The Oklahoma Senate
Monday, April 25th
• The Senate convened to consider House bills as well as appropriations shell bills. Appropriations subcommittees also met to hold budget hearings.
-HB 1853 by Sen. Susan Paddack and Rep. Kris Steele 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 state residents with receiving prescriptions through assistance programs. The bill and emergency passed 47-0.
-HB 1848 by Sen. Owen Laughlin and Rep. Kris Steele would create a Health Savings Account Act to provide for the creation of health savings accounts for payment of qualified medical expenses of eligible individuals or their dependents. The bill passed 47-0.
-HB 1747 by Sen. Mike Mazzei and Rep. Daniel Sullivan would add reserve deputies to those who may retain their status as peace officers after retirement and may retain the right to keep their county-issued firearm and badge and bear firearms. The bill passed 48-0.
-HB 1273 by Sen. Kenneth Corn and Rep. Neil Brannon would allow teachers with certification or endorsement to teach mathematics at the secondary level to teach math in the 5th grade if it is configured by the school district as part of the middle school level. The bill and emergency passed 38-7.
-HB 1875 by Sen. Kathleen Wilcoxson and Rep. Jeff Hickman would require the State Board of Education to adopt a national policy, by July 1, 2006, that establishes a disciplinary action for students at the middle and high school levels participating in competitive athletic activities who are found to be using performance-enhancing drugs. The measure would also require the school board to adopt a policy by July 1, 2007. The bill and emergency passed 47-0.
-HB 1316 by Sen. Kenneth Corn and Rep. John Carey would prohibit more than 10 percent of a permanent school fund or other educational funds from being invested in foreign bonds or other investments traded on foreign exchange markets. The bill was approved 44-3.
-HB 1970 by Sen. Kathleen Wilcoxson and Rep. Fred Perry would increase the penalty for hazing from a maximum $1,500 fine to a minimum $2,500 fine and increase the minimum of one year to a minimum of two years as the time of forfeiture of all rights and privileges of being an organization operating or organized at the public or private school or at the institution of higher education. The bill would also prohibit the sale, delivery or furnishing of low-point beer on the premises of a college-affiliated fraternity, sorority, or college housing and prohibits consumption or possession by a student on the premises. The bill was amended and passed 40-2.
-HB 1475 by Sen. Glenn Coffee and Rep. Jari Askins would create a 13-member Oklahoma Crime Victims’ Justice Task Force until February 1, 2007 to study and make recommendations on how to achieve uniformity of victim services throughout the state by examining current policies, procedures, and laws for crime victims in the state. The task force would also be required to study and make recommendations regarding the effective promotion of public and governmental awareness of the needs, rights and role of crime victims within the criminal justice system. The bill and emergency passed 44-0.
-SR 25 by Sen. Debbe Leftwich designates Thursday, April 28, 2005 as “Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day” and encourages all business leaders and employees to participate. The resolution was adopted.
• The House of Representatives convened to consider legislation. The deadline for bills to receive a hearing from the opposite house is the same as the Senate – April 28th.
-SB 374 by Sen. Randy Bass and Rep. Joe Dorman would modify the definition of “testing facility” for purposes of the Standards for Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing. The measure would remove language that provides that the administration of on-site drug screening tests to applicants or employees to screen out negative test results that are not laboratory services, provided the on-site tests used are cleared by the Federal Food and Drug Administration for commercial marketing, and all positive results of such tests are confirmed by a testing facility in accordance with the Act. The bill passed 99-0.
-SB 962 by Sen. Angela Monson and Rep. Susan Winchester would prohibit public officials from having a personal interest in any property that is to be acquired or developed with public finance assistance. The bill also expands disclosure requirements under the Local Development Act. The bill passed 99-1.
-SA to HB 1457 by Rep. Odilia Dank and Sen. James Williamson would modify the teacher selection process for local professional development committees and would require that a program be offered at least once a year that includes a component of teacher training on recognition and reporting of child abuse and neglect that all teachers would be required to complete. The bill and emergency as amended in the Senate passed 76-21.
-SA to HB 1535 by Rep. Ron Peterson and Sen. Charlie Laster authorizes the Insurance Commissioner to impose fees as well as the State Insurance Board. The bill passed 100-0 as amended.
-SA to HB 1545 by Rep. Kevin Calvey and Sen. Jim Reynolds would adopt the Federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act of 2003, which would update, rename, and replace the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act of 1940, as state law and applyto members of the Oklahoma National Guard when ordered to a state active duty or full-time National Guard duty. The bill passed 99-1 as amended by the Senate.
-SA to HB 1622 by Rep. Sally Kern and Sen. Randy Brogdon would allow school employees to request in writing at any time, for the school district to immediately terminate payroll deductions to a professional organization. The district would be required within five days of the receipt of the request or by the next pay period, whichever is earlier, to terminate any future payroll deductions of the employee to a professional organization. The bill as amended by the Senate was approved 80-20.
-HB 1476 by Rep. Ann Coody and Sen. Randy Bass 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. The House rejected Senate amendments.
-The House rejected Senate amendments to the following
-HB 1016 by Rep. Darrell Gilbert and Sen. Bernest Cain
modifies 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 to cover restocking and dispensing costs.
• The Senate convened to consider the following pieces of legislation:
-HB 1621 by Sen. Kathleen Wilcoxson and Rep. Sally Kern would require the State Board of Education to adopt core curriculum requirements for students in kindergarten through third grade, beginning with the 2008-09 school year, focused on reading/language arts and mathematics and provide for development of motor skills and inclusion of physical activity. The bill passed 26-21.
-HB 1395 by Sen. Kenneth Corn and Rep. Jerry Ellis would require law enforcement officers to inform the individual that the withdrawal of blood will be performed only by certain medical personnel when it is determined that the blood alcohol content of an individual is to be tested for the presence and concentration of alcohol and/or other intoxicating substances. The bill passed 44-0.
-HB 1617 by Sen. Mike Morgan and Rep. Chris Benge clarifies language relating to review of certain health care programs by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority. The bill passed 44-0.
-FS for HB 1589 by Sen. Johnnie Crutchfield and Rep. Dennis Adkins creates the Oil and Gas Royalty Issues and modifies information required to be provided with royalty payments to include the county and state in which the lease or well is located, the owner’s share of the total value of sales attributed to such payment prior to any production and severance tax deductions and the telephone number at which additional information regarding the payment may be obtained and questions may be answered. The bill and emergency passed 44-0.
-HB 1809 by Sen. Kenneth Corn and Rep. Don Armes would expand authority of the Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry to include investigation of complaints and violations of the Oklahoma Apiary Act to issue quarantines, initiate control measures, confiscate and destroy apiaries, bees, colonies, or hives that present a danger to the public safety or welfare. The bill passed 45-0.
-SCR 26 by Sen. Jim Reynolds and Rep. John Nance would recognize Oklahoma as the first state in the nation to limit access to medication that could be utilized to manufacture illegal drugs, and commends Target Corporation for being the first national retailer to voluntarily limit access to medication that could be utilized to manufacture illegal drugs. The resolution was adopted.
-SCR 14 by Sen. Nancy Riley and Rep. Chris Benge recognizes the need for a “HERO Day” in the State of Oklahoma to honor first responders.
-HB 1716 by Sen. Debbe Leftwich and Rep. Susan Winchester would authorize an income tax credit for reinvestment of a maximum of 25 percent of the profit made by a taxpayer from reinvestment in a production company to pay for the production cost for a new film project. The bill and emergency passed 46-1.
-FS for HB 1304 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 bill makes 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 substance as prerequisite and condition of reinstatement. The bill passed 47-0.
-HB 1623 by Sen. Glenn Coffee and Rep. Mike Wilt modifies procedures in actions in which a prisoner is a witness or a complaining defending party. The bill and emergency passed 46-0.
-HB 1862 by Sen. Tom Adelson and Rep. Gus Blackwell would provide an exemption for individual state agencies relating to requirements for long-range plans for computer equipment and software. The bill passed 45-3.
-HB 1715 by Sen. Susan Paddack and Rep. Kevin Calvey expands oilfield property exempt from ad valorem tax to include equipment designed to remove water and contamination from hydrocarbons or affects the volume hydrocarbons being produced. The bill passed 25-21.
-SB 518 by Sen. Kathleen Wilcoxson and Rep. Thad Balkman prohibits an owner, operator, partner, manager, agent, employee or person having supervisory control of an establishment licensed to sell low-point beer for consumption on the premises from selling or offering to sell low-point beer at a price less than is regularly charged. The bill also prohibits businesses from selling or offering to sell an unlimited number of drinks of low point beer during any set period of time for a fixed price, except at private functions not open to the public. The bill passed 70-29.
-SB 349 by Sen. Kenneth Corn and Rep. Dennis Adkins declares public policy to encourage utilization of coal-fired electric energy by public utilities regulated by the Corporation Commission. The bill passed 99-0.
-SB 498 by Sen. Scott Pruitt and Rep. Doug Miller would exempt veterans who are 100 percent disabled determined by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs from payment of fees for certain hunting licenses. The bill also expands exemptions from the requirement for obtaining a fishing license to include persons participating in an aquatic education event or clinic sanctioned by the Department of Wildlife Conservation. The bill passed 99-0.
-SB 642 by Sen. Tom Adelson and Rep. Thad Balkman modifies reporting requirements for the nursing facility quality of care fund to delete language directing that the reporting system require that facilities submit cost report data electronically on a quarterly basis. The bill passed 99-0.
-SB 660 by Sen. Jonathan Nichols and Rep. Kevin Calvey would apply the rule of 80 to all state employees participating in the Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System. The bill and emergency passed 99-1.
-FS for SB 807 by Sen. Glenn Coffee and Rep. Fred Morgan would expand provisions relating to wrongful death actions to include actions for the death of an unborn child, unless the acts which cause the death are committed during a legal abortion to which the pregnant woman consented, or are committed pursuant to the usual and customary standards of medical practice during diagnostic testing or therapeutic treatment. The mother of an unborn child would not be prosecuted or found guilty under any circumstances for the death of the fetus. The bill was laid over.
-SB 983 by Sen. Bernest Cain and Rep. Doug Cox renames the “Maternal Care Infant Care Act” to the “Maternal and Infant Care Improvement Act” to direct the Department of Health to establish a statewide program directed toward the health needs of pregnant women and infants. The bill was amended and passed 99-0.
-SB 1015 by Sen. Bernest Cain and Rep. Kris Steele creates and Oklahoma Self-Directed Care Act to direct the Oklahoma Health Care Authority and the Department of Human Services to establish self-directed care pilot programs for citizens of the state who have disabilities and are currently served by a home and community-based waiver. The bill passed 95-3.
• Governor Henry signed the following bills on Tuesday:
- HB 1013 by Rep. Larry Glenn and Sen. Debbe Leftwich,
increases the statute of limitations from seven years to 12 years for
rape, sodomy, child abuse and lewd behavior involving children.
Wednesday, April 27th
• The Senate focused on floor action to ensure they beat the April 28th deadline for bills to receive floor action.
-FS for HB 2046 by Sen. Scott Pruitt, Reps. Todd Hiett, Fred Morgan and Mike Thompson would make several changes to Oklahoma’s workers’ compensation laws. The motion to advance the bill to general order failed 22-26. Senate rules were waived allowing Sen. Pruitt to introduce a new floor substitute for the measure, which is the only time this session that the rule has been waived. An amendment was attempted to strike the title and Sen. Pruitt moved to lay the bill over.
-HB 1908 by Sen. Brian Crain and Rep. Jabar Shumate would
provide that a child who is dependent but no longer residing at home,
is regularly enrolled in and attending high school, home school, vocational
technical school or an alternative education program as a full-time
student, is entitled to support by the parents after the child reaches
age 18 until graduation, or until the age of 20, whichever occurs first.
The bill was approved 43-1.
-HB 1238 by Sen. Charles Wyrick and Rep. Dale DeWitt would modify the definition of “small public sewage system” for purposes of the Waterworks and Wastewater Works Operator Certification Act, to mean a disposal or collection system serving fewer than 10 residential units or a public or commercial sewage non-industrial wastewater treatment system having a maximum average flow of less than 5,000 gallons per day. The title was restored and the bill passed 43-0.
-FS for HB 1686 by Sen. Daisy Lawler and Rep. Abe Deutschendorf would authorize recovery of damages for the wrongful death of an unborn child, unless the cause of death was committed during a legal abortion to which the pregnant woman consented or for acts committed pursuant to the usual and customary standards of medical practice during diagnostic testing or therapeutic treatment. The bill also requires that 48 hours before an “un-emancipated minor” or a woman for whom a guardian has been appointed can receive an abortion, the parents or guardian of the woman must be notified in writing. The law provides for judicial bypass of parental notification in certain circumstances. The measure prohibits abortions in the state except with the voluntary and informed consent of the female upon whom the abortion is to be performed. The bill requires that women be told that the father of the child is liable for financial support and that government benefits may also be available to them. The bill and emergency passed 44-4.
-FS for HB 1502 by Sen. Kenneth Corn and Rep. Paul Roan modifies the fine for transporting an intoxicating beverage or low-point beer. The measure also prohibits any dangerous or deadly firearm at a residence or in the vehicle of a convicted felon. The bill passed 47-0.
-HB 1550 by Sen. Mary Easley and Rep. John Wright requires agencies exempt from the Administrative Procedures Act to conduct an internal review of its exempt rules to determine whether each is current and is a rule as the term is defined by the act, by December 31st. The bill passed 48-0.
-HB 1506 by Sen. Johnnie Crutchfield and Rep. Paul Roan creates a Sean Skelley and Shane Gilmore Act to provide for a waiver of resident and nonresident tuition for children of emergency medical technicians killed in the line of duty. The bill and emergency passed 48-0.
-FS for HB 1554 by Sen. Daisy Lawler and Rep. Dale DeWitt creates 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 26-22.
-FS for HB 2047 by Sen. Glenn Coffee and Rep. Todd Hiett provides for determination of attorney fees in class action law suits. The bill passed 37-11.
-FS for SB 982 by Sen. Mike Morgan and Rep. Lance Cargill creates an Achieving Classroom Excellence Act of 2005 requiring the State Board of Education to establish an Oklahoma 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 passed 81-20 and will go to a conference committee.
-SB 918 by Sen. Jay Paul Gumm and Rep. James Covey creates
an Economic Development Research Endowment Fund and a Helping Oklahomans
Prosper Economically Fund. The bill passed 94-4.
-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. The measure passed 98-1.
-SB 315 by Sen. Debbe Leftwich and Rep. Randy Terrill requires state employees to use leave benefits during the same year in which it accrues, or at the discretion of the appointing authority within 12 months of the date on which is accrues.
-SB 478 by Sen. Brian Crain and Rep. Ron Peters authorizes county sheriffs, treasurers and assessors to employ general counsel, either in-house as a staff attorney through an outside law firm to advise them of the official duties of that office. The bill was amended and passed by a vote of 77-24.
• Governor Henry signed the following bills on Wednesday:
- HB 1294 by Rep. Lucky Lamons and Sen. Jay Paul Gumm
prohibits false reports of missing children that activate an AMBER early
alert warning system and provides for a misdemeanor punishment of a
maximum one-year imprisonment in the county jail and/or a fine of at
• Lt. Governor Mary Fallin presided over the Senate Chamber on Thursday but there was not a quorum as required to conduct Senate business. The Senate will convene Monday, May 2nd at 1:30pm.
• Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Jim Barker, passed away Monday due to a severe stroke. Speaker Barker served in the House in 1969 to 1970 and was re-elected in 1977 and completed his term in 1990. After he was re-elected in 1977, he quickly gained leadership momentum and was elected to four consecutive terms as Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives. After his term ended in the legislature, Rep. Barker became a lobbyist, representing many organizations including banks, insurance firms, a coalition against domestic violence and sexual assault as well as a health care group.
• On Tuesday the Senate was serenaded by the 102-member Future Farmers of America Chorus, comprised of students from across the state. The chorus sang three songs before going to the 70th Annual FFA Convention.
• Ronald James Henderson, who was a legislative analyst for the Senate, passed away Wednesday morning as a result of liver cancer. Ronnie was first employed at the State Senate on September 6, 1984 as a porter. He then worked his way to receive an associate’s degree in law enforcement in 1987 and then received his Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice in 1991. Ronnie joined the Senate staff as a legislative analyst March 1, 1992. He had many friends in the Senate and will be greatly missed.