The Oklahoma Senate

Week In Review
Monday, March 21 to Thursday March 23, 2005

Monday, March 21

• The Senate convened briefly and then adjourned to committee meetings.

-HB 1278 by Sen. David Myers and Rep. Ron Peters would require any residential occupancy built or retrofitted after November 1 that have installed bars, grills, covers, screens, or similar devices placed over emergency escape and rescue openings, bulkhead enclosures, windows or window wells, to be equipped with an emergency release or be removable from the inside with out the use of a key, tool or force greater than that which is required for normal operation of the escape and rescue openings. The bill received a do pass recommendation.

-HB 1608 by Sen. Cliff Branan and Rep. Doug Miller would authorize the Real Estate Commission to enter into contracts and agreements for the payment of food and other reasonable expenses pursuant to the State Travel Reimbursement Act necessary to host, conduct or participate in meetings or training sessions. The bill received a do pass recommendation.

-HB 1656 by Sen. Harry Coates and Rep. Danny Morgan would remove language authorizing package stores to purchase alcohol, spirits and beer in retail containers with a capacity of less than one-twentieth gallon if the containers are packaged with other containers and the total capacity is greater than one-twentieth gallon. The bill received a do pass recommendation.

-HB 1323 by Sen. Debbe Leftwich and Rep. Ray Young would modify the reference to the legislative business committees for purposes of the Oklahoma Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Amendments Act. The bill received a do pass recommendation.


• The House of Representatives focused action in committee hearings. The following legislation received a do pass recommendation:

-SB 265 by Sen. Bernest Cain and Rep. Susan Winchester would require local school boards of education to ensure elementary school students do not have access to foods of minimal nutritional value except on special occasions. School boards would also be required to ensure that middle and junior high students do not have access to such foods except after school, at events that take place in the evening and on special occasions, with the exception of diet soda with fewer than ten calories. Students in high schools will be provided with healthier alternatives as well. The measure received a do pass recommendation.

-SB 312 by Sen. Bernest Cain and Rep. Susan Winchester would direct the State Board of Education to require as a condition of accreditation, for school districts to provide 60 minutes of physical education each week for students in full-day kindergarten through the fifth grade. The bill received a do pass recommendation.

-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 was laid over.

Tuesday, March 22nd

• The Senate met on Tuesday to recommend and approve executive nominations. The Senate then adjourned to committee meetings.

-HB 1476 by Sen. Randy Bass and Rep. Ann Coody would provide an income tax exemption for retirement benefits received by a member of the U.S. Armed Forces. The bill sets the exemption at 50 percent of the benefits or $10,000, whichever is greater. The bill received a do pass recommendation.

-HB 1312 by Sen. Randy Bass and Rep. Ray McCarter would provide a sales tax exemption for sales of tangible personal property or services to honorably discharged veterans of any branch of the Armed Forces or Oklahoma National Guard and who have been certified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to have 100 percent permanent disability sustained during the call of duty. The bill received a do pass recommendation with the enacting clause stricken.

-HB 1233 by Rep. Chris Hastings and Sen. Ted Fisher would provide a sales tax exemption for federally tax-exempt nonprofit 501(c)(3) entities that assist and provide housing for the mentally or physically handicapped and receive at least 85 percent of their annual budgets from state or federal funds. The bill passed with the enacting clause stricken.

-HB 1680 by Sen. Jay Paul Gumm and Rep. Rob Johnson would increase the maximum of all tax credits for investment in agricultural cooperatives and associations from $1 million to $2 million. The bill would also prohibit recreational activities groups from receiving more than 15 percent of the allowed tax credits. The bill received a do pass recommendation with the enacting clause stricken.

• The House continued to focus action on committee hearings as well and considered the following pieces of legislation:

-SB 513 by Sen. Cliff Branan and Rep. Kenneth Miller would require professional computer technicians to report obscene material found on one’s computer involving children under the age of 18. The bill received a do pass recommendation.

-SB 644 by Sen. Jim Reynolds and Rep. Paul Roan would increase the maximum fine for pumping gasoline into a vehicle and leaving without paying from $100 to $500. The measure received a do pass recommendation.

-SB 663 by Sen. Jonathan Nichols and Rep. Thad Balkman would make it illegal to buy, sell, furnish, manufacture or possess an alcohol inhalation device, alcohol infuser or other device capable of causing a blood or breath alcohol concentration in the human body when inhaled directly into the central nervous system by mouth or nasal passages. The bill received a do pass recommendation.

-HR 1013 by Rep. Thad Balkman commends Congress and the President for their actions to protect the life of Terri Shiavo and urging U.S. District Judge James Whittemoore to order an immediate injunction to reinsert Shiavo’s feeding tube and to rehear Shiavo’s case. The bill unanimously passed the House of Representatives.


Wednesday, March 23rd

• The Senate convened briefly and then adjourned in order for the Senators to spend the holiday weekend with their family members in their districts. The Senate will reconvene Monday March 28th at 1:30 pm.
• In accordance with previous years, Senate offices will be closed March 25, 2005 as an in lieu holiday for President’s Day.

Other News


• Senator Cal Hobson resigned his seat as President Pro Tempore of the Senate on Wednesday. Senator Hobson made a motion to nominate Senator Mike Morgan to serve as President Pro Tempore for the remaining balance of the 50th Oklahoma Legislature. The motion was seconded by Senator Ted Fisher. Senator Owen Laughlin then made a motion to nominate Senator Glenn Coffee to serve the remaining balance of the 50th Oklahoma Legislature as President Pro Tempore and that motion was seconded by Senator Cliff Branan. By a vote of 25-19, Senator Mike Morgan was elected as the President Pro Tempore of the Oklahoma Senate.

Index