The Oklahoma Senate

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

Monday, March 11th

  • On Monday morning, the Senate met briefly in special session to approve a shell bill dealing with Congressional redistricting. HB 1001 was approved, with the House later requesting a conference committee on the measure. Late Monday, the House and Senate conferees signed off on the bill which would establish the state's new congressional district boundaries, to reflect the loss of a Congressional seat as a result of the 2000 census reports showing Oklahoma's population had not grown as quickly as other states.

  • At 2 p.m. members of the Senate were joined by members of the House, former legislators and other leaders as well as friends and family of Senator Larry Dickerson for a memorial service honoring the Poteau Democrat who passed away Thursday after a three-year fight against cancer. Several members commented on his bravery in the face of his illness, his hard work on behalf of his district and all state employees, his loyalty to his friends and his tremendous love of his family.

    There were several items considered by the full Senate in regular session both prior to and following the memorial service. Among those items winning approval:

    -SB 1417 by Sen. Gene Stipe would create the Joint Committee on CompSource Oklahoma. Under the measure, the committee would determine whether designating CompSource Oklahoma as the exclusive provider of workers' compensation insurance to operate at a level to remain solvent and to maintain reserves as required by prudent accounting standards, but not to operate at a profit, would result in lower workers' compensation insurance premium costs to Oklahoma Businesses. Senator Scott Pruitt amended the bill to require the committee to determine whether abolishing CompSource Oklahoma would result in lower rates.

    -SB 895 by Senator Gilmer Capps would amend the computation of excise tax on used vehicles. The change would bring excise tax computation on used vehicles in line with that of new vehicles.

    -SB 1664 by Sen. Carol Martin would require the audit of seized drug funds every year, instead of every two years.

    -SB 1668 by Sen. Bernest Cain would require physical education and health classes for Oklahoma students, as well as healthier options in vending machines.

    -SB 1390 by Sen. Glenn Coffee would create a task force to study nursing home care and the prevention of bedsores.

    -SB 906 by Sen. Sam Helton dealing with the illegal distribution of the drug known as "ecstasy." Under the legislation, dealing or manufacturing 30 tablets or 10 grams of the drug would result in a minimum fine of $25,000 and a maximum of $100,000. The fine for 100 tablets or 30 grams would have a minimum fine of $100,000 and a maximum of $500,000.

    -SB 968 by Sen. Sam Helton would require that wreckers on the Highway Patrol's call list be based in Oklahoma.

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

    -HB 2026 by Rep. Frank Davis creates the Oklahoma Historic Capitols Preservation Act to preserve the former state and Native American capitols in Oklahoma on the National Register of Historic Places. The bill defines terms, provides for the administration of the Oklahoma Historic Capitols Preservation Program, provides for related grants and procedures, requires minimum standards for the description of project work and requires oversight procedures.

    -HB 1077 by Rep. Lloyd Fields authorizes genetic testing for certain actions relating to paternity.

    -HB 2050 by Rep. Bill Case creates within the State Treasury a revolving fund for the Department of Central Services designated as the "Oklahoma Alternative Fuels Conversion Fund," which will reimburse expenses related to the conversion of government vehicles and school vehicles to be fueled or charged by alternative fuels and the expenses relat3ed to the installation of a fill station.

    -HB 2174 by Rep. Mary Easley requires elderly abuse training for law enforcement certification.

    -HB2641 by Rep. Ray Vaughn provides for covenant marriages, requiring counseling and designation on marriage applications. The bill also requires the Administrative Director of the Courts to develop and print a pamphlet entitled the "Guide for Covenant Marriages."

    -HB 2380 by Rep. Paul Roan removes authorization for a turnpike from the Kansas State Line south to the Texas State Line in the vicinity of U.S. Highway 69.

    -HJR 1045 by Rep. Clay Pope calls for a vote of the people on a proposed amendment called the Oklahoma Constitutional Amendment for Revenue and Taxation Reform.

    -2193 by Rep. Thad Balkman creates a "Choose Life" license plate.

Tuesday, March 12th

  • The Legislature did not convene on Tuesday so that members could travel to Poteau to attend funeral services for Senator Larry Dickerson.

Wednesday, March 13th

  • Measures winning approval on Wednesday in the Senate included:

    -HB 2536 by Sen. Cal Hobson would access $38 million from the Petroleum Storage Tank Release Environmental Cleanup Indemnity Fund in order to provide $19 million for the National Research Center at the University of Oklahoma for weather research and $19 million for the Sensor Research Center at Oklahoma State University for bioterrorism research.

    -SB 1660 by Sen. Bernest Cain would increase the maximum allowable payment for those receiving Temporary Assistance to Needy Families funds.

    -SB 815 by Sen. Jeff Rabon would require a "Moment of Silence" each day in all schools.

    -SB 866 by Sen. Scott Pruitt would enable two or more non-homogenous business entities to form a group for the purpose of purchasing workers' compensation insurance.

    -SB 880 by Sen. Kevin Easley clarifies duties of the Joint Electric Utility Task Force and would create an advisory council concerning electrical restructuring.

    -SB 937 by Sen. Frank Shurden would increase the lifetime hunting and fishing license fees.

    -SB 1225 by Sen. James Dunlap would extend reimbursement for all actual and necessary travel expenses incurred when a personal assistant is on official business of the state or when attending an official function at the request of the Governor.

    -SB 1236 by Sen. Mike Morgan would allow criminalists to use state owned vehicles to travel to and from work and allow them to participate in the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Retirement system.

    -SB1291 by Sen. Ben Robinson would allow an income tax credit for dentists providing services to indigent or medically indigent patients.

  • Measure approved by the House on Wednesday included:

    -HB 2014 by Rep. Greg Piatt provides for a sales tax exemption on purchases of $100 or less if the purchases are made between noon on the first Monday in August and 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 the exemption. Cities and counties that levy a sales tax will not be required to grant a similar exemption unless they choose to do so.

    -HB 2274 by Rep. Dan Webb allows public bodies to refuse to disclose deliberations, votes and determinations or recommendations of a government review board. The title was stricken.

    -HB 2007 by Rep. Randall Erwin states that a person who has no other outstanding warrants and is stopped by a law enforcement officer within six months of the expiration date of the driver license shall only be issued a notice to renew the license rather than a citation.

Thursday, March 14th

  • The Senate met briefly before adjourning for the week. They will reconvene at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, March 18th.

Other News

  • Although the deadline for floor action on measures from the house of origin was to have been Thursday, March 14th, the House and Senate voted to extend that deadline to Thursday, March 21st. The date was changed due to the death of Sen. Larry Dickerson, to enable both chambers to complete work on measures on third reading, however the deadline for committee action on bills from the opposite chamber will remain April 4th.