The Oklahoma Senate
Monday, March 7
• The Senate convened and approved 170 appropriations bills on Monday. They also considered several pieces of legislation, including the following:
-SB 799 by Sen. Clark Jolley and Rep. Thad Balkman would
raise the fine paid by those convicted of child restraint violations
from $10 to $50. The bill and emergency passed
-SB 329 by Sen. Charlie Laster and Rep. Fred Morgan would
provide that in a death penalty case in which an attorney or other than
a county indigent defender is assigned, total compensation for attorneys
who serve as lead-counsel and co-counsel may not exceed statutory limits
unless counsel establishes that the case is an exceptional one that
requires an extraordinary amount of time to litigate. The bill passed
-SB 540 by Sen. Randy Bass and Rep. Richard Morrissette would require that settlement agreements entered into on behalf of the Alcoholic Beverage Law Enforcement Commission include a requirement for payment of a $25 assessment to be deposited into the newly created ABLE Agent Equipment Revolving fund and be used to maintain equipment for agents. The bill was passed 42-3.
-SB 473 by Sen. Gilmer Capps would require state employees that receive compensatory time consistent with the federal act exhaust compensatory time prior to taking annual leave, unless the employee is subject to use annual leave due to the application of accumulation limits. The bill and emergency passed 35-9.
• The House of Representatives convened to consider legislation and also continued committee meetings. The House deadline for bills from the house of origin to receive a hearing is Thursday, March 10th. Among those considered on the floor and in committee are the following:
-HB 1656 by Rep. Danny Morgan and Sen. Harry Coates would remove language authorizing package stores to purchase alcohol, spirits and beer in retail containers with a capacity of more than one-twentieth gallon or in retail containers with a capacity of less than one-twentieth of a gallon if the containers are packaged with other containers and the total capacity is greater than one-twentieth. The bill passed 93-6.
-HB 1903 by Rep. Christ Hastings and Sen. Tom Adelson
would modify the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act to change the name of
the charitable auction license to the charitable auction or charitable
wine event license and authorizes licensees to conduct a wine event
consisting of one or more wine tasting events, a wine dinner or a wine
auction. The bill passed 89-10.
-HB 1532 by Rep. Dale DePue would create the Sexually Explicit Business and Escort Service Tax Act. A 10 percent tax would be imposed on sexually explicit businesses for admission fees, user fees, retail sales and sales of food and beverages. The bill would also impose a 10 percent tax on escort services for any transaction and applies to adult bookstores and video stores. The motion to reconsider the bill by Rep. Abe Deutschendorf failed.
-The House also approved several appropriations measures on Monday.
• The Senate met on Tuesday to continue floor action on bills. The following measures were heard:
-SB 982 by Sen. Mike Morgan and Rep. Barbara Staggs would create the Achieving Classroom Excellence (ACE) Act of 2005. The measure would require the State Board of Education to establish an Oklahoma mathematics improvement program to improve student mastery of the Priority Academic Student Skills (PASS) for sixth grade mathematics through Algebra I by enhancing public school teacher’s mastery of the subject content and process skills. The measure and emergency passed by a vote of 46-0.
-SB 265 by Sen. Bernest Cain and Rep. Susan Winchester would require local school boards of education to ensure that elementary school students do not have access to foods of little or no nutritional value except on special occasions. Middle and junior high school students must also not have access such foods except after school, at evening events and on special occasions, with the exception of diet sodas with fewer than ten calories per can. High school students would be supplied with healthier options in addition to foods with little or no nutritional value. The measure was amended to change the effective date to July 1, 2007. The bill passed 35-11.
-SB 498 by Sen. Scott Pruitt and Rep. Doug Miller would
allow a free hunting and fishing license to be issued to veterans who
are at least 100 percent disabled as determined by the U.S. Department
of Veterans Affairs. The bill passed 46-0.
-SB 715 by Sen. Todd Lamb and Rep. Terry Ingmire would raise the amount of money for victims of crime for counseling from $500 to $3,000 and burial expenses from $5,000 to $6,000. The title was stricken and the bill passed 45-0.
-SB 805 by Sen. Debbe Leftwich and Rep. Paul Roan would authorize the Department of Corrections to set and enforce corrective action for the monitoring of private prison operations and requires due diligence by private prisons. The bill passed 39-5.
-SB 531 by Sen. Scott Pruitt and Rep. Mike Wilt would
raise the cap for carryover funds of school districts with general operating
funds of at least $10 million from 8 percent to 14 percent. The title
was restored and the bill passed by a vote of 45-0.
-SB 572 by Sen. James Williamson and Rep. Ron Peters would create the Diabetes School Care Act. Training of diabetes care providers must be completed annually prior to the beginning of the school year. The measure would require public school districts and charter schools to provide information on the recognition and treatment of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia to all bus drivers responsible for transporting a student with diabetes. The bill passed 41-4.
-SB 312 by Sen. Bernest Cain and Rep. Susan Winchester would direct the State Board of Education to require, as a condition of accreditation, that school districts provide at least 60 minutes of physical education a week for full-day kindergarten through fifth grade and grades sixth through twelve may include athletic programs. The bill passed 41-4.
-SB 17 by Sen. Kenneth Corn and Rep. Mike Shelton would direct the Military Department to create an Oklahoma National Guard Relief Program to provide Guard members with financial relief for approved expenses and would provide a tax check-off for donations to the program. The bill passed 46-0.
-SB 651 by Sen. Frank Shurden and Rep. Guy Liebmann would remove Veterans Day from the dates retail package stores must remain closed and removes New Year’s Day and Memorial Day from the dates wholesalers are prohibited from selling or making deliveries to such establishments. The bill passed 25-20.
• The House convened to consider legislation and then adjourned to continue committee hearings.
-HB 1746 by Rep. Daniel Sullivan and Sen. Randy Brogdon would provide that any nondiscriminatory policy developed and implemented by an agency or governmental entity that is based on sexual preference be null and void. A motion for the bill to be advanced and the measure failed 58-38 to receive a two-thirds vote to be engrossed and advanced to third reading.
-HB 1803 by Rep. Lance Cargill would provide an income tax credit for employers who provide paid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. The credit would be limited to 20 percent of the salaries or wages paid by an employer for a maximum of six weeks in a 12-month period. The bill passed 91-7.
-HB 1516 by Rep. Richard Morrissette and Sen. Randy Bass would prohibit any person employed by state or local entities from being held personally liable in garnishment actions unless failure, neglect or refusal to answer a garnishment summons is willful. The bill passed 97-0.
-HB 2015 by Rep. Jim Newport and Sen. Scott Pruitt would authorize the posting of the Ten Commandments in any public building of the state or a political subdivision. The bill passed 96-0.
-The House also passed 15 appropriations measures on Tuesday.
-CS for HB 1808 by Rep. Lance Cargill would create the Oklahoma Government Modernization and Reorganization Act of 2005 and would create a nine member Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission. The Commission would be responsible for evaluating state agencies to ensure the agencies are using their state appropriated dollars for the specifications made in the appropriation request. The bill failed to receive a do pass recommendation from the committee.
-CS for 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 license to sell low-point beer
to three years. The measure would also revoke the driver licenses and
driving privileges of persons under the age of 21. The bill failed to
receive a do pass recommendation from the committee.
• The Senate convened to consider legislation to continue to focus attention on floor action.
-SB 663 by Sen. Jonathan Nichols and Rep. Thad Balkman would make it unlawful to buy, sell, furnish, manufacture or possess an alcohol inhalation device, alcohol infuser or other device capable of causing a blood or breathe alcohol concentration in the human body when inhaled directly into the central nervous system by mouth or nasal passages. The bill and emergency passed 44-0.
-SB 11 by Sen. Kathleen Wilcoxson and Rep. Randy Terrill would make finger imaging on a driver license or identification card optional. The bill passed 27-17.
-SB 1001 by Sen. Harry Coates and Rep. Guy Liebman would
provide payment for cost attributed to delay of work performed under
the Fair Pay for Construction Act. The bill passed 43-0.
-SB 337 by Sen. Robert Kerr and Rep. Dale DeWitt would
include an exemption of 65 percent of the cost of professional services
rendered specifically for manufacturing a product under the Inventor’s
Assistance Act. The bill passed 43-0.
-SB 518 by Sen. Kathleen Wilcoxson and Rep. Thad Balkman would make it unlawful for any person authorize to sell low-point beer at a price lower than the price regularly charged or an unlimited number of drinks for a fixed price except at private functions. If convicted, the fine for such violation would be $500 for each offense. The bill and emergency passed 44-0.
-SB 504 by Sen. Brian Crain and Rep. Thad Balkman would
call for a presiding judge or designee to determine the eligibility
of an offender for a drug court program instead of the district attorney.
The bill and emergency passed 33-11.
-SB 830 by Sen. Debbe Leftwich and Rep. Richard Morrissette would increase the amount of the fee imposed by a court to be placed in a victims impact panel program to no less than $15 and no more than $50. The bill and emergency passed 44-0.
-SB 569 by Sen. Kathleen Wilcoxson and Rep. Odilia Dank would require children entering any program funded with government monies from birth through entry into kindergarten be given an identification number by the State Department of Education’s statewide student record system program for the purpose of conducting program-related and academic research with the specific goal of determining the impact of the programs and school readiness. The bill and emergency passed 41-3.
-HB 2047 by Representative Todd Hiett and Sen. Glenn Coffee would create a Justice and Common Sense Act of 2005 that sets the maximum percentage of the net amount of a judgment or settlement that an attorney may charge as a contingency fee shall be up to 30 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 measure also includes several other lawsuit reforms and many amendments were made to the bill, which passed 62-38.
-HB 1746 by Rep. Daniel Sullivan and Sen. Randy Brogdon would provide that any nondiscriminatory policy developed and implemented by an agency or governmental entity that is based on sexual preference to be null and void. The measure passed 65-28.
-HB 1242 by Rep. Chris Hastings and Sen. James Williamson would provide that an inmate upon whom an electronic monitoring device has been placed will be considered to have escaped if the inmate cannot be located within a 24-hour period or if he or she fails to report to a correctional facility or institution as directed. The bill was laid over.
-HB 1321 by Rep. John Nance and Sen. Jonathan Nichols would add the Oklahoma State Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control to the list of agencies that may request information pursuant to the Uniform Tax Procedure Code. The bill passed 93-7.
-HB 1380 by Rep. Thad Balkman, Rep. Greg Piatt and Sen. Brian Crain would expand the scope of the crime of forcible sodomy and rape to include such offenses committed by a person 25 years of age or older against a person under 18 years of age. The bill passed 97-1.
-HB 1468 by Rep. David Braddock and Sen. Charlie Laster would modify requirements for courts to report traffic convictions to the Department of Public Safety to exempt felony drug offenses for which the offender is eligible for participation in an approved drug court program. The bill passed 98-0.
Thursday, March 10th
• The Senate convened to consider several pieces of legislation. The full Senate will reconvene Monday, March 14th at 10:00 a.m.
• Jared Fogle, nationally known nutritional spokesperson for Subway, was the featured speaker at a news conference Tuesday sponsored by the Oklahoma Fit Kids Coalition. Fogle spoke in favor of two bills authored by Senator Bernest Cain and Representative Susan Winchester, SB 265 and SB 312. SB 265 works to eliminate elementary students from having access to foods of low or no nutritional value and recommends healthier options to be offered in junior high and high schools as well. SB 312 would require 60 minutes of physical education to be provided for elementary students in full day kindergarten through the fifth grade and recommends the same be offered at junior high and high schools, with athletic programs accepted as an alternative.
• Wednesday was WorkForce Oklahoma Day at the Capitol where regional workforce groups come to lobby legislators. Their purpose is to improve the quality of the workforce, reduce welfare dependency and enhance productivity and competitiveness throughout Oklahoma.