For the week of Monday,
February 10 to Thursday, February 13, 2003
- The State Senate formally reconvened
at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, February 10th. The full Senate approved
the floor substitute for SB 8 by Senator Dick Wilkerson which
would allow members of the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Retirement
System to be eligible to serve as directors of state agencies.
The Senate also approved SR 1 by Senator Keith Leftwich commending
the Oklahoma Department of Transportation for their work on the
Interstate-40 bridge project and SR 5 also by Leftwich commending
Terence Newman for being named the 2002 Jim Thorpe Award winner.
Other measures gaining approval in committee included:
-SB 423 by Sen. Robert M. Kerr would require applicants for a
driver license or identification card to be finger printed for
proof of identity. The bill was approved 9-0.
-SB 653 by Sen. Maxine Horner
would allow open containers of intoxicating beverages in limousines
provided that the chauffeur does not consume an intoxicating beverage.
The measure was approved 10-0.
-SB 715 by Sen. Kenneth Corn
would make contracts for employment of a teacher or administrator
by a district board of education more specific and uniform. The
measure would also make pay stub information to employees more
specific. The measure passed 8-3.
- The House also focused much of its
attention on measures awaiting consideration by various committees.
One of the more controversial measures in that chamber was a bill
to end the execution of minors. HB 1405 by Representative Opio
Toure was heard by the House Appropriations Budget Subcommittee
for Public Safety and Judiciary, but did not have enough support
for passage by the committee. Among those measures before committees
receiving a do pass motion were:
-HB 1406 by Rep. Opio Toure
would allow claims for wrongful criminal felony conviction resulting
in imprisonment if the claimant has received a full pardon. The
measure would provide that for the claimant to recover based on
"actual innocence," the individual must meet criteria
set forth by the measure. There would be a cap on the total liability
of the state.
-HB 1139 by Rep. Darrell Gilbert
proposes to authorize the board of county commissioners to determine
a curfew that would apply to all unincorporated areas of counties
with a population threshold of 500,000. Any person convicted of
a curfew violation would be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject
to a minimum fine of $25.
-HB 1089 by Rep Ron Peterson
would reduce unclaimed property or money or legal tender custody
time from six months to 90 days and increase the required value
from $25 to $100 before any chief of police may file an application
in the district court to conduct a sale for disposal.
- On Tuesday Governor Brad Henry,
Senate President Pro Tempore Cal Hobson, Speaker Larry Adair,
Senate Republican Leader James A. Williamson and House Republican
Leader Todd Hiett announced an agreement had been reached to tap
the State Rainy Day fund for $25.5 million to help offset budget
cuts in education. Because of the funding structure for education,
public schools actually received higher cuts than those faced
by other state agencies. Accessing the emergency fund will reduce
their current budget cuts from 7.75 to 6.5 percent.
Numerous measures were considered
by Senate committees on Tuesday including:
-SB 368 by Sen. Ben Robinson
would require barges operating on Oklahoma waters to have at least
two licensed barge operators in the pilot house when they come
within one-half mile of a bridge. Senator Robinson explained the
measure is an attempt to prevent accidents similar to the barge
accident that collapsed a portion of the I-40 bridge over the
Arkansas River near Webbers Falls. The measure was approved.
-SB 565 by Sen. Glenn Coffee
would require computer technicians to report any instance of child
pornography they found while repairing machines. The measure was
approved 4 to 1.
-SB 391 by Sen. Jonathan Nichols
would allow proof of prior convictions as admissible evidence
in criminal proceedings. The measure was approved by committee.
-SB 837 by Sen. Frank Shurden
would allow certain charitable and non-profit organizations to
hold fund raising activities without breaking lottery laws.
-SB 282 by Sen. Ben Robinson
proposes payment of charges due on a credit card account will
be credited by the credit card issuer no later than the date that
the payment was deposited into the U.S. mail. The measure also
says that no delinquency charge may be imposed where the minimum
payment has been deposited into the U.S. mail by the payment due
date. The measure was approved, with the title stricken.
-SB 584 by Sen. Bruce Price
would create the "Oklahoma Farm Animal, Crop and Research
Facility Protection Act." Senator Price explained the measure
was requested by agriculture groups as a way to deal with terrorist
acts. The measure was approved.
- The House was also focused on bills
awaiting committee action. Among those measures receiving approval:
-HB 1147 by Rep. Kevin Cox
relates to the Oklahoma Sex Offenders Registration Act by prohibiting
a registered person from residing within one mile of any public
or private school site or educational institution.
-HB 1623 by Rep. David Braddock
adds the act of causing, exposing, forcing or requiring a child
under the age of 16 to view photos, drawings, or computer-generated
images depicting the body or private parts of another person to
the list of lewd and indecent proposals.
-HB 1679 by Rep Debbie Blackburn
creating the Statewide Water Policy Planning Commission. The measure
was in a response to previous attempted water sales to Texas.
-HB 1690 by Rep. Jari Askins
increases the maximum fine from $500 to $5000 for cruelty to animals.
Also a violation could result in forfeiture and seizure of the
- The Senate convened at 9 a.m. on
Wednesday meeting briefly before adjourning for further committee
deliberation of pending measures. Among those receiving approval:
-SB 386 by Sen. Herb Rozell would raise the vehicle collision
report fee from $7 to $14 and driver record fee from $10 to $20.
The committee substitute was approved, with the title stricken.
-SB 706 by Sen. Scott Pruitt proposes that all victims of sex
crimes be notified if a perpetrator tests positive for an S.T.D.
by the Department of Health and specifies that a victim would
incur no costs for the tests, delivery, or treatment of the disease.
The measure was approved.
-SB 835 by Senator Frank Shurden would drop the fine for spectators
of cockfighting from $500 to $200. The measure's title was stricken
before being approved.
-SB 652 by Sen. Keith Leftwich would require payment of medical
costs by jail inmates. The measure was approved by committee.
-SB 642 by Sen. Kenneth Corn allows for employees to have a voluntary
furlough option and allows members of extended employee organizations
to take up to a year off of work.
-SB 324 by Sen. Mike Morgan modifies limits related to tuition
for certain courses and programs at the higher education level.
Senator Morgan said the final version of the bill would tie tuition
fees to other Big Twelve schools. The measure was approved with
the title stricken.
-SJR 11 by Sen. Mike Johnson calls for a vote of the people by
asking for a raise in the cap on millage that may be levied for
local support of schools upon approval of majority of school district
electors. The measure was approved with the title stricken.
-SB 527 by Sen. Rick Littlefield would allow the Oklahoma Historical
Society Board to set entrance fees for museums without the Legislature's
-SB 542 by Sen. Rick Littlefield would allow the Oklahoma Tourism
and Recreation Commission to establish entrance or day use charges
at state parks.
- The House also focused on committee
action, and approved the following measures:
-HB 1278 by Rep. Ron. Kirby
calls for a vote of the people to establish a state lottery for
education. The committee substitute for HB 1278 was approved 5-4.
-HB 1353 by Rep. Carolyn Coleman
would allow the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Commission to
charge park entrance fees for day users. The bill, which is aimed
at providing funding for capitol improvements to the parks, was
-HB 1748 by Rep. Bill Nations
would allow public colleges and universities to raise tuition.
The measure was approved by committee.
-HB 1528 by Rep. Fred Perry
would make it illegal to initiate an electronic mail transmission
containing information in the subject line which is different
and misrepresents the content of the actual message. Violators
could receive a fine of up to $500. The measure was approved.
-HB 1691 by Rep. Frank Davis
would require all commercial e-mail messages initiated in this
state to include a toll-free telephone number or valid return
e-mail address enabling the recipient to notify the sender not
to transmit further unsolicited messages. Violators would face
a fine of up to $500. The measure was approved.
- The Senate met briefly before adjourning
so that committees could continue hearing legislation. The deadline
for final action by committees on legislation from the house of
origin is February 20th. The full Senate will reconvene on Monday,
February 17th at 1:30 p.m.
- Several thousand Oklahoma teachers,
administrators, students and parents held a rally at the State
Capitol on Wednesday to bring attention to the education funding
crisis facing public schools in Oklahoma. The rally coincided
with a house committee's passage of a measure to let the public
vote on a state lottery for education.
- Senator Charles Ford issued a statement
thanking his fellow members and others for their prayers and expressions
of concerns following his hospitalization for a heart attack.
Senator Ford said he was home resting and would be back at work
at the State Capitol as soon as possible.