The Oklahoma Senate


Week In Review
Monday, May 23, to Thursday, May 27, 2016

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Senate approved the following bills on Monday:

-SB 1610, by Sen. Clark Jolley, Sen. Greg Treat, Rep. Dennis Casey and Rep. Earl Sears, increases a fee assessed to all traffic violations other than driving under the influence from $10 to $20, for misdemeanor cases from $15 to $30, for misdemeanor driving under the influence cases from $15 to $30, felony driving under the influence cases from $25 to $50, and for juvenile cases from $15 to $30. The bill passed 34 to 12 and its emergency clause passed 39 to 6.

-SB 1614, by Sen. Clark Jolley, Sen. Greg Treat, Rep. Dennis Casey and Rep. Earl Sears, limits the tax credit for production and purchase of coal for transactions occurring on or after Jan. 1, 2016, to 75 percent of the amount otherwise provided by statute. The bill passed 37 to 7 without debate or discussion.

-SB 1609, by Sen. Clark Jolley, Sen. Greg Treat, Rep. Dennis Casey and Rep. Earl Sears, allows a state agency to submit a request for repair or maintenance of a capital facility due to an emergency that has been declared. It allows the request to substitute the emergency project for any other project of the state agency on the approved current fiscal year's Capital Improvement Plan List. The bill requires the Director of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services to approve the project if there are funds available and information is submitted to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House. It also allows the Director to redirect funds within the Maintenance of State Buildings Revolving Fund for emergency projects. The bill and its emergency clause passed 34 to 11.

Conference committee reports for the following House bills were adopted and the bills passed, clearing their way to go to Gov. Mary Fallin's desk for her consideration:

-HB 2398, by Rep. Scott Biggs and Sen. A J Griffin, creates the Justice for JW Act of 2016. It modifies the definition of force in all instances of sexual assault to mean any force, no matter how slight, necessary to accomplish the act without consent of the victim. It also adds that force is not always physical and can include fear, fright or coercion. The bill requests and authorizes the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to proceed to prescribe, institute and publish within 10 days of the effective date of this act a uniform instruction to be given in jury trials of criminal cases that defines the term "force" consistent with the definition provided. The bill also adds sodomy committed upon a person who is unconscious or intoxicated by a narcotic or anesthetic agent by or with the privity of the accused to the list of acts considered as forcible sodomy. The bill and its emergency clause passed 39 to 5.

-HB 2821, by Rep. Lee Denney and Sen. Brian Crain, creates the Achieving a Better Life Experience Program. It defines applicable terms and provides that the program's co-trustees will be the Department of Human Services director, the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services director and the State Treasurer. The bill establishes the Achieving a Better Life Experience Program Committee to administer the program and establishes membership requirements. The bill establishes the duties and responsibilities of the committee. The bill establishes policies and procedures concerning Achieving a Better Life Experience accounts. The bill passed 45 to 0.

-HB 3164, by Rep. Jeff Hickman, Rep. Randy McDaniel and Sen. Dan Newberry, requires the unemployment benefits based on services by a seasonal worker performed in seasonal employment be payable only for weeks of unemployment that occur during the normal seasonal work period. It creates a procedure for seasonal workers. It allows for benefits only in certain periods for seasonal workers. It requires employers to apply for designation as a seasonal employer. It establishes a procedure for determination of status and appeal for status. It requires notice of provisions of seasonal employment to seasonal employers within a provided time frame. It authorizes the termination of said status. It defines terms used therein. It outlines regulations for franchise employer and employee relationships. The bill passed 43 to 1.

Conference committee reports for the following Senate bills were adopted Monday and the bills passed:

-SB 424, by Sen. Brian Crain and Rep. Cory T. Williams, permits a licensed beer brewer to sell beer produced by the licensee to consumers 21 years of age or older on the premises of the brewery. The bill and its emergency clause passed 42 to 3.

-SB 902, by Sen. Patrick Anderson and Rep. John Enns, permits only a person who is a citizen or legal resident of or legally present in the United States of America to be eligible to be appointed by a court guardian of the property or person of a minor or an incapacitated or partially incapacitated person unless the court determines that there are no such qualified individuals available to serve as guardian and that it is in the best interest of the minor or incapacitated or partially incapacitated person to appoint a person without such qualifications. The bill passed 43 to 1.

-SB 1164, by Sen. AJ Griffin and Rep. Dan Kirby, modifies language regarding concussion education through the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association. The bill requires coaches and officials to undergo yearly training. The bill requires an athlete showing signs of a concussion to be removed from practice or competition. The bill establishes penalties for violations. The bill requires concussion information sheets to be provided to the parent or guardian of the athlete created by the State Department of Health. The bill passed 34 to 8.

-SB 1211, by Sen. AJ Griffin and Rep. Josh Cockroft, modifies requirements of advisory committees appointed by the Department of Human Services to include the utilization of subcommittees to make recommendations of best practices in licensing standards for child care centers, family child care homes, residential child care facilities and group homes. The bill passed 44 to 0.

-SB 1329, by Sen. John Ford and Rep. Travis Dunlap, provides that nothing in the Oklahoma Uniform Building Code or any building code adopted by any political subdivision of this state, or any rules or regulations promulgated thereto, will prohibit any Fire Marshal, or any state agency or political subdivision of this state or its officials, from allowing a church that is occupancy-rated an A3 building pursuant to the International Building Code to utilize its building space for temporary overnight visitors for the purpose of religious retreats, ministry programs, overnight or lock-in events, emergency or catastrophic occurrences, to shelter transient persons or to accommodate displaced persons due to hardship or inclement weather. It states that such building use will not constitute a change in code occupancy rating, purposes or activities and will only allow for temporary overnight visitor space, unless the Governor has declared a state emergency or exigent circumstances exist. It prohibits a church under these provisions from being charged for its accommodations or be deemed bed and breakfast, hotel or motel any code occupancy rating purposes. It imposes limits on the number of days a family may be housed at such a facility. The bill also defines related terms. The bill passed 44 to 0.
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-SJR 68, by Sen. Clark Jolley and Rep. Glen Mulready, proposes a vote of the people on a constitution amendment that enacts new sections and repeals Sections 1, 1.A, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 of Article 28 of the Oklahoma Constitution. It establishes that alcoholic beverages would be governed by the new article and other laws. It would require the Legislature to enact laws to regulate alcoholic beverages. It would prohibit common ownership between tiers of the alcoholic beverage business with some exceptions. It would apply some restrictions to manufacturers, brewers, winemakers and wholesalers. It would prohibit direct shipments to consumers unless direct shipments of wine are authorized by law, subject to limitations. It specifies certain retail licenses and allows the Legislature to prescribe other licenses. It would permit the sales of wine and beer would at certain licensed retail outlets. It would permit licensees to sell refrigerated or non-refrigerated products, and retail spirits licensees would be permitted to sell products other than alcoholic beverages in a limited amount. It permits the Legislature by law to designate days and hours during which alcoholic beverages could be sold, and would impose taxes on sales. It specifies certain restrictions relating to the involvement of the state and political subdivisions and public employees. It would permit municipalities to levy an occupation tax. It permits from the date of adoption by the voters until Oct. 1, 2018, brewers to continue to obtain and operate up to two low-point beer brewery-owned branches pursuant to the existing low-point beer laws pertaining to the distribution of low-point beer by brewery-owned branches. The remainder of the amendment's provisions would take effect Oct. 1, 2018.

-The Senate also adopted SR 85, by Sen. Anastasia Pittman, congratulates Carl Holmes as the recipient of the 2016 Congressional Fire Services Institute/Motorola Solutions Mason Lankford Fire Service Leadership Award.

-JCR to HB 3218, by Rep. Dennis Ray Casey, Rep. Earl Sears, Sen. Clark Jolley,
and Sen. Greg Treat, modifies Oklahoma's testing program. The bill requires an alternative method of providing assessments, such as print assessments, if the State Board of Education elects to administer testing electronically. The bill directs the Board of Education to adopt a statewide system of student assessments in compliance with ESSA by December 31, 2016. It requires alignment of the testing program with Oklahoma Academic Standards and directs the Board of Education to issue a request for proposal for the selection of assessments to students in grades three through twelve. The bill directs that the adopted assessments be administered by the board for a period that is in coordination with the six-year subject area textbook adoption cycle unless the vendor does not fulfill the terms of the contract or fails to comply with or violates the terms of the contract. It directs the board to administer the assessments beginning with the 2017-2018 school year. It requires the statewide student assessment system adopted by the Board to be: aligned with Oklahoma subject matter standards, provide a measure of comparability among other states, yield both norm-referenced scores and criterion-referenced scores, have a track record of statistical reliability and accuracy. It also requires that for high school, assessments must provide a measure of future academic performance. It directs the board to administer assessments in English Language Arts or Reading and Math in grades three through eight and at least once in high school during the grade span of ninth through twelfth for the 2016-2017 school year; in science not less than once during each grade span of three through five, six to nine and tenth through twelfth; and in United States History not less than once during the grade span of ninth through twelfth. It requires the statewide student assessment system to include assessments in English Language Arts and Mathematics in grades three through eight and at least once in high school; in science not less than once during each grade span of three through five, six to nine, and ten through twelve; and in United States History not less than once during the grade span of nine through twelve. It allows the board to adopt an assessment system that may include assessments in reading and writing in certain grades as determined by the board. It adds that the board may also adopt, contingent upon the availability of funds, an additional nationally recognized college-and-career reading assessment or assessments as recommended by the State Department of Education, which will be administered to students in high school at no cost to the student. The bill and its emergency clause passed by a vote of 95 to 1.

-CCR to HB 2267, 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 bill passed 86 to 7.

-CCR to HB 2553, by Rep. Harold Wright and Sen. Don Barrington, modifies the definition of relocation permit as it relates to outdoor advertising and highway advertising controls. The bill passed 93 to 0.

-CCR to HB 3103, by Rep. Chad Caldwell and Sen. A J Griffin, allows the vacancy of a district board of education to be filled by appointment of the board if there is a vacancy and no candidate has filed to fill the position. The bill requires preference to be given to members of the district. The bill passed 61 to 29.

-CCR to HB 3160, by Rep. Jeff Hickman and Sen. A J 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 passed 72 to 18.

-JCR to HB 3219, by Rep. Dennis Casey, Rep. Earl Sears, Sen. Clark Jolley, and Sen. Greg Treat, permits funds from the Oklahoma Court Information System Revolving Fund to be used for the operational expenses of any court which is subject to the authority of the Administrative Director of the Courts. It requires the Office of Management and Enterprise Services, until June 30, 2017, to transfer from the Oklahoma Court Information System Revolving Fund to the District Court Interagency Reimbursement Fund an amount that the Administrative Director of the Courts, with the approval of the Supreme Court Chief Justice deems appropriate and necessary to perform the duties of the district courts. The bill and emergency clause passed 78 to 9.

-JCR to HB 3220, by Rep. Dennis Casey, Rep. Earl Sears, Sen. Clark Jolley, and Sen. Greg Treat, increases the alternative dispute mediation fee from $2 to $7. It also requires court clerks to assess a 15 percent administrative fee on all fees collected for agencies other than the court and not deposited into the court fund. The bill creates the District Court Revolving to receive deposits of the administrative fee to be used to fund the duties of the district courts. The bill increases the filing fee for a divorce, alimony without divorce, separate maintenance, custody or support from $143 to $183.

-HB 1116, by Rep. Bobby Cleveland and Sen. Robert Standridge, authorizes the Department of Corrections to negotiate and enter a water purchase agreement and execute necessary easements with a public nonprofit rural water district organized under the Rural Water, Sewer, Gas and Solid Waste Management Districts Act for purposes of selling at cost groundwater found beneath real property owned by the department on which the Lexington Assessment and Reception Center and the Joseph Harp Correctional Center are located, and for granting permission to the department to amend the groundwater use permit from the Oklahoma Water Resources Board to allow for use as a public water supply. The bill provides that the term of the water purchase agreement and easement cannot be for not less than forty 40 years from the first date of delivery of water and as long as the groundwater is being put to a beneficial use. The bill also clarifies that DOC will have a right of usage in any contract it enters into.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


The Senate gave its approval Tuesday to the following measures:
-HB 3208, by Rep. Dennis Casey, Rep. Earl Sears, Sen. Clark Jolley and Sen. Greg Treat, levies a $5 fee on every vehicle registered from July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2017, in addition to all over vehicle registration fees. The bill requires the first $5.5 million collected from vehicle registrations in FY2017 to be deposited in the Oklahoma Tax Commission Revolving Fund and the first $2.0 million collected from vehicle registrations in FY2018 to be deposited in the Oklahoma Tax Commission Revolving Fund. The bill calls for a general reissue of license plates to begin Jan. 1. 2017. The bill changes the title of the "Administrator of the Oklahoma Tax Commission" to the "Executive Director of the Oklahoma Tax Commission."

-HB 3205, by Rep. Dennis Casey, Rep. Earl Sears, Sen. Clark Jolley and Sen. Greg Treat, modifies language related to the refund of sales and use tax payments erroneously made. The bill permits any taxpayer who erroneously has paid sales or use tax to file with the Tax Commission within two years from the date of the payment a verified claim for refund of the tax erroneously paid. The bill permits the commission to accept amended sales or use tax reports or returns as a verified claim for refund if the amended report or return establishes a liability less than the original report or return previously filed. The bill passed 44 to 0.

Conference committee reports for the following House bills were adopted by the Senate without debate, the bills passed and will be sent to the governor’s desk:

-CCR for HB 1065, by Rep. Jadine Nollan and Sen. Gary Stanislawski, changes the date when employee information worksheets are to be provided to teachers and administrators from September to November. The bill passed 44 to 0. -CCR for HB 1116, by Rep. Bobby Cleveland and Sen. Robert Standridge, authorizes the Department of Corrections to negotiate and enter a water purchase agreement and execute necessary easements with a public nonprofit rural water district organized under the Rural Water, Sewer, Gas and Solid Waste Management Districts Act for purposes of selling at cost groundwater found beneath real property owned by the department on which the Lexington Assessment and Reception Center and the Joseph Harp Correctional Center are located, and for granting permission to the department to amend the groundwater use permit from the Oklahoma
Water Resources Board to allow for use as a public water supply. The bill provides that the term of the water purchase agreement and easement cannot be for not less than forty 40 years from the first date of delivery of water and as long as the groundwater is being put to a beneficial use. The bill also clarifies that DOC will have a right of usage in any contract it enters into. The bill passed 36 to 8.

-CCR for HB 2249, by Rep. Brian Renegar and Sen. J.J. Dossett, makes it unlawful for any person to tear down, damage or remove any traffic-control devices or barricades or drive any vehicle through, under, over or around the traffic-control devices or barricades, or otherwise to enter the closed area when any highway or county road has been closed to traffic due to flooding and traffic-control devices or barricades have been erected. The bill makes the violation a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $100 or a fine of not less than $100 and imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year if the vehicle operator was transporting a person 18 years of age or younger at the time of the violation. It requires those convicted to be ordered to pay restitution in an amount equal to the actual costs of the emergency response and repair or replacement of any damaged or lost emergency equipment. It also makes the vehicle operator liable for any damage to property or injury or death caused by the violation. The bill passed 34 to 9.

-CCR for HB 2261, by Rep. Chuck Hoskin and Sen. John Sparks, clarifies statutory language in the American Indian Arts and Crafts Sales Act of 1974, by defining American Indian tribe as any tribe federally recognized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs of the United States Department of the Interior. The bill passed 35 to 9.

-CCR for HB 2273, by Rep. Randy McDaniel, R-Edmond, and Sen. Jason Smalley, R-Stroud, clarifies language related to base salary for members of the Oklahoma Police Pension and Retirement System. The bill also provides that members' final average salary for purposes of the normal disability benefit will be based on the member's total service if less than 30 months. The bill and its emergency clause passed 44 to 0.
-CCR for HB 2646, by Rep. Kevin Wallace and Sen. Don Barrington, 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 bill passed 44 to 0.

-CCR for HB 2763, by Rep. John Montgomery and Sen. David Holt, creates the Oklahoma Energy Revenues Stabilization Act, which requires the revenues from the gross production tax on oil and gas above a moving five-year average, in addition to revenue from corporate income tax above a five-year average, be deposited into a revolving fund to be known as the Energy Stabilization Fund. It requires the fund to be invested in a manner prescribed by the State Treasurer with the primary intent of generating returns, with all investment returns from the Energy Stabilization Fund to accrue to the balance of the fund. It provides that in the event that Energy Stabilization Fund should grow to a value equal to 75 percent of the February projection of gross production tax on oil and gas, all monies above the 75 percent level to be deposited to the credit of the General Revenue Fund for appropriation in the current fiscal year. The bill outlines legislative findings. It authorizes the State Treasurer to contract with a third-party firm for the purpose of consultation and assessment of the State of Oklahoma's oil and gas tax revenues and determining the best strategy for acquiring financial positions which may benefit the state. It directs the Treasurer to create a Revenue Protection Strategy for the next fiscal year. The bill directs the Tax Commission to report to the State Treasurer the projected level of revenue that will be reported to the Board of Equalization at its December meeting. It adds that this projection shall be reported between five10 days before the December meeting of the Board of Equalization. The bill also creates the Board on Revenue Stabilization and provides for membership. It requires the board to meet within 48 hours of the December Board of Equalization revenue certification and directs the Treasurer to report to the board findings from a third-party consultation. The bill requires the board to provide the Revenue Protection Strategy to meet the requirement of this act. The bill passed 42 to 2.

-CCR for 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. The bill passed 42 to 1.


The Senate also adopted conference committee reports for the following Senate bills and gave them passing votes:

-CCR for SB 1185, by Sen. Kim David and Rep. David Derby, modifies the definition of weapons under the Oklahoma Self-defense Act. The bill clarifies that except for an act of self-defense it is unlawful to point a firearm at another person. It establishes additional exemptions. The bill defines the term "defensive force" and provides that a person pointing a weapon at a perpetrator in self-defense or in order to thwart, stop or deter a forcible felony or attempted forcible felony will not be deemed guilty of committing a criminal act. The bill authorizes a person 21 years of age and on active military duty, National Guard duty or regular military reserve duty or who has been honorably discharged from military service and presents a valid military identification card in lieu of a handgun license to carry a concealed or unconcealed handgun. The bill clarifies language related to the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training and exemptions it may provide.

-CCR for 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 bill passed 44 to 0.

The Senate Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget began the process Tuesday of implementing a fiscal year 2017 budget agreement reached earlier.

-SB 1616, by Sen. Clark Jolley, Sen. Greg Treat, Rep. Dennis Casey and Rep. Earl Sears, appropriates $6.8 billion to state agencies, boards and commissions. The general appropriations bill, a committee substitute, received a do pass recommendation from the committee on a 29 to 11 vote. Both Democrats and Republicans, including Mazzei, voted against the do pass motion.

-CS for SB 1584, by Sen. Clark Jolley, Sen. Greg Treat, Rep. Dennis Casey and Rep. Earl Sears, appropriates $68.9 million from the Constitutional Reserve Fund (Rainy Day Fund) to the State Department of Education for FY2017. The bill establishes spending limits.

-CS for SB 1592, by Sen. Clark Jolley, Sen. Greg Treat, Rep. Dennis Casey and Rep. Earl Sears, transfers all powers, duties and responsibilities of the Oklahoma Council on Firefighter Training to the office of the State Fire Marshal.

-SB 1612, by Sen. Clark Jolley, Sen. Greg Treat, Rep. Dennis Casey and Rep. Earl Sears, modifies the income tax credit for investment in clean-burning motor vehicle fuel property. It caps the credit for tax years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2017, and ending on or before Dec. 31, 2019, at $6.0 million. It requires the Tax Commission to calculate and publish a percentage by which the credits will be reduced. It requires the commission to permit any excess to factor the excess into the percentage adjustment for subsequent years. It limits the credits for tax years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2017, to be 75 percent of the amount normally provided.

-CS for SB 1618, by Sen. Clark Jolley, Sen. Greg Treat, Rep. Dennis Casey and Rep. Earl Sears, modifies the Board of Equalization's calculation for determining when the individual income tax rate can be reduced from 5.0 percent to 4.85 percent.

-CS for HB3221, by Sen. Clark Jolley, Sen. Greg Treat, Rep. Dennis Casey and Rep. Earl Sears, sets the Oklahoma Corporation Commission's Public Utility Division FY2017 budget limit at $7.5 million. It also set commission's FY2017 budget limit to fulfill the duties assigned by the Nonconsensual Towing Act of 2011 at $143,000.

-CS for HB 3231, by Sen. Clark Jolley, Sen. Greg Treat, Rep. Dennis Casey and Rep. Earl Sears, authorizes the Oklahoma Capitol Improvement Authority to issue $200 million in bonds to finance specific Department of Transportation projects. The bill lists the specific projects.

The House General Conference Committee on Appropriations considered three pieces of legislation.

-CCR to SB 359, by Sen. Corey Brooks and Rep. Ken Walker, prohibits a Sheriff's office from collecting administrative fees for citations dismissed without cost for vehicles cited for failing to comply with Compulsory Insurance Law. The bill requires 95 percent compliance before the provisions of the bill take effect. The bill allows the Sheriff's office to charge a storage fee of $20.

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

-CCR to SB 1499, by Sen. Rob Standridge and Rep. Doug Cox, requires the College of Pharmacy at Southwestern Oklahoma State University to analyze the effectiveness of the anti-abuse properties of anti-abuse formulated opioids. It also requires the College of Pharmacy to analyze the discrepancies between insurance coverage for the anti-abuse formulated prescription opioids and coverage for prescription opioids without abuse deterrent properties.

Governor Mary Fallin signed 14 bills Tuesday, including:
-HB 3126, by Rep. Josh Cockroft and Sen. Jason Smalley, creates the Oklahoma 9-1-1 Management Authority Act and defines related terms. The bill establishes the Oklahoma 9-1-1 Management Authority for the purpose of overseeing the development and regulation of 9-1-1 emergency systems in this state and managing the distribution of all 9-1-1 telephone fees. The bill establishes the membership of the authority and provides guidance for filling vacancies. The bill prohibits compensation for members and establishes processes for designating a chair and meetings. The bill outlines the duties and powers of the Authority including the authority to request the Tax Commission escrow the wireless fees attributable to the public agencies which have not submitted a master plan or which have not complied with the terms of a master plan approved by the authority. The bill directs the Office of Management and Enterprise Services to promulgate rules. It also repeals statutory language related to the Nine-One-One Wireless Emergency Number Act. The bill takes effect Jan. 1, 2017.

-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. The bill takes effect July 1.
-HB 2946, by Rep. Katie Henke and Sen. Jason Smalley, requires the State Board of Education
to promulgate rules establishing a process by which 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. The bill takes effect July 1.

-HB 2967, 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 bill takes effect July 1.

-HB 3204, by Rep. Dennis Casey, Rep. Earl Sears, Sen. Clark Jolley and Sen. Greg Treat, reduces by 25 percent the tax credit for certain railroad rehabilitation expenditures for any taxable year which begins on or after Jan. 1, 2016. The bill exempts tax credits carried forward from any tax year which began prior to Jan. 1, 2016. The bill takes effect Jan. 1, 2017.

-SB 1016, by Sen. David Holt and Rep. Gary Banz, requires a voter registration applicant to affirmatively consent to the use of his or her driver license or identification card record and signature for voter registration purposes. The bill requires the State Election Board Secretary to compare the information in the record of the applicant's driver license or identification card of the Department of Public Safety with the information submitted on the application and ensures that the information on the application substantially matches the information in the driver license or identification card record. It requires that the digital signature contained in the driver license or identification card record of the applicant be obtained from the Department of Public Safety and included on the application and the application be processed as provided by law if the Secretary finds that the application is in compliance with the act and all applicable laws relating to voter registration. The bill took effect immediately.

-SB 1496, by Sen. Dan Newberry and Rep. Randy McDaniel, modifies definitions related to engineers and their duties. It also modifies the duties of Land surveyor interns. The bill defines the terms "related science degree" and "authoritative." It modifies language related to board members, powers of the board, expenditures, annual reports, rosters, qualifications for licensure, applications, examinations and certificates of the State Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors. It allows the State Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors to give scholarships to individuals advancing toward obtaining an accredited degree in engineering or land surveying. The bill allows the Board to contract with other state agencies and nonprofit corporation for the endowment, management and administration of the scholarships. The bill allows the requirements of the scholarships to be determined by the board. It allows the Board to use its funds to conduct instructional programs for people currently licensed to practice engineering or land surveying. The bill requires all employees of the board to be considered unclassified service. The bill modifies the minimum requirement in order to be a licensed land surveyor. The bill modifies terms of licenses for engineers and land surveyors. It requires all firms applying for a certificate of authorization to designate a managing agent. It outlines the goals and requirements in hiring a managing agent. It requires all firms authorized to offer or perform professional land surveying services in Oklahoma to have a full-time professional land surveyor physically present at each office to be in charge of and in direct control and supervision of the work. It provides exemptions for agents of a purchaser of land surveying services. It establishes powers and authority of the Construction Industries Board in relation to the legislation. It repeals language relating to the qualification for licensure or certification.

-SB1579, by Sen. Clark Jolley, Sen Greg Treat, Rep. Dennis Casey and Rep. Earl Sears, directs the Oklahoma Tax Commission to enhance agency efforts to discover and reduce fraud and abuse of sales and use tax exemptions and the non-filing and underreporting of sales and use taxes due and owing. The bill requires the efforts include enhanced sales and use tax auditing with technology systems designed to identify underreporting of sales and use taxes and the electronic reporting of information of exempt sales by vendors. It also directs the commission to increase its audit staff to conduct audits of individual, corporate and partnership income tax returns. It permits the commission to utilize its increased staff to audit and issue proposed assessments against non-filing and underreporting taxpayers detected through the use of enhanced technology. It also directs the commission to enhance agency efforts to ensure the proper reporting and collection of gross production taxes, including the use of enhanced technology to ensure that all production is accurately reported and the auditing of claims for refunds or rebates to verify the accuracy of the claims filed. The bill takes effect Nov. 1.

-SB 1582, by Sen. Clark Jolley, Sen Greg Treat, Rep. Dennis Casey and Rep. Earl Sears, establishes a formula for calculating the value of income tax credits for investment in depreciable property or net increase in employees for tax years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2016, and ending on or before Dec. 31, 2018. It provides for tax years, beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2016, and ending on or before Dec.31, 2018, the total amount of credits be adjusted annually to limit the annual amount of credits to $25 million. It requires the Tax Commission to annually calculate and publish a percentage by which the credits authorized will be reduced so the total amount of credits used to offset tax does not exceed $25 million per year. It establishes that the formula will be $25 million divided by the credits used to offset tax in the second preceding year. The bill allows the commission to permit any excess over $25 million and requires the commission to factor the excess into the percentage adjustment formula for subsequent years when the credits exceed $25 million in any calendar year. The bill takes effect Nov. 1.

-SB 1596, Sen. Clark Jolley, Sen Greg Treat, Rep. Dennis Casey and Rep. Earl Sears, adds the following Department of Labor positions to the unclassified service: one Administrative Programs Officer, one Industrial Hygienist Supervisor, and one Public Information Officer. The bill takes effect July 1.

-SB 1598, by Sen. Clark Jolley, Sen Greg Treat, Rep. Dennis Casey and Rep. Earl Sears unclassified service: Director of Oil and Gas Division, and Financial Manager/Comptroller. The bill takes effect July 1.

-SB 1599, by Sen. Clark Jolley, Sen Greg Treat, Rep. Dennis Casey and Rep. Earl Sears, makes all positions of the Office of the Secretary of State subject to the Merit System of Personnel Administration, except for the following positions which will unclassified: Secretary of State; Assistant Secretary of State; Chief Financial Officer; Deputy Assistant of Native American Affairs; and one executive secretary. The bill takes effect 90 days after sine die.

-SB 1605, by Sen. Clark Jolley, Sen Greg Treat, Rep. Dennis Casey and Rep. Earl Sears, sunsets the tax credits for qualifying entities providing child care services with the tax year that began Jan. 1, 2016. The bill takes effect Nov. 1.

-SB 1606, by Sen. Clark Jolley, Sen Greg Treat, Rep. Dennis Casey and Rep. Earl Sears, eliminates the "double deduction." The bill increases taxable income for tax years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2016, by the amount of state and local sales or income taxes deducted under 26 U.S.C., Section 164 of the Internal Revenue Code. It requires that taxable income on the state return be increased only by the amount actually deducted after any such limitations are applied if the amount of state and local taxes deducted on the federal return is limited. The bill takes effect Nov. 1.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Senate approved several measures during a lengthy session on Wednesday, including:

-Conference committee reports for the following House members were adopted and the bills approved:

-HB 1654, by Rep. Kevin Wallace and Sen. Wayne Shaw, makes it unlawful for any person through wanton disregard, carelessness or neglect to cause or allow any edible meat of a game bird, game mammal or game fish to go to waste, except when the meat is not fit for human consumption due to gunshot, injury or disease or if the wildlife specimen is being prepared for taxidermy. The bill defines applicable terms. The bill and its emergency clause passed 42 to 0.

-HB 2319, by Rep. Ben Loring and Sen. Ralph Shortey, clarifies jurisdictional boundaries for Bureau of Indian Affairs law enforcement officers or tribal law enforcement officers to have state police powers in Indian country, defined by United States Code. The bill restores stricken language and also extends jurisdiction to tribally-owned fee land. The bill passed 31 to 14.

-HB 2553, by Rep. Harold Wright and Sen. Don Barrington, modifies the definition of relocation permit as it relates to outdoor advertising and highway advertising controls. The bill passed 46 to 0.

-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 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 its 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. It requires the AG's Office to provide for means to verify that a viewer indeed observed the full online presentation, such as a quiz on its content to be answered at the end of the presentation or other methods commonly employed in association with continuing medical education. It requires the AG's Office to provide to each viewer who complies with such verification a dated certification that the viewer completed the online training. The bill requires that the time required for observation of this presentation count as part of, rather than being in addition to, continuing education otherwise required for licensed health care providers. It requires the AG's Office to make the current online presentation available on the its website and shall inform all Oklahoma inpatient health care services entities of its availability and how to access it online on said website. It provides requirements for said online presentation. It provides for inpatient health care services entities. It transfers enforcement from the Board of Medical Licensure to the Office of the Attorney General to establish a standard form for physician orders for life-sustaining treatment that adhere to a particular set of directions, sequence and wording.

-HB 3103, by Rep. Chad Caldwell and Sen. A J Griffin, allows the vacancy of a district board of education to be filled by appointment of the board if there is a vacancy and no candidate has filed to fill the position. The bill requires preference to be given to members of the district. The bill passed 37 to 9.

-HB 3119, by Rep. Scott Martin and Sen. Wayne Shaw, permits a judge to waive the requirements that an offender who has successfully completed the drug court program pay costs and fee prior to obtaining a provisional drivers’ license. The bill passed 44 to 0.

-Conference committee reports for the following Senate bills were adopted and the bills passed:

-SB 1070, by Sen. Ron Sharp and Rep. Josh Cockroft, provides that a law enforcement agency shall not be liable for the actions of a peace officer commissioned by the agency when such officer is providing services as a third party transporting mental health patients outside his or her primary employment as a peace officer. The bill passed 28 to 17.

-SB 1202, by Sen. Kim David and Rep. Scott Biggs, modifies the member requirements for appointees to the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training. It also requires, beginning Jan. 1, 2017, and each year thereafter, every active reserve peace officer, certified by CLEET pursuant to attend and complete a minimum of eight hours of continuing law enforcement training accredited or provided by CLEET which must include a mandatory one hour on mental health issues. It requires all certified, active peace officers employed, commissioned or appointed for a period of 90 days in a calendar year, who become inactive prior to the end of a calendar year, to meet mandatory continuing education requirements upon return to active peace officer status within 60 days of the date of return to employment, commission or appointment. It provides that failure to complete the mandatory continuing education within 60 days may result in disciplinary action as set forth in CLEET Rules. It requires full-time certified peace officers who return to active status within the calendar year they become inactive to complete the annual mandatory continuing education requirements within the remaining portion of the calendar year. The bill authorizes CLEET to assess a charge not to exceed $20 per day to any Oklahoma Law Enforcement Agency for payment of breakfast and lunch expenses, incurred by CLEET, during the training of agency peace officers. It provides that failure to timely pay these charges will preclude future participation of any employee of the law enforcement agency in the CLEET Basic Academy. It requires revenue from the charge to be deposited in the Peace Officer Revolving Fund. The bill and its emergency clause passed 45 to 0.

-SB 1156, by Sen. Nathan Dahm and Rep. Josh Cockroft, clarifies language related to the Commission on County Government Personnel Education and Training. It eliminates the requirement for the county clerk to microfilm certain records and requires reproduction and storage be done using any generally accepted current technology which will ensure safe documentation and accessibility of public records. The bill requires the report of any audit by the State Auditor and Inspector of any county officer, board or commission to be posted on the county website and the State Auditor and Inspector's website. The bill clarifies language related to the use of land parcel identifier numbers. It removes the requirement that county officer candidate campaign committee statement of organization filings be notarized.

-SB 1499, by Sen. Rob Standridge and Rep. Doug Cox, requires the College of Pharmacy at Southwestern Oklahoma State University to analyze the effectiveness of the anti-abuse properties of anti-abuse formulated opioids. It also requires the College of Pharmacy to analyze the discrepancies between insurance coverage for the anti-abuse formulated prescription opioids and coverage for prescription opioids without abuse deterrent properties. The bill passed 44 to 0.

-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 bill and its emergency clause passed 39 to 6.

The Senate gave its approval Wednesday to the fiscal year 2017 general appropriations bill but not until after more than two hours of questions and more than an hour of debate on the proposal. A series of related budget bills also won the chamber's approval Wednesday.

-SB 1616, by Sen. Clark Jolley, Sen. Greg Treat, Rep. Dennis Casey, and Rep. Earl Sears, appropriates $6.8 billion to state agencies, boards and commissions. The bill's joint committee report was adopted by unanimous consent and the bill passed 30 to 16. With its passage Wednesday, the bill now moves to the House, where it cannot be considered until Friday, the last day of the legislative session.

-SB 1577, by Sen. Brian Bingman and Rep. Jeff Hickman, modifies the definition of "economically at-risk oil or gas lease" to mean, beginning on and after Jan. 1, 2015, to mean any oil or gas lease with one or more producing wells with an average production volume per well of 10 barrels of oil or 60 MCF of natural gas per day or less operated at a net loss or at a net profit which is less than the total gross production tax remitted for the lease during the previous calendar year.

The bill requires the refund to be claimed before July 1 of the year following the production for production in calendar year 2016 and each year thereafter. It prohibits the Tax Commission from accepting or paying any claim for a refund filed on or after July 1 of the year following the year of production. The bill limits the total amount of refunds to $12.5 million annually for oil and natural gas produced from qualifying leases in calendar years 2015 to 2020. It requires the Tax Commission to determine, if the amount of claims exceeds $12.5 million the percent of the refund which establishes the proportionate share that may be claimed by any taxpayers so that the cap is not exceeded. The bill modifies the application and approval procedures for claiming the credit. The original version of the bill that passed the Senate had eliminated the credit completely but it was amended in the House. House amendments to the bill were adopted and the bill and its emergency clause passed 45 to 2. The measure now goes to Gov. Mary Fallin for her consideration.

The following budget-related bills also had their joint committee reports adopted and were passed:

-SB 1584, by Sen. Clark Jolley, Sen. Greg Treat, Rep. Dennis Casey and Rep. Earl Sears, appropriates $65.9 million from the Constitutional Reserve Fund (Rainy Day Fund) to the State Department of Education for FY2017. The bill establishes spending limits. The bill and its emergency clause passed 39 to 8.

-SB 1592, by Sen. Clark Jolley, Sen. Greg Treat, Rep. Dennis Casey and Rep. Earl Sears, transfers all powers, duties and responsibilities of the Oklahoma Council on Firefighter Training to the office of the State Fire Marshal. The bill and its emergency clause passed 39 to 8.

-SB 1597, by Sen. Clark Jolley, Sen. Greg Treat, Rep. Dennis Casey and Rep. Earl Sears, adds the following Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry positions to the unclassified service: one Professional Engineer in place of a Water Quality Consumer Complaint Coordinator and Pet Breeder Inspectors in place of the Public Information Office Director, Professional Foresters, Forestry Education Coordinator, Forest Data Analyst, Executive Secretary to Chief Agent, and Executive Secretary of State Forester. The bill and its emergency clause passed 44 to 2.

-SB 1607, by Sen. Brian Bingman and Rep. Jeff Hickman, exempts an entity with which either the University (of Oklahoma) Hospital Trust or the Oklahoma State University Medical Trust enters into a joint venture or acquires an interest in a not-for-profit entity to effectuate the administration of the mission of the trusts from the Oklahoma Open Meeting Act and the Oklahoma Open Records Act. It makes confidential any information submitted to or compiled by the Trust with respect to marketing plans, financial statements, trade secrets, research concepts, methods or products or any other proprietary information submitted to or compiled by the trusts, persons, firms, associations, partnerships, agencies, corporations, institutions of higher education, nonprofit research institutions or other entities, except to the extent that the person or entity which provided the information or which is the subject of the information consents to disclosure. The bill permits executive sessions to be held to discuss such materials if deemed necessary by the trusts. It provides that the bill's provisions do not apply to budgetary information related to appropriations or the appropriations process. The bill and its emergency clause passed 47 to 0.

-SB 1612, by Sen. Clark Jolley, Sen. Greg Treat, Rep. Dennis Casey and Rep. Earl Sears, modifies the income tax credit for investment in clean-burning motor vehicle fuel property. It caps the credit for tax years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2017, and ending on or before Dec. 31, 2019, at $6.0 million. It requires the Tax Commission to calculate and publish a percentage by which the credits will be reduced. It requires the commission to permit any excess to factor the excess into the percentage adjustment for subsequent years. It limits the credits for tax years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2017, to be 75 percent of the amount normally provided. The bill passed 38 to 9.

-SB 1618, by Sen. Clark Jolley, Sen. Greg Treat, Rep. Dennis Casey and Rep. Earl Sears, modifies the Board of Equalization's calculation for determining when the individual income tax rate can be reduced from 5.0 percent to 4.85 percent. The bill passed 44 to 3.

-HB 3218, by Rep. Dennis Casey, Rep. Jeff Hickman, Sen. Brian Bingman and Sen. Greg Treat, modifies Oklahoma's testing program. The bill requires an alternative method of providing assessments, such as print assessments, if the State Board of Education elects to administer testing electronically. The bill directs the Board of Education to adopt a statewide system of student assessments in compliance with ESSA by December 31, 2016. It requires alignment of the testing program with Oklahoma Academic Standards and directs the Board of Education to issue a request for proposal for the selection of assessments to students in grades three through twelve. The bill directs that the adopted assessments be administered by the board for a period that is in coordination with the six-year subject area textbook adoption cycle unless the vendor does not fulfill the terms of the contract or fails to comply with or violates the terms of the contract. It directs the board to administer the assessments beginning with the 2017-2018 school year. It requires the statewide student assessment system adopted by the Board to be: aligned with Oklahoma subject matter standards, provide a measure of comparability among other states, yield both norm-referenced scores and criterion-referenced scores, have a track record of statistical reliability and accuracy. The bill and its emergency clause passed 45 to 1.

-HB 3219, by Rep. Dennis Casey, Rep. Jeff Hickman, Sen. Brian Bingman and Sen. Greg Treat,, permits funds from the Oklahoma Court Information System Revolving Fund to be used for the operational expenses of any court which is subject to the authority of the Administrative Director of the Courts. It requires the Office of Management and Enterprise Services, until June 30, 2017, to transfer from the Oklahoma Court Information System Revolving Fund to the District Court Interagency Reimbursement Fund an amount that the Administrative Director of the Courts, with the approval of the Supreme Court Chief Justice deems appropriate and necessary to perform the duties of the district courts. The bill and its emergency clause passed 47 to 0.

The following measures were approved in the House on Wednesday:
-JRC to HB 3231, by Rep. Dennis Casey, Rep. Earl Sears, Sen. Clark Jolley, and Sen. Greg Treat, authorizes the Oklahoma Capitol Improvement Authority to issue $200 million in bonds to finance specific Department of Transportation projects. The bill lists the specific projects.

-CCR to SB 398, by Sen. Frank Simpson and Rep. Dustin Roberts, establishes a program, through the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs, to assist in the burial of honorably discharged veterans of the United States Armed Forces. The bill provides for a burial grant for any indigent veteran or any person who qualifies for financial assistance. The bill passed 92 to 0.

-JCR to SB 1609, by Sen. Clark Jolley, Sen. Greg Treat, Rep. Dennis Casey and Rep. Earl Sears, allows a state agency to submit a request for repair or maintenance of a capital facility due to an emergency that has been declared. It allows the request to substitute the emergency project for any other project of the state agency on the approved current fiscal year's Capital Improvement Plan List. The bill requires the Director of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services to approve the project if there are funds available and information is submitted to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House. It also allows the Director to redirect funds within the Maintenance of State Buildings Revolving Fund for emergency projects. The bill passed 64 to 32. The emergency failed 62 to 28.

-JCR to SB 1610, by Sen. Clark Jolley, Sen. Greg Treat, Rep. Dennis Casey and Rep. Earl Sears, increases a fee assessed to all traffic violations other than driving under the influence from $10 to $20, for misdemeanor cases from $15 to $30, for misdemeanor driving under the influence cases from $15 to $30, felony driving under the influence cases from $25 to $50, and for juvenile cases from $15 to $30. The bill passed 68 to 28. The emergency passed 73 to 21.

-JCR to SB 1614, by Sen. Clark Jolley, Sen. Greg Treat, Rep. Dennis Casey and Rep. Earl Sears, limits the tax credit for production and purchase of coal for transactions occurring on or after Jan. 1, 2016, to 75 percent of the amount otherwise provided by statute. The bill passed 76 to 22.

-CCR to HB 2397, by Rep. Travis Dunlap and Sen. Anthony Sykes, modifies the criteria for expungement of an arrest record involving actions brought by and against the State of Oklahoma. It requires that all DNA samples, records and identifiable information that are required to be automatically expunged under the provisions of Oklahoma Statute be inadmissible in any future prosecution of that person. The bill passed 82 to 9.

-JCR to HB 3221, by Rep. Dennis Casey, Rep. Earl Sears, Sen. Clark Jolley, and Sen. Greg Treat, sets the Oklahoma Corporation Commission's Public Utility Division FY2017 budget limit at $7.5 million. It also set commission's FY2017 budget limit to fulfill the duties assigned by the Nonconsensual Towing Act of 2011 at $143,000. The bill passed 58 to 36. The emergency failed 57 to 37.

-SB 1602, by Sen. Clark Jolley, Sen. Greg Treat, Rep. Dennis Casey and Rep. Earl Sears, removes the requirement that the Office of Juvenile Affairs executive director and the Department of Corrections director have administrative experience in the corrections or juvenile justice field and have earned a master's degree or other advanced degree from an accredited college or university in a specific major field of study and instead requires the director have successful administrative experience in one of the following: corrections, juvenile justice, juvenile delinquency, criminal justice, law, police science, criminology, psychology, sociology, administration, education, or a related social science. The bill passed 56 to 43.

-HB 3220, by Rep. Dennis Casey, Rep. Earl Sears, Sen. Clark Jolley, and Sen. Greg Treat, increases the alternative dispute mediation fee from $2 to $7. It also requires court clerks to assess a 15 percent administrative fee on all fees collected for agencies other than the court and not deposited into the court fund. The bill creates the District Court Revolving to receive deposits of the administrative fee to be used to fund the duties of the district courts. The bill increases the filing fee for a divorce, alimony without divorce, separate maintenance, custody or support from $143 to $183. The bill passed 72 to 20. The emergency clause passed 76 to 16.

The House General Conference Committee on Appropriations met briefly Wednesday to hear a trailer bill to a measure intended to create a diversionary program to reduce the amount of uninsured drivers across the state by allowing license plate readers to capture information via license plate readers.

-CCR to SB 1144, by Sen. Nathan Dahm and Rep. Ken Walker, creates the Automatic License Plate Reader Privacy Act. The bill defines applicable terms. The bill establishes restrictions on the use of an automatic license plate reader system. The bill establishes uses of captured plate data. The bill establishes procedures for the handling and storage of captured plate data. The bill establishes reporting procedures for government entities that use automatic license plate reader systems. The bill provides no captured plate data and no evidence derived from the data may be received in evidence in any trial, hearing, or other proceeding in or before any court, grand jury, department, officer, agency, regulatory body, legislative committee, or other authority of the State of Oklahoma, or a political subdivision thereof, if the disclosure of that information would be in violation of the proposed act. The bill establishes penalties and damages for violations of its provisions. The bill exempts captured plate data from the Open Records Act and provides that it may only be disclosed to the person to whom the vehicle is registered or with prior written person of the person to whom the vehicle is registered. The bill establishes procedures for disclosing captured plate data when one vehicle owner has a valid protective order against another owner of the same vehicle. The bill provides that its provisions are several and that if any part or provision or its application to any person, entity, or circumstance, is held invalid, the remainder of the, including the application of such part or provision to other persons, entities, or circumstances, will not be affected by such holding and shall continue to have force and effect.

The governor signed one bill on Wednesday:
-SB 1583 by Sen. Brian Bingman and Rep. Jeff Hickman, modifies space under management and control of the Legislature and provides for the allotment of certain space. The bill requires the Office of Management and Enterprise Services to establish an enclosed vending area within the utility shafts accessible on the fourth floor of the State Capitol. The bill requires written agreements between the Senate President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the House Speaker for any space allotments not specifically provided in the bill. It requires the creation and certification of architectural drawings of the Capitol and the space allocations. It modifies the duties of State Capitol Repair Expenditure Oversight Committee and requires the written approval of the Senate President Pro Tempore and House Speaker of all proposed designs related to renovation, repair and remodeling of space under the management and control of the Legislature and allocated that officer's chamber and joint approval of such projects in areas not under a specific chamber's officer. The bill repeals existing language related to space allotment and to requirements concerning the State Capitol Visitors' Center. The bill takes effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns sine die.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Senate approved several bills and recognized 10 members who are leaving due to term limits.

-HB 3168, by Rep. Jeff Hickman and Sen. Brian Bingman, authorizes the Oklahoma Capitol Improvement Authority to issue $125 million of bonds for repair, refurbishment and improvement of the State Capitol Building, passed 30 to 16. The bill now goes to Gov. Mary Fallin for her consideration.

-HB 3231, by Rep. Dennis Casey, Rep. Earl Sears, Sen. Clark Jolley, and Sen. Greg Treat, authorizes the Oklahoma Capitol Improvement Authority to issue $200 million in bonds to finance specific Department of Transportation projects. The bill lists the specific projects. The bill passed the House 60 to 29 Tuesday and will be heard Friday in the Senate.

-To honor the 10 members terming out, the following resolutions were adopted:
-SR 73, by Sen. Brian Bingman, expresses gratitude to Senator Patrick Anderson.
-SR 74, by Sen. Brian Bingman, expresses gratitude to Senator Don Barrington.
-SR 75, by Sen. Mike Schulz, expresses gratitude to Senator Brian Bingman
-SR 76, by Sen. Brian Bingman, expresses gratitude to Senator Brian Crain
-SR 77, by Sen. Brian Bingman, expresses gratitude to Senator John Ford.
-SR 78, by Sen. Brian Bingman, expressing gratitude to Senator Ron Justice.
-SR 79, by Sen. Brian Bingman, expresses gratitude to Senator Clark Jolley
-SR 80, by Sen. Brian Bingman, expresses gratitude to Senator Earl Garrison
-SR 81, by Sen. Brian Bingman, expresses gratitude to Senator Mike Mazzei
-SR 82, by Sen. Brian Bingman, expresses gratitude to Senator Susan Paddack
-SR 83, by Sen. Brian Bingman, expresses gratitude to Senator Charles Wyrick.
-Among those terming out of office this year is Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman. Bingman is the longest service Republican pro tempore to-date. He also is the first member required to leave the Senate who came in after the 2006 election when the chamber was divided equally between Republicans and Democrats. Prior to that, he served a term in the House.

-The Senate also adopted SR 87, by Sen. Brian Bingman, commending Senator Jim Halligan for his years of service to the Oklahoma Senate. Halligan is eligible to serve another four-year term but has chosen not to seek reelection.

Conference committee reports for the following bills were adopted and the bills passed:
-HB 2267, 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 bill passed 38 to 8.
-HB 2397, by Rep. Travis Dunlap and Sen. Anthony Sykes, modifies the criteria for expungement of an arrest record involving actions brought by and against the State of Oklahoma. It requires that all DNA samples, records and identifiable information that are required to be automatically expunged under the provisions of Oklahoma Statute be inadmissible in any future prosecution of that person. The bill passed 42 to 0.
-HB 3168, by Rep. Jeff Hickman and Sen. Brian Bingman, authorizes the Oklahoma Capitol Improvement Authority to issue $125 million of bonds for repair, refurbishment and improvement of the State Capitol Building. Measure passed 30-16.

The Senate also adopted the following conference committee reports for Senate bills and gave them passing votes:
-SB 359, by Sen. Corey Brooks and Rep. Ken Walker, creates the Uninsured Vehicle Enforcement Program. The bill requires the program be implemented and administered by district attorneys within their respective districts or at the District Attorneys Council. It authorizes district attorneys and participating law enforcement agencies to enter into contractual agreements with automated license plate reader providers to provide necessary technology, equipment and maintenance. It permits participating law enforcement agencies to use automatic license plate reader systems utilizing individual automatic license plate reader system units to access and collect data for the investigation, detection, analysis or enforcement of Oklahoma's Compulsory Insurance Law. It permits law enforcement agencies to access the online verification system for motor vehicle liability policies to establish compliance with the Compulsory Insurance Law. It establishes requirements and limitations of that access. It provides the program cannot be implemented until the Department of Public Safety verifies certain conditions are met. The bill defines applicable terms. It permits each district attorney to create an Uninsured Vehicle Enforcement Diversion Program. It establishes requirements, policies and procedures for the program. The bill passed and its emergency passed 34 to 10.

-SB 383, by Sen. Stephanie Bice and Rep. Glen Mulready, creates the Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverage Control Act, allowing for the sale of beer and wine in grocery and convenience stores and creates a single-strength system. It defines related terms and recreates the Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission. It creates the following new licenses: retail wine, beer and spirits license, small brewer self-distribution license and brewpub license. It states all surcharges for the license are to be deposited to the ABLE Governing Revolving Fund to help with additional enforcement. It allows or samples of spirits on licensed distiller premises. It states retail spirits licenses allow for sale of malt beverages, chilled or at room temperature to be capped at 8.99 percent and wine at 15 percent. The bill requires all employees selling alcohol to be 18 years or older in grocery stores and 21 in liquor stores. It also requires all employees to receive training from the ABLE Commission or an ABLE approved organization. It requires any premises serving mixed beverages, beer, wine, or spirits to be more than 300 feet away from a school or church. It establishes a personal use permit to make, store, possess and transport beer, cider or wine, but prohibits sale of those products and creates a Direct Wine Shippers Permit. The bill allows small brewers to select to self-distribute or use a wholesaler, but not both. It allows for sale of alcohol from 10 a.m. to midnight and standardizes excise tax on beer at $12.50 per barrel. The bill requires a misdemeanor charge, fine and loss of license if alcohol is sold to a minor.

-SB 694, by Sen. A J Griffin and Rep. Harold Wright, requires the Department of Human Services' appropriated funds to be used for certain purposes. It also states legislative intent. The bill and its emergency clause passed 46 to 0.

-SB 1001, by Sen. Jason Smalley and Rep. Jon Echols, grants the Oklahoma Department of Corrections Investigations Division the jurisdiction and authority to investigate any escape committed by prisoners under the custody and control of the Department of Corrections. The bill authorizes the department to issue a warrant for the arrest of the escapee and establishes that the warrant will have the force and effect of any warrant of arrest issued by a district court in the state when it is determined that a prisoner has escaped the department's custody in violation of state statute. The bill provides it does not affect the authority of a district attorney to issue an arrest warrant for the escapee. The bill and its emergency clause passed 43 to 0.

-SB 1059, by Sen. Gary Stanislawski and Rep. Leslie Osborn, modifies the apportionment of revenue from revenue derived from all fines and penalties collected or received by the Corporation Commission, eliminating the portion that is deposited in the Weigh Station Improvement Revolving Fund and placing that money in the Trucking One-Stop Shop Fund. The bill modifies the number of hours per day the Corporation Commission is required to operate ports of entry from 24 hours per day to 18 to 24 hours per day. The bill requires the first $2.15 million collected in FY2017 from the proceeds of permits and overweight permit fees to be remitted to the Department of Public Safety for the purpose of training the Department of Public Safety port of entry officers whose powers an duties will be specified by the Department of Public Safety through the promulgation of rules. It requires for FY2018 and subsequent fiscal years that the next $1.5 million from both the permit fees and the overweight permit fees be remitted to DPS for the purpose of staffing the port of entry weigh stations with Department of Public Safety port of entry officers. It requires for FY2017 that $3.66 million from permit fees and overweight be deposited in the Weight Station Revolving Fund and $2.716 million for FY2018 and subsequent fiscal year. The bill passed 29 to 17. Its emergency clause passed 32 to 14.

-SJR 68, by Sen. Clark Jolley and Rep. Glenn Mulready, proposes a vote of the people on a constitution amendment that enacts new sections and repeals Sections 1, 1.A, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 of Article 28 of the Oklahoma Constitution. It establishes that alcoholic beverages would be governed by the new article and other laws. It would require the Legislature to enact laws to regulate alcoholic beverages. It would prohibit common ownership between tiers of the alcoholic beverage business with some exceptions. It would apply some restrictions to manufacturers, brewers, winemakers and wholesalers. It would prohibit direct shipments to consumers unless direct shipments of wine are authorized by law, subject to limitations. It specifies certain retail licenses and allows the Legislature to prescribe other licenses. It would permit the sales of wine and beer would at certain licensed retail outlets. It would permit licensees to sell refrigerated or non-refrigerated products, and retail spirits licensees would be permitted to sell products other than alcoholic beverages in a limited amount. It permits the Legislature by law to designate days and hours during which alcoholic beverages could be sold, and would impose taxes on sales. It specifies certain restrictions relating to the involvement of the state and political subdivisions and public employees.

The House passed the following measures on Thursday, one day before Sine Die adjournment.
-CCR to SB 383 by Sen. Stephanie Bice and Rep. Glen Mulready, creates the Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverage Control Act, allowing for the sale of beer and wine in grocery and convenience stores and creates a single-strength system. It defines related terms and recreates the Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission. It creates the following new licenses: retail wine, beer and spirits license, small brewer self-distribution license and brewpub license. It states all surcharges for the license are to be deposited to the ABLE Governing Revolving Fund to help with additional enforcement. It allows or samples of spirits on licensed distiller premises. It states retail spirits licenses allow for sale of malt beverages, chilled or at room temperature to be capped at 8.99 percent and wine at 15 percent. The bill requires all employees selling alcohol to be 18 years or older in grocery stores and 21 in liquor stores. It also requires all employees to receive training from the ABLE Commission or an ABLE approved organization. It requires any premises serving mixed beverages, beer, wine, or spirits to be more than 300 feet away from a school or church. It establishes a personal use permit to make, store, possess and transport beer, cider or wine, but prohibits sale of those products and creates a Direct Wine Shippers Permit. The bill allows small brewers to select to self-distribute or use a wholesaler, but not both. It allows for sale of alcohol from 10 a.m. to midnight and standardizes excise tax on beer at $12.50 per barrel. The bill requires a misdemeanor charge, fine and loss of license if alcohol is sold to a minor. The bill narrowly passed by a vote of 52 to 45 while SJR0068 passed 64 to 30.

SJR 68, by Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Oklahoma City and Rep. Glen Mulready, proposes a vote of the people on a constitution amendment that enacts new sections and repeals Sections 1, 1.A, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 of Article 28 of the Oklahoma Constitution. It establishes that alcoholic beverages would be governed by the new article and other laws. It would require the Legislature to enact laws to regulate alcoholic beverages. It would prohibit common ownership between tiers of the alcoholic beverage business with some exceptions. It would apply some restrictions to manufacturers, brewers, winemakers and wholesalers. It would prohibit direct shipments to consumers unless direct shipments of wine are authorized by law, subject to limitations. It specifies certain retail licenses and allows the Legislature to prescribe other licenses. It would permit the sales of wine and beer would at certain licensed retail outlets. It would permit licensees to sell refrigerated or non-refrigerated products, and retail spirits licensees would be permitted to sell products other than alcoholic beverages in a limited amount. It permits the Legislature by law to designate days and hours during which alcoholic beverages could be sold, and would impose taxes on sales. It specifies certain restrictions relating to the involvement of the state and political subdivisions and public employees. It would permit municipalities to levy an occupation tax. It permits from the date of adoption by the voters until Oct. 1, 2018, brewers to continue to obtain and operate up to two low-point beer brewery-owned branches pursuant to the existing low-point beer laws pertaining to the distribution of low-point beer by brewery-owned branches. The remainder of the amendment's provisions would take effect Oct. 1, 2018. The bill passed 64-30.

-CCR to SB 424, by Sen. Brian Crain and Rep. Cory T. Williams, permits a licensed beer brewer to sell beer produced by the licensee to consumers 21 years of age or older on the premises of the brewery. The bill passed 69 to 20 and its emergency clause failed 47 to 31.

-SB 1001, by Sen. Jason Smalley and Rep. Jon Echols, grants the Oklahoma Department of Corrections Investigations Division the jurisdiction and authority to investigate any escape committed by prisoners under the custody and control of the Department of Corrections. The bill authorizes the department to issue a warrant for the arrest of the escapee and establishes that the warrant will have the force and effect of any warrant of arrest issued by a district court in the state when it is determined that a prisoner has escaped the department's custody in violation of state statute. The bill provides it does not affect the authority of a district attorney to issue an arrest warrant for the escapee. The bill passed 65 to 21 and its emergency clause failed 60 to 26.

-CCR to SB 1202, by Sen. Kim David and Rep. Scott Biggs, modifies the member requirements for appointees to the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training. It also requires, beginning Jan. 1, 2017, and each year thereafter, every active reserve peace officer, certified by CLEET pursuant to attend and complete a minimum of eight hours of continuing law enforcement training accredited or provided by CLEET which must include a mandatory one hour on mental health issues. It requires all certified, active peace officers employed, commissioned or appointed for a period of 90 days in a calendar year, who become inactive prior to the end of a calendar year, to meet mandatory continuing education requirements upon return to active peace officer status within 60 days of the date of return to employment, commission or appointment. It provides that failure to complete the mandatory continuing education within 60 days may result in disciplinary action as set forth in CLEET Rules. It requires full-time certified peace officers who return to active status within the calendar year they become inactive to complete the annual mandatory continuing education requirements within the remaining portion of the calendar year. The bill authorizes CLEET to assess a charge not to exceed $20 per day to any Oklahoma Law Enforcement Agency for payment of breakfast and lunch expenses, incurred by CLEET, during the training of agency peace officers. It provides that failure to timely pay these charges will preclude future participation of any employee of the law enforcement agency in the CLEET Basic Academy. It requires revenue from the charge to be deposited in the Peace Officer Revolving Fund. The bill and its emergency clause passed 89 to 2.

-CCR to SB 1211, by Sen. A J Griffin and Rep. Josh Cockroft, modifies requirements of advisory committees appointed by the Department of Human Services to include the utilization of subcommittees to make recommendations of best practices in licensing standards for child care centers, family child care homes, residential child care facilities and group homes. The bill passed 88 to 7.

-CCR to 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 bill passed 93 to 1.

-CCR to SB 1499, by Sen. Robert Standridge and Rep. Doug Cox, requires the College of Pharmacy at Southwestern Oklahoma State University to analyze the effectiveness of the anti-abuse properties of anti-abuse formulated opioids. It also requires the College of Pharmacy to analyze the discrepancies between insurance coverage for the anti-abuse formulated prescription opioids and coverage for prescription opioids without abuse deterrent properties. The bill passed 93 to 0.

-CCR to HB 2929, by Rep. Jason Dunnington and Sen. Kyle Loveless, makes it unlawful for any employer with the state to willfully pay wages to women employees at a rate less than the rate at which he or she pays any employee of the opposite sex for comparable work on jobs which have comparable requirements relating to skill, effort and responsibility. It makes exceptions for a seniority system, a merit system, a system which measures earning by quantity or quality of production and a differential based on any factor other than sex. It increases the fines for violations of the provisions from no less than $25 to no more than $100 to no less than $50 to no more than $200 for each separate violation per pay period. The bill passed 58 to 26.

-CCR to HB 2703, by Rep. Elise Hall and Sen. David Holt, requires the State Registrar to review and may authorize each applicant requesting an electronic verification of a birth or death certificate through a system for legal or administrative purposes when requested by provided parties. It prohibits any person or entity receiving an electronic version of a birth or death record from disclosing any information contained in such record other than for said record's intended use. It establishes a fee of $4.00 for each record requested to be charged by the Registrar. It provides for additional fees. The bill requires the State Department of Health to make a public birth and death index available on its website no later than July 1, 2017, required to contain a subject's name, gender, date of birth or death and the county in which the birth or death occurred. It requires the entire birth and death index be in a digitized format. The bill allows an individual record contained in the index to be accessed through a web portal on the Department's website at no cost. It requires that any individual or entity that desires to obtain portions of or the entire birth or death index to pay a fee established by the State Board of Health. It requires the index to include data for births and deaths occurring more than 25 years after the year of the birth or death. The bill passed 88 to 5.

-CCR to HB 2773, by Rep. David Derby and Sen. Kim David, 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. It exempts a facility where medical care or pharmacy services are received by the patient from the prohibition on a pharmacist or an employee of the pharmacy from personally receiving a prescription or delivering a legally filled prescription to a residence, office or place of employment of the patient for whom the prescription was written. It permits Naloxone to be prescribed and dispensed by a licensed pharmacist, provided it is dispensed only by or under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist. It provides that no dispensing protocol be required. It permits a pharmacist to exercise professional judgment to dispense varying quantities of medication per fill up to the total number of dosage units as authorized by the prescriber on the original prescription including any refills unless the prescriber has specified on the prescription that dispensing a prescription for a maintenance medication in an initial amount followed by periodic refills is medically necessary. It exempts from the provision scheduled medications or any medications for which a report is required under the controlled substance database. Dispensing of medication based on refills authorized by the physician on the prescription shall be limited to no more than a ninety-day supply of the medication. The bill passed 95 to 0.

-HCR 1021, by Rep. Ann Coody, Rep. Chuck Strohm, Rep. Dan Fisher, Rep. David Brumbaugh, Rep. Dennis Johnson, Rep. George Faught, Rep. Jadine Nollan, Rep. John R. Bennett, Rep. Justin Wood, Rep. Kevin Calvey, Rep. Lewis Moore, Rep. Michael Rogers, Rep. Mike Ritze, Rep. Paul Wesselhoft, Rep. Sally Kern, Rep. Sean Roberts, Rep. Steven Vaughan, Rep. Todd Russ, Rep. Travis Dunlap, and Sen. Gary Stanislawski, expresses the Legislature's support for the Attorney General in taking whatever action is necessary to protect Oklahoma students, parents and school districts from effects of the Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students dated May 13, 2016, issued by the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice and the Office for Civil Rights of the United States Department of Education, and from the overreach of the federal government on the issue of the application of Title IX to transgender students and
gender identity. It also calls on the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the State Board of Education to instruct boards of education of Oklahoma school districts that they may disregard the Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students and instead adopt or continue enforcing their own policies to provide a safe and respectful learning environment for all students. It recognizes and supports the authority of boards of education of Oklahoma school districts to make decisions and policies to provide a safe and respectful learning environment for all students.

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Senate passed the following measures on the final Friday of the legislative session:

-CCR for SB 1490, by Sen Darcy Jech and Rep. Harold Wright, designated various memorial highways and bridges. Measure passed 37-6. -CCR for HB 2703, by Rep. Elise Hall and Sen. David Holt, expands the list of individuals who may inspect certain record pertaining to public health and safety. It also requires the State Department of Health to make available certain online index information. The measure was approved 45-0.

-CCR for HB 3159, by Rep. Jeff Hickman and Sen. AJ Griffin, provides a time limitation for placing a person on the parole docket. It also modifies eligibility requirements for accumulating earned credits. Measure passed by vote of 46-0.

-CCR for HB 3160, by Rep. Jeff Hickman and Sen. AJ Griffin, grants courts the authority to waive outstanding fines, fees, and costs under certain circumstances. Measure was approved by vote of 44-2. -HB 3220, by Rep. Earl Sears and Sen. Clark Jolley, modifies court fees and costs and creates a District Court Revolving Fund. Measure passed by a vote of 38-7.

-HB 3221, by Rep. Earl Sears and Sen. Clark Jolley, sets certain budget limits for the Corporation Commission. Passed 45-0.

-HB 3231, by Rep. Earl Sears and Sen. Clark Jolley, authorizes the Oklahoma Capitol Improvement Authority to issue $200 million in bonds to finance specific Department of Transportation projects. The bill lists the specific projects. The Oklahoma Department of Transportation would use the proceeds to finance highway and bridge maintenance and repair projects over the next eight years. Measure passed 26-17. -HCR 1021, by Rep. John Bennett and Sen. Gary Stanislawski, was adopted on Friday. The Concurrent Resolution supports certain actions related to federal guidance on transgender students. ? The Senate adjourned Sine Die at 12:09pm.

Other News

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority's (OHCA) Board of Directors postponed a vote scheduled for early this week that would have reduced Medicaid reimbursement rates by 25 percent. The lack of both an agreed state appropriation for the agency and a Legislature-approved state budget for FY2017 were reasons provided by the OHCA for the votes' postponement.

The items were removed from the board's agenda. If approved, the reduction would save the agency $403.6 million, of which up to $160.6 million is state savings. Other reductions and rate changes originally set to go before the Board on Monday include:
• A payment methodology change to consider the Medicare paid amount as payment in full for all crossover claims, excluding pharmacy, physician administered drugs, and services provided by Indian/Tribal/Urban (ITU) Clinics.
• A rate change to reduce the reimbursement rates for services provided by Regular Nursing Facilities by up to 25 percent.
• A rate change to reduce the reimbursement rates for services provided by Regular (more than 16 beds) Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICF/IID) by up to 25 percent.
• A rate change to reduce the reimbursement rates for services provided by Acute (16 beds or less) Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICF/IID) by up to 25 percent.
• A rate change to reduce the reimbursement rates for services provided by Nursing Facilities for Individuals with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) by up to 25 percent.
• A rate change to reduce the reimbursement rates for the Ventilator Add-On for Nursing Facilities provider by up to 25 percent.
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A fiscal year 2017 budget agreement was unveiled Tuesday that calls for $6.8 billion in appropriations, an amount $360.7 million or 5.0 percent less than originally was appropriated for the current fiscal year or $67.8 million or 1.0 percent less after agency budgets were adjusted as a result of two revenue failures. Budget negotiators began their negotiations with a $1.3 billion deficit, the largest in state history. The agreement relies on the estimated General Revenue Fund collections augmented with money swept from revolving funds and the Cash-flow Reserve Fund, appropriations from the Rainy Day Fund, tax credit reform measures that have been and are being passed and a $200 million bond issue.

The budget maintains State of Education funding at its post-cut FY2016 level. It also appropriates an additional $83.8 million to the Oklahoma Health Care Authority. The Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services gets some, but not all, of its FY2016 cut back in the FY2017 budget. Most agency appropriation reductions from FY 2016 as adjusted by the midyear revenue failure to FY2017 range from less than 1.0 percent to 10.0 percent, with many agencies receiving an approximately 5.0 percent appropriation reduction for FY2017.

An apparent substantial increase in Legislative Service Bureau funding comes from moving legislators' pay and benefits out of the House and Senate budgets and to the bureau's, Jolley explained in a Senate Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget meeting. Jolley said the move was because the Legislature has no authority to increase or to decrease those salaries and benefits.

Governor Mary Fallin announced this week that businesses have already have invested more money in Oklahoma than they did last year.

The Oklahoma Department of Commerce reports new investment in the state through almost 11 months of fiscal year 2016 is up more than 19 percent ($386 million) over the new investment for all of the 2015 fiscal year. To date, more than $2.38 billion in new investment has been projected by companies with plans to expand in or relocate to the state.

The planned new investment represents business decisions in 17 Oklahoma counties and multiple industries, including aerospace and defense, agriculture and biosciences, energy, information and financial services, and transportation and distribution.

The fiscal year 2015 saw $1.991 billion in investment by 87 companies. The fiscal year 2016 will end June 30.

* The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (OTA) announced this week that Tim Gatz, currently
serving as the Oklahoma Department of Transportation's (ODOT) deputy director, will serve as OTA's next executive director. Gatz will begin his duties as executive director starting June 1. He has served as deputy director of ODOT since May 2013 and has more than 25 years of service with the agency. In 2006, Gatz was promoted to director of ODOT's capital programs and information management, leading the agency's coordination with county governments to develop and deliver the County Improvements for Roads and Bridges program. The program provides dedicated funds for high-priority county transportation projects statewide. Gatz graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in landscape architecture and is a registered professional landscape architect. OTA appointed Gatz as the new executive director during its monthly authority board meeting on May 24.

* Governor Mary Fallin announced this week that residents and business owners in five Oklahoma counties may now receive disaster assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as a result of the tornadoes, severe storms, flooding and straight-line winds that occurred May 9 - 13. The designation provides SBA low-interest disaster loans for homeowners and business owners in Murray County to replace any property damaged by the storm that was not covered by insurance or other assistance programs. Under SBA rules, the contiguous counties of Carter, Pontotoc, Garvin and Johnston are also eligible for assistance. The loan program is also available to assist businesses that sustained economic injury due to the storm.

Damage assessments showed there were 79 homes and businesses affected by the storms in Murray County. Of those, 32 were destroyed or had major damage. An additional 14 homes were affected in Garvin County. Two were destroyed or had major damage.