The Oklahoma Senate

Week In Review
Monday, May 5 to Thursday, May 8, 2008

Monday, May 5

• The Senate met Monday and approved the following legislation:

-SB 958 by Sen. Clark Jolley, establishes ad valorem assessment procedures for certain property.
-SB 1525 by Sen. Patrick Anderson, states that a judge presiding over a deprived action can also have jurisdiction in the matter and preside over any seperate action to finalize a child's court-approved permanency plan.
-SB 1625 by Sen. Susan Paddack, expands the list of entities with which the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET) may enter into agreements for professional services.
-SB 1863 by Susan Paddack, states legislative intent that the Oklahoma Choosing Health plans All Together (CHAT) initiative expand its sessions to reach a broader demographic of the state to include more minority and low-income populations.
-SB 1900 by Sen. Cliff Branan, requires the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority to advertise for surface treatment only project bids on sections of road no longer than 20 miles, as well as bids on the project as a whole, when the project is more than 20 miles of road.
-SB 2046 by Sen. Jonathan Nichols, allows a disclosure, report or charge that a person has engaged in or is engaging in improper activities under the Whistleblower Act to be filed by a third-party state employee who has actual knowledge of the discipline or retaliatory act taken against the whistleblower on behalf of another individual and establishes certain requirements for such filings.
-SB 2066 by Sen. Ron Justice, requires every private prison contractor to ensure they have submitted a national criminal history records check through the Department of Corrections and eliminates certain other requirements.
-SJR 38 by Sen. Glenn Coffee, proposes a constitutional amendment to add new language setting forth the inherent right of state citizens to engage in hunting, trapping, fishing and taking of game and fish, free of state laws which explicitly or implicitly prohibit such activities.
-HB 1021 by Rep. Marian Cooksey, prohibits human trafficking, provides penalties and requires that persons forced into human trafficking be treated as victims of crime.

• Senate committees took no action on Monday.

• The House approved the following measures on Monday:

-SB 811 by Sen. Charles Laster, states that county jails are not responsible for medical care related to a preexisting condition.
-HB 1460 by Rep. Sally Kern, makes confidential any communication made by a participant or counselor in peer support counseling sessions conducted by a law enforcement agency or emergency services personnel.
-HB 2822 by Rep. John Sullivan, removes the population restriction on language relating to use of 911 emergency service information by law enforcement or public health agencies.
-HB 2226 by Rep. Glen Bud Smithson, modifies the requirements for hunting with a crossbow.
-HB 2882 by Rep. Mike Shelton, creates a board of trustees for Langston University-Oklahoma City and Langston University-Tulsa.

• House conference committees approved numerous appropriations measures on Monday.

Tuesday, May 6

• The Senate met Tuesday and approved the following bills:

-SB 1155 by Sen. Randy Bass, designates a section of State Highway 115 between the junctions of State Highway 49 and State Highway 19 in Comanche and Kiowa counties as "Duty Rowe Scenic Route 115".
-SB 1627 by Sen. Susan Paddack, creates a marginal-quality water technical work group.
-SB 1640 by Sen. Tom Ivester, requires health insurance plans to provide equal reimbursement for any mental or behavioral health or alcohol and drug treatment that is within the scope of practice of a licensed physician, physician assistant, licensed clinical social worker, licensed professional counselor, licensed marriage and family therapist, certified or licensed drug and alcohol counselor, licensed behavioral practitioner, licensed psychologist or advance practice registered nurse.
-SB 1696 by Sen. Randy Bass, authorizes the Oklahoma Conservation Commission to establish and administer the Oklahoma Conservation Commission Municipal Infrastructure Cost-Share Program as funds become available.
-SB 1842 by Sen. Cliff Aldridge, abolishes the Special Agency Account Board and transfers its duties and responsibilities to the Office of State Finance.
-SB 1961 by Sen. Anthony Sykes, creates the Drug Money Laundering and Wire Transmitter Act.
-SB 1964 by Sen. Kenneth Corn, authorizes the Department of Corrections to use one agency special account as a centralized petty cash fund for state correctional facilities.
-SB 1970 by Sen. Randy Bass, expands the powers of the Adjunct General to award certain honors, expands certain funds for advertising purposes and invest monies with the State Treasurer.
-SB 2003 by Sen. Jonathan Nichols, establishes that a district attorney may seek acceleration or revocation of any court ordered probation of an individual who fails without an excuse to attend three consecutive sessions of any court ordered domestic abuse counseling or treatment program.
-SB 2007 by Sen. Jonathan Nichols, provides that those who are compelled to testify as a witness to give factual testimony but qualifies and testifies as an expert witness shall receive a reasonable expert witness fee from the party seeking the testimony.
-SB 2028 by Sen. Anthony Sykes, creates a felony for any individual who maliciously, forcibly or fraudulently takes or entices away any incapacitated or partially incapacitated person or any other person over the age of 16 for whom a guardian has been appointed with the intent to detain and conceal the individual from his or her guardian.

• Senate committees on Tuesday approved numerous appropriations measures.

• The House on Tuesday approved the following bills:

-HB 3124 by Rep. Tad Jones, directs the State Board of Education to issue a two-year nonrenewable license to teach to any person who has been accepted into the Teach for America Program and has on file a current Oklahoma and national criminal history record.
-HB 3060 by Rep. Rebecca Hamilton, directs the Department of Health to collaborate with a private blood donor or blood bank organization to operate a public umbilical cord blood bank to collect and store umbililical cord blood and placental tissue donated by maternity patients.
-HB 3143 by Rep. Lance Cargill, creates the Compassionate Care Task Force to make recommendations regarding the role of faith-based and non faith-based organizations in the Oklahoma health care system.
-HB 3187 by Rep. Dale DeWitt, creates the Oklahoma Oilseed Research Resources Act.
-HB 3341 by Rep. Mike Thompson, creates the Cigarette Fire Safety Standard and Firefighter Protection Act.

• House committees took no action on Tuesday.

Wednesday, May 7

• The Senate met Wednesday and approved conference committee reports for a number of appropriations measures along with the following bills:

-SB 906 by Sen. James Williamson, creates an Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children to join with other member states to replace the existing compact.

-SB 1404 by Sen. Bill Brown, modifies language under the Oklahoma Medicaid Program Reform Act of 2003

-SB 1451 by Sen. Roger Ballenger, creates the Oklahoma Energy and Emission Reduction Program to be administered by the Department of Environmental Quality.

-SB 1601 by Sen. Cliff Aldridge, directs persons or businesses who offer services to children to conduct an annual name search of employees on the Oklahoma Sex Offender Registry and the Mary Rippy Violent Crime Offenders Registry and the May Rippy Violent Crime Offenders Registry and requires employees sign an affidavit stating they are on neither list.

-SB 1631 by Sen. Susan Paddack, creates the Oklahoma Computer Equipment Recovery Act.

-SB 1656 by Sen. Constance Johnson, creates a Person-Centered Medical Home Task Force within the Insurance Department.

-SB 1699 by Sen. Brian Bingman, authorizes the Corporation Commission to set rules necessary to enable Oklahoma to participate in the Unified Carrier Registration System.

-SB 1881 by Sen. Clark Jolley, extends the lifespan of the School Funding Formula Task Force.

-SB 2001 by Sen. Owen Laughlin, amends enrolled SB 1878, to state that upon a determination by an abortion provider that a medical emergency exists with respect to a pregnant woman, the requirement that pregnant women have an ultrasound be performed one hour prior to the performance of an abortion does not apply.

-SB 2143 by Sen. Kenneth Corn, modifies language related to the Oklahoma Firefighters Pension and Retirement System, the Oklahoma Police Pension and Retirement System and the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Retirement System.

-SB 1640 by Sen. Tom Ivester, requires health insurance plans to provide equal reimbursement for services when the policy provides for reimbursement for any mental or behavioral health or alcohol and drug treatment that is within the scope of practice of a licensed physician.

• Senate committees took no action on Wednesday.

• The House met Wednesday and approved the following bills before rejecting Senate amendments to a number of House measures:

-HB 2458 by Rep. Colby Schwartz, modifies language related to the Governmental Tort Claims Act.

-HB 2813 by Rep. Weldon Watson, states that reasonable costs incurred by an electric utility for transmission upgrades to develop wind generation that have been approved by the Southwest Power Pool be deemed recoverable through periodic rates adjustments in the rates of utility.

-HB 2758 by Rep. Doug Cox, modifies membership of the Oklahoma Trauma Systems Improvement and Development Advisory Council to include an oral or maxillofacial surgeon.

-HB 2763 by Rep. Doug Cox, allows approved employees of a city-county health department to purchase materials or services necessary for out of county travel by using health department credit cards.

-HB 2547 by Rep. Phil Richardson, modifies the fine for trespassing on private farm, ranch or forestry land.

• House committees took no action on Wednesday.

Thursday, May 8

• The Senate met Thursday and approved the following legislation:

-SB 1587 by Sen. Mike Johnson, authorizes the Corporation Commission to retain fees for certain purposes and use remaining monies for general operating expenses.

-SB 1891 by Sen. Randy Bass, relates to revenue and taxation and the Oklahoma Quality Jobs Incentive Leverage Act by allowing establishment to file second irrevocable election to use certain payments for certain purposes.

-SB 1980 by Sen. Sean Burrage, creates the Viatical Settlements Act of 2008.

-SB 2122 by Sen. John Sparks, creates the Crimes By or Affecting Persons Engaged in the Business of Insurance Act.

-SB 1697 by Sen. Richard Lerblance, modifies definitions relating to mines and mining.

Other News

• The state Senate on Wednesday congratulated the Williams Companies upon its centennial, and thanked the company for its many contributions to the state. The Williams Companies were founded 100 years ago when brothers Dave and Miller Williams formed a partnership, beginning with only a concrete mixing machine and $600 in capital. The partners built sidewalks until 1918 when the company relocated to Tulsa. During World War II the Williams Company was the main contractor on the War Emergency Pipeline systems which brought energy products from Texas to the industrialized Northeast. The company would later diversify into fertilization operations, real estate, insurance and food products before becoming a leader in the telecommunications industry. Today, Williams focuses largely on processing and producing natural gas.

• The Senate recognized Stilwell Strawberry Festival Queen Tawnie Goodwin and her royal court Wednesday as part of the annual Strawberry Day at the State Capitol. The festival was started on May 10, 1948 by the Stilwell Kiwanis as a way of promoting Stilwell and its strawberry growers. The event attracts about 30,000 people a year.

• With his final session in the State Legislature drawing to a close, members of the Oklahoma State Senate paid tribute Tuesday to Sen. Jeff Rabon. The Hugo Democrat leaves office this year due to term limits. Rabon’s career in public service began long before he was elected to the Senate in 1996. Shortly after graduating from college, Rabon worked as a field representative for U.S. Sen. David Boren. He later worked as co-campaign manager and special assistant for U.S. Rep. Bill Brewster. Rabon also served as legislative liaison for the National Rifle Association, as well as senior administrative assistant for Lt. Gov. Jack Mildren.

• The state Senate dedicated another original painting Tuesday morning. “Tinker Field”, by Midwest City artist R.T. Foster, is sponsored by Senator Cliff and DeeAnn Aldridge and commissioned by the Oklahoma State Senate Historical Preservation Fund. The history of Tinker Air Force Base began in 1940 when a group of Oklahoma City businessmen learned that the War Department was considering the central United States as a location for a maintenance and supply depot. City leaders offered a 480 acre site with an option of 960 additional acres of land. On April 8, 1941, the order was officially signed awarding the depot to Oklahoma City. During World War II, Tinker’s industrial plant repaired B-24 and B-17 bombers and fitted B-29s for combat. In 1946, Tinker was expanded to include the Douglas Aircraft plant, which produced approximately half of the C-47 Skytrains used in WWII. The site also produced a number of A-20 Havocs.