The Oklahoma Senate

Week In Review
Monday, March 17 to Thursday, March 20, 2008

Monday, March 17

• The Senate met Monday and approved the following resolutions:

-SCR 59 by Sen. Sean Burrage, commends the life and career of the late Sen. Gideon Graham and praises his lifelong dedication and devotion to conserving wildlife.

-SCR 55 by Sen. Kenneth Corn, praises the life and career of late Latimer County Deputy Sheriff Dustin Duncan.

• Senate committees took no action on Monday

• The House convened Monday and approved the following resolution:

-SCR 60 by Sen. Sean Burrage, congratulates the 2007 Chelsea Lady Dragons fastpitch softball team for winning the Class 3A state championship.

• House committees approved the following bills on Monday:

-SB 1694 by Sen. Sean Burrage, directs the State Department of Education to encourage school boards and districts to develop mentorship programs aimed at reducing drop out rates.

-SB 1186 by Sen. Mary Easley, increases the amount of physical education or exercise required for public elementary students from 60 minutes to 120 minutes each week.

-SB 1503 by Sen. David Myers, directs the State Department of Education to notify school districts of any changes to the Oklahoma Cost Accounting System reporting codes that will be in effect for the following fiscal year.

-SB 1686 by Sen. Mary Easley, directs that professional development programs for teachers include a special emphasis on autism.

Tuesday, March 18

• The Senate met Tuesday and approved the following resolution:

-SCR 46 by Sen. Mike Schulz, commends the leadership of the 25 x 25 national campaign to raise awareness of renewable energy resources.

Senate committees took no action on Tuesday.

• The House took no action on bills on Tuesday.

• House committees passed the following measures on Tuesday:

-SB 1453 by Sen. Roger Ballenger, relates to junk dealers and requires proof of identity for the purchase of certain beer kegs.

-SB 1856 by Sen. Cliff Branan, prohibits junk dealers from purchasing and selling certain materials.

-SB 1685 by Sen. Jim Wilson, modifies the information which must be reported to the State Treasurer on certain property.

-SB 1683 by Sen. Susan Paddack, states legislative intent that the Oklahoma Choosing Health Plans All Together (CHAT) initiative expand its CHAT sessions to include more minority and low income populations to ensure a more representative sample.

Wednesday, March 19

The Senate met Wednesday and approved the following resolution:

-SR 57 by Sen. Glenn Coffee, protests public safety funding cuts to Oklahoma District Attorneys in the proposed federal budget.

• Senate committees took no action on Wednesday.

• The House met Wednesday but took no action on bills.

• House committees took no action on Wednesday.

Other News

• The Senate and House worked three days this week after agreeing to adjourn Wednesday. The decision was in keeping with a long-standing tradition of taking off the Thursday before Easter.

• A brief filed by the attorneys general of 31 states, including Oklahoma, was considered by U.S. Supreme Court Justices this week, when the Court heard arguments challenging a Washington D.C. handgun ban. An opinion has yet to be issued on the second amendment case, District of Columbia v. Dick Anthony Heller.

• Freedom of Information Oklahoma, a statewide organization actively supporting organizations and individuals working to open records or provide access to government, has honored the Directors of the state Senate Communications Division and Information Systems Department with its annual Sunshine Award. Malia Bennett has been the Senate’s Director of Communications since 2003. The Communications Division works with all 48 members of the Senate, and assists media and the public by providing information on the business of the Senate. John Warren is the Director of the state Senate’s Department of Information Systems. The department provides technical support to all members of the Senate and staff. Warren has been Director of the department since 1998. Given annually to a public official or governmental institution that has shown a commitment to freedom of information, the Sunshine Award was presented to Bennett and Warren by the organization for introducing a variety of innovations to give the public greater and more efficient access to the activities of the Senate.