The Oklahoma Senate

Week In Review
For the week of Monday, May 19 to Friday, May 23, 2003

Monday, May 19th

• The Senate continued working through conference committee reports awaiting action. Among those winning approval on Monday:

-CCR for HB 1259 by Sen. James Williamson and Rep. Dale Wells dealing with visitation rights for grandparents of unmarried children after a court rules that the parent is unfit or that the child would suffer harm or potential harm if visitation rights were not granted. The measure would also provide for denial of visitation if evidence exists of domestic abuse or child abuse by the grandparents.

-CCR for SB 353 by Sen. Charles Ford and Rep. Joe Dorman would allow the manufacture, wholesale and retail of low-point beer and the brewing and wholesale of beer above 3.2 in Oklahoma.

-SB 755 by Sen. Scott Pruitt and Rep. Hopper Smith would require Internet providers to remove or disable access to child pornography.

-HB 1512 by Sen. Rick Littlefield would allow schools and municipalities to construct additions to existing buildings for emergency shelters and require written emergency management plans and procedures.

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

-HB 1256 by Rep. Bill Mitchell and Sen. Mike Morgan providing for zero-based budgeting for state agencies.

-HB 1406 by Rep. Opio Toure and Sen. Jerry Smith would allow claims for wrongful imprisonment under the Governmental Tort Claims Act.

-HB 1562 by Rep. Fred Perry and Sen. Mark Snyder would make it a felony for a person who downloads any obscene material or child pornography.

-HB 1271 by Rep. Jim Newport and Sen. Keith Leftwich would delete the requirement that consumer names be placed on the Telemarketer Restriction Registry.


Tuesday, May 20th

• Among those measures winning approval by the Senate on Tuesday:

-CCR SB 823 by Sen. Dick Wilkerson and Rep. Ron Kirby expands the offenses eligible for community sentencing and reduces the term of deferred judgment supervision.

-CCR for SB 117 by Sen. Mike Morgan and Rep. Bill Mitchell would authorize the Oklahoma Capitol Improvement Authority to issue bonds to fund the completion of the state’s new history center.

-CCR for SB 288 by Sen. Jay Paul Gumm and Rep. Paul Roan calls for a moratorium on the issuance of temporary permits for the use of groundwater and deletes some provisions related to groundwater permits.

-CCR for SB 565 by Sen. Glenn Coffee and Rep. Mike Morgan to allow computer technicians to report any instance of child pornography they come across on any machine they service.

CCR for SB 706 by Sen. Scott Pruitt and Rep. Hopper Smith dealing with the requirement of prisons to test convicted rapists for venereal diseases. All victims of sex crimes would be notified if the perpetrator tests positive for an STD by the Department of Health. The measure declares that victims would incur no costs for the test, delivery or treatment of the disease.

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

-HB 1408 by Rep. Susan Winchester and Sen. Bernest Cain would authorize school districts to form buying pools and purchasing cooperatives.

-HB 1691 by Rep. Frank Davis and Sen. Glenn Coffee making it illegal to send a commercial electronic mail message without a return telephone number or e-mail address. The measure also requires the sender to remove certain e-mails from their list upon notification.

-HB 1064 by Rep. Darrell Gilbert and Sen. Kenneth Corn relating to the custody, guardianship and visitation of children. The measure modifies requirements for noncustodial parents.


Wednesday, May 21st

• The Senate continued working through conference committee reports on Wednesday. Those approved included:

-CCR for HB 1535 by Rep. James Covey and Sen. Bruce Price would change the make up of the Board of Agriculture. The measure would enable the governor to select the commissioner.

-CCR for SB 616 by Sen. Jerry Smith and Rep. Jari Askins would require victims and witnesses to be informed on commutation of a sentence including commutation of a sentence of life without parole.

-CCR for HB 1099 by Sen. Dick Wilkerson and Rep. Larry Rice would establish a voluntary vaccination program under the bioterrorism division of the State Health Department pending availability of federal funding for first responders who may be exposed to infectious diseases when deployed to disaster locations.

-CCR for 1562 by Sen. Mark Snyder and Rep. Fred Perry would make it a felony punishable by a fine of not less than $500 and imprisonment for not less than 30 days for a person who downloads on a computer any obscene material or child pornography.

-CCR for HB 1650 by Sen. Nancy Riley and Rep. Sue Tibbs would enact a law to allow a public agency to make out-going 911 calls to notify the public of an emergency or to provide relevant information.

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

-HB 1106 by Rep. Thad Balkman and Sen. Angela Monson would increase license fees paid by retailers who sell “low-point” beer and direct the funds to community-based substance abuse centers.

-SB 652 by Rep. John Nance and Sen. Keith Leftwich would increase the obligation of inmates to pay for medical costs incurred while incarcerated.

-HB 1115 by Rep. Bill Nations and Sen. Jeff Rabon would require a cost/benefit analysis relating to the Oklahoma Privatization of State Functions Act.

-SB 117 by Rep. Bill Mitchell and Sen. Bill Mitchell would authorize the Oklahoma Capitol Improvement Authority to issue obligations to provide funding for completion of a history center for the Oklahoma Historical Society.


Thursday, May 22nd

• The Senate GCCA met again on Thursday:

-CCR for HB 1256 by Sen. Mike Morgan and Rep. Bill Mitchell would require legislative appropriations committees to use information provided by the Office of State Finance and Legislative Oversight Committee on State Budget Performance to enact zero-based budgeting.

-CCR for SB 353 by Sen. Charles Ford and Rep. Joe Dorman would allow the manufacture, wholesale and retail of low-point beer (3.2 or under) and the brewing and wholesale of beer above 3.2 in Oklahoma.

-CCR for SB 591 by Sen. Daisy Lawler and Rep. Jari Askins charging the State Department of Health with the responsibility of establishing and enforcing standards and requirements for licensure of in-patient hospice facilities.

-CCR for HB 1030 by Sen. Ben Robinson and Rep. Greg Piatt would authorize a board of education of a technology center school district to hold meetings by videoconferencing.

-CCR for HB 1408 by Sen. Bernest Cain and Rep. Susan Winchester proposes that two or more school districts may inter into an interlocal cooperative agreement for the purpose of forming buying pools and purchasing cooperatives.

-CCR for HB 1681 by Sen. Bernest Cain and Rep. Debbie Blackburn would require that findings of neglect or abuse to a vulnerable adult sent to the district attorney with jurisdiction over that adult also be sent to any other state agency with concurrent jurisdiction over those persons or issues identified in the investigation.

• On Thursday, the House approved the following measures:

-SB 787 by Rep. Bill Nations and Sen. Angela Monson which would require vaccinations for meningitis or detailed information on the risks of the disease to first time enrollees in any public or private post-secondary education institution residing in on-campus student housing. The measure provides for certain exceptions with written waivers.

-HB 1323 by Rep. Sue Tibbs and Sen. Bernest Cain would require physicians and hospitals to provide copies of the results of examinations of “vulnerable adults” to law enforcement and DHS caseworkers conducting an investigation.

-SB 317 by Rep. Michael Tyler and Sen. James Dunlap would set guidelines for the Department of Transportation to give permits for advertising signs along state roadways.

-HJR 1030 by Rep. Joe Sweeden and Sen. Angela Monson which rejected rules by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority relating to the establishment of a state supplemental drug rebate program within the existing product-based prior authorization program.


Friday, May 23rd

• The Senate continued working through measures awaiting action in that chamber, including voting in favor of SB 629 by Senator Ted Fisher, Speaker Larry Adair and Representative Jari Askins which contains recommendations from the governor’s task force on tort reform.

• The legislature will not meet on Monday in observance of the Memorial Day Holiday, but will reconvene on Tuesday to continue work on the budget and pending substantive measures. The legislature must adjourn sine die no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, May 30th.


Other News

• On Thursday, Governor Brad Henry signed Senate Bill 368 into law. Senator Ben Robinson authored the measure which creates a task force to look at barge traffic safety and make recommendations on changes that may be implemented on the state level. The bill was signed just a few days before the one year anniversary of the I-40 bridge collapse at Webbers Falls which claimed 14 lives. A service will be held on Monday to remember the victims of the accident and honor the rescue and recovery workers and officially dedicate the Webbers Falls Memorial.

• Security at the State Capitol was once again stepped up after the nation’s terror threat level was raised to orange which represents high alert status. The move followed a wave of terrorist attacks overseas and concerns of possible domestic targets.

• On Thursday two former members of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission called for current Commissioner Bob Anthony to resign. Ed Apple and Cody Graves charged Anthony was misusing his power and taxpayer money by reinvestigating a 1986 rate case decision concerning Southwestern Bell’s failures to lower rates in response to changes in federal corporate income tax reductions. Anthony released a statement saying each commissioner had a constitutional duty to confront public corruption and improper conduct.

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