The Oklahoma Senate


Week In Review
Monday, Feb. 22, to Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016

Monday, February 22, 2016

• On Monday, the Senate met and approved the following bills:

-SB 1069, by Sen. AJ Griffin and Rep. Lee Denney, requires the Office of Management and Enterprise Services to take any action necessary to assist the Office of Juvenile Affairs in operating charter schools. The bill and its emergency clause passed 45 to 0.

-SB 1186, by Sen. Gary Stanislawski, exempts members of the United States Armed Forces or the Oklahoma National Guard from prohibition against certain government employees holding insurance licensure. The bill passed 45 to 0.

-SB 1196, by Sen AJ Griffin and Rep. Jason Nelson, allows sexual assault nurse examiners, during the investigation of a crime against a minor under the age of 16, to perform examinations without written parental consent. The bill passed 44 to 0.

-SB 1211, by Sen. AJ Griffin and Rep. Josh Cockroft, modifies requirements of advisory committees appointed by the Department of Human Services to include the utilization of subcommittees to make recommendations of best practices in licensing standards for child care centers, family child care homes, residential child care facilities and group homes.

-SB 1033, by Sen. Gary Stanislawski, adds statewide nonprofit entities that represent health care providers to participate in the Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System. Stanislawski's amendment removes a reference to a specific organization, which Sen. John Sparks, advised during a Senate Insurance Committee meeting likely would be found unconstitutional. The bill passed 44 to 1.

• The Senate Health and Human Services committee met on Monday and gave its stamp of approval to the following bills:

-SB 1118, with title stricken, by Sen. Joseph Silk, requires an abortion provider to attempt to determine, consistent with standard medical practice, the presence of an embryonic or fetal heartbeat prior to the performance or inducement of an abortion. The bill prohibits an abortion provider from performing or inducing an abortion if an embryonic or fetal heartbeat is detected.

-SB 1552, with title stricken, by Sen. Nathan Dahm and Rep. David Brumbaugh, removes the requirement that only a licensed physician perform abortions. The bill adds to unprofessional conduct of a physician the performance of an abortion with an intention other than to increase the probability of a live birth, to preserve the life or health of the child after live birth, to remove an ectopic pregnancy, or to remove a dead unborn child who died as the result of a spontaneous miscarriage, accidental trauma, or a criminal assault on the pregnant female or her unborn child. It permits the State Board of Osteopathic Examiners to refuse to admit a person to an examination or may refuse to issue or reinstate or may suspend or revoke any license issued or reinstated by the board who has performed an abortion with an intention other than to increase the probability of a live birth, to preserve the life or health of the child after live birth, to remove an ectopic pregnancy, or to remove a dead unborn child who died as the result of a spontaneous miscarriage, accidental trauma, or a criminal assault on the pregnant female or her unborn child. The bill prohibits any physician who participates in the performance of an abortion from obtaining or renewing a license to practice medicine in this state. It requires the State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision to revoke the license of an allopathic physician performing an abortion in this state and also requires the State Board of Osteopathic Examiners to revoke the license of an osteopathic physician performing an abortion in this state.

-CS for SB 1273, with title stricken, by Sen. Kay Floyd, prohibits child care facilities from using soft or loose bedding, including but not limited to blankets, in sleeping equipment or in sleeping areas used for infants. It also provides no facility will allow toys or educational devices in sleeping equipment or in a sleeping area and that no facility will place a child in sleeping equipment or in a sleeping area which has not been previously approved for use as such by the Department of Human Services.

-SB 1336, by Sen. Brian Crain and Rep. Casey Murdock, permits a hospital or two or more hospitals located within a county or adjacent counties, or located within a county or adjacent counties and a municipality, to jointly create a public trust and subsidiary districts for the purposes of submitting to voters of each such county the question of whether to impose a tax for the financial support of hospitals within each district. The bill requires the boundaries of a hospital trust be coextensive with the boundaries of a county or a group of member counties. The bill requires the county or counties, or the county or counties and municipality in which a hospital trust is established, to approve and be the beneficiary of the public trust according to statute. The bill establishes minimum requirements for the instrument creating the hospital trust. The bill establishes requirements for the trust board of directors.

-SB 1360, by Sen. Greg Treat, modifies statutory references to organ procurement organizations. The bill also permits a hospital to adopt guidelines for the interaction between organ procurement organizations and hospital staff. It provides that nothing in the Oklahoma Uniform Anatomical Gift Act should be construed as to authorize an organ procurement organization to use coercion or emotional abuse of patients, families of patients, physicians or hospital staff in any aspect of the organ donation process, including but not limited to the testing and screening of potential donors and the procurement of organs.

-SB 1369, by Sen. Kay Floyd and Rep. Cyndi Munson, defines the terms "homeless children and youth," "runaway," and "youth at risk of homelessness." The bill requires information concerning youth at risk of homelessness and runaways be included in report from the Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth's Office of Planning and Coordination.

-SB 1370, by Sen. Frank Simpson, and Rep. Pat Ownbey, requires the Department of Human Services to determine the military status of parents whose children are subject to abuse or neglect. The bill requires the department to notify a United States Department of Defense family advocacy program that there is an investigation into the parent or guardian if the department determines that a parent or guardian is currently serving on active duty in the United States military. It requires the department to forward a report of its assessment or investigation and findings to the appropriate military law enforcement entity. The bill establishes that the term "law enforcement" includes military law enforcement if the subject of an investigation is currently serving in any branch of the U.S. military. The bill requires the department to promulgate necessary rules.

-SB 1424, by Sen. Kim David, requires the Office of Juvenile Affairs to require national criminal history records searches for operators making a request to establish a detention center municipal juvenile facility, community intervention center or secure facility licensed or certified by the Office of Juvenile Affairs. The bill also requires national criminal history records searches for employee or applicant of a secure detention center, municipal juvenile facility, community intervention center or secure facility licensed or certified by the Office of Juvenile Affairs and persons allowed unsupervised access to children.

-SB 1538, by Sen. Randy Bass, exempts a physician licensed in good standing to practice in another state from the licensure requirements of the Oklahoma Allopathic Medical and Surgical Licensure and Supervision Act or the Oklahoma Osteopathic Medicine Act if the provided conditions are met. It provides additional relevant exemptions. It allows the State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision and the State Board of Osteopathic Examiners to enter into agreements with medical and osteopathic licensing boards of other states to implement the provisions of this act. It allows agreements to include procedures for reporting potential medical license violations. It requires the State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision and the State Board of Osteopathic Examiners to promulgate rules.

-The amended CS for SB 1554, by Sen. Bryce Marlatt, requires all child care center directors to have one of the following: a bachelor degree; an associate's degree including either three credit hours in early childhood education, child development or school-age development or three credit hours towards a Child Development Associate (CDA) or Certified Childcare Professional (CCP) credential or three credit hours in administration and management and at least six months of experience working with children from newborn to 12 years of age; or a high school diploma or General Education Development (GED) diploma, six credit hours in early childhood education, child development or school-age development or six credit hours towards a CDA or CCP credential, three credit hours in administration or management and at least one year.

• The House Appropriations and Budget Subcommittee passed the following bills on Monday:

-HB 2690, by Rep. David Brumbaugh, creates the Tax Credit Reauthorization Act, which requires any legislation which creates a tax credit to contain a sunset date of three years. The bill requires all tax credits to be evaluated for economic benefit and offers eligibility requirements for extension of the sunset date.

-HB 2691, by Rep David Brumbaugh, modifies the computation of interest on delinquent tax liabilities and provides for a modification of interest rate. The original language set the rate to the London Interbank Offered Rate though an amendment was adopted changing it to the New York Federal Reserve Bank prime rate plus three percentage points.

-HB2686, by Rep. David Ralph Brumbaugh, creates the Disability Savings Act and the Oklahoma Achieving a Better Life Experience Program (ABLE). The bill states the purpose of the ABLE program and defines terms. The bill requires the savings plan to be established as a trust fund outside of the State Treasury. The bill requires the Board of Trustees of the Oklahoma College Savings Plan program to administer the ABLE program. The bill gives all powers necessary to carry out its duties and to collect fees and services charges to the Board of Trustees. The bill establishes the ABLE Program advisory committee review rules and procedures related to the ABLE program, to provide guidance, suggest changes and make recommendations for the administration of the program, and to provide assistance as needed to the Board of Trustees of the Oklahoma College Savings Plan and State Comptroller during the creation of the program.

-HB 2764, by Rep. John Montgomery, creates the Oklahoma Education Finance Authority which shall be governed by a board of trustees consisting of seven members to be selected or appointed. The bill provides membership and establishes procedures for operation. The bill authorizes the Authority to hire an executive director or chief administrative officer to oversee the operations of the Authority, including but not limited to the receipt of contributions or other income, the proper management of the endowment fund, the disbursement of income from the endowment fund or such other matters as may be required.

• The Senate education committee approved the following legislation on Monday:

-The CS to SB 911, by Sen. Ron Sharp, allows the board of education of each school district to adopt a procedure that requires students to perform community service for violating a district's discipline policy. The bill provides guidelines for the policy including granting an exemption for children under the age of 8 or those on an individualized education plan. It requires the district board of education to establish an appeals process and specify whether appeals are to be to a local committee composed of district administrators or teachers or both or to the district board of education. The bill also requires a district's policy to adhere to all state and federal privacy laws regarding student data. The bill requires the district board of education to make a report annually to the State Department of Education and specifies the contents of the report.

-The CS to SB 929, with its title stricken, by Sen. Ron Sharp and Rep. Justin Wood, creates the Workforce Oklahoma Academic High School Diploma Recognition Act, which allows students beginning with the 2020-2021 high school graduating class, who have met all requirements for graduation and have demonstrated mastery of the state academic content standards, and who have participated in an approved program of study leading to a recognized career and/or postsecondary education pathway, to be eligible for a certain graduation recognitions on their standard diploma, as established by this act. It directs those recognitions awarded to be indicated upon the diploma of those students who qualify for such status.

-CS to SB 937, as amended with its title stricken, by Sen. Roger Thompson, would require school districts' boards of education to change the auditor used for audits required by statute every five years. It provides that a board under contract at the time the bill takes effect will be allowed to serve out the term of the contract and provides the board may renew the contract upon its expiration but the combined length of the previous contract and the length of the new contract cannot exceed five years.

-CS to SB 1170, by Sen. John Ford and Rep. Dennis Casey, prohibits the
amount of time devoted to administration of assessments from exceeding 2 percent of the minimum classroom instruction time. The bill provides exceptions for certain test accommodations. The bill exempts certain assessments from the provisions of the measure.

-The CS to SB 1187, by Sen. Clark Jolley, removes certain requirements from school districts for participation in the School District Empowerment Program, such as deregulation from minimum salary schedule, certification requirements, retirement contributions and evaluations. The bill requires that 75 percent of students enrolled in a participating district or site, demonstrate mastery of the state academic content standards. It adds that a school district may demonstrate mastery if 50 percent of its students demonstrate more than one and one-half years of growth in a measured academic year. The bill requires a district that is unable to demonstrate mastery in this manner, to implement one of four intervention models provided for in state statute.


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

• The full Senate passed the following bills on Tuesday:

-SB0922, by Sen. Frank Simpson and Rep. Dustin Roberts, permits the Adjutant General, when absent from the state, to delegate any vested authority to an assistant adjutant general or other state officer or employee within the Military Department. The bill authorizes the Adjutant General to promulgate necessary rules. The bill and its emergency clause passed 45 to 0.

-SB0926, by Sen. Frank Simpson and Rep. Dustin Roberts, authorizes the Adjutant General to execute agreements with the federal government for reimbursement to the Oklahoma Military Department (OMD) for the use and operation of OMD state-owned vehicles and equipment in support of youth programs. The bill and its emergency clause passed 45 to 0.

-SB0928, by Sen. Frank Simpson and Rep. Dustin Roberts, authorizes the Adjutant General to execute agreements with the federal government for reimbursement to the Oklahoma Military Department (OMD) for the use and operation of OMD state-owned vehicles and equipment in support of the federal reimbursable programs through Cooperative Agreement with the National Guard Bureau. The bill and its emergency clause passed 44 to 0.

-SB0935, by Sen. Frank Simpson and Rep. Dustin Roberts, exempts Oklahoma Military Department vehicles designated for use by the Adjutant General or Assistant Adjutant General in performance of their duties and Oklahoma Military Department vehicles designated for use in the State Transition and Reintegration System (STARS) program for tracking youth, as approved by the Adjutant General, from the requirement that state agencies that or lease vehicles must affix the words "State of Oklahoma" and the name of the department or institution that owns or leases the vehicle in conspicuous letters. The bill and its emergency clause passed 46 to 0.

-SB0949 by Sen. Frank Simpson and Rep. Dustin Roberts, permits the Adjutant General to waive all or a portion of the charges or fees for use of agency facilities by a non-profit entity when such use is in support of civil authorities for joint training, natural disasters or other declared emergencies in accordance with rules promulgated by the Adjutant General. The bill defines "civil authorities" to mean those elected and appointed officers and employees who constitute the government of the United States, the government and agencies of the State of Oklahoma, county and municipal governments within the State of Oklahoma, and political divisions thereof. The bill and its emergency clause passed 46 to 0.

-SB1004, by Sen. Ron Sharp and Rep. Katie Henke, changes the reporting period for local public school officials concerning dropouts from quarterly to annually. The bill and its emergency clause passed 45 to 0.

-SB1020, by Sen. Don Barrington and Rep. Kevin Wallace, allows agricultural producers burning land as a method of managing their property to burn land during a burn ban if the agricultural producers abide by certain procedures. The bill requires a submission of the written prescribed burn plan to be submitted to the local fire department and maintenance of the plan on site when conducting the burn. The bill prohibits campfires, household trash, debris or pile burning from being included on the prescribed burn plan. The bill passed 46 to 0.

• The Senate Transportation Committee approved the following bills on Tuesday:

-SB 743, as amended and with title stricken, by Sen. Gary Michael Stanislawski, requires the Department of Public Safety to notify all railroad companies whose railroad right of way is impacted by an oversize or overweight vehicle's route prior to the use of the route. The amendment changes the effective date of the bill, which was carried over from 2015 to 2016.

-SB 1059, by Sen. Gary Stanislawski and Rep. Leslie Osborn, modifies revenue apportionment of overweight fees and fines for motor vehicles. The bill modifies operational hours of the operation of weigh stations from 24 hours a day to 18 to 20 hours a day.

-SB 1317, by Sen. Clark Jolley and Rep. Weldon Watson, allows a motor vehicle operated by compressed or liquefied natural gas to exceed the gross vehicle weight limits and any axle weight limits by up to 2,000 pounds.

-SB 1318, by Sen. Gary Stanislawski and Rep. Leslie Osborn, allows the Corporation Commission to revoke, suspend or deny registration or issuance of license plates. The bill removes language regarding assessed fees and mileage reporting.

-SB 1378, by Sen. Clark Jolley and Rep. Charles McCall, states that in the event that the determination of just compensation of a property is less than the commissioner's award for such real property, any mortgagee or lien holder who received payment from the commissioner's award in an amount in excess of the finding of just compensation value of the real property taken will only be liable for and required to pay back to the condemnor no more than the difference between what was actually received by the mortgagee or lien holder from the commissioner's award and the jury's just compensation value. It adds that a mortgagee or lien holder will only be liable to return to the condemnor any sums actually paid to and received by such party in excess of the determination of just compensation for the real property. It requires the mortgagor to remain liable to the mortgagee or lien holder for the excess that is paid by the mortgagee or lienholder to the condemning authority.

-SB 1433, as amended, by Sen. Gary Stanislawski, requires that fines and penalties established by the Corporation Commission for violation of commercial vehicle weight limitations or violation of overweight permit requirements not be subject to the administrative cap on Corporation Commission fines as set forth in the Oklahoma Statutes. The bill authorizes the Commission to apply a multiplier to any fine or penalty for repeat overweight violations by a carrier within a one-year period; provided, however, that a fine or penalty for any single violation subject to a multiplier not exceed $2,500. The amendment clarifies the $2,500 multiplier limit.

• The Senate Judiciary Committee gave its approval to the following legislation on Tuesday:

-SB 441, by Sen. John Sparks, grants any public or private institution of higher education that is a member of a governing authority a cause of action against a third party who engages or conspires with another to engage in conduct in violation of the rules of the governing authority that causes the educational institution to incur sanctions by the governing authority or other economic penalties or losses. It allows the educational institution to recover damages in the amount of the sanctions, penalties or economic losses incurred as a result of the conduct of the third party, and reasonable attorney fees and costs. The bill was amended to modify the effective date from 2015 to 2016.

-SB 770, by Sen. Anthony Sykes, includes the Judicial Nominating Commission in the definition of Public Body in regards to the Oklahoma Open Meeting Act. The bill was amended to modify the effective date from 2015 to 2016.

-SB 791, by Sen. Anthony Sykes and Rep. Glen Mulready, prohibits certain insurance contracts from applying to a claim made and reported from liability insurance policy unless there is actual notice that a claim has been made against an insured who will have also reported the claim to the insured's insurer. The bill was amended to modify the effective date from 2015 to 2016. The bill received a do pass recommendation from the committee.

-SB 880, by Sen. Roger Thompson, relates to the destruction of obscene material or child pornography after a criminal conviction. The bill adds a law enforcement officer and a law enforcement agency to the list of those authorized to destroy the material. The bill provides that the destruction will include, but not be limited to any computer, hard drive or other electronic storage media on which the obscene material or child pornography was located. The bill defines "final conviction" to include the exhaustion of or failure to timely pursue post-conviction and state and federal habeas corpus review. An amendment was made adding the word "final" to create continuity in the bill's language. The measure received a do pass recommendation from the committee.

-SB 1126, by Sen. Brian Crain and Rep. Dan Kirby, modifies procedure necessary in cases relating to eminent domain. The bill updates self-referential language. It modifies judgment awards in the reviewing of a commissioner's report and in the reimbursement of expenses for cases involving eminent domain. The bill was amended to restore stricken language and allow for a party to receive the greater settlement between the last offer of the condemnor or the jury award. The measure received a do pass recommendation from the committee.

-SB 1200, by Sen. AJ Griffin, modifies language relating to an adjudicated child in need of supervisions and who has violated a court order was amended to change mandatory language to permissive language.

-SB 1083, with title stricken, by Sen. Dan Newberry, modifies the use of the affidavit of exemption relating to workers' compensation insurance under the Roofing Contractor Registration Act. The bill requires the exemption to be used only for residential construction projects, while all commercial projects are required to cover all individuals performing work to be covered by workers' compensation insurance as employees of the person registered under the Roofing Contractor registration Act. The bill allows any day laborer with proof of workers' compensation insurance under a temporary labor agency to provide an affidavit from the agency. The bill prohibits any homeowner from being held liable for injury or death to any person who performs work under a contract with a person required by law to be registered under the Roofing Contractor Registration Act.

-SB 990, by Sen. Roger Thompson, permits a person who owns a business with no more than five employees to be exempted from jury duty.

-SB 1091, by Sen. Rob Standridge, establishes statute of limitations of limitations for Medicaid fraud, pursuant to Section 1005 of Title 56 of the Oklahoma Statutes.

-SB 1095, by Sen. Nathan Dahm, and Rep. Jon Echols, provides an exception from liability for any person with a current motor vehicle insurance policy at the required minimum limits who volunteers to provide transportation that does not exceed the limits of such insurance policy, except for gross negligence or willful or wanton conduct committed in providing such transportation.

-SB 1166, by Sen. Brian Crain and Rep. John Jordan, authorizes issuance of subpoenas for records in any investigation relating to crimes committed against the Department of Human Services or programs administered by the Department. The bill prescribes contents of subpoenas, requires compliance and permits punishment for violations.

• The Senate Finance committee passed the following legislation:

-SB 1073, by Sen. Mike Mazzei and Rep. Jadine Nollan, makes the Board of Equalization finding that sufficient revenue growth exists to reduce the top individual income tax rate from 5.25 percent to 5.0 percent void and the rate unenforceable if the rate would become effective during a fiscal year when a revenue failure is declared. The bill adds a calculation for determining whether the individual income tax rate will be reduced from 5.25 to 5.0 percent that requires individual income revenue growth equal to or greater than the amount of the revenue reduction plus an amount equal to 5 percent of the General Revenue Fund estimate for the then current fiscal year. The bill modifies the calculation for reducing the individual income tax rate from 5.0 percent to 4.85 percent and subsequent reductions to include an amount equal to 3.0 of the revised General Revenue Fund estimate for the then current fiscal year. It requires that for taxable years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2016, that taxable income be increased by any amount of state and local taxes deducted under 26 U.S.C., Section 164 of the Internal Revenue Code. It provides that if the amount of state and local taxes deducted on the Oklahoma return is limited, taxable income on the state return will be increased only by the amount actually deducted after any such limitations are applied.

-SB 981, with its title stricken by Sen. Mike Mazzei, also won approval of a bill that would create the Oklahoma Revenue Stabilization Fund. The introduced version of SB0981 would have suspended new entrants into the Quality Jobs Program from July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2018. The bill also would have stipulated that it does not apply to incentive payments resulting from applications approved prior to July 1, 2016. The committee substitute for the bill removes that language and replaces it with the stabilization fund language. The new language calls for the Board of Equalization to calculate a five-year averages of corporate income tax and gross production tax revenues to the General Revenue Fund. Estimated revenue in excess of 10 percent growth in each fund would be deposited in the account. The bill received a do pass as amended with its title stricken. The amendment clarifies a statutory reference within the bill.

-The CS with its title stricken for SB 892, by Sen. Mike Mazzei, removes the bill's introduced language and replaces it with language that limits insurance companies' ability to claim the home office tax credit to five years beginning Jan. 1, 2016. It provides that prior year claims will not count against the five-year limit. It limits the total credits allowed for all taxpayers to $15 million for claims against calendar year 2016 tax liability; $17 million for calendar year 2017 tax liability; $19 million for calendar year 2018 tax liability; $21 million for calendar year 2019 tax liability; $23 million for calendar year 2020 tax liability; $25 million for calendar year 2021 tax liability and for all future calendar years. The bill also requires that the percentage of credit for each taxpayer be adjusted so that the total estimate of the credits authorized does not exceed the annual limitation. It sets the formula to be used for the adjustment as the total annual dollar limit for the calendar year divided by the total amount of credits claimed for that year.

-SB 1240, with title stricken, by Sen. Mike Mazzei and Rep. Weldon Watson, creates the Oklahoma Public Safety Protection District Act. The bill allows the largest municipality within the county may initiate the creation of a public safety protection district by the adoption of a joint resolution calling for the question of whether to organize a public safety protection district. The bill requires all territory located within the municipality to be included in the district. The bill establishes rules for the appointment of a district director of public safety and the board and establishes duties and powers of the director and the board. The bill requires an annual levy assessment no greater than five mills on the dollar of assessed value of the property in the district, the proceeds of which shall be used for the operation and maintenance of the public safety protection district, including expenses related to jail operations, purchasing and maintaining public safety equipment and payment of salaries and benefits of the city and county employees who provide public safety services within the district.

-SB 900, by Sen. Corey Brooks, and Rep. Jeff Coody, modifies the exemption from motor vehicle excise tax exemption for 100 percent disabled veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. The bill permits the exemption to be utilized more than one time every three years when the vehicle is a replacement for a vehicle that was destroyed and declared by the insurer to be a total loss claim.

-SB1129, by Sen. Brian Crain, authorizes a country treasurer to develop procedures for an alternative method of, and schedule for, payment of ad valorem taxes for property which qualifies under the definition of "homestead" pursuant to the provisions listed therein. It requires such alternative procedures to permit the payment of taxes electronically and include the option for payment on a monthly or quarterly basis.

-SB 1338, by Sen. Wayne Shaw and Rep. Doug Cox, prohibits claims of the tax credit for investments in qualified clean-burning motor vehicle fuel property after Jan. 1, 2018, unless the credit is reauthorized by the Oklahoma Legislature after evaluation by the Incentive Evaluation Commission.

-SB 1443, by Sen. Rob Standridge, prohibits any tax credits from being allowed for generation of wind power on or after January 1, 2018, unless this is reauthorized by the Oklahoma Legislature after evaluation by the Incentive Evaluation Commission.

• The following legislation was approved by the House Appropriations and Budget committee this week:

-CS to HB2797, by Rep. Ann Coody, Rep. Lisa J. Billy, and Rep. Pam Peterson, creates the Humanity of the Unborn Child Act, which allows the Legislature to affirm that it is the public policy of the State of Oklahoma to make a value judgment favoring childbirth over abortion, and to implement that judgment by the allocation of public funds. The bill creates the Public Education on the Humanity of the Unborn Child Fund. The bill requires the State Department of Education shall establish, operate and maintain a public information program or programs for the purpose of educating the public about the humanity of a child in utero. The bill requires the Department to establish, operate and maintain a program to educate students in grades nine through twelve about the humanity of a child in utero. The bill cleared committee with a vote of 17 to 2 and will now head to the House floor for a hearing.

• The House Business, Labor and Retirement Laws committee gave its stamp of approval to the following bills:

-CS to HB 2688, by Rep. David Brumbaugh, creates the Modernization of Agency Creation Process and Sunrise Act, which establishes procedures and guidelines for the creation of new state agencies, boards and commissions. The bill received a do pass recommendation by a vote of 5 to 3.

-CS to HB 1538, by Rep. Todd Thomsen, contains a provision for members of the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Retirement System (OLERS) who have retired or retire with a service-connected disability to have their benefit equal to the greater of either 2.5 percent times the number of years of credit service times the top base pay currently paid to an active member for certain other law enforcement positions, or 2.5 percent times credited services times the member's final average salary.

-CS to HB 2622, as amended, by Rep. Leslie Osborn, removes the requirement that one of the Commissioner of Labor's appointees to the Committee of Alternative Fuels Technician Examiners be selected from a list of names submitted by the State Board of Career and Technology Education. It also removes the requirement that a nonvoting member appointed by the commission serve as program administrator. The bill permits the Department of Labor to issue an alternative fuels compression trainee certificate to any person who submits a trainee application within 15 business days of being hired by a licensed alternative fuels fill-station installation business. It requires an alternative fuels compression trainee be employed by a licensed alternative fuels fill-station installation business located in Oklahoma and work under the direct supervision of a licensed alternative fuels compression technician. It limits to two the number of alternative fuels compression trainees per licensed alternative fuels compression technician at any licensed Oklahoma alternative fuels fill-station installation business or the job site or sites of any such alternative fuels fill-station installation business at any one time. It permits an individual that holds a trainee license to engage in any licensed category under the Alternative Fuels Technician Certification Act while under the direct supervision of an individual holding the appropriate license in the category of activity being performed. The bill establishes an Alternative Fuels Equipment or Compression Technician Certificate and a $25 fee for the certificate. The bill also modifies the fee for the Annual Renewal of Alternative Fuels Installation Certification Per Location, to $250 for each dispenser meter at the location not to exceed $1,000 per location.

-HB 2789, as amended, by Rep. David Derby, allows the Board to issue a reciprocity license as a professional engineer if the applicant has complied with the requirements of another state, territory or province and provides documented evidence of at least 5 years of related work experience in another state, territory or province.

• The House passed the following legislation on Tuesday as follows:

-HB 3024, by John Paul Jordan, creates the Catfishing Liability Act of 2016. The bill defines applicable terms. The bill provides that any person who knowingly uses another's name, voice, signature, photograph or likeness through social media to create false identities without the person's prior consent, or in the case of a minor the prior consent of his or her parent or legal guardian, will be guilty of Internet catfishing and liable for any damages sustained by the person or persons injured as a result. The bill permits plaintiff to request an automatic injunction preventing the continued use of the plaintiff's name, voice, signature, photograph or likeness and permits the plaintiff to be awarded specific damages. It exempts law enforcement agencies or their employees acting within the scope of their employment investigating Internet crimes. It provides that the act's remedies are cumulative and will be in addition to any others provided for by law.

-HB 2357, by Rep. Weldon Watson, and Sen. Bryce Marlatt, removes references to hazardous substances in the legislative findings of the Oklahoma Storage Tank Regulation Act and deletes the definition altogether from the act. The bill passed by a vote of 91 to 3.

-HB 2410, by Rep. George Faught and Sen. Nathan Dahm, extends the sunset date for the Board of Chiropractic Examiners to July 1, 2020. The bill passed by a vote of 95 to 0.

-HB 2413, by Rep. George Faught and Sen. Nathan Dahm, extends the sunset date for the State Anatomical Board to July 1, 2020. The bill passed by a vote of 95 to 0.

-HB 2547, by Rep. Glen Mulready and Sen. Kim David, repeals the informed consent provision of the Oklahoma Telemedicine Act. The bill passed by a vote of 96 to 0.

-HB 2649, by Rep. Todd Thomsen, allows two school days, not less than six hours, to be counted for attendance purposes in any 24 hour period if one of the school days is for the purpose of parent-teacher conferences. The bill and its emergency clause passed by a vote of 95 to 0.

-HB 2761, by Rep. Dan Kirby and Sen. Bill Brown, provides that no waiver of any applicable privilege or claim of confidentiality in the documents, materials or information provided to the Insurance Commissioner shall occur as a result of disclosure to the Commissioner or as a result of sharing as authorized by this bill. The bill passed by a vote of 92 to 0.

-HB 2785, by Rep. Tommy Hardin and Sen. Frank Simpson, authorizes cities to participate in the Disability Insurance Program and provides for starting date of participation. The bill requires cities to provide contribution to the Program in an amount determined by the Oklahoma Employees Insurance and Benefits Board. The bill passed by a vote of 96 to 1.

-HB2922, by Rep. Dan Kirby, updates statutory citations relating to the licensing and regulation of bail bondsmen. The bill modifies definitions. It modifies exemptions. It requires all of the records shall be available and open to the inspection of the Commissioner at any time during business hours during the three years immediately following the date the liability of the bondsman on the bond is discharged by the court or the date collateral is returned by the bondsman to its lawful owner, whichever is later. It requires that if an appearance bond is never executed and filed with the court, then all records be maintained for three years immediately following the date the documents were prepared. It deletes requirements for issuing receipts. It clarifies the procedures required for appointment forms. It requires that at the time of he or she receives payment for the issuance of an appearance bond, a bail bondsman must provide the payor or indemnitors with a proper receipt and copies of any agreements executed relating to the appearance bond. It requires bondsmen to possess bail bondsman license to present to any law enforcement officer immediately upon request when apprehending or surrendering defendants. The bill passed by a vote of 94 to 0.

-HB 3103, by Rep. Chad Caldwell, allows the vacancy of a district board of education to be filled by appointment of the board if there is a vacancy and no candidate has filed to fill the position. The bill requires preference to be given to members of the district. The bill passed by a vote of 57 to 38 but its emergency clause failed 39 to 41. Caldwell served notice to reconsider the vote on the emergency.

Wednesday, February 24, 2015

• The following bills won the approval of the Senate Insurance Committee:

-SB 1377, by Sen. AJ Griffin, prohibits a contracting entity from selling, assigning or otherwise granting access to the dental services of a participating provider under any health care contract unless expressly authorized by the health care contract. It requires the health care contract to specifically provide that one purpose of the contract is the selling, assigning or giving the contracting entity rights to the services of the participating provider, including network plans. It adds that upon entering a contract with a participating provider and upon request by a participating provider, a contracting entity will properly identify any third party that has been granted access to the dental services of the participating provider.

-SB 1499, with its title stricken, by Sen. Rob Standridge and Rep. Doug Cox, requires the Oklahoma Insurance Department to analyze discrepancies between coverage for prescription drugs with abuse-deterrent properties and coverage for prescription opioids without abuse-deterrent properties. It requires such information to be submitted in a report to the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives on or before December 31, 2017.

• The Senate approved six bills Wednesday afternoon during session:

-SB 1446, by Sen. Darcy Jech and Rep. Harold Wright, removes certain application and reporting requirements relating to license applications, inspection fee reports and necessary forms and applications. The bill passed 43 to 0.

-SB 945, by Sen. Gary Stanislawski, requires a school district superintendent or his or her designee to provide at each regular monthly meeting of a school district board of education a financial report that will be required to include but not be limited to the district's monthly expenditures. It also requires the report be posted on the school district's website within seven days after it is presented to the board. The bill and its emergency clause passed 40 to 2.

-SB 1070, by Sen. Ron Sharp and Rep. Josh Cockroft, establishes that the requirements for law enforcement officers' transport of individuals to and from designated sites or facilities for the purpose of examination, emergency detention, protective custody and inpatient services will be not construed to require higher standards for reserve deputies or off-duty law enforcement officials performing the services authorized as an employee, contractor, or owner of a third party entity providing the services. The bill passed 43 to 0.

-SB 1217, by Sen. Ron Sharp and Rep. Randy Grau, expands the definition of the Inpatient Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment of Minors Act to include physician assistant. The bill passed 42 to 0.

-SB 1350, by Sen. John Ford and Rep. Dennis Ray Casey, modifies the definition of "career teacher" by replacing references to "qualitative and quantitative ratings" with "a district evaluation rating." The bill defines "district evaluation rating." The bill modifies references to the qualitative and quantitative components of the TLE. The bill modifies subsequent references where the term "qualitative and quantitative ratings" were used. The bill and its emergency clause passed 43 to 0.

-SB 1490, by Sen. Darcy Jech and Rep. Harold Wright, designates the section of Interstate 40 Business extending west from the Beckham County Line to one-quarter of a mile west of the Interstate 40 and State Highway 34 Interchange as the "J. Cooper West Memorial Highway". The bill passed 41 to 0.

• The Senate Rules Committee gave its stamp of arrival on the following bills on Wednesday:

-SB 1522, by Sen. Nathan Dahm and Rep. Jon Echols, authorizes the legislature to issue process, compel attendance of witnesses and to administer oaths to any person appearing before the Legislature, house or committee. The bill received a do pass recommendation with its title stricken.

-SJR 45, by Sen. Mike Schulz, proposes a vote of the people to amend the Constitution to increase from eight to 12 the number of years the Lieutenant Governor, State Auditor and Inspector, Attorney General, State Treasurer, Commissioner of Labor, Insurance Commissioner or Superintendent of Public Instruction may serve.

-SJR 66, by Sen. Greg Treat, proposes a vote of the people on a constitutional amendment that directs the Governor to appoint the Commissioner of Insurance. The amendment would provide that the appointment would be for a four-year term concurrent with that of the Governor. It removes term limits for members of the Commissioner of Insurance.

-SJR 71, by Sen. Josh Brecheen, proposes a vote of the people on a constitution amendment that would authorize the Legislature to appropriate earnings from the Tobacco Settlement Trust Fund to the Oklahoma Medicaid program.


• The Senate Appropriations committee had a lengthy meeting on Wednesday and approved the following bills:

-SB 1362, by Sen. David Holt, would allow the state to comply with the REAL ID Act. The committee substitute for the measure adds language increasing the cost of drivers' licenses and defining applicable terms. The bill clarifies language related to driver licenses and establishes the requirements for REAL ID Compliant Driver Licenses and Identification Cards and REAL ID Non-Compliant Driver Licenses and Identification cards. The bill requires that $10 from each REAL ID compliant license be deposited in the Department of Public Safety Revolving Fund. The bill removes language authorizing the Department of Public Safety and the Oklahoma Tax Commission to promulgate rules for the issuance of driver licenses and adds language that authorizes the Department of Public Safety to process applications for an issue all classes of driver licenses and identification cards in any county.

-SB 1400, by Sen. Nathan Dahm, received a do pass recommendation with its title stricken. The bill dissolves the current membership of the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission by July 1, 2016 and establishes new appointments and membership. It also increases the number of members from seven to nine and specifies membership. The bill also adds a provision that allows the Director of the Aeronautics to be removed by the Legislature with the passage of a concurrent resolution. It also allows the director to retain legal counsel to advise and assist operations of the Commission when necessary

-SB1561, by Sen. Ralph Shortey, creates the Unified Law Enforcement Act of 2016, which consolidates four state law enforcement agencies and establishes that the divisions of the Oklahoma Department of Law Enforcement will consist of the Department of Public Safety, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and Oklahoma State Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control. The bill provides the Superintendent of the Oklahoma Department of Law Enforcement will supervise the department and may at the time of its formation transfer persons and assets as may be necessary for the operation of the department from any of the initial divisions. The bill creates the seven-member Oklahoma Law Enforcement Commission. It establishes commission membership requirements. The bill sets requirements for the commission. The bill requires the current Commissioner of Public Safety, Chief of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol Division, Director of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and Director of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control be affirmed by the Commission as the Director or Chief of their respective agency. It requires all functions performed by the Department of Public Safety, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Oklahoma State
Bureau of Investigation and Oklahoma State Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control remain under the respective agency unless otherwise modified, merged or reorganized by the Superintendent of the Oklahoma Department of Law Enforcement.

-SB 866, by Sen. Clark Jolley and Rep. Doug Cox, repeals language that requires the Office of the State Medical Examiner to be located immediately adjacent to or in close proximity to the University of Central Oklahoma Forensic Science Institute. The bill adds language that permits the Board of Medicolegal Investigations to determine where the office will be located.

-SB0873, by Sen. Kyle Loveless, consolidates the Office of Merit Protection Commission into the Office of Management and Enterprise Services. The bill provides that Office of Merit Protection Commission's executive director will then be appointed by the OMES director. The bill removes language that provides commission employees are classified employees.

-SB 895, by Sen. Kyle Loveless, consolidates the office of the State Bond Advisor into the State Treasurer's Office. The bill makes the Bond Advisor an employee of the State Treasurer. The bill modifies the hiring and termination procedure for the State Bond Advisor and staff. The bill moves the Bond Oversight Revolving fund from the State Bond Advisor's Office to the State Treasurer's Office. The bill repeals a statute concerning the State Bond Advisor's payroll and administrative functions and regarding office space.

-CS for SB 932, by Sen. Roger Thompson, allows a public school district with an average daily membership (ADM) of less than 100 to enter into a mutual contract with a treasurer or other financial officer to provide financial services for each contracting district. It requires any mutual contract for sharing financial services to address the division of time of the employee, payment of benefits for the employee, contributions to the Teachers' Retirement System of Oklahoma and how the employee will be counted for calculating certain weights for the purposes of the State Aid Formula. The bill also requires any person responsible for the financial services of a school district to have a bachelor's degree in finance or a finance-related filed at minimum or complete 40 hours of training provided by the State Department of Education within 15 months of assuming the position. The committee substitute reflected changes made in the Senate Education Committee.

-CS for SB 984, by Sen. Ron Sharp and Rep. Justin Wood, creates the Oklahoma Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program to be administered by the State Department of Education. The bill provides the program will provide educational loan repayment assistance to qualifying teachers who teach in an Oklahoma public school for six consecutive years and who meet certain criteria. The bill provides than an award of $2,500 will be distributed directly to the financial institution that holds the teacher's student loan at the end of each consecutive year in which a qualifying teacher participates and in an amount not to exceed $15,000 or the total principal and interest of the guaranteed student loans owed by the qualifying teacher at the end of the sixth year, whichever is less. The bill requires the department to certify and properly review reports submitted by the qualifying teacher detailing compliance with the criteria prior to any distribution. The bill establishes criteria for teachers' participation in the program. The bill requires the department to maintain complete and accurate records in implementing the program and to submit a report on the program to the Governor, House Speaker and Senate President Pro Tempore beginning Dec. 1, 2017 and each Dec. 1 thereafter. The bill creates the Oklahoma Teacher Loan Repayment Revolving Fund. The committee substitute reflected changes made by the Senate Education Committee.

-CS for SB 1005, by Sen. Brian Crain, creates the Oklahoma Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Savings Plan Act. The bill exempts account balances and distributions from savings accounts established under the Oklahoma Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Savings Plan Act from the calculation of resources for the purpose of the Statewide Temporary Assistance Responsibility System (STARS). The bill defines applicable terms. It requires the State Treasurer to establish and administer the Oklahoma ABLE Savings Plan and requires that the treasurer develop and implement the program in a manner consistent with this act and subject to Section 529A of the Internal Revenue Code through the adoption of guidelines and procedures; retain professional services, if necessary, including accountants, auditors, consultants and other experts; seek rulings and other guidance, if necessary, from the United States Department of the Treasury, the Internal Revenue Service and the Oklahoma Attorney General relating to the program; make changes to the program required for the participants in the program to obtain the federal income tax benefits or treatment provided by Section 529A of the Internal Revenue Code;
interpret, in policies, guidelines and procedures, the provisions of the Oklahoma ABLE Savings Plan Act broadly in light of its purpose and objectives; develop a schedule of application fees and other necessary fees and charges in connection with any agreement, contract or transaction relating to the program that are sufficient to offset the administrative and staffing costs associated with the implementation and administration of this program; either select the financial institution or institutions to act as the depositories and managers of the program accounts or determine an alternative method for financial management as outlined in the act; and develop procedures to assist in the administration and implementation the program after reasonable notice to the public and a public hearing in a manner similar to requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act. The committee substitute reflected changes made by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

-CS for SB 1059, by Sen. Gary Stanislawski and Rep. Leslie Osborn, modifies revenue apportionment of overweight fees and fines for motor vehicles. The bill modifies operational hours of the operation of weigh stations from 24 hours a day to 18 to 20 hours a day. The committee substitute reflects changes made by the Senate Transportation Committee.

-SB 1105, by Sen. Gary Stanislawski, Sen. John Ford, and Rep. Ann Coody, allows students who have been denied a standard diploma by the school district in which the student is or was enrolled for failing to meet the requirements of this section to re-enroll in the school district that denied the student a standard diploma following the denial of a standard diploma. It requires said student to be provided remediation or intervention and the opportunity to complete the curriculum units or sets of competencies required by provisions listed therein to obtain a standard diploma. It exempts students who re-enroll in the school district to meet the graduation requirements of provisions therein from the hourly instructional requirements listed therein and the six-period enrollment requirements.

-SB 1139, by Sen. Bryce Marlatt, extends from July 1, 2016, to July 1, 2021, the requirement that the Corporation Commission Plugging Fund be maintained at $5 million. The bill also extends from July 1, 2016, to July 1, 2021, the 0.095 of 1 percent of the gross value of each barrel of oil and of natural gas subject to gross production tax. It delays from July 1, 2016, to July 1, 2021, a reduction of that tax to 0.085 of one percent. The bill updates time references to conform.

-SB 1220, by Sen. Clark Jolley and Rep. Dennis Ray Casey, modifies the requirements of reimbursement rates from the Department of Corrections to a county. The bill requires a negotiated daily rate to be settled if the amount to retain the inmate exceeds $27 per day. The bill requires the presiding district judge to establish a rate if the Department and the county do not agree upon a rate.

-SB 1257, by Sen. David Holt and Sen. Gary Stanislawski, makes non-consensual dissemination to private sexual images and provides non-consensual dissemination as unlawful. The bill, also named the “revenge porn” bill, defines terms relating to non-consensual dissemination. The bill requires violators of the act to be guilty of a misdemeanor and subsequent violations to be a felony.

-CS for SB 1264, by Sen. Clark Jolley and Rep. Scott Martin, requires school districts to submit to the State Department of Education monthly statements of expenditures to then be submitted to the Office of Management and Enterprise Services. The committee substitute reflects changes made in the Senate Education Committee.


-SB 1305, as amended, by Sen. Marty Quinn, requires the Ad Valorem Reimbursement Fund to reimburse school districts for loss of revenue due to exemptions of ad valorem taxes for new or expanded manufacturing or research and development facilities when a funding emergency exists. The bill allows a school district may claim an early reimbursement 50 percent of the amount of the reimbursement made in the prior calendar year if a declaration of a funding emergency is provided to the Oklahoma Tax Commission. The bill clarifies language related to the apportionment of revenue to the fund.

-SB 1340, by Sen. AJ Griffin and Rep. David Derby, authorizes the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to develop and implement a premium assistance plan to assist eligible Oklahomans in purchasing a health savings account plan under the Oklahoma Medicaid Program Reform Act of 2003. It also requires the Oklahoma Department of Commerce to conduct a wage audit for employers participating in the Insure Oklahoma program to ensure that wages for participants are comparable to prevailing wages. The bill requires the Department of Commerce to prepare an annual report to be presented to the Senate President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the
House Speaker.

-SB1466, by Sen. Kimberly David and Rep. Jon Echols, modifies the calculation of state employees' benefit allowance. The bill also requires Employees Group Insurance Board to offer health maintenance organization plans with the same actuarial value to the preferred provider organization plan with the highest level of benefits offered. The bill requires benefit plan contracts with the board, health maintenance organizations, and other third party insurance vendors provide for a risk adjustment factor that is based on a comprehensive medical and pharmacy model to account for the majority of risk in the State of Oklahoma.

• The House approved the following legislation on Wednesday:

-HB2619, by Rep. Todd Thomsen and Sen. Marty Quinn, requires, rather than permits, the Office of Management and Enterprise Services to publish a schedule of reimbursement rates for state employee travel. The bill passed by a vote of 69 to 26 without debate.

-HB2273, with the title stricken, by Rep. Randy McDaniel and Sen. Jason Smalley, clarifies language related to base salary for members of the Oklahoma Police Pension and Retirement System. The bill also provides that members' final average salary for purposes of the normal disability benefit will be based on the member's total service if less than 30 months. The bill passed by a vote of 70 to 24.

-HB 2404, by Rep. George Faught and Sen. Gary Stanislawski, authorizes the Oklahoma Department of Education the authority to promulgate rules to create exemptions for entry into early education programs. The bill passed by a vote of 70 to 20.

-HB 2546, by Rep. Glen Mulready and Sen. Ron Sharp, adds a definition of the Truth in Lending Act to the Oklahoma Appraisal Management Company Regulation Act. It also adds a person whose credential issued by an appraiser-credentialing jurisdiction has been suspended to the list of conditions under which an appraisal management company applying for, holding, or renewing a registration under the Oklahoma Appraisal Management Company Regulation Act cannot be more than ten-percent-owned. The bill requires the controlling person identified by the company to notify the Oklahoma Real Estate Appraiser Board of any discipline imposed by any other jurisdiction, whether state or federal, including but not limited to consent agreements or orders, in connection with any real property valuation activity including, but not limited to, public or private reprimand, censure, financial penalty, probation, restriction on practice, delisting, suspension, revocation, surrender of license or credential, debarment or any other formal or informal resolution as to the Appraisal Management Company or any of its individual controlling officers in their capacity as an appraiser. The bill passed by a vote of 88 to 6.

-HB 2642, by Rep. Steven Vaughan, deletes size restrictions on private land which requires the use of an annual special permit by a resident or nonresident. The bill and its emergency clause passed by a vote of 87 to 5.

-HB 2710, by Rep. Charles Ortega, modifies the duties of the Director of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services in the Oklahoma Personnel Act. The bill passed by a vote of 88 to 6.

-HB 2757, by Rep. Dan Kirby and Sen. Ralph Shortey, prohibits court-ordered past-due child support payments, court-ordered payments of suit monies and judgments for support pursuant to Oklahoma Statutes entered beginning Nov. 1, 2016, from drawing interest. It directs the court to apply the principles of equity in modifying any child support order due to changes in the circumstances of either party as it relates to the best interests of the children, such as an additional child born after the child in the support order. The bill passed by a vote of 89 to 2.

-HB 3116, by Rep. Scott Martin and Sen. Jason Smalley modifies the authority of the Director of the Office of State Finance to determine compliance with the Oklahoma State Facilities Energy Conservation Program. The bill and its emergency clause passed by a vote of 93 to 0.

-HB 3117, by Rep. Scott Martin, allows a valid and unexpired U.S. passport to serve as both primary and secondary proofs of identity whenever application for a driver license or identification card is submitted to the Department of Public Safety. The bill passed by a vote of 78 to 15.

-HB 3126, by Rep. Josh Cockroft and Sen. Jason Smalley, creates the Oklahoma 9-1-1 Management Authority Act and defines related terms. The bill establishes the Oklahoma 9-1-1 Management Authority for the purpose of overseeing the development and regulation of 9-1-1 emergency systems in this state and managing the distribution of all 9-1-1 telephone fees. The bill establishes the membership of the authority and provides guidance for filling vacancies. The bill prohibits compensation for members and establishes processes for designating a chair and meetings. The bill outlines the duties and powers of the Authority including the authority to request the Tax Commission escrow the wireless fees attributable to the public agencies which have not submitted a master plan or which have not complied with the terms of a master plan approved by the authority. The bill directs the Office of Management and Enterprise Services to promulgate rules. It also repeals statutory language related to the Nine-One-One Wireless Emergency Number Act. The bill passed by a vote of 57 to 34.

• Approved during the first meeting of the Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget Wednesday afternoon:

-CS to SB 1570, by Sen. Clark Jolley, Sen. Greg Treat, Rep. Dennis Ray Casey, and Rep. Earl Sears, transfers all property of the Will Rogers Memorial Commission to the Oklahoma Historical Society and places the governance of the commission under the governance of the Oklahoma Historical Society.

• The House Criminal Justice and Corrections committee passed bills heard on Wednesday, including:

-HB 2320, by Rep. Ben Loring, modifies the definition of terrorism relating to the Oklahoma Antiterrorism Act. The bill requires any punishment for terrorism to be in addition to any penalty imposed for any offense involved in the act of terrorism.

-CS to HB 2479, by Rep. Pam Peterson, modifies terms of imprisonment for Schedule I or II substances, except marijuana, from two to 10 years to not more than five years. The bill modifies punishment for second violations from four to 20 years to not more than 10 years and for third or subsequent violations from four to 15 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000. The bill modifies punishments for probationary violations.

-CS to HB 2555, by Rep. Harold Wright, clarifies statutory language related to penalties for driving under the influence and modifies conditions for subsequent offenses.

-HB 2678, by Rep. Dennis Johnson, creates the Alyssa D. Wiles Law, requiring any person 14, 15 16 or 17 years of age who is charged with accessory to murder in the first degree to be held accountable for such acts as a youthful offender.

-CS to HB 2719, by Rep. Emily Virgin, allows any parent or other person charged with an offense relating to child abuse to assert the defense of duress. The bill prohibits a penalty for enabling an act of child abuse from exceeding the penalty received by the actual perpetrator of the act.

-CS to HB 2753, by Rep. Pam Peterson, modifies requirements for the initial review of offenders to enter drug court or a community sentencing program.

-CS to HB 2801, by Rep. Scooter Park, modifies qualifications for correctional officers. The bill allows officers who have been reinstated within three years to repeat the pre-service training requirement.

-CS to HB 3039, as amended, by Rep. John Jordan, authorizes county sheriffs to establish and maintain a work release program for the benefit of nonviolent felony and misdemeanor offenders and outlines the requirements of such program. The bill allows the prison sentence of the person to be reduced by earned early release time in accordance with procedures developed and promulgated by the sheriff. It requires the earned early release time to be for good behavior and good performance in the work release program as determined by the sheriff and prohibits the sheriff to credit the person with earned early release time in advance of the person actually earning the credits. It also prohibits the aggregate sum of earned early release time exceed one-third of the total sentence. The bill outlines requirements for suspension and termination from the program. It allows the earnings of the participant to be used for certain payments.

• A bill that would propose an additional $125 million bond issue for repairs to the State Capitol cleared the House Appropriations and Budget Committee Wednesday evening.

-HB 3168, by Speaker Jeff Hickman, allows the state to issue a $125 million bond issue for the renovation, repair and remodeling of the State Capitol Building The $125 million bond issue would allow completion of the building by 2022 and would not include additional projects as presented to the State Capitol Repair Expenditure Oversight Committee last year, such as a parking garage, arches and a reflecting pool.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

• The Senate met Thursday morning and considered a few bills before adjourning for the weekend. The following legislation passed:

-SB 1209, by Sen. Kim David and Rep. Elise Hall, permits issuance of certain awards at certain functions pertaining to the Commission for Rehabilitation Services. The measure passed by a vote of 35-5.

-SB 1570 by Sen. Clark Jolley et al of the Senate and Rep. Earl Sears et al of the House, transfers the Will Rogers Memorial to the Oklahoma Historical Society. The measure was approved 40-0.

• The House met Thursday and approved the following measures:

-HB 3017, by Rep. Kevin Calvey, creates the Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment Act and directs the State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision to establish format for certain forms. The bill requires certain orders to conform to certain requirements and requires certain information to be provided to patient or patient representative. The bill also prohibits the validity of certain forms under certain circumstances; prescribing contents, phrasing, and format of certain form, as well as provides immunity from certain liability. The measure passed 68-22.

-HB 2444, by Rep. Terry O’Donnell, creates the Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment Act and directs the State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision to establish certain formats and requirements to patient or patient representative. The measure passed the House by a vote of 88-0.

-HB 3102, by Rep. Chad Caldwell, addresses alternative placement teaching certification and programs, as well as changes the classroom teaching hours limit for adjunct teachers. The measure was approved by a vote of 82-5.


Other news this week

• Governor Mary Fallin signed an executive order on Tuesday directing state agencies to eliminate questions about prior felony convictions from employment applications. Oklahoma joins 19 states and more than 100 cities and counties nationwide in removing barriers to employment for qualified workers with conviction records. Companies like Hobby Lobby, Walmart, Target, Home Depot and Tulsa’s Bama Companies Inc. have taken similar steps in hiring procedures.
Statistics show that one in 12 Oklahomans is a convicted felon, with more than 55,000 people currently in prison or under the supervision of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, most for non-violent offenses. Employment has been shown to be an important factor in preventing recidivism and reducing the state’s prison population. Jobs also help people provide an income to support their families.

Fallin said the Oklahoma Justice Reform Steering Committee -- which includes policy makers, mental health professionals and re-entry experts -- has recommended removing questions about felony convictions from all job applications. Executive order 2016-03 applies only to state agencies and does not prevent agencies from conducting background checks on prospective employees or inquiring about applicants’ history during the interview process. It also does not prohibit agencies from excluding convicted felons from sensitive positions in certain convictions would be a cause for an immediate disqualification for the position.


• Environmental activist Erin Brockovich visited Oklahoma this week, including stops in Edmond and the State Capitol. Brockovich spoke to residents about the link between wastewater disposal wells used in the oil and gas industry and the increasing number of earthquakes in the state. Brockovich said she has been working on environmental and groundwater issues throughout her 22-year career. Rep. Richard Morrissette, D-Oklahoma City, organized Wednesday’s news conference and spoke during the gathering. He has announced he is running for one of three seats on the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, stating the commission hasn’t done enough to address the growing earthquake concerns.

• Tulsa Public Schools is considering a shortened four day school week and eliminating transportation for all students except special education students as solutions to anticipated state budget cuts. Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Deborah Gist sent employees an email late Wednesday, outlining such options as possible responses to cuts to the district’s budget next year. Gist says the cuts for next school year likely will be between $7 million and $20 million.