemarketing practice to use telephone equipment or systems which call more than one person at a time while allowing only one line at a time to be connected to the seller. The title was stricken.

    -HB 2754 by Rep. Jari Askins authorizes graduated sanctions programs for juvenile offenders. The bill specifies circumstances which require removal of a child from the home. The measure also mandates determination of reasonable efforts for permanency planning, authorizing pre-adoptive parents, foster care parents, and relatives caring for the child to be heard at review hearings. The bill also requires adult facilities holding juveniles to have sight and sound separation for minors.

    -HB 2088 by Rep. Curt Roggow makes the sale of tangible personal property or services to or by churches completely exempt from sales tax. The Committee Substitute would make business sales taxable in which the church was competing with other persons engaged in the same business, while allowing for a tax-free three-day sale for the benefit of the church or for charitable purposes.

    -HB 2109 by Rep. James Covey amends the Oklahoma Veterinary Practice Act, modifying, adding, and deleting definitions. The bill modifies powers and duties of the State Board of Veterinary Medical examiners relating to criminal history records search and provides procedures. The bill modifies and clarifies exemptions to the Oklahoma Veterinary Practices Act and adds the list of persons authorized to perform emergency care to an animal during an accident or disaster.

Tuesday, March 5th

  • The Senate continued working through measures on general order. Among those bills winning approval:

    -SB 935 by Sen. Jonathan Nichols would exempt tangible personal property sales made at estate sales from sales taxes. The sale must be conducted in the home of the deceased, within six months of their death, and could not be performed by a professional auctioneer.

    -SB 1000 by Sen. Scott Pruitt would permit county commissioners to adopt ordinances dealing with adult entertainment or other sexually oriented businesses.

    -SB 1361 by Sen. Larry Dickerson would increase the annualized salary for state employees by 4.5 percent.

    -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 allow for just compensation of employees working in less than desirable shifts.

    -SB 1650 by Sen. Jerry Smith would allow law enforcement officers to obtain a victim's protective order over the phone for victims of rape and forcible sodomy.

  • Measures winning approval on the House floor on Tuesday included:

    -HB 2922 by Rep. Fred Morgan allows districts attorneys to set criteria for compensation of personnel, specifies fee to be received by out-of-state witnesses, and allows for reimbursement of district attorney and employees.

    -HB 2729 by Rep. Wayne Pettigrew prohibits requiring employees to use leave for jury duty.

    -HB 2711 by Rep. Fred Stanley creates the Oklahoma Long-Term Care Liability and Health Care Task Force to study the availability of liability insurance and its costs for long-term nursing facilities, and to study the impact such liability costs may have on the adequate delivery of health care to residents of long-term care facilities in the state.

    -HB 2706 by Rep. Dale Wells modifies high school graduation core curriculum requirements to allow Applied Mathematics I and Applied Mathematics II to count as a math requirement and to allow Applied Biology/Chemistry to count as a science requirement.

Wednesday, March 6th

  • Measures winning approval on Wednesday in the Senate included:

    -SB 950 by Sen. Keith Leftwich creates the Telemarketer Restriction Act and requires the Attorney General to establish a director of consumers who do not wish to receive unsolicited calls.

    -SB 989 by Sen. Frank Shurden would allow "qualified organizations" to raise funds by issuing numbered tickets, one or more of which would be drawn and entitle the ticket holder to a prize. Qualified organizations are defined as churches, schools, student or parent/teacher groups, or other religious, charitable, labor, fraternal, veteran, firefighter, law enforcement, educational or other type of entity. The bill was amended by Shurden to add sporting, senior citizen and farming entities.

    -SB 1438 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.

    -SB 955 by Sen. Jonathan Nichols prohibits youthful offenders from possessing firearms.

    -SB 1314 by Sen. Mark Snyder relates to motor vehicle accident reports, requiring contact information of those involved in an accident be kept confidential for 60 days after the report is filed, providing exceptions, and providing penalties for those who wrongfully obtain such information.

    -SB 1473 by Sen. Glenn Coffee relates to Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Devices, prohibiting operation of devices on certain highways and turnpikes, and providing for operation of devices on sidewalks, walking trails, bikeways and municipal streets with certain limitations.

  • Measure approved by the House on Wednesday included:

    -HJR 1038 by Rep. Mike Mass requires the Secretary of State to refer to the people for their approval or rejection an amendment to the Constitution requiring a vote of the people to authorize the sale or exportation of water outside the state.

    -HJR 1036 by Rep. Larry Adair and Rep Gary Taylor directs the Secretary of State to refer to the people a proposed amendment modifying expenditures from the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust Fund.

    -HB 2765 by Rep. William Paulk creates the Homeland Security Act, which would require development of a public health emergency response plan.

    -HJR 1048 by Rep. Russ Roach directs the Secretary of State to refer to the people an amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution that provides for a maximum increase in ad valorem taxes for locally assessed real property.

Thursday, March 7th

  • The Senate convened at 9 a.m. but shortly thereafter it was announced by Majority Leader Billy Mickle they would stand at ease until further notified, while the members awaited further news on the condition of Senator Larry Dickerson. Dickerson, who has been battling cancer for three years, was taken to the Deaconess Hospital Tuesday night, and had fallen into an irreversible coma on Wednesday. The 45 year old Poteau Democrat had been in the chamber all day Monday and Tuesday, carrying bills and assisting fellow members with amendments. Senator Mickle advised members they would be notified by e-mail or phone of any changes in Senator Dickerson's condition.

Other News

  • Senator Grover Campbell announced he had asked for an Attorney General's Opinion on the legality of transferable tax credits. He questioned whether such credits were in violation of a section of the state constitution forbidding the state to "make donation by gift, subscription to stock, by tax or otherwise, to any company, association, or corporation. The opinion could have an impact on legislation such as that recently signed into law by Governor Frank Keating giving Great Plains Airlines $9 million in tax credits. Campbell said an opinion was expected within four to six weeks.

  • Senator Robert Milacek announced he was withdrawing legislation that would have as let the voters decide whether to raise state fuel taxes to fund transportation and other infrastructure needs. Milacek said it would be too difficult to find support for the measure during an election year, but would request an interim study of the issue.

  • David Walters was honored at a ceremony at the State Capitol on Monday during which a bronze bust of the 24th Governor was unveiled. Walters served from 1991 to 1995. The bust will be on permanent display on the second floor of the Capitol in the Hall of Governors.

  • A painting of the Creek Council Oak Tree was dedicated during a ceremony in the State Senate Chamber on Wednesday. Senator Charles Ford, president of the Oklahoma State Senate Historical Preservation Fund Inc. said the painting was the gift of Governor Frank Keating, who represented the Tulsa area in the legislature during the 1970's. The painting is the work of internationally known artist Mike Larsen