The Oklahoma Senate

Week In Review
Monday, April 24 through Thursday, April 27, 2006

Monday, April 24

• The Senate returned this week for the last of three consecutive weeks focusing on floor activity, with Thursday, April 27, marking the deadline for consideration of measures originating in the opposite house. Measures approved on the Senate floor Monday include the following:

HJR 1057 by Sen. Clark Jolley, would propose a constitutional amendment to provide that public use under eminent domain statutes does not include increases in tax revenues, employment, tax base or general economic health.

HB 2121 by Sen. Susan Paddack, would create a refundable tax credit to families whose homes were damaged or destroyed by wildfires.

HB 3004 by Sen. Glenn Coffee, would make it a violation of law to sell video games that are violent in nature to minors. The measure was amended to prohibit sexually-oriented businesses from advertising on billboards within one mile of any state highway unless the business is located within two miles of the state highway.

HB 2608 by Sen. Susan Paddack, would mandate end-of-instruction tests for all students graduating from high school prior to the 2011-2012 school year in the subjects of English II, Biology I, United States History and Algebra I. Additionally, the bill would require school districts to provide intervention and remediation to at-risk students entering the sixth grade.

HB 2072 by Sen. Charles Laster, would allow a person with an undergraduate or graduate degree to receive a tax credit of the amount paid to repay their student loans.

HB 2077 by Sen. Frank Shurden, would exempt Oklahoma residents serving in the U.S. Armed Forces from special use permitting requirements for hunting and fishing on lands leased and administered by the Wildlife Department.

HB 2561 by Sen. Susan Paddack, would establish requirements for individuals who are court-appointed guardian ad litem, special advocate or parenting coordinator.

HB 2373 by Sen. David Myers, would create the Oklahoma Leukemia and Lymphoma Revolving Fund and an income tax write off for donations to the fund. Money generated by the fund would be used by the Department of Health for use dedicated to curing lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, myeloma and leukemia.

HB 2688 by Sen. Frank Shurden, would establish a tax deduction for qualified rural housing assets.

HB 2649 by Sen. Owen Laughlin, would modify provisions relating to maximum deposits in health savings accounts.

HB 2712 by Sen. Kathleen Wilcoxson, would require school districts to ensure that the majority of instructional time each day, in kindergarten through third grade is focused on scientifically-based reading and mathematics.

HB 2756 by Sen. Owen Laughlin, would allow for dismissal of any teacher having been found to abandon duties.

HB 2940 by Sen. Frank Shurden, would apportion funds generated by gasoline taxes to a new High Priority Bridge Replacement Fund. The bill would reduce the percentage of vehicle license and registration fees apportioned by the Tax Commission to the General Revenue Fund to 29.84 percent. Additionally, the measure would direct the Tax Commission to apportion a percentage of fees collected to the County Transportation Improvement Fund.

HB 3037 by Sen. Ted Fisher, would create the Restorative Justice Act of 2006. The measure would create a Reentry Policy Council for oversight of the reentry policies and programs of the Department of Corrections.

HB 3009 by Sen. Brian Crain, would expand the authority for issuance of title insurance policies and provides license requirements for title insurers.

• The Senate held no committee meetings Monday, as the deadline for committee consideration of bills originating in the opposite house passed on April 6.

• The House turned its focus to floor work this week, with the deadline for committee consideration of bills originating in the opposite house passing on Thursday, April 20. Bills approved on the House floor Monday include the following measures:

SB 1693 by Sen. Ted Fisher, would place a moratorium on the tax credits authorized by the Small Business Capital Formation Incentive Act until June 1, 2006.

SJR 52 by Sen. Ted Fisher, would create the Oklahoma Opportunity Fund to provide state leaders additional resources to use for the purpose of job creation.

SB 1601 by Sen. Judy Eason McIntyre, would increas the flexible benefit allowance for dependents of those who participate in plans offered by the State Employee Benefits Council.

SB 1500 by Sen. Jay Paul Gumm, would authorize the office of the State Treasurer to enter into contracts for professional services with anyone retired from state service.

SB 1663 by Sen. Jay Paul Gumm, would authorize the State Treasurer to require certain information be reported with respect to property presumed abandoned as unclaimed property, and would delete the requirement that the Treasurer provide notice when destroying or disposing of property.

SB 1581 by Sen. Debbe Leftwich, would provide that law enforcement, fire protection services or Department of Corrections employees that are unable to use excess leave upon denial of the request by the employer, and the denial is due to extraordinary circumstances, that the employees are entitled to receive compensation at the amount of excess leave the employee is unable to use.

SB 1713 by Sen. Charles Wyrick, would criminalize the importation, transportation or storage of methamphetamine, and provides penalties.

SB 1858 by Sen. Mike Morgan, would expand the crime of felony murder to include causing the death of a law enforcement officer or any other person while attempting to elude an officer.

SB 1964 by Sen. Kenneth Corn, would establish terms of post-imprisonment community supervision for no less than three years for individuals convicted of sexual offenses.

• House Committees did not meet Monday.

Tuesday, April 25

• The Senate continued to focus on floor work Tuesday. Measures approved included the following:

HB 2615 by Sen. Harry Coates, would create the Stand Your Ground Law to expand the right to use physical or deadly force.

HB 2986 by Sen. Susan Paddack, would establish an Education Employees Retirement Plan for the Teachers’ Retirement System of Oklahoma, establishing methods and conditions for computation of retirement benefits.

HB 2845 by Sen. Jay Paul Gumm, would establish a sales tax exemption for the rental of motor vehicles to customers of licensed dealerships whose vehicles are being repaired in accordance with the manufacturer’s warranty.

HB 2357 by Sen. Jonathan Nichols, would require governmental agencies to notify personnel of computer security breaches that may result in the release of personal information.

HB 2810 by Sen. Mike Morgan, would create the Oklahoma Refinery Revitalization Act to encourage expansion of refining capacity in the state.

HB 2807 by Sen. Earl Garrison, would create the Semipublic Community Act to allow municipal governing bodies to establish semipublic communities.

HB 2628 by Sen. Jeff Rabon, would lower the minimum wage requirement of the Small Employer Quality Jobs Act.

HB 2819 by Sen. Gilmer Capps, would create the Oklahoma Aerospace Institute within the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology.

HB 2379 by Sen. David Myers, would modify provisions relating to the State Architectural Act.

HB 2578 by Sen. Judy Eason McIntyre, would replace technology school districts with the State Board of Education as sponsors of charter schools.

HB 2809 by Sen. Kenneth Corn, would modify the salary schedules for the Lake Patrol, Highway Patrol and Capitol Patrol.

HB 2514 by Sen. Judy Eason McIntyre, would increase employee contributions to the Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System from 3 percent to 3.5 percent of compensation.

• Senate committees did not meet Tuesday.

• A number of bills were passed on the House floor Tuesday, including the following:

SB 334 by Sen. Debbe Leftwich, would eliminate the estate tax over a three-year period. The bill would immediately eliminate the estate tax for non-lineal heirs.

SCR 47 by Sen. Kenneth Corn, would direct Oklahoma Correctional Industries to design housing components for use by the councils of governments and community action agencies.

SB 752 by Sen. Judy Eason McIntyre, would create the Oklahoma Firefighters Retirees Health Care Fund. The fund would provide retiree health benefits to eligible members of the Firefighters Retirees Health Care System.

SJR 48 by Sen. Patrick Anderson, would request legislative authorization for a meeting of the legislature at Convention Hall in Guthrie on Statehood Day, Nov. 16, 2007, as a part of Oklahoma’s Centennial Celebration.

SJR 43 by Sen. Kenneth Corn, would disapprove an Oklahoma Health Care Authority Board permanent rule that limits the maximum amount of income from a Medicaid Income Pension Trust to $2,500 per month.

SB 1686 by Sen. Richard Lerblance, would allow exempt state employees who are not entitled to overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act to receive overtime pay at a rate of one and one-half times their regular hourly rates and up to two times their hourly rates for working on holidays, at the discretion of their employer.

SB 1056 by Sen. Cal Hobson, would exempt bond obligations issued by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education for refund or defeasance from being approved by the legislature.

SB 1397 by Sen. Mary Easley, would require that poultry waste management, treatment and removal conform to the terms ordered in City of Tulsa v. Tyson Foods, Inc.

SB 1800 by Sen. Jonathan Nichols, would establish the Child Abuse Response Team within the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

SB 1624 by Sen. Todd Lamb, would modify requirements for stretcher aid van services. The bill would extend requirements to include municipalities contiguous to those with populations exceeding 300,000 people.

SB 1878 by Sen. Harry Coates, would allow the state Attorney General to take action to defend counties from lawsuits related to the posting of the ten commandments.

• House Committees did not meet Tuesday.

Wednesday, April 26

• The Senate met Wednesday, approving a number of bills. Among the measures approved were the following:

HB 2351 by Sen. Johnnie Crutchfield, is the general appropriations measure for various agencies of the executive, legislative and judicial departments. The bill contains $680 million for public safety, $616 million to human services, $160 million to natural resources, $950 million to health and social services, $531 million to general government and transportation and $3 billion to common and higher education.

HB 2840 by Sen. Harry Coates would create the Kelsey Smith-Briggs Act, amending provisions of the Oklahoma Children’s Code.

HB 2656 by Sen. Charles Laster, amends the definitions of “child” and “deprived child” for the Oklahoma Children’s Code.

HB 2842 by Sen. Brian Crain, would create the Medicaid Reform Act. The bill would allow the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to seek waivers to create a statewide program to provide enhanced services to clients of the Oklahoma Medicaid Program.

HB 2984 by Sen. Frank Shurden, would expand the instance of lawful burden to include cedar tree eradication.

HB 2618 by Sen. Johnnie Crutchfield, would remove the limits on apportionment of the state gross production tax revenue to the County Bridge and Road Improvement Fund.

HB 2982 by Sen. Kenneth Corn, would authorize inmates working in Correctional Industries to be employed by the Tourism Department to reconstruct forts for use as tourist sites.

HB 2068 by Sen. John Ford, would allow the electors of a school district to decide whether or not to participate in a technology district.

HB 2577 by Sen. Clark Jolley, would increase the minimum salary schedule for teachers with doctorate or master’s degrees.

HB 2762 by Sen. Scott Pruitt, would establish penalties for adults convicted of knowingly providing and permitting the consumption of alcohol or drugs on the person’s residence.

HB 2083 by Sen. Clark Jolley, would create the Computer Spyware Protection Act.

Thursday, April 27

• After meeting the deadline for floor consideration of bills originating in the opposite chamber, the Senate did not convene Thursday. The Senate will reconvene Monday, May 1, at 1:30 p.m.

Other News

• The President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, on Wednesday addressed a joint session of the legislature. Kagame discussed the country’s post-genocide future and said his administration is stressing education and development. Kagame also visited students and faculty at Oklahoma Christian College Wednesday for a question and answer session.

• On Tuesday and Wednesday, state employees and representatives of the Oklahoma Public Employees Association picketed outside the Capitol to push for a state employee pay raise.

• Sen. Randy Bass was honored by the National Guard Association of Oklahoma as the “Will Rogers Legislator of the Year”. Bass is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans and Military Affairs.