The Oklahoma Senate
Monday, April 4th
•• The Senate convened to consider two resolutions and then adjourned to committee meetings to meet the April 7th deadline to consider bills from the house of origin.
-HB 1004 by Sen. Glenn Coffee and Rep. Bill Case would repeal the Oklahoma Municipal Employee Collective Bargaining Act that was approved and signed by the Governor during the last legislative session. The do pass motion failed by a tie vote of 3-3.
-CS for HB 1452 by Sen. Jeff Rabon and Rep. Greg Piatt
would modify certain licensing exemptions and continuing education requirements
for mortgage brokers, and excludes licensed mortgage loan originators
and brokers who are paid on a commission basis from provisions of the
Workers’ Compensation Act. The bill received a do pass recommendation.
-HB 1875 by Sen. Kathleen Wilcoxson and Rep. Jeff Hickman would require the State Board of Education 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 measure gives the Board of Education until July 1, 2006 to adopt the action. The title was stricken and the bill received a do pass recommendation.
-HB 1647 by Sen. Daisy Lawler and Rep. Susan Winchester creates an Oklahoma Kids Fitness Challenge Act that requires the State Board of Education to establish a physical education program to require fifth grade students either to do 25 sit-ups in two minutes at least three times per week, every week during the school year or walk at least 25 miles per week, every week during the school year. The bill received a do pass recommendation.
-CS for HB 1837 by Sen. Charlie Laster and Rep. Shane Jett would authorize local boards of education to enter into written contracts with those who are not certified or licensed to teach by the State Board of Education as long as the person is enrolled in an education degree program at an institution of higher education and is actively in the process of securing certification of licensure. The bill received a do pass recommendation.
-CS for HB 1858 by Sen. Glenn Coffee and Rep. Fred Morgan would allow judges to be employed by a college or university within the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education as a full or part time member of the faculty or as a teacher in a common school or career technology education entity without suspension of retirement benefits. The bill received a do pass recommendation with the title stricken.
-HB 1434 by Sen. Frank Shurden and Rep. Mike Wilt would remove authority for Municipal and District Attorneys to seek reimbursement of incarceration costs from inmates. The bill was approved.
-HB 1298 by Sen. Cliff Aldridge and Rep. Gary Banz would increase the amount County Commissioners may give employees as safety-related incentive awards from $100 to $250. The bill was reported do pass.
-CS for HB 1834 by Sen. Charlie Laster and Rep. Shane Jett would create a 16-member Statewide Nine-One-One Advisory Board to secure resources for the creation, operation, expansion, and cooperative undertaking of local public safety answering points; secure and direct the distribution of public funds and grants as needed; facilitate information sharing among public safety answering points; create and maintain best practices databases for public safety answering point operations; encourage equipment and technology sharing among small jurisdictions. The bill received a do pass recommendation.
-SB 293 by Sen. Glenn Coffee and Rep. Fred Morgan repeals
the Registration of Out-of-State Attorneys Act that was approved under
provisions of the tort reform measure during the 2004 legislative session.
The bill and emergency passed 95-1.
-SB 564 by Sen. Jay Paul Gumm and Rep. Thad Balkman would allow for court-appointed special advocates to inspect juvenile court records without a court order. The bill received a do pass recommendation.
-CS for SB 966 by Sen. Kathleen Wilcoxson and Rep. Ann Coody modifies the reading goal for Oklahoma public schools to require that, by July 1, 2008, and each year thereafter, all third-grade students will read at or above grade level by the end of their third grade year, excluding up to 15 percent of those students with an individualized education program. The title was restored and the bill was approved.
-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 that 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 title was restored and the measure was approved by the committee.
• The Senate met on Tuesday and also held committee hearings. The following measures were approved:
-SCR 18 by Sen. Kenneth Corn and Rep. Ryan Kiesel calls upon Oklahoma’s Congressional delegation to oppose the restructuring of the Social Security Trust Fund. The resolution was adopted by a vote of 24-20.
-HB 2046 by Sen. Scott Pruitt, Reps. Todd Hiett, Fred Morgan and Mike Thompson makes several changes to the state’s workers’ compensation laws. Sen. Charlie Laster made an amendment to the measure by deleting new definitions relating to the compensability, and therefore keeping the current definitions in place. Sen. Laster made another amendment on page 116, line 30 ½ by adding a new subsection D, which prohibits an employer or attorney for an insurance carrier from contracting an employee who is not represented by counsel in relation to any claim for compensation. The amendment also inserts a new subsection G on page 119, line 13 ½, which set a limit of $75 per hour or not to exceed $5,000 on claims for legal services. A third amendment was made by Sen. Laster on page 52, line 11 ½, by adding a new subsection E, which states an employer must pay the costs of the fees related to the Ombudsman Program. The amendments were adopted and the measure passed the Judiciary Committee by a vote of 9-0.
-HB 2047 by Sen. Glenn Coffee and Rep. Todd Hiett would create the Justice and Common Sense Act of 2005. Sen. Charlie Laster moved to amend the legislation by deleting all language and inserting the language from Governor Henry’s lawsuit reform bill. The amendment was adopted 5-4. The bill received a do pass recommendation by a vote of 5-4.
-HB 1879 by Sen. Frank Shurden and Rep. Fred Morgan would
limit the authority of the Attorney General to initiate or appear in
an action, cause or proceeding in which the interests of the state or
the people of the state are at issue if requested by the governor, the
legislature, or either branch of government, but allows the Attorney
General to initiate or appear in a civil proceeding without such request
if specifically authorized by statute. The measure was amended by Sen.
Scott Pruitt by deleting Section 1 and inserting a new Section 1, requiring
the Attorney General to obtain approval from the governor before employing
outside counsel to prosecute any suit brought on behalf of the state.
The amendment failed and Sen. Shurden withdrew the bill.
-HB 1426 by Sen. Mary Easley and Rep. Rex Duncan would modify requirements for motor vehicle manufacturer warranties and the policy for the return of motor vehicles under the “Lemon Law.” The bill received a do pass recommendation.
-HB 1450 by Sen. Todd Lamb and Rep. Rex Duncan would change the registration requirements in the Sex Offenders Registration Act to ensure out-of-state sex offenders who were already incarcerated when the law took place fall under the registration requirements. The measure received a do pass recommendation.
-HB 1554 by Sen. Daisy Lawler and Rep. Dale DeWitt 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 measure provides immunity from civil liability for entities for any claim arising out of weight gain, obesity, a health condition associated with weight gain or obesity or other generally known condition allegedly caused by or allegedly likely to result from long-term consumption of food. The provisions of the act would apply to all covered claims pending on November 1st and all claims filed thereafter regardless of when the claim arose. The title was stricken and the measure was approved.
-HB 1860 by Sen. Jim Wilson and Rep. Gus Blackwell would allow any public body to hold meetings by videoconference where each board member of the public body is visible to each other and the public through a video monitor, so long as the quorum of the public body is present in person at the site of each meeting. Sen. Williamson amended the measure by inserting a new section 2 that creates a Joint Task Force on Teleconferencing, Videoconferencing and the Open Meetings Act to study the use of teleconferences and videoconferences in conducting meetings of public bodies. The bill passed as amended.
-SB 799 by Sen. Clark Jolley, Rep. Thad Balkman and Rep.
Bill Nations would raise the fine paid by individuals convicted of child
restraint violations from $10 to $50. The measure was approved by a
vote of 93-3.
-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 medication by community service workers who have successfully completed
approved competency-based training. The measure was approved by a vote
-SB 440 by Sen. David Myers and Rep. Dale DeWitt directs that a copy of the sex offender registry be provided to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and authorizes the State School Superintendent to copy and distribute certain information to schools. The title was restored and the bill and emergency passed 98-0.
-SB 539 by Sen. Angela Monson and Rep. Paul Roan allows ambulance services based outside of this state that is licensed in good standing in its home state to respond to an emergency request for care and transportation of a patient within this state provided no local ambulance service is readily available. The ambulance providers would not be required to have staff licensed in Oklahoma so long as all staff meets the licensure requirements in the state of origin. The bill and emergency passed by a vote of 97-0.
-SB 546 by Sen. Tom Adelson and Rep. Thad Balkman would expand the requirement of individuals who are not required to register and may lawfully possess dangerous drugs to include employees of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services or facilities that contract with the department to have a valid prescription or license to possess dangerous drugs for the purpose of a mental health consumer’s medicine to the consumer’s home or residence. The bill and emergency passed 98-1.
-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 review the 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 received a do pass recommendation.
• The Senate focused on committee action to ensure that House bills receive a hearing by the deadline at 5pm on Thursday April 7th. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the following legislation:
-HB 1218 by Sen. David Myers and 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 title was stricken and the bill received a do pass recommendation.
-HB 1016 by Sen. Bernest Cain and Rep. Darrell Gilbert would modify requirements for the Board of Pharmacy’s emergency rules for implementation of the Utilization of Unused Prescription Medications Act to exclude language providing for a maximum handling fee of $10 per visit that pharmacies and charitable clinics may charge to drug recipients.
-HB 1267 by Sen. Richard Lerblance and Rep. Terry Ingmire authorizes the Department of Corrections to impose intermediate sanctions for technical violations of probation.
-HB 1288 by Sen. Susan Paddack and Rep. Doug Cox would
expand the list of Schedule I controlled dangerous substances to include
Gamma-Hydroxybutyric Acid (GHB), Gamma Hydroxyvalerate (GHV), Gamma
Valerolactone (GVL) and 1,4 Butanediol as packaged marketed, or manufactured
for human consumption, with the exception of legitimate food additive
and manufacturing purposes.
-HB 1347 by Sen. Susan Paddack and Rep. Randy Terrill
would expand the program for transferring unused prescription drugs
from nursing facilities to pharmacies operated by city-county health
departments or county pharmacies for distribution to the medically indigent.
-HB 1753 by Sen. Randy Bass and Rep. David Braddock would create an Oklahoma Military Base Protection Grant Program and states legislative intent to create a program pursuant to which local communities may apply to the state for a matching grant for critical infrastructure improvements, encroachment issues, transportations and access needs, utilities, communications, housing, environment and security in order to prevent adverse realignment or military base closure.
-HB 1780 by Sen. Mary Easley and Rep. Wade Rousselot would require the Military Department to create an Oklahoma National Guard Relief Program for providing financial relief for approved expenses to qualified members of the Oklahoma National Guard. The bill authorizes an income tax check-off for donations to the program.
-HB 1971 by Sen. Glenn Coffee and Rep. Fred Perry would increase the penalty for the procurement or possession of child pornography to a maximum 20 years’ imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of $25,000 and makes the offender ineligible for a deferred sentence.
-HB 1544 by Sen. Frank Shurden and Rep. Kevin Calvey would prohibit individuals age 65 or older from being charged a fee for renewal of a concealed handgun license. The bill also establishes a minimum requirement for Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training approval of firearms instructor schools. The measure prohibits game wardens from issuing a citation or arresting a person for hunting or for carrying a firearm out of season if the person is on land owned or leased by that person and not engaged in hunting deer at that time.
-HB 1435 by Sen. Johnnie Crutchfield and Rep. Wes Hilliard raises the pay rate of teachers at the Oklahoma School for the Deaf and the Oklahoma School for the Blind.
• The House convened to consider legislation and then adjourned to focus on committee action. The following measure were approved:
-CS fro SB 821 by Sen. Randy Bass and Rep. John Carey authorizes the Adjutant General to expend appropriated funds for the payment or reimbursement of insurance premiums to provide coverage up to the amount of $250,000 under Serviceman’s Group Life Insurance or the State Sponsored Life Insurance. The provisions are limited to military members of the Oklahoma Army and Air National Guard who are in good standing in their unit and satisfactorily performing all required training. The measure is a key portion of Governor Henry’s Operation Homefront initiative.
-SB 432 by Sen. Scott Pruitt and Rep. Fred Morgan would modify provisions relating to search warrants to add and exception for searches for evidence relating to the illegal manufacturers of methamphetamine or other controlled dangerous substance.
-SB 816 by Sen. Mary Easley and Rep. Jabar Shumate 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 early alert warning system.
-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.
Thursday, April 7th
• The Senate convened briefly to approve various Senate resolutions. The full Senate will reconvene Monday, April 11th at 10:30 a.m.
• Senator David Myers announced the state's official 80 year-old flag was donated to the State of Oklahoma in a special ceremony on Thursday, April 7th by the family of the designer, Louise Funk Fluke. The state's current flag was designed by Mrs. Fluke in 1925 and received approval from the legislature on March 25 of that same year. The newly adopted flag was flown for the first time over the State Capitol on April 2, 1925. This year marked the 80th anniversary of the flag's unique design and the homecoming of that original silk flag back to the State Capitol building. The large silk flag is edged in gold fringe and was both sewn and painted by hand. It was brought from Houston by George and Virginia Fluke, son and daughter-in-law of the designer. Lt. Gov. Mary Fallin accepted the flag on behalf of the citizens of Oklahoma. It will then be added to the large collection of historical artwork in the Capitol donated as part of the Oklahoma State Senate Historical Preservation Fund.