The Oklahoma Senate
Monday, February 21st
• The Senate convened briefly to consider the following bills:
-SB 4 by Sen. Kathleen Wilcoxson and Rep. Paul Wesselhoft would make the hourglass selenite crystal the official state gem. The bill was amended to change the word “gem” to “crystal.” The bill was adopted with a vote of 44 to 0.
-SB 18 by Sen. Daisy Lawler and Rep. Susan Winchester directs State Highway 37 between Mustang Road and Richland Road in Grady County to be designated as the “Jason White PASSway.” The bill was adopted by a vote of 44 to 0.
-SB 698 by Sen. Ted Fisher and Rep. Todd Hiett designates State Highway 51 from the intersection of State Highway 97 in Creek County west to the intersection of State Highway 48 in Mannford as the “Mannford Expressway.” The bill was adopted by a vote of 44 to 0.
• Members of the Senate maintained their committee business to ensure they meet the Thursday deadline. Among the pieces of legislation considered were the following:
-CS for SB 265 by Sen. Bernest Cain would require local school boards of education to ensure that no school in the district stock vending machines accessible by elementary students, with drinks or food with no or low nutritional value. The bill received a do pass recommendation.
-CS for SB 567 by Sen. Judy Eason McIntyre would create
the Oklahoma Racial Mascots Act and prohibit the use of racially derogatory
or discriminatory Native American school or athletic team names, nicknames,
logos or mascots in Oklahoma public schools. The bill was defeated in
-SB 518 by Sen. Kathleen Wilcoxson states that no person authorized to sell low-point beer can sell it at a price lower than the price regularly charged or an unlimited number of drinks for a fixed price except at private functions not open to the public. Those found in violation of the provisions will be fined $500 for each offense. The title was stricken and the bill received a do pass recommendation.
-SB 806 by Sen. Frank Shurden would legalize the practice of tattooing individuals 18 years or older. The title was stricken and the bill received a do pass recommendation.
-CS for SB 312 by Sen. Bernest Cain would direct the State Board of Education to require physical and health education instruction in elementary schools as a condition of accreditation and requires that such instruction be aligned with the Priority Academic Student Skills. The bill would require 60 minutes a week of physical education and received a do pass recommendation.
-SB 966 by Sen. Kathleen Wilcoxson would modify the reading goal for Oklahoma public schools to require that by July 1, 2008 and each year after, 90 percent or more of all third-grade students will read at or above grade level by the end of their third-grade year. The bill received a do pass recommendation from the committee.
-SCR 3 by Sen. Jeff Rabon would designate the Acrocanthosaurus atokensis as the state dinosaur. The bill received a do pass recommendation.
-SJR 1 by Sen. Frank Shurden calls for a vote of the people to amend the constitution to limit the lieutenant governor to two consecutive terms. The bill received a do pass recommendation.
-CS for SB 666 by Sen. Jeff Rabon would prohibit possession of intoxicating beverages in a public place by anyone under the age of 21 and would increase the penalty for violation from $100 to $500. The bill received a do pass recommendation.
-SB 703 by Sen. Richard Lerblance removes the requirement that the offender of a negligent homicide be 16 years of age or older. The bill received a do pass recommendation.
-SB 819 by Sen. Frank Shurden would provide that a property or business may not prohibit a licensed, legally authorized person in lawful possession of a firearm or concealed handgun from transporting the weapon in a locked vehicle on any property set aside for the vehicle. The bill received a do pass recommendation.
-HB 1430 by Rep. Marion Cooksey and Sen. Randy Brogdon would require the County Election Board secretaries to provide a list of registered voters who are 18 years of age to the Administrative Director of the Courts and expands exemption from the requirement of jury duty to include students enrolled in at least 12 college hours for the semester. The bill was amended by deleting Section 1 and would allow citizens who are not registered to vote but do possess a valid driver’s license, to be called for jury duty. The measure, as amended, was approved by a vote of 73-26.
-HB 1561 by Rep. Ken Miller and Sen. Clark Jolley would provide for a covenant marriage, which is defined as a marriage entered into by a man and a woman who understand and agree their marriage is a lifelong commitment. Those that agree to enter into a covenant marriage would be required to obtain counseling emphasizing the nature, purposes and responsibilities of marriage at least 15 days before filing an application for a marriage license. Other provisions of the bill include the declaration of intent to enter into a covenant marriage as well as the license to be filed with the official who issues the marriage license. The bill was amended and passed by a vote of 95-2.
-HB 1318 by Rep. Terry Ingmire and Sen. Randy Bass would allow the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation to specify identifying information required before release of criminal history records. The measure passed by a vote of 98-0, but the emergency failed by a vote of 59-39.
-HB 1352 by Rep. John Wright and Sen. James Williamson would require each individual in a marriage to attend at least one hour of marriage counseling conducted by a licensed marital and family therapist, licensed professional counselor, or licensed behavioral practitioner within 90 days prior to the issuance of a decree for dissolution of a marriage or for a legal separation. The bill passed by a vote of 94-4.
-HB 1535 by Rep. Ron Peterson and Sen. Charlie Laster would authorize the Insurance Commissioner to impose fees as well as the State Insurance Board. The measure passed by a vote of 98-0.
-CS for HB 1965 by Rep. Neil Brannon appropriates $1,083,404 to the Department of Human Services to provide a $50-per-month increase per child in rate payments for out-of-home care services. The bill lists the acceptable providers and received a do pass recommendation.
-CS for HB 1621 by Rep. Sally Kern would require the State Board of Education to adopt core curriculum requirements for students in kindergarten through third grade that include standards for instruction focused on reading, mathematics and physical education. The bill would allow educators to teach science, social studies, arts and other subjects through reading and math based competencies. The bill received a do pass recommendation.
-CS for HB 1786 by Rep. Odilia Dank would provide core curriculum requirements for students to graduate from high school with an Oklahoma Scholars diploma. The bill received a do pass recommendation.
-CS for HB 1800 by Rep. Trebor Worthen would allow school administrators to determine what constitutes director information and under what circumstances the information may be released to the public. The bill received a do pass recommendation.
-HB 1926 by Rep. Joe Dorman would require proceeds of Emergency Medical Service Districts be expended only for providing funds for the support, organization, operation and maintenance of district ambulance services. The EMS Districts would own and operate the ambulance service or could provide ambulance service through contracts with one or more ambulance service providers. If the districts do contract through service providers, they would be required to retain a maximum of 10 percent of annual revenue of the district for the administrative expenses and other purposes directly related to providing ambulance services. The bill received a do pass recommendation.
Tuesday, February 22nd
• With attention focused on getting measures assigned and heard by committees, the Senate met briefly on Tuesday to consider legislation.
-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 measure was amended by Sen. Mike Johnson on Page 17 by inserting after the word “regents” and before the comma “,” the following: “It is the intent of legislature that the regents give careful consideration to issuing obligations pursuant to this section for a term of 15 years.” and on Page 12, line 23 by inserting after the word “regents” and before the comma the following: “It is the intent of the Legislature that the regents give careful consideration to issuing obligations pursuant to this section for a term of 15 years.” The amendment was approved and the bill passed by a vote of 47-0.
-SB 293 by Sen. Glenn Coffee and Rep. Fred Morgan would repeal the Registration of Out-of-State Attorneys. The bill passed by a vote of 47-0.
• Numerous measures were considered by Senate committees on Tuesday. The following bills received a do pass recommendation:
-CS for SB 846 by Sen. Charlie Laster would modify penalties
for workers compensation fraud. The measure provides that no permanent
partial disability, except in cases involving corrective surgery or
closed-head injury, would be awarded unless there is objective evidence
of a permanent anatomical abnormality or that the ability of the employee
to earn wages at the same level as on the date of the injury is permanently
adversely impaired. The bill received a do pass recommendation.
-SB 335 by Sen. Gilmer Capps would provide an income tax
credit for taxpayers who are licensed under the Oklahoma Allopathic
Medical and Surgical Licensure and Supervision Act or the Oklahoma Osteopathic
Medicine Act, employed as physicians where initial employment begins
on or after the effective date of the act and are employed or serving
a municipality in the state with a population of less than 20,000. The
bill received a do pass recommendation.
-SB 572 by Sen. James Williamson would create the Diabetes School Care Act, which would require the Oklahoma Board of Nursing and other agencies to develop guidelines and materials for the training of diabetes care providers. The bill received a do pass recommendation.
-SB 842 by Sen. Judy Eason McIntyre would require the
State Department of Education to provide a one-time bonus of $5,000
to any teacher who instructs at a school identified as in need of improvement
by the No Child Left Behind Act or has attained certification by the
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, has a recommendation
by the teacher’s principal as an outstanding teacher, or has received
an outstanding teacher evaluation for the most recent school year. The
bill received a do pass recommendation.
-CS for SB 296 by Sen. Jay Paul Gumm would authorize Court Clerks to accept nationally recognized credit card or bank debit cards as payment for any fee, fine or cost for violation of any traffic law. The title was stricken and the bill received a do pass recommendation.
-SJR 5 by Sen. Jay Paul Gumm would prohibit any legislator incarcerated for any period of time during his/her term of office from receiving compensation from the state or be eligible to participate in any compensation program funded in whole or in part with state revenues during the incarceration. The bill received a do pass recommendation.
• The House convened to consider legislation and then adjourned to continue committee hearings.
-HB 1875 by Rep. Jeff Hickman and Sen. Kathleen Wilcoxson would require the State Board of Education, by July 1, 2006, to adopt a national policy that establishes a disciplinary action for students at the middle school and high school levels participating in competitive athletic activities who are found to be using performance enhancing drugs. The bill would also require school districts to accept the policy by July 1, 2007. Rep. Thad Balkman made a motion to send the bill back to committee, which was adopted.
-HB 1351 by Rep. John Wright and Sen. Scott Pruitt would require insurance companies to include a notice of termination, the vehicle identification number or vehicles covered by the policy to the Department of Public Safety. The bill passed by a vote of 74-26.
-HB 1487 by Rep. Sue Tibbs and Sen. Jim Reynolds would require voters to present proof of identification when voting. The bill was sent back to committee for further consideration.
-HB 1756 would modify the Compete with Canada Film Act to delete reference to the Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate Program revolving fund and add commercials as a type of production eligible for a rebate and sales tax refund. The title was stricken and the bill passed by a vote of 99-1.
-CS for HB 1878 by Rep. Fred Morgan would expand the scope
of the crime of forcible sodomy to include sodomy committed on an individual
aged 16 through 20 who is a student of a public or private secondary
school, junior high school or high school, or public vocational school,
with a person who is 18 years of age or older and is employed by the
same school system. The bill received a do pass recommendation.
Wednesday, February 23rd
• The Senate convened to consider legislation and then adjourned to continue to focus attention on committee action.
-SB 407 by Sen. Mike Mazzei and Rep. Ray Young would modify eligibility requirements for participation in the Small Employers Quality Jobs Incentive Program to require that a business classified as research and development in the physical, engineering and life sciences be considered an establishment regardless of the population of the county where it is located. The bill was passed by a vote of 45-0.
-HCR 1001 by Reps. John Wright, Susan Winchester, Dale Dewitt and Sen. Ron Justice would waive the 30-legislative-day review period for any rules which has been transmitted for legislative review and amends permanent rules that relate to the sale and storage of ammonium nitrate fertilizer and applies regulations to control the sale and use of the product. The resolution was adopted.
-SB 982 by Sen. Mike Morgan includes key components of Governor Henry’s Achieving Classroom Excellence (ACE) initiative and demands greater achievement from students through testing programs as well as tougher course work and other accountability measures. The bill received a do pass recommendation from the full Appropriations Committee.
-SB 977 by Sen. Tom Adelson creates the Prescription Drug Reimportation Act that would allow Oklahoma pharmacies to reimport the less expensive drugs and creates a state Web site to assist Oklahomans looking to buy drugs from Canada and other industrialized nations. The bill received a do pass recommendation.
-SB 650 by Sen. Jonathan Nichols would expand the scope
of the crime of rape to include where the victim is an undergraduate
student under age 21 attending a college or university in Oklahoma or
is attending a public or private secondary school, regardless of the
person’s age, and engages in sexual intercourse with an employee
of the same college, university or school system unless the two persons
were legally married prior to enrollment or employment. The measure
failed to receive a do pass recommendation.
-SB 627 by Sen. Charlie Laster would authorize the court to order a defendant convicted of a domestic abuse crime to participate in counseling or undergo treatment. The bill received a do pass recommendation.
-SB 635 by Sen. Ted Fisher would allow the Department of Human Services to enter into lease purchase agreements to construct or renovate department office space. The bill received a do pass recommendation.
-CS for SB 918 by Sen. Jay Paul Gumm would create the Helping Oklahomans Prosper Economically (HOPE) fund. The legislation includes various tax relief measures and received a do pass recommendation from the Appropriations Committee.
-SB 997 by Sen. Judy Eason McIntyre would require the Department of Human Services to expand the pilot program, as funds are available, that serves children at high risk of abuse and neglect, to include at least one rural community that has the capacity to meet the needs of the children. The bill received a do pass recommendation.
-SB 1013 by Sen. Bernest Cain would require the Oklahoma Department of Human Services to evaluate each individual prior to placement in a long-term care facility. The bill received a do pass recommendation.
-HB 1762 by Rep. Joe Sweeden and Sen. J. Berry Harrison makes the strawberry the official state fruit. The measure passed by a vote of 96-1.
-HB 1265 by Rep. Thad Balkman and Sen. Jay Paul Gumm would prohibit the offering of tax-exempt proprietary inducements when negotiating for services of underwriters, bond or other legal counsel, financial advisors, consultants, a financial institution to serve as trustee, paying agent or any fiduciary capacity in connection with any program, indenture or general resolution of a state governmental entity. The bill passed by a vote of 84-12.
-HB 1278 by Rep. Ron Peters and Sen. David Myers would
require any residential occupancy built or retrofitted after November
1 that has bars, grills, covers, screens or similar devices placed over
window or another emergency exit must have the capability to be released
or removed from the inside without the use of a key or tool. The bill
passed by a vote of 92-2.
-HB 1502 by Rep. Paul Roan and Sen. Kenneth Corn would modify the fine for transporting an intoxicating beverage or low-point beer. The bill also prohibits any dangerous or deadly firearm at a residence or vehicle of a convicted felon. The measure passed by a vote of 97-0.
• The Senate met briefly to honor former Senator Norman Lamb and consider legislation. The full Senate will reconvene Monday, February 28th at 1:30 p.m.
-SR 7 by Sen. Todd Lamb commends the public career of former State Senator Norman Lamb and declares February 27, 2005 as Norman Lamb Day in Oklahoma. The resolution was unanimously adopted.
-SB 233 by Sens. Tom Adelson, Mike Morgan, and Johnnie Crutchfield and Reps. Chris Benge and Jim Newport makes an appropriation to the Oklahoma Health Care Authority. The bill passed by a vote of 41-0.
• Governor Brad Henry announced Monday the appointments to the seven-member Oklahoma Education Lottery Commission. Among those notable Oklahomans named were Cindy Ball, educator, James Orbison, attorney, William Paul, attorney, George R. Charlton, Jr., businessman, Linda Dzialo, Ph.D., educator, and Thomas F. Riley, Jr., CPA.
• Speaker Todd Hiett announced the new legislative deadlines for the House of Representatives. The House deadline to report bills from the Committee in the House of Origin is March 10th, 2005, while the Senate deadline is February 24th, 2005; the date for 3rd Reading in the House of Origin is March 17th, 2005 for both houses; report from Committee in the Opposite House is April 21st, 2005 for the House and April 7th, 2005 for the Senate; 3rd Reading in Opposite House is April 28th, 2005 for both the House and Senate.
• Members of the Association of Professional Oklahoma Educators (APOE) rallied at the Capitol on Monday. Lt. Governor Mary Fallin, State Superintendent Sandy Garrett, among others, spoke to the group about possible reform ideas.
• Tuesday several students, administrators and professors gathered at the Capitol in recognition of the Oklahoma Higher Education Day. The same day the Senate passed the Oklahoma Higher Education Bond and the measure has now been sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.