For the week of Monday, April
1 to Thursday, April 4, 2002
Monday, April 1st
- In anticipation of the committee deadline
for action on measures from the opposite chamber on Thursday, April
4th, the Senate concentrated most of its efforts on Monday in consideration
of legislation at the committee level. Among those measures winning
-HB 1923 by Sen. Keith Leftwich
creates the Oklahoma No-Call List Act which requires the Office of
the Attorney General to establish a directory of consumers who do
not wish to receive unsolicited telemarketing calls.
-HB 2371 by Sen. Grover Campbell
makes it unlawful for a telemarketing practice to use telephone equipment
or systems which will call more than one person at a time while allowing
only one line at a time to be connected to the seller.
-HB 2765 by Sen. Ben Robinson would
delete a statute which exempts out-of-state motorists from Oklahoma
child seat restraint laws. Currently children under four years of
age weighing less than 60 pounds are required to be seated in a secure
child car seat. Children between the ages four and 13 are required
to be in either a child restraint seat or a seatbelt.
-HB 2312 by Sen. Penny Williams
would allow advanced science and math courses taken at technology
centers to count as credit for high school graduation.
-HB 2215 by Sen. Rick Littlefield
would create the Bully Prevention Act, requiring policies to prevent
bullying in schools.
-HB 2772 by Sen. Owen Laughlin
would require voters to present picture identification before voting.
A provision in the bill exempts those with a physical disability.
The bill also states that "If a person is unable to produce any
of the items of identification, such a document containing a photograph
of the voter, issued by the state, the federal government, a country,
a municipality a federally recognized Indian tribe or an employer
of the voter, the person may sign a statement under oath in the form
approved by the Secretary of the State Election Board swearing or
affirming that the person is the person identified on the precinct
registry and shall be allowed to vote. False swearing under oath would
be a felony.
- Likewise, attention on the House side
was focused at the committee level on Monday. Among those bills winning
-SB 900 by Rep. Ray McCarter would
remove the 18-month service requirement from legislation that allows
school districts to grant high school diplomas to veterans of World
War II and the Korean Conflict.
-SB 1328 by Rep. Joan Greenwood
would create the Oklahoma Educational Interpreter for the Deaf Act,
which sets out the standards to be used by public schools in hiring
-SB 1553 by Rep. Ray Vaughn, originally
would have mandated a complete ban on smoking inside the Capitol,
but was amended to allow smoking areas in the Capitol, providing those
areas are ventilated to the outside of the building.
-SB 1537 by Rep. Ron Kirby requires
blood or saliva samples to be collected for the DNA Offender Database
and includes certain offenses in the mandatory DNA sample and authorizes
reimbursement to the OSBI for illegal drug laboratory site cleanup,
providing that a certain percentage of funds collected by retained
by court clerk.
-SB 1471 by Rep. Carolyn Coleman
would require an applicant for employment with a school district to
sign a statement authorizing the disclosure of unprofessional conduct,
provide immunity from liability, and prohibit employment without a
signed statement. The committee substitute deleted language referring
to a moment of silence.
-SB 1731 by Rep. Barbara Staggs
would provide mathematics remediation for certain third through eighth
Tuesday, April 2nd
- The Senate continued to focus on action
at the committee level on Tuesday, giving approval to the following
-HB 2641 by Sen. Owen Laughlin sets out the provisions of the covenant
marriage. The bill would require couples to undergo premarital counseling
at least 15 days before getting married and limits the reasons for
which a divorce could be granted.
-HB 2216 by Sen. Glenn Coffee would allow the use of murder victim's
photographs during criminal homicide prosecution. An amendment to
the bill gave the judges more discretion in approving photographs.
-HJR 1036 by Sen. Stratton Taylor would send to the voters a constitutional
amendment that would authorize the board that oversees the tobacco
money to spend up to 5.5 percent of the average market value of the
Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Trust Fund. Currently only the earnings
of the fund may be spent.
-HB 2041 by Sen. Angela Monson eliminates the state franchise and
estate taxes, provides for a flat rate income tax of five percent,
and raises the state sales tax from four and one-half percent to six
and one-quarter percent. The enacting clause was stricken.
-HB 2895 by Sen. Kevin Easley would establish a two-year moratorium
on the sale or exportation of surface or ground water outside of the
state. The measure would also prohibit any state or tribal compact
from authorizing the sale or exportation of water for a two-year period.
- The following measure were among those
approved by various House committees on Tuesday:
-SB 1502 by Rep. Al Lindley would
increase the penalties for prostitution in Oklahoma. A first time
offense would result in a fine of $2,500, a second offense would be
$5,000 and subsequent offenses would be fined $7,500.
-SB 1425 by Rep. Stuart Ericson
would change the punishment for a second offense of rape, forcible
sodomy, lewd molestation or sexual abuse of a child to life without
-SB 1638 by Rep. David Braddock
would require DNA evidence samples to be taken and entered into the
OSBI DNA database for felons convicted of bestiality and engaging
in prostitution while HIV positive.
Wednesday, April 3rd
- The Senate continued to work toward
the April 4th deadline for committee action on bills from the opposite
chamber. Among those measures winning committee approval on Wednesday:
-HB 1968 by Sen. Johnnie Crutchfield enacts the Larry Dickerson Education
Flexible Benefits Allowance Act, which requires school districts to
pay an increased portion of health care coverage for its employees,
beginning with 50 percent in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2002
up to 100 percent for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2004.
-HB 2074 by Sen. Dick Wilkerson clarifies language relating to anhydrous
ammonia, adding "pipeline" to the list of anhydrous ammonia
paraphernalia that may not be tampered with by any unauthorized person,
makes "attempted theft" of anhydrous ammonia a punishable
offense and creates a minimum imprisonment of five years for person
tampering with anhydrous systems.
-HB 2084 by Sen. Sam Helton adds offenders "who are under arrest
or detained for federal felony or misdemeanor violations, or detained
for a violation of immigration laws" to the list of those who
may be held in a minimum security private prison.
-HB 2921 by Sen. Scott Pruitt authorizes an address confidentiality
program for victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault or stalking.
-HB 2765 by Sen. Angela Monson creates the Catastrophic Emergency
Health Powers Act, calling on the governor to appoint a Public Health
Emergency Planning Commission, and requires the development of a public
health emergency response plan.
-HB 2836 by Sen. Charles Ford increases the penalty for stealing construction
equipment and adds larceny of construction and farm equipment to crimes,
prohibits receiving stolen construction equipment, and establishes
- The House continued working through
measures still awaiting committee action on Wednesday, but also turned
attention to those ready for full floor votes. Among those measures
winning approval by the House:
-SB 1420 by Rep. Ron Kirby requires
a person subject to the Sex Offenders Registration Act to register
with the security and police of institutions of higher learning.
-SB 1661 by Rep. Debbie Blackburn
expands the circumstances and specifies time frames under which a
district attorney is required to file a petition for termination of
parental rights, modifies the time frame for a judicial review of
a case of child alleged or adjudicated to be deprived, requires a
determination of the most suitable permanency plans based on specified
factors, and specifies the conditions and terms under which the department
of Human Services may place a child in an emergency situation.
-SB 1319 by Rep. Todd Hiett clarifies
the definition of eligible age for juvenile sex offender, adds offense,
modifies language and clarifies the type of agency to receive juvenile
sex offender information. The bill modifies references, reduces the
number of treatment professionals required to make evaluation, changes
criteria for releasing information to the public, and directs the
release of certain information to the public by specified law enforcement
-SB 950 by Rep. Jim Newport creates
the Telemarketer Restriction Act and requires the Attorney General
to establish a directory of consumers who do not wish to receive unsolicited
Thursday, April 4th
- The Senate met briefly Thursday morning
before adjourning to continue working on bills still awaiting committee
action. The full Senate will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Monday, April
- On Tuesday, legislative leaders announced
they had reached a budget agreement aimed at sparing public schools,
including common education, higher education and career technology
along with health care services from anticipated budget cuts. Most
other state agencies will be forced to reduce their budgets by 5 percent
from fiscal year 2002, a total reduction of about $276 million. The
agreement also calls for a raise in the amount of health insurance
premiums paid by school districts from the current 50 percent level
for teachers and 90 percent for support personnel to 75 percent for
teachers and 100 percent for support personnel, with an estimated
cost of $35 million. Low natural gas prices and the nationwide recession
have created budget problems for the state, with an anticipated $350
million shortfall predicted for the 2003 fiscal year.
- The State Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld
the constitutionality of the 1998 tax law triggering an income tax
hike when state revenues dropped below a set level. The lawsuit had
challenged the Board of Equalization's authority to certify funds
available for legislative appropriation. The Attorney General's office
successfully argued the board was a constitutionally recognized body
charged with certifying available funds and that there was no unconstitutional
delegation of legislative authority.
- Also on Tuesday, the State Supreme Court
declared that an initiative petition to make English the state's official
language would unconstitutionally restrict residents of limited English
ability from communicating effectively with their government. Under
the petition, English would have been mandated for use in all official
documents, transactions, proceedings, meetings or issued publications
by the state and all its political subdivisions. The measure also
called for all state money appropriated for state business in a language
other than English to be returned to the general revenue fund. The
proposal would have allowed the legislature to then use those funds
for English language programs.