The Oklahoma Senate


Week In Review
Monday, Mar. 28, to Thursday, Mar. 31, 2016

Monday, March 28, 2016


• The Senate met briefly Monday and adopted a single resolution, SR 48, by Sen. A J Griffin, congratulating the 2016 Class B Girls Basketball State Champions, the Lomega Lady Raiders.

• The Senate Pensions Committee approved five bills Monday with no debate.

-HB 2264, by Rep. Randy McDaniel and Sen. Jason Smalley, passed as amended and with its title stricken. The bill modifies the time period of employee contribution rate selections in the Retirement Freedom Act from once per year to once per month for any contribution that is more than the 4.5 percent rate. The amendment clarified references to the period for changes from 30 days to once per month. Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System Executive Director Joe Fox said the amendment would make it easier for his staff to apply the employees' changes.

-HB 2247, by Rep. Randy McDaniel and Sen. Jason Smalley, creates the Experienced Teacher Support Act. The bill requires a public school that hires a retired member of the Teachers' Retirement System on or after its effective date to make a contribution to the system equal to 11 percent of the regular annual compensation of the member. The bill permits a retired member of the system who is employed by a public school or after its effective date but before the expiration of 36 months from the member's retirement date to receive earnings up to $18,000 without any reduction in their retirement benefit. It provides if the earnings exceed $18,000 that the member's benefit will be reduced by $1 for each $1 over the limit, as provided in existing statute. The bill provides there will be no limit on allowed earnings or reduction of the retirement benefit of the member for the period of time the member is employed by a public school after the expiration of the 36-month period if the member is employed by a public school for a period in excess of 36
months after the member retires. The bill modifies references to the words "postretirement" and "preretirement."

-HB 2258, by Rep. Randy McDaniel and Sen. Jason Smalley, eliminates the requirement that the Oklahoma State Pension Commission include information regarding the analysis of the performance of the custodian bank or trust company in its annual financial performance report. It also removes the requirement that the annual report include a comparative performance piece. It requires the report to include changes in the investment policy statements adopted by each retirement system in the prior year and an analysis of the performance of the securities lending program and short-term investment fund of the custodian employed by each governing body of the retirement systems.

-HB 2263, by Rep. Randy McDaniel and Sen. Jason Smalley, modifies language related to the Teachers Retirement System. The bill makes changes to the application for retirement and extends the 30 day filing period to 60 days before the date of retirement. It allows the system's executive director to waive the 60 day deadline for good cause, as defined by the board. It also authorizes individuals who are also beneficiaries of a trust created under the Oklahoma Discretionary and Special Needs Trust Act, or comparable Trust Act in another state, to be the designated beneficiary if named by the trustee. It provides how benefits will be calculated. The bill also changes the amount related to the payment of monies without intervention of probate court from $5,000 to $25,000 in the case of a member's death, who leaves no living beneficiary. It requires those claiming to be legal heirs to provide trust documents or affidavit that a will does not exist. It allows the Board of Trustees to have more than one Medical Board and requires each board to have the same duties and authority. The bill also allows the Board to provide the Pension Commission with direct access to the same data from the custodian bank for the system in lieu of compiling and distributing a quarterly report. The bill also requires employers to make information concerning compensation and service credit to the system. It also requires the participating employer to cooperate with the system's auditors during an audit of its financial statements or financial operations of the system.

-HB 2273, 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 Senate Health and Human Services approved the following legislation on Monday:

-HB 2518, by Rep. Randy Grau and Sen. Nathan Dahm, provides an exception for medical consent for minors if an emergency exists, surgery is necessary and effort has been made to contact a parent or other adult authorized by law to consent on behalf of minor.

-HB 2547, by Rep. Glen Mulready and Sen. Kimberly David, repeals the informed consent provision of the Oklahoma Telemedicine Act.

-HB 2627, by Rep. Leslie Osborn and Sen. Brian Crain, modifies the requirements for retired volunteer dentists, dental hygienists or dental assistants to include an individual who has practiced 30 years on a consecutive basis. The bill allows the Board of Dentistry to require a national background check before issuing a permit or license and sets terms for approval or disapproval of the license or permit. The bill modifies the duties of the Board.

-CS for HB 2742, by Rep. Doug Cox and Sen. Rob Standridge, modifies and adds definitions relating to public health and safety, utilization of emergency medical personal and levels of care. The bill allows any hospital or health care facility operating within the state to utilize emergency medical technician, intermediate emergency medical technician, advanced emergency medical technician, or paramedic, community paramedic or critical care paramedic personal for the delivery of emergency medical patient care within the hospital or health care facility who reside in this state and the delivery of emergency care on-scene patient care and stabilization. The bill requires the State Board of Health to promulgate necessary rules.

-HB 2937, by Rep. Mark McCullough and Sen. Kimberly David, adds requirements to the form for an offender to be considered for drug court to include a clear statement that the offender is required, before consideration for the drug court program, to agree to participate in a comprehensive physical health screening and substance abuse diagnostic assessment to determine if the offender is alcohol- or opioid-dependent and an eligible candidate for the administration of the extended-release injectable naltrexone, providing that a refusal by the offender to agree to submit to a comprehensive physical health screening and substance abuse diagnostic assessment shall make the offender ineligible for consideration for the drug court program; and a clear statement that the offender is required, before consideration for the drug court program, to agree to submit to the administration of extended-release injectable naltrexone if the findings of the comprehensive physical health screening and substance abuse diagnostic assessment required in paragraph 11 of this subsection indicate that the offender is an eligible candidate for the extended-release injectable naltrexone. It allows the drug court judge to consider those requirements when considering whether to admit an offender to the drug court program and requires that an offender's refusal to abide by the requirements will be reason to disqualify them from participation in the drug court program. The bill also adds the requirements for an offender to be considered to participate in a mental health court program. The bill clarifies other language. It also requires a court to consider whether an offender has agreed to the requirements prior to sentencing a person to any type of prison diversionary program and prohibits the court from granting them admission if the person refuses to agree to submit to a comprehensive physical health screening and substance abuse diagnostic assessment required in paragraph 1 of this subsection or refuses to agree to submit to the administration of extended-release injectable naltrexone after determining the person is an eligible candidate.

-HB 2962, with enacting clause stricken, by Rep. Jason Nelson and Sen. AJ Griffin, requires a health benefit plan to provide coverage for the screening, diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorder in individuals less than nine years of age, or if an individual is not diagnosed or treated until after three years of age, and requires the coverage be provided for at least six years, provided that the individual continually and consistently shows sufficient progress and improvement as determined by the health care provider. The bill establishes requirements for the coverage. The bill also requires the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to provide coverage for the screening, diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorder in individuals less than nine years of age, or if an individual is not diagnosed or treated until after three years of age, and requires the coverage be provided for at least six years, provided that the individual continually and consistently shows sufficient progress and improvement as determined by the health care provider. The bill establishes requirements for the coverage.

-The amended CS for HB 3017, by Rep. Kevin Calvey and Sen. Anthony Sykes, creates the Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment Act. The bill defines applicable terms. It now requires that before reviewing and preparing any Oklahoma physician orders for life-sustaining treatment in consultation with a patient or the patient's legally authorized representative, the attending physician or health care professional preparing the form must viewed the online presentation outlined therein at least once during either the calendar month in which the order is executed or during the immediately preceding twenty-three months. It requires the AG's Office prepare, from time to time revise, and make available on the website an online presentation, which will be a minimum of one hour in length, consisting of training on the responsibilities of health care providers concerning physician orders for life-sustaining treatment.

-HB 3020, with title and enacting clause stricken, by Rep. Kevin Calvey and Sen. Frank Simpson, modifies the types of services for which recipients may receive medical assistance and for which the Oklahoma Health Care Authority may file a lien against the recipient to include a facility or an ICF/IID or who receives care through a home and community-based services waiver under the Medicaid-ADvantage Waiver Program. The bill expands the applicable period after which the lien may be filed to include when the recipient no longer requires nursing facility level of care. The bill defines applicable terms.

-HB 3105, by Rep. Chad Caldwell and Sen. Ervin Yen, modifies the duties of the State Board of Examiners of Psychologists to include establishing fees. The bill modifies qualifications that must be met by an applicant before becoming a licensed psychologist and requires the applicant to fund their own background check. The bill requires the Board to maintain and publish an up-to-date list of all licensed psychologists.

• The Senate General Government Committee approved the following measures on Monday:

-HB 2281, by Rep. Jason Murphey and Sen. Nathan Dahm, requires any public body which makes requested records available on the Internet to meet the obligation of providing prompt, reasonable access to its records.

-HB 3142, with enacting clause stricken, by Rep. Josh Cockroft and Sen. Nathan Dahm, creates the Oklahoma State Government Open Records One-Stop Initiative. The bill directs the Chief Information Officer to develop and maintain an online web presence at the web address OpenRecords.ok.gov. It requires the site to allow the public to file a request for documents pursuant to the terms of the Oklahoma Open Records Act. It directs the Chief Information Officer to retrieve and deliver open records to the requester in accordance with the procedures of the Oklahoma Open Records Act. It adds that documents requested through the open records web portal will be delivered to the requester in electronic format and immediately following delivery of the documents requested to the requester, the electronic material will be made available to the public through the data.ok.gov web portal. The bill is double-assigned and will now need to be considered by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

-HB 2360, by Rep. Wade Rousselot and Sen. Don Barrington, allows a county to designate two individuals who are not county employees to act as receiving officers for fire protection districts, senior citizens' centers and other entities within the county. The bill requires a written designation of these individuals to be filed with the county clerk and to be entered in the minutes of the board of county commissioners. The bill requires evidence of blanket bond coverage or employee dishonesty liability insurance for each designee.

-HB 2471, by Rep. Ken Walker and Sen. Nathan Dahm, modifies the development of the State Employee Suggestion Program, allowing each state agency to develop such program.

-HB 2526, by Rep. Dennis Ray Casey and Sen. Gary Stanislawski, requires each member of the county board of equalization who has completed a four-year term of office, beginning from their original appointment date, to thereafter for each term served be required to attend and successfully complete a course for purposes of instructing the members about the duties imposed on the board by law. It requires that failure of a county board of equalization member to successfully complete the course within 18 months after the completion of the initial four-year term or within 18 months of the beginning of any succeeding four-year term result in forfeiture of the office and the vacancy be filled in the manner provided by law.

• The Senate Agriculture Committee gave do pass recommendation Monday to all the bills on its agenda, including:

-HB 2504, by Rep. John Pfeiffer and Sen. Ron Justice, increases the fine for theft of cattle to three times the value of the animal and machinery stolen but not more than $500,000. It also adds that each head of cattle stolen may constitute a separate offense and may be punishable as a separate violation.

-HB 2351, by Rep. Dustin Roberts and Sen. Larry Boggs, requires the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry to keep confidential the electronic mail addresses provided through any online licensing program.

-HB 2503, by Rep. John Pfeiffer and Sen. Nathan Dahm, prohibits the Oklahoma Sheep and Wool Commission from expending more than 35 percent of the funds it receives for administrative expenses and removes all references to the Oklahoma Wheat Commission.

-HB 2624, by Rep. Leslie Osborn and Sen. Ron Justice, removes the alternative requirement that a person selling a vehicle to a scrap metal dealer present a verified bill of sale from the owner of the vehicle or other proof of ownership and replaces it with the requirement that they present a certificate of ownership form, as approved by the Oklahoma Tax Commission and available at the Oklahoma Tax Commission or through a motor license agent.

-HB 2646, by Rep. Kevin Wallace, exempts agricultural producers burning cropland, rangeland, forests or pastures from abiding by any resolution passed by county commissioners that declares a burn ban. The bill requires the submission of a written application and notification of the county sheriff.


• The House met briefly Monday morning and took up no business. Members listened to a devotional message delivered by a priest from Nigeria.

• The House Appropriations and Budget Subcommittee on Revenue and Taxation approved several bills on Monday with little to no debate, including:

-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.

-SB 1085, by Sen. Nathan Dahm and Rep. Lisa J. Billy, requires that each state individual income tax return form for tax years beginning after December 31, 2016, and each state corporate tax return form for tax years beginning after December 31, 2016 to contain a provision to allow a donation from a tax refund for the benefit of the General Revenue Fund. It allows the taxpayer to designate an elected amount of income tax refund to the General Revenue Fund. The bill creates the Income Tax Checkoff Revolving Fund for the Support of the Oklahoma General Revenue Fund. It authorizes the taxpayer to file a claim for refund at any time within three years from the due date of the tax return if said taxpayer makes a donation pursuant to the provisions provided therein.

-SB 1125, by Sen. Ron Justice and Rep. Leslie Osborn, modifies the type of documentation required for the sale of motor vehicles to include a certificate of ownership form, as approved by the Oklahoma Tax Commission and available at the Tax Commission or through a motor license agent. It modifies the type of vehicles to now include those being sold to a scrap metal dealer, pursuant to Oklahoma Statutes.

-SB 1134, by Sen. Frank Simpson and Rep. Dustin Roberts, requires each individual income tax and each corporate income tax form for tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2016, to contain a provision to allow a donation from a tax refund for the benefit of the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs Indigent Veteran Burial Program. The bill creates the Indigent Veteran Burial Revolving Fund. The bill permits the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs to provide reimbursements from the fund to a cemetery or funeral home for costs incurred burying an indigent veteran. The bill provides the maximum reimbursement cannot exceed $5,000 per veteran and total reimbursements made in calendar year 2017 are limited to $20,000. The bill establishes procedures for a taxpayer who makes a donation in error to request and receive a refund.

-SB 1308, by Sen. Jason Smalley and Rep. Kevin Calvey, creates the Zero Emission Tax Credit Transparency Act of 2016. The bill requires each taxpayer claiming a credit for electricity generated after Jan 1, 2017, to report specified information to the Oklahoma Tax Commission on a monthly basis for each turbine.

-SB 1390, by Sen. Mike Mazzei, requires every employer to deduct and withhold taxes from the wages paid an employee to furnish to the Tax Commission, on or before February 28 of the succeeding year, an annual reconciliation and such other information as the Tax Commission may require pursuant to the Tax Commission's electronic data interchange program.

-SB 1511, by Sen. Anthony Sykes and Rep. Mark McCullough, allows the title of a motor vehicle that is not subject to any lien or other encumbrance to be transferred in transfer-on-death form by filing with the Tax Commission a written notice of transfer signed by the transferor and designating the transferee.

• The House Tourism and International Relations Committee approved the following two bills on its agenda Monday.

-SB 1206, by Sen. Eddie Fields and Rep. Gary Banz, provides for an additional class of improvement districts for tourism purposes and provides for conditions of the district. Both title and enacting clause were stricken and the bill passed 8 to 0.

-SB 14, by Sen. Patrick Anderson and Rep. Gary Banz, creates the Bill of Rights Monument Display Act. The bill authorizes the State Capitol Preservation Commission or its designee to permit and arrange for the placement on the Capitol grounds of a monument displaying the Bill of Rights. The bill requires the monument to be designed, constructed, and placed on the grounds by private entities at no expense to the state. The bill authorizes the State Capitol Preservation Commission or designee to assist private entities in selecting a location for the monument and arranging a suitable time for its placement.


• The House Public Safety Committee passed the following bills on Monday:

-SB 1057, by Sen. Jack Fry and Rep. Kevin Calvey, prohibits the holder of an event permit from establishing a policy or rule that has the effect of prohibiting any person from carrying a concealed or unconcealed firearm on property unless: a portion of the property or building is owned or controlled by city, town, county, state or federal government, is a sports field, the fairgrounds during the Oklahoma State Fair and the Tulsa State Fair, or a portion of the property is under contract to a business or not for profit entity. The bill also prohibits the entity from liability arising from the carrying of a concealed or unconcealed weapon on the property but allows a person who has suffered a loss from the discharge of a weapon to seek redress or damaged of the person who discharged the weapon outside of the provisions of the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act. The bill passed by a vote of 8 to 1.

-SB 735, by Sen. Kimberly David and Rep. David Derby, allows a person 21 years or older
who is on active military duty, National Guard duty, regular military or National Guard reserve duty or has retired or been honorably discharged from military service to carry a concealed or unconcealed firearm if the person presents a valid military identification card in lieu of a handgun license.

-SB 972, by Sen. Jason Smalley and Rep. David Derby, removes the requirement that an autocycle have a fully enclosed compartment for the driver and any passenger.

-SB 1185, by Sen. Kim David and Rep. David Derby, modifies the reciprocal agreement authority, allowing out-of-state travelers legally carrying weapons with a permit or license to also carry unconcealed firearms.

• The House Common Education Committee passed several bills on Monday, including the following:

-SB 945, as amended by Sen. Gary Stanislawski and Rep. Chuck Strohm, requires a school district superintendent or the treasurer 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 30 days after it is presented to the board. With the changes made in an amendment, which shifts the responsibility from the superintendent to the treasurer, the requirements were less onerous. The bill won approval by a vote of 10 to 4.

-SB 1004, by Sen. Ron Sharp and Rep. Katie Henke, changes the reporting period for local public school officials concerning dropouts from quarterly to annual.

-CS to SB 1036, by Sen. Jason Smalley and Rep. Jeff Coody, modifies the designating authority of individuals allowed to carry a handgun onto public school property from the board of education to the school district superintendent. The bill provides an exemption to the provisions of the Oklahoma Open Records Act, the names of individuals who have been designated to carry a firearm onto pubic school property.

•CS to SB 1069, by Sen. A J 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. It also gives OMES the authority to exempt OJA from specific statues that are in conflict with the requirements for operating a charter school.

-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 1350, with the title stricken, 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.

-SB 1380, by Sen. John Ford and Rep. Jadine Nollan, modifies graduation requirements by amending the description of laboratory science units or sets of competencies. It expands the list of courses eligible to fulfill that requirement and reduces the number of required art units required. It adds computer education to the set of competencies required.


• The Senate Education met Monday morning and voted to approve the following bills:

HB 2967, as amended, by Rep. Jason Nelson and Sen. David Holt, authorizes a school district board of education to enter into a written contract with persons who are student teachers if the district has one or more high-needs school. The bill prohibits a student teacher from entering into a contract the ensuing fiscal year unless certain requirements for certifications have been met. The bill allows the board to choose not to renew the contract. The bill sets requirements regarding contracts for the ensuing fiscal year. The amendment changes mandatory language and makes it permissive.

-HB 2432, by Rep. Sally Kern and Sen. Wayne Shaw, requires each public school to post in a clearly visible location in a public area of the school that is readily accessible to students a sign in English and Spanish that contains the toll-free telephone number operated by the Department of Human Services to receive reports of child abuse or neglect. The bill requires the State Board of Education promulgate rules relating to the size and location of the sign.

-HB 2535, as amended, by Rep. John Montgomery and Sen. Jason Smalley, creates the
Apprenticeships, Internships and Mentorships (AIM) Act of 2016. The bill authorizes the governing body of each public, private, magnet, charter or virtual charter school to enter into an agreement with private or public organizations for the purpose of creating apprenticeship, internship and mentorship programs beginning with the 2017-2018 school year. It allows apprenticeships, internships and mentorships to be available to high school juniors and seniors as permitted by each school. It allows the apprenticeship, internship or mentorship to fill the requirement of elective courses as the student's schedule permits. It prohibits any student from using the apprenticeship, internship or mentorship to replace any other state education requirement. It authorizes the governing body of each school to adopt policies regarding the creation of apprenticeships, internships and mentorships that include the registration and qualifications for private or public organizations to participate in the apprenticeship, internship or mentorship program. It requires the State Department of Education to promulgate necessary rules.

-HB 2614, by Rep. Todd Thomsen and Sen. Susan Paddack, adds an exclusion for public schools to not provide education services in the regular school setting for a student who has been removed from a public or private school in the state or another state by administrative or judicial process for an act of using electronic communication with intent to terrify, intimidate or harass, or threaten to inflict injury or physical harm to faculty or other students.

-HB 2649, by Rep. Todd Thomsen and Sen. Eddie Fields, 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.

-HB 2676, by Rep. Cory T. Williams and Sen. Corey Brooks, modifies requirements regarding in-state statue for military personnel and their dependents when relating to higher education. The bill
expands certain criteria for federal education and training assistance programs.

-HB 2720, by Rep. Emily Virgin and Sen. Clark Jolley, requires all votes by the board of education of a school district relating to converting all or part of a traditional public school site to a conversion charter school be held in an open public session. The bill requires a conversion charter school to comply with all accountability measures that are required of the traditional public schools in the school district according to state and federal law. It adds that a conversion charter school be effective for five years from the first day of operation or for less than five years if determined by a vote of the board of education of the school district. It allows a conversion charter school to continue to operate for successive five-year terms of duration subject to approval by a vote of the board of education of the school district. The bill also allows the governing board of a conversion charter school identified as being among the bottom 5 percent of public schools in the state to convert back to a traditional public school. It states that if the decision of the governing body of a conversion charter school is overturned by the State Board of Education, the Board may require the board of education of the school district for the conversion charter school to convert the conversion charter school back to a traditional public school and can prohibit the approval of another conversion within the same school district for a period of not less than five years.

-HB 2764, by Rep. John Michael Montgomery and Sen. John Ford, 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 bill establishes the Oklahoma Education Finance Authority Endowment Fund consisting of funds received by the Oklahoma Education Finance Authority from contributions made to the Authority. The bill requires each state individual income tax return to contain a provision to allow a donation from a tax refund for the benefit of the Fund and deposited into the Income Tax Checkoff Revolving Fund.

-HB 2823, as amended, by Rep. Lee Denney and Sen. Jim Halligan, requires that a career technology program be eligible to receive federal student financial aid and be supervised by the State Board of Career and Technology Education in order for a student to use an Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program scholarship to pay the school's tuition and fees. The amendment provides clarification language and does not alter the paraphrase.

-HB 2946, as amended, by Rep. Katie Henke and Sen. Jason Smalley, requires the State Board of Education to promulgate rules establishing a process by which comparable out-of-country certificates will be reviewed and evaluated for purposes of awarding a certificate to teach in Oklahoma. It directs the Board to issue a certificate to teach to a person who has successfully completed a competency exam used in a majority of the other states and directs that the certificate only be for those subject areas and grade levels that correspond with a certification area used in Oklahoma. The bill requires a person who meets these requirements to have on file with the Board a current Oklahoma criminal history record check from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation as well as a national criminal history record check. It also requires the Board to accept teaching experience from out-of-country schools that are accredited or otherwise endorsed by the appropriate national or regional accrediting or endorsement authority. It directs out-of country certification documentation in a language other than English to be analyzed by an educational credential evaluation service approved by the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) and places the cost of such evaluation on the individual. The bill requires the Board to accept teaching experience from primary and secondary schools that are operated by the United States Department of Defense or are affiliated with the United States Department of State.

-HB 3109, as amended, by Rep. Chad Caldwell and Sen. Gary Stanislawski, requires school districts, beginning with the 2016-2017 school year, to annually present to each teacher and administrator a copy of an employee information worksheet containing information for each teacher or administrator prior to the first day of each school year. It requires school districts to designate one or more persons to review the worksheet with each teacher and administrator and answer any questions. The bill requires a teacher or administrator to acknowledge receipt and review of the worksheet by signing a form which shall be made a part of the employee record of the teacher or administrator. The amendment changes the deadline to the first payroll in September.

-HB 3156, by Rep. Jeff Hickman and Sen. Clark Jolley, allows a school district that has received an average grade of C or above on the annual school reports prepared by the State Board of Education to elect to be exempt from all statutory requirements and State Board rules that charter schools are exempt from by adoption of a resolution by the board of education of the school district. It directs that prior to adoption of a resolution, the board will give notice of the proposed action which includes a list of the statutory requirements or mandates and State Board rules from which the board is proposing to be exempt and will also provide for a period of public review and comment.

-Also on Monday, two executive nominations were approved:

- Phil B. Albert, of Tulsa, to the Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma, to serve a seven-year term ending March 21, 2023, succeeding Jon R. Stuart.
- Charles Ford, of Tulsa, to the Board of Trustees for Oklahoma State University/Tulsa, to serve a seven-year term ending June 30, 2023, succeeding himself.


Tuesday, March 29, 2016


• The Senate recognized 2016 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year, Shawn Sheehan, on the floor Tuesday afternoon. Sheehan spoke briefly on the floor, noting that he frequently encourages teachers to speak positively about their profession. He said he asks teachers if they are surprised there is a teacher shortage when their social media posts talk about what's wrong with the profession or why they would be better off working in another state. The Senate also adopted SR 49, by Sen. Robert Standridge, honoring Sheehan.


• The Senate Transportation Committee gave its stamp of approval on Tuesday to four bills.

-HB 3167, by Rep. Jeff Hickman and Sen. Gary Stanislawski, eliminates designated maximum and minimum speed limits and requires the Department of Transportation to determine maximum speed limits based on engineering and traffic investigations used to determine the speed that is reasonable and safe under the conditions found to exist on the highway or part of the highway.

-HB 2289, by Rep. Mike Sanders and Sen. Kyle Loveless, allows the Oklahoma Department of Transportation to make notification of surveys and examinations of property to homeowners via first-class mail.

-HB 2519, by Rep. Randy Grau and Sen. Gary Stanislawski, allows for the use of the county highway fund for the removal and disposal of storm debris and dead animal carcasses from county roads and rights-of-way thereof.

-HB 3000, by Rep. Lewis Moore and Sen. Wayne Shaw, designates the "Trail Of Tears Historic Bike Route" from the Cherokee Nation Capitol Building, along U.S. Highway 62 from the City of Tahlequah to the Arkansas border. It provides the cost associated with signage required by this section will be provided from private sources and include the cost of the initial erection of signs as well as the cost of potential replacement or reconstruction of signs. It requires the Department of Transportation to cause suitable permanent markers to be placed upon the highway bearing the name "Trail Of Tears Historic Bike Route" upon receiving adequate funding from private sources and after a shoulder lane has been provided. It requires the department to provide a shoulder lane designated for use by bicycle traffic on the Trail Of Tears Historic Bike Route.

• The Senate Judiciary Committee passed all 16 bills heard during Tuesday morning's meeting

-HB 2155, by Rep. Jon Echols and Sen. Clark Jolley, creates the Transparency in Private Attorney Contingency-Fee Contracts Act and defines related terms. It prohibits the state from entering into a contingency-fee contract with a private attorney unless the Attorney General makes a written determination prior to entering into the contract that contingency-fee representation is both cost-effective and in the public interest. It specifies what a determination may include. It directs the Attorney General to request proposals from private attorneys to represent the state agency on a contingency-fee basis, unless the Attorney General determines that requesting proposals is not feasible under the circumstances and sets forth the basis for this determination in writing. The bill establishes amounts and conditions for which the state may not enter into a contingency-fee contract. It prohibits the aggregate contingency fee to exceed $50 million, exclusive of reasonable costs and expenses, and irrespective of the number of lawsuits filed or the number of private attorneys retained to achieve the recovery. The bill passed 9 to 0 with its enacting clause stricken.

-HB 2595, by Rep. John R. Bennett, Rep. Richard Morrissette and Sen. Frank Simpson, permits a court making a sentencing decision concerning a person who is a veteran to consider as a mitigating factor that the person has been diagnosed as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from his or her military service. The bill requires the defendant to provide the court documentary evidence that the defendant has served in the U.S. Armed Forced in a combat zone and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder connected to that service. The bill defines applicable terms. The bill passed by a vote of 9 to 0.

-HB 2262, by Rep. Chuck Hoskin and Sen. Randy Bass, creates the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act, which prevents a home owners association, condominium association, cooperative association or residential real estate management association from adopting or enforcing any policy that would restrict or prevent a member of the association from displaying the flag of the United States at a reasonable height, not to exceed 20 feet, on their residential property within the association.

-HB 2401, by Rep. Scott Biggs and Sen. A J Griffin, modifies the requirements for awarding compensation claims to victims who are mentally handicapped or under the age of 18 in the Oklahoma Crime Victims Compensation Act. It allows the board to use the date the criminal incident was disclosed to a responsible adult when establishing whether or not the claim was timely filed.

-HB 2425, by Rep. Sally Kern, increases the age for persons considered a child prostitute from anyone less than 16 years of age to anyone less than 18 years of age.

-HB 2431, by Rep. Sally Kern and Sen. Robert Standridge, prohibits a permanent guardianship if the prospective guardian would be denied placement as a prospective foster or adoptive parent under provisions provided therein or if the prospective guardian is subject to the Oklahoma Sex Offenders Registration Act or married to or living with an individual subject to the Oklahoma Sex Offenders Registration Act.

-HB 2426, by Rep. Sally Kern and Sen. Mark Allen, deletes references to repealed statutes relating to grandparental visitation rights. The bill updates statutory citation. The bill passed 9 to 0.

-HB 2483, by Rep. Pat Ownbey and Sen. Frank Simpson, permits a court to conduct a nonjury trial for the termination of parental rights the attorney of the party requests to proceed without the party present.

-HB 2484, by Rep. Pat Ownbey and Sen. AJ Griffin, changes references to Department of Human Services' assessments when a child is in the department's custody to home study. The bill provides that an order appointing a permanent guardian divest the department of legal custody and supervision of the child and provides it will have no further responsibility for the custody or supervision of the child. The bill permits the order appointing a permanent guarding will remain in full force and effect and will control over any custody or child support order entered in an administrative or district court action initiated prior to or during the pendency of the deprived action until it is modified by a subsequent order of the district court, and may be docketed and filed in the prior existing or pending administrative or district court action; provided, however, if there is no administrative or district court action then in existence, the surviving order
may be used as the sole basis for opening a new administrative or district court action in the same county where the deprived action was pending or in the county where the permanent guardian of the child resides.

-HB 2510, with title stricken, by Rep. Lisa J. Billy and Sen. Susan Paddack, requires all social security numbers included in a public record to be confidential regardless of the person's status as a public employee or private individual and are to be redacted or deleted prior to release of the record by the public body.

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

-HB 2757, with title stricken, 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.

-HB 2934, by Rep. Mark McCullough and Sen. Anthony Sykes, permits a district attorney to dismiss an action or indictment by filing a notice of dismissal at any time prior to commencement of the preliminary hearing in the case of a felony or in the case of a misdemeanor, prior to the matter being set for trial. The bill requires a defendant named in such action or indictment to pay only the costs of that action if agreed upon by the parties.

-HB 2963, by Rep. Jason Nelson and Sen. Greg Treat, removes the exemption of a person, attorney or child-placing agency from prosecution if information provided to the court is fraudulent or false. The bill modifies the definition of services provided by child-placing agency employees. The bill requires approval by the court if additional costs are expected with an adoption.

-HB 2965, by Rep. Jason Nelson and Sen. AJ Griffin, prohibits a governing body or entity from interfering with the child abuse reporting obligation and allows for recovery of damages.

• The Senate Finance Committee met briefly Tuesday morning and gave approval to all four measures considered, including:

-HB 2536, by Rep. John Montgomery and Sen. Mike Mazzei, modifies the period for which credit may be claimed for guaranty fees paid towards the U.S. Small Business Administration Loan Guaranty program on or after January 1, 2000, and before January 1, 2019. It requires there be a measurable goal of retaining and/or creating 2,000 jobs per year in Oklahoma for the credit. The bill passed by a vote of 9 to 1.

-HB 2352, by Rep. Todd Russ and Sen. Mazzei, requires an issuer planning to offer and sell securities in the state to file documents with the Oklahoma Securities Commission prior to initial offer or sale. The measure requires the Oklahoma Securities Commission to promulgate rules to implement the provisions of the bill.

-HB 2378, by Rep. Steven Vaughan and Sen. Frank Simpson, exempts a park model recreational vehicle from the definition of the terms "manufactured home" and "recreational vehicle." The bill defines the term "park model recreational vehicle."

-HB 2932, by Rep. Mark McCullough and Sen. Joseph Silk, permits the Tax Commission to refuse to issue a coin-operated device tax decal to any person delinquent in the payment of the fees. It requires the commission provide notice of its intent to refuse. The bill sets the following fees: $1000 for any coin-operated music devise, coin-operated amusement device, or coin-operated vending device requiring a coin or thing of value of $0.25 or more and $10 for any other coin-operated device. The bill requires the Tax Commission to notify any owner or person of the assessment of penalty and provide the owner or person thirty 30 days to remit the penalty. It prohibits the Tax Commission from refusing to issue a decal until after the expiration of the 30 days. It provides that no device can be seized less than 15 days after the sealing of the device and notice being placed on the device informing the owner that the device is subject to seizure if the applicable fees are not paid and decal affixed. The bill repeals statutory language concerning the requirement on decals on coin-operated devices available to public for operation.


• The House Long-Term Care and Senior Services Committee approved the following bills on Tuesday:

-SB 1374, by Sen. Greg Treat and Rep. Lee Denney, as amended, changes the term "life care community" to "not-for-profit life care community" and, among other existing requirements, provides that the term does not include any facility where the endowed payment prior to the delivery of services does not exceed $100,000 or an amount actuarially established to meet the cost of the promised services, whichever is greater.

-SB 1127, by Sen. Brian Crain and Rep. Cyndi Munson, modifies the definition of "vulnerable adult" to include persons with Alzheimer's disease or other dementias.

-SB 1287, by Sen. A J Griffin, prohibits the forwarding of unsubstantiated findings and findings of self-neglect on vulnerable adults to the office of the district attorney and repeals statutory language related to the reporting of abuse due to duplication.

-SB 1495, with title restored, by Sen. Corey Brooks and Rep. Dennis Johnson, states that upon timely application anyone will be permitted to intervene in an action when the applicant claims an interest relating to the property or transaction which is the subject of the action and the applicant is so situated that the disposition of the action may as a practical matter impair or impede the applicant's ability to protect that interest; provided, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that disposition of a petition requesting the appointment of a guardian for an incapacitated or partially incapacitated person will impair or impede the ability to protect property or other rights of the persons required to receive notice of the appointment.

-SB 1506, by Sen. Kimberly David and Rep. Doug Cox, allows a residential care home, upon written request to the State Department of Health, to participate in an informal dispute resolution panel or an alternate dispute resolution panel. The bill defines terms and requires the Department to appoint the panel according to certain criteria.


• The House Appropriations and Budget Subcommittee on Transportation approved seven measures without discussion or debate Tuesday afternoon.

-SB 901, by Sen. Earl Garrison and Rep. Wade Rousselot, creates the Prisoner of War and Missing in Action License Plate. The bill requires the plates to be designed in consultation with Rolling Thunder Oklahoma. It permits the license plate for a motorcycle to be of similar design as space permits or a new design in order to meet the space requirement. The bill creates the Prisoner of War and Missing in Action License Plate Revolving Fund for the benefit of the State Military Department and requires that $20 of the Prisoner of War and Missing in Action license plates fees be deposited in the fund. The bill permits the department to expend the funds to assist Oklahoma veterans in need.

-SB 936, by Sen. Roger Thompson and Rep. Leslie Osborn, permits the Oklahoma Department of Transportation to employ seasonal employees throughout the calendar year. It provides that seasonal employees will be in the unclassified service as provided by the Oklahoma Personnel Act. It also provides that seasonal employees will not be entitled to paid leave, paid holidays, retirement, health, dental or life insurance, and will be exempt from any laws, rules or practices providing those benefits. The bill requires ODOT to include in its annual budget request summary of the use of seasonal employees, including the number of workers employed under the provisions and the total wages paid to these employees.

-SB 965, by Sen. Susan Paddack and Rep. Lisa J. Billy, adds members of the Oklahoma
Highway Patrol fallen in the performance of their duties to the list of those eligible to have costs associated with signage related to the naming of highways and bridges waived.

-SB 998, by Sen. Eddie Fields and Rep. Sean Roberts, creates the Bison License Place to be designed and issued to any person wishing to demonstrate support for the operations of The Nature Conservancy in Oklahoma. The bill requires the plate to be designed in consultation with the Oklahoma Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. The bill creates the Oklahoma Bison License Plate Revolving Fund for the Oklahoma Conservation Commission to consist of all monies received from purchase of the plate. The bill permits the money to be budgeted and expended by the Oklahoma Conservation Commission for grants to the Oklahoma Chapter of The Nature Conservancy to fund the conservancy's operations in Oklahoma and establishes procedures for the payments.

-SB 1062, as amended, by Sen. Susan Paddack and Rep. Chuck Hoskin, creates the special A Brotherhood Aiming Toward Education of Oklahoma (ABATE) license plate for automobiles and motorcycles for any person wishing to provide financial support for the ABATE of Oklahoma Foundation. It requires that the license plates be designed in consultation with the ABATE of Oklahoma Foundation. The bill requires the plates be issued to any person in any combination of numbers and letters from one to a maximum of seven, as for personalized plates. It allows the plate for a motorcycle to be of a similar design as space permits or a new design in order to meet the space requirements of a motorcycle license plate. It requires that the Tax Commission be authorized to enter into a licensing agreement with the ABATE of Oklahoma Foundation for any licensing fees which may be required in order to use the association's logo or design. The bill requires the licensing agreement provide for a payment to the ABATE of Oklahoma Foundation of not more than $20.00 for each plate issued. The bill creates the Oklahoma Oil and Natural Gas License Plate and requires that it be designed in consultation with the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board. It provides that the $20 additional fee be deposited in the Oklahoma Energy Resources Revolving Fund.

-CS to SB 1135 by Sen. Brian Crain and Rep. Lewis Moore, creates the Oklahoma Dental Association Mission of Mercy License Plate to be designed and issued to any person wishing to demonstrate support for the Oklahoma Dental Association Mission of Mercy. The bill requires the plates to be designed in consultation with the Oklahoma Dental Association. It creates Oklahoma Dental Association Mission of Mercy License Plate Revolving Fund, funds from may be expended by the Department of Health to provide grants to the Oklahoma Dental Association for the Mission of Mercy free dental clinic. The CS adds a Sepsis Awareness license plate.

-SB 1277, as amended, by Sen. Ron Sharp and Rep. Gary Banz, creates the Sooner State ABATE License Plate to be issued to any person wishing to provide financial support for Sooner State ABATE. The bill requires the license plates be designed in consultation with Sooner State ABATE. It authorizes the Tax Commission to enter into a licensing agreement with Sooner State ABATE for any licensing fees which may be required in order to use the association's logo or design. It provides the licensing agreement will provide for a payment to Sooner State ABATE of not more than $20 for each license plate issued.

• The House Judiciary and Civil Procedure Committee passed a bill Tuesday that modifies the "not guilty by reason of insanity plea," or NGRI.

-SB 1214, by Sen. Ron Sharp and Rep. Justin Wood, modifies language relating to the Not Guilty of Reason of Insanity plea and creating guilty with mental defect and not guilty by reason of mental illness pleas. The bill requires a plea of guilty with mental defect to result in a sentence that could be imposed by law upon a person who is convicted of the same offense. The measure requires a person found guilty with mental defect to be examined by the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and provide a recommendation within 45 days. The bill replaces all references to insanity and insane with mental illness and mentally ill. The bill modifies and adds definitions. The bill creates the guilty with mental defect category for individuals diagnosed with anti-social personality disorder. The bill passed by a vote of 7 to 0

• The House Children, Youth and Family Services Committee passed the following bills on Tuesday:.

-SB 911, by Sen. Ron Sharp and Rep. Jason Wood, 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 also 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.

-SB 1554, by Sen. Bryce Marlatt and Rep. John Jordan, 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 amendment is designed to exempt home day care facilities from the bill's requirements, making it applicable only to day care centers.


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

• The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety and Judiciary met on Wednesday and approved the following bills:

-HB 3119, by Rep. Scott Martin and Sen. Wayne Shaw, would allow judges to waive a portion of fees and fines for offenders who complete drug court. The bill allows the drug court judge to have full discretion relating to continued payment of the costs and fees by the offender which could create a financial hardship. After fielding questions as to how the measure would impact programs that rely on fees and fines for finding, Shaw acknowledged the potential fiscal impact was a concern, but an equal concern was the impact the fees and fines had on those who went through drug court. Shaw agreed to work with staff to develop a fiscal impact statement for the bill, and the bill received a do pass recommendation with its title stricken.

-HB 3160, by Rep. Jeff Hickman and Sen. AJ Griffin, requires any person who is currently serving a term of imprisonment in the custody of the Department of Corrections or is convicted of a crime and sentenced to serve a term of imprisonment in the custody of the Department of Corrections to have the cumulative sum of all court costs and fees assessed and owed in his or her criminal case or cases reduced by .75 percent for every 30 days of time served on the prison sentence. It exempts these provisions from applying to amounts owed by the person for restitution to a victim pursuant to a court order or child support obligations pursuant to a court order. It provides a calculation for the reduction and requires a record of the reduction of each person to be sent on a monthly basis to the Administrative Director of the Courts and the administrative office of the Department of Corrections. It allows the courts after November 1, 2016, to have the authority to waive all outstanding fines, court costs and fees in a criminal case for specified persons. The bill also received a do pass with its title stricken.

-HB 2472, by Rep. Pam Peterson and Sen. Greg Treat, requires that district attorneys have the discretion to file the charge as a misdemeanor offense rather than a felony offense after considering the provided circumstances listed therein when determining the appropriate charge for a person accused of committing a criminal offense.

-HB 2479, by Rep. Pam Peterson and Sen. Greg Treat, 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.

-HB 2751, by Rep. Pam Peterson and Sen. Greg Treat, changes the penalty for embezzlement in an amount less than $1,000 from a felony to a misdemeanor. It also changes the penalty for someone charged with writing bogus checks in an amount less than $1,000 from a felony to a misdemeanor.

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

-HB 3159, by Rep. Jeff Hickman and Sen. AJ Griffin, provides that once a person has served 85 percent of the sentence imposed, the person shall be placed on the first available parole docket of the Pardon and Parole Board immediately following the date upon which the person has served the required term of imprisonment. It adds that in no instance shall the number of earned credits accumulated by a person exceed 5 percent of the total number of days of the prison sentence of the person. It allows the Department of Corrections to apply the accumulated credits after 85 percent of the sentence imposed has been served provided; however, in no instance will the application of earned credits result in the immediate discharge of the person from custody. It requires the granting of earned credits to be at the discretion of the Director based on certain criteria.

• The following bills were approved on Wednesday by the Senate Appropriations General Government and Transportation Committee, sending them on to be heard next by the full appropriations committee.

-HB 2997, by Rep. Lewis Moore and Sen. Frank Simpson, authorizes agencies to establish education and training programs for positions critical to the mission of the agency. It allows the agency contract with accredited institutions necessary to provide this education and training. It allows funds of the agency or its institutions may be used to pay salaries or tuition and subsistence for employees in these training programs. The bill allows employees to be in work status while engaging in training and education programs. It clarifies the status of "employee." It requires an employee of the agency who participates in the education and training program outlined therein to execute a promissory note for expenses payable to the agency the employee promises to repay the note by remaining in employment with the agency. It requires the amount be reduced at a rate of $13.00 per calendar day beginning the first day after authorizes agencies to establish education and training programs for positions critical to the mission of the agency. It allows the agency contract with accredited institutions necessary to provide this education and training.

-HB 2435, by Rep. Mark Lepak and Sen. Marty Quinn, modifies limitations on reimbursement of claims and vouchers in the State Travel Reimbursement Act for official travel to not cover more than one fiscal year.

-HB 2704, by Rep. Elise Hall and Sen. Corey Brooks, prohibits travel reimbursement for state employee from exceeding the amount prescribed by the Internal Revenue Code. The bill requires distances for which reimbursement for use of privately owned motor vehicles is claimed to be actual business miles based on a recognized GPS.

• The Senate approved four House bills Wednesday with no questions or debate, sending them to the governor’s office for consideration. Gov. Mary Fallin has five days, excluding Sundays, to sign or veto the measures.

-HB 2404, by Rep. George Faught and Sen. Gary Stanislawski, increases the age in which children may attend early childhood programs from five years of age to six years of age on or before September 1. The bill gives the Oklahoma Department of Education the authority to promulgate rules to create exemptions for entry into early education programs. The bill passed 31 to 13.

-HB 2407, by Rep. George Faught and Sen. Jack Fry, removes the requirement that the Director of Central Services report to the Legislature and the governor information provided by state public entities as required by the Oklahoma State Recycling and Recycled Materials Procurement Act. The bill passed 45 to 0.

-HB 2544, by Rep. Jadine Nollan and Sen. Gary Stanislawski, changes the date by which a district board of education must notify the State Board of Education that it has adopted a school hours policy from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. The bill removes language that permits the State Board of Education to authorize district to implement an extended day schedule. It also removes language that requires the State Board of Education to require participating school district to prepare a report on the impact of the extended day schedule. The bill and its emergency clause passed 44 to 0.

-HB 2710, by Rep. Charles Ortega and Sen. Roger Thompson, modifies the duties of the Director of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services in the Oklahoma Personnel Act. The bill passed 45 to 0.

-Also on Wednesday, the Senate adopted:

? SR 51, by Sen. Dan Newberry, congratulating the 2015 Class 6A-I Football Champions, the Jenks Trojans.

? SR 52, by Sen. Anastasia Pittman, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Tuskegee Airmen and recognizing Faythe A. McGinnis, Charles B. Hall and Robert C. Smith as Congressional Gold Medal recipients as acknowledged by the Charles B. Hall chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen.


• The Senate Appropriations Committee approved several bills on Wednesday, including:

-HB 2962, by Rep. Jason Nelson and Sen. A J Griffin, requires a health benefit plan to provide coverage for the screening, diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorder in individuals less than nine years of age, or if an individual is not diagnosed or treated until after three years of age, and requires the coverage be provided for at least six years, provided that the individual
continually and consistently shows sufficient progress and improvement as determined by the health care provider. The bill establishes requirements for the coverage. The bill also requires the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to provide coverage for the screening, diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorder in individuals less than nine years of age, or if an individual is not diagnosed or treated until after three years of age, and requires the coverage be provided for at least six years, provided that the individual continually and consistently shows sufficient progress and improvement as determined by the health care provider. The bill establishes requirements for the coverage. The bill received a do pass recommendation 36 to 3 as amended and with its title stricken.

-HB 1581, with title stricken, by Rep. Scooter Park and Sen. Greg Treat, requires state
agencies to report to the Office of Management and Enterprise Services the amount of federal funds received by the agency; the source or sources of those funds; a description of any action required to be taken by the agency as a condition for acceptance of the federal funds; and a description of any action prohibited as a result of having taken the federal funds. The bill also requires the information to be made available on a state website.

-HB2155, by Rep. Jon Echols and Sen. Clark Jolley, creates the Transparency in Private Attorney Contingency-Fee Contracts Act and defines related terms. It prohibits the state from entering into
a contingency-fee contract with a private attorney unless the Attorney General makes a written determination prior to entering into the contract that contingency-fee representation is both cost-effective and in the public interest. It specifies what a determination may include. It directs the Attorney General to request proposals from private attorneys to represent the state agency on a contingency-fee basis, unless the Attorney General determines that requesting proposals is not feasible under the circumstances and sets forth the basis for this determination in writing. The bill establishes amounts and conditions for which the state may not enter into a contingency-fee
contract. It prohibits the aggregate contingency fee to exceed $50 million, exclusive of reasonable costs and expenses, and irrespective of the number of lawsuits filed or the number of private attorneys retained to achieve the recovery.

-CS for HB 2267, with title stricken, by Rep. Doug Cox and Sen. Ron Justice, extends the
termination date of the hospital offset payment program fee from Dec. 31, 2017, to Dec. 31, 2020. It requires the Oklahoma Health Care Authority review occur within 20 days of the time of deferral approval and annually in November of each year. It requires the authority to review and determine the amount of the annual assessment occur within 20 days of the federal approval and annually thereafter in November of each year. The committee substitute reflects changes made to the bill in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

-HB 2314, with title stricken, by Rep. Jadine Nollan and Sen. Jason Smalley, modifies language related to teacher retention pay that is not included in the total compensation of a teacher.

-HB 2338, with title stricken, by Rep. Paul Wesselhoft and Sen. Gary Michael Stanislawski, specifies programs and amounts of appropriation relating to the Employment Security Administration Fund. The bill designated $6 million to the Employment Service Program and $6 million to the Unemployment Insurance Program. The bill requires the funds to be expended by Dec. 31, 2017.

-HB 2387, with title and enacting clause stricken, by Rep. Claudia Griffith and Sen. AJ Griffin, authorizes the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to seek a waiver to expand premium assistance programs to include certain full-time-equivalent employees.

-HB 2425, with title stricken, by Rep. Sally Kern and Sen. A J Griffin, increases the age for persons considered a child prostitute from anyone less than 16 years of age to anyone less than 18 years of age.

-HB 2504, by Rep. John Pfeiffer and Sen. Ron Justice, increases the fine for theft of cattle to three times the value of the animal and machinery stolen but not more than $500,000. It also adds that each head of cattle stolen may constitute a separate offense and may be punishable as a separate violation.

-HB 2555, with title stricken, by Rep. Harold Wright and Sen. Anthony Sykes, clarifies statutory language related to penalties for driving under the influence and modifies conditions for subsequent offenses.

-HB 2586, by Rep. David Perryman and Sen. Darcy Jech, adds the requirement that no later than July 1, 2017, for the medical certificate portion of a death certificate to be entered into the prescribed electronic system provided by the State Registrar of Vital Statistics and the information submitted to the State Registrar of Vital Statistics. The bill allows the medical certification to be signed by a hospice's medical director when the patient is under hospice care at the time of death. The bill requires physicians to sign and file death certificates using the prescribed electronic system no later than July 1, 2017. The bill requires the State Department of Health and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to work together to ensure that the permit applications for cremations and out-of-state dispositions function together. It also requires the State Department of Health to establish electronic accounts for each funeral home in the state.

-CS for HB 2676, with title stricken, by Rep. Cory T. Williams and Sen. Corey Brooks, modifies requirements regarding in-state statue for military personnel and their dependents when relating to higher education. The bill expands certain criteria for federal education and training assistance programs. The committee substitute incorporates changes made in the Senate Education Committee.

-HB 2694, with title stricken, by Rep. Earl Sears and Sen. Clark Jolley, exempts the Commissioners of the Land Office from requirements to use certain construction managers, consultant and construction contract forms and excludes the agency from the definition of state agency. The bill requires Commissioners to retain qualified investment managers to provide for the management of investment real property.

-HB 3058, as amended, by Rep. Tom Newell and Sen. Greg Treat, requires the Office of Management and Enterprise Services to reconcile all state agency revolving funds the first Monday in August of each year set by criteria to be adopted by rule and subject to the Administrative Procedures Act. The bill requires the proceeds realized through the reconciliation to be deposited in the Special Cash Fund for expenditure the following fiscal year. The bill allows for state agency director to file for reconciliation protests. The amendment clarifies that the bill's
provisions do not apply to community college tuition accounts or non-appropriated agencies.

-HB 3105, with title stricken, by Rep. Chad Caldwell and Sen. Ervin Yen, modifies the duties of the State Board of Examiners of Psychologists to include establishing fees. The bill modifies qualifications that must be met by an applicant before becoming a licensed psychologist and requires the applicant to fund their own background check. The bill requires the Board to maintain and publish and up-to-date list of all licensed psychologists.

-HB 3120, with enacting clause stricken, by Rep. Scott Martin and Sen. Clark Jolley, authorizes the Department of Securities to enter into contracts and agreements for the payment of food, lodging, meeting facility, facilitator fees and travel expenses, exhibitor fees and other authorized expenses as may be necessary to host, conduct, sponsor or participate in conferences, meetings, training sessions or initiatives promoting or otherwise relating to investor education.

-HB 3142, as amended and with enacting clause stricken, by Rep. Josh Cockroft and Sen. Nathan Dahm, creates the Oklahoma State Government Open Records One-Stop Initiative. The bill directs the Chief Information Officer to develop and maintain an online web presence at the web address OpenRecords.ok.gov. It requires the site to allow the public to file a request for documents pursuant to the terms of the Oklahoma Open Records Act. It directs the Chief Information Officer to retrieve and deliver open records to the requester in accordance with the procedures of the Oklahoma Open Records Act. It adds that documents requested through the open records web portal will be delivered to the requester in electronic format and immediately following delivery of the documents requested to the requester, the electronic material will be made available to the public through the data.ok.gov web portal. The amendment changes the bills effective date to Nov. 1, 2017.

• The House Appropriations and Budget Committee approved the following bills during Wednesday's meeting.

-CS to SB 1030, by Sen. Mike Mazzei and Rep. David Ralph Brumbaugh, creates the Oklahoma Multi-year Revenue and Expenditure Projection Act. The bill requires agencies responsible for the
collection of monies deposited to the General Revenue Fund and each Special Revenue Funds to provide current and future revenue estimates for the next two years to the Office of Management and Enterprise Services. It requires the Oklahoma Tax Commission to provide tax revenue projections for the current and next two years. The bill expands the list of those to which the Oklahoma Tax Commission must provide all estimates, explanations, statements, projections, reports and other documents to include members of the Senate Appropriations and Finance Committees and members of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee. The bill requires appropriated agencies to submit an estimate of fiscal needs for the ensuing fiscal year and the following two fiscal years to the Office of Management and Enterprise Services. The bill requires each subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee and of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee to establish budget performance measurements for each spending agency under its jurisdiction. It requires the performance measurements be developed in order to
allow the Legislature and the Governor to obtain measureable data to determine if the agency is performing its duties in the most cost-effective manner possible. The bill requires each spending agency, whether or not it receives state appropriations, to submit analysis reports as required by the subcommittee in order to enable the subcommittee to make a determination as to whether the agency has met the established performance measurements. The bill permits the reporting requirements to be established for the forthcoming fiscal year and for such additional fiscal years in the future as the subcommittees deem appropriate. The subcommittee substitute reflects languages adopted in subcommittee. The bill passed by a vote of 19 to 6.

-CS to SB 946, by Sen. Don Barrington and Rep. Pam Peterson, amends language related to Department of Corrections exemptions to the Public Competitive Bidding Act of 1974 when the governing board declares and emergency. The bill provides that such exemptions will not extend to any contract exceeding $250,000 for situations in which the emergency impacts the conditions of confinement, health and safety of inmates and correctional officers in the custody of the Department of Corrections. The subcommittee substitute reflects languages adopted in subcommittee.

-CS to SB 949, 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.

-CS to SB 983, by Sen. Roger Thompson and Scott Martin, creates the nine-member Health Information Technology Advisory Board to provide guidance related to health information technology and act in an advisory capacity to the Chief Information Officer and to advise in the development of a long-range plan for health information technology including, but not limited to, the use of electronic health records, statewide data sharing interchanges among health information exchanges, health information service providers and other methods of incorporating and monitoring information technology in pursuit of protecting the privacy of patient personal and healthcare information, greater cost-effectiveness and better patient outcomes in healthcare. It requires that each appointed member serve a three year term. It establishes procedures for removing appointees. The bill establishes the advisory board's membership and requires that it meet no less than four times per year. It requires that an organization meeting be held prior to Dec. 1, 2016, and that the meeting be called by the Chief Information Officer. It establishes quorum and voting requirements. The bill establishes duties and responsibility of advisory board
members. It requires that the advisory board act in accordance with the provisions of the Oklahoma Open Meeting Act, the Oklahoma Open Records Act and the Administrative Procedures Act. The subcommittee substitute reflects languages adopted in subcommittee.

-CS to SB 1005, as amended, by Sen. Brian Crain and Rep. Jon Echols, 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 bill establishes requirements for a program manager.

-SB 1085, by Sen. Nathan Dahm and Rep. Lisa J. Billy, requires that each state individual income tax return form for tax years beginning after December 31, 2016, and each state corporate tax return form for tax years beginning after December 31, 2016 to contain a provision to allow a donation from a tax refund for the benefit of the General Revenue Fund. It allows the taxpayer to designate an elected amount of income tax refund to the General Revenue Fund. The bill creates the Income Tax Checkoff Revolving Fund for the Support of the Oklahoma General Revenue Fund. It authorizes the taxpayer to file a claim for refund at any time within three years from the due date of the tax return if said taxpayer makes a donation pursuant to the provisions provided therein.

-SB 1209, by Sen. Kimberly David and Rep. Elise Hall, allows awards presented by the Commission for Rehabilitation Services to be presented at a formal or informal ceremony, banquet or reception, the cost of which may be expended from monies available in the department's operating funds. The bill requires discussion regarding the selection of the annual Commissioner's Award to be confidential.

-SB 1308, as amended, by Sen. Jason Smalley and Rep. Kevin Calvey, creates the Zero Emission Tax Credit Transparency Act of 2016. The bill requires each taxpayer claiming a credit for electricity generated after Jan 1, 2017 to report specified information to the Oklahoma Tax Commission every 47 days or within five days of each production report being submitted to a Regional Transmission Organization for each node within a development a monthly basis for each turbine. The amendment modified the time period in which the taxpayer must report to the Tax Commission.

-CS to SB 1336, with title restored, 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. It requires that each trust receive approval from the Attorney General that the public trust is in the
proper form.

-SB 1371, by Sen. Kim David and Rep. Pat Ownbey, removes language that sets the rate of reimbursement from the Office of Juvenile Affairs to counties to renovate existing juvenile detention facilities, to construct new juvenile detention facilities, to operate juvenile detention facilities and otherwise provide for secure juvenile detention services and alternatives to secure detention. The bill removes outdated language. The bill also removes language that required a certain number of beds to be located in particular places. The bill requires OJA to promulgate
necessary rules.

• Four bills were approved Wednesday by the House Higher Education and Career Technology Committee:

-SB 929, by Sen. Ron Sharp and Rep. Justin Wood, creates the 2016 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. The amendment, submitted by Wood, removes the word "recognition" from the titles of the three diplomas established by the bill. He explained that amendment was the result of an agreement with Senate in seeking clarification on what exactly the diplomas would be honoring. The bill, as amended, was approved by the committee on a vote of 7 to 1 with Rep. Cory Williams, D-Stillwater, voting against the measure.

-SB 1157, by Sen. Stephanie Bice and Rep. Katie Henke, requires all private and out-of-state public degree-granting institutions to be accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency. The bill defines degree-granting institution and sets policies and procedures.

-SB 1269, with title and enacting clause restored, by Sen. Ervin Yen and Rep. Scott Martin, directs the State Board of Education, in collaboration with the State Board of Career and Technology Education and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, to develop college and career endorsements that will provide distinction and direct student coursework toward clear career pathways. It allows a student to earn a college and career endorsement by satisfying the curriculum requirements in various specified categories and any other area of study as determined by the State Board of Education. The bill also directs the State Board of Education, in collaboration with the State Board of Career and Technology Education, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and representatives of business, labor and industry, to specify the curriculum requirements for each college and career endorsement specified. It allows applicable courses taken at a technology center school to, at the discretion of the State Board of Education; qualify for any of the courses required for a college and career endorsement. The bill directs the State Board of Education to develop and implement a mechanism by which to recognize college and career endorsements.

-SB 1353, by Sen. Patrick Anderson and Rep. Jason Murphey, adds all members of the Legislature to whom the Oklahoma State Regents for higher education must submit an annual report of bond financing requests.

Thursday, March 31, 2015

• On Thursday morning, the Senate met briefly to introduce the weekly pages before they left and acknowledged special guests. Reverend Kelly Bowen from Okemah Church of Christ was introduced by Sen. Roger Thompson and M. Michelle Barlow, DO, from Allen was introduced by Senator Susan Paddack.

-HB 2615, by Rep. Todd Thomsen and Sen. Jim Halligan, would prohibit anyone from giving money or an item of value to or soliciting a transaction with a student athlete. The measure passed the Senate by a vote of 39-4.


Other news this week

• Governor Mary Fallin Monday said the first-ever map developed by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) showing potential ground-shaking hazards from both human-induced and natural earthquakes illustrates why action taken earlier this year by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) was necessary. Researchers say the state’s rise in earthquakes is caused by the disposal of produced saltwater deep into the Arbuckle formation. The OCC, which has constitutional authority over oil and natural gas activity in the state, is following the recommendation of researchers and is continuing to work with operators to significantly reduce the overall disposal of produced water into the area of seismic interest within the Arbuckle formation area to 40 percent below the 2014 total.

The OCC in February issued a wide-ranging directive to saltwater disposal well operators in areas experiencing earthquakes. In the past year, regulators have issued more than a dozen directives to disposal well operators to limit activity or shut down in areas of earthquakes.
Monday's USGS report, which used earthquake data from 2015, states that some places in Oklahoma may experience damage if the induced seismicity continues unabated.

For more information on earthquake preparedness, visit:
http://earthquakes.ok.gov/earthquake-preparedness


• The Oklahoma Public Employees Association called on lawmakers Tuesday to lead and take steps to address the state's current budget crisis. The group also made recommendations for improving revenue during a press conference at the State Capitol. OPEA Executive Director Sterling Zearley criticized lawmakers for offering few, if any, solutions to the state's $1.3 billion shortfall, saying they lacked the same sense of urgency that state employees and consumers of services experienced.

Jess Callahan, Department of Human Services employee and current president of the OPEA, said he's disheartened by the fearful outcry among low income Oklahomans and the elderly who rely on DHS services, which continue to be reduced. He also spoke about low morale and empty cubicles at DHS offices.

OPEA asked the Legislature to consider the following revenue generating measures:
• Repeal the latest cut and eliminate the "double deduction" of state income tax
• Modernize the tax code, raise tobacco taxes and eliminate unproductive tax credits
• Suspend corporate tax credits and incentives for 2017
• Establish a gasoline tax to be implemented when crude oil prices fall below an established per- barrel price
• Improve the collection of state sales tax on internet purchases
• Tap the Rainy Day Fund for FY2017 to help prevent more cuts
• Utilize bond funding for road and bridge projects to free up funds for general revenue


• The Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) announced preparations this week for a 25 percent reduction to Medicaid provider reimbursement rates on Tuesday in anticipation of the agency's FY2017 appropriation. The rate changes, effective June 1, 2016, take 60 days for OHCA to implement due to public notification requirements and 90 for changes to impact the budget due to claim lag should they be finalized. The reduction is expected to save the agency a total of $235 million. In addition to the potential cuts, OHCA intends to propose the elimination of payments for coinsurance and deductibles on crossover claims.

A 25 percent cut would bring SoonerCare, Oklahoma Medicaid program, down to 64.9 percent of the Medicare reimbursement rate, affecting all 46,129 of OHCA's providers currently contracted, including hospitals, physicians, pharmacies, medical equipment suppliers and nursing facilities.
Ultimately, the depth of the cut will depend on the size of the agency's FY2017 appropriation. OHCA has lost more than $868 million in state and federal funds due to budget cuts, with a total of $1 billion in reductions over the last decade.

OAHCP estimates the reduction would also lead to a devastating impact to local economies throughout the state, particularly in rural areas. As it stands, the proposed cut would jeopardize 16,900 jobs and $495 million in wages.


• The Oklahoma State Department of Education OSDE) announced Wednesday it has secured a $100,000 grant to develop a detailed career-readiness action plan, an essential step in expanding economic opportunity for young people across the state. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister expressed her gratitude to JPMorgan Chase & Co's New Skills for Youth (NSFY) grant selection committee and emphasized the importance of developing pathways to career success for Oklahoma's public school children.

Oklahoma is among 24 states and the District of Columbia that secured the phase-one grants, the initial step in a $75 million, five-year initiative developed by JPMorgan Chase in partnership with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and Advance CTE. The initiative has a goal of increasing economic opportunity for young people by strengthening career-focused education beginning in high school and ending with postsecondary degrees or credentials aligned with business needs. Today, only about half of Americans under the age of 25 have a meaningful postsecondary credential that enables them to compete for good jobs, and the U.S. youth unemployment rate is more than double the national rate. In 2015, 54 percent of Oklahoma students went on to attain a degree or advanced credential after high school. However, the Oklahoma Office of Workforce Development predicts that by 2025, 77 percent of new jobs will require advanced credentials. The NSFY grant will allow Oklahoma to expand Gov. Mary Fallin's statewide initiative, Oklahoma Works, a collaborative effort among business, education, state agencies and others to align education and training to produce a relevant workforce for Oklahoma's economy.

• The first severe weather event of the season developed on Wednesday afternoon and evening, spawning hail and tornadoes in the eastern portion of the state, with twisters touching down in the Tulsa area and surrounding communities. Damage and injuries were reported, but no fatalities as of Thursday morning.