The Oklahoma Senate


Week In Review
Monday, May 9, to Thursday, May 12, 2016

Monday, May 9, 2016


• The Senate passed the following bill on Monday:

-SB 804, by Sen. Rob Standridge and Rep. Jeff Coody, modifies language related to state employee vision plans and clarifies language related to the selection of plans by requiring of plans eligible for selection to submit information requested by the Office of Management and Enterprise Services. The bill removes language that provides a provider would not be prevented from offering their plan through one corporate entity and administering the plan or provider panel through another legal entity of the same organization if it leases, borrows, or otherwise obtains use of a provider panel from another company. The bill modifies qualifying criteria and provides any Oklahoma-based vendor that meets the qualifying criteria will be offered for enrollment in any state employee benefit offering. The bill permits the Office of Management and Enterprise Services, at its discretion, to select up to one out-of-state vision care benefits company as an offered vendor, provided it meets the criteria specified.

• House amendments to the following bills were adopted by the Senate and the following bills passed:

-SB 1386, by Sen. Kim David and Rep. Glen Mulready, authorizes the creation and submission of a State Innovation Waiver for the purpose of creating Oklahoma health insurance products that improve health and health care quality while controlling costs. It provides that the State Innovation Waiver may include multiple waiver submissions under federal waiver authorities. It requires the waiver to be created consistent with the innovation design plan developed through the Oklahoma Health Improvement Plan. It requires it be presented to the Oklahoma Legislature along with a summary of comments received from public hearings and requires the inclusion of the identification of specific provisions of the Affordable Care Act to be waived in the State of Oklahoma. The bill requires participating agencies, including but not limited to the State Department of Health, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and the Insurance Department, to develop the State Innovation Waiver and submit any and all necessary information for approval to all relevant entities. It directs the Insurance Department to conduct rate review for the individual and small group health insurance market upon implementation of the State Innovation Waiver. The bill passed 43 to 2.

-SB 1424, by Sen. Kim David and Rep. Pat Ownbey, requires the Office of Juvenile Affairs to require national criminal history records searches for operators making a request to establish a detention center, municipal juvenile facility, community intervention center or secure facility licensed or certified by the Office of Juvenile Affairs. The bill also requires national criminal history records searches for employees or applicants of a secure detention center, municipal juvenile facility, community intervention center or secure facility licensed or certified by the Office of
Juvenile Affairs and persons allowed unsupervised access to children. The bill passed 45 to 0.

-The Senate also adopted SR 66, by David, congratulating the Wagoner High School 2016 OSSAA Jazz Combo State Champions; commending their accomplishments; and directing distribution.

• The following two bills passed in the House on Monday.

-JCR to HB 3206, by Rep. Dennis Ray Casey and Rep. Earl Sears, Sen. Clark Jolley, and Sen. Greg Treat, requires the Office of Management and Enterprise Services to analyze and submit to the State Board of Equalization by the first Monday of each December the amount of monies remaining in the General Revenue Cash-flow Reserve Fund which are not necessary for current year cash flow needs and are available for legislative appropriation. The bill passed 85 to 8.

-JCR to SB 1573, by Sen. Clark Jolley, Sen. Greg Treat, Rep. Dennis Ray Casey and Rep. Earl Sears, authorizes the Oklahoma Historical Society to transfer ownership of historic properties, both real and tangible, to appropriate organizations or groups who agree to maintain the properties in the best interest of historic preservation and who pay fair market value for such property. It adds that when property by the Society is declared surplus, or is determined to be beyond the means of the Society to maintain properly, the Society will first offer the property for sale at fair market value to the original donor, even if a reversionary clause is not included in the gift agreement. It allows a property to be offered for sale at fair market value to an appropriate not-for-profit organization or a federally recognized Indian tribe that agrees to maintain the property through a formal written contract which provides for compensation, and may include in-kind, in the form of maintenance and preservation agreements if a donor cannot be identified. It requires the process for the sale and transfer of title to originate with the Oklahoma Historical Society Board of Directors. The bill also exempts the authorization to sell this property from the Oklahoma Surplus Property Act as well as Sections 327 and 327.1 of Title 61 of the Oklahoma Statutes. The bill and emergency clause passed 89 to 3.

- HR 1069, by Rep. Emily Virgin, D-Norman, was adopted Monday and declares May as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Awareness Month.

• The Senate Education Committee met Monday morning to approve several executive nominations and to hear from representatives of the College Board on Oklahoma's Advanced Placement results. According to their data, the number of students leaving high school in Oklahoma having taken an AP exam has increased from 6,328 to 9,134, a 44 percent increase since 2005. The number of AP exams administered in the state has also increased 66 percent since 2009. The graduating class of 2016 took over 14,000 AP exams that resulted in scores of 3, 4 or 5. Students need to make at least a 3 to earn college credit. The number of students getting a score of 3 or higher on AP exams also increased 49 percent since 2005 and the number of low-income students scoring a 3 or higher increased from 500 to 1041, a 108 percent jump since 2005. According to College Board, Oklahoma students earned about 42,093 college credits this year, at an average of $248.33 per credit hour that equates to a total potential savings of over $10,000 to students and their families.

-The following executive nominations were approved by committee members Monday:

* David L. Ferrell, of Chickasha, to the Board of Regents of the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, to serve a seven-year term ending June 30, 2023, succeeding Hilary Kitz.

* Cassandra Gaines, of Muskogee, to the Oklahoma Arts Council, to serve a three-year term ending July 1, 2019, succeeding herself.

* Traci Hanna, of Lawton, to the State Textbook Committee, to serve a three-year term ending March 1, 2019, succeeding Catherine Pilkington.

* Steven R. Jolly, of Sulphur, to the Board of Regents of Murray State College, to serve a seven-year term ending June 1, 2023, succeeding himself.

* Caron Lawhorn, of Tulsa, to the Board of Regents of the Tulsa Community College, to serve a seven-year term ending June 30, 2023, succeeding Larry D. Leonard.

* Chris Lawson, of Oklahoma City, to the Board of Regents for Oklahoma City Community College, to serve an unexpired term ending April 22, 2020, succeeding Helen Camey.

* Shurlyn Maltz, of Guthrie, to the State Textbook Committee, to serve a three-year term ending March 1, 2019, succeeding Jennifer Bobo.

* Ann L. Neal, of Miami, to the Oklahoma Arts Council, to serve a three-year term ending July 1, 2019, succeeding Nancy Pilkington.

* Darlene Parman, of Oklahoma City, to the Oklahoma Arts Council, to serve a three-year term ending July 1, 2019, succeeding Lee Allen Smith.

* Nancy Poindexter, of Sallisaw, to the State Textbook Committee, to serve a three-year term ending March 1, 2019, filling a vacant position.

* Janet Smith, of Tulsa, to the State Board of Career and Technology Education, to serve a six-year term ending April 1, 2022, succeeding H.C. "Will" Williams.

* Dwight Spencer, of Sallisaw, to the Board of Regents for Carl Albert State College, to serve an unexpired term ending July 1, 2019, succeeding Jerry Hetherington.

* Dr. David Von Tungeln, of Calumet, to the Board of Regents for Redlands Community College, to serve a seven-year term ending April 22, 2023, succeeding Charlie Beard.

* Jack L. "Jackie" Werner, of Oklahoma City, to the Oklahoma Board of Private Vocational Schools, to serve an unexpired term ending July 1, 2018, succeeding Deidre Myers.

• The Senate Health and Human Services Committee approved 10 executive nominations Monday.

* Curtis T. Aduddell, Edmond, to the Oklahoma State Board of Examiners for Long-Term Care Administrators, to serve a three-year term, ending October 31, 2019, succeeding himself.

* Dr. Scott Calhoon, Oklahoma City, to the Oklahoma State Board of Examiners for Long-Term Care Administrators, to serve a three-year term, ending October 31, 2019, succeeding himself.

* Kimberly Cox, Rush Springs, to the State Board of Behavioral Health Licensure, to serve a three-year term, ending October 31, 2019, succeeding herself.

* Dr. Christopher Goff, Stillwater, to the Board of Examiners of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, to serve an unexpired term, ending August 17, 2018, succeeding Greg A. Krempl.

* Susan C. Haws, Glenpool, to the Oklahoma State Board of Examiners for Long-Term Care Administrators, to serve a three-year term, ending October 31, 2019, succeeding himself.

* Deborah Moran, McAlester, to the State Board of Behavioral Health Licensure, to serve a three-year term, ending October 31, 2019, succeeding herself.

* Brenda Ototivo, Walters, to the State Board of Behavioral Health Licensure, to serve an unexpired term, ending October 31, 2016, succeeding Lisa Deason, and to serve a three-year term, ending October 31, 2019.

* Lisa Pever, Edmond, to the Oklahoma State Board of Examiners for Long-Term Care Administrators, to serve a three-year term, ending October 31, 2019, succeeding herself.

* William M. Pierce, Edmond, to the Oklahoma State Board of Examiners for Long-Term Care Administrators, to serve a three-year term, ending October 31, 2019, succeeding himself.

• Gov. Mary Fallin signed 19 bills Monday, including:

-SB 1273, by Sen. Kay Floyd and Rep. Josh Cockroft, creates Shepard's Law. The bill was named for Shepard Dodd, who suffocated while sleeping at an in-home daycare. The bill takes effect July 1.

-HB 1717, by Rep. Doug Cox and Sen. Wayne Shaw, authorizes the Grand River Dam Authority to utilize CLEET-certified volunteer reserve officers. The bill took effect immediately upon Fallin's signature.

-HB 2264, by Rep. Randy McDaniel and Sen. Jason Smalley, 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 bill takes effect Nov. 1.

-HB 2348, by Rep. Dustin Roberts and Sen. Frank Simpson, modifies the duties of the Oklahoma Army and Air National Guard Adjutant General. The bill exempts Army and Air National Guard personnel from certain provisions relating to unlawful carry in certain places. The bill allows the Adjutant General to delegate authority when absent from the state. The bill allows for the execution of agreements with the federal government for reimbursement to the Military Department state-owned vehicles and equipment in support of youth programs. It authorizes the Adjutant General to execute agreements with the deferral government for reimbursement to the Oklahoma Military Department for the use and operation of Oklahoma Military Department state-owned vehicles and equipment in support of the federally reimbursable programs through cooperative agreements with the National Guard Bureau. The bill also exempts the Military Department from the provisions of the Oklahoma Surplus property Act. The bill takes effect Nov. 1.

-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. The bill takes effect Nov. 1.

-HB 2616, by Rep. Todd Thomsen and Sen. Eddie Fields, modifies language related to the Oklahoma Telecommunications Act of 1997. The bill updates language related to the Oklahoma Universal Service Fund (OUSF). The bill modifies the procedure for eligible providers to seek and obtain funding and allows the OUSF administrator to issue a determination within 60 days of the receipt of a request. The bill allows 15 days to file a request for reconsideration. The bill adds and modifies definitions relating to the measure. The bill deletes language relating to services declared to be Special Universal Services and redefines terms and conditions. The bill allows the Corporation Commission to investigate each request for funding. The bill outlines the beneficiary approval process and the eligible provider reimbursement process. The bill took effect immediately upon Fallin's signature Monday.

-HB 2902, by Rep. Ben Loring and Sen. Kim David, creates the Public Health and Safety Act of 2016. The bill modifies the amount of drugs that qualify for a diversion program. It also allows violations for paraphernalia to be included in the program. The bill takes effect Nov. 1.

-HB 3025, by Rep. John Jordan and Sen. Jason Smalley, adds criteria under which the State Board of Education is permitted to grant an alternative placement teaching certificate to include a person who has successfully completed a terminal degree, such as a doctorate of philosophy, a doctorate in education, professional doctorates, a master of fine arts degree or a master of library science degree, from an institution accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency which is recognized by the Secretary of the United States Department of Education. The bill requires the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education to be consulted to verify other terminal degrees, or that the person holds at least a baccalaureate degree from an institution whose accreditation is recognized by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and has qualified work experience in a field that corresponds to an area of certification as determined by the State Board of Education. The bill also requires a person to demonstrate competency or completed a major in a field that corresponds to an area of specialization for an Elementary-Secondary Certificate or a Secondary Certificate as determined by the State Board of Education or a vocational technical certificate as recommended by the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education. The bill takes effect Nov. 1.

-HB 3039, by Rep. John Jordan and Sen. Wayne Shaw, creates the Debt to Society Act of 2016. It authorizes county sheriffs to establish and maintain a work release program for the benefit of nonviolent felony and misdemeanor offenders and outlines the requirements of such program. The bill allows the prison sentence of the person to be reduced by earned early release time in accordance with procedures developed and promulgated by the sheriff. It requires the earned early release time to be for good behavior and good performance in the work release program as determined by the sheriff and prohibits the sheriff to credit the person with earned early release time in advance of the person actually earning the credits. It also prohibits the aggregate sum of earned early release time exceed one-third of the total sentence. The bill outlines requirements for suspension and termination from the program. It allows the earnings of the participant to be used for certain payments. The bill takes effect Nov. 1.

-HB 3109, 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 takes effect July 1.

-HB 3114, by Rep. Scott Martin and Sen. A J Griffin, creates the Empowering Teachers to Lead Act. It establishes the framework requirements for the Act. It provides requirements for the variety of teachers listed therein. The bill sets a framework to accomplish certain career paths, leadership roles, goals and salaries. The bill defines terms and requires the board of education of a school district to implement the framework and appoint a site-based review council for each school site. The bill requires the council to fulfill certain duties. The bill requires the Department of Education to submit an annual report. The bill takes effect Nov. 1.

-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. The bill takes effect Nov. 1.

-SB 911, by Sen. Ron Sharp and Rep. Justin Wood, allows the board of education of each school district to adopt a procedure that requires students to perform campus-site service for violating a district's discipline policy. The bill provides guidelines for the policy including granting an exemption for children under the age of 8 or those on an individualized education plan. It requires the district board of education to establish an appeals process and specify whether appeals are to be to a local committee composed of district administrators or teachers or both or to the district board of education. The bill also requires a district's policy to adhere to all state and federal privacy laws regarding student data. The amendment removes any requirement for reporting on the student program. The bill takes effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns sine die.

-SB 944, by Sen. Roger Thompson and Rep. Leslie Osborn, modifies the Oklahoma Rental-Purchase Act. The bill defines the terms "displayed or offered primarily for rental-purchase," "initial fee" and "initial period." The bill adds language modifying disclosures under the disclosures required by the Oklahoma Rental-Purchase Act. The bill takes effect Nov. 1.

-SB 1150, by Sen. Ervin Yen and Rep. Doug Cox, prohibits the sale or wholesale of dangerous drugs, medicines, medical gases, chemical or poisons without first obtaining a license from the State Board of Pharmacy. The bill prohibits any person, firm or business establishment from offering to the public their services as a "pick-up station" or intermediary for the purpose of having prescriptions filled or delivered, whether for profit or gratuitously. It also prohibits the owner of any pharmacy or drug store from authorizing any person, firm or business establishment to act for them in that manner with certain exceptions. The bill defines applicable terms. The bill changes references to the term "maximum allowable cost rates" to "reimbursement amounts." The bill repeals language relating to illegal acts regarding drugs and the management of pharmacies, use of support personnel and pharmacy technician permits, renewal certification and alternate methods of meeting continuing education requirements. The bill takes effect Nov. 1.

-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 takes effect Nov. 1.

-SB 1217, by Sen. Ron Sharp and Rep. Randy Grau, expands the definition of the Inpatient Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment of Minors Act to include physician assistant. The bill takes effect Nov. 1.

-SB 1249, by Sen. Kay Floyd and Rep. Lee Denney, establishes the deadline for determination of final protective order to be within six months. The bill takes effect Nov. 1.

-SB 1360, by Sen. Greg Treat and Rep. Pat Ownbey, modifies statutory references to organ procurement organizations. The bill also permits a hospital adopt guidelines for the interaction between organ procurement organizations and hospital staff. It provides that nothing in the Oklahoma Uniform Anatomical Gift Act should be construed as to authorize an organ procurement organization to use coercion or emotional abuse of patients, families of patients, physicians or hospital staff in any aspect of the organ donation process, including but not limited to the testing and screening of potential donors and the procurement of organs. The bill takes effect Nov. 1.

-Fallin has signed 284 bills so far this session and vetoed two. Currently, nine bills remain on her desk for consideration.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

• The Senate gave its approval to several bills on Tuesday, including:

-SB 1030, by Sen. Mike Mazzei and Rep. David Brumbaugh, would require the Office of Management and Enterprise Services to prepare three-year revenue and expenditures projections. The bill and its emergency clause passed 45 to 0.

• House amendments to the following bills also were accepted and the bills passed:

-SB 172, by Sen. Kyle Loveless and Rep. Tom Newell, permits OMES to approve an alternative process for certain business operations, including but not limited to accounts payable and travel and expense control at academic health centers that meet or exceed OMES requirements, when unnecessary duplication or redundancies add cost and inefficiency to routine processing systems. It requires OMES to establish appropriate reporting as deemed necessary. It defines academic health centers. The bill passed 39 to 5.

-SB 1196, by Sen. A J Griffin and Rep. Jason Nelson, allows sexual assault nurse examiners, during the investigation of a crime against a minor under the age of 16, to perform examinations without written parental consent. The bill and its emergency clause, which was added by the House, passed 43 to 0.

• The General Conference Committee on Appropriations met on Tuesday and discussed the following bills:

-HB 2797, by Rep. Ann Coody, Rep. Lisa J. Billy, Rep. Pam Peterson and Sen. A J Griffin, requires the State Department of Health to develop, update annually and maintain an electronic form containing information concerning public and private agencies and services available to assist a woman through pregnancy, upon childbirth and while the child is dependent. It provides required information to provide on said list. It requires the Department to index this form geographically and readily accessible on its website. It provides a statement required to be included on said website. It requires said statement to include a hyperlink to the Department's website containing the aforementioned information and available in a downloadable format appropriate for display. It requires that the Department make available to each facility in Oklahoma which is open to the public, containing a restroom available to the public and licensed by the Department to post signage in its restroom containing the aforementioned statement on or before January 1, 2018. It designates the State Board of Health to promulgate rules.

-HB 2951, by Rep. Michael Rogers and Sen. Stephanie Bice, requires the State Department of Education and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education to develop programs to identify talented students and recruit those students into the teaching profession. The bill provides for persons to be targeted for recruitment. The bill requires the department to develop and distribute materials that emphasize the importance of teaching and gives priority to the recruitment programs. The bill requires each department to encourage cooperation between the business community and school districts and allows for a long-range plan to be developed. The bill adds language that allows the entities to do this based on the availability of funds. It creates the Oklahoma Teacher Recruitment Revolving Fund and also creates a $20 license plate fee for Oklahoma License to Educate to be deposited into the Oklahoma Teacher Recruitment
Revolving Fund.

• Gov. Mary Fallin signed one bill Tuesday, bringing the total of signed Senate bills to 130 and the count in the House to 155.

-SB 1150, by Sen. Ervin Yen and Rep. Doug Cox, prohibits the sale or wholesale of dangerous drugs, medicines, medical gases, chemical or poisons without first obtaining a license from the State Board of Pharmacy. The bill prohibits any person, firm or business establishment from offering to the public their services as a "pick-up station" or intermediary for the purpose of having prescriptions filled or delivered, whether for profit or gratuitously. It also prohibits the owner of any pharmacy or drug store from authorizing any person, firm or business establishment to act for them in that manner with certain exceptions. The bill defines applicable terms. The bill changes references to the term "maximum allowable cost rates" to "reimbursement amounts." The bill repeals language relating to illegal acts regarding drugs and the management of pharmacies, use of support personnel and pharmacy technician permits, renewal certification and alternate methods of meeting continuing education requirements. The bill takes effect Nov. 1.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

• The Senate moved Wednesday to recall a bill from Gov. Mary Fallin's desk and sent one other measure to her for consideration.

-SB 1459, by Sen. Gary Stanislawski and Rep. Ken Walker, provides that a nonprofit charitable organization which is exempt from taxation as a 501 (c)(3) and which accepts donations of used motor vehicles previously titled in Oklahoma to be repaired and subsequently transferred to another owner will only be considered a motor vehicle dealer when registration and titling of motor vehicles previously titled in Oklahoma and donated to the qualifying organization; procurement and use of dealer demonstrator license plates issued by the Oklahoma Tax Commission upon the qualifying organization providing sufficient documentation to the Tax Commission; and the transfer of ownership from the vehicle donor to the qualifying nonprofit organization without the payment of motor vehicle excise tax. It now goes to Fallin for her consideration.

The Senate also adopted:

-SR 67, by Sen. John Sparks, congratulates the OU Men's Gymnastics team for winning the 2016 NCAA National Championship. It congratulates OU for being the first school in NCAA history to win the national championship in both men's and women's gymnastics in the same year and applauds Head Coach Mark Williams' 7th national championship and the program's 10th national championship.

-SR 70, by Sen. Ron Justice, recognizes and commends Farm Credit and certain local offices for 100 years of support and service to the agricultural community

-SCR 40, by Sen. Mike Schulz and Rep. Charles Ortega, congratulates the Altus High School swim team, 5A boys' State Swimming Champions; and directing distribution.

-SCR 41, by Sen. Mike Schulz and Rep. Charles Ortega, congratulates 2016 National Boys' Swimming Coach of the Year, Linda Wiginton; recognizing her accomplishments; and directing distribution.

-SCR 42, by Sen. Mike Schulz and Rep. Charles Ortega, congratulates the 2015 Class 5A Football State Champions, the Altus Bulldogs; commending the team's hard work and dedication to win their first title since 1971.

• Three executive nominations were approved Wednesday by the Senate Public Safety Committee.
The three nominations, which received do pass recommendations without discussion or debate, were:

o Charles Brent Dishman, Edmond, to the Crime Victims Compensation Board, to serve a four-year term ending September 30, 2020, succeeding Fred Boettcher.

o Larry Gross, Norman, to the Forensic Review Board, to serve a five-year term ending December 31, 2020, succeeding Cliff Thomas.

o Joy Sloan, Muskogee, to the Forensic Review Board, to serve a five-year term ending December 31, 2021, succeeding herself.

The nominations now go to the full Senate for its consideration.

• The House Conference Committee on Long-Term Care and Senior Services passed one bill on Wednesday as follows:

-HB 1526, by Rep. Jadine Nollan and Sen. Rob Standridge, creates the Seniors Prescription Safety Act of 2016 and requires a facility to post a notification of a patient's right to request a two-word description in layman's terms of what a prescription does. The CCR to the measure restores title and enacting clause, limits the description to two words and inserts a disclaimer so there are no problems with liability.

• The House Conference Committee on Criminal Justice and Corrections passed the following bill on Wednesday:

-HB 2169, which was carried over from the 2015 session, will be transferred to Rep. Randy McDaniel, and its language replaced. The earlier version of the bill, by Rep. McCullough and Sen. Dan Newberry, establishes the Civil Liability for Employers Hiring Ex-Offenders Act, which prohibits a cause of action to be brought against an employer, general contractor, premises owner, or other third party solely for hiring an employee or independent contractor who has been convicted of a nonviolent, nonsexual offense. The new language provides that the employees of a franchisee are not the employees of the franchisor and that the employees of the franchisor are not employees of the franchisee. There were no other questions or discussion concerning the new language and Peterson said the bill would be opened up for signatures. House conference committees do not take action during their meetings. Instead, members electronically sign the conference committee reports.

• The House passed the following legislation on Wednesday.

-HB 2957, by Rep. Michael Rogers and Sen. John Ford, removes references to quantitative components in the TLE. The bill adds a required component of professional development for all teachers and administrators by the school districts and lists the criteria for it. The bill requires school districts to monitor compliance and requires that all professional development completed pursuant to a professional development plan count towards the total number of points a teacher or administrator is required to complete. It adds that the implementation of the professional development plan requirements are not be construed as increasing the professional development points requirement. It requires professional development plans to include certain learning practices. The bill allows a local school board to adopt additional components and procedures. It also allows every policy adopted to include a five-tier rating system and provides examples. The bill allows all certified personnel to be evaluated through formal or informal observations by a principal, assistant principal, designee of the principal, supervisor, content expert, department chair, an outside company, peer committee or person or group of persons designated by the school district board of education. The bill removes language related to the TLE Commission and the schedule for implementation of the TLE. The bill and its emergency clause passed 80 to 0. It now goes to Gov. Mary Fallin for her consideration.

• The following bill also passed with Senate amendments adopted and also will go to the governor:

-HB 2599, by Rep. Justin Wood and Sen. Ron Sharp, defines critical infrastructure facilities and other terms. The bill prohibits a person from intentionally and knowingly operating an unmanned aircraft over a critical infrastructure facility if the unmanned aircraft is less than 400 feet above ground level; allowing an unmanned aircraft to make contact with a critical infrastructure facility, including any person or object on the premises of or within the facility; or allowing an unmanned aircraft to come within a distance of a critical infrastructure facility that is close enough to interfere with the operations of or cause a disturbance to the facility. The bill establishes exemptions. The bill sets punishment for violations at a $500 fine or imprisonment for up to one year or both. The bill passed 83 to 0.

• The following resolutions were adopted:

-HCR 1020, by Rep. Todd Thomsen, requests that the Corporation Commission refrain from disrupting certain funding for technology center schools.

-HR 1070, by Rep. Paul Wesselhoft, supports the Nation of Israel; congratulating Israel on the sixty-eighth anniversary of her founding; distribution.

-HR 1073, by Rep. Jeff Hickman and Rep. Scott Biggs, recognizes and commends Farm
Credit for 100 years of service to the agricultural community.

-SCR 35, by Sen. Ervin Yen and Rep. Doug Cox, designates November 2016 as “Bladder Health Month" in Oklahoma.

-SCR 40, by Sen. Mike Schulz and Rep. Charles Ortega, congratulates the Altus High School swim team, 5A boys' State Swimming Champions; and directing distribution.

-SCR 41, by Sen. Mike Schulz and Rep. Charles Ortega, congratulates 2016 National Boys' Swimming Coach of the Year, Linda Wiginton; recognizing her accomplishments; and directing distribution.

-SCR 42, by Sen. Mike Schulz and Rep. Charles Ortega, congratulates the 2015 Class 5A Football State Champions, the Altus Bulldogs; commending the team's hard work and dedication to win their first title since 1971.

The Governor signed the following bills into law on Wednesday:

-HB 3024, by Rep. John Paul Jordan and Sen. David Holt, creates the Catfishing Liability Act of 2016. The bill defines applicable terms. The bill provides that any person who knowingly uses another's name, voice, signature, photograph or likeness through social media to create false identities without the person's prior consent, or in the case of a minor the prior consent of his or her parent or legal guardian, will be guilty of Internet catfishing and liable for any damages sustained by the person or persons injured as a result. The bill permits plaintiff to request an automatic injunction preventing the continued use of the plaintiff's name, voice, signature, photograph or likeness and permits the plaintiff to be awarded specific damages. It exempts law enforcement agencies or their employees acting within the scope of their employment investigating Internet crimes. It provides that the act's remedies are cumulative and will be in addition to any others provided for by law. The bill takes effect Nov. 1.

-HB 1293, by Rep. Glen Mulready and Sen. Clark Jolley, sets the insurance premium tax rate for all life insurance policies insuring the life of an employee or director for the benefit of the employer or a trust sponsored by the employer, which is purchased by the employer or trust sponsored by the employer for the benefit of its employees to be 2.25 percent policy year premium up to $100,000 and 0.10 percent policy year premium exceeding $100,000. The bill requires the Insurance Commission to promulgate necessary rules regarding the sale of all life insurance policies. The bill takes effect July 1.

-HB 2253, by Rep. Randy McDaniel and Sen. Dan Newberry, removes outdated language related to the definition of "wage" and "taxable wages." The bill defines the terms "assigned tax rate" and "earned tax rate." The bill requires any individual in training approved by the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission that fails to adequately attend classes or training sessions be disqualified from receiving benefits for each week the individual was scheduled to be in training. The bill requires eligibility for unemployment benefits applied for in any week following the weeks that are disqualified be determined by the application of provisions of law relating to availability for work, active work search, failure to apply for or a refusal to accept suitable work, and all other eligibility requirements. The bill permits an individual to voluntarily repay an overpayment with private funds. The bill requires the unemployment tax rate computed for or assigned to an employer be reduced by 2 percent for the time period beginning Jan. 1, 2017, and ending Dec. 31, 2026, except for employers assigned a tax rate pursuant to Title 40, Section 3-110.1 which cannot be reduced to less than 1 percent. The bill provides employers that qualify for an earned tax rate calculated pursuant to Title 40, Section 3-109 and are given the highest tax rate in the rate table for the given year cannot be eligible for the rate reduction. The bill clarifies language related to the unemployment tax rate and defines the term "at risk rule." The bill takes effect Nov. 1.

-HB 2549, by Rep. Doug Cox and Sen. Marty Quinn, modifies the definition of the term
"owner" in the Nursing Home Care Act. It requires the application for a license, or renewal thereof, to operate a facility be accompanied by a fee of $10 for each bed per year included in the maximum bed capacity at such facility, except that any facility operated by the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs be exempt from the fee. It requires all licenses be on a form prescribed by the State Commissioner of Health, which include, but not be limited to, the maximum bed capacity for which it is granted and the date the license was issued. The bill takes effect July 1.

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

-HB 2931, by Rep. Mark McCullough and Sen. Joseph Silk, modifies language related to safety plans for school districts. The bill renames the mandatory two lockdown drills to security drills and requires that school districts practice four security drills. It adds that one security drill is to be conducted within the first 15 days of each semester. It requires that school districts document all other safety drills in writing and by school site with a copy of the report remaining at the school, a copy filed with the distinct administrative office and a copy with the Oklahoma School Security Institute. The bill takes effect July 1.

-SB 687, by Sen. Anthony Sykes and Rep. David Derby, creates the Massage Therapy Practice Act. The bill prohibits a person who is not a licensed massage therapist from: using the title of massage therapist; represent himself or herself to be a massage therapist; use any other title, words, abbreviations, letters, figures, signs or devices that indicate the person is a massage therapist; utilize the terms "massage", "massage therapy" or "massage therapist" when advertising or printing promotional material. The bill adds a scope of practice for individuals practicing massage therapy under this Act. It also grants the State Board of Cosmetology and Barbering the authority to adopt and promulgate rules necessary to implement the Massage Therapy Practice Act. It authorizes the Board to perform investigations and establishes an Advisory Board of Massage Therapy to assist the board. The bill also establishes steps and fees for licensure. The bill also establishes disciplinary action against individuals who violate the provisions of the Act. The bill takes effect 90 days from when the Legislature adjourns sine die.

-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 in the custody of the Department of Corrections. The bill takes effect immediately.

-SB 1071, by Sen. Dan Newberry and Rep. Katie Henke, exempts a rental residence occupant who has no rental agreement with the landlord and with whom the landlord has not consented to creating a tenancy from the provisions of the Oklahoma Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. The bill grants a landlord the right to demand that such an occupant vacate the dwelling unit or the premises or both and provides the landlord will not be required to commence eviction proceedings. It provides that if the occupant wrongfully fails to comply within a reasonable time, the occupant will, upon conviction, be guilty of a trespass and may be punished by a fine not to exceed $500 or by confinement in the county jail for a period not to exceed 30 days or by both fine and imprisonment. The bill takes effect Nov. 1.

-SB 1083, by Sen. Dan Newberry and Rep. Jon Echols, modifies the use of the affidavit of exemption relating to workers' compensation insurance under the Roofing Contractor Registration Act. The bill requires the exemption to be used only for residential construction projects, while all commercial projects are required to cover all individuals performing work to be covered by workers' compensation insurance as employees of the person registered under the Roofing Contractor registration Act. The bill allows any day laborer with proof of workers' compensation insurance under a temporary labor agency to provide an affidavit from the agency. The bill prohibits any homeowner from being held liable for injury or death to any person who performs work under a contract with a person required by law to be registered under the Roofing Contractor Registration Act. The bill takes effect Nov. 1.

-SB 1227, by Sen. Clark Jolley and Rep. Dennis Johnson, increases fees for handling and processing rejected warrant items processed by the State Treasurer from $1 to $5 per item. The bill takes effect 90 days from when the Legislature adjourns sine die.

-SB 1388, by Sen. Kim David and Rep. Doug Cox, allows the Grand River Dam Authority to make reasonable regulations governing, and in the interest of defraying costs associated with the maintenance and policing of public lands administered by the district, prescribe reasonable fees for camping and the use of district facilities, and for the use of off-road and all-terrain vehicles on district lands. The bill allows the GRDA to create reasonable fees for camping and the use of off-road and all-terrain vehicles in order to offset the cost of the maintenance and policing of public lands administrated by the district. The bill also terminates the Scenic Rivers Commission. It transfers all functions, duties, assets, debts, property and employees of the Scenic Rivers Commission to the Grand River Dam Authority on or before July 1, 2016. It also authorizes the GRDA to implement an annual fee for use of flotation devices as well as the ability to promulgate rules establishing licensing requirements for commercial float operators. It prohibits any person from holding an office under the laws of the state and no deputy of any officer so holding any office, during the person's term of office, from holding any other office or be the deputy of any officer holding any office, under the laws of the state. The bill takes effect July 1.

-SB 1488, by Sen. Marty Quinn and Rep. Glen Mulready, modifies the requirements to be an accredited reinsurer as it relates to credit allowance and securities. It clarifies language related to accreditation and requires reinsurers to demonstrate financial capacity. The bill modifies terms of financial capacity and updates statutory references clarifying authority to approve credit for reinsurance. The bill modifies the terms of reporting and decreases the required surplus of trusts in certain cases. The bill establishes insurer requirements for certification and authorizes an association, including incorporated and individual unincorporated underwriters, to be a certified reinsurer. It establishes additional criteria for eligibility for certification. The bill requires the Insurance Commissioner to create and publish a list of qualified jurisdictions, under which an assuming insurer licensed and domiciled in such jurisdiction is eligible to be considered for certification by the Commissioner as a certified reinsurer. It provides a method for determination of qualified jurisdictions and requires a publication of a list for consideration by the Insurance Commissioner.

Thursday, May 12, 2015

• The Senate met briefly on Thursday morning and approved the following legislation:

-SB 1577, by Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman, would eliminate a tax rebate for economically at-risk wells for any oil and gas production occurring after 2014. The rebate was originally meant to help smaller producers continue to operate older, unprofitable wells. Passed 37-6.

• The Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget met immediately following the morning session where the following bills passed.

- SB 1583, by Sen. Brian Bingman and Rep. Jeff Hickman, modifies space in the State Capitol under management and control of Legislature. Passed 30-6.

-SB 1596 By Sen. Clark Jolley and Rep. Earl Sears, modifies positions in unclassified service for the Department of Labor. Passed 35-0.

-SB 1597, by Sen. Clark Jolley and Rep. Earl Sears, modifies positions in unclassified service for the Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry. Passed 30-5.

-SB 1598 By Sen. Clark Jolley and Rep. Earl Sears, modifies positions in unclassified service for the Commissioners of the Land Office. Passed 29-4.

-SB 1599 By Sen. Clark Jolley and Rep. Earl Sears, modifies positions in unclassified service for the Secretary of State. Passed 32-5.

-SB 1600 By Sen. Clark Jolley and Rep. Earl Sears, modifies positions in unclassified service for the Oklahoma Historical Society. Passed 34-1.

-SB 1601 By Sen. Clark Jolley and Rep. Earl Sears, modifies positions in unclassified service for the State Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors. Passed 32-4.

-SB 1602 By Sen. Clark Jolley and Rep. Earl Sears, modifies agency director qualifications for certain positions in state agencies. Passed 30-8.

-SB 1603 By Sen. Clark Jolley and Rep. Earl Sears, limits the time period during which certain income credit shall be allowed. Passed 29-4.

-SB 1604 By Sen. Clark Jolley and Rep. Earl Sears, limits the time period during which income tax credits are effective. Passed 31-6.

-SB 1605 By Sen. Clark Jolley and Rep. Earl Sears, prohibits using certain tax credits for certain entities providing child care services. Passed 28-7

-SB 1606 By Sen. Clark Jolley and Rep. Earl Sears, requires certain amounts deducted on federal returns be added to Oklahoma income under specified conditions. Passed 34-2.

Other News


• A statewide coalition working to raise Oklahoma's national position in childhood development was announced during a press conference Tuesday. The coalition, organized by the Potts Family Foundation (PFF) through a partnership with Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness (OPSR) and Oklahoma Business Roundtable, includes members from the private, public and nonprofit sectors, representing both local and national support. Its overall goal is to raise Oklahoma's standing in key early childhood development metrics from the bottom 25 percent of states to the top 25 states by 2025, or "25 By 25." The program seeks to invest in four keys areas:

• Supporting and expanding home-visitation programs with proven track record success, focusing on children and their parents.

• Providing public-private financial support for working families unable to find affordable high-quality child care services.

• Focusing greater efforts on vocabulary expansion, literacy and mathematics, in addition to strengthening emotional and social skills in children during their pre-kindergarten years.

• Ensuring children in Oklahoma have affordable access to mental and physical health care.

The initiative also has the support of 27 members of the Oklahoma legislature from both the House and Senate.


• Secretary of Finance, Administration and Information Technology Preston Doerflinger said Tuesday additional midyear reductions remain unlikely even though April's General Revenue Fund collections missed the estimate by double digits. Doerflinger also serves as the director of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services, where he is charged with deciding when and how deep current fiscal year budget cuts will be.

April GRF collections of $611 million were $89.4 million or 12.8 percent below the official estimate upon which the fiscal year 2016 appropriated state budget was based, and $62.3 million or 9.2 percent below prior year collections. Most state agencies have seen their monthly general revenue allocations for FY2016, the current fiscal year, reduced by 7.0 percent due to a midyear revenue failure. The reductions were required to maintain a balanced budget amid declining revenue collections caused by sustained low oil prices and are required by law. Total GRF collections for the first 10 months of FY 2016 were $4.3 billion, which is $413.2 million or 8.7 percent below the official estimate and $448.8 million or 9.4 percent below prior year collections.

According to Doerflinger's report, major tax categories in April contributed the following amounts to the GRF:

• Total income tax collections of $370.3 million were $48.4 million or 11.6 percent below the estimate and $42.7 million or 10.3 percent below the prior year. Individual income tax collections of $317.8 million were $71.1 million or 18.3 percent below the estimate and $69.7 million or 18 percent below the prior year. Corporate income tax collections of $52.5 million were $22.7 million or 76 percent above the estimate and $27.1 million or 106.2 percent above the prior year.

• Sales tax collections of $159.3 million were $17.7 million or 10 percent below the estimate and $5.2 million or 3.2 percent below the prior year.

• Gross production tax collections of $6.5 million were $11.5 million or 63.8 percent below the estimate and $2.4 million or 27.1 percent below the prior year. Natural gas collections of $6.3 million were $932,452 or 12.9 percent below the estimate and $6.1 million or 2,805 percent above the prior year. Oil collections of $223,615 were $10.5 million or 97.9 percent below the estimate and $8.5 million or 97.4 percent below the prior year.

• Motor vehicle tax collections of $16.6 million were $5.8 million or 25.9 percent below the estimate and $0.6 million or 3.2 percent below the prior year.

• Other revenue collections of $58.3 million were $5.9 million or 9.3 percent below the estimate and $11.4 million or 16.3 percent below the prior year.

• Oklahoma Secretary of State Chris Benge announced this week his office has completed the counting of signatures for State Question 779, Initiative Petition 403.

The measure would levy a one-cent sales tax to provide revenue that would be dedicated to public education and increasing teacher salaries. The secretary of state’s office counted a total of 301,518 signatures for the proposed state question.

Only 123,725 signatures were needed for the proposal, or an “Initiative for Constitutional Change,” to be put on the November 2016 ballot. That equates to 15 percent of 824,831, the total number of ballots cast in the 2014 gubernatorial election. As required by law, the secretary of state’s office sent a report on its findings to the Oklahoma Supreme Court. The Supreme Court will determine whether there are sufficient signatures to place the proposal on a ballot.