The Oklahoma Senate

Week In Review
Monday, February 14th to Thursday February 17th, 2005

Monday, February 14th

• Members of the Senate were busy hearing legislation in their respective committees. Among the pieces of legislation approved were the following:

-SB 944 by Sen. Charlie Laster would create a statewide 9-1-1 Advisory Board to oversee the development of emergency 9-1-1 systems in the state.

-SB 344 by Sen. Bernest Cain would reduce the annual fee for a distiller license from $3,125 to $1,250, would provide an exemption from the requirement for payment of alcoholic beverage license fees for distilled and/or rectified spirits for personal use, and would allow restaurants and package stores to purchase distilled spirits directly from an Oklahoma distiller.

-SB 320 by Sen. Jim Reynolds would limit major construction projects that require permits to structures used as educational buildings, hospitals, assembly halls, dormitories, factories, stadiums, warehouses, and all defined occupancies within such groups.

-SJR 23 by Sen. Kenneth Corn proposes a constitutional amendment to provide for the sale of salvage alcoholic beverages.

-SJR 14 by Sen. Harry Coates proposes a constitutional amendment modifying the requirements of sales of certain wine to licensed wholesale distributors and to provide for written and electronic orders for certain wine delivery or shipping to consumers.

-SB 324 by Sen. Jonathan Nichols would require builders to provide a ten year transferable warranty on the foundation of any new home for any damage caused by the builder in excess of $10,000. The title was stricken.

-SB 366 by Sen. Angela Monson would required any substitute teacher assigned to teach special education for more than 20 school days, and does not hold a valid certificate to teach the subject, must attain specialized training as prescribed by the State Board of Education.

-SB 423 by Sen. Kathleen Wilcoxson and Rep. Ray Miller would create the 19 member Task Force on School District Administrative Reorganization or Consolidation.

-SB 440 by Sen. David Myers would require a copy of the state sex offender registry be provided to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and authorizes the superintendent to copy and distribute the list to schools. The title was stricken.

-SB 487 by Sen. Jim Wilson would prohibit any notary public, except those located at a financial institution, an insurance agency or a government agency, from notarizing signatures on more than five absentee ballot affidavits per election. The title was stricken and the bill was amended.

-SB 725 by Sen. Cliff Aldridge would expand the number of prisoners allowed to be supervised by an individual.

• The House of Representatives also continued committee meetings to consider legislation. Among those that received approval:

-HB 1004 by Rep. Bill Case would repeal the Oklahoma Municipal Employee Collective Bargaining Act.

-CS for HB 1219 by Rep. Fred Morgan would require DNA testing of any offender convicted of a felony. All offenders would be required to pay a DNA fee of $150 to cover the cost of the tracking program.

-HB 1404 by Rep. Lance Cargill would remove the reduced fee charged and collected by the Court Clerks office for marriage licenses for couples who have completed premarital counseling.

-HB 1583 by Rep. Ryan McMullen would allow convicted methamphetamine producers to be charged with child abuse if they produce the drug near a child.

-HB 1606 by Rep. Doug Miller would remove the reference to waste tire manufacturing facilities in the Waste Tire Recycling Act.

-HB 1010 by Rep. Dale Turner would increase the fine for dumping waste on public or private property from $200 to $500.

Tuesday, February 15th

• With attention focused on getting measures assigned and heard by committees, the Senate met briefly on Tuesday.

Numerous measures were considered by Senate committees on Tuesday. The following bills received a do pass recommendation:

-SCR 4 by Sen. Mike Mazzei resolves to contain and liquidate the unfunded actuarially accrued liabilities of the Teacher’s Retirement System of Oklahoma. The resolution would raise the current funded amount from the current 10 percent to 60 percent in the next 10 years.

-SB 376 by Sen. Angela Monson would blend rates for active state and education employees and retirees under age 65 and those active individuals would be rated as one group.

-SB 702 by Sen. Jeff Rabon would require an individual who knowingly and willfully participates in the preparation, dissemination, or broadcast of paid political advertising, campaign material or a letter to a newspaper editor that is untruthful to be charged with a felony crime.

-SB 789 by Sen. Charlie Laster would allow an employer to plead or prove that an on the job injury was due to contributory negligence of the employee if the employee was at the time of the injury or accident under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substance, illegal drugs, medication without a prescription or was impaired as a result of illegally using chemicals.

-SB 34 by Sen. Jim Wilson designates State Highway 62 from State Highway 82 to the Muskogee County Line as the “Senator Herb Rozell Highway.”

-SB 371 by Sen. Ted Fisher and Rep. Todd Hiett would allow the Oklahoma Transportation Authority to construct and operate an exit ramp from the eastbound lane of the Turner Turnpike at 91st Street in Tulsa.

-SB 409 by Sen. Jay Paul Gumm would expand eligibility for income tax credits for historic hotel and newspaper plants to include other historic buildings. The title was stricken from the bill.

-SB 877 by Sen. Debbe Leftwich would add film and music production and development facilities to provisions of the Oklahoma Tourism Development Act.

-SB 11 by Sen. Kathleen Wilcoxson would make finger imaging on a driver license or identification card optional.

-SB 542 by Sen. Tom Adelson would limit campaign contributions to $5,000 in any calendar year to an organization described in Section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code.

-SB 432 by Sen. Scott Pruitt would modify provisions relating to search warrants to add an exception for searching of dwellings where the trafficking of methamphetamine is occurring.

• The House convened to consider one resolution and then adjourned to consider legislation in committee meetings.

-HCR 1001 by Rep. Abe Deutschendorf modifies House of Representatives rules to provide for amendments to electronic bills but requires printed amendments be kept in record form in the chief clerk’s office. The bill received unanimous approval on the House floor.

-HB 1706 by Rep. Thad Balkman would create the Prevention of Youth Access to Alcohol Act and would modify the length of time for mandatory revocation of a permit to sell low-point beer under certain circumstances and provisions relating to revocation of driver licenses and denial of driving privileges for a person under 21 years of age. The bill failed to receive a do pass recommendation.

-HB 1459 by Rep. Jerry Ellis would add assault and battery of a peace officer to offenses for which a defendant must serve a mandatory minimum percentage of a sentence. The bill received a do pass recommendation.

-CS for HB 1544 by Rep. Kevin Calvey would prohibit persons 65 or older from being charged a fee for renewal of a concealed handgun license. The bill would also prohibit game wardens from issuing a citation or arresting a person for hunting on land owned or leased by that individual and not engaged in hunting deer at the time. The bill received a do pass recommendation.

-HB 1435 by Rep. Wes Hilliard would provide pay raises for teachers at the Oklahoma School for the Deaf and the Oklahoma School for the Blind.

-HB 1698 by Rep. Rebecca Hamilton would create the “Victims of Violent Crimes Privacy Act,” which would prohibit the release of the details of the crime, including private information about the victims. The bill received a do pass recommendation.

Wednesday, February 16th

• Members of the Senate and House of Representatives convened on Wednesday in a joint session to honor the men and women who have served in the military for the sacrifices they and their families have made.

• Attention continued to be focused on committee action on Wednesday, with committees considering numerous measures, including the following:

-CS for SB 745 by Sen. Cal Hobson would allow the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education to borrow money for the purpose of purchasing, constructing, or refurbishing real or personal property to be used as leasing property for state universities. The bill received a do pass recommendation.

-SB 5 by Sen. Kenneth Corn would require the Department of Central Services contracts for telephone call centers to provide that persons providing services be physically located in Oklahoma and if requirements cannot be met, they must be located within the United States. The bill received a do pass recommendation.

-SB 294 by Sen. Mike Johnson would authorize County Commissioners to receive free copies of statutes and session laws. The bill received a do pass recommendation.

-SB 315 by Sen. Debbe Leftwich would require state employees to use leave benefits during the same year in which it accrues or, at the discretion of the appointing authority, within 12 months of the date on which leave time accrues. The bill received a do pass recommendation.

-SB 318 by Sen. Earl Garrison would require the Oklahoma Transportation Authority to set minimum speed zones at designated toll gates and provides for the doubling of the fine for speeding for individuals violating the posted limit. The bill received a do pass recommendation.

-SB 557 by Sen. Mike Morgan would authorize the Department of Central Services to issue a maximum of $20 million in bonds for the purpose of paying costs of acquisition and installation of a heating and cooling system for the State Capitol building and making necessary repairs and remodeling to accommodate the new system. The title was stricken and the measure received a do pass recommendation.

-SB 322 by Sen. Jonathan Nichols would require school districts to prepare and post income and expenditure statements for each school site. The title was stricken and the bill failed the committee hearing.

-SB 504 by Sen. Brian Crain would require a presiding judge or designee to determine the eligibility of an offender for a drug court program instead of the district attorney. The bill was amended on page 5. The title was stricken and the bill received a do pass recommendation.

-SB 618 by Sen. Mary Easley would require each school district to ensure that a minimum of one certified teacher and one non-certified state member at each school receive training in CPR every year they are with the school. The bill received a do pass recommendation.

-CS for SB 547 by Sen. Tom Adelson clarifies language relating to the name of the Board of Pharmacy and allows discounts to be combined on one card and allows for the seeking out of new discounts. The bill received a do pass recommendation.

-CS for SB 977 by Sen. Tom Adelson would create the “Prescription Drug Reimportation Act.” The bill received a do pass recommendation.

-CS for SB 446 by Sen. Earl Garrison would reduce the minimum amount for medical expense liability fees. The bill received a do pass recommendation.

-CS for SB 458 by Sen. Nancy Riley would allow any juvenile over the age of 16 or previously adjudicated as a youthful offender to be tried as an adult and incarcerated by the Department of Corrections when they are found guilty of assaulting an employee of the Office of Juvenile Affairs. The committee substitute includes the creation of the “Youthful Offender Task Force of 2005.” The bill received a do pass recommendation.

-CS for SB 631 by Sen. Charles Wyrick would assign the costs of electronic monitoring to the inmate and the Department of Corrections would be responsible for determining the inmate’s ability to pay. The bill received a do pass recommendation.

• The House convened to pass two resolutions and then adjourned to focus on committee action to beat the February 24th deadline.

-HCR 1002 by Rep. Chris Benge and Sen. Scott Pruitt commends the Iraqi people for holding democratic elections.

-HR 1007 by Rep. Greg Piatt memorializes Congress to pass multi-emission legislation in 2005 that significantly reduces emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury from electric power generators and helps the nation toward attainment of federal air quality standards without exacerbating imbalances in the natural gas market.

-HB 1519 by Rep. Al Lindley would legalize tattooing in the State of Oklahoma. Under provisions of the bill, any person under the age of 18 is prohibited from receiving a tattoo and any person under the age of 14 is prohibited from receiving a body piercing. The measure sets a misdemeanor penalty for violations of the prohibition against tattooing and body piercing at a maximum of 90 days imprisonment in the county jail and/or a maximum $5,000 fine. The tattoo operators and artists as well as body piercing operators must obtain a license from the Department of Health and the State board of Health must establish rules that include education and training requirements. The bill received a do pass recommendation.

-CS for HB 1631 by Rep. Joe Eddins would require the State Registrar to provide uncertified copies of original certificates of birth for all adopted individuals, upon request and regardless of when the adoption was finalized, if the adopted person has submitted satisfactory proof of identity and the registrar has submitted an affidavit in which the adopted person states under oath that he or she does not have a biological sibling under the age of 18 who currently is in an adoptive family and whose location is known to be the adopted person. The bill failed the committee hearing.

-CS for HB 1532 by Rep. Dale DePue would create a Sexually Explicit Business and Escort Service Tax Act. The bill would impose a 10 percent tax on sexually explicit businesses for amounts paid or charged for admission fees, user fees, retail sale of tangible personal property made within the state, sales of food and beverages and amounts paid or charged for any service and a 10 percent tax on escort services for any transaction that involves providing an escort to another individual. Proceeds from the tax would be used to fund domestic violence and sexual abuse programs, and a portion may be used to help self-employed Oklahomans buy health insurance. The bill received a do pass recommendation.

-CS for HB 1558 by Rep. Barbara Staggs would direct school districts to establish a deferred compensation plan and a deferred savings incentive plan for teachers who are licensed or certified in grades K-12. The bill received a do pass recommendation.

Thursday, February 5th

• 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 24th. The full Senate will reconvene Monday, February 21st at 1:30 p.m.

Other News

Governor Brad Henry signed an executive order Monday creating the “Operation Homefront” Task Force that will look into ways to provide more financial security for families of Oklahoma National Guard members.