The Oklahoma Senate

Week In Review
For the week of Monday, April 22 to Thursday, April 25, 2002

Monday, April 22nd

  • With the April 25th deadline for floor action on measures from the opposite chamber approaching, the full Senate continued to work through House measures on general order, as well as voting to accept or reject House amendments to Senate bills. Among those measures winning approval on Monday by the full Senate:

    -HB 2765 By Sen. Angela Monson creating the Catastrophic Emergency Powers Act. The bill enables the Governor to declare a state of public health emergency under specific circumstances, such as a bioterrorism attack or other mass epidemic. The legislation would allow state and local officials to appropriate property for the care, treatment, vaccination and housing of patients, and giving authority to destroy contaminated facilities or materials. The legislation would also allow the quarantine of individuals who were infected or suspected of infection.

    -HB 2356 by Sen. Dick Wilkerson prohibits the sale of fireworks before June 15 and after July 6. The measure also changes the quorum for the State Fire Marshal Commission from three to four, and changes the list of buildings requiring code approval for construction or alteration.

    -SB 900 by Sen. Johnnie Crutchfield removes the 18-month service requirement from legislation that allows schools district to grant high school diplomas to veterans of World War II, and extended that program to include veterans of the Korean War.

    -SB 992 by Sen. Herb Rozell creates the School Bullying Prevention Act and requires district policy to prohibit harassment, intimidation and bullying of students.

    -SB 1326 by Sen. Cal Hobson modifies the Oklahoma Horse Racing Act. The bill deletes limits on the number of out-of-state races on which wagers may be made on days when no live racing is conducted and deleting criteria for a full racing program.

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

    -SB 815 by Rep. Russ Roach enacts a "Moment of Silence" during the school day in all public schools, during which time the children would be allowed to meditate, reflect or pray.

    -SB 1632 by Rep. Susan Winchester, requiring 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.

    -HCR 1056 by Rep. Ray Vaugh proclaims Multiple Sclerosis Awareness month.

    -SB 1404 by Rep. Larry Ferguson authorizes the enrollment of students on a part-time basis, provides for educational services to children who do not live in the United States of America, provides a formula for calculating state aid for enrollment of students on a part time basis and authorizes remedial educational services through remote internet-based instruction.

    -SB 1584 by Rep. Debbie Blackburn requires specific entities to develop a single child care licensure process.

Tuesday, April 23rd

  • The Senate once again continued to focus on House measures on third reading and Senate measures awaiting approval or rejection of House amendments. Among those measures winning final approval by the Senate:

    -HB 2772 by Sen. Owen Laughlin requires proof of identity when voting and allows an individual to sign a sworn statement as a substitute for photo I.D.

    -HB 2802 by Sen. Robert M. Kerr would authorize a pay increase for communications division employees of the Department of Public Safety.

    -HB 2738 by Sen. Sam Helton would change eligibility requirements to allow students who graduate from a private school not accredited by the State Board of Education to participate in the Oklahoma Tuition Scholarship Program.

    -HB 2783 by Sen. Gene Stipe requires specific findings of fact supporting a court's denial of a child's preferences relating to custody and visitation if the child is of a sufficient age to form an intelligent preference.

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

    -SB 1438 by Rep. William Paulk provides for the next of kin of a deceased person to cancel that voter's registration, but was amended to include language requiring the state's five congressman to run "at large" if the Legislature does not approve a redistricting plan.

    -SB 2886 by Sen. Mike Morgan modifies core curriculum requirements needed for high school graduation.

    -SB 1461 by Rep. Kenneth Corn requires employers of workers who are members of the immediate family of a victim of violent crime to provide unpaid leave to attend judicial or other proceedings directly related to the violent crime.

    -SJR 22 by Rep Opio Toure directs a constitutional amendment to the voters to modify the number of jurors in specified civil trials.

  • On Tuesday, the Governor signed HB 2216 by Rep. Fred Morgan and Sen. Glenn Coffee into law. Known as the "Kristie LeGrange Act," the measure would allow photos of murder victims taken while the victim was alive to be shown in murder trials.

Wednesday, April 24th

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

    -HB 2641 by Sen. Owen Laughlin would give couples the option of entering into a covenant marriage contract. The bill requires couples opting for a covenant marriage to receive pre-marital counseling from a priest, minister, rabbi or other clergy or qualified mental health provider. The bill also outlines grounds for divorce, including adultery, abuse, fraud and abandonment. Before couples can be granted divorce, they must have lived separately without reconciliation for a period of at least 18 months, with written notification of the separation having been provided to either the premarital counselor or a designated counselor.

    -HB 2754 by Sen. Bernest Cain authorizes graduated sanctions programs for juvenile offenders. It also details circumstances for removal of a child from the home. The measure requires determination of reasonable efforts for permanency planning, authorizing preadoptive parents, foster care parents, and relatives caring for the child to be heard at review hearings. The bill also mandates that adult facilities holding juveniles must have sight and sound separation for juveniles.

    -HB 2604 by Sen. Jim Maddox creates the Long-term Care Central Complaint System Act, adds to the Nursing Home Care Act, and amends legislation related to the Residents and Family State Council.

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

    -SB 867 by Rep. Opio Toure would require election boards to accept in-person absentee voting on Saturdays before an election.

    -SB 893 by Rep. Bill Nations exempts certain admission tickets to higher education events from sales tax.

    -SB 1390 by Rep. Charles Gray authorizes a Health Care Authority study of nursing facility alternative preventative methods.

    -SB 1664 by Rep. Thad Balkman modifies language concerning the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Act by allowing the seizure and forfeiture of certain property, requiring a court order before the seizure of certain property and requiring a yearly audit of specified funds.

Thursday, April 25th

  • The Senate met briefly on Thursday morning to consider various amendments as well as measures on third reading. The full Senate will reconvene at Monday, April 29th at 1:30 p.m.

Other News

  • Senator Gilmer Capps was honored this week by Pro Space, receiving the 2002 Pro Space American Space Legislator of the Year award. Capps is the first American Space legislator of the year who serves in a state legislature rather than the U.S. Congress. Until now, Space exploration and development has been viewed as federal; but the group says initiatives by Capps will move toward new private sector activity in space, creating new markets, industries, high-tech jobs and tax revenues. Senator Capps was instrumental in passage of a bill to create the state's first space-port for the launch of commercial satellites.