• The Senate convened on Monday and approved several bills.
-HB 1067, by Rep. Charles Joyner, modifies definition to include "fire sprinklers" as an item to be considered part of the locksmith industry for purposes of the Alarm and Locksmith Industry Act. The bill passed 41 to 2.
-HB 1078, by Rep. Pat Ownbey, specifies definitions for purposes of the bill. The bill specifies which relatives may be notified for the removal of a child from the custody of his or her parents. This bill allows for the inclusion of planning for the child's transition into adulthood in his or her permanency plan upon reaching the age of 14 or older. The bill requires at least one person in the child's facility be authorized to apply "prudent parental standard" in decisions for the child. This bill establishes the Successful Adulthood Act. The bill passed 44 to 0.
-HB 1083, with its title restored, by Rep. Pat Ownbey, establishes
the Criminal Justice
-HB 1123, by Rep. Todd Russ, reduces from 50 days to 30 days the time period required that a mortgage on real estate be released from the date of the payment of the debt secured by the mortgage and the holder of the mortgage is required to file the release of the mortgage with the county clerk where the mortgage is recorded. The bill passed 44 to 0.
-HB1263, by Rep. Ken Walker, requires the court to order the reimbursement of all filing fees and court costs incurred by a petitioner as a result of filing the expungement request if the person qualifies for an expungement under the provisions listed in the bill. It also requires the payment of the fee to be waived if the subject of the criminal history record has been granted an expungement under the provisions listed in Title 22 of the Oklahoma Statues. The bill passed 44 to 0.
-HB1353, with its title restored, by Rep. Wade Rousselot,
creates the Disabled Veteran
-HB 1462, by Rep. Kevin Wallace, exempts an agricultural producer who burns cropland, rangeland, forests or pastureland as part of management operations from a ban resulting from a resolution passed by the board of county commissioners provided that the agricultural producer complies with certain criteria specified, if the local fire department is on scene for standby. The bill passed 44 to 0.
-HB 1477, with its title and emergency clause restored, by Rep. Justin Wood, permits each district court to utilize an approved electronic jury management system (JMS) authorized by the Administrative Director of the Courts for the random selection of grand and petit jurors and for the general administration of the jury process. The bill requires the clerk of the district court to manage the jury selection process, under the supervision of certain judges. The bill requires the presiding or chief judge to determine the number of jurors necessary. The bill establishes when and who may use the electronic system. The bill allows the district court to select jurors for municipal court. The bill prohibits public disclosure of juror information without a court order. The bill and its emergency clause passed 45 to 0.
-HB 1516, with its title stricken, by Rep. Pam Peterson, defines the term "following" as it relates to stalking. The bill also clarifies language. The bill passed 43 to 2.
-HB 1584, by Rep. Scooter Park, entitles a successor employer to damages and expenses incurred from a predecessor employer if that predecessor fails to provide notice of all current or delinquent contributions, interest, penalties and fees owed to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission. The bill passed 44 to 0.
-HB 1684, with its title restored, by Rep. Lee Denney, requires teacher training programs to include training at least once a year on the subjects of child sexual abuse, proper reporting of suspected abuse according to state law, appropriate questioning techniques for disclosures and available resources. The bill allows all public schools to establish an abuse-prevention instructional program for students and specifies requirements. The bill outlines minimum content requirement and specifies evidence-based criteria. The bill gives discretion to the district school board for additional content. It allows a parent to opt out their student from participation in the program per the provisions of the Parent's Bill of Rights and adds that exclusion alone will not deem a referral to the Department of Human Services. The bill passed 44 to 0.
-HB 1734, by Rep. Sean Roberts, requires any person, firm or entity required to pay a tax, fine or other cost to the state or a local government to make the instrument payable to the state office of government and not an individual who holds public office. The bill passed 42 to 1.
-FS for HB 1823, by Rep. Scott Martin, directs the State Board of Education to not calculate school site grades or determine school performance designations during the 2015-2016 school year using the accountability system reports. It makes the school site grade and designation for report cards issued during the 2015-2016 year to be the same designation received during the 2014-2015 school year. The bill requires the board to study and revise the calculation metrics of all components of the report cards to ensure that the evaluation system is clear, transparent, statistically trustworthy, credible and aligned with the state assessment system. It also requires the board to issue a report by Dec. 31, 2015 and submit a copy of it to the Governor, Speaker of the House and President Pro Temp of the Senate. The bill and emergency clause passed 42 to 2.
-FS for HB2128, with title and emergency clause restored, by Rep. Mark McBride, requires a qualifying party applying for a commercial roofer endorsement to provide a certificate of good standing and a trade name report from the Office of the Secretary of the State to the Construction Industries Board. The bill states a registrar may refuse to register an applicant if he or she fails to provide a certificate of good standing or a trade name report from the Office of the Secretary of State. The bill and emergency clause passed 39 to 5.
-HB2168, with its title restored, by Mark McCullough and Newberry, allows those who have committed certain felonies to not be denied employment certification by certain boards, provided five years has passed since conviction of the felony and felony was not in any way related to the position or poses a threat to public safety. The bill passed 43 to 1.
-HB2169, by Rep. Mark McCullough, creates the Civil Liability for Employers Hiring Ex-Offenders Act, which prohibits a cause of action to be brought against an employer, general contractor, premises owner, or other third party solely for hiring an employee or independent contractor who has been convicted of a nonviolent, nonsexual offense. The bill prohibits a negligent hiring action against an employer to be introduced into evidence. It does not preclude any existing cause of action for failure of an employer or other person to provide adequate supervision of an employee or independent contractor, unless the employee has been convicted of a nonviolent, nonsexual criminal offense to be introduced into evidence in the suit only under certain conditions. The bill passed 44 to 0.
-HB2180, by Rep. Jeff Hickman, requires students to enroll in 24 credit hours per academic year to maintain eligibility in the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program. It also provides exceptions to the requirement. It also changes the grades during which a student can enter into the program from fifth through ninth grade to fifth through eleventh grade and the age from 15 to 18. The bill passed 44 to 0.
-SB 116, as amended, by Sen. Don Barrington, amends the responsibilities of the Department of Corrections regarding the housing of inmates in county jail. The bill requires, prior to contracting with a private prison operator to provide housing, the DOC to send notification to all county jails which have requested in writing to be notified that bed space is required to house the overflow population of state inmates. The bill allows the sheriff to enter into agreements with the DOC to provide housing for the inmates. The bill passed by a vote of 81 to 10. The bill's emergency clause passed by a vote of 70 to 11.
-SB 269, as amended, with title restored, by Sen. A J Griffin, permits community intervention centers to hold juveniles for whom it is determined that detention is appropriate and available, pending transportation by law enforcement to a detention facility. The bill also provides that custody by law enforcement is not be relinquished to the community intervention center until detention eligibility and bed availability are determined by a screener and an order for detention is issued. The bill passed by a vote of 94 to 0.
-SB 356, by Sen. Brian Crain, requires the prevailing party in any action subject to the Energy Litigation Reform Act to be entitled to recover reasonable attorney fees, costs, and litigation expenses. The bill passed by a vote of 57-36.
-SB 366, by Sen. Clark Jolley, creates the Oklahoma Veteran Housing Program Act and Revolving Fund. The bill provides for contents and purpose of, and expenditures from the Fund. The bill requires the Oklahoma Department of Veteran Affairs to create a grant program. The bill establishes eligibility requirements for the grant program and limits the amount of payment. The bill establishes rules and regulations for the grant and veterans receiving payment. The bill passed by a vote of 94 to 0.
-SB 438, by Sen. John Sparks, allows a municipality under the Municipal Campaign Finance and Financial Disclosure Act to enact a comprehensive code of campaign finance and personal financial disclosure ordinances, in which case the Act shall not apply to the municipality. The bill requires any municipality enacting such a code to file notice of its action with the Ethics Commission. The bill passed by a vote of 54 to 38.
-SB 439, by Sen. Marty Quinn, prohibits a public adjuster from the right to compensation from any insured for or on account of services rendered to an insured as a public adjuster unless the right to compensation is based upon a written memorandum, signed by the party to be charged and by the adjuster. The bill provides specifications for the written memorandum. It prohibits a public adjuster from recovering any fees unless the insurer makes a written claim settlement offer to an insured and that offer is rejected, and a public adjuster may not recover any fees in excess of ten percent of the difference between the amount of any final claim payment and the rejected claim settlement offer. The bill passed by a vote of 77 to 14.
-SB 457, by Sen. A J Griffin, defines certain terms related to child competency proceedings. The bill permits the child's attorney, the district attorney, or the court to raise the issue of a child's competency to participate in the proceeding at any time prior to or during any proceeding under the Oklahoma Juvenile Code other than a proceeding alleging the child to be a child in need of supervision. The bill requires the court to immediately appoint counsel and to also appoint a guardian ad litem to ensure the best interests of the child are addressed if at the time the issue of competency is raised the child is not represented by counsel The bill passed by a vote of 85 to 0.
-SB 535, by Sen. A J Griffin, requires the Department of Human Services to track the number of calls received on the statewide hotline for the reporting of child abuse and neglect by persons unwilling to disclose basic personal information. The bill increases the requirement in which the department is required to retain the recordings from 90 days to 12 months. The bill passed by a vote of 72 to 13.
-SB 549, by Sen. Anthony Sykes, modifies the annual salaries of the Governor to $147,000, Lieutenant Governor to $114,713, Attorney General to $132,825, State Superintendent to $124,373, each member of the Corporation Commission, State Treasurer, and State Insurance Commissioner to $114,713 and the Commissioner of Labor to $105,053. The bill passed by a vote of 91 to 1.
-SB 586, by Sen. Ralph Shortey, allows a bondsman to seek the assistance of another licensed bondsman in the state with the same insurer to assist him or her in the apprehension of a defendant for purpose of surrender. The bill passed by a vote of 90 to 0.
-SB 592, by Sen. Patrick Anderson, requires all used and motor vehicles dealer licenses, beginning Jan. 1, 2016, to be issued for a period of two years and the appropriate fees will be assessed and specifies when licenses will expire and the timeframe for renewal. The bill requires it to be the duty of the owner, manager or person in charge of any used motor vehicle auction to remit payments to the Oklahoma Used Motor Vehicle and Parts Commission of $5 for each vehicle sold to any person not licensed as a used motor vehicle dealer in this state. The bill passed by a vote of 68 to 23.
-SB 642, by Sen. Greg Treat, requires any physician who performs an abortion on a child who is less than 14 years of age at the time of the abortion procedure to preserve, in accordance with rules promulgated by the State Board of Health, fetal tissue extracted during such abortion and to submit the tissue to the State Department of Health. The bill requires the State Board of Health to adopt necessary rules and establishes the rules' minimum requirements. The bill establishes that the failure of a physician to comply with any provision the bill or any rule adopted constitutes unprofessional conduct under state statutes and will result in the physician being deemed guilty of a felony. The bill passed by a vote of 78 to 8.
-SB 751, by Sen. Kimberly David, allows a law enforcement agency to contract a third party to transport individuals to and from designated site for the purpose of examination, emergency detention, protective custody and inpatient services, provided the third party meets minimum standards as determined by the Department. The bill passed by a vote of 91 to 1.
-SB 762, by Sen. Randy Bass, modifies the requirement for the Department of Human Services to provide youth in its custody an annual credit report to only include individuals 16 and older. The bill passed by a vote of 89 to 0.
• Gov. Mary Fallin signed 15 bills.
• The Senate met for a good portion of the day on Wednesday, taking only a short break for lunch before adjourning late afternoon for the week. They will not meet on Thursday.
-HB 1007, by Rep. David Ralph Brumbaugh, provides that no regularly licensed, ordained or authorized official of any religious organization will be required to solemnize or recognize any marriage that violates the official's conscience or religious beliefs. It also provides that a regularly licensed, ordained or authorized official of any religious organization will be immune from any civil claim or cause of action based on a refusal to solemnize or recognize any marriage that violates the official's conscience or religious beliefs. The bill passed and is on its way to the Governor’s desk.
-HB 1034, by Rep. Dan Kirby, allows a federally recognized Indian tribe to sponsor a charter school, but only when the school is located within the former reservation or treaty area boundaries of the tribe on property held in trust by the Bureau of Indian Affairs of the United States Department of the Interior. It prohibits a tribe from sponsoring more than five charters per year. The bill specifies application requirements. The bill was narrowly approved by a vote of 25 to 19.
-HB 1847, by Rep. Scott Inman, increases the maximum age in which a child must be seated in a child restraint system from six to eight. It establishes that children under two years of age must be properly secured in a rear-facing child passenger restraint system or until they reach the highest weight and height allowed by the car seat's manufacturer; children at least two years of age but younger than four years of age must be secured in a forward-facing child passenger restraint system; and children at least four years of age but younger than eight years of age and less than 4 feet 9 inches in height must be properly secured in either a child passenger restraint system or child booster seat. The bill passed by a vote of 32 to 8.
-FS for HB1044, with title restored, by Rep. Ken Walker, allows a state agency employing more than 10 full-time employees to develop a State Employee Suggestion Program. The bill states that the program will provide economic incentives to employees who make suggestions which result in direct cost savings and will allow the organization to financially reward the employee once per fiscal year. The bill replaces the Committee for Incentive Awards for State Employees and replaces it with the Office of Management and Enterprise Services. The bill and emergency clause passed 41 to 1. The FS adds a minimum of $5,000 cost savings to the agency and a maximum of 20 percent to be awarded to the employee.
-HB 1118, as amended, 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. The bill and emergency clause passed 43 to 0.
-HB 1116, with title, enacting clause and emergency clause restored, 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 for purposes of selling 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, and for granting 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. The bill provides that the term of the water purchase agreement and easement cannot be for not less than forty 40 years from the first date of delivery of water and as long as the groundwater is being put to a beneficial use. The bill also clarifies that DOC will have a right of usage in any contract it enters into. The bill and emergency clause passed 36 to 9.
-HB 1391, by Rep. Casey Murdock, requires applicants for a renewal of a handgun license to provide a certificate of successful completion of a firearms safety and training course or an interactive online firearms safety and training course available electronically via the Internet approved by the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training. The bill allows those seeking a handgun license or a concealed carry license to complete an online course certified by CLEET in lieu of an in-person course. The bill passed 41 to 3. Sen. Marlatt served notice to reconsider the vote by which HB1391 passed in order to restore title at a future date. The motion passed 36 to 1. Marlatt asked for a unanimous consent request to take up an untimely amendment to restore title, enacting clause and emergency clause. The bill and emergency clause passed 41 to 3.
- HB 1604, by Rep. Ben Sherrer, requires information of school dropouts, including the name, address, race and age of any school dropout, available to the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Military Department of the State of Oklahoma for use in the youth educational programs provided by the State Department of Education and the State Department of Health. The bill passed 42 to 0.
-HB 1616, as amended, with title restored, 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. The bill requires the State Medical Examiner to promptly report to the offices of the Director of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control, the Executive Director of the State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision and the Executive Director of the State Board of Osteopathic Examiners all deaths occurring within the state which were the result or probable result of abuse of a controlled dangerous substance. The bill passed 42 to 2.
-HB 1619, as amended, by David Derby, requires the Oklahoma Lottery Commission to notify the Oklahoma Health Care Authority of individuals who win lottery prize monies under Title 3A of the Oklahoma Statutes. It also requires the Oklahoma Lottery Commission to develop guidelines and procedures for timely notifying the Oklahoma Health Care Authority for such individuals. The bill passed 38 to 5.
-FS for HB 1630, with title and enacting clause restored, by Rep. Lisa J. Billy, requires the Department of Corrections to send notification to all county jails in this state that bed space is required to house the overflow population of state inmates prior to contracting with a private prison operator to provide housing for state inmates. It authorizes the sheriff of a county jail upon receiving notification to enter into agreements with DOC to provide housing for said inmates. It allows reimbursement for the housing cost to be negotiated as a per diem rate for each inmate but prohibits the cost to be less than the per diem rate provided for in state law. It specifies notification and inmate transfer requirements. The bill passed 40 to 2.
-FS for HB 2014, by Rep. Jeff Coody, creates the Special Reserve School Resource Officer Act. The bill allows a handgun to be carried into any public elementary or secondary school by personnel who have successfully complete a special reserve school resource officer academy if a policy has been adopted by the school district. The bill requires the special reserve school resource officer academy to be conducted by CLEET and include a minimum of 50 hours. The bill requires participation to be voluntary. The bill requires the officer to have statewide peace officer certification while performing official duties. The bill and emergency clause passed 40 to 5. The FS allows a board of education for a school district to adopt a policy to authorize the carrying of a handgun onto school property by school property if certain provisions are met.
-HB 2181, by Rep. Jeff Hickman, changes from 5 percent to 1 percent the required percentage of registered voters needed to establish a political party. The bill passed 37 to 4.
-HB 1034, by Rep. Dan Kirby, allows a federally recognized Indian tribe to sponsor a charter school, but only when the school is located within the former reservation or treaty area boundaries of the tribe on property held in trust by the Bureau of Indian Affairs of the United States Department of the Interior. It prohibits a tribe from sponsoring more than five charters per year.
-HJR 1024, by Rep. Jeff Hickman, proposes a vote of the people on a constitutional amendment related to manufacturers' property tax exemptions. The resolution passed 41 to 1.
-HJR 1025, by Rep. Hickman , proposes a vote of the people
on a constitutional amendment that would prohibit a former legislator
from being employed by a state governmental entity until July 1 of the
year following the end of the term of office. It would also prohibit a
former legislator from receiving any form of compensation, payment or
reimbursement from any state governmental entity until July 1 of the year
following the end of the term of office. It would provide that former
legislators could be appointed to the Governor's cabinet. It would provide
former legislators could receive retirement money and money paid into
a retirement plan. The amendment would allow
• The House debated several bills on Wednesday and approved the following:
-SB 706, by Sen. John Ford, requires the State Board of Education along with the Teacher and Leader Effectiveness (TLE) Commission to study continued implementation of the TLE to produce a system that promotes reflection and professional growth for teachers and leaders. The bill passed by a vote of 89 to 1.
-SB 788, by Sen. Dan Newberry, prohibits those who are authorized by law to perform or solemnize a marriage from being required to perform or solemnize any marriage in violation of his or her right to the free exercise of religion and no church will be required to participate in a ceremony it disagrees with for religious reasons. The bill passed by a vote of 87 to 8 but members spent more than an hour discussing it.
-SB 436, by Sen. Marty Quinn, requires a transportation
network company to disclose in writing to participating drivers the insurance
coverage, limits of liability, and deductibles that the driver might be
responsible for, that the transportation network company provides while
the driver uses a vehicle in connection with a transportation network
company's online-enabled application or platform, and to advise a participating
driver in writing that the driver's automobile insurance policy may not
provide any required or optional coverage because the driver uses a vehicle
in connection with a transportation network company's online-enabled application
-SB 809, as amended, by Sen. Brian Bingman, allows a municipality, county or other political subdivision to enact reasonable ordinances, rules and regulations concerning traffic, noise and odors incidental to oil and gas operations within its boundaries. The bill allows these municipalities or counties to establish reasonable setbacks and fencing requirements for oil and gas well site locations to protect the health, safety and welfare of its citizens but prohibits them from effectively banning the operations. The bill requires all other regulation of oil and gas operations shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Corporation Commission.
-SB 177, by Sen. Jim Halligan, modifies the income level for participation in the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access program and would change the measure of the income to federal adjusted gross income from income from taxable and nontaxable sources and increases the amount to qualify for the program to $55,000 from $50,000. The amendment restores the threshold for qualifying for OHLAP from $55,000 back to $50,000. The amendment was adopted 55 to 26 and the bill passed 89 to 0.
-SB 136, as amended, by Sen. Gary Stanislawski, provides the Statewide Virtual Charter School Board with administrative duties, including decisions on supplemental online courses. The bill authorizes the board to establish a review and certification process for supplemental online courses. It also permits the board to negotiate contracts in conjunction with the Office of Management and Enterprise Services and with the providers of these courses and provide school districts with certified supplemental online courses with an emphasis in science, technology, engineering, math, foreign language and advanced placement courses. The bill passed by a vote of 69 to 23. The emergency failed 63 to 27.
-SB 767, as amended, by Sen. Anthony Sykes, requires the medical records created for the purpose of treatment and medical opinions obtained during an investigation of a workers' compensation proceeding to be admissible at the preliminary hearing without the appearance of the medical professional creating such records. It allows material evidence dispositive to the issues of whether there was probable cause that was not admitted at the preliminary hearing to be presented at a pretrial hearing. It creates immunity from any civil or criminal liability for any person who, in good faith, reports workers' compensation or insurance fraud. The bill passed by a vote of 64 to 24.
• Thursday was the deadline for the House to hear Senate bills on the floor. The Senate completed its work Wednesday and therefore did not meet.
Other news this week
The 15th multicounty grand jury was empaneled in January and began meeting in February. The multicounty grand jury has jurisdiction to investigate criminal matters in all 77 counties, assisting local law enforcement as well as handling matters of state interest. The grand jurors meet regularly, for two to three days at a time, to hear testimony in the matters being considered by the grand jury. The proceedings are closed to the public.
• Following a five year drought, the Oklahoma Water Resources Board approved Lawton’s application for a weather modification permit Tuesday during a meeting at the board’s Oklahoma City office. In a separate request last month, the board granted a weather modification license to Seeding Operations and Atmospheric Research, or SOAR, a cloud seeding contractor based in Wichita Falls, Texas. City officials planned to begin seeding clouds across southwest Oklahoma this week. The program is the first weather modification effort in the state in more than a decade.
Between now and the end of August, a twin-engine Cessna 340 will fly over southwest Oklahoma and northeast Texas, spraying silver iodide and calcium chloride particles into storm clouds. The particles are designed to cause water droplets in the clouds to condense around the particles and fall as rain.