The Oklahoma Senate

Week In Review
Monday, April 23 to Thursday April 26, 2007

Monday, April 23

• The Senate met Monday and approved the following bills:

-SB 357 by Sen. Kenneth Corn, would increase the teacher employer contribution rates as well as university and regional institution employer contribution rates, for the Oklahoma Teacher Retirement System.

-SB 470 by Sen. Jim Wilson, would add to the list of items that the Department of Tourism and Recreation may keep confidential.

-SB 712 by Sen. James A. Williamson, would create an Anti-Caller ID Spoofing Act to prohibit callers from knowingly inserting false information into a caller identification system.

-SR 34 by Sen. John Sparks, honors head coach Sherri Coale and the University of Oklahoma women’s basketball team.

• Senate committees took no action on bills on Monday.

• The House convened Monday and approved numerous bills including the following:

-HB 1682 by Sen. Earl Garrison, would modify language regarding grandparent visitation rights.

-HB 1084 by Sen. Kathleen Wilcoxson, would modify language related to the Strategic Planning Committee on the Olmstead Act.

-HB 1432 by Sen. Owen Laughlin, would modify requirements for filing a plat.

-HB 1443 by Sen. Cliff Aldridge, would designate Interstate 40 from the I-40/I-35 junction east to the Harrah-Newalla Road as the Freedom Freeway.

-HB 1708 by Sen. Randy Bass, would direct the Secretary of State to serve as Chief International Protocol Officer.

-HB 2064 by Sen. Don Barrington, would permit authorization to hunt nuisance or damage-causing wildlife and feral swine at night by use of a headlight.

• House committees took no action on Monday.

Tuesday, May 1

• The Senate met Tuesday and approved the following legislation:

-SB 378 by Sen. Roger Ballenger, would permit county commissioners to create a circuit engineering district with any county or counties.

-SB 496 by Sen. Jim Reynolds, would prohibit colleges and universities from entering agreements to provide student data or access to students to any creditor for purposes of marketing consumer credit to students.

-SB 639 by Sen. Randy Bass, would allow the Department of Health to enter into contracts for professional services with health-related professionals who have retired from state service.

-SB 1049 by Sen. Patrick Anderson, would provide that willful or malicious cruelty to an animal will subject the owner to legal proceedings forcing the owner to release the animal to an applicable humane organization.

• Senate committees took no action on bills on Tuesday.

• The House met Tuesday and approved several bills including the following:

-HB 1804 by Rep. Randy Terrill, would create the Oklahoma Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act of 2007 and would enact numerous provisions relating to immigration.

-HB 1288 by Sen. Roger Ballenger, would create a misdemeanor for drivers who damage a fence, fixture or other property adjacent to a highway.

-HB 1396 by Sen. Sean Burrage, would exempt from the Oklahoma Storage Tank Regulation Act farm or residential underground storage tanks with an individual capacity of 1,100 gallons used for nonresidential purposes.

-HB 1477 by Sen. Earl Garrison, would direct the Commission for Teacher Preparation to enhance school principal certification requirements to include leadership skills.

-HB 1557 by Sen. Mike Morgan, would add a representative of a state association of federally-funded early childhood programs to the membership of the Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness Board.

• House committees took no action on Tuesday.

Wednesday, May 2

• The Senate met Wednesday and approved the following legislation:

-SB 868 by Sen. Jim Reynolds, would create Taylor’s Law, which requires a court to permit members of the immediate family of a murder victim to wear buttons containing a picture of the victim as a symbol of grief during a trial and limits the size of the button to 4 inches in diameter.

-SB 734 by Sen. Mike Morgan, would state legislative intent to direct significant further legislative study to clarify legal issues resulting from the previous legislative actions for the benefit of the electric service providers and ascertain the wishes of citizens to move forward with this process.

-SB 854 by Sen. Jim Wilson, would provide that a taxpayer who qualifies for the five-year carryforward election pursuant to the Oklahoma College Savings Plan Act and who takes a rollover or non-qualified withdrawal before the end of the five-year period, would not be eligible for the income tax deduction that is otherwise available for contributions made to accounts.

• Senate committees took no action on Wednesday.

• The House met Wednesday and refused Senate amendments to all measures heard during session.

• House committees took no action on Wednesday.

Thursday, May 3

• The Senate met Thursday and approved several bills, including the following:

-SB 455 by Sen. Tom Adelson, would create the Dental Health Service and the Dental Student Loan Revolving Fund.

-SB 102 by Sen. David Myers, would modify membership requirements for appointees to the Storage Tank Advisory Council.

-SB 922 by Sen. Debbe Leftwich, would authorize incentive levies by technology center school districts to apply to certain overlap territories.

Other News

• On Tuesday, the Senate praised the Silver Star Families of America with the passage of Senate Resolution 29, for their efforts in honoring those who have been injured or wounded in the defense of their country. Silver Star Families is a not-for-profit, all volunteer organization founded for the purpose of establishing a Service Flag to honor wounded military men and women. The organization also provides assistance and support to these soldiers and their families. The resolution also designates May 1, 2007, as “Silver Star Day” in Oklahoma in recognition of the wounded military personnel of this state.

• The Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST) was honored by the Senate on Tuesday, as a resolution celebrating the 20th anniversary of the agency was approved unanimously. Senate Resolution 35 saluted OCAST for its role in spurring economic growth and development through science and technology research. The technology-based economic development agency creates partnerships with government and private enterprise to support peer-reviewed research projects that have the potential for both scientific and commercial value.

• A study released this week by the Southern Regional Education Board revealed that ACT scores for Oklahoma high school students have fallen over the course of the past nine years. Additionally, the Oklahoma average is three tenths of a point lower than the national average score for the test.

• On Wednesday, the Senate benevolently bestowed upon the House an elusive victory in the annual Senate vs. House charity baseball game, amid fears that the House would refuse participation in the contest after yet another defeat, ultimately hurting charity efforts. Many observers felt the Senate’s 10-5 loss showed signs of foul play, as House batters feasted on the palatable offerings of a noodle-armed pitcher, while Senate batters were tested by a fire-balling hurler provided by the local minor league franchise.