The Oklahoma Senate
For the week of Monday, May 12 to Friday, May 16, 2003
Monday, May 12th
• The Senate continued working through conference committee reports awaiting action. Among those winning approval on Monday:
-CCR for HB 1449 by Sen. Frank Shurden and Rep. Jerry Ellis would restrict employee vehicle searches.
-CCR for SB 4 by Sen. Daisy Lawler and Rep. Ray McCarter would require the Teachers’ Retirement System of Oklahomans to provide teachers with applications to join a retired teacher’s organization and forms to withhold dues.
-CCR for SB 272 by Sen. Gilmer Capps and Rep. James Covey relates to insurance rates and fire protection districts.
-CCR for SB 546 by Sen. Gilmer Capps and Rep. Jack Bonny would prohibit open burning and state exceptions for fire training and other purposes.
• The House of Representatives approved the following measures on Monday:
-HB 1043 by Rep. M.C. Leist and Sen. Frank Shurden says that courts could require or provide for the reasonable visitation between siblings unless the court determines that visitation is not in the best interest of a child.
-HB 1580 by Rep. Jari Askins and Sen. Ted Fisher would modify the duties of the State Treasurer relating to penalty assessments and public funds.
-HB 1583 by Rep. Bill Nations and Sen. Johnnie Crutchfield would allow the selection of jurors by municipal courts through mechanical or electronic means.
-HB 1705 by Rep. Bill Case and Sen. Jim Reynolds would modify circumstances under which state government vehicles are required to use alternative fuels.
• The Governor signed the following measures into law:
-SB 596 by Sen. Keith Leftwich and Rep. Al Lindley expresses the intent of the Legislature that all Oklahoma high school graduates qualify for scholarships and student aid regardless of the immigration status of their parents.
-SB 554 by Sen. Jonathan Nichols and Rep. Kevin Cox creates safety zones around elementary and junior high schools, public parks and playgrounds from persons convicted of lewd molestation, rape or sodomy of a victim less than 13 years of age.
-HB 1469 by Rep. David Braddock, Rep. Richard Lerblance, Sen. Jay Paul Gumm and Sen. Jerry Smith requires a national criminal history check for members of the Oklahoma Horse Racing commission and applicants for an occupations license.
-SB 705 by Sen. Keith Leftwich and Rep. Darrell Gilbert allows psychiatric hospitals to ask for a national criminal record search on juveniles admitted to their facilities.
• Among those measures winning approval by the Senate on Tuesday:
-CCR for SB 257 by Sen. Ben
Robinson and Rep. Barbara Staggs would require driver licenses or identification
cards issued by the Department of Public Safety to include the county
of residence of the licensee or cardholder.
-HB 1149 by Rep. Ray Miller
and Sen. Kenneth Corn would allow county commissioners to use county-owned
equipment, labor and supplies at their disposal on property owned by two-year
colleges that are members of the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education.
-HB 1611 by Rep. Mike Wilt and Sen. Glenn Coffee would modify language concerning the Oklahoma Rights of the Terminally Ill or Persistently Unconscious Act.
• The Senate held its initial GCCA meeting on Wednesday and approved 38 bills. Among those measures winning approval in the full Senate on Wednesday:
-CCR for SB 830 by Sen. Bernest Cain, Sen. Jay Paul Gumm and Rep. M.C. Leist which would require that a state agency participate with the Department of Central Services in purchasing pharmaceuticals.
-CCR for HB 1705 by Sen. Jim
Reynolds and Rep. Bill case would designate that government vehicles designed
to use alternative fuels would use those fuels if a fill station or charge
station is in operation within a five-mile radius of the respective department,
district, agency, office or political subdivision.
-CCR for SB 715 by Sen. Kenneth
Corn and Rep. Ray Miller would make the requirements for contracts for
employment of a teacher or administrator by a district board of education
more specific and uniform.
• The House GCCA also met on Wednesday approving appropriations measures as well as House Bill 1256 by Rep. Bill Mitchell and Sen. Mike Morgan creating a mandatory zero-based budgeting approach for funding state entities.
The following were among the measure approved by the full House on Wednesday:
-HB 1259 by Rep. Dale Wells and Sen. James Williamson gives grandparents of unmarried minor children greater consideration by the courts for visitation rights under certain circumstances.
-SB 583 by Rep. Bill Nations
and Sen. Angela Monson creates the “Deferred Deposit Lending Act,”
and provides state regulation of “payday loans.”
• The Senate GCCA met again on Thursday and gave to HB 1256 by Sen. Mike Morgan and Rep. Bill Mitchell which would a committee to enforce zero-based budgeting for FY-04. The full Senate also met and approved the following bills:
-CCR for SB 88 by Sen. Mike Morgan and Rep. Bill Mitchell contains an appropriation to the office of the Attorney General, an 18.47 percent reduction compared to FY 03.
-CCR for SB 90 by Sen. Mike Morgan and Rep. Bill Mitchell would make an appropriation to the District Attorney’s Council reflecting a 14.3 percent reduction from the prior year.
-CCR for SB 447 by Sen. Daisy Lawler and Rep. William Paulk would prohibit insurance companies from using telephone solicitation to modify an insured person’s existing coverage.
-CCR for SB 317 by Sen. James
Dunlap and Rep. Michael Tyler would set guidelines for the Department
of Transportation to give permits for advertising signs along state roadways.
• On Thursday, the House approved the following measures:
-HB 1099 by Rep. Larry Rice
and Sen. Dick Wilkerson would create a voluntary vaccination program under
the bioterrorism division of the State Health Department upon availability
of federal funding for first responders who may be exposed to infectious
diseases when deployed to disaster locations.
-SB 274 by Rep. Dale Turner and Sen. Johnnie Crutchfield which would modify annexation procedures and requirements by cities and towns. It would make parcels of land in proximity to an airport, military installation or spaceport subject to municipal ordinances.
• The Senate continued work on Friday taking up measures still awaiting final action from that chamber. Friday marked the House deadline for having measures signed out of various conference committees. The Senate will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 19th.
• President George Bush authorized the release of federal disaster funds needed after tornados ravaged the state on May 8th and 9th. Governor Brad Henry said Monday that more than 130 Oklahomans had been injured and one man died as a result of injuries suffered during the storms. The cost of property damage as a result of the twisters was estimated to be at least $100 million, although Governor Henry said most of that would be covered by private insurance.
• More than
50 Democratic State Representatives from Texas left their State Capitol
in Austin and took up temporary residence in Ardmore in protest of a push
to revisit a redistricting plan which had been approved following the
2000 census. Without the absent members, there were not enough State Representatives
in the Texas House for a quorum. The Oklahoma House debated dueling resolutions
on the flight, both praising and condemning the Texas lawmakers’
actions. After running the clock out on the redistricting proposal late
Thursday evening, the Texas representatives headed back to their home