The Oklahoma Senate


Week In Review
Monday, Feb. 20, to Wed., Feb. 23, 2017

Monday, February 20, 2017

• On Monday, the Senate adopted the Joint Rules for the 56th Legislature during its floor session clearing the way for House consideration. Also approved during Monday’s session were the following:

-SCR 4, by Sen. Mike Schulz and Rep. Charles McCall, establishes Joint Rules of the House and Senate for the 56th Legislature. Deadlines for the 2017 session under the Joint Rules include:
o March 23, third reading deadline for bills and joint resolutions in their chambers of origin;
o April 27, third reading deadline for bills and joint resolutions in the opposite chamber;
o May 26, sine die

-SB 151, by Sen. Tom Dugger and Rep. Forrest Bennett, exempts any employee of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation who is elected to a local board of education from the prohibition on dual office holding. The bill passed 39 to 7.

-SB 220, by Sen. Rob Standridge and Rep. Josh Cockroft, adds authorization for the board of county commissioners to establish a county employee benefit program to encourage outstanding performance in the workplace. It allows monies to be expended for the purchase of recognition awards for presentation to an employee or members of a work unit. It requires said ordinance provide for the expenditure of funds for the purchase of recognition awards for presentation to an employee or members of a work unit. The bill passed 43 to 4.

-SB 340, by Sen. Micheal Bergstrom and Rep. Elise Hall, allows the municipal judge to direct a defendant to perform community service at a rate of not less than the current federal minimum wage for any person convicted of violating any ordinance of a city and sentenced to pay a fine and costs and is without the means to do so. The bill passed 47 to 0.

-SB 357, by Sen. David Holt, removes language allowing the State Regents to notify a licensing
board of the default payment of a student loan. The bill passed 47 to 0 and its emergency clause passed 45 to 0.

-SB 645, by Sen. Rob Standridge and Rep. Chris Kannady, modifies the civil penalty relating to the Medicaid False Claims Act from $5,500 to be consistent with the civil penalties provision of the Federal False Claims Act. The bill passed 42 to 5.

• The Senate Health and Human Services Committee approved almost 20 bills on Monday, including the following:

-SB 229, as amended by Sen. A J Griffin, removes the age limitation from the definition of "assisted outpatient" as it relates to mental health treatment. The amendment specifies the provisions therein are applicable to juveniles already in a specialized treatment plan addressing a mental illness.

-CS for SB 726, as amended and with title stricken, by Sen. A J Griffin, allows a valid physician-patient relationship to be established by a physician with a patient located in Oklahoma via telemedicine, a process by which patient care, treatment or service are provided through the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another through electronic communication under provided criteria and conditions. The amendment clarifies such practices may take place unless otherwise prohibited by law.

-SB 734, by Sen. A J Griffin, requires the Board of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services to promulgate rules and standards for certification of behavioral health case managers and peer recovery support specialists who are employed by a tribe or tribal facility that provides behavioral health services or employed by an Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs or a United States Department of Veterans Affairs facility. It eliminates the two-year limitation that any Class II controlled dangerous substance, when used by an opioid substitution treatment program for persons with a history of opioid addiction to or physiologic dependence on controlled dangerous substances be used in treating persons with a history of addiction.

-CS for SB 682, by Sen. Bryce Marlatt, increases the length of a podiatric surgical residency as well as a temporary license for an applicant from to three years, only applying to applicants after March 1, 2018.

-CS for SB 715, by Sen. Greg McCortney, provides a new procedure by which speech-language pathologists may receive a temporary license. It adds and modifies terms used therein and updates statutory language.

-SB 77, by Sen. Jack Fry, adds forensic laboratory personnel of the Oklahoma State Bureau of
Investigation designated by the Executive Director to the list of first responders authorized to administer without prescription opiate antagonists when encountering an individual exhibiting signs of an opiate overdose.

-SB 658, by Sen. Mark Allen, broadens the scope of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to analyze the state-purchased and state-subsidized health care programs and explore options for cost containment and delivery alternatives for those programs that are consistent with the purposes of those programs to include methods to reduce payments to out-of-state providers in bordering states when in-state providers are available and feasible for the delivery of health care services. It removes the Legislature and the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee for the Oklahoma Health Care Authority from the reporting requires and requires a report to be submitted to the Governor, Senate President Pro Tempore and House Speaker.

-SB 688, by Sen. Bryce Marlatt, removes the requirement that the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and the Department of Corrections jointly provide firefighting services for Northwest Center for Behavioral Health, the correctional institution at Fort Supply, Oklahoma, and the surrounding community.

-SB0752, by Sen. Greg Treat, changes human sperm, tissue or organ to reproductive tissue that cannot be procured for donation purposes from any person testing positive for the human immunodeficiency virus infection. It permits organ and tissue to be procured for donation purposes from any person testing positive for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection when such procurement and donation are consistent with the HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act (P.L. 113-51, 127 Stat. 579 (2013)) and the promulgated regulations of the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network and the United States Food and Drug Administration.

-SB 763, by Sen. Greg Treat, requires any physician who performs an abortion on a minor who is less than 14 years of age at the time of the abortion to preserve, in accordance with rules promulgated by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, fetal tissue extracted during such abortion and to submit the tissue to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. It establishes requirements for the rules promulgated by OSBI. It establishes that failure of a physician to comply with the requirement will constitute unprofessional conduct by the physician.

-SB 800, by Sen. Rob Standridge and Rep. Chris Kannady, authorizes an agent or designated employee of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control to utilize information in the central repository where such use is appropriate to the proper performance of his or her official duties, including the prevention of the misuse and abuse of controlled dangerous substances.

• The Senate General Government Committee met on Monday and approved the following legislation:

-CS for SB 694, by Sen. Josh Brecheen, requires municipalities, counties and political divisions, when the state has passed a general statute regulating discrimination in employment or accommodations, to restrict their jurisdiction and passage of ordinances, resolutions, rules and regulations to and in conformity with the state statute on the same subject unless the municipality is otherwise authorized by the state. It prohibits municipalities, counties and political subdivisions from implementing an ordinance, resolution, rule or regulation that conflicts with, expands or is more stringent than a state statute relating to discrimination in employment or accommodations, regardless of when the statute takes effect.

-SB 191, by Sen. Roger Thompson, requires a delay in providing access to records under the Open Records Act be limited solely to the time required for preparing the requested documents and the avoidance of excessive disruptions of the public body's essential functions. It provides that a current request for records cannot be unreasonably delayed until after completion of a prior records request that will take substantially longer than the current request.

-CS for SB 260, by Sen. Mike Schulz, allows the use of dollars in the County Improvements for Roads and Bridges Fund for county administrative expenses. The amendment also allows revenue from the County Bridge and Road Improvement Act to be used for county administrative expenses.

-SB 345, by Sen. David Holt, creates the Oklahoma Public Safety Protection District Act. The bill allows the largest municipality within the county may initiate the creation of a public safety protection district by the adoption of a joint resolution calling for the question of whether to organize a public safety protection district. The bill requires all territory located within the municipality to be included in the district, establishes rules for the appointment of a district director of public safety and the board, and establishes duties and powers of the director and the board.

-CS for SB 562, by Sen. Micheal Bergstrom and Rep. Kevin West, provides any state agency or school district erecting a building that has a pre-fabrication design, under the provisions of the Public Competitive Bidding Act of 1974, and, in the manufacturing of that building, has already undergone engineering design and building standards, will not be required to contract with a consultant for any engineering or architectural services. It exempts buildings in the process of construction prior to the effective date of the bill. The committee substitute clarifies the bill's language.

-CS for SB 563, by Sen. Micheal Bergstrom and Rep. Jason Murphey, allows any school district, including a technology school district, to participate in, sponsor, conduct or administer a cooperative purchasing agreement for the acquisition of any commodities or services with one or more public agencies in accordance with an agreement entered into between the participants. It allows those cooperative purchasing agreements to include joint or multiparty contracts between public agencies and open-ended state public procurement contracts.

• The Senate Education Committee advanced the following bills on Monday morning:

-SB 560, by Sen. Rob Standridge and Rep. Jon Echols, creates the Parent Empowerment, Revenue Enhancement and Classroom Size Reduction Act and establishes a program of the same name subject to the enactment of any appropriation that could be used to provide an increase in teacher salaries or, at the time the appropriation is made, for enacting legislation intended to provide an increase in teacher salaries. It defines related terms. The bill provides a process for parents and legal guardians to request participation in the program. It requires the parent or legal guardian of an eligible student to sign an agreement and specifies the content of that agreement. The bill requires a parent or legal guardian to notify the State Board of Education of the date the eligible student withdraws from a resident school district to participate in the program, the date the students stops participating in the program and the date the student enrolls or re-enrolls in a public school or graduates. The bill specifies enrollment requirements, eligibility and renewal of application. It prohibits monies received through the program from constituting taxable income to the parent or legal guardian. It requires monies deposited in an education scholarship account to only be used for qualifying expenditures. It specifies qualifying expenditures. It allows monies not expended to carry over to the following year if a renewal is approved. It directs any remaining funds following a student's graduation to carry over into an Oklahoma College Savings Plan account created for the student. The bill establishes criteria for participation and approval to receive state education dollars by a private school. The bill specifies the amount and manner in which an eligible student is to receive monies. The bill creates the Oklahoma Education Scholarship Account Revolving Fund and directs the Office of the State Treasurer to develop a system for payment for services from education scholarship accounts by electronic funds transfer. It prohibits the State Treasurer from establishing a method that relies exclusively on requiring parents to be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses.

-SB 70, by Sen. Julie Daniels, requires the State Auditor and Inspector to perform an independent, comprehensive performance audit on the State Department of Education during the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2017. It gives the auditor and inspector the power to take custody of any records necessary to the performance of the audit but requires him to minimize actual physical removal of or denial of access to such records and requires the auditor and inspector at the conclusion of the audit to meet with the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and the State Board of Education to review the audit report to be issued.

-CS to SB 632, by Sen. Ron Sharp, creates the Education Compact for Students in State Care Act and establishes and advisory committee. It requires the Committee to facilitate the transfer and/or enrollment of a student placed in state care to ensure timely delivery of records and it allows a receiving school district to request the student's permanent records from the sending school district. The bill allows the transfer student who has been placed in state care 30 days to obtain required immunizations and requires the school district to consider the student's eligibility for placement in gifted and talented programs, an English learner program, extracurricular activities and courses offered by a technology center school.

• The House met on Monday and passed the following legislation:

-HB 1709, by Rep. Mike Ritze and Sen. Ervin Yen, prohibits an insurer from requiring a practitioner to be granted privileges by any hospital to admit inpatients or join any hospital staff as a condition precedent to the inclusion of the practitioner as a provider under the insurance network or plan or to the payment or reimbursement of a claim under the policy, certificate or contract. The bill passed by a vote of 52 to 45.

-HB 1234, by Rep. Mike Osburn and Sen. Gary Stanislawski, creates the Court Records Protection and Modernization Act. It authorizes the court clerk to destroy certain judicial records if, prior to their disposal or destruction, they are reproduced on microfilm, optical disk or other media produced pursuant to rules of the Oklahoma Supreme Court. The bill passed 96 to 0.

-HB 1395, by Rep. Tim Downing and Sen. Greg McCortney, removes the 10-day limit for safe deposit box access after death. It requires the financial institution to release all contents of the safe deposit box to a qualified affiant. It requires the affiant to take possession of all contents of the safe deposit box and to have the power to terminate the lease on the safe deposit box and close it. It modifies certain notice requirements. The bill passed 94 to 1.

-HB 1856, as amended, by Rep. Leslie Osborn, creates the Task Force for the Study of the Oklahoma Tax Code and establishes purpose and membership. The bill requires the task force to produce a final written report of its findings and any recommendations regarding changes to the Tax Code. It requires the report be submitted to the Governor, the President Pro Tempore of the State Senate and to the Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives not later than December 1, 2018. It makes the Task Force subject to the provisions of the Oklahoma Open Meeting Act and the Oklahoma Open Records Act. The bill provides that staff assistance for the
Task Force will come from the Oklahoma Tax Commission, Oklahoma State Senate and Oklahoma State House of Representatives. The bill and its emergency clause passed 91 to 4.

-HB 1599, as amended, by Rep. Avery Frix and Sen. Marty Quinn, modifies language relating to competitive bidding procedures and requirements. The bill, and its emergency clause, passed 96 to 2.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

• The Senate met on Tuesday afternoon, approving the following legislation:

-SB 29, by Sen. Roger Thompson and Rep. Dennis Ray Casey, provides that a board of education is not required to obtain a new criminal history record check for an individual who has obtained certification from the State Department of Education within the previous 12 months. The measure was approved 27 to 19. The bill's emergency clause passed 34 to 12.

-SB 21, by Sen. Mark Allen and Rep. Steven Vaughan, defines the term "tillerman" to mean every person physically located on a Class A, B or C commercial motor vehicle in which they are steering or assisting in steering by remote control or other means, any axle, including a vehicle being towed by a motor vehicle. It also requires the person to possess the appropriate class of license for the vehicle being operated. The bill passed 43 to 3.

-SB 22, by Sen. Mark Allen and Rep. Steven Vaughn, defines the term "steerman" to mean every person not physically located on a Class A, B or C commercial motor vehicle in which they are steering or assisting in steering by remote control or other means, any axle, including a vehicle being towed by a motor vehicle. It exempts the person from the requirement to possess a Class A, B or C commercial driver license but requires they possess a valid driver license. The bill passed 39 to 7.

• SB 50, by Sen. Kay Floyd and Rep. Jadine Nollan, modifies the duties of guardians ad litem. It requires their written reports to be factual and specifies that the court determines what is in the best interest of the child. The bill passed 45 to 0.

-SB 390, by Sen. Gary Stanislawski and Rep. Chad Caldwell, corrects references to the Commission on Educational Quality and Accountability. It requires the commission by Nov. 1, 2017, to adopt rules requiring coursework or training in the use of digital and other instructional technologies as a requisite for program accreditation. The bill also requires the professional development procedure to include digital teaching and learning standards to enhance content delivery to students and improve student achievement. The bill and its emergency clause passed 45 to 0.

• The Senate Transportation Committee met on Tuesday and passed the following bills:

-SB 317, by Sen. Larry Boggs, permits all-terrain vehicles to be operated on roadway right-of-way along state highways and within unincorporated areas within a county so long as the operation occurs within daylight hours.

-SB 612, with title stricken, by Sen. Joseph Silk, allows the maximum speed limit of a section of highway to be altered by a county commissioner when requested by residents. It requires the commissioner to prepare a request to submit to the transportation district and requires approval by at least 2 percent of the registered voters in that county.

• Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the following bills on Tuesday:

-SB 660, by Sen. Ralph Shortey, exempts from civil liability any person owning or controlling real estate or other premises that voluntarily damages or destroys a drone located on the real estate or premises or within the airspace of the real estate or premises not otherwise regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration. An amendment to the bill limits the protection to where an individual has an expectation of privacy. The bill as amended received a do pass recommendation from the committee.

-SB 272, by Sen. Micheal Bergstrom and Rep. Scott Biggs, requires the court on or after November 1, 2017, to direct an automatic 12 month deferral of all outstanding fines, court costs and fees in a criminal case for any person who is eligible to hold a driver license in this state; served a period of imprisonment in the custody of the State Department of Corrections after conviction for a crime; has been released from the custody of the State Department of Corrections; and has complied with all probation or supervision requirements since being released from the custody of the State Department of Corrections. The bill exempts amounts owed by a person for restitution to a victim pursuant to a court order or child support obligations pursuant to a court order. It allows the court at the end of the automatic deferral time period, the
authority to extend the time period for outstanding fines, court or fees; enter into an installment payment plan for the remaining balance of outstanding fines, court costs or fees; or waive all outstanding fines, court costs or fees. The bill repeals statutory language related to the court's authority to waive outstanding fines, costs, and fees in criminal cases.

-SB 34, by Sen. Kim David and Rep. Scott Biggs, prohibits lack of knowledge of the age of a human trafficking victim from constituting a defense to the human trafficking of a minor.

-SB 197, with title stricken, by Sen. Joseph Silk, creates the Oklahoma Right of Conscience Act. It defines applicable terms. It prohibits any individual from being required by any governmental entity to do any of the following, if it would be contrary to the sincerely held religious beliefs or conscience of the individual regarding marriage, lifestyle or behavior: provide any services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges used in a marriage ceremony or celebration of a specific lifestyle or behavior; or provide any services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges to be used to promote, advertise, endorse or advocate for a specific marriage, lifestyle or behavior. It provides no refusal by an individual to engage in any of the listed activities will result in a civil claim or cause of action under state or local law based upon such refusal; or an action by any governmental entity to penalize, withhold benefits from, discriminate against or otherwise disadvantage any protected individual under any state or local law.

-SB 424, by Sen. John Sparks, allows interrogatories, the request to produce or permit inspection or copying or a request for admission to be served upon or by any party after the filing of an answer. It allows the aforementioned to be served and answered prior to the filing of an answer upon leave of court or otherwise agreed to in writing.

-CS for SB 450, by Sen. Mark Allen and Rep. John R. Bennett, creates the Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act. It prohibits a school district from discriminating against a student for the voluntary expression of a student's of a religious viewpoint. It requires a school district to adopt a policy establishing a limited public forum for student speakers at all school events at which a student is to publicly speak. The bill allows students to express their beliefs about religion in homework, artwork and other written and oral assignments free from discrimination based on the religious content. The bill allows students to organize prayer groups, religious clubs and other religious gatherings. The bill provides a model policy on student expression of religious viewpoints.

-SB 753, by Sen. Greg Treat, makes it unlawful to intentionally cause, aid, abet or assist an
unemancipated minor to obtain an abortion without the parental consent required by statute. It makes a person civilly liable the minor and to the person or persons required to give consent who knowingly or recklessly uses a false governmental record or makes a fraudulent representation or statement in order to obtain an abortion for a minor or intentionally causes, aids, abets or assists an unemancipated minor to obtain an abortion without the parent consent required by statute or any physician who intentionally or knowingly performs an abortion on a pregnant unemancipated minor to pursuant to statute. It permits a court to award damages to the person or persons adversely affected by the violation including compensation for emotional injury without the need for personal presence at the act or event, and the court may further award attorney fees, litigation costs, and punitive damages. It prohibits any adult who engages in or consents to another person engaging in a sexual act with a minor that results in the minor's pregnancy, from being awarded damages.

• The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance met Tuesday morning, and approved several bills, including a few relating to wind or zero-emission energy sources

-CS for SB 96, by Sen. Roger Thompson, as amended, exempts electric power generation from wind from the definition of the term "manufacturing" and the term "manufacturing operation" in the Oklahoma Sales Tax Code. It also establishes that sales for use in electric power generation by means of wind are not to be eligible for an exemption from sales tax. It grants the wind industry the remainder of 2017 and 2018 to commence or continue construction on their facilities, providing fair notice to all involved.

-CS for SB 118, by Sen. Roger Thompson and Rep. Earl Sears, moves the sunset for the Zero-Emission Tax Credit for applicable facilities up by three years to January 1, 2018. It limits the amount of credits allowed in a taxable year. It limits the amount of credits allowed in a taxable year for transferable use. The bill limits the Zero-Emission Tax Credit for provided tax years.

-SB 294, by Sen. Nathan Dahm and Rep. Terry O'Donnell, modifies income tax credits for electricity produced by zero-emission facilities to be refundable, only if such credits were generated on or after January 1, 2014, and before July 1, 2017. It requires such credits generated on or after July 1, 2017, by facilities placed in operation before July 1, 2017, only be allowed as a credit against the tax imposed by Section 2355 the legislation.

-SB 304, as amended, by Sen. Marty Quinn, sets a $15 million cap on Zero-Emission Tax Credits for tax years beginning on and after Jan. 1, 2017. The amendment requires the Tax Commission to allocate the credits on a proportionate-shared basis.

-SB 307, by Sen. Marty Quinn, limits the 10-year period during which Zero Emission Tax Credits may be claimed to facilities placed in operation between June 4, 2001, and the implementation date of the bill. It establishes a five-year period after the facility is put in operation to claim the credit after the implementation date of the bill.

-SB 334, by Sen. David Holt, as amended and with title stricken, modifies the definition to
"manufacturing" as it relates to sales tax exemptions. The bill excludes electric power generation by means of wind or zero-emission methods of power generation from eligibility for exemption on or after the effective date of this act.

-SB 466, by Sen. Jason Smalley, creates the Zero Emission Tax Credit Transparency Act of 2017. It requires taxpayers claiming the credit to report to the Oklahoma Tax Commission on a monthly basis. It requires the report to be submitted no later than 15 days from the last day of the previous month.

-SB 130, by Sen. Marty Quinn, nullifies action of the Board of Equalization that would result in the individual income tax decreasing from 5.0 percent to 4.85 percent. The bill establishes a new calculation for determining the rate reduction. The bill repeals language related to the current calculation for reducing the rate from 5.0 percent to 4.85 percent.

-SB 558, by Sen. Joe Newhouse, limits the time period during which the tax credit for ethanol
purchases by retail dealers may be claimed, requiring its expiration on July 1, 2022, unless reauthorized by the Oklahoma Legislature.

• The House convened on Tuesday and approved the following legislation:

HB 1116, by Rep. Mike Sanders and Sen. A J Griffin, makes a statement made by a vulnerable or incapacitated person that describes any act of abuse or neglect, any act of financial exploitation or any violent act on the person that would not otherwise admissible in criminal and juvenile proceedings if the court finds, in a hearing conducted outside the presence of the jury, that the time, content and circumstances of the statement provide sufficient safeguards of reliability according to standards the court may consider and the declarant is unavailable as a witness, provided that there is corroborative evidence of the act. It provides a statement may not be admitted unless the proponent of the statement makes known to the adverse party an intention to offer the statement and the particulars of the statement at least 10 days in advance of the proceedings to provide the adverse party with an opportunity to prepare to answer the statement. It establishes requirements for the notice. The bill requires the court to make specific findings of fact on the record regarding the basis for its ruling. The bill defines applicable terms. The bill passed by a vote of 76 to 16.

-HB 1187, by Rep. Avery Frix and Sen. Roger Thompson, prohibits the enacting of any tax incentive without provisions authorizing said incentives contain a specific date after which the incentive may no longer be authorized. The bill passed by a vote of 92 to 2.

-HB 1197, by Rep. Tommy Hardin and Sen. Frank Simpson, modifies the definition of veteran
to include an individual who has served the full obligation for active duty, reserve or National military, or received an early discharge for a medical condition, hardship or reduction in force and has been separated from such service honorably. The bill passed 95 to 0.

-HB 1204, by Rep. Dennis Ray Casey and Sen. Eddie Fields, provides a dual office holding exemption to agents of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. The bill passed 95 to 0.

-HB 1298, by Rep. Earl Sears and Sen. Lonnie Paxton, modifies meeting procedures of the Fire Extinguisher Industry Committee by allowing members in attendance to determine a chair should the chair nor vice-chair be present. The bill passed 93 to 0.

-HB 1466, by Rep. Elise Hall and Sen. A J Griffin, allows a court to issue an order directing a wireless service provider or household utility account to transfer the billing responsibility for and rights to the wireless telephone number and household utility account of the petitioner if the petitioner is not the accountholder. It requires the order to list the name and billing telephone number or account number of the accountholder, the name and contact information of the person to whom the telephone numbers or accounts will be transferred and each to be transferred to that person. The bill also provides procedures for wireless providers or public utility providers who cannot operationally or technically effectuate the order due to certain circumstances. The bill passed 86 to 0.

-HB 1821, by Rep. Chris Kannady and Sen. Rob Standridge, increases the hours of mandatory training for reserve special agents of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control to 240 hours. The bill requires any employee of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control in a classified position who is appointed Director, Deputy Director, Acting Director or Acting Deputy Director the right to return to the highest previously help classified position without any loss of rights if the employee is not otherwise disqualified. It allows the Director to designate noncommissioned personnel as compliance inspectors for the purpose of conducting inspections. It prohibits any person having knowledge by virtue of his or her office of any such prescription, order or record from divulging such knowledge, except where such use is appropriate to the proper performance of his or her official duties in the prevention of the misuse and abuse of controlled dangerous substances. The bill passed by a vote of 93 to 0.

-HB 1875, by Rep. Jason Dunnington and Sen. A J Griffin, allows a school district to allow a school site to elect to donate food to a nonprofit organization through an official on-campus nonprofit representative or designee who is directly affiliated with the school site such as a teacher, counselor or Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) member, and the donated food may be received, stored and redistributed at the school site at any time. It specifies which foods may be donated by the school. The bill allows the State Board of Education to promulgate rules to implement the provisions of this bill. The bill passed by a vote of 95 to 0.

-HJR 1002, by Rep. Scott Biggs and Sen. Anthony Sykes, proposes a vote of the people on
a constitutional amendment that addresses the justice and due process rights of victims. It clarifies what types of rights victims have under the laws of this state. It allows victims to enforce the rights when necessary. It provides that a cause of action for compensation or damages may not be made when seeking to enforce the rights. It would also clarify the authority to pass procedural and substantive laws to preserve and protect the rights of victims. The resolution passed 90 to 5.

• The House Judiciary-Civil and Environmental Committee met on Tuesday and approved the following legislation:

-HB 1277, by Rep. Travis Dunlap, modifies the provisions of a court allowing a divorce based on incompatibility. It requires those seeking an incompatibility divorce a 180-day waiting time must be completed. It exempts certain cases from adhering to the waiting period and counseling mandate. It also requires the parties to meet with a counselor for at least 12 hours. It requires one party to pay the other party's expenses under certain circumstances. The bill requires only 25 percent of marital property to be awarded to the spouse causing the dissolution of marriage. The bill passed by a vote of 7 to 5.

-CS to HB 1470, by Rep. Carol Bush, removes the time limitations for civil actions based on childhood sexual abuse incidents and allows an action to commence by the forty-fifth birthday of the alleged victim. The bill establishes a new time limitation for civil actions and removes language related to evidentiary and discovery requirements. The bill adds that any party bringing an action against an individual in which the defendant is ultimately found not liable for the complaint will be subject to treble damages if and when the defendant pursues a counterclaim and receives a compensatory or punitive judgment. The committee substitute adds language requiring damages against legal entities to be awarded only if there is a finding of gross negligence on the part of the legal entity.

-HB 1544, by Rep. Emily Virgin, requires a statement made by a person 70 years of age or older which describes any act of physical abuse against the person or any act of sexual contact performed with or on the person by another, be admissible in criminal proceedings in the courts under provided criteria. It prohibits a statement from being admitted unless the proponent of the statement makes known to the adverse party an intention to offer the statement and the particulars of the statement at least 10 days in advance of the proceedings to provide the adverse party with an opportunity to prepare to answer the statement.


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

• The full Senate met Wednesday afternoon and approved three bills, including:

-SB 115, by Sen. Ron Sharp and Rep. Lewis Moore, requires the Department of Public
Safety to transfer its online verification system for motor vehicle liability policies as required by the Compulsory Insurance Law to the Oklahoma Insurance Department by Jan. 1, 2018. It makes DPS, OID and the Oklahoma Tax Commission responsible for the system's ongoing improvement and maintenance. It gives district attorneys access to the system. It permits the Insurance Commissioner to initiate an administrative proceeding against any insurance company found by the commissioner to not be in compliance with the Compulsory Insurance Law. The bill permits a licensed insurance producer or customer service representative to certify the existence of the required insurance prior to processing any application for motor vehicle registration. It also requires every motor license agent or other registering agent to allow submission of proof from a licensed insurance producer or customer service representative via electronic mail at no additional cost to the person registering the vehicle. The bill passed 34 to 11.

-SB 196, by Sen. Gary Stanislawski creates the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission License Plate to be designed and issued to any person wishing to demonstrate support for the Oklahoma aviation industry and to promote awareness of aviation and aerospace. Such plates shall be designed in consultation with the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission. It requires $24 of the fee for the plate to be deposited in the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission Revolving Fund and used for promoting aviation and aerospace awareness and for providing financial support for programs to address the shortage of pilots and aerospace engineers. The bill passed 45 to 0.

-SB 653, by Sen. Joe Newhouse and Rep. Kevin McDugle, prohibits a court when determining alimony from considering disability compensation received by a party from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for service-related injuries for any purpose. It also prohibits a court from offsetting any disability income with other assets of the military member. The bill passed 32 to 11.

• The Senate Appropriations Committee met for a lengthy session on Wednesday, and gave its approval to several bills, including the following:

-CS for SB 544, by Sen. Frank Simpson, authorizes and directs ODVA to relocate the Oklahoma Veterans Center at Talihina to a new location eligible for approval or recognition by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs as a State Veterans' Home. It states legislative intent, ensuring the new location be constructed within 40 miles of the current location and within the city limits of a municipality. It authorizes and directs the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs to proceed with the development of a new facility to assume the operations of the Oklahoma Veterans Center presently located in Talihina subject only to such geographical constraints as may be imposed by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. The committee substitute (CS) originally was adopted by the Senate Veterans and Military Affairs Committee.

-CS for SB 170, by Sen. Roger Thompson, declares null and void action of the Board of Equalization that would result in the individual income tax decreasing from 5 percent to 4.85 percent.

-SB 130, by Sen. Marty Quinn, nullifies action of the Board of Equalization that would result in the individual income tax decreasing from 5.0 percent to 4.85 percent. The bill establishes a new calculation for determining the rate reduction. The bill repeals language related to the current calculation for reducing the rate from 5.0 percent to 4.85 percent. The bill requires roughly $7.6 billion in revenue before the trigger would be flipped and the rate reduction could take effect. The fiscal year 2017 appropriated budget totals roughly $6.9 billion.

-SB 80, by Sen. Frank Simpson, permits appropriations, federal monies, and monies collected by or for the Department of Rehabilitation Services and monies from the current and prior fiscal years to be transferred to and between the agency disbursing funds for the current or prior fiscal years, including the Medical and Assistance Funds, and other funds authorized to be used by the department as necessary. The bill requires that monies transferred be included in the department's budget work program and records should be maintained.

-SB 114, by Sen. Ron Sharp and Rep. Scott Biggs, modifies language related to the allocation of funds to the District Court Revolving Fund. The bill specifies that the monies are allocated by the
Supreme Court for the administration of the district courts and that monies accruing to the credit of the fund are hereby appropriated and may be budgeted and expended by the Supreme Court as necessary to perform the duties imposed upon the district courts by law.

-CS for SB 133, as amended, by Sen. Jason Smalley, prohibits a school district board of education, beginning with the 2017-2018 school year, from entering into a new contract or from renewing an existing contract with a superintendent that exceeds the maximum compensation amounts established in the bill: $100,000 for the superintendent of a district or districts with an average daily membership (ADM) of 250 or less; $110,000 for the superintendent of a district or districts with an ADM of 750 or less but more than 250; $120,000 for the superintendent of a district or districts with an ADM of 1,500 or less but more than 750; $130,000 for the superintendent of a district or districts with an ADM of 3,000 or less but more than 1,500; $140,000 for the superintendent of a district or districts with an ADM of 6,500 or less but more 3,000; and $150,000 for the superintendent of a district or districts with an ADM of more than 6,500. It permits a school district board of education to enter in a new or to renew a contract that exceeds the mounts if no state appropriated funds will be used for any amount above the maximum amounts. It permits the State Board of Education to approve a waiver of the maximum compensation amounts for any district or districts with an ADM of 10,000 or more. It defines the term "compensation" to mean base salary and fringe benefits. It requires the State Board of Education to promulgate necessary rules.

-SB 159, by Sen. Wayne Shaw, modifies the entity to establish requirement for insurance coverage for volunteer firefighters from the CompSource Mutual Insurance Company to an insurance company selected by the Office of Management and Enterprise Services. It increases state funding per firefighter from $55 to $85.32, to be appropriated by the Legislature.

-SB 214, as amended, by Sen. A J Griffin, modifies definitions related to the Oklahoma Private Activity Bond Allocation Act. It requires 53 percent of the state ceiling be reserved and placed in a pool to be designated the Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency Pool. It modifies designations to the state ceiling pool designations application requirements.

-CS for SB 254, by Sen. Adam Pugh and Rep. Harold Wright, directs the Aeronautics Commission to administer an airport inspection program for all public-use airports within the State of Oklahoma. It requires the inspection program to occur on a three-year cycle and requires it to be administered by the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission. The bill also requires airport owners including individuals and municipalities to provide access to airport facilities for conducting the inspections. The bill directs the Commission to provide a written report to each public-use airport detailing the findings of such inspections.

-CS for SB 426, by Sen. James Leewright and Rep. John Pfeiffer, assesses a $5 used tire recycling fee at the time a motor vehicle is registered. It assesses a $3 used tire recycling see at the time a semitrailer is registered. It defines applicable terms and assesses a $2.50 per tire recycling fee for tires used on implements of agricultural equipment for tires less than 19.5 inches in rim diameter and $3.50 for tires with greater than 19.5 inches in rim diameter.

-SB 510, by Sen. Roland Pederson, requires any unexpected balance contained in the Oklahoma Sorghum Resources Fund as of November 1, 2017, to be transferred and deposited into the General Revenue Fund. It repeals language related to the Oklahoma Sorghum Resources Act.

-SB 543, as amended, by Sen. Frank Simpson and Rep. Pat Ownbey, authorizes the Department of Veterans Affairs to construct, establish, administer, operate, and maintain a State Veterans' Cemetery System. It requires the system to consist of one or more cemeteries to serve veterans, spouses and eligible dependents of veterans of the State of Oklahoma.

-SB 618, by Sen. Gary Stanislawski, modifies the minimum salary schedule for teachers.

-SB 622, by Sen. Mike Schulz, modifies the definition of electricity generated by zero-emission facilities. It modifies the time period during which zero-emission facilities qualify for a tax credit.

-SB 733, by Sen. AJ Griffin, allows the Department of Rehabilitation Services to direct all federal and state funds appropriated for services to Older Individuals that are Blind to qualified and accredited community-based, non-profit organizations. It requires he funds to be used to administer services for older individuals with vision impairments. It allows funds to be received from the Federal Rehabilitation Services Administration.

-SB 749, by Sen. Kevin Matthews and Rep. Monroe Nichols IV, creates the Urban Gardens Grant Act to be administered by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry. The bill defines applicable terms. It creates the Urban Gardens Grant Revolving Fund that will consist of all monies received by the State Board of Agriculture from state-appropriated funds, federal funds, donations, grants and contributions from any public or private source. It permits the State Board of Agriculture to promulgate rules and adopt eligibility guidelines necessary to enforce and administer the Urban Gardens Grant Act, including an application process for grants. It requires entities that receive grants to be located in food deserts and serve residents of the community in which they are located. It also requires the applicants to show that an awarded grant will expand and stimulate economic activity in the low income areas served, as well as provide increased opportunities for the citizens of those low income areas to obtain healthier food options. It requires one-time grants of $250,000 be provided to entities for the purchase of greenhouses and other materials to establish and operate an urban garden. It provides entities eligible to apply for the grants are nonprofit community organizations, churches, or other nonprofit organizations. It requires the urban gardens to grow healthy foods that are to be sold on site or at farmer's markets, produce stands and retailers located within the same community.

-HB 1845, by Rep. Charles McCall and Sen. Mike Schulz, establishes Real ID compliant driver licenses and eliminates the prohibition on the Real ID Act implementation and compliance. The bill would allow Oklahomans to obtain either a REAL ID compliant driver license or a non-compliant license. Oklahomans will pay an additional $5 for their driver licenses once the bill takes effect.

• The House met on Wednesday and quickly passed several bills, including the following:

-HB 1169, by Rep. Mark McBride, modifies definition of amusement ride and allows the Commissioner of Labor to designate other rides that are not included in the definition. It allows the Commissioner to determine the date and frequency of inspection based on the type of amusement ride. It prohibits and permanent or temporary amusement ride to operate without an initial inspection. It ensures the term "Commissioner" is gender inclusive. The bill passed 95 to 0.

-HB 1191, by Rep. Rick West, includes artificially implanted medical device to the advance directive form. The bill passed 67 to 26.

-HB 1219, by Rep. Jason Murphey and Sen. Nathan Dahm, repeals the creation of the Data Coordinating Council and the P-20 Data Coordinating Council Revolving Fund. It repeals the creation of the Educational Quality and Accountability Board and Revolving Fund. It repeals the Oklahoma Race to the Top commission. The bill passed 95 to 0.

-HB 1601, by Rep. John Enns and Sen. Larry Boggs, requires the Oklahoma Department of
Agriculture, Food, and Forestry to enter into a written agreement on behalf of the State of Oklahoma with the United States Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services in conducting wildlife damage management for beavers, coyotes, bobcats, feral swine, and other wildlife or invasive species causing destruction to livestock, poultry, crops, range land, forests, and other resources. It authorizes agents of the State Board of Agriculture engaged in wildlife damage management to carry firearms in the course of their official duties. It requires authorized agents to pass a background check by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry and be trained in accordance with United States Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services guidelines for the use of firearms in wildlife damage management. The bill passed 93 to 0.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

• On Thursday, the Senate met and took up several items of business. In addition to the customary acknowledgments of Senate pages, the Chaplain and Doctor of the Day, the Senate also approved two executive nominations. Members also approved the following legislation before adjourning for the weekend:

-SB 813, by Sen. A J Griffin and Rep. Chad Caldwell, increases the limit to $1,000 to certain fees in regards to the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. Passed 30-16.

-SB 595, by Sen. Darcy Jech and Rep. Kyle Hilbert, creates the Farmers Market Liability Limitation Act. Passed 46-0.

-SB 819, by Sen. Frank Simpson and Rep. Pat Owenby, clarifies names of certain entities as they pertain to the Oklahoma Health Care Authority. Passed 43-4.

• The Senate Public Safety Committee approved SB 643, by Sen. Kim David, on Thursday that would create the Impaired Driver Elimination Act 2 (IDEA2). The measure was recommended by the Governor’s Impaired Driving Prevention Advisory Council and is also supported by Mothers Against Drunk Driving.


Other News

• This past Tuesday, the State Board of Equalization met to make the final certification for the FY-2018 budget. The state will face a shortfall of $878 million—larger than had originally been anticipated with the initial certification was voted on in December. The board also declared a revenue shortfall of 5.7 percent for the FY-2017 budget. Because the budget process includes a five percent pad, an across the board cut of .7 percent was mandated, meaning state appropriated entities will have to cut their budgets by $34.6 million by the end of the current fiscal year.

Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Schulz said the news was not all that surprising, considering the lingering effects of huge slumps in energy and agriculture—the two main drivers in the state’s economy.

“We already knew crafting a balanced budget this year would be tough, and that didn’t change with the news that the budget shortfall has grown. In the face of another budget shortfall, the Senate understands all options are on the table to deal with these challenges. However, it’s important to make sure we don’t overlook solutions like tax incentive reform, apportionment reform, and pursuing agency efficiencies that when combined will provide short-term relief and long-term budget stability,” Schulz said.


• Gov. Mary Fallin announced Monday that she had chosen Sec. of State Mike Hunter as the state’s attorney general. Hunter succeeds Scott Pruitt, who resigned after being confirmed by the U.S. Senate to become administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Hunter served as first assistant attorney general under Pruitt until Fallin named him secretary of state and special legal counsel last year. Hunter also served as secretary of state under former Gov. Frank Keating, and has held numerous other positions in state and federal government. He also served in the House of Representatives for six years.

“I appreciate the confidence placed in me by Governor Fallin,” Hunter said. “I enjoyed working in her administration, and look forward to continuing to assist whenever possible to improve our state.”