The Oklahoma Senate

Week In Review
Monday, March 14 to Thursday March 17, 2005

Monday, March 14

• The Senate convened to consider several pieces of legislation, including the following:

-FS for SB 217 by Sen. Johnnie Crutchfield, Sen. Mike Morgan, Rep. Chris Benge and Rep. Jim Newport appropriates to the Department of Education, beating the March 16th deadline to fund education first. The bill and emergency passed 43-0.

-SB 816 by Sen. Mary Easley and Rep. Jabar Shumante would make it illegal to communicate false information concerning a missing child to a law enforcement agency that causes or encourages the activation of an Amber Alert warning system. The bill was approved 42-0.

-SJR 4 by Sen. Jay Paul Gumm and Rep. John Carey would establish Bryan County as a foreign trade zone to use the county to conduct business. The resolution passed 40-0.

-SB 361 by Sen. Cliff Branan and Sen. Kenneth Corn would make return-to-work provisions for a member of the Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) receiving a public safety disability benefit subject to rules promulgated by the OPERS Board of Trustees. The bill passed 36-6.

-SB 703 by Sen. Richard Lerblance and Rep. Mike Mass would remove the requirement that an individual convicted of negligent homicide be 16 years of age or older. The title was stricken and the bill passed 42-0.

-SB 1006 by Sen. Jay Paul Gumm and Rep. Paul Roan would require the Oklahoma Department of Commerce to collaborate with an Oklahoma institution of higher education that offers a gunsmith curriculum to develop strategies to attract a firearms manufacturer to be located near that institution. The title was restored and the bill passed 42-0.

-SB 815 by Sen. Jim Wilson and Rep. Glen Bud Smithson would require any person convicted of arson to serve at least 80 percent of their sentence before becoming eligible for parole if the fire damages a building, structure or contents of historical value. The bill failed by a vote of 21-21.

-SJR 13 by Sen. Jeff Rabon and Rep. Fred Morgan would propose a constitutional amendment protecting the right of citizens to engage in rodeos and circuses and to hunt, trap, fish and take game in the state and authorizes the Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry to approve methods, practices and procedures. The resolution was adopted.

-SB 556 by Sen. Frank Shurden and Rep. Dale Turner would authorize the manufacture or storage of gaming machines that are authorized by the State-Tribal Gaming Act. The bill failed 21-22.

-SB 682 by Sen. Kenneth Corn and Rep. Lucky Lamons would expand the scope of crimes of assault with a dangerous weapon and using a firearm while committing a felony to include use of a paintball gun or tazer weapon. The bill and emergency passed 43-0.

-SB 539 by Sen. Angela Monson and Rep. Paul Roan would allow ambulance services based outside of this state that are licensed in good standing in their home state, to respond to an emergency request for care and transportation of a patient within this state where no local ambulance service is readily available. The bill and emergency passed 43-0.

-SB 378 by Sen. Daisy Lawler, Rep. Ann Coody and Rep. Joe Dorman would require the State Board of Education to adopt standards for a personal financial economics curriculum for high school graduation. The bill passed 32-0.

-SB 695 by Sen. Angela Monson and Rep. Mike Shelton would require the Oklahoma Lottery Commission to publish lottery prizes and expense reports to various state agencies and an oversight committee. The bill passed 42-0.

-SB 974 by Sen. Jim Wilson and Rep. Ben Sherrer would require the school districts to provide a 5 percent increase, upon availability of funds, to every support employee if the support employee is employed by the same school district for the 2005-2006 school year. The bill and emergency passed 41-1.

-SB 690 by Sen. Susan Paddack and Rep. Kris Steele would require the Department of Human Services to encourage public or private nonprofit agencies to provide services that improve information about and access to prescription drug assistance programs available through pharmaceutical manufactures and the federal government. The bill and emergency passed 36-5.

• The House of Representatives convened to consider legislation. Among those considered on the floor are the following:

-HB 1566 by Rep. Daniel Sullivan would exempt the Physicians Liability Insurance Company (PLICO) from state regulations requiring insurers to maintain sufficient reserves to pay off all potential claims. The bill passed 95-2.

-HB 1378 by Rep. Guy Liebman and Sen. Clark Jolley would remove the second Tuesday in March to dates on which special elections may be held by a county, school district, technology center school district, municipality or other entity authorized to call elections. The bill provides the second Tuesday in April be the date for special elections in 2006, 2007, and 2013. The bill and emergency passed 83-13.

-HB 1410 by Rep. Doug Cox and Sen. Charles Wyrick would allow a city or town that is an eligible, participating employer in the Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) to elect to stop participation in the system. The bill and emergency passed 87-9.

-HB 1748 by Rep. Daniel Sullivan and Sen. Jim Reynolds would remove the monetary requirement on public construction contracts and provides for progress payments to prime contractors in relation to the Fair Pay for Construction Act. The bill passed 85-12.

-HB 1889 by Rep. Fred Morgan and Sen. Charlie Laster would make attorneys responsible for expenses of taking depositions. The bill also modifies requirements for enrollment as an Oklahoma certified court reporter to include persons holding current national certification as a shorthand reporter or holding both an equivalent license from another state and national certification. The bill passed 96-1.

-HB 2050 by Rep. Todd Hiett and Sen. Cal Hobson would create an Oklahoma Higher Education Promise of Excellence Act of 2005 authorizing the Boards of Regents of institutions within the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education to issue bonds for capital projects for institutions in a manner similar to that used in the private sector. The bill was laid over.

-HB 1853 by Rep. Kris Steele and Sen. Susan Paddack would create an Rx for Oklahoma Act authorizing community action agencies, the Department of Human Services, county health departments and other entities and agencies to establish a statewide program to assist medically indigent sate residents with receiving prescriptions from drug manufacturers through assistance programs. The bill and emergency passed 98-0.

-HB 1963 by Rep. Kris Steele and Sen. Johnnie Crutchfield would create the Long-term Care Security Act and would require the Department of Corrections to notify the State Department of Health of any person that is required to register pursuant to the Sex Offender Registration Act who is seeking placement form a correctional facility to a long-term care facility in the state. The measure and emergency passed 98-0.

-HB 2054 by Rep. John Trebilcock and Sen. Glenn Coffee would expand the Affordable Access to Health Care Act to provide civil immunity for health care providers who, as a result of religious beliefs or moral conviction, refuse to perform a sterilization procedure, an abortion, an experimental medical procedure that destroys an in vitro human embryo or uses cells or tissue derived from the destruction of an in vitro human embryo, and many other provisions relating to human life. The bill would also make the provisions of Title 21, Section 864, effective upon cessation of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade. The bill passed 96-2.


Tuesday, March 15th

• The Senate met on Tuesday to continue floor action on bills. The following measures were heard:

-SB 755 by Sen. Debbe Leftwich and Rep. John Nance would rename the Oklahoma Quality Investment Act, which served as a pilot program for Dayton Tire, to the Oklahoma Specialized Quality Investment Act. The measure will allow Oklahoma manufacturers who have been in the state for at least ten years to enter into a five year quality investment agreement for capital costs. The bill and emergency passed 37-4.

-SB 409 by Sen. Jay Paul Gumm and Rep. Doug Miller would expand eligibility for income tax credits for historic hotel and newspaper plants to include other historic buildings. The bill passed 42-1.

-SB 294 by Sen. Mike Johnson and Rep. Wade Rousselot would authorize County Commissioners to receive free copies of statutes and session laws. The bill passed 42-0.

-SB 3 by Sen. Frank Shurden and Rep. Dale Turner would prohibit the dissemination of inaccurate information regarding the voting record of a candidate for state office. The bill failed 22-21.

-FS for SB 627 by Sen. Charlie Laster and Rep. Shane Jett would authorize the court to order a defendant convicted of a domestic abuse crime to participate in counseling or undergo treatment and creates and sets the penalty for the crime of domestic abuse by strangulation. The bill and emergency passed 40-2.

-SB 873 by Sen. Charlie Laster and Rep. Lance Cargill would create the Uniform Arbitration Act to establish uniform requirements for arbitration. The bill passed 43-0.

-FS for SB 613 by Sen. Kathleen Wilcoxson and Rep. Sally Kern would provide uninsured motorists with eligibility for victim’s compensation when injured in an accident if the driver was not cited for any traffic or criminal violation. The bill and emergency passed 38-2.

-SB 935 by Sen. Debbe Leftwich and Rep. Rebecca Hamilton would create a Victims Economic Security and Safety Act to promote the state’s interest in reducing domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking by enabling victims of domestic or sexual violence to maintain the financial independence necessary to leave abusive situations, achieve safety and minimize the physical and emotional injuries from domestic or sexual violence and to reduce the devastating economic consequences of domestic or sexual violence to employers and employees. The bill passed 39-0.

-SB 926 by Sen. Frank Shurden and Rep. Dale Turner would create an income tax credit for employing volunteer firefighters. The bill passed 38-0.

-SB 741 by Sen. Randy Bass and Rep. Trebor Worthen would require employers to demonstrate what portions, if any, of “Paid Time Off” is considered a separate compensable benefit. The bill failed to pass with a 22-21 vote.

-SB 720 by Sen. Tom Adelson and Rep. Ron Peters would create the Helping Oklahoma Pay for Energy (HOPE) Task Force. The task force will design and administration of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and make recommendations to improve the program’s ability to meet its goals. The bill passed 27-11.

-SB 841 by Sen. Scott Pruitt and Rep. Tad Jones would require the State Department of Education to contract for residential placement of a student when the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) team determines that a residential placement is necessary for the student to receive a free appropriate public education. The bill and emergency passed 43-0.

-SB 542 by Sen. Tom Adelson and Rep. Lucky Lamons would limit campaign contributions to $5,000 in any calendar year to any organization described in Section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code. The bill failed 22-21.

-FS for SB 929 by Sen. Kenneth Corn and Rep. Mike Wilt would require charitable and non-profit organizations and entities otherwise authorized by law to conduct telephone solicitations on behalf of the organization to have at least one member or employee residing within the county in which the call is received. The bill and emergency passed 33-10.

• The House convened to consider several Appropriations bills on Tuesday as well as the following pieces of legislation:

-HB 1001 by Rep. Susan Winchester and Sen. Bernest Cain appropriates $5 million to the Department of Tourism for the Oklahoma City National Memorial. The bill and emergency passed 97-0.

-HB 1228 by Rep. Guy Liebman and Sen. Clark Jolley would provide an income tax exemption for retirement benefits received by an individual whose Oklahoma adjusted gross income is $50,000 or less if filing single, head of household or married filing separately or $100,000 or less if filing as married filing jointly or qualifying widow. The bill passed 101-0.

-HB 1491 by Rep. Randy Terrill and Sen. Jim Reynolds would exempt all retirement income from the state income tax. The title was stricken and the bill passed 101-0.

-HB 1455 by Rep. Lee Denney and Sen. James Williamson would prohibit the recognition of common law marriage in Oklahoma. The measure passed 79-21.

-HB 1231 by Rep. Ray Young and Sen. Mike Johnson would set the penalty for child abuse, neglect, sexual abuse and sexual exploitation to one year to life imprisonment in the state penitentiary. The title was stricken and the bill passed 98-1.

-HB 1255 by Rep. Darrell Gilbert and Sen. Judy Eason McIntyre would authorize the Board of County Commissioners of any county having a population of more than 500,000, by resolution, to determine a curfew for juveniles that will apply to any unincorporated areas of the county that the board determines is necessary. The bill and emergency passed 101-0.

-HB 1287 would prohibit state agencies from purchasing computer software developed exclusively for the agency or the state, unless the vendor agrees to provide the source code for the software. The bill and emergency passed 100-0.

-HB 1298 by Rep. Gary Banz and Sen. Cliff Aldridge would increase the amount county commissioners may give employees as safety-related incentive awards from $100 to $250. The bill passed 101-0.

-HB 1303 by Rep. John Trebilcock and Sen. Brian Crain would make it mandatory in a hearing concerning the status of a child, for a court that determines a parent is able to pay the court, to adjudge the parent who has been served with notice of the hearing liable and accountable for the care and maintenance of their child/children. The bill passed 99-2.

-FS for HB 1492 by Rep. Fred Morgan and Sen. Susan Paddack would provide a waiver of tuition for students who serve in the Oklahoma National Guard. The title was stricken. The measure and emergency passed 101-0.

-HB 1554 by Rep. Dale DeWitt and Sen. Daisy Lawler would create a Commonsense Consumption Act to prevent frivolous lawsuits against manufacturers, packers, distributors, carriers, holders, sellers, marketers or advertisers of food products that comply with applicable statutory and regulatory requirements. The bill passed 100-0.


Wednesday, March 16th

• The Senate convened to consider legislation to continue to focus attention on floor action.

-SB 846 by Sen. Charlie Laster and Rep. Chris Hastings would modify penalties for workers’ compensation fraud. The measure provides that, except in cases involving corrective surgery or closed-head injury, no permanent partial disability 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 authorizes the Workers’ Compensation Court to order remediation and makes the court, instead of the Supreme Court, responsible for certifying persons eligible and qualified to serve as mediators. The measure includes many other reforms relating to workers’ compensation and addresses the issue of rising health care costs. The bill passed 25-21.

-FS for SB 213 by Sen. Johnnie Crutchfield, Sen. Mike Morgan, Rep. Chris Benge and Rep. Jim Newport makes general appropriations to the various agencies of the executive, legislative and judicial departments. The bill passed 25-21.

-FS for SB 806 by Sen. Frank Shurden and Rep. Al Lindley would legalize and regulate the practice of tattooing individuals 18 years or older. The bill would authorize the State Health Department to regulate tattoo parlors, which would be require licenses and fees to cover the costs of inspections. The bill would also make it illegal for anyone to tattoo or offer to tattoo any person under the age of 18, as well as banning body piercing on anyone younger than 18. The measure passed by a vote of 30-15.

-FS for SB 867 by Sen. Jay Paul Gumm and Rep. John Trebilcock would prohibit the waiver of fines for driving while a person’s license is canceled, denied, suspended or revoked. The measure would also make the installation of an ignition interlock device mandatory for a person found guilty of a second or subsequent violation of driving while under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substances as a prerequisite and condition of reinstatement, at the person’s own expense, on every motor vehicle operated by the person for a period of 12 months. The bill and emergency passed 43-0.

-SB 631 by Sen. Charles Wyrick and Rep. Terry Ingmire would require inmates assigned to electronic monitoring to pay the Department of Corrections for all or part of all costs while on electronic monitoring, based on ability to pay. The bill also requires any person that is in DOC custody or released to parole and is assigned to substance abuse treatment in the community, to be assigned electronic monitoring while in treatment. The bill and emergency passed 45-0.

-SB 819 by Sen. Frank Shurden and Rep. Jerry Ellis would provide that a property owner or business may not prohibit any legally authorized person in lawful possession of a firearm or concealed handgun from transporting and storing the firearm in a locked vehicle on any property set aside for any vehicle if the firearm is possessed, carried, transported and stored according to law. The bill and emergency passed 45-0.

-SB 990 by Sen. Bernest Cain and Rep. Doug Cox would create the Genetic Counseling Licensure Act and provides for administrative authority of the State Board of Health. The bill passed with the title stricken by a vote of 45-0.

-SCR 3 by Sen. Jeff Rabon and Rep. Paul Roan designates Acrocanthosaurus atokensis as the state dinosaur. The resolution was adopted.

-SB 610 by Sen. Jay Paul Gumm and Rep. Ryan Kiesel would create a tax credit for expenditures incurred by a contractor or initial homebuyer during the construction of an energy efficient residence with the initial sale price of $125,000 or less. The bill passed 33-9.

-SB 431 by Sen. Todd Lamb and Rep. Bill Case would create a Homeowner Construction Defect Protection Act. The bill would require upon notification by the homeowner the builder has 30 days to respond. The builder has to respond with a good faith estimate to repair, replace, or compensate the purchaser. The bill passed 35-7.

-SB 1014 by Sen. Angela Monson and Rep. Jabar Shumate would create the Commission on Patient Safety to allow medical data to be shared by all health care practitioners and facilities, patients to manage their own health records electronically, and promote public health by introducing health monitoring systems and enhancing research capabilities. The bill and emergency passed 41-0.

-SB 402 by Sen. Mary Easley and Rep. Jeannie McDaniel would prohibit an insurer from canceling, refusing to renew or increasing the premium of homeowner’s insurance policy that has been in effect 45 days or more because the insured has filed a first or second claim against the policy. The bill passed 33-9.

-SB 702 by Sen. Jeff Rabon and Rep. Randy Terrill states that if any person intentionally and knowingly participates in the preparation, dissemination, or broadcast of paid political advertising, campaign material, or a letter to a newspaper editor that is false be charged with a misdemeanor crime. If convicted of the crime, the individual will be charged a fine of up to $5,000 or imprisonment in the county jail for up to one year, or both punishments. The measure passed 31-15.

-SB 966 by Sen. Kathleen Wilcoxson and Rep. Ann Coody would modify the reading goal for Oklahoma public school to require that by July 1, 2008 and each year thereafter, 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 and emergency passed 43-3 with the title stricken.

-SB 366 by Sen. Angela Monson and Rep. Abe Deutschendorf provides that any substitute teacher employed to teach special education for the same assignment for more than 20 school days during a school year who does not hold a valid certificate to teach special education must be required to have specialized training as prescribed by the State Board of Education. The bill passed 27-18.

-SB 556 by Sen. Frank Shurden and Rep. Dale Turner would provide that the manufacture, exhibition or storage of machines and devices used to conduct gaming authorized by the State-Tribal Gaming Act or other gaming that may be lawfully conducted by an Indian Tribe in the state are lawful activities that may not be used as the basis for criminal prosecution. The bill passed 26-19.


• The House convened to pass legislation and then adjourned to focus on committee action.

-FS for HB 1205 by Sen. Johnnie Crutchfield, Sen. Mike Morgan, Rep. Chris Benge and Rep. Jim Newport makes general appropriations to the various agencies of the executive, legislative and judicial departments. The measure passed 97-1.

-HB 1875 by Rep. Jeff Hickman and Sen. Kathleen Wilcoxson would require the State Board of Education by July 1, 2006, to adopt a 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 measure requires the school district to adopt a policy by July 1, 2007. The bill and emergency passed 74-25.

-HB 1487 by Rep. Sue Tibbs and Sen. Jim Reynolds would require voters to show proof of identity when voting. The bill passed 62-38.

-HB 1547 by Rep. Kevin Calvey would reduce the top marginal income tax rate for persons using the Method I computation. The bill creates an economic development research endowment fund and an Oklahoma taxpayer relief revolving fund and requires deposit into each of the new funds of 50 percent of surplus funds in the constitutional reserve fund. The Oklahoma Science and Technology Research and Technology Board would administer funds in the economic development research endowment fund for activities that support research and the transfer of technology to the private sector. The bill and emergency passed 100-1.

-HB 1411 by Rep. Doug Cox and Sen. Susan Paddack would establish a Physician Assistant Scholarship Program, administered by the Physician Manpower Training Commission to encourage individuals to enter physician assistant education programs and to practice in rural and medically underserved areas of the state. The bill and emergency passed 98-0.

-HB 1218 by Rep. Jim Newport would modify apportionment of motor vehicle license and registration fees to provide for incremental increases in amounts apportioned to the state highway construction and maintenance fund. The bill passed 95-5 and the emergency passed 90-6.

-HB 1337 by Rep. James Covey and Sen. Todd Lamb would allow investigators hired to conduct investigations hired to conduct investigations for violations of the State Dental Act to be certified peace officers commissioned with all the powers and authority of peace officers. The bill passed 99-0.


Thursday, March 10th

• The Senate convened to consider several pieces of legislation to meet the deadline to take floor action on bills in the house of origin. The full Senate will reconvene Monday, March 21st at 10:00 a.m.

Index