The Oklahoma Senate
Monday, April 18th
• The Senate convened to consider House bills to ensure they beat the deadline next week for bills from the opposite house to be heard on the floor.
-HB 1230 by Sen. Jay Paul Gumm and Rep. Thad Balkman would provide a sales tax exemption for clothing and footwear and any school supplies used exclusively for school or classwork, with a sales price of less than $100. The bill and emergency passed 42-0.
-HB 2058 by Sen. John Ford and Rep. John Trebilcock would prohibit the acceptance of political contributions in a facility generally used to conduct state government business. The bill passed by a vote of 44-1.
-HB 1482 by Sen. Randy Bass and Rep. Gary Banz creates a 12-member War on Terror Memorial Design Committee to recommend the design of the memorial and to provide oversight and advice to the Oklahoma Historical Society in the site selection, construction and funding sources of the memorial. The measure passed 45-0.
-HB 1326 by Sen. Daisy Lawler and Rep. Ray McCarter provides for recognition of certification of school counselors under the Education Leadership Oklahoma Act. The measure removes the requirement that teachers serving on the Applicant Review Committee for National Board Certification be classroom teachers. The measure and emergency passed 45-0.
-HB 1556 by Sen. Patrick Anderson and Rep. Mike Jackson provides an income tax credit for ethanol facilities that meet certain minimum production rates. The measure also provides an additional 16-cent credit against motor fuel excise taxes for every gallon of ethanol fuel sold by a retailer. The measure passed 45-0.
-HB 1811 by Sen. Kenneth Corn and Rep. Don Armes prohibits registered lobbyists and officers, board members or employees of statewide or national organizations established for the purpose of advocating the interests of chiropractors from being members of the Board of Chiropractic Examiners. The measure also requires criminal background checks for applicants for licensure and requires registration for out-of-state licensed chiropractic physicians to treat patients for special events. The measure passed 43-2.
-HB 1649 by Sen. Angela Monson and Rep. Susan Winchester requires that lottery regulations prohibit purchase of tickets by debit card. The measure and emergency passed 44-0.
-HB 1647 by Sen. Daisy Lawler and Rep. Susan Winchester would create 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 measure and emergency passed 43-1.
-HB 1698 by Sen. Frank Shurden and Rep. Rebecca Hamilton prohibits dissemination of certain information on a court-controlled website. The measure and emergency passed 45-0.
-SR 23 by Sen. Tom Adelson expresses pride in the educational progress of Oklahoma students and thanks educators, teachers, librarians, counselors and other educational support personnel throughout the state for making the improvement possible. The Senate adopted the resolution unanimously.
-HB 1243 by Sen. Jay Paul Gumm and Rep. Greg Piatt would provide immunity from civil liability for occurrences resulting from the storing of firearms in a locked vehicle on any property set aside for any vehicle, unless the person, property owner, tenant, employer or owner of the business entity commits a criminal act involving the use of the firearms. The bill passed 45-0.
-HB 1609 by Sen. Charlie Laster and Rep. Doug Miller expands authority of the Used Motor Vehicle and Parts Commission to include licensure and supervision of manufactured home salespersons. The bill passed 43-0.
-HB 1611 by Sen. Jay Paul Gumm and Rep. Curt Roggow would grant civil immunity for child advocacy centers accredited by the National Children's Alliance and acting in good faith while participating in a investigation process. The bill grants the same immunity for employees of child advocacy centers. The bill and emergency passed 44-0 with the title restored.
-HB 1753 by Sen. Randy Bass and Rep. David Braddock would provide for the creation of an Oklahoma Military Base Protection Grant Program. The measure 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, transportation and access needs, utilities, communications, housing, environment and security in order to prevent adverse realignment or military base closure. The bill and emergency passed 41-0.
-HCR 1020 by Sen. Bernest Cain and Rep. Susan Winchester recognizes a National Week of Hope in commemoration of the 10-year anniversary of the terrorist bombing in Oklahoma City. The resolution was adopted.
• The House of Representatives convened to consider legislation and then adjourned to committee meetings.
-SB 246 by Sen. Glimer Capps and Rep. Greg Piatt reduces from five to four the number of members necessary to constitute a quorum of the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission. The measure and emergency passed 98-0.
-SB 531 by Sen. Scott Pruitt and Rep. Mike Wilt would increase the amount of money school can hold in "carryover" accounts so they can pay bills throughout the year. The bill passed the House with a vote of 98-2 and is headed for the governor's desk.
-SB 271 by Sen. Daisy Lawler and Rep. Ray McCarter provides that if a support employee is employed by the same school district for the next school year as the preceding school year, the total compensation, consisting of salary and fringe benefits, or the support employee cannot be decreased the next school year unless the hours or the duties of the person is reduced proportionately. The measure and emergency passed 95-6.
-CS for SB 977 - by Sen. Tom Adelson and Rep. Rebecca Hamilton creates the "Prescription Drug Reimportation Act." The measure would allow Oklahoma pharmacies to fill prescriptions with drugs imported from other countries, primarily, Canada, Switzerland or any member country of the European Union. The measure passed the committee 13-10.
-CS for SB 547 by Sen. Tom Adelson and Rep. Mike Shelton creates an Oklahoma Prescription Drug Discount Program Act of 2005 to increase access to prescription drugs for low-income Oklahomans. The title was restored and the bill passed unanimously.
-SB 518 by Sen. Kathleen Wilcoxson and Rep. Thad Balkman would prohibit the sell of 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 not open to the public. The measure provides a misdemeanor charge and a $500 fine for each offense. The measure passed unanimously and the title was restored.
-SB 474 by Sen. Jeff Rabon and Rep. R.C. Pruett would prohibit the removal or cutting of a live tree that is ten inches or more in diameter in a wilderness area by a department employee. The measure failed due to a lack of a motion from the committee.
• Governor Brad Henry signed the following bills on Monday:
-HB 1001 by Sen. Bernest Cain and Rep. Susan Winchester
appropriates five million from the special cash fund to the Oklahoma
Department of Tourism and Recreation for an endowment for the Oklahoma
City National Memorial.
• Governor Henry vetoed the following bills:
Tuesday, April 19th
• The Senate met on Tuesday morning to observe a moment of silence in remembrance of the 168 lives lost in the Oklahoma City Bombing, which is recognizing its ten-year anniversary. The Senate later convened to consider the following pieces of legislation:
-HB 1013 by Sen. Debbe Leftwich and Rep. Larry Glenn would increase the statute of limitations from seven to twelve years after the discovery of the crime of sodomy, rape, child abuse and lewd behavior involving children. The bill passed 45-0.
-HB 1426 by Sen. Mary Easley and Rep. Rex Duncan relates to Oklahoma’s “Lemon Law.” The measure modifies requirements for motor vehicle manufacturer warranties and the policy for the return of motor vehicles. The title was restored and the bill passed 34-10.
-HB 1810 by Sen. Randy Bass and Rep. Don Armes would expand the Quality Jobs Program Act to include new direct jobs for which gross payroll existed on or after January 1, 2003 in the areas of engineering services, computer systems design services, computer facilities management services, other computer related services, facilities support services and flight training. The bill and emergency passed 45-0.
-FS for 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 more than one-twentieth gallon or 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 passed 44-0.
-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 at the quorum of the public body is present in person at the site of each meeting. The bill also creates a Joint Task Force on Teleconferencing, Videoconferencing, and the Open Meetings Act. The title was stricken and the bill passed 28-18.
-HB 1898 by Sen. Susan Paddack and Rep. Lisa Joe Billy would create an Office of Tribal Relations within the Research Division of the Oklahoma Historical Society to gather and maintain records, documents, and material related to negotiations and agreements between tribal governments and the state and political subdivisions. The bill was approved 46-0.
-HB 1227 by Sen. Brian Crain and Rep. John Nance would authorize the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation to reveal confidential information to agencies and individuals who provide necessary services in the assistance of OSBI investigations or to outside agencies or individuals providing or assisting with authorized OSBI laboratory services. The bill passed 38-2.
-HB 1603 by Sen. Debbe Leftwich and Rep. Paul Wesselhoft would allow classified and unclassified state employees to become candidates for office and specifies requirements for candidacy. The bill failed 24-23.
-HB 1468 by Sen. Charlie Laster and Rep. David Braddock modifies requirements for courts to report traffic convictions to the Department of Public Safety to exempt felony drug offenses for which the offender s eligible for participation in an approved drug court program. If the offender does not successfully complete the drug court program however, the court would be required to forward to the department the abstract of the record. The bill passed 45-0.
-HB 1837 by Sen. Charlie Laster and Rep. Shane Jett would authorize local school boards of education to enter into written contracts with individuals 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 or licensure.
-FS for HB 1116 by Sen. Johnnie Crutchfield, Sen. Mike Morgan, Rep. Chris Benge and Rep. Jim Newport would increase from $150,000 to $250,000 the total assessments the Horse Racing Commission may levy to support the regulation of gaming. The bill and emergency passed 47-0.
-HB 1547 by Sen. Glenn Coffee and Rep. Kevin Calvey would reduce the top marginal income tax rate for individuals using the Method I tax filing computation. It 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 bill and emergency passed 98-7.
-SB 821 by Sen. Randy Bass and Rep. John Carey would authorize 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 Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance or the State Sponsored Life Insurance. The bill and emergency passed 96-0.
-SB 830 by Sen. Debbe Leftwich and Rep. Richard Morrissette would increase 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 title was restored and the bill passed 99-2.
-SB 705 by Sen. Kenneth Corn and Rep. Gary Banz would adjust and recalculate the salaries of correctional teachers and vocational instructors employed by the Department of Corrections and would eliminate longevity payments. The enacting clause was stricken and the bill and emergency passed 98-0.
-SCR 4 by Sen. Mike Mazzei and Rep. Mike Reynolds resolves to contain and liquidate the unfunded actuarially accrued liabilities of the Teachers’ Retirement System of Oklahoma. The resolution was adopted.
-CS for SB 660 by Sen. Jonathan Nichols and Rep. Kevin Calvey would modify the definition of “normal retirement date.” The bill was approved by the committee on a vote of 4-3.
-CS for SB 807 by Sen. Glenn 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 bill adds certain acts committed by minors as sodomy or rape offenses. The bill was approved in committee.
-SB 430 by Sen. Patrick Anderson and Rep. Purcy Walker would decrease the fine for trespassing without permission from $250 to $100. The bill adds a method for posting against trespassers by placing purple paint marks on trees or posts on the property. The title was restored and the bill was approved.
• Governor Henry signed the following bills on Tuesday:
-SB 647 by Sen. Bernest Cain and Rep. Kris Steele allows licensed physical therapists or physical therapy assistants to be providers under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act and allows them to become eligible to receive Medicaid reimbursement.
-SB 363 by Sen. Robert Kerr, Rep. Dale DeWitt and Rep. Ryan McMullen creates the Oklahoma Biofuels Development Act.
Wednesday, April 20th
• The Senate focused on floor action to ensure they beat the April 28th deadline for bills to receive floor action. Appropriations Sub-Committees also met to consider legislation.
-SR 22 by Senators Cal Hobson, Stratton Taylor, Frank Shurden and Rep. Danny Morgan recognizes, honors and thanks Ronald J. Henderson for his years of dedicated public service in the Senate. The resolution was adopted.
-HB 1986 by Sen. Richard Lerblance and Rep. Terry Ingmire would create a Gift Certificate Disclosure Act to make it unlawful for a person or business to sell a gift certificate to a purchaser that contains an expiration date and a service fee including a service fee for dormancy, except under certain circumstances. The bill passed 35-11.
-HB 1704 by Sen. Daisy Lawler and Rep. Ann Coody would authorize local boards of education to develop and implement a comprehensive program for character education in kindergarten through 12th grade, beginning in the 2006-07 school year. The bill and emergency passed 39-4.
-HB 1713 by Sen. Tom Adelson and Rep. Kevin Calvey would provide an ad valorem tax exemption for any taxpayer engaged in the manufacture or repair of aircraft components who has filed an application for the exemption in a timely manner. The bill passed 44-0 and the emergency was approved 45-0.
-HB 1944 by Sen. Judy Eason McIntyre and Rep. Mike Shelton would prohibit the location and establishment of inmate transitional living centers within 2,500 feet of a public or private elementary or secondary school, state training school or residential neighborhood. The bill and emergency passed 45-0.
-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. The bill would also give the attorney general and district attorney, without judicial approval, subpoena power for computer crime investigations. The bill passed 44-0.
-HB 1807 by Sen. Charlie Laster and Rep. Lance Cargill would require that district and associate judges in Districts 7, 14, and 26 be elected on a retention basis beginning with terms of office in 2007. The bill passed 34-12.
-HB 1598 by Sen. Earl Garrison and Rep. Jerry McPeak would prohibit driving a vehicle on a turnpike at a speed greater than the reduced speed limit in a properly marked toll booth zone. The bill passed 34-11.
-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 passed 45-0.
-HB 1524 by Sen. Judy Eason McIntyre and Rep. Al Lindley would expand the crime of harming, mistreating, or killing a service dog to include other service animals. The bill passed 38-7.
-SB 36 by Sen. Earl Garrison and Rep. Wade Rousselot would prohibit deputy sheriff’s salaries from exceeding the salary of the principal officer. The bill and emergency passed 81-15.
-SB 329 by Sen. Charlie Laster and Rep. Rex Duncan would provide that in a death penalty case in which an attorney 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 and that the requires for extraordinary attorney fees is reasonable. The title was restored and the bill passed 98-0.
-SB 621 by Sen. Nancy Riley and Rep. Jari Askins would make an insurer that accepts liability for a claim responsible for wrecker and storage fees for the total loss vehicle or a pro-rated share of the wrecker and storage fees for the total loss vehicle if the loss limits of the insurance policy have been exceeded. The bill passed 98-0.
-SB 861 by Sen. Angela Monson and Rep. Ron Peters would authorize the Medicaid Drug Utilization Review Board to establish protocols and standards for the use of any prescription drug determined to be medically necessary for the treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C without prior authorization. Amendments were offered; Rep. Peters moved to table the amendments and the motion failed. The bill was laid over before votes were taken on the amendments.
-CS for SB 982 by Sen. Mike Morgan and Rep. Barbara Staggs would create an Achieving Classroom Excellence (ACE) Act of 2005, requiring 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 teachers’ mastery of the subject matter content and process skills. The bill was amended by Rep. Odilia Dank to create an Oklahoma Scholars Diploma and the amendment was adopted. The bill as amended was approved by the House Appropriations and Budget Committee.
-SB 918 by Sen. Jay Paul Gumm and Rep. James Covey would create an Economic Development Research Endowment fund and a Helping Oklahomans Prosper Economically fund. The bill unanimously passed the House Appropriations and Budget Committee.
Thursday, April 21st
• The Senate convened to approve various House measures. The full Senate will reconvene Monday, April 25th at 1:30pm.
• Charles R. Ford, President of the Oklahoma State
Senate Historical Preservation Fund, Inc., dedicated a portrait of Mrs.
Lamar Looney, the first woman ever elected to serve in the Oklahoma
State Senate, during a ceremony in the State Senate Chamber on Tuesday.
Looney was first elected to the Senate in 1920, and served four terms,
remaining the only woman to serve in the Senate until 1975. The portrait
is sponsored by the 2005 Senate Women’s Caucus, Lt. Gov. Mary
Fallin, and the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women, the Rural
Women’s Business Center and the Family of Mrs. Lamar Looney. The
painting was done by Norman, Oklahoma artist Mike Wimmer.