The Oklahoma Senate

Week In Review
For the week of Monday, April 8 to Thursday, April 11, 2002

Monday, April 8th

  • Having met the April 4th deadline for committee action on measures from the opposite chamber, attention in the Senate once again focused on floor action. Among those measures winning approval by the full Senate on Monday:

    -HB 2041 by Sen. Angela Monson would eliminate the state franchise and estate taxes and provide for a flat rate income tax of five percent, although Senator Monson told lawmakers the bill was still a work in progress, being kept alive as a vehicle to implement any tax change proposals that may be agreed upon by the end of session.

    -HB 2253 by Sen. Angela Monson would establish the Oklahoma Medicaid Accountability and Outcomes Act, requiring the Oklahoma Health Care Authority Board to enter into a contract for a study of the Oklahoma Medicaid Accountability and Outcomes Act, requiring the OHCA Board to enter into a contract for a study of the Oklahoma State Medicaid Program.

    -HB 1146 by Sen. Frank Shurden would require that the names of candidates on ballots be rotated in such a manner that the names of all candidates appear in each position on the official ballots an equal number of times.

    -HB 2215 by Sen. Rick Littlefield would create the Bully Prevention Act, requiring policies to prevent bullying in schools.

    -HB 2396 by Sen. Glenn Coffee would provide conditions for the use of golf carts, power wheelchairs and power scooters on roadways.

    -HB 1979 by Sen. Frank Shurden would authorize donations from income tax refunds to be used for the benefit of the Oklahoma Silver Haired Legislature Excellence in Government Revolving Fund.

    -HB 2349 by Sen. Scott Pruitt would create the "State Waters Protection Act" which would specify the minimum distances from any body of water in the state, including public water facilities, for poultry feeding and poultry waste operations.

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

    -SB 816 by Rep. Ray McCarter provides a sales tax exemption on certain articles of clothing and footwear. The enacting clause was stricken.

    -SB 1473 by Rep. David Braddock relates to the 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 limitations.

    -SB 822 by Rep. M.C. Leist defines terms and criminalizes acts of terrorism, terrorism hoaxes, biochemical assault, and manufacturing substances with the intent of terrorist activity. The bill states punishments and requires restitution to victims and reimbursement to state and political subdivisions for emergency response costs.

    -SB 897 by Rep. Jack Bonny extends a vehicle excise tax credit and an income tax credit to owners of property destroyed by the October 9, 2001 tornado.

    -SB 1643 by Rep. Jari Askins relates to stolen or embezzled property in possession of a pawnbroker, deleting the authority to vest title in the pawnbroker and providing for a process to return property to a legal owner.

    -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. The bill also authorizes certain reimbursement to OSBI for illegal drug laboratory site cleanup, providing a certain percentage of funds to be retained by the court clerk.

    -SB 987 by Rep. Randall Erwin allows rape in the first degree to be punishable with a sentence of life or life without parole.

Tuesday, April 9th

  • In another heavy day of floor action, the following were among those measures receiving Senate approval on Tuesday:

    -SB 950 by Sen. Keith Leftwich would create a "do not call" list operated by the Oklahoma Attorney General's Office. The measure as amended also creates a way for individuals to remove themselves from the do not call list, and creates a procedure for verifying consumer identities.

    -HB 2216 by Sen. Glenn Coffee would allow the use of an appropriate photograph of a murder victim, taken while the victim was alive during a criminal homicide prosecution.

    -HB 1982 by Sen. Frank Shurden would restrict the type of punishment a municipality may impose for seat belt violations.

    -HB 2030 by Sen. Dave Herbert would clarify the role of the Department of Central Services in providing asbestos abatement services.

    -HB 2074 by Sen. Dick Wilkerson would clarify language relating to anhydrous ammonia, add "pipeline" to the list of anhydrous ammonia paraphernalia that may not be tampered with by any unauthorized person, make "attempted theft" of anhydrous ammonia a punishable offense and creates a minimum imprisonment of five years for a person tampering with anhydrous systems.

    -HB 225 by Sen. Bruce Price would modify language concerning the power given to county commissioners and provide circumstances for the award of a sidearm and badge to a spouse or next of kin of deceased officers.

    -HB 1971 by Sen. Mike Morgan would allow the Secretary of State's office to charge $25 for same-day filing of new notary commissions.

  • The following measure were among those approved by the House on Tuesday:

    -SB 1553 by Rep. Ray Vaughn would designate all state owned or operated buildings, including the State Capitol, as nonsmoking areas, although under the floor substitute each building may have one designated smoking room. The smoking room cannot be used for the conduct of public business and must be fully enclosed, directly exhausted to the outside, under negative air pressure so smoke cannot escape when a door is opened, and no air is recirculated to nonsmoking areas of the building. The measure also provides that no smoking shall be allowed within 25 feet of the entrance or exit of any building. The bill also excludes portions of state lodges and bars from the smoking ban if the areas are properly ventilated.

    -SB 1301 by Rep. Richard Phillips 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 1695 by Rep. William Paulk creates the Oklahoma Public Health Emergency Planning Task Force to prepare a plan for responding to a public health emergency.

    -SB 931 by Rep. Richard Phillips 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.

    -SB 19 by Rep. Loyd Benson prohibits reduced insurance rates for property located in rural fire protection districts for persons failing or refusing to pa assessment.

Wednesday, April 10th

  • Among those measures winning full approval in the State Senate:

    -HB 2796 by Sen. Mike Morgan would deregulate all broadband communication. Currently 70 percent of the broadband market is deregulated. Under the measure approved by the Senate, the remaining 30 percent would be treated the same as all other broadband communications.

    -HB 2174 by Sen. Dick Wilkerson requires a minimum of two hours of elderly abuse training and education for law enforcement certification. The bill also modifies the number of hours required for certification of a full-time officer.

    -HB 2250 by Sen. Ted Fisher allows State Aid payments to be withheld from participating school districts to cure payment delinquencies on bonds or notes.

    -SR 41 by Sen. Scott Pruitt supporting the State of Israel in its campaign against terrorism and calling on all Arab nations committed to peace to take appropriate actions.

    -HB 2665 by Sen. Jeff Rabon expands on-call classified employees eligible to receive a minimum of two hours work if the employee reports to work while on-call.

    -SB 412 by Sen. James Dunlap modifies the normal retirement date for the Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System; and expands limited retirement benefit for members.

  • The following were among the measure approved by the full House on Wednesday:

    -SB 1502 by Rep. All Lindley substantially increases the penalties for engaging in prostitution or soliciting or procuring prostitution.

    -SB 1430 by Rep. Dale Wells changes the method of identifying a wireless emergency caller from a zip code to a billing address.

    -SB 878 by Rep. Dale Turner would create a feasibility study to attract an ethanol processing plant to Oklahoma.

    -SB 936 by Rep. Dale Turner authorizes golf carts to be operated by persons with a physical disability within the boundaries of state parks.

    -SB 1537 by Rep. Jari Askins defines life imprisonment and life without parole.

Thursday, April 11th

  • The Senate continued working through House Measures on third reading as well as Senate measures awaiting approval of House amendments. Among those winning full approval was Senate Bill 1553 by Senator Ben Robinson which would designate all state owned or operated buildings, including the State Capitol, as nonsmoking areas, although under the floor substitute each building may have one designated smoking room, with specified requirements for ventilation for that area. The measure now goes to Governor Keating for his consideration. The Senate will reconvene at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, April 15th.

Other News

  • On Tuesday the Office of State Finance announced that state agency budgets would have to be cut nearly 7 percent this month. Agencies had originally been told their cuts would be 4 percent for April, May and June, but even lower than expected natural gas tax collections forced a 6.64 percent cut instead.

  • Republican Jerry Regier announced he has suspended his campaign for his party's nomination for governor. The announcement came after he learned of an ethics rule requiring a candidate to be a resident of Oklahoma for at least 10 years before filing for the office. Although Regier was born in Oklahoma, he left the state in the 1980's to work for the Reagan administration, and has only been back in the state for seven years.