The Oklahoma Senate

Week In Review
For the week of Monday, March 18 to Thursday, March 21, 2002

Monday, March 18th

  • With the amended March 21 deadline for third reading on measures from the House of Origin approaching, floor action in both chambers was heavy. Among those measures winning approval in the Senate:

    -SB 834 by Sen. Bernest Cain modifies the amount of standard deduction used to compute state income taxes and specifies the tax years for which the modified amount may be used. Cain said the bill would increase Oklahoma's standard deduction to mirror the federal level, a move that would have an estimated $75 million fiscal impact to the state in 2003 and a $187 million fiscal impact in 2004.

    -SB 1651 by Sen. Glenn Coffee would establish a Violence Prevention Education Week and authorize the State Department of Education to create a special website with information on violent or adult content in films, TV programs and video games.

    -SJR 41 by Sen. James Williamson submits to the voters a proposal to authorize local school districts to approve up to five additional mills for the district. The bill directs that 10 percent of the revenue generated from the millage increase be placed into a state revolving fund for appropriation by the legislature.

    -SB 987 by Sen. Frank Shurden allows rape in the first degree to be punishable with a sentence ranging from five years in prison to life without parole.

    -SB 931 by Sen. Glenn Coffee prohibits the printing of more than the last five digits or the expiration date of a consumer's account number on credit or debit card receipts. The bill would not apply to credit card machines currently in use, but only to new machines that were brought on line.

    -SB 1658 by Sen. Scott Pruitt modifies language concerning the use of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families funds by expanding the types of services that may be provided pursuant to contract to include the offering of courses in English as a second language. The bill also expands the list of providers to include faith-based organizations.

    -SCR 48, by Sen. Gene Stipe authorizes the Department of Corrections to create a special care unit for geriatric inmates.

    -SB1425 by Sen. Jonathan Nichols changes punishment for a second offense of rape, forcible sodomy, lewd molestation or sexual abuse of a child to life without parole.

    -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.

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

    -HB 2637 by Rep. Opio Toure provides claims for wrongful imprisonment on a felony conviction and adds a retroactive and prospective liability limit under the Governmental Tort Claims Act.

    -HB 2651 by Rep. John Wright is aimed at giving greater legislative oversight on state agency rules and regulations.

    -HB 2304 by Rep. Russ Roach authorizes the Department of Human Services to take certain children into emergency custody, requiring certain placement of at-risk infants and creating a maternal drug court program.

    -HB 2142 by Rep. Opio Toure enacts the Oklahoma Cloning Prohibition Act, defines terms relating to cloning, makes certain activities unlawful, requires registration of 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.

    -HB 2536 by Rep. Jack Bonny and Rep. Mike Mass would allocate $19 million for the OU weather Center and $19 million for bioterrorism research at OSU. The legislation calls for tapping an underground storage tank account at the Corporation Commission for the funding.

    -HB 2886 by Rep. Larry Ferguson would allow certain vocational classes to count as credit toward a high school diploma.

    -HB 2810 by Rep. Clay Pope and Rep. Susan Winchester is a rural stimulus measure featuring transferable income tax incentives for agricultural producers and a modified tax exemption for investments in the production of certain oil and gas wells.

Tuesday, March 19th

  • The full Senate continued working through measures on the floor. Among those winning approval on Tuesday:

    -SB 1471 by Sen. Kathleen Wilcoxson requires any applicant for employment with a school district to authorize the release of confirmed information related to child abuse, child molestation or child pornography along with any written documentation pertaining to the service record and performance evaluations. The measure also included an amendment by Sen. Glenn Coffee requiring public schools to have a moment of silence each day for thinking, meditation or prayer.

    -SB 1328 by Sen. Bernest Cain modifies the Oklahoma Education Interpreter for the Deaf Act to increase the amount of training required for interpreters. The bill was amended by the author to allow those that don't meet all of the new requirements to have three years to obtain the proper qualifications.

    -SB 964 by Sen. Penny Williams would modify the income level necessary to qualify for additional homestead exemption from $20,000 a year to $35,000.

    -SB 1239 by Sen. Jim Maddox would require that telephones at state agencies be answered by a person during normal business hours of the state agency.

    -SB 1420 by Sen. Jim Maddox requires a person subject to the Sex Offenders Registration Act to register with the security and police of institutions of higher learning.

  • Among those measures winning approval in the House on Tuesday were the following:

    -HB 2218 by Rep. Fred Morgan would authorize "24-hour staffing levels" aimed at giving nursing homes greater flexibility in staff scheduling.

    -HB 2785 by Rep. Jim Glover requires a nonresident driver to use child passenger restraint systems for child passengers.

    -HB 2619 by Rep. Hopper Smith amends the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Act adding Dichloralphenazone.

    -HB 2349 by Rep. Mark Liotta creates the "State Waters Protection Act" which specifies the minimum distances from any body of water in the state, including public water facilities, for poultry feeding and poultry waste operations.

    -HB 2178 by Rep. Mary Easley modifies language concerning group health insurance including the State and Education Employees Group Insurance Board requiring coverage to be provided for audiological services and hearing aids for children up to 16 years of age.

Wednesday, March 20th

  • Measures winning approval on Wednesday in the Senate included:

    -SB 1352 by Sen. Kevin Easley deals with establishing land protection standards for cleanup of non-hazardous materials.

    -SB 1553 by Sen. Ben Robinson would ban smoking in the State Capitol and would prohibit certain businesses from creating smoking sections.

    -SB 1506 by Sen. Kathleen Wilcoxson would require the State Department of Education to conduct an independent evaluation of the state's professional development programs and create a task force to study and make recommendations regarding the area of professional development.

    -SB 1632 by Sen. Scott Pruitt requires the Department of Human Services to establish a service delivery system under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program, providing for redemption of vouchers and requiring the Department to establish a specified procedure for provision of services to TANF recipients that included faith-based institutions.

    -SB 833 by Sen. Mike Morgan modifies provisions relating to workers' compensation, limiting the parameters under which independent medical examiners may perform surgery.

    -SB 1544 by Sen. Glenn Coffee authorizes the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission to accept title to real and personal property.

  • Measure approved by the House on Wednesday included:

    -HB 2090 requiring the state board of education to establish a one-minute daily observation of silence; relates to allowing the pledge of allegiance to the United States flag; authorizes the posting of the nation's motto, "In God We Trust," and authorizes schools to include patriotic activities in Veterans Day programs.

    -HB 2653 by Rep. Ron Peterson requires written notice to certain surface owners of mining permits for new mines or major modifications to existing mines that would expand the mining area or increase output.

    -HB 2246 by Rep. Ron Peters modifies provisions regarding protective orders relating to domestic abuse and violent crimes and would authorize courts to order assault and battery defendants to participate in treatment programs, prohibit domestic abuse by strangulation and prohibit collection of costs from victims.

Thursday, March 21st

  • The Senate continued working through measures on general order on the final day for floor action on legislation from the house of origin. The next deadline is April 4th for committee action on measures from the opposite house.

Other News

  • On Tuesday Governor Frank Keating signed HB 2536 by Sen. Cal Hobson and Rep. Charles Gray into law. The legislation taps the underground storage tank fund at the State Corporation Commission in order to appropriate $19 million each to the national weather Center at OU and the bioterrorism research center at OSU.

  • After determining there was not enough support for passage, Senator Brad Henry announced on Wednesday that he would withdraw SJR 40. The measure would have called for a statewide vote on a lottery which Henry said would have benefited education. However Senator Henry said another option for getting the proposal before the voters would be through an initiative petition.