The Oklahoma Senate


Week In Review
Monday, May 18 to Thursday, May 22, 2015

Monday, May 18, 2015

• On Monday, the Senate approved the following measures:

- SB 114, by Sen. Gary Stanislawski, allows any state agency that purchases, subscribes to, or is an authorized or licensed user of the United States Postal Service's National Change of Address dataset to share the records with the State Election board. The bill allows the Secretary of the State Election Board to utilize records from the dataset to determine if a registered voter in the State of Oklahoma has changed his or her address of residence. The bill allows the Secretary of the State Election Board, subject to available funding, to mail a notice to any registered voter whose records in the dataset indicate a change of address. The bill states a registered voter who refuses to complete an address confirmation form or to complete a form to update his or her address of residence, as required, shall vote only by provisional ballot. The conference committee report for SB114 was adopted and the bill passed 45 to 0.

-House amendments to 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 28 to 17.

• The following measures were approved in House committees on Monday:

-SB 848, by Sen. Clark Jolley and Sen. Greg Treat, places the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry under the Merit System. It provides that all offices, positions and personnel will be classified and subject to the provisions of the Merit System of Personnel Administration and its related rules. It repeals all executive orders under the Oklahoma Personnel Act to place the agency or its predecessors under the Merit System. It permits the board to place any investigator initially employed on or after July 1, 2015, in the unclassified service. SB 848 was approved by the committee by a vote of 15 to 6.

-SB 835, by Sen. Clark Jolley and Sen Greg Treat, establishes that temporary employees at the Department of Food, Forestry and Agriculture, Oklahoma Conservation Commission and the Oklahoma Water Resources Board are those who work less than 999 hours in a 12-month period and provides that they will be considered unclassified. The bill permits the agencies to employ seasonal employees throughout the calendar year. It provides that employees will not be entitled to paid leave, paid holidays, retirement, health, dental or life insurance and will be exempt for any laws, rules or practices related to state benefits. The bill requires the agencies to include in its annual budget request a summary of the use of project labor, including the number of workers employed and total wages paid.

• The House approved the following bills:

-CCR to SB 173, by Sen. Jack Fry, exempts ballots notarized by a notary public at their place of business, any agency or other entity that provides voter registration services as required by the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 from the limit of 20 ballots that can be notarized for a single election. The bill passed by a vote of 66 to 25.

-CCR to SB 502, by Sen. Marty Quinn, prohibits use of tax credits for investment or job creation in electric power generation by means of wind as described by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) No. 221119 beginning Jan. 1, 2017. The bill also clarifies references to qualifications for manufacturing and aircraft maintenance and manufacturing. The bill passed by a vote of 90 to 5.

• Gov. Mary Fallin signed the following bills into law on Monday:

-HB 1150, by Rep. Randy Grau, eliminates treatment facilities from a list of certain mental health recovery facilities prohibited from being located within a certain distance from certain schools. The bill takes effect July 1.

-HB 1902, by Rep. Dennis Johnson, grants liability from civil immunity for any damage resulting from the forcible entry of a motor vehicle for the purpose of removing a child from the motor vehicle under certain conditions. The bill provides it does not affect the person's civil liability if the person attempts to render aid to the child in addition to what is authorized by the bill. The bill takes effect immediately.

-HB 2166, by Rep. Mark McCullough, requires the Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth to keep confidential information provided by those who receive its services and to request that cases involving children within its jurisdiction be transferred to the jurisdiction of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. The bill takes effect Nov. 1.

-SB 764, by Sen. Anthony Sykes, allows a community sentencing planning council, in regards to the Oklahoma Community Sentence Act, to employ a local director and other personnel to perform the duties of the local community sentencing system, contingent on available funds. The bill allows the council to contract with a county to provide benefits and payroll services. The bill takes effect Nov. 1.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

• On Tuesday, the Senate passed the following measures:

-SB 839, by Sen. Brian Bingman, creates the Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture and places it under the supervision of the Oklahoma Historical Society. The bill authorizes the Oklahoma Historical Society is authorized to construct, maintain, repair, and operate the Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture and its facilities. The bill authorizes the Oklahoma Capitol Improvement Authority to issue up to $25 million of debt to finance construction of the museum. The bill expresses the Legislature's expectation that the Oklahoma Historical Society will make rental payments for the purpose of retiring the debt from current appropriations received by the Oklahoma Historical Society. SB 839 failed Monday 24 to 22 after Sen. Bryce Marlatt switched his vote from aye to nay just as the gavel fell closing the vote. Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman held the bill on a notice to reconsider. Multiple members changed their original votes from Monday’s process, and the measure passed by 28 to 18 on the second go around Tuesday.

• The House passed these bills on Tuesday:

- HB 1037, by Rep. George Faught, establishes procedures for the release of body cam footage under the Open Records Act. It adds language clarifying and specifying exemptions to the Open Records Act for audio and video recordings from law enforcement dash cameras and associated audio recording devices. It also establishes exemptions from the Open Records Act for audio and video recordings from body cameras worn by law enforcement officers. It establishes the procedures for release of certain audio and video recordings. The bill also provides that the exemptions do not permit the denial of access to law enforcement records that have been previously made available to the public as provided in the Oklahoma Open Records Act or as
otherwise provided by law. The bill and its emergency clause passed by a vote of 86 to 6.

-CCR to HB1773, by Rep. Charles McCall, modifies and adds definitions related to secure transactions under the Uniform Commercial Code and establishes standards for determining control of electronic chattel paper and modifies how control is obtained. The bill modifies an advisory committee to the Legislature of Oklahoma and to the Governor from a four-person committee to a two-person committee and removes the requirement that the members must be members of the Oklahoma Bar. It requires the committee must submit a written report annually to the Legislature and Governor. The bill removes the requirement of the State of Oklahoma to participate in the support of the work of the national Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. The bill passed by a vote of 85 to 1.

-CCR to HB 1890, by Rep. Dan Kirby, requires the Oklahoma Uniform Building Code Commission to establish a code academy as part of a certification process through which employees of the state, counties, municipalities, and other individuals may be educated in the Uniform Building Code and in methodologies and techniques of inspection for residential and commercial construction to become certified as state, county and municipal inspectors, or other inspectors. The bill passed by a vote of 87 to 0.

-CCR to SB 114, by Sen. Gary Stanislawski, allows any state agency that purchases, subscribes to, or is an authorized or licensed user of the United States Postal Service's
National Change of Address dataset to share the records with the State Election board. The bill allows the Secretary of the State Election Board to utilize records from the dataset to determine if a registered voter in the State of Oklahoma has changed his or her address of residence. The bill passed by a vote of 73 to 10.

-HJR 1030, by Rep. George Faught, addresses rule changes related to the Department of Agriculture, State Board of Education, ABLE Commission and the Oklahoma State Athletic Commission. HJR1030 passed by a vote of 66 to 33.

• The following budget-related bills, plus two additional bills, were approved by the Senate Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget on Tuesday:

-CS for HB 2233, by Rep. Dennis Ray Casey and Rep. Earl Sears, requires the Office of Management and Enterprise Services director, at the request of the Administrative Director of the Courts, to transfer any monies from the Law Library Revolving Fund to the Supreme Court Administrative Revolving Fund or the Interagency Reimbursement Fund as necessary to perform the duties imposed upon the Supreme Court, Court of Civil Appeals and district courts.

-HB 2241, by Rep. Dennis Ray Casey and Rep. Earl Sears, modifies the apportionment of the Aircraft Excise Tax. The bill apportions the first $4.5 million to the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission Revolving Fund beginning July 1, 2015, and the balance to the General Revenue Fund for appropriation by the Legislature.

-HB 2243, by Rep. Dennis Ray Casey and Rep. Earl Sears, modifies the apportionment of sales tax revenue. The bill provides that for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2015, no more than $5 million will be apportioned to the Oklahoma Tourism Promotion Revolving Fund and no more than $9 million to the Oklahoma Tourism Capital Improvement Revolving Fund. It also limits the amount apportioned to the Oklahoma Historical Society Capital Improvement and Operations Revolving Fund to the amount apportioned in FY2015. The bill also modifies apportionment of use tax revenue. The bill provides that any revenue above the limits be placed in the General Revenue Fund.

-HB 2244, by Rep. Dennis Ray Casey and Rep. Earl Sears, modifies the apportionment of all fees, taxes and penalties collected or received pursuant to the Oklahoma Vehicle License and Registration Act. The bill limits the amount apportioned beginning July 1, 2015, and each subsequent fiscal year to the amount apportioned in FY2015 to school districts, the State Transportation Fund, counties, counties special revenue fund, and cities and incorporated towns. The bill provides that any revenue in excess of each limit be deposited in the General Revenue Fund. The bill removes outdated language.

-HB 2245, by Rep. Dennis Ray Casey and Rep. Earl Sears, modifies language related to incentive arts grants of the Oklahoma Arts Council. The bill changes the use of the grants from developing a visual arts program to supporting visual arts programs in underserved schools.

-HB 2246, by Rep. Dennis Ray Casey and Rep. Earl Sears, authorizes the Office of Educational Quality and Accountability to enter into contracts and agreements for the payment of food, lodging, and other authorized expenses necessary to host, conduct, sponsor, or participate in conferences, meetings, or training sessions. It permits the office to establish necessary accounts for the collection and distribution of funds, including funds of sponsors and registration fees, related to such conferences, meetings, and training sessions. It permits any expenses incurred to be paid directly to the contracting agency or business establishment. The bill provides the cost of food for persons attending any conferences, meetings, and training sessions that do not require overnight travel cannot exceed the total daily rate as provided in the State Travel Reimbursement Act.

• The Senate General Conference Committee on Appropriations approved four bills on Tuesday, including:

-SB 720, by Sen. Dan Newberry, bans the sale of powdered alcohol in the state and establishes a fine for violation of the provisions in the act.

-SB 459, by Sen. Kay Floyd, reduces the amount of the fee assessed on civil cases and deposited in the Council on Judicial Complaints Revolving Fund to $1.55 from $2. The bill also adds a 45-cent fee to be credited to the State Judicial Revolving Fund to be used for Access to Justice Duties and responsibilities imposing on the courts under the superintending control of the Supreme Court.

-HB 1269, by Rep. Dennis Ray Casey, authorizes the Oklahoma Tax Commission to design and issue a Childhood Cancer Awareness License Plate, 911 Dispatcher License Plate, and an Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame License Plate.

-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.

• Senate members adopted the following conference committee reports and passed these bills:

-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. The bill provides the offender will be entitled to dismissal of the charge be subject to a reduced payment of court costs and fine upon presenting the court with proof of satisfaction of both requirements within the deferral period. The bill passed 34 to 12.

-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 46 to 0.

• Senate members also adopted the following House amendment:

-SB 395, by Sen. Mike Mazzei, removes Board of Dentistry investigators from participating in the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Retirement System. The bill and emergency clause passed 35 to 11.

• Legislative leaders and Gov. Mary Fallin's office reached a budget deal Tuesday that will result in appropriations totaling $7.19 billion, including $48.7 million in supplemental for the current fiscal year. Under the agreement, the fiscal year 2016's appropriated budget will be $7.1 billion, about $74.3 million or 1.03 percent less than FY2015's appropriated budget. Another $48.7 million in current year supplemental funding will be appropriated to:

• The ad valorem reimbursement fund, $28.3 million;
• Capitol bond issue debt service, $19.1 million;
• The Military Department for armory construction, $1.0 million; and
• Oklahoma Educational Television Authority for a new tower, $380,000.

Eight agencies will receive appropriations increases under the agreement, including the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, the Department of Human Services for the Pinnacle
Plan, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Public Safety, the Office of Juvenile Affairs, the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, the Department of Rehabilitative Services, Oklahoma School of Science and Math and the Ethics Commission.

Twelve agencies, including the State Department of Education and the State Department of Health, will receive flat appropriations. That list also includes the House, the Senate and the Legislative Services Bureau, although the House appropriation annualizes a $1 million supplemental appropriation it received last year. The agreement also preserves funding for the state's current eight-year transportation plan and county government's five-year road and bridge plan.

The agreement calls for funding cuts to 49 agencies ranging from 0.75 percent to 7.25 percent.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

• The following were passed by the House on Wednesday:

-JCR to HB2243, by Rep Dennis Casey and Rep Earl Sears, would apply a cap to off the top funding for certain state agencies modify and the apportionment of sales tax revenue. The bill provides that for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2015, no more than $5 million will be apportioned to the Oklahoma Tourism Promotion Revolving Fund and no more than $9 million to the Oklahoma Tourism Capital Improvement Revolving Fund. It also limits the amount apportioned to the Oklahoma Historical Society Capital Improvement and Operations Revolving Fund to the amount apportioned in FY2015. The bill passed by a vote of 68 to 26, with the emergency clause passing by a vote of 68 to 29.

-HB 2244, by Rep. Dennis Casey and Rep. Earl Sears would establish a cap on both the motor vehicle tax and the County Improvement for Roads and Bridges Program. The measure passed by a vote of 59 to 37.

• Gov. Mary Fallin signed several bills Wednesday, including:

-SB 498, by Sen. Mike Mazzei, excludes from the definition of "manufacturing facility" for purposes of the ad valorem tax exemption electric power generation by means of wind as described by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) No. 221119 beginning Jan. 1, 2017. The bill takes effect Jan. 1, 2017.

-HB 2236, by Rep. Dennis Ray Casey and Rep. Earl Sears, reinstitutes the Voluntary Compliance Initiative for past due taxes to run from Sept. 14 to Nov. 13 subject to the availability of funds. The bill provides that past dues taxes remitted to a collection agency during the period will not have debt collection contract fee waived. The bill lists qualifying taxes. The bill removes language establishing a delinquent penalty for taxes not paid during the two-month period of the Voluntary Compliance Initiative.

-SB 173, by Sen. Jack Fry, exempts ballots notarized by a notary public at their place of business, any agency or other entity that provides voter registration services as required by the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 from the limit of 20 ballots that can be notarized for a single election. The bill takes effect Nov. 1.

-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 took effect immediately.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

• The Senate passed the following measures on Thursday:

-SB 526, by Sen. Ralph Shortey, would mandate an increase in basic reserve law enforcement hours to a minimum of 300, up from the current requirement of 240. It would also require reserve officers to complete an additional 15 hours of continuing education training each year. The measure passed by a vote of 26-21.

- HB 1037, by Rep. George Faught and Rep. Ken Walker, creates a framework in the Open Records Act for the handling of law enforcement videos captured by body-worn cameras. Last year, the Legislature passed legislation that made it explicitly clear that all law enforcement videos filmed by dash-mounted or body-worn cameras would be subject to the Open Records Act, with some common sense exceptions. HB 1037 updates the law to accommodate issues not contemplated before the increase in demand this past year for body-worn cameras. The measure passed 44-2 and now heads to the Governor’s desk.

-HB 2237, by Rep. Jeff Hickman, authorizes a $25 million bond to complete the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum facility, which would end the state’s ongoing appropriations for operations, and divest the state of the property. The measure passed by a vote of 27-17 and will go to the Governor for consideration.

-SB 165, by Sen. Kyle Loveless, modifies language related to outdoor advertising and clarifies where outdoor advertising signs are prohibited in unzoned commercial or industrial areas. The bill passed 34 to 12.

-SB 312, by Sen. David Holt, modifies dates in which all local candidate election can be held and requires these elections take place the first Tuesday of February or the first Tuesday in April of any year. The bill passed 44 to 0.

-SB 457, by Sen. A J Griffin, defines certain terms related to child competency proceedings and 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 requires the court to stay all proceedings except to allow the filing of a delinquency petition. The bill passed 46 to 0.

-SB 459, by Sen. Kay Floyd, reduces the amount of the fee assessed on civil cases and deposited in the Council on Judicial Complaints Revolving Fund to $1.55 from $2. The bill also adds a 45-cent fee to be credited to the State Judicial Revolving Fund to be used for Access to Justice Duties and responsibilities imposing on the courts under the superintending control of the Supreme Court. The bill passed by 39 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 33 to 12.

-HB 2217, by Rep. Glen Mulread, modifies the credentialing process when applied to a physician who joins an established medical group that has a current contract in force with a health plan. The bill passed 43 to 3.

-SB 809, 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 and requires all other regulation of oil and gas operations to be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Corporation Commission. The bill passed 33-13.

• The House approved the following measures on Thursday:

-HB 1322, by Rep. John R. Bennett, prohibits any municipality from adopting an ordinance restricting or expanding the power and duties, supervisory and management authority, or the regulation of day-to-day activities of a duly elected law enforcement officer unless such authority is specifically granted by the municipal charter of said municipality. HB1322 passed by a 70 to 21 vote.

-CCR to HB 1118, by Rep. Pam Peterson, creates the Child Care Center Bill of Rights which prohibits a child care center from being penalized if a center employee has completed required training by the Department of Human Services and provided written documentation but computer documentation is not updated by the training provider. The bill and emergency passed by a vote of 73 to 0. The emergency clause passed 73 to 1.

-CCR to 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 passed by a vote of 82 to 1.

-CCR to 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 52 to 44.

-CCR to HB 1964, by Rep. Terry O'Donnell, requires that a receiver be held liable for acts which constitute willful misconduct or gross negligence committed while serving as a receiver and it permits a party to motion to the court for the removal or discipline of a receiver for conduct that constitutes gross negligence or willful misconduct. It requires that the court conduct a hearing on the motion within 30 days upon the motion, and permits it to remove the receiver for any reason, including gross negligence or willful misconduct. It requires that a receiver be immune from civil liability to the same extent as a judge acting in a judicial capacity. The bill and emergency clause passed by a vote of 79 to 0.

-CCR to HB 2069, by Rep. Jason Nelson, allows the residence of a child in foster care to be changed to the school district in which the child resided prior to being placed in foster care or the school district in which the previous foster family home of the child is located. The bill and emergency passed by a vote of 83 to 0.

-CCR to SB 312, by Sen. David Holt, modifies dates in which all local candidate election can be held. The bill requires these elections take place the first Tuesday of February or the first Tuesday in April of any year. The bill passed by a vote of 60 to 20.

-CCR to SB 342, by Sen. Robert Standridge, requires at least one of the members of a Local Development Act review committee representing the public at large be a representative of the business community from the proposed district. The bill adds to the duties of the review committee to include selection of an individual, entity or organization unaffiliated with the governing body to audit the analysis required by the act. The bill increases the required vote for approval of the proposed district or proposed plan from two-thirds of the committee to a unanimous vote. The bill passed by a vote of 80 to 0.

-CCR to SB 412, by Sen. Rick Brinkley, modifies language and definitions as well widening the scope of what offenses are constituted as violent crimes. The bill passed by a vote of 85 to 0.

-CCR to SB 457, by Sen. A J Griffin, defines certain terms related to child competency
proceedings and 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 passed by a vote of 83 to 0.

-CCR to 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. The bill requires the court expert to have completed 16 hours of domestic violence training that includes, but is not limited to, information regarding the danger and lethality of domestic violence, the causes and dynamics of domestic violence, the impact of domestic violence upon victims and children, and the characteristics of a batterer as a parent in any case involving domestic violence, stalking or harassment. The bill passed by a vote of 83 to 0.

-CCR to 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 also requires 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 also establishes that a second offense and subsequent offense for tampering with an odometer will be a felony. The bill passed by a vote of 59 to 13.

-CCR to 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 and emergency passed by a vote of 81 to 0.

-CCR to SB 726, by Sen. Brian Crain, allows a county to administer a five-year pilot program of a Family Safety Center to provide certain domestic violence program services, contingent on funding and The bill establishes the services to include assistance obtaining emergency protective orders, assistance and resources to children exposed to domestic and family violence, forensic medical documentation, basic medical assessments and legal support. The bill passed by a vote of 87 to 1.


Friday, May 22, 2015

• Friday was the last day of the first session of the 55th Oklahoma Legislature before adjourning Sine Die. The second session of the 55th Oklahoma Legislature will convene on February 1, 2016.

• The House passed several measures on Friday, including:

-SB 839, by Sen. Brian Bingman, creates the Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture and places it under the supervision of the Oklahoma Historical Society. The bill authorizes the Oklahoma Historical Society is authorized to construct, maintain, repair, and operate the Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture and its facilities. The bill authorizes the Oklahoma Capitol Improvement Authority to issue up to $25 million of debt to finance construction of the museum. The bill expresses the Legislature's expectation that the Oklahoma Historical Society will make rental payments for the purpose of retiring the debt from current appropriations received by the Oklahoma Historical Society. The measure was approved Friday by a vote of 51-40.

• Measures passed by the Senate on Friday include:

-SB 630, by Senate Education Chair John Ford, modifies Oklahoma’s Reading Sufficiency Act (RSA). In 2014, legislation created Student Reading Proficiency Teams to allow probationary promotion for students not reading at grade level. Those students would receive an individual remediation plan to improve their skills. SB 630 extends the use of those teams and probationary promotion through the 2017-2018 school year. The legislation also phases in higher reading proficiency requirements beginning in the 2016-2017 school year. It also directs students in kindergarten through third grade to be screened at both the beginning and end of the school year—currently screening is only required at the beginning of the school year. Additionally, if a first, second or third-grader is shown to be reading at third grade level at such screenings, it will satisfy the requirements for promotion. The vote was unanimous on the measure.

-SB 711, by Sen. John Sparks, directs teacher employment decisions to be forwarded to the State Board of Education. The measure and emergency passed 45-0.

- HB 2243, by Rep Dennis Casey and Rep Earl Sears, would apply a cap to off the top funding for certain state agencies and modify the apportionment of sales tax revenue. The bill provides that for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2015, no more than $5 million will be apportioned to the Oklahoma Tourism Promotion Revolving Fund and no more than $9 million to the Oklahoma Tourism Capital Improvement Revolving Fund. It also limits the amount apportioned to the Oklahoma Historical Society Capital Improvement and Operations Revolving Fund to the amount apportioned in FY2015. The bill passed by a vote of 39-8.

-HB 2244, by Rep. Dennis Casey and Rep. Earl Sears would establish a cap on both the motor vehicle tax and the County Improvement for Roads and Bridges Program. The measure passed by a vote of 37-8.


-HB 2241, by Rep. Dennis Ray Casey and Rep. Earl Sears, modifies the apportionment of the Aircraft Excise Tax. The bill apportions the first $4.5 million to the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission Revolving Fund beginning July 1, 2015, and the balance to the General Revenue Fund for appropriation by the Legislature. The bill passed in the Senate by a vote of 40-7.

-HB 2245, by Rep. Dennis Ray Casey and Rep. Earl Sears, modifies language related to incentive arts grants of the Oklahoma Arts Council. The bill changes the use of the grants from developing a visual arts program to supporting visual arts programs in underserved schools. The measure passed 33-13.

HB 2246, by Rep. Dennis Ray Casey and Rep. Earl Sears, authorizes the Office of Educational Quality and Accountability to enter into contracts and agreements for the payment of food, lodging, and other authorized expenses necessary to host, conduct, sponsor, or participate in conferences, meetings, or training sessions. It permits the office to establish necessary accounts for the collection and distribution of funds, including funds of sponsors and registration fees, related to such conferences, meetings, and training sessions. It permits any expenses incurred to be paid directly to the contracting agency or business establishment. The bill provides the cost of food for persons attending any conferences, meetings, and training sessions that do not require overnight travel cannot exceed the total daily rate as provided in the State Travel Reimbursement Act. The bill passed by a vote of 33-13.

-HB 2233, by Rep. Dennis Ray Casey and Rep. Earl Sears, requires the Office of Management and Enterprise Services director, at the request of the Administrative Director of the Courts, to transfer any monies from the Law Library Revolving Fund to the Supreme Court Administrative Revolving Fund or the Interagency Reimbursement Fund as necessary to perform the duties imposed upon the Supreme Court, Court of Civil Appeals and district courts. The measure passed with a vote of 41-2.

-SB 656 by Sen. Clark Jolley, authorizes interest free loans to counties for compressed natural gas fleet vehicles. The measure passed by a vote of 30-8.

-SB 630 by Sen. John Ford, provides for intensive remediation of students with certain scores on reading assessments. The measure passed by a vote of 40-0.

-HB 1118 by Rep. Pam Peterson, creates the Child Care Center Bill of Rights. The measure and the emergency passed 42-0.

-HB 1823 by Rep. Scott Martin, directs the Board of Education to study and make recommendation for calculation of metrics of school report cards. The measure passed 41-0.

-HB 2069 by Rep. Jason Nelson, provides for changing the residency of children in foster care upon request of the foster parent. The measure passed by a vote of 42-0.


Other news this week

• Attorney General Scott Pruitt announced this week his office filed charges in Muskogee County against an Oklahoma roofing contractor. The Attorney Generals Public Protection Unit received numerous complaints against Justin Ryan Clark regarding his business, Clark Roofing and Contracting. An investigation found that Clark, 30, allegedly embezzled thousands of dollars from Oklahomans in Muskogee and Caddo counties between April 2014 and December 2014. Clark reportedly told several customers he would complete services including repairing hail damage to roofs and siding as well as replacing roofs. The customers paid Clark a combined $26,867.19 for services that were never provided. Clark is being charged with four counts of embezzlement and one count of pattern of criminal offenses. If convicted, Clark faces up to five years in prison and fines of up to $5,000 for each of the four embezzlement counts. He also faces up to two years in prison and fines of up to $25,000 for the remaining count.

• This week, Governor Mary Fallin requested a federal disaster declaration for Cleveland, Grady and Oklahoma counties as a result of tornadoes, severe storms and straight-line winds that have occurred since May 5 as well as continued flooding. The designation would provide federal assistance to individuals and businesses in the storm-stricken areas. Oklahoma has experienced widespread flash flooding, damaging winds, baseball-size hail and at least 25 tornadoes this month, and three Oklahomans lost their lives because of the storms. In addition, 828 homes and businesses were damaged in the storms. Of those, 157 were destroyed and 237 sustained major damage. If the disaster declaration is granted, additional counties could later be added. Damage assessments of storms that struck other parts of the state May 16-17 are continuing.

• The Oklahoma Academic Standards Setting Steering Committee is moving forward with the development of new state academic standards in pre K-12 for English language arts (ELA) and mathematics. The Committee met earlier this week at the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) to hear updates from the writing teams for ELA and mathematics.

Under House Bill 3399, which had repealed common core academic standards, the OSDE — in collaboration with the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, State Board of Career and Technology Education and the Oklahoma Department of Commerce — is tasked with developing English and math standards for implementation by the 2016-17 school year.

• A group of lawmakers sent a letter to the Association of County Commissioners of Oklahoma (ACCO) requesting records pertaining to the firing in March of its "whistleblowing" general counsel after he made the ACCO board aware of alleged improprieties in the association. The group of six lawmakers also requested information related to the hiring of a private law firm to conduct an internal investigation after the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations (OSBI) and the state Auditor's Office began investigating the association. In March, the ACCO fired general counsel Clay Bruner after he sent the ACCO board a 25-page letter outlining alleged improprieties and fund misappropriations by then Executive Director Gayle Ward. The board subsequently fired Ward and placed Bruner on paid administrative leave. The board later terminated Bruner. Since then, several county commissioners and lawmakers have requested records related to the allegations and subsequent firings, but the association has refused, claiming it is a private entity and is exempt from state sunshine laws.

According to its website, the ACCO serves as a statewide clearinghouse for leadership training, educational programming and a comprehensive array of services on behalf of the county commissioners in Oklahoma's 77 counties. The association is governed by a board of directors, which appoints an executive director.