Monday, May 7
• The Senate approved the following bills on Monday:
-SB 1465 by Sen. Brian Bingman, modifies sales tax requirements regarding direct payment permits for tangible personal property stored in state temporarily for fabrication, repair, testing, alteration, maintenance or other services.
-SB 1053 by Sen. Harry Coates, allows for repair and improvement of public and private buildings using public funds for specific projects.
-SB 1628 by Sen. Brian Bingman, modifies language related to the Interstate Oil Compact Fund.
-SB 1627 by Sen. Brian Bingman, creates the Oklahoma Energy Initiative and the Oklahoma Energy Initiative Revolving Fund.
-SB 1019 by Sen. Earl Garrison, allows certain public housing authorities to collect certain debts by filing a claim against income tax refunds.
-SB 1183 by Sen. Sean Burrage, requires a OKDPS Motor Vehicle Report for adoptive parents when the child is in OKDHS custody.
-SB 1386 by Sen. Brian Crain, allows the Attorney General to pursue suspected cases of Medicaid fraud.
-SB 1313 by Sen. Brian Crain, modifies age requirements for delivery acceptance.
-SB 1582 by Sen. Rob Johnson, gives the Executive Director of the Office of Juvenile Affairs the authority to appoint campus police for secure facilities and adjacent grounds.
-SB 1523 by Sen. Rob Johnson, requires domestic and foreign limited liability companies to pay an annual certificate fee of $25.
-SB 243 by Sen. Cliff Branan, removes the provision that trials contesting appraisals shall be conducted in the same manner as railroad condemnation trials.
-HJR 1126 by Rep. Don Armes, approves permanent rules of the State Fire Marshall Commission.
-HB 2641 by Rep. Lee Denney, creates the 21st Century Successful Living Act.
-HB 2446 by Rep. Marty Quinn, changes subsections regarding numbering and lettering.
-HJR 1127 by Rep. Fred Jordan, approves permanent rules of the Oklahoma Uniform Building Code Commission.
• House committees took no action Monday.
Tuesday, May 8
• The Senate approved the following measures on Tuesday:
-SB 1111 by Sen. Frank Simpson, designates the Ardmore Higher Education Program as the University Center of Southern Oklahoma and updates subsequent references.
-SB 1199 by Sen. Patrick Anderson, requires that interest accrue on all child support and other support orders.
-SB 1246 by Sen. Brian Bingman, states that if a claimant in a workers’ compensation case is charged with workers’ compensation fraud, any pending workers’ compensation proceeding shall be stayed after the preliminary hearing is concluded and the claimant is bound over and shall remain stayed until the final disposition of the criminal case.
-SB 1412 by Sen. Susan Paddack, authorizes the commissioner of public safety and other officers of the department designated by the commissioner to prove a copy of any record required to be maintained by the department at no charge to any nonprofit provider exempt from federal income tax and contracted by the Developmental Disabilities Services Division of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.
-SB 1471 by Sen. Patrick Anderson, requires the Tax Commission to provide to the Department of Human Services in an agreed electronic format the amount withheld from an individual’s tax refund to offset a claim by a state agency.
-SB 1474 by Sen. Rob Johnson, provides that an insurance self-evaluative audit is privileged information and is not discoverable or admissible as evidence in any legal action.
-SB 1497 by Sen. Rick Brinkley, increases the time period from within one year to within 36 months that a person resumes business for which a closing out sale was conducted that constitutes a violation of the Oklahoma Consumer Protection Act.
-SB 1905 by Sen. Steve Russell, prohibits an employer from requiring any employee who is retired from a branch of the U.S. military and has been provided with health care coverage through a federal plan to participate in employer-sponsored health insurance coverage if the health insurance coverage requires a contribution from the employee.
-SB 1951 by Sen. Steve Russell, creates the Wounded Warrior Protection Act.
-SB 243 by Sen. Cliff Branan, modifies definitions under the Seismic Exploration Regulation Act.
-HB 2511 by Rep. Ann Coody, which removes reference to the State Board of Education’s approval of not more than three screening instruments to measure reading skills.
-HB 2250 by Rep. T.W. Shannon, directs any officer weighing a vehicle by means of portable scales to allow the driver of the vehicle to move the vehicle to the most level weighing area within 2 miles of the stop.
-HB 2524 by Rep. Steve Martin, modifies definitions under the Oklahoma Real Estate Code.
-HB 2921 by Rep. Phil Richardson, directs that the provisions of the Pet Breeder Act of 2012 will be administered and supervised by the State Board of Agriculture.
• The Senate met Wednesday, approving the following measures:
-SB 1551 by Sen. Ralph Shortey, requires the director of corrections to have knowledge and skill in the correctional field and a master’s degree and five years professional level work experience in corrections or a bachelor’s degree and six years professional level work experience in corrections.
-SB 1189 by Sen. Bryce Marlatt, clarifies language related to the 2011 Shale Reservoir Development Act.
-SB 1401 by Sen. Rick Brinkley, requires nursing facilities and specialized facilities without emergency power generators or written emergency power generators or written disaster plans on file during an emergency situation to provide a written disclosure to any resident or resident’s caregiver upon admittance to the facility stating the facility does not have an emergency power generator or disaster plan.
-SB 1449 by Sen. Rick Brinkley, allows any person 62-years of age or older who is a head of a household and owns and resides in a manufactured home that is located on land now owned by the owner of the manufactured home may receive an exemption on the manufactured home equal to $2,000 if the person’s gross household income did not meet certain conditions.
-SB 1554 by Sen. Ralph Shortey, modifies the membership of the State Fire Marshal Commission, directing one member be a fire investigator rather than a safety engineer.
-SB 1678 by Sen. Mike Schulz, requires the Department of Public Safety to issue a permit to transport or move a manufactured home used for commercial purposes during the second through the sixth of the first month following the calendar year if the applicant can provide a special waiver and a commercial move affidavit authorized by law.
-SB 1690 by Sen. Anthony Sykes, provides that the residency of dentist members of the Board of Dentistry will be determined by the primary location listed on the dentists’ licenses.
-SB 1701 by Sen. Anthony Sykes, establishes that the adjutant general is the chief military adviser to the governor.
-SB 1760 by Sen. Anthony Sykes, modifies language related to the state of emergencies declared by the governor.
• The House met Wednesday, approving several bills, including the following:
-HB 1952 by Rep. Skye McNiel, creates the Oklahoma Weigh Station Act of 2012.
-HB 2230 by Rep. George Faught, recreates the Oklahoma Liquefied Petroleum Gas Research, Marketing and Safety Commission until July 1, 2015.
-HJR 1124 by Rep. Todd Thomsen, approves permanent rules of the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training.
-HB 2689 by Rep. Charles Joyner, modifies requirements for in-state tuition eligibility for dependent children of uniformed military members.
• The Senate approved the following measures Thursday:
-SB 1733 by Sen. Anthony Sykes, allows citizens licensed to carry a firearm under the Oklahoma Self Defense Act to carry their weapon openly or concealed.
-SB 1814 by Sen. Dan Newberry, creates the Oklahoma Blue Heart Medal of Honor.
• President Obama announced his support for gay marriage on Wednesday. He said he had hesitated on gay marriage in the past partly because he thought that civil unions would be sufficient.
• The oil and gas industry's input to Oklahoma's economy in 2011 totaled more than $61 billion, or about $1 of every $3 in the gross state product, according to a report commissioned by the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board. That figure comes from adding the industry's direct and indirect output to the spending of its 344,000 workers in Oklahoma.
• Large majorities of Oklahoma voters oppose state income tax cuts if it means less funding for schools, roads and public safety, a poll released Wednesday by the Oklahoma Advocacy Project shows. The telephone poll of 603 registered voters was conducted May 3-6 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. It appears to stand in contrast to an April 3-5 Sooner Survey telephone poll of 500 voters that found that by a better than 2-to-1 margin Oklahomans favor cutting the state income tax to 4.75 percent. The plurality of those polled by the Oklahoma Advocacy Project - 42 percent - opposed cutting the state income tax and paying for it by eliminating popular tax credits such as the child tax credit and the sales tax relief credit. The group describes itself as a nonprofit formed to advocate on behalf of working Oklahomans and supporting "reasonable policies that create economic prosperity for all Oklahomans and that protect core government services." When voters were asked if they favor reducing funding for public schools in order to pass on savings in the form of a tax cut, opposition rose to 81 percent. Seventy percent agreed with the statement, "phasing out the state income tax will lead to higher property taxes and sales taxes to provide necessary funding for public services like schools, roads and public safety." When asked if they supported phasing out the state income tax if it meant higher property taxes and sale taxes, 67 percent opposed the income tax phase-out. The Sooner Survey poll found that 30 percent of those polled strongly favor cutting the top tax rate to 4.75 percent and 22 percent somewhat favor it. Only 22 percent strongly or somewhat oppose it. The same poll found that 51 percent favored phasing out the income tax over 10 years and only 30 percent opposed it.
• The number of people applying for U.S. unemployment benefits ticked down last week after dropping sharply the previous week, evidence hiring could pick up this month. Weekly applications dropped 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 367,000 in the week ending May 5, the Labor Department said Thursday. The previous week's figure was revised up slightly. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell 5,250 to 379,000. Applications are a measure of the pace of layoffs. When they stay consistently below 375,000, it suggests job growth is strong enough to lower the unemployment rate.