The Oklahoma Senate

Week In Review
Monday, March 30, to Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Monday, March 30

• The Senate convened briefly on Monday and considered one bill.

-The floor substitute and emergency clause for HB 2177, by Rep. Jeff Hickman, renames the 2011 Shale Reservoir the Extended Lateral Horizontal Well Development Act and modifies related definitions. The bill provides for the use of a multi-unit horizontal well as an alternate development method to the development of a common source of supply with horizontal well technology in any targeted reservoir or reservoirs. The floor substitute adds language clarifying rights of the vertical well owners. The bill passed 37-7.

• Several House bills passed out of various Senate committees on Monday, including:

-HB 2005, with title stricken, by Sen. AJ Griffin, states a person who performs as a volunteer firefighter at age 45 or older will not be eligible to be a member of the Oklahoma Firefighters Pension and Retirement System for any purpose, will not be eligible for any benefit payable by the System and will not receive any form of service credit from the System. The bill specifies who will make the final determination on applicants for positions that would involve the performance of volunteer firefighting services if the applicant is over the age of 45.

-HB 1002, with title stricken, by Rep. Randy McDaniel, states the Oklahoma Firefighters Pension and Retirement System Board of Trustees is responsible for the policies and rules of the general administration of the Oklahoma Firefighters Pension and Retirement System. The bill requires the board to establish procedures and may require information from the distributing plan as it sees fit to reasonably conclude that a potential rollover is valid.

-HB 1735, by Rep. Sean Roberts, establishes the Oklahoma Pension Systems Retirement Dividend Funding Act, which would operate within the State Treasury for the retirement systems of the state.

-HB 1074, by Rep. Richard Morrissette, states an eligible patient must be diagnosed with a terminal illness, have considered all treatments currently approved, has been unable to participate in a clinical trial, received a recommendation from a physician and given written consent for the use of the investigational drug.

-HB 1081, by Rep. Pat Ownbey, modifies the duties of the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Board of Nursing. The bill allows the Board to impose a corrective action to a licensed person who violates certain rules. The bill states what the corrective actions may include. The bill requires that the corrective action not be considered as disciplinary action, unless the action is a subsequent violation of the Nursing Practice Act, Board rule or corrective action order.

-HB 1118, by Rep. Pam Peterson, creates the Child Care Center Bill of Rights which specifies a child care center may not be penalized if a center employee has completed required training by the Department of Human Services but documentation is not updated. The bill establishes an appeals process for a center to DHS in the event DHS reduces the rating of a child care center. It also exempts the center from being penalized if an employee is terminated for inappropriate conduct.

-HB 1408, by Rep. Lisa J. Billy, requires a license for establishments selling food or drink. It permits certain food establishments to function without a license. It requires that each license expire one year following the date it is issued. It requires that the State Department of Health to charge and collect for each such license an annual fee fixed by the State Board of Health. It permits the Board to provide by for a fee-exempt license for a food establishment operated by a nonprofit, civic, charitable or religious organization using unpaid persons to sell or offer food on a frequent basis.

-HB 1410, by Rep. Lisa J. Billy, requires the revenue from a lease of surplus land and property at the Southern Oklahoma Resource Center of Pauls Valley to be placed in a special agency clearing account to be used for the benefit of the Department of Human Services' (DHS) programs for "individuals with developmental disabilities. The bill requires that DHS provide a report to the Parent Guardian Association concerning the spending of funds received.

-HB 1616, by Rep. David Derby, permits a commissioned employee to purchase a rifle, shotgun and additional service pistols issued to said employee immediately prior to retirement in addition to a sidearm and badge. The bill requires the cost of purchasing said weapon to be the replacement cost for a new weapon. It also requires any records regarding the ownership of each weapon transferred to be modified to reflect the transfer of the retired commissioned employee. The bill requires the proceeds from the purchase of said weapon to be deposited in the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics Revolving Fund.

-HB1622, by Rep. David Derby, directs the State Board of Education to administer the criterion-referenced assessment for grades three through eight until the 2015-2016 school year. It requires the board to administer the end-of-instruction criterion-referenced assessments for grades nine through twelve until the 2015-2016 school year. It also directs them to continue to administer the end-of-instruction criterion-referenced assessments to the cohort of students who start the ninth grade during the 2015-2016 school year until those students have graduated or are no longer enrolled in a public high school. The bill had its enacting clause removed by the committee.

-HB 1065, by Rep. Jadine Nollan, requires the State Board of Education to administer a valid and reliable criterion-referenced test that measures only reading proficiency and not proficiency in the language arts to determine the promotion and retention of third grade students pursuant to the Reading Sufficiency Act. The bill had its enacting clause stricken by the committee.

-HB 1072, by Rep. Bobby Cleveland, repeals language related to a study of higher education institution employee benefit programs and a study of salary and other remunerative benefits for higher education institution faculty and staff.

-HB 1268, as amended, by Rep. Dennis Ray Casey, grants certain students who have an Individualized Education Program an alternative method of demonstrating satisfactory knowledge on the personal financial literacy education test by meeting a set of criteria. The bill also requires the State Department of Education to provide resources and materials designed to enable students identified as English language learners to understand and use the personal financial literacy information presented.

-HB1521, by Rep. Katie Henke, provides that teacher compensation does not include one-time incentive pay that is provided by the school district to a teacher nor one-time retention incentive pay for returning a second year and exempts the pay from a negotiated agreement.

-HB 1690, by Rep. Chad Caldwell, states the academic performance of students receiving certain high-level long-term or short-term treatment will be excluded when determining the A-F grade of the school site. If the treatment facility is considered a school, it will not receive a grade. The bill had its enacting clause stricken by the committee.

-HB 1691, by Rep. Lee Denney, allows a board of education of any school district, residing at least partially in a county with a population of at least 500,000, with an average daily membership of at least 30,000 to contract with a public or private nonsectarian entity to provide educational and administrative services for the school district.

-HB 2088, by Rep. Jason Nelson, directs the State Board of Education to take steps to implement certain adopted subject matter standards by the 2016-2017 school year. The bill had its enacting clause stricken by the committee.

• The following Senate bills were passed this week in House committees, including:

-SB 137, by Sen. Corey Brooks, prevents a student's disability compensation from being considered for purposes of the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program.

-The CS for SB 138, by Sen. Corey Brooks, allows students to be eligible for in-state status regardless of the residency of the student if he or she is eligible for benefits under the federal Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 or other federal law authorizing educational benefits for veterans or is the spouse or child 25 years of age or younger of someone receiving those benefits.

-SB 177, with the enacting clause stricken, by Sen. Jim Halligan, modifies the income level for participation in the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access program. The bill changes the measure of the income to federal adjusted gross income from income from taxable and nontaxable sources and increases the amount to $55,000 from $50,000.

-SB 504, as amended, by Sen. Clark Jolley, relates to the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program. The bill modifies eligibility for the OHLAP program to include admission to accredited universities offering online, competency-based degree programs located in the state as well as allowing awards for the program to be allocated to accredited universities.

-SB 79, by Sen. Jack Fry, removes the requirements for the appearance of Firefighter License Plates and requires the plate be designed in consultation with the Oklahoma State Firefighters Association. The bill updates statutory references.

-SB 144, by Sen. David Holt, creates the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority License Plate for anyone wishing to demonstrate support for the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority. The bill requires the plate to be designed in consultation with the authority and provides that an amount of the fee collected be deposited in the Educational Television Authority Revolving Fund.

-SB 266, by Sen. Susan Paddack, allows the Oklahoma Tax Commission to design and issue appropriate official special license plates for Remembering Fallen Heroes for individuals demonstrating support for Concerns of Police Survivors, Inc. The bill requires the plates to be designed with the Oklahoma chapter of Police Survivors, Inc. and the funds to be deposited in the Concerns of Police Survivors Revolving Fund.

-SB 337, by Sen. Kyle Loveless, reauthorizes the use of Chiefs of Police License Plate for a vehicle or motorcycle in any combination of numbers and letters from one to a maximum of seven, as for personalized plates. It allows the license plate for a motorcycle to be of similar design as space permits or a new design in order to meet the space requirements of a motorcycle license plate.

• The House passed several bills on the House floor Monday, including the following:

-SB 28, by Sen. Josh Brecheen, removes the minimum age requirement for the director of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services. The bill passed by a vote of 73 to 23, and the emergency clause failed by a vote of 46 to 38.

-SB 563, by Sen. Brian Crain, was also approved by the House. It adds a tribally owned or tribally operated utility under the definition of public utility. The bill passed by a vote of 84 to 13.

-SB 109, by Sen. Patrick Anderson, the recorded authority of the attorney-in-fact with respect to matters covered by the records of the county clerk, and the acts of the attorney-in-fact will be binding on the principal or the principal's successors in interest until the notice is recorded. The bill passed by a vote of 92 to 2.

-SB 167, by Sen. A J Griffin, adds homeowners association and town-run parks and playgrounds to the list of areas where registered sex offenders cannot, within a 2,000-foot radius, reside. The bill passed by a vote of 88 to 6.

-SB 215, by Sen. AJ Griffin, modifies the requirements for the application for a notary commission. The bill requires the availability of blanks for bonds and oath of office to be available on the Secretary of State website on a specified website. The bill prohibits a notary public from performing any notarial act until his or her bond, official seal, oath of office and loyalty oath has been approved by the Secretary of State. The bill establishes grounds for denial, refusal or revocation of a commission as a notary public. The bill was passed by a vote of 77 to 1.

-SB 346, by Sen. Nathan Dahm, creates the Governor's Transparency Act of 2015. The bill requires a state agency entering into a Memorandum of Understanding or Memorandum of Agreement with any agency, department or any organization receiving appropriated money, grants, contracts from the State of Oklahoma or any other state or funds from the government of the United States to publish a report on its website and the website of all Memorandums of Understanding or Memorandums of Agreement within 15 business days of the memorandum's effective date. The bill was passed by a vote of 90 to 4.

Tuesday, March 31

• The Senate met Tuesday afternoon and approved the following legislation:

-HB 1948, by Rep. Doug Cox, reduces drug abuse and overdose deaths by requiring that doctors check a patient database before prescribing highly addictive medication. Physicians who check the database can determine if a patient is “doctor shopping,” or attempting to get more than one of the same prescription from multiple doctors. The initial database check would be required with the first prescription for three certain classes of drugs and subsequent checks are required every 180 days. The bill passed 35 to 10 and was the first bill sent to Gov. Mary Fallin this legislative session. She signed the bill into law on Tuesday afternoon.

-HB1085, by Rep. Pat Ownbey, modifies the Home Care and Hospice Advisory Council to include Palliative Care. The bill passed 44 to 0.

-HB1154, by Rep. John Montgomery, relates to national criminal history checks for employment at public schools and law enforcement exception to said checks. It defines certain terms including "employment agency" and "law enforcement officer". The bill does not apply to law enforcement officers employed by an employing agency at the time of application for employment at a public school district. The bill passed 44 to 0.

• The House met Tuesday with a lengthy agenda and passed the following legislation:

-SB 24, by Sen. Marty Quinn, removes the requirement that the Office of Management and Enterprise Services' director conduct training specific to the State Employee Assistance Program. The bill also removes language creating and references to the duties and responsibilities of the State Employee Assistance Program Advisory Council. The bill and its emergency passed by a vote of 96 to 0.

-SB 46, by Sen. Ron Sharp, requires applicants for examinations for licenses to practice the fitting and dealing of hearing aids to be responsible for the full cost of examinations, re-examinations, and background checks relating to licensing and certification. The bill passed by a vote of 69 to 27.

-SB 50, by Sen. Jason Smalley, lowers the grade level at which agricultural education may be offered from eighth grade to sixth grade. The bill passed by a vote of 95 to 0, with the emergency passing 88 to 1.

-SB 55, by Sen. Kim David, modifies language related to assault and battery upon a law enforcement officer. The bill provides that assault and battery upon law officers includes any attempt to reach for or gain control of the firearm of any police officer, sheriff, deputy sheriff, highway patrol, corrections personnel or any peace officer employed by any state or federal governmental agency to enforce state laws. The bill passed by a vote of 86 to 0.

-SB 62, by Sen. Gary Stanislawski, provides that anyone who knowingly aims the beam of a laser pointer at an aircraft in flight or at the flight path of an aircraft will be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction punished by a fine of not more than $100. The bill passed by a vote of 93 to 0.

-SB 336, by Sen. John Ford, exempts from sales tax the sales by an organization or entity which is exempt from taxation and the sale is related to a fundraising event sponsored by the organization or entity. It adds that exempt sales may include, but are not limited to, admission tickets and auction items. The bill passed by a vote of 93 to 0.

-SB0378, by Sen. Dan Newberry, requires an affidavit of exemption for workers' compensation insurance used by an exempt roofer be attached to the contract and used for new construction projects. The bill requires all commercial roofing projects to have workers covered by workers' compensation insurance, with some exception for day workers. The bill prohibits a roofing contractor from hiring an out-of-state company or independent contractor that is not registered with the Roofing Contractor Registration Act. The bill language also states under no event should a homeowner be liable for the injury or death of a person who works under contract with these requirements. The bill passed by a vote of 53 to 43.

-SB 725, by Sen. Mike Schulz, prohibits an individual who has been convicted of abuse, neglect or exploitation of a vulnerable adult from inheriting funds or receiving any interest in the estate of the victim. The bill passed by a vote of 87 to 0.

• The following legislation was approved by Senate committees on Tuesday:

-HB 1077, by Rep. Richard Morrissette, requires the Department of Transportation to produce an Oklahoma Tourism and Passenger Rail Act Investment Report and establishes the recipients of the report. The bill requires the report to be released annually on July 1 beginning July 1, 2016.

-HB 1651, by Rep. Steve Vaughn, adds exotic wildlife to the list of wildlife that may not be taken by trap, net, snare, cage, pitfall, baited hook, drug, poison, narcotic, explosive, swivel or punt gun, electrical device, or suppressor.

-HB 1652, by Rep. Scooter Park, requires an archery hunting license to expire on Jan. 15 of the calendar year after the year purchased or if purchased during the deer archery season it shall expire at the end of that season.

-HB 1966, by Rep. Terry O'Donnell creates the Organized Retail Crime Act and
an Organized Retail Crime Advisory Board within the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

• House committees met on Tuesday and approved the following legislation:

-SB 380 by Sen. Dan Newberry, would require every licensed alarm or locksmith company to conduct a fingerprint-based national criminal history records search on each employee or agent before his or her employment with the licensed company. The bill prohibits those convicted of a felony offense or who have entered a plea of nolo contendere or plead guilty to any felony offense from being employed by or represent the licensed company as its agent and prohibits them from involvement in design, planning, specifying or laying out of a customer's burglar alarm system.

-SB 386, by Sen. John Sparks, reduces the population requirement of a county to build a county-owned parking lot from 300,000 to 250,000.

-SB 477, by Sen. Marty Quinn, mandates that appropriate training programs for county commissioners, county clerks, county treasurers, and court clerks are those offered through the Cooperative Extension Service at Oklahoma State University or any other training program administered through an organization or association approved by the Cooperative Extension Service at Oklahoma State University.

-SB0 48, by Sen. Anthony Sykes, increases the salaries of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court from $117,571 to $164,640 and of the Associate Justice of the Supreme Court from $113,571 to $154,174. The bill requires any salary increase to be paid from existing available funds. The bill requires the compensations to be approved by a majority vote of each house of the Legislature. The bill increases the salary of the Presiding Judge of the Court of Civil Appeals from $109,731 to $148,764 and of the Presiding Judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals from $117,571 to $159,583.

-SB 189, by Sen. Ron Sharp, creates Oklahoma Performance Informed Budget and Transparency Act of 2015. The bill changes references to "zero-based" budgeting to "performance-informed" budgeting. The bill permits the Senate Appropriations Committee and the House Appropriations and Budget Committee or their subcommittee to perform the duties of the Legislative Oversight Committee on State Budget Performance.

Wednesday, April 1

• The full Senate met Wednesday and heard several bills. The Senate will not meet Thursday and Senate offices will be closed Friday.

-HB1685, by Rep. Lee Denney, establishes the 24/7 Tobacco-Free Schools Act. The bill prohibits the use of a tobacco product on the grounds of an educational facility that offers early childhood education. This bill designates all educational facilities, as defined by the act, to be non-smoking. The bill passed 31 to 11. The emergency clause passed 37 to 5.

-HB1058, by Rep. Dennis Ray Casey, authorizes institutions under the administrative authority of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education responsible for processing payments for federal tax withholding to process these payments without claim forms. The bill and its emergency clause passed 42 to 0.

-HB1266, by Rep. Ken Walker, prohibits facility staff from disclosing a resident's financial information to third parties without the written consent of the resident or the resident's designated representative. The bill passed 42 to 0.

-HB1729, by Rep. Sean Roberts, creates Ashlen's Law which modifies the definition of fetal death by specifying that the fetus has advanced to the 12th week of uterogestation.
The bill passed 41 to 0.

• The House met Wednesday in joint session with the Senate to honor Oklahoma veterans and Veterans Awareness Day. Afterward, the House met and approved several bills, including:

-SB 410, by Sen. Corey Brooks, requires any person between the ages of 13 and 17 years who is charged with accessory to murder in the first degree to be held accountable to such acts as a youthful offender. The bill passed by a vote of 80 to 13.

-SB 7, by Sen. John Sparks, modifies language related to the Social Worker's Licensing Act. It clarifies that an exemption for state agency employees does not apply to individuals licensed by the Board of Licensed Social Workers, regardless of their employment. The bill passed by a vote of 88 to 5.

-SB 417, by Sen. Eddie Fields, authorizes the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry to take possession of, store, and dispose of certain abandoned and stolen property. The bill passed by a vote of 59 to 32.

-SB 420, by Sen. Eddie Fields, establishes the Small Farm Winery, a wine-making establishment that does not produce for sale more than 250,000 gallons of wine as reported on the United States Department of the Treasury, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, Report of Wine Premises Operations in addition to providing a fee of $1 for a license. It authorizes a small farm winery licensee to manufacture and bottle the wines it produces as well as bottle and sell wines produced by other small wineries. The bill passed by a vote of 79 to 7.

-SB 574, by Sen. Ralph Shortey, exempts a charitable health organization, registered with the Internal Revenue Code, from tax levied on the sale of all charity game equipment pursuant to the Oklahoma Charity Games Act. The bill passed by a vote of 79 to 13.

-SB 637, by Sen. Greg Treat, adds where the victim is at least 16 years of age and less than 19 years of age and is in the legal custody of a state agency, federal agency or tribal court and engages in sexual intercourse with a person who resides in the same household as the victim and who is 18 years of age or older and is a foster parent, foster parent applicant or other household member of the foster parent or foster parent applicant to the definition of the term "rape." The bill passed by a vote of 88 to 0.

-SJR 31, by Sen. Anthony Sykes, proposes a vote of the people on a constitutional amendment that states that methods of execution can be changed. The measure also says that the death penalty is not cruel and unusual punishment. Currently, 36 other states have this provision in their state constitution.

SB 402, by Sen. Mike Schulz, terminates the Oklahoma Liquefied Petroleum Gas Research, Marketing and Safety Commission and creates the Oklahoma Propane Education and Safety Council upon the effective date of this act.

-SB 642, by Sen. Greg Treat, requires any physician performing an abortion on a child less than 14 years old to preserve the fetal tissue and submit the tissue to the State Department of Health.

• Senate committees considered several bills on Wednesday and the following bills were given approval:

-HB 1614, by Rep. Katie Henke, received a do pass recommendation with its title stricken from the committee. The bill creates the Oklahoma Transportation Network Company Services Act, which would regulate transportation network service companies, such as Uber and Lyft. The bill provides transportation network companies and their drivers will not be considered motor carriers or considered to provide considered to provide taxicab, limousine, or similar for-hire motor carrier service. The bill prohibits a person from operating a TNC in Oklahoma without first having obtained a permit from the Corporation Commission and sets the cost of the fee at $5,000.

-HB 1116, with its enacting clause stricken, by Rep. Bobby Cleveland, authorizes the Department of Corrections to negotiate and enter a water purchase agreement and execute necessary easements with a public nonprofit rural water district organized under the Rural Water, Sewer, Gas and Solid Waste Management Districts Act to sell at cost groundwater found beneath real property owned by the department on which the Lexington Assessment and Reception Center and the Joseph Harp Correctional Center are located. The bill also grants permission to the department to amend the groundwater use permit from the Oklahoma Water Resources Board to allow for use as a public water supply.

-CS for HB 1283, by Rep. Josh Cockroft, requires the Department of Labor adopt rules and procedures requiring that the retail sale of compressed natural gas and liquefied natural gas used as a motor vehicle fuel be dispensed in certain manners.

-HB 1751, by Rep. Tom Newell, requires the Oklahoma Liquefied Petroleum Gas Board to require only one Class VII-Cylinder Exchange Program permit if a person, firm or corporation participating in the cylinder exchange program has more than one cylinder exchange location. It requires the permit to cover all cylinder exchange locations operated by the person, firm or corporation.

-HB 1826, by Rep. Scott Martin, prohibits the Department of Environmental Quality from requiring a permit for reusing captured wastewater from a splash pad for irrigation or land application if the pad is within the jurisdiction of the municipality or county and meets certain requirements.

-HB 2178, by Rep. Jeff Hickman, allows municipalities and other governmental subdivisions to enact reasonable laws, ordinances, rules and regulations relating to road use, traffic, noise, and odors incidental to oil and gas operations within its boundaries, provided such are reasonable and consistent with regulations by the Corporation Commission.

-The committee substitute for HB1684, by Rep. Lee Denney, is the most recent version of Erin’s Law. The legislation has already been adopted in other states to teach children about sexual abuse. The bill adds school counselors and licensed mental health providers to the list of personnel required to serve on professional development committees. The bill removes the requirement that the committee include one school counselor at least once every four years. The bill also mandates that at least one time per academic year, a training program be offered to include training on recognition of child abuse and neglect.

• Various House committees met on Wednesday and approved the following Senate Bills:

-SB 460, by Sen. Kay Floyd, requires the court waive attendance in an educational program concerning the impact of divorce on children of parents divorcing on the basis of incompatibility when it is not in the best interest of the child or where domestic violence, stalking or harassment occurred during the marriage.

-SB 38, by Sen. Wayne Shaw, modifies the conditions under which the Department of Corrections director may recommend an offender for medical parole by changing the requirement that an inmate no longer be a threat to public safety to that inmate no longer be "an unreasonable" threat.

-SB 372, by Sen. Susan Paddack, provides any person who drives a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle on public roads, streets, highways, turnpikes or other public place without the proper endorsement on a current state-issued license will be guilty of a misdemeanor. It permits any person charged with the offense to request a six-month deferral for the purpose of obtaining proof of successful completion of a Motorcycle Safety Foundation rider course approved by the Department of Public Safety and proper motorcycle endorsement on the person's valid driver license..

-SB 430, by Sen. Rick Brinkley, requires records of precious metals and gems to include an account and detailed description or photograph of the item purchased. It creates a violation for the dealer to state only the number of grams and type of precious metal or type of gem as a description.

-SB 177, by Sen. Jim Halligan, modifies the income level for participation in the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access (OHLAP) program. The bill changes the measure of the income to federal adjusted gross income from income from taxable and nontaxable sources and increases the amount to $55,000 from $50,000. The raise would not occur until 2018.

-SB 137, by Sen. Corey Brooks, prevents a student's disability compensation from being considered for purposes of the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program.

Thursday, April 2
• The Senate did not meet Thursday due to the Easter holiday weekend and will reconvene Monday at 1:30 p.m.

Other news this week

• Lawmakers, educators and students joined together at the Capitol in support for public education for the second annual teacher’s rally in Oklahoma City. Teachers gathered to voice their concerns about low pay, testing practices and retirement.

• Governor Mary Fallin signed the first bill of the 2015 legislative session on Tuesday. Gov. Fallin approved HB 1948, which will help reduce drug abuse and overdose deaths by requiring that doctors check a patient database before prescribing highly addictive medication. Physicians who check the database can determine if a patient is “doctor shopping,” or attempting to get more than one of the same prescription from multiple doctors. The initial database check would be required with the first prescription for three classes of drugs and subsequent checks are required every 180 days.

• Following last week’s deadly tornado outbreak that tore through Sand Springs and Moore, Governor Mary Fallin Wednesday requested a federal disaster declaration for Tulsa and Cleveland counties. The designation would provide federal assistance to individuals and businesses in the tornado-ravaged areas.

Preliminary damage reviews showed 1,047 homes and businesses were damaged in the tornadoes, severe storms, straight-line winds and flooding that occurred March 25 in Cleveland and Tulsa counties.

• Earlier this week, Governor Mary Fallin accepted the resignation of Troy Wilson, Sr., the first chairman of the Oklahoma Workers Compensation Commission. His resignation takes effect May 31. The governor named Dr. LeRoy Young, of Oklahoma City, to replace Wilson on the commission beginning on June 1. Fallin also named Mark Liotta, a former state representative from Tulsa, to succeed Workers’ Compensation Commissioner Denise Engle, whose term expires in August. Both appointments must be approved by the Senate, which is in session through May.