The Oklahoma Senate
Monday, February 28
• The committee process for bills to be heard in the house of origin has expired in the Senate and members are now focused on floor action. The following bills were heard on the Senate floor Monday:
-SB 848 by Sen. Tom Adelson and Rep. Thad Balkman would create the Oklahoma Hospital Discount for Qualified Self-Pay Patients Act to require hospitals to establish a discount program for such patients who have household incomes of up to 400 percent of federal poverty guidelines. The bill was approved by a vote of 27-15.
-SB 413 by Sen. Johnnie Crutchfield and Rep. Kevin Calvey would provide licensed architects and professional engineers to be immune from liability for personal injury, wrongful death, property damage or other loss on services rendered on structures involved in natural disasters, if the work is approved by a national, state or local public official, law enforcement official, public safety official or building inspection official. The bill was passed as an emergency by a vote of 43-0.
-SB 587 by Sen. Ted Fisher and Rep. Bill Case would require anyone elected for the first time to a position of a municipality to attend an institute for municipal officials within one year of their election. The bill passed by a vote of 41-2.
-SB 464 by Sen. Scott Pruitt and Rep. Pam Peterson makes GUSTY the official state cartoon character. The bill was passed as an emergency measure by a vote of 43-0.
-SR 8 by Sen. Richard Lerblance honors Bob Craig, wishing him well in his retirement from full-time Senate service. The resolution was adopted.
-SB 24 by Sen. Clark Jolley and Rep. Thad Balkman would change the requirement for driver license numbers to require the assignment of alphanumeric identification. The bill was passed by a vote of 42-0.
-HCR 1001 by Rep. John Wright and Sen. Ron Justice waives the 30-day legislative review period that is usually required for proposed rules. The measure was then sent to the House for engrossment and then filed with the Secretary of State.
-SB 29 by Sen. Earl Garrison and Rep. Wes Hilliard would increase the cap from $250 to $750 on non-stationary items that must be included in the inventory required to be kept by a Board of County Commissioners. The bill failed by a vote of 22-21.
-SB 280 by Sen. Kenneth Corn and Rep. Neil Brannon would provide for an otherwise eligible employee of an employer participating in the Teacher’s Retirement System of Oklahoma who chose not to participate in the system because the member was age 55 or older at the time of employment may purchase creditable service for the period employed and begin actively participating in the system. The bill was amended and received approval by a vote of 44 to 0.
-SB 360 by Sen. Kenneth Corn and Rep. Joe Sweeden would modify military credit eligibility requirements for members of the Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System. The bill was passed with an emergency measure by a vote of 44 to 0.
-HB 1388 by Rep. Richard Morrisette would authorize the court to waive the publication requirements for a change of name of a person for good cause, which would include cases of domestic violence in which the court proceedings are sealed. The measure passed by a vote of 98-1.
-HB 2033 by Rep. Fred Morgan and Sen. Glenn Coffee would create the Oklahoma Educator Protection Act and states legislative findings that it is in the public interest to enact legislation that would deter meritless lawsuits against Oklahoma teachers. The bill and the emergency passed by a vote of 93-5.
-The House also approved a number of appropriations measures on Monday.
-CS for HB 1431 by Rep. Thad Balkman would expand the definition of “net proceeds” as funding for the treatment of compulsive gambling disorder and educational programs related to such a disorder. The measure received a do pass recommendation from the committee.
-CS for HB 1357 by Rep. Randy Terrill would modify the eligibility requirements for the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program (OHLAP) to allow home-schooled students who have completed within the previous three years a home-based educational program and received a composite score of 22 on the American College Test. The bill also includes provisions for students who were in a home-based education program that did not offer all of the core curriculum courses. The measure received a do pass recommendation.
-HB 1627 by Rep. Mike Wilt extends the date from April 10th to May 15th when boards of education must notify teachers that a recommendation has been made not to re-employ a teacher for the ensuing school year. The measure was amended and received a do pass recommendation.
-CS for HB 1649 by Rep. Susan Winchester would prohibit the use of a debit card as a way to purchase lottery tickets. The measure received a do pass recommendation.
-CS for HB 1393 by Rep. Sally Kern would order a parent whose child is in grades one through six and has unexcused absences from school to perform community service not to exceed 40 hours to benefit the school in which the child attends. The measure was amended to change the community service hours from 40 to 20. The bill received a do pass recommendation as amended.
-CS for HB 1647 by Rep. Susan Winchester would create the Oklahoma Kids Fitness Challenge Act and would require the State Board of Education to establish a physical activity program for public school students in the fifth grade. The bill received a do pass recommendation.
-HB 1704 by Rep. Ann Coody would require the core curriculum adopted by the State Board of Education for students in kindergarten through third grade to include standards for instruction that are focused on reading and mathematics. The curriculum would begin in the 2008-09 school year if enacted. The bill received a do pass recommendation.
-CS for HB 1503 by Rep. Paul Roan would provide an exemption for EMT/basic, EMT/intermediate, and EMT/paramedic licensed or certified in another state, territory, or the District of Columbia from requirements to be licensed personally in Oklahoma if the out-of-state ambulance authority or ambulance service they are employed by has a contract or agreement with a city, town or political subdivision to transport patients. The bill received a do pass recommendation.
-HB 2054 by Rep. John Trebilcock would establish a trigger law to reactivate Oklahoma’s laws against abortion in the event the U.S. Supreme Court overturns its 1973 decision in Roe vs. Wade to legalize abortion. The bill received a do pass recommendation.
Tuesday, March 1st
• The Senate met on Tuesday to continue floor action on bills. The following measures were heard:
- SJR 20 by Sen. Bernest Cain and Rep. Debbie Blackburn recognizes the flag of the former Republic of Vietnam as the official flag of the Vietnamese-American community in the state. The resolution was adopted by a vote of 44 to 0.
-SB 268 by Sen. Johnnie C. Crutchfield and Rep. Neil Brannon would include school district superintendents in the education employee flexible benefit program. The bill was passed as an emergency measure 44 to 1.
-SB 328 by Sen. Charlie Laster and Rep. Fred Morgan would give jurisdiction over cases involving deprived children to a district court with juvenile or domestic docket responsibility. The bill was passed 45 to 0.
-SB 944 by Sen. Charlie Laster and Rep. Shane Jett would create a statewide Nine-One-One Advisory Board to oversee development and operation of an emergency nine-one-one system in the state. The bill was passed as an emergency measure 45 to 0.
-SB 420 by Sen. Kathleen Wilcoxson and Rep. Marian Cooksey would require that information provided by the Commission for Teacher Preparation regarding the Education Leadership Oklahoma program emphasize recruiting efforts toward teachers at schools on the school improvement list. The bill was passed as an emergency measure 32 to 13.
-SB 807 by Sen. Glen Coffee and Rep. Fred Morgan would add age ranges to convictions for a second offense of forcible sodomy for the purpose of punishment and prohibitions to probation. The measure adds certain acts committed by minors as sodomy or rape offenses. The bill was passed as an emergency measure 43 to 0.
-SJR 5 by Sen. Jay Paul Gumm and Rep. Trebor Worthen proposes a constitutional amendment to prohibit a legislator incarcerated for any period of time during his or her term of office from receiving compensation from the state or being eligible to participate in any compensation program funded in whole or in part with state revenues during the period of such incarceration. In the event the legislator is subsequently acquitted, any compensation withheld from such member would be paid. The resolution was passed with a vote of 45 to 0.
-SB 344 by Sen. Bernest Cain and Rep. Opio Toure would provide an exemption from the requirement for payment of alcoholic beverage license fees for distilled and/or rectified spirits for personal use. The bill also reduces the annual fee for a distiller or rectifier license from $3,125 to $1,250 and allows restaurants and retail package stores to purchase spirits directly from an Oklahoma distiller and/or rectifier. The bill was passed by a vote of 36 to 10.
-SB 557 by Sen. Mike Morgan and Rep. Opio Toure would authorize the Oklahoma 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 in the State Capitol. The bill was passed 42-3.
-SB 442 by Sen. Frank Shurden and Rep. Danny Morgan would require that at least one-third of Oklahoma winemakers’ product consist of grapes, berries and other fruits and vegetables grown in Oklahoma. The bill was approved by a vote of 43-0.
-SB 425 by Sen. David Myers and Rep. Dale DePue would prohibit a person who accepts a check for a consumer transaction from including on the check the person's driver license number, date of birth, Social Security number or credit card number. The title was stricken and the bill was passed with a vote of 25 to 19.
-SB 913 by Sen. Kathleen Wilcoxson and Rep. Lisa Joe Billy would create a Teacher Certification and Evaluation Standards Task Force to study the teacher certification standards and levels, alternative and additional certification requirements, renewal requirements and criteria for teacher evaluation. The bill was passed as an emergency measure 44 to 0.
• The House convened to consider legislation and then adjourned to continue committee hearings.
-HB 1532 by Rep. Dale DePue would impose a 10 percent tax on sexually explicit businesses for admission fees, user fees, retail sales and sales of food and beverages. The measure also imposes a 10 percent tax on escort services for any transaction that involves providing an escort to another individual and a 10 percent tax would also be imposed on adult bookstores and adult video stores. The bill passed by a vote of 76 to 18.
-HJR 1007 by Rep. John Smaligo and Sen. Nancy Riley calls for a Constitutional Convention to alter, revise or amend the present constitution of the State of Oklahoma or to propose a new constitution. The measure passed with a vote of 78-18.
-HB 1692 by Rep. Kevin Calvey would provide sales tax exemptions to neighborhood associations. The bill was amended by Rep. Rebecca Hamilton to exempt pro-life pregnancy centers from paying sales tax on goods used to aid women. The amendment was adopted and the bill passed by a vote of 96 to 0.
-HB 1013 by Rep. Larry Glenn would increase the statute of limitations from seven years to twelve years for rape, sodomy, child abuse and lewd behavior involving children. The bill passed through the House Corrections Committee.
-HB 1970 by Rep. Fred Perry would increase the penalty for hazing from a maximum $1,500 fine to a minimum $2,500 fine and would increase the minimum from one year to two years the period of forfeiture of all rights and privileges of being an organization that is organized or operating at the public or private school or at the institution of higher education. The bill received a do pass recommendation.
-HB 2023 by Rep. Lance Cargill would require satisfactory performance on certain tests to graduate from high school and prohibits issuance of a diploma to students who do not perform satisfactorily on the tests. The measure provides for a certificate of attendance and completion for certain students. The bill received a do pass recommendation.
-HB 2047 by Rep. Todd Hiett and Sen. Glen Coffee would set the maximum percentage of the net amount of a judgment or settlement that an attorney may charge as a contingency fee to be 30 percent for a judgment or settlement and not to exceed $250,000, 20 percent for a judgment or settlement exceeding $250,000 to $1.25 million, and 10 percent for a judgment or settlement exceeding $1.25 million. The bill received a do pass recommendation.
-HB 1294 by Rep. Lucky Lamons and Sen. Jay Paul Gumm would prohibit false reports of missing children that activate an early alert warning system and provides for a felony punishment of a maximum of one-year imprisonment in the county jail and /or a fine of at least $1,000. The bill received a do pass recommendation.
-HB 1541 by Rep. Ron Peterson states that if an uninsured
driver is involved in an accident, recovery will be limited to medical
recovery damages, lost wages and property damages. No awards will be
allowed for non-economic damages, also known as suffering. The measure
received a do pass recommendation.
• The Senate convened to consider legislation to continue to focus attention on floor action.
-SB 958 by Sen. Jay Paul Gumm and Rep. James Covey is the Helping Oklahomans Prosper Economically (HOPE) plan. The proposal creates a back to school sales tax holiday on clothing items less than $100, allows corporations to deduct from Oklahoma taxable income for the amount of qualifying gains receiving capital treatment earned by the corporation during the taxable year and included in the federal taxable income, reduces taxes for retirees and many other tax breaks for Oklahoma’s working families. The bill was approved by a vote of 44 to 2.
-HCR 1005 by Rep. Lucky Lamons, Sen. Tom Adelson, Sen. Cal Hobson and Sen. Stratton Taylor praises and commends Madison Maxey for her achievements in Chinese and Japanese languages as well as her selection to represent Oklahoma and the U.S. as a diplomat to Japan with the Youth for Understanding Organization. The resolution was adopted.
-SB 918 by Sen. Jay Paul Gumm and Rep. James Covey would create the economic development fund and a taxpayer relief fund. The bill was approved by a vote of 45 to 1.
-SB 259 by Sen. Bernest Cain and Rep. Ron Peters would
require the Commission for Human Services to promulgate rules for the
operation of community-based programs for persons with developmental
disabilities, including rules regarding the delivery of health-related
services, supportive assistance and safe storage and administration
of medications by community service workers. The bill was approved by
a vote of 42 to 0.
-SB 403 by Sen. Jim Wilson and Rep. Doug Miller would
modify the purpose for expenditures from the Oklahoma Tourism Promotion
Revolving Fund to require that all monies expended from the fund to
reflect a consistent brand and image in promotion of Oklahoma tourism.
The bill passed by a vote of 43 to 0.
-SB 332 by Sen. Susan Paddack and Rep. Doug Cox would remove limits on post-graduate medical training programs that may be approved by the State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision. The bill passed by a vote of 40 to 0.
-SB 603 by Sen. Kenneth Corn and Rep. Ray McCarter would
require political candidates to post a deposit for cleaning up the political
signs in roadways and would assess a fee for signs not picked up by
candidates. The bill failed 16 to 28.
-FS for SB 513 by Sen. Cliff Branan and Rep. Kenneth Miller would require computer technicians to report obscene material found on a computer by telephone within 36 hours if the material involves a child under the age of 18. The bill was passed as an emergency measure by a vote of 46 to 0.
-SB 789 by Sen. Charlie Laster and Rep. Fred Morgan would allow an employer to plead or prove that the injury was due to the contributory negligence of the employee if the employee was under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substance at the time of the injury. The will was passed 45 to 0.
-SB 824 by Sen. Debbe Leftwich and Rep. Paul Roan would require private prison facilities to have written emergency plans and mutual aid agreements between the facility and state and local law enforcement agencies, including the Department of Corrections and the Department of Public Safety. The bill was passed as an emergency by a vote of 45 to 0.
-HB 1004 by Rep. Bill Case and Sen. Glenn Coffee would repeal the Oklahoma Municipal Employee Collective Bargaining Act. The measure passed by a vote of 59 to 39 but the emergency failed by a vote of 56 to 42.
-HB 1257 by Rep. Pam Peterson and Sen. Kathleen Wilcoxson would create an Oklahoma Unborn Victims Act of 2005 and would authorize recovery of damages for the wrongful death of an unborn child, unless the cause of death was committed during a legal and consented abortion by the mother. The bill passed by a vote of 97 to 0.
-HB 1258 by Rep. Pam Peterson and Sen. James Williamson would establish the crime of prescribing RU-486 for the purpose of inducing an abortion or enabling another person to induce an abortion, unless prescribed by a physician and all federal requirements are met. The measure was amended and passed by a vote of 98 to 0.
-HB 1403 by Rep. Mike Thompson and Sen. Clark Jolley would double the fine if a person is convicted of a violation of being under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substance and is at the time of the violation transporting a child aged 13 or younger. Te bill passed 90 to 6.
-FS for HB 1543 by Rep. Kevin Calvey and Sen. James Williamson would create a Woman’s Right to Know Act to prohibit abortions in the state except with voluntary and informed consent of the female for whom the abortion is being performed. The bill and emergency passed 91 to 3.
-CS for HB 2050 by Rep. Todd Hiett would create the Oklahoma Higher Education Promise of Excellence Act of 2005. The measure received a do pass recommendation.
-HB 13723 by Rep. John Wright would allow citizens to elect a school board member as the position becomes available. The bill received a do pass recommendation.
• The Senate convened to consider several pieces of legislation. The full Senate will reconvene Monday, March 7th at 1:30 p.m.
• Approximately 700 mental health patients gathered at the Capitol on Tuesday to rally for increased awareness of mental health issues. The event was coordinated by the Oklahoma Mental Health Consumer Council along with several other mental health advocacy organizations in an effort to educate legislators on the severe need for basic mental health services.
• The second report on women incarcerated in Oklahoma was released on Wednesday. The study and report were issued under the authority of SJR 48 authored by Sen. Debbe Leftwich and Rep. Barbara Staggs in the 2004 legislative session. Participants of the study are from three women’s correctional facilities across the state – Eddie Warrior, Hillside and Mabel Bassett. The second report focused on the issues children must deal with due to their mother’s incarceration.