The Oklahoma Senate


Week In Review
Monday, Feb. 19, to Wed., Feb. 22, 2018

Monday, February 19, 2018

• The Senate met quickly in special session Monday afternoon to receive new bills from the House calling for cuts from each state agency, restoring funding to Oklahoma two primary teaching hospitals and outlining funding priorities for the Department of Human Services (DHS). Those bills, all of which passed off the House floor Monday, include:

-HB 1020XX, by Rep. Dennis Ray Casey, Rep. Kevin Wallace, Sen. Eddie Fields and Sen. Kim David, modifies general appropriations for the FY2018 fiscal year. The bill implements 0.66 percent cuts across the board.

-HB 1021XX, by Rep. Dennis Ray Casey, Rep. Kevin Wallace, Sen. Eddie Fields and Sen. Kim David, states it is the intent of the Legislature that the Department of Human Services fully fund Advantage Home and Community-based Waiver Program, Money Follows the Person, Homeward Bound Waiver, In-home Supports, Advantage Waiver, Personal Care and state-funded community residential and vocational services and Adult Day Services.

-HB 1022XX, by Rep. Dennis Ray Casey, Rep. Kevin Wallace, Sen. Eddie Fields and Sen. Kim David, appropriates $31.8 million from the FY2017 General Revenue Fund to the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to replace federal funds withheld due to the deferred federal financial participation expenditures claimed on the Quarterly Medicaid Statement of Expenditure. It appropriates $110 million from the FY2019 General Revenue Fund to the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to be distributed to Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma for the benefit of the Deans Graduate Medical Education Program; in the same ratio as such funds were provided for such purpose by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority in fiscal year 2017.

• The Senate met Monday morning, but took no action. Majority Floor Leader Greg Treat said senators requesting their bills be heard on the floor need to ensure the bills have an author from the House of Representatives prior to the issuance of a request.

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

-SB 1233, by Sen. Mike Schulz, creates a five-member task force until July 1, 2019, to study and make recommendations to the Legislature on efficiencies in operating and governing two-year colleges within the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education. The bill establishes membership and meeting requirements. It requires the task force to submit a report of its findings and recommendations by July 1, 2019, to the Governor, Senate President Pro Tempore and House Speaker.

-SB 1234, by Sen. Mike Schulz, creates a five-member task force until July 1, 2019, to study and make recommendations to the Legislature on efficiencies in operating and governing two-year colleges within The Oklahoma State System of Higher Education. The bill establishes membership and meeting requirements. It requires the task force to submit a report of its findings and recommendations by July 1, 2019, to the Governor, Senate President Pro Tempore and House
Speaker.

-SB 899, by Sen. Ron Sharp, requires the Commission on Education Quality and Accountability, by Nov. 1, 2018, to adopt rules requiring coursework or training on appropriate behavior between students and school employees as a requisite for program accreditation. It establishes requirements for the coursework. The bill adds completion of the coursework to the requirements for obtaining a certificate to teach or an alternative teaching certification. The bill also requires each school district employee, beginning with the 2018-2019 school year, to complete at a minimum of once each semester each school year a program that includes training on appropriate behavior between students and school employees. It establishes requirements for the coursework.

-SB 1055, by Sen. Micheal Bergstrom, increases the student assessments in U.S. History to include U.S. History with an emphasis on the years 1865 forward not less than once during the grade span of nine through twelve beginning with the 2018-2019 school year and U.S. History with an emphasis on the years 1865 forward and Government not less than once during the grade span of nine through twelve beginning with the 2020-2021 school year.

-SB 1104, by Sen. A J Griffin and Rep. Mickey Dollens, requires schools to provide a meal application for free or reduced lunch in every school enrollment packet. It requires schools to complete and file an application for an eligible student if the student has not submitted an application and is deemed eligible. The bill prohibits schools from throwing away a meal after it has been served because of the parent's inability to pay or because money is owed for previous meals. The bill requires schools to verify eligibility if a student's lunch account has accumulated debt in excess of $30. It requires schools to make a referral to the Department of Human Services if a student's lunch account has accumulated debt in excess of $150.

-SB 1150, by Sen. A J Griffin, requires a school employee who has reason to believe that a student is a victim of abuse or neglect to report the matter promptly to the Department of Human Services and to local law enforcement. It requires the reports be made via the department's anonymous hotline. The bill defines applicable terms. The bill requires the State Department of Education to promulgate necessary rules.

-SB 1202, by Sen. Nathan Dahm, directs the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education to develop and adopt a policy on free expression and specifies its contents. The bill also requires the Regents to submit a report to the Governor, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by September 1 of each year. It requires the report to also be posted on the website for the State Regents. It specifies the details of the report. It requires all institutions within the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education to include in freshmen orientation programs a section describing the policies regarding free expression established and allows the adoption of regulations to further the purposes of the policies adopted pursuant to this section. It adds that nothing in this section is to be construed to prevent institutions from regulating student speech or activity that is prohibited by law. It specifies when a campus may restrict speech. It establishes penalties for violations. The bill passed from the committee with a vote of 8-4.

-SB 1020, by Sen. Greg McCortney and Rep. Todd Thomsen, modifies the dates by which children must turn a certain age to attend public schools from Sept. 1 to July 1.

-SB 1196, by Sen. Gary Stanislawski, allows a high school student who meets the eligibility requirements for concurrent enrollment or dual enrollment to be entitled to participate in a program offered by any institution within The Oklahoma State System of Higher Education, regardless of location. It allows a school district that offers an early college high school program in which eligible students can earn concurrent or dual enrollment credit to be entitled to partner with any institution within The Oklahoma State System of Higher Education, regardless of location.

• U.S. Senator James Lankford visited the State Capitol on Monday to visit with legislators.

• The House met on Monday and approved the following bills:

-HB 1020XX, by Rep. Dennis Ray Casey, Rep. Kevin Wallace, Sen. Eddie Fields and Sen. Kim David, modifies general appropriations for the FY2018 fiscal year. The bill implements 0.66 percent cuts across-the-board. The House also passed HB1022XX 94-0. The bill, by Casey, Wallace, Fields and David, appropriates $31.8 million from the FY2017 General Revenue Fund to the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to replace federal funds withheld due to the deferred federal financial participation expenditures claimed on the Quarterly Medicaid Statement of Expenditure. It appropriates $110.0 million from the FY2019 General Revenue Fund to the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to be distributed to Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma for the benefit of the Deans Graduate Medical Education Program, in the same ratio as such funds were provided for such purpose by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority in fiscal year 2017. The bill passed 67-24 with all House Democrats present voting against the measure.

-HB 1021XX, by Rep. Dennis Ray Casey, Rep. Kevin Wallace, Sen. Eddie Fields and Sen. Kim David, states it is the intent of the Legislature that the Department of Human Services fully fund Advantage Home and Community-based Waiver Program, Money Follows the Person, Homeward Bound Waiver, In-home Supports, Advantage Waiver, Personal Care and state-funded community residential and vocational services and Adult Day Services. The measure passed 89-4 with no questions, discussion or debate.


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

• The Senate first convened in regular session on Tuesday, but didn’t take up any bills. After adjourning regular session, the Senate convened the second special session and took up no legislation. Senate Majority Floor Leader Greg Treat said the Senate expected on Wednesday to take up the three special session bills approved Monday in the House.

• The following bills were approved in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday:

-SB 979, by Sen. A J Griffin, modifies language related to court orders for medical support. The bill changes the term "health insurance" to "health care coverage" and modifies its definition to include additional types of coverage. It modifies the definition of the terms "cash medical support" and "reasonable in cost." The bill removes language for determining the manner in which health care coverage for the child is to be ordered. It requires the responsible parent to be order to pay cash medical support when there is no health care plan available for the child, the only health care plan available for the child is a governmental medical assistance program or health plan, or a party shows reasonable evidence of domestic violence or child abuse, such that an order for health care coverage is inappropriate and the disclosure of information could be harmful to a party, custodian, or child. It clarifies language related to the termination of cash medical support. The bill requires termination and reinstatement of cash medical support be according to rules promulgated by the Department of Human Services in Title IV-D cases.

-SB 1017, by Sen. Wayne Shaw, requires a court, when it is in the best interest of a minor child in
awarding or modifying the custody of the child or in appointing a general guardian for the child, to encourage parents to promote and facilitate a close and continuing relationship between the child and both parents and to minimize exposure of the child to parental conflict and to communicate and cooperate in matters relating to the child.

-SB 1054, by Sen. Frank Simpson and Rep. Pat Ownbey, grants the Department of Rehabilitation Services liability for monetary damages to licensed individuals or their subcontractors.

-SB 1065, by Sen. Micheal Bergstrom, eliminates the three full-time Workers Compensation Commission commissioners and replaces them with five part-time commissioners. It removes the salaries of the full-time commissioners and provides the part-time commissioners will be reimbursed for travel under the State Travel Reimbursement Act.

-SB 1249, by Sen. Nathan Dahm and Rep. Glen Mulready, modifies conditions and requirements relating to workers' compensation liability other than that of an immediate employer. The bill permits any individual or business entity not required to secure compensation under the Administrative Workers' Compensation Act may execute an Affidavit of Exempt Status. It establishes requirements, a $50 fee and a two-year term for the affidavit. It establishes Workers' Compensation Commission procedures for the affidavit.

-SB 1340, by Sen. Anthony Sykes, modifies definitions under the Administrative Workers' Compensation Act. The bill modifies statutory references to the act. The bill prohibits an employee from receiving workers' compensation benefits if the employee files a claim or receives benefits for the same injury in another jurisdiction. It removes language that gives the Workers' Compensation Commission exclusive jurisdiction over workers' compensation claims. It limits exemplary and punitive damages to $100,000. The bill modifies language related to certain compensable injuries. It modifies language related to the Official Disability Guidelines and requires it be the standard of reference. It modifies certain notice requirements. It modifies qualifications for members of the Workers' Compensation Commission, requiring two, rather than all three, have been involved in the field of workers' compensation for at least three years.

• The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance approved several bills on Tuesday, including:

-SB 1087, by Sen. Greg McCortney, sets a Dec. 31, 2018 sunset date for the income tax exemption for Social Security income. It provides Social Security income will be exempt from individual income tax beginning Jan. 1, 2019, if the taxpayer's federal adjusted gross income does not exceed $200,000 if filing status is married and filing jointly or qualifying widow and $100,000if filing status is single, qualifying head of household or married and filing separately. The bill also sets a Dec. 31, 2018 sunset date for the income tax exemption for retirement benefits received by federal civil service retirees, including survivor annuities, paid in lieu of Social Security benefits. It provides retirement benefits received by federal civil service retirees, including survivor annuities, paid in lieu of Social Security benefits will be exempt from individual income tax beginning Jan. 1, 2019, if the taxpayer's federal adjusted gross income does not exceed $200,000 if filing status is married and filing jointly or qualifying widow and $100,000 if filing status is single, qualifying head of household or married and filing separately.

-SB 337, as amended, by Sen. David Holt, requires each retailer or vendor making sales of
tangible personal property from a place of business outside this state for use in this state that does not collect use tax shall file an annual statement for each purchaser to the Oklahoma Tax Commission on such forms as are provided or approved by the Tax Commission showing the total amount paid for Oklahoma purchases made by the purchaser during the preceding calendar year or any portion thereof, and such annual statement shall be filed on or before March 1 of each year. It allows the Tax Commission to require any retailer or vendor that does not collect use tax, and that makes total Oklahoma sales of more than $100,000 in a year, to electronically file an annual statement. It establishes penalties for those found in violation of this provision. The amendment changes a date in the bill, which was carried over from the 2017 session, from 2017 to 2018.

-SB 923, by Sen. Roger Thompson and Rep. Leslie Osborn, modifies the maximum number of employees for a business to participate in the Small Employer Quality Jobs Incentive Act from 90 full-time employees to 500 full-time employees.

-SB 977, as amended, by Sen. Ron Sharp, updates reference to the Oklahoma Community Economic Development Pooled Finance Act. The bill establishes requirements for for-profit entities, which are currently prohibited from benefitting from the act, to receive benefits from proceeds of obligations issued by the Authority from the Economic Development Pool. It requires for-profit business entities to make a capital investment of no less than $500 million and to create 2,500 new direct jobs. The amendment added an emergency clause.

-SB 1059, by Sen. Marty Quinn and Sen. Stephanie Bice, defines the term "assessment percentage" to mean means the percentage applied to personal property and real property pursuant to Article 10, Section 8 of the Oklahoma Constitution. The bill removes the term "actual fair cash value" and replaces it with "fair cash value" and "market value." The bill modifies the definition of "taxable value" to conform with the other changes. The bill establishes notice requirements for cases in which the county assessor increases the valuation of any personal property above that returned by the taxpayer.

-SB 1086, by Sen. Dave Rader, sets a Dec. 31, 2017 sunset date for the capital gains tax deduction for corporations, estates, trusts and individuals.

-SB 1205, with title stricken, by Sen. Marty Quinn, deletes obsolete language related to insurance premium tax credits. It modifies the percentage and schedule specifying the amount of tax credit due to an insurer each year.

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

-SB 1211, by Sen. A J Griffin, modifies the allowable height requirement if authorized by a special permit issued by the Commissioner of Public Safety or an authorized representative of the
Commissioner as it relates to vehicles, with or without a load.

-SB 1385, by Sen. Robert Standridge, sets a maximum speed limit of 80 miles per hour for small vehicles on the Turner Turnpike. The amendment received a pass by the committee.

-SB 913, by Sen. Mark Allen, authorizes any sheriff or salaried deputy trained by the Size and Weight Permit Division of the Department of Public Safety to stop and weigh any vehicle with a scale certified by the Department of Public Safety upon any county road. It prohibits any county sheriff or deputy sheriff enforcing size and weight provisions for motor vehicles from exceeding the scope of authority of standards for size and weight enforcement established by the Department of Public Safety, which includes but is not limited to the number of citations issued per offense. It requires that the sheriff department receiving training and/or scale certification be charged by and pay to the Department of Public Safety for the training and scale certification. It removes the authority of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission officers to make such stops and weigh vehicles.

-CS for SB 1089, by Sen. Micheal Bergstrom, changes the prohibition on single axle weight not exceeding 20,000 pounds on state highways. It establishes that no single axle weight can exceed 23,000 pounds on any state road or highway. It modifies the limit on tandem axels to 34,000 pounds on any interstate highway or 46,000 pounds on any state road or highway.

-Tuesday’s meeting also included the nomination for Mike Patterson to become the Cabinet Secretary of Transportation. Patterson's nomination passed through the committee by a 9-0 vote.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

• The Senate met briefly Wednesday morning in regular session and approved a series of Gov. Fallin's executive nominations. No legislation was taken up during the regular session floor session. The Senate also gave its approval Wednesday to two budget bills of the second special session:

-HB 1020XX, by Rep. Dennis Ray Casey, Rep. Kevin Wallace, Sen. Eddie Fields, and Sen. Kim David, modifies general appropriations for the FY2018 fiscal year. The bill implements 0.66 percent cuts across-the-board. The bill passed 29-12.

-HB 1021XX by Casey, Wallace, Fields and David, states it is the intent of the Legislature that the Department of Human Services fully fund Advantage Home and Community-based Waiver Program, Money Follows the Person, Homeward Bound Waiver, In-home Supports, Advantage Waiver, Personal Care and state-funded community residential and vocational services and Adult Day Services. The bill and its emergency clause passed 41-0.

• The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government and Transportation met on Wednesday and approved the following bill:

-CS for SB 1392, by Sen. Marty Quinn, requires the Oklahoma Tax Commission to verify that the application for the agricultural sales tax exemption permit has reported income from farming for
income tax purposes. It establishes the requirements for the verification. It allows an applicant that would qualify for the permit that is denied a permit to submit a claim for a refund of sales taxes paid. It establishes documentation requirements. The bill requires the Tax Commission to develop forms and procedures necessary to issue refunds.

• The Senate Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget (JCAB) passed the following bill on Wednesday:

-SB 1582, by Sen. Fields, Sen. Kim David, Rep. Dennis Ray Casey, and Rep. Kevin Wallace, appropriates $19.9 million from the Unclaimed Property Fund to the Oklahoma Lottery Trust Fund to make up for the supplanting of common education funds in FY2018 appropriations. The bill's do pass motion was approved 33-0. When it receives approval from House JCAB, it will be eligible to be heard on the Senate floor.

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Natural Resources and Regulatory Services met Wednesday and approved the following legislation:

-SB 1579, by Sen. Eddie Fields and Rep. John Pfeiffer, creates the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department Reimbursement and Donation Fund, which shall be a continuing fund, not subject to fiscal year limitations, and shall consist of donations, insurance reimbursements, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) payments and other reimbursement monies received by the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department. It directs all monies accruing to the credit of the fund to be appropriated and may be budgeted and expended by the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department. It prohibits any monies from the revolving fund to be transferred for any purpose to any other state agency.

-SB 1515, by Sen. Eddie Fields, creates the Oklahoma Water Resources Board Fee Revolving Fund to be budgeted for the purpose of duties imposed upon the Oklahoma Water Resources Board.

• The Senate was operating with essential personnel only due to inclement weather on Wednesday. The Senate closed at noon, ahead of the incoming ice and sleet.


Thursday, February 22, 2018

• Senate and House offices were closed on Thursday for inclement weather.


Other News

• Oklahoma Department of Corrections Director Joe Allbaugh instituted a purchasing freeze Wednesday, marking the latest action in ODOC's response to expected cuts to its FY 2018 state appropriations. The move comes after a hiring freeze enacted last week and is effective immediately. It restricts agency purchases to essential products and services, such as inmates' food, medical care, and janitorial supplies. Other purchases, such as vehicles or computers, will require the Director's approval.

ODOC enacted the hiring and purchasing freezes after the failure last week of the Step Up Oklahoma proposal in the State House of Representatives. Budget cuts to all state agencies are expected after the state Senate and House passed HB 1020XX on Wednesday. The hiring freeze, enforced February 14, remains in effect, and applies to all agency positions except for correctional officers, food service workers, and maintenance staff, as well as those who already have employment offers issued.