The Oklahoma Senate

Week In Review
For the week of Monday, May 20 to Friday, May 24, 2002

Monday, May 20th

  • As of Monday the 20th there were five days remaining in the 2002 legislative session, according to an agreement reached by the legislature to adjourn sine die by 5 p.m. May 24th. GCCA and other conference committee members continued working through measures on Monday, with the full Senate giving approval to the following bills:

    -SB 1425 by Sen. Jonathan Nichols would change the punishment for a second offense of rape, forcible sodomy, lewd molestation or sexual abuse of a child to life without parole.

    -SB 966 by Sen. Bernest Cain would allow the Department of Public Safety to offer driver license tests in Spanish and other foreign languages, contingent upon availability of funds.

    -SB 822 by Sen. Frank Shurden would define terms and criminal acts of terrorism, terrorism hoaxes, biochemical assault, and manufacturing a substance with intent of terrorist activity.

    -SB 1259 by Sen. Glen Coffee would provide judicial procedures for the return of property that comes into custody of law enforcement officers, and prohibiting the return of certain weapons.

  • The House of Representatives approved the following measures on Monday:

    -SB 1002 by Rep. Mike Mass appropriates $2,002,546,743 to the Oklahoma State Department of Education, reflecting a 1.6 percent cut from the previous budget.

    -HB 2585 by Rep. Mike Mass appropriates $229,856,933 to the Department of Transportation, reflecting a 5 percent cut.

    -SB 1062 by Rep. Mike Mass appropriates $392,638 to the Native American Cultural and Education Authority, a stand-still budget compared to the previous fiscal year.

    -HB SB 1004 by Rep. Mike Mass appropriates $6,522,429 to the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics.

    -SB 1089 by Rep. Mike Mass appropriates $5,925,357 to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, reflecting a 5 percent cut.

    -HB 2547 by Rep. Mike Mass appropriates $7,126,050 to the Office of Attorney General, reflecting a 0.1 percent cut.

  • The Governor signed 4 bills on Monday:

    -HB 2330 by Rep. Elmer Maddux and Sen. Glenn Coffee setting criteria for determining recreational facilities for purposes of swine animal feeding operations.

    -HB 2040 by Rep. Clay Pope and Sen. Bruce Price clarifying language relating to membership of the Carbon Sequestration Advisory Committee.

    -HB 2083 by Rep. Ron Kirby and Sen. Jim Maddox requires all plats, deeds or other instruments concerning the subdivision of land within the corporate limits of a municipality to be approved by the municipal planning commission of that municipality before filing it with the county clerk.

    -HB 2350 by Rep. Mark Liotta and Sen. James Dunlap creating and enacting the Employer Health Insurance Purchasing Group Act.

Tuesday, May 21st

  • Among those measures winning final approval by the Senate:

    -SB 815 by Sen. Jeff Rabon mandating all state school districts to have a moment of silence each day in the classroom for the purposes of reflection, meditation or prayer.

    -SB 1368 by Sen. Stratton Taylor authorizing a pay raise for district attorneys and for the director of the Ethics Commission.

    -SB 1395 by Sen. Penny Williams would require approval for state employee leave of absence for organ donation.

    -HB 1979 by Sen. Frank Shurden authorizing donations from income tax refunds for the Silver Haired Legislature Excellence in State Government Revolving Fund.

    -HB 2837 by Sen. Grover Campbell would make it illegal for telemarketers to use equipment or systems which call more than one person at a time while allowing only one line at a time to be connected to the seller.

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

    -HB 2790 by Rep. Jari Askins provides exception for statute of limitations relating to sex offenders where genetic evidence exists and allows expungement when factual innocence is established by DNA evidence.

    -HB 2753 by Rep. Jari Askins applying cost-of-living adjustments to the Oklahoma Firefighters Pension and Retirement System.

    -SB 1376 by Rep. J.T. Stites would increase tax revenues earmarked for the Teachers' Retirement System from 3.54 percent to 5 percent over a period of four years.

    -HB 1850 by Rep. Bill Case relating to custody or guardianship of children, requirement courts to make determination regarding sex offenders and adding circumstances that will constitute a rebuttal presumption.

    -SB 936 by Rep. Dale Turner relating to motor vehicles, authorizing golf carts to be operated by persons with a physical disability within the boundaries of a state park.

Wednesday, May 22nd

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

    -SB 1410 by Sen. Kevin Easley would impose a three-year moratorium on out-of state water sales, and create a 19-member Joint Committee on Water Planning to study the issue of water sales during that period.

    -HB 2245 by Sen. Sam Helton, creating the Oklahoma Quality Jobs Incentive Leverage Act to give tax incentives to tire manufacturers in Oklahoma.

    -HB 2032 by Sen. Sam Helton defines the terms "crime stoppers organization" and privileged communication" and establishes information provided to crime stoppers organization as privileged.

    -HB 2795 by Sen. Mark Snyder would require at least three persons to be assigned to work on oil field fraud investigation through the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and granting an additional two full-time-equivalent employees to investigate oil field theft as well as fraud.

    -SCR 82 by Sen. Stratton Taylor setting legislative deadlines for next session.

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

    -HB 2246 by Sen. Glenn Coffee authorizes courts to order assault and battery defendants to participate in treatment programs, prohibits domestic abuse by strangulation, and prohibits collection of court costs from victims.

    -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.

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

    -HB 2238 by Rep. Don Ross modifies requirements related to the Tulsa Race Riot Memorial Reconciliation Design Committee, the Greenwood Area Redevelopment Authority, and the Tulsa Reconciliation Education and Scholarship Program.

  • On Wednesday the Governor signed several bills into law, including HB 1968 by Rep. Kenneth Corn and Sen. Larry Dickerson. The Larry Dickerson Educational Flexible Benefits Allowance Act raises the amount of insurance paid by the state and local districts for teachers and support staff.

Thursday, May 23rd

  • Among those measures winning approval from the Senate on Thursday:

    - HB 1291 by Sen. Penny Williams would end straight-party voting in Oklahoma and give parties to option of whether to participate or not in presidential primary elections. Those parties opting out would choose a presidential candidate through the caucus system.

    -HB 2238 by Sen. Maxine Horner would set out guidelines for the creation of a Tulsa Race Riot Memorial, and changes requirements for receiving a race riot memorial scholarship, clarifying that race will not be a factor should the State Regents choose to give preference to riot descendants in awarding scholarships, and stating that two scholarships would be provided for each high school in the Tulsa School District.

    -HB 1029 by Sen. Mike Morgan would allow dental hygienists to provide treatment to patients with the supervision of a dentist.

    -HB 2634 by Sen. Angela Monson would re-create the Racial and Social Economic Statistical Analysis on Imprisonment Task Force.

    -HB 2088 by Sen. Paul Muegge would make the sale of tangible personal property or services to or by churches completely exempt from sales tax and allow for a tax-free three-day sale for the benefit of the church or for charitable purposes.

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

    -HB 2218 by Sen. Penny Williams would modify the staffing requirements of nursing homes, requiring facilities to maintain direct-care, 24-hour staffing levels based on an overall 2.41 hours per day per occupied bed.

  • On Thursday, the House rejected SB 1683 by Sen. Stratton Taylor creating five congressional districts, but later approved another proposal, HB 1479 by Rep Larry Adair. Unlike the SB 1683, HB 1479 would not force any incumbents to run against each other for the newly drawn districts. Other legislation approved by the House included:

    -SB 948 by Rep. Bob Plunk enacts the Oklahoma Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Act and creates the Small business Regulatory Review Committee within the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.

    -SB 1650 by Rep. Jari Askins deletes definitions related to a victims' protection order for victims of rape and forcible sodomy.

    -HB 2613 by Rep. Susan Winchester, raises the income tax deduction allowed for nonrecurring adoption expenses from $10,000 to $20,000.

    -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.

  • Governor Frank Keating signed 15 bills on Thursday, including HB 2427 which is the appropriations bill for the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education and HB 2501, the appropriation for the Department of Human Services.

Friday, May 24th

  • Senate members continued working on measures still awaiting final action on what was the final day of the 2002 session. The chamber also paid tribute to members who would not be running for another term. Those who will not be returning include Senator Kelly Haney, Senator Billy Mickle, Senator Paul Muegee, and Senator Grover Campbell. The Senate adjourned Sine Die at 5 p.m.

Other News

  • Senator Carol Martin was chosen as team-leader for a new initiative partnering women legislators with the Drug Enforcement Administration. Senator Martin said they would seek to bring attention to the connection between drugs and the financing of terrorist activities, and of the dangers of the growing use of so-called "club-drugs" such as Ecstasy.

  • Senator Jim Reynolds announced that during the upcoming May 27th Memorial Day ceremonies at the Memorial Garden on the grounds of the State Historical Society, he would make a special presentation on behalf of a U.S.S. Oklahoma Survivors Group; a plaque that was salvaged from the ship after the Pearl Harbor attack which will be presented to the Historical Society to be placed on permanent display.