The Oklahoma Senate
Monday, April 12th
• The Senate continued honoring term-limited senators this week. Monday the Senate honored Senator "Bulldog" Ben Robinson for his 16 years of service. The Senate has continued to focus on floor action. Among the legislation considered were the following:
-HB 1821 as amended by Sen. Jerry Smith and Rep. Susan Winchester would modify procedures for adoption of children of foreign countries. Senator James Williamson amended the bill to not allow more than one member of the same sex to be listed on a birth certificate of adopted children. The amendment would reverse Attorney General Drew Edmondson’s opinion that requires the state to recognize out-of-state adoption decrees establishing the relationship of a parent and child, regardless of whether the adoptive parents are eligible to adopt in the state. The amendment was adopted 40-5 and the bill and emergency clause passed 44-0.
-HB 1830 by Sen. Frank Shurden and Rep. M.C. Leist would
prohibit any active member of the Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement
System from purchasing more than four years of nonparticipating temporary
service with a participating employer. The bill and emergency passed
-HB 2243 by Sen. Cliff Aldridge and Rep. Lance Cargill would increase the fine for transportation of an open container from $50 to $200. The title was stricken and the bill passed 26-18.
-HB 2375 by Sen. Bernest Cain and Rep. Darrell Gilbert would allow physicians assistants and nurses to become certified personnel to perform child abuse exams for both physical and sexual abuse. The bill would give the physicians assistants and nurses credibility as experts because they are currently allowed to perform the exams and testify in court. The bill includes a committee substitute which adds the provision concerning promulgated rules by the Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth and the rules must be provided to the chair of the Senate Human Resource Committee and the chair of the House Public Health Committee before the beginning of the 50th Legislature. The committee substitute was approved. The bill and emergency clause passed 42-2.
-HB 2600 by Sen. Angela Monson and Rep. Danny Hilliard would require anyone transporting an open container of alcohol to be subject to a $100 trauma care assessment. The bill passed 45-0.
-HB 2697 by Sen. Daisy Lawler and Rep. Larry Ferguson
would remove the limitation of the number of headlamps on motorcycles.
The bill passed 34-10 and the emergency passed 35-10.
-SB 969 by Sen. Cal Hobson and Rep. Larry Adair would designate the “Keith Leftwich Loop.” The Senate amended the bill to state that a section of Interstate 35 between Interstate 240 and Indian Hills Road shall be designated as the “Helen Cole Memorial Highway.” The amendment passed 85-0. The bill passed unanimously.
-HB 2662 by Rep. Larry Adair and Sen. Kenneth Corn would modify the amount of flexible benefit allowance to pay 100 percent of certified personnel’s health insurance premiums. The emergency clause and committee substitute were adopted. The bill and emergency passed 86-0.
-HCR 1072 by Sen. Sam Helton and Rep. Jerry Hefner would
designate the second Tuesday of every April the “Oklahoma National
Guard and 45th Infantry Division Appreciation Day.” The bill passed.
-SB 998 by Sen. Mike Morgan, Sen. Ben Robinson, Rep. Jack Bonny, and Rep. Bill Mitchell would make an appropriation to the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry. The bill and emergency passed.
-SB 1022 by Sen. Mike Morgan, Sen. Ben Robinson, Rep. Jack Bonny and Rep. Bill Mitchell would appropriate to the Oklahoma Historical Society. The title was stricken and the floor substitute was adopted. The measure passed 84-13 but the emergency clause failed 59-39.
-SB 1071 by Sen. Mike Morgan, Sen. Ben Robinson, Rep. Jack Bonny and Rep. Bill Mitchell would make an appropriation to the State Board of Education. The title was stricken and the floor substitute was adopted. The bill passed 96-0.
-SB 1219 by Sen. Jim Maddox and Rep. James Covey would allow public utilities to include in the rate base 50 percent of the annual cost of electric power it purchases from wind power facilities with a capacity of 300 kilowatts or greater. The title was stricken. The bill and emergency clause passed 96-0.
-SB 1420 by Sen. Owen Laughlin and Rep. Gus Blackwell would increase the age of eligibility for the Delayed Sentencing Program for Young Adults from 21 to 23. The bill and emergency passed 68-29.
• Governor Brad Henry signed 13 bills on Monday
including legislation that is aimed at setting fair and reasonable oil
prices. The bills signed are as follows:
• The Senate met briefly to inform members of the joint session in the House of Representatives to commemorate the 45th Infantry Division. After the joint session, the Senate convened again to honor Senator Jim Dunlap for his 16 years of service and heard the following legislation on the floor:
-HB 2134 by Sen. Nancy Riley and Rep. Ron Peters would remove the requirement of pre-marital blood tests before receiving a marriage license. Senator James Williamson introduced an amendment that would have deleted all language from the bill and replaced it with the Marriage Protection Act. The amendment would call for a vote of the people to change the Oklahoma Constitution to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Senator Bernest Cain then created a filibuster and the bill and amendment were laid over. An agreement was reached to hear the amendment at a later date.
-HB 2710 by Sen. Dick Wilkerson and Rep. Opio Toure would prohibit execution of individuals with severe developmental disabilities. The bill and emergency passed 44-0.
-HB 2552 by Sen. Debbe Leftwich and Rep. Danny Hilliard would create the Oklahoma Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Revolving Fund and would aid uninsured or underinsured women to receive treatment. The fund would be named to memorialize Belle Maxine Hilliard who passed way after her battle with cancer. The bill passed 44-0.
-HB 1847 by Sen. Angela Monson and Rep. Susan Winchester
would create the Missing Angels Act and would require a stillbirth certificate
to be filed for each fetal death that occurs after a gestational period
of at least 20 completed weeks. The bill and emergency passed 46-0.
-HB 2444 as amended by Sen. Dick Wilkerson and Rep. Paul Roan would require peace officers to find housing for stolen or lost livestock if the owner cannot be determined as well as allow a certified bomb technician employed by a federally accredited bomb squad to possess, manufacture, store or use any explosive. The bill would also make it illegal for an individual to possess, use or interfere with a traffic signal preemption device. The bill passed 42-2.
-HB 2345 as amended by Sen. Dick Wilkerson and Rep. Jari Askins would allow an American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board or American Board of Forensic Toxicology accredited laboratory to collect and analyze a person’s blood, breath, saliva or urine for evidence. The title was restored. The bill passed 35-0.
-HB 2626 by Sen. Debbe Leftwich and Rep. Jari Askins would increase the punishment and fines for spousal or child abuse to not more than one year and the maximum fine of $5,000. The second conviction would land the offender no more than four years in a correctional facility and fined not more than $5,000 and if the second offense is committed in the presence of a juvenile the punishment is not less than one year and no more than five years with a maximum fine of $7,000. The bill passed 45-0.
• The House met and considered the following legislation:
-HB 1904 by Rep. Jack Bonny, Rep. Bill Mitchell, Sen. Mike Morgan, and Sen. Ben Robinson would appropriate to the State Regents for Higher Education. The measure and emergency passed 85-10.
-SB 1546 by Sen. Ben Robinson and Rep. M.C. Leist relates
to the clarification of language to the Oklahoma Medicaid Program Reform
Act of 2003 and would be a pilot program dependent on funding from the
tobacco tax and the program could be expanded depending on the revenue
available. The measure and emergency passed 85-11.
-SB 1185 as amended by Sen. Frank Shurden and Rep. Glen Bud Smithson relates to traffic citation for transporting firearms and would prohibit the confiscation under certain circumstances. The bill and emergency passed 95-0.
-SB 1394 by Sen. Dick Wilkerson and Rep. Gary Taylor would create the Criminal Justice Computer Assistance Act and would direct the Oklahoma Criminal Justice Resource Center to implement an offender data information center. The system would provide software to criminal agencies to assist with data keeping, transmit data to agencies and provide a uniform system for data sharing. The bill and emergency passed 95-1.
-SB 1486 by Sen. Scott Pruitt and Rep. Fred Morgan would authorize the creation of a re-entry program within the Department of Corrections for offenders that need structured release prior to sentence completion. The bill and emergency passed 96-0.
• Governor Brad Henry signed several bills on Tuesday
including HB 1876 by Rep. Ron Langmacher and Sen. Jay Paul Gumm that
will remove the exemption of public review for air contaminants. The
bill will allow the environmental quality board to make rules and set
Wednesday, April 14th
• The Senate met to recognize Senator Dick Wilkerson on Wednesday for his 15 years of service in the legislature. Among those pieces of legislation considered by the full Senate are the following:
-FS for HB 2661 as amended by Sen. Cal Hobson, Rep. Larry Adair, and Rep. Wayne Pettigrew would require attorney fees in class action lawsuits to include non-cash benefits in certain circumstances and would authorize the court to decline to exercise jurisdiction in class actions as well as modify language relating to class action suits. The Senate adopted the house version of the measure by a 36-7 vote.
-HB 2135 by Sen. Glenn Coffee and Rep. Ron Peters would create the Family Wealth Preservation Trust Act. The bill would provide the corpus and income of a preservation trust would be exempt from forced sale and no judgment, decree or execution can be a lien on the trust for the payment of debts of a grantor up to one million dollars. The bill passed 41-2.
-HB 1966 by Sen. Mike Morgan, Sen. Ben Robinson, Rep.
Jack Bonny and Rep. Bill Mitchell would make an appropriation to the
Office of the Attorney General. The bill and emergency passed 34-6.
-HB 2615 by Sen. Charlie Laster and Rep. Dale Wells would allow officials to enter into any site identified as a superfund or brownfield to conduct environmental response activities. The bill passed 41-2.
-SB 1374 by Sen. Johnnie Crutchfield and Rep. Ray McCarter was amended by the House to allow the county sheriff to collect DNA samples. The title was restored and the bill contains a committee substitute. The bill passed 45-0.
-HB 2440 as amended by Sen. Richard Lerblance and Rep. Jerry Ellis would extend the water sale moratorium for a five-year period or until the Water Resources Board completes a scientific hydrological study of water resources in the state that is approved by the Statewide Water Policy Planning Commission. It would also increase the number of members that serve on the commission and changes the composition of the commission. The bill was amended by the House and contains a committee substitute. The bill passed 26-16.
-FS for SB 1256 by Sen. Ben Robinson and Rep. Ray Vaughn would change the penalties and would provide for suspension of certain licenses for three or more violations of the Prevention of Youth Access to Tobacco Act by employees. The Senate amended the measure, which had its title restored and an emergency clause. The floor substitute was adopted and the bill passed 87-12.
-SB 903 by Sen. Johnnie Crutchfield and Rep. Danny Hilliard
would create the Oklahoma Water Resources Development Plan and would
divide the state into eleven water planning districts. The bill and
emergency passed 97-1.
-SB 1627 as amended by Sen. Bernest Cain and Rep. Darrell Gilbert would create the Healthy and Fit Kids Act of 2004 that would establish a Safe and Healthy School Advisory Committee at each public school. The committee will focus on issues affecting the health and well-being of children. The Oklahoma State Department of Health and the State Department of Education will make available and notify each school of the availability of programs designed to prevent health problems in elementary school students. An amendment was made that would make it permissible to display the Ten Commandments in the classroom and the amendment was adopted. The bill and emergency passed 94-4.
-SB 1382 by Sen. Angela Monson and Rep. Fred Stanley would delete the time limit on tax credits available for immunizing food service employees against Hepatitis A. The bill passed 100-0.
• Governor Henry vetoed and signed several bills
Thursday, April 15th
• The Senate convened at 9:30 a.m. to consider several
pieces of legislation. They will reconvene on Monday, April 19th at
• Mary Easley was sworn in Monday as State Senator by Supreme Court Justice Marian Opala. The now former representative was elected to Senate District 18 in a special election held last week after her son, Kevin Easley left the district to become the Chief Executive Officer for the Grand River Dam Authority.
• Governor Brad Henry and eight state agency heads signed an agreement Monday to establish the Partnership for Children’s Behavorial Health, which would enable the state to better coordinate programs for the mentally ill and their families. The Partnership will be responsible for designing an integrated system of care for children and their families and monitoring the system it develops.
• Senator Jim Maddox took personal privilege on the Senate floor Wednesday to discuss the issue of term limits in relation to him and Senator Angela Monson. The two senators came to the Senate from the House of Representatives and are term-limited to 12 years of service. They both will reach their 12-year cap in the middle of their elected term and Senator Maddox asked that the Senate vote to allow him and Monson to finish their terms in the Senate. He also pointed out that there are six other senators that will finish their elected term in the Senate with more than twelve years of service because they were already in the Senate when the term limit law was enacted. Sen. Dick Wilkerson made a motion to vote on allowing Sen. Maddox and Monson to finish their elected terms ending November 4, 2006. The members recessed to caucus and the Senate reconvened, the motion was withdrawn.