The Oklahoma Senate
Monday, April 19th
• The Senate convened to hear legislation from the House of Representatives. April 22nd is the deadline for third reading. Among the legislation considered were the following:
-HB 2660 by Sen. Cal Hobson, Sen. Ben Robinson, and Rep. Larry Adair would provide for a levy of tax on the sale of cigarettes and would provide for apportionment of funds. The measure would include the Governor’s plan to use the revenue to provide medical coverage to uninsured Oklahomans, create a cancer research center and enhance the state’s trauma care system. The measure passed 33-12.
-HB 1867 by Sen. Ben Robinson and Rep. Robert Worthen
would expand the definition of tobacco products to include any material
used in the smoking, chewing, or other form of tobacco consumption including
cigarette papers, pipes, holders of smoking materials, and other items
designed for the smoking or ingestion of tobacco products. The committee
substitute includes an emergency clause and was adopted. The bill failed
24-21 but Sen. Robinson made a motion to reconsider.
-HB 2186 by Sen. Jay Paul Gumm and Rep. John Carey would allow the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry to enter into any cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to certify or establish an inspection service to grade fruits, vegetables, and nuts. The bill and emergency passed 43-1.
-HB 2198 by Sen. Frank Shurden and Rep. M.C. Leist relates to the Governmental Tort Claims Act and would add a liability exemption for authorized environmental cleanup. The bill passed 44-0.
-HB 2134 by Sen. Nancy Riley and Rep. Ron Peters would delete the blood test requirement to receive a marriage license. The bill passed 39-6.
-HB 2382 by Sen. Ben Robinson and Rep. Wayne Pettigrew would create the Oklahoma Trauma Services Act and the Oklahoma Trauma Care System Advisory Council. The bill and emergency passed 45-0.
-The Senate also approved several appropriations bills for various state agencies as well as many of Governor Brad Henry’s nominees on Monday.
-HB 2280 by Rep. Bill Paulk and Sen. Dick Wilkerson would create the Homeland Security Act and states the duties and responsibilities of the office and provides for compensation and retirement. The bill and emergency passed 74-22.
-HB 2442 by Rep. Paul Roan and Sen. Kenneth Corn would cover 100 percent of the health care premium cost to a retired employee of the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Retirement System who retired from the system because of a service-connected disability determination and their spouse. The Senate amendments were adopted and the bill and emergency passed 98-0.
-SB 860 as amended by Sen. Angela Monson and Rep. Clay
Pope would modify
-SB 1210 as amended by Sen. Ben Robinson and Rep. Opio
Toure would modify requirements for the assignment of certain child
support benefits to attorneys. Rep. Wayne Pettigrew made amendments
and including an amendment that will allow the bill will go into effect
upon the approval of the governor. The bill passed 96-0.
-SB 1397 by Sen. Ben Robinson and Rep. David Braddock
would allow civil action to be taken against a sexual offender of a
child within five years of the perpetrator’s release from incarceration.
The custodian of the prisoner would be given prior notice and 15 days
to respond when the prisoner is required to appear in court. The bill
and emergency passed 96-1.
-SB 1551 as amended by Sen. Charlie Laster and Rep. Joe
Dorman would provide for an income tax deduction for capital gains on
Oklahoma property. The bill passed 96-0.
• The Senate convened to continue hearing legislation as well as continue honoring term limited senators for this week. They honored Senator Rick Littlefield and Senator Maxine Horner for their many years of service as well as considered the following legislation on the floor:
-HB 2632 by Sen. Robert Milacek and Rep. Randall Erwin would call for a vote of the people to increase the gasoline and diesel fuel tax. The bill passed 30-14.
-HB 2205 by Sen. Glenn Coffee and Rep. Mike Wilt would
allow the Director of the Department of Corrections to prescribe rules
for the sale of contraband confiscated from prisoners as well as address
inmate litigation reform. Sen. James Williamson attempted to make an
amendment of the floor substitute previously introduced on tort reform.
The amendment was out of order and Sen. Coffee moved to advance his
bill. The bill passed by a vote of 45-0.
-HB 2549 by Sen. Charlie Laster and Rep. Danny Morgan
relates to uninsured motorists coverage and would not allow drivers
to make insurance claims on workers compensation policies, if the injuries
were covered by automobile insurance. The measure passed 42-1.
-HB 2691 by Sen. Kenneth Corn and Rep. Larry Ferguson would authorize additional survivor benefit amounts of the Uniform Retirement System for Justices and Judges. The bill passed 44-0.
-HB 2271 as amended by Sen. Jim Reynolds and Rep. Carolyn Coleman would modify the grounds for expungement of records. The enacting clause was restored and the bill passed 43-0.
• The House once again passed several appropriations shell bills as well as considered the following legislation:
-SB 1413 as amended by Sen. Glenn Coffee and Rep. Jim Newport would remove time limitations in relations to rape, which includes sodomy performed by a school employee on a child among the forcible sodomy definitions, regardless of consent. The age of consent was raised from 16 to 18 years of age through an amendment made by Rep. Greg Piatt. The title was restored and the bill and emergency passed 88-10.
-SB 816 as amended by Sen. Dick Wilkerson and Rep. David
Braddock would allow electronic monitoring through a Global Positioning
System for inmates authorized by the Department of Corrections. The
bill passed 66-32 and the emergency passed 70-25.
-SB 1164 by Sen. Mike Johnson and Rep. Susan Winchester would authorize expungement of records relating to identity theft crimes. The bill and emergency passed 97-0.
-SB 1172 by Sen. Kenneth Corn and Rep. Glen Bud Smithson would set penalties for the manufacturing of methamphetamine within a certain distance from a school, park, or facility of higher education. Rep. Joe Dorman made an amendment prohibiting the playing of pornographic movies on a television inside a vehicle that can be seen by outside passengers and set a penalty of $500 for the misdemeanor. The bill and emergency passed 83-0.
-SB 1430 by Sen. Ben Robinson and Rep. Joe Dorman would make information communicated to a physician for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of the patient’s condition in an effort to unlawfully obtain insurance benefits by fraud not a privileged or confidential conversation. The bill and emergency passed 94-0.
• Governor Brad Henry signed several bills on Tuesday
including SB 1546 by Sen. Ben Robinson and Rep. M.C. Leist implements
a portion of the governor’s health care initiative and authorizes
the state to provide premium assistance to employers to help provide
health coverage to employees.
Wednesday, April 21st
• The Senate met to continue hearing legislation on third reading before the end of the day to meet the third reading deadline. The Senate also considered several appropriations measures. Among those pieces of legislation considered by the full Senate were the following:
-HB 2559 by Sen. Robert Milacek and Rep. Bill Nations would increase the rate of taxation on gasoline and diesel fuel and would specify the amount of increase and provide for apportionment of revenues. The bill passed 34-11.
-SJR 54 by Sen. Jay Paul Gumm and Rep. Paul Roan would call for the Commerce Department to collaborate with Murray State College to develop strategies to attract firearms manufacturers to the state. The resolution passed 45-0.
-HB 2321 by Sen. Kenneth Corn and Rep. Jim Wilson relates
to the Oklahoma Pharmacy Act and adds certain requirements for prescription
labels. The conference committee report was adopted and the measure
then passed 40-6 and the emergency passed 41-5.
-HB 1867 by Sen. Ben Robinson and Rep. Robert Worthen would extend the definition of a tobacco product to include any material used in the smoking, chewing, or other form of tobacco consumption to include cigarette papers, pipes, and other items designed primarily for the smoking or ingestion of tobacco products. A committee substitute was approved. The motion to reconsider passed 29-15 and the measure then passed 25-19 but the emergency clause failed 25-19.
-HB 2159 by Sen. Robert Milacek and Rep. Wayne Pettigrew would require people to drive in the right lane of any four-lane divided highway except when passing and provides a minimum fine of $50 and a maximum fine of $500 if found in violation. The bill passed 39-6.
-HB 2624 as amended by Sen. Daisy Lawler and Rep. Jari Askins would require the State Regents for Higher Education to provide resident college credit courses and programs, including upper and lower division classes and programs and graduate classes at the Masters level at Cameron University. They bill and emergency passed 44-0.
-HB 1832 as amended by Sen. Sam Helton and Rep. Bill Paulk would allow a municipality to issue a traffic citation for improperly transporting a firearm. Sen. Scott Pruitt made an amendment to clarify penalties could not exceed penalties of the Oklahoma Self Defense Act. The bill passed 45-1.
-HB 2613 by Sen. Angela Monson and Rep. Joe Sweeden would require health insurance plans to cover comprehensive tobacco dependent treatment programs, in accordance with standard, accepted and published medical practice guidelines. The motion to reconsider failed 23-21.
-CCR for HB 2321 by Rep. Jim Wilson and Sen. Kenneth Corn relates to the Oklahoma Pharmacy Act and would allow pharmacies to place symptoms on prescription labels and add language that would allow optometrist to perform non-laser surgeries authorized by the Oklahoma Board of Examiners in Optometry. The committee conference report was adopted 85-8 and the bill and emergency passed 85-9.
-The House rejected Senate amendments on the following
• The House then adjourned so members could attend the funeral of former Representative Jack Begley of House District 61. Representative Begley died Friday April 16th at the age of 70 in Oklahoma City and was a staunch supporter of Oklahoma’s education system. He retired from the House of Representatives in 2002 after serving consecutively for 14 years in the House of Representatives.
• The Senate convened at 9:30 a.m. to continue working through House measures on third reading to beat the deadline at the end of the business day. They will reconvene on Monday, April 24th at 1:30 p.m.
• Senator Charles Ford, President of the Oklahoma State Senate Historical Preservation Fund, Inc. dedicated a painting of Ambassador Jeane J. Kirkpatrick by Norman artist Mike Wimmer on Monday. The painting was a gift of Lt. Governor Mary Fallin. Other paintings dedicated this week were:
• A painting depicting George Washington Carver’s visit to Tulsa in 1929 by artist Mike Wimmer on Tuesday. The painting was gift of Senator Maxine Horner; and
• “The Buffalo Skinners Cart” by world renowned artist Gordon Snidow on Wednesday. The painting was a gift of the Harold C. Stuart Foundation, a charitable foundation in Tulsa.
• The second hearing on tort reform met on Thursday in the House of Representatives Chamber.