The Oklahoma Senate

Week In Review
Monday, Feb. 7 to Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011

Monday, February 7

• With attention focused on committee activity, the Senate approved two resolutions on Monday.

-SR 1 by Sen. Bryce Marlatt, congratulates Louisiana State University Tiger Patrick Peterson on his selection as the 2010 Jim Thorpe Award recipient.

-SR 2 by Sen. Cliff Branan, designates February 6 through February 12, as “Ronald Reagan Week” in Oklahoma.

• Several measures were approved by Senate committees Monday.

-SB 718 by Sen. Brian Bingman, states that control of the State Department of Education is to be vested in the state superintendent of public instruction.

-SB 55 by Sen. Anthony Sykes, directs the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education to adopt a policy that grants resident tuition to grandchildren of Oklahoma residents, provided that the student and grandparents are United States citizens and the grandparent has filed with the Oklahoma Tax Commission for 10 years prior to the student’s application.

-SB 171 by Sen. Eddie Fields, exempts public improvement projects of less than $150,000 on a school district building from being required to have a certification that the work performed conforms to the plans and specifications of the project, provided that the project involves no structural changes.

-SB 206 by Sen. John Ford, creates a nine-member P-20 Council Task Force to study the feasibility, value and structure of a P-20 Council or educational partnership that would ensure a seamless system of education from early childhood education through elementary, secondary, post secondary and/or career technology education.

-SB 12 by Sen. Patrick Anderson, modifies application of national criminal history record checks on education employees, exempting technology center employees hired on a part-time or temporary basis to instruct adult students only.

-SB 59 by Sen. Ron Justice, modifies language regarding national criminal history record checks on substitute teachers, exempting those who have been employed as full-time teachers by a school district in the state in the previous five years.

-SB 80 by Sen. Gary Stanislawski, removes language that required that a school district’s state aid be reduced by an amount equal to the amount of carryover in its general fund as of June 30 of the preceding fiscal year that is in excess of certain standards.

-SB 109 by Sen. Gary Stanislawski, requires school administrators to complete the following continuing education courses: three hours of instructional leadership, one hour of school finance and one hour of education law.

-SB 141 by Sen. Clark Jolley, provides the same criteria in evaluating transferred students enrolled in online courses as students regularly enrolled at school when calculating school funding.

-SB 256 by Sen. John Ford, allows any charter school which chooses to lease property to be eligible to receive current government lease rates.

-SB 275, by Sen. Eddie Fields, permits federal grant money applied for on behalf of a school district to be disbursed directly to an interlocal cooperative with the consent of the districts that comprise the interlocal agreement.

-SB 279 by Sen. Gary Stanislawski, expands the list of purposes for which school districts may issue bonds to include the maintenance of school furniture, fixtures or equipment.

-SB 280 by Sen. Gary Stanislawski, eliminates the requirement of ongoing weekly telephonic communication between teacher and parent from the rules that the State Board of Education is required to adopt for the implementation of an online course.

• The House convened Monday, and after extensive debate, approved the following resolution:

-HR 1008 by Rep. Kris Steele, establishes the rules for the House of Representatives for the 53rd Legislature. Among many reforms, the resolution will require that House conference committees hold public meetings with recorded votes.

• House committees met Monday but approved no legislation.

Tuesday, February 8

• The Senate met Tuesday, but promptly motioned to adjourn until Monday, February 14, in anticipation of a winter storm.

• Senate committees approved the following bills on Tuesday:

-SB 862 by Sen. Anthony Sykes, repeals language regarding tortfeasor liability, modifying certain liability in a civil action based on fault and not arising out of contract.

-SB 863 by Sen. Anthony Sykes, modifies the limits to certain damage awards in civil actions not arising out of contract, repeals language regarding applicability to certain actions and repeals a section pertaining to the Health Care Indemnity Fund Task Force.

-SB 864 by Sen. Anthony Sykes, lists monies to be deducted from a plaintiff’s winnings from a defendant if the plaintiff is receiving injury compensation from a source wholly independent of the defendant.

-SB 865 by Sen. Anthony Sykes, states that the Oklahoma Uniform Jury Instructions shall include an instruction notifying the jury that no part of an award for damages for personal injury or wrongful death is subject to federal or state income tax.

-SB 866 by Sen. Anthony Sykes, provides for periodic payment of certain damages in an action, and provides procedures upon the death of a recipient.

-SB 3 by Sen. Mike Mazzei, reduces the time that aerospace sector employers are eligible to receive tax credits for tuition reimbursement and salaries paid to their employees by one year.

-SB 4 by Sen. Jim Wilson, restricts the amount of time that a taxpayer can make a claim for sales tax relief to one year after the end of the tax year during which the tax was paid, beginning in 2011.

-SB 38 by Sen. Clark Jolley, amends the Oklahoma Vehicle License and Registration Act to include “rebodied vehicles”.

-SB 42 by Sen. Earl Garrison, prohibits the use of children in advertisments of the Oklahoma Education Lottery Act.

-SB 101 by Sen. Roger Ballenger, states that special event permits relating to sales taxes shall be permitted to an entity supporting state parks located in this state.

-SB 105 by Sen. Ron Justice, requires the State Board of Equalization to set or schedule fees for the search, production, and copying of County Assessor information.

-SB 122 by Sen. Mike Mazzei, changes the apportionment date to the beginning of the 2014 fiscal year for the gross production tax for the Oklahoma Water Resources Board Rural Economic Action Plan Water Projects Fund.

-SB 123 by Sen. Mike Mazzei, changes the date that the Oklahoma Tax Commission shall file a report with the Speaker of the House, the President Pro Tempore, and the Director of the Office of State Finance.

-SB 154 by Sen. Mike Mazzei, changes the cutoff date for incentive payments to July 1, 2003, making an exception for a change of control event pursuant to the Oklahoma Quality Jobs Program Act.

-SB 200 by Sen. Jim Halligan, gives authorization to the Oklahoma Tax Commission to design and issue appropriate official special license plates.

-SB 261 by Sen. Mike Mazzei, mandates that as of November 1, 2005, a special license plate can only be issued if the Tax Commission receives 250 prepaid applications.

-SB 325 by Sen. Patrick Anderson, defines ATV tires as non-highway, and defines recreational off-highway vehicles as being used exclusively for off-highway use.

• The House convened Tuesday and approved the following resolution:

-HR 1007 by Rep. Pam Peterson, designates February 6, 2011, as “President Ronald Reagan Day” in Oklahoma.

Other News

• Before the first joint session of the 53rd Oklahoma Legislature, Gov. Mary Fallin on Monday delivered her first State of the State address, calling on lawmakers to approve pro-business reforms and create a more efficient state government.

• 2010 Jim Thorpe Award winner Patrick Peterson was honored on the floor of the state Senate on Monday. The Senate unanimously approved Senate Resolution 1, recognizing and commending the standout cornerback from Louisiana State University.

• In one of its first orders of business for the 2011 Legislative Session, the State Senate unanimously approved Senate Resolution 2 honoring the life of the country’s 40th President, Ronald Reagan, and recognizing the 100th anniversary of his birth. The resolution, by Sen. Cliff Branan, also designates February 6-12, 2011 as “Ronald Reagan Week” in the State of Oklahoma. Reagan was elected as the 40th President of the United States in 1981 and served two terms in the White House. In the election for his second term, he received three-fifths of the country’s votes and was victorious in 49 of the 50 states in the general election – a record unsurpassed in the history of American presidential elections.