Judiciary

COURTS

SB 227 (Henry/Toure): Revises the 1967 Uniform Certification of Questions of Law Act to add clarity and flexibility to procedures by which the Supreme Court of Oklahoma answers questions from other courts. The major change is expansion to cover foreign courts which may be useful as the provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other trade agreements are implemented.

SB 467 (Henry/Kinnamon): Increases the per diem allowances for Senior Justices and Judges.

SB 472 (Henry/Kinnamon): Allows change in benefit calculation for Justices and Judges who initially began receiving benefits before July 1, 1995.

SB 482 (Henry/Weaver): Would have provided sovereign immunity of federally recognized Indian tribes and states exceptions. (VETOED)

SB 570 (Smith/Steidley): Modifies duties of court clerks relating to certification of adoption decrees and requires 10% of amounts collected for processing passports to be deposited in the local court fund. The bill raises certain fees for services by the court clerk and changes the time periods for destruction of judicial records and allows certain judges to order earlier destruction of records.

Use of monies appropriated to the Law Library Revolving Fund is limited by prohibiting purchase of printed materials not previously on subscription and the Administrative Director of the Courts is directed to solicit proposals for electronic research services for county law libraries.

Allowable expenses against the court fund are expanded to include rent for courtroom facilities outside the courthouse, computer equipment for county indigent defender's office, compensation for certain expert services authorized by the court for certain indigent defendants.

Jurors fees are modified to allow $20 for each day's attendance before a court of record and reimbursement for mileage according to the State Travel Reimbursement Act.

 

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE AND CORRECTIONS

SB 440 (Smith/Hastings): Expands categories of persons authorized to file a motion for expungement to include a person whose conviction was reversed with instructions to dismiss by an appellate court or whose conviction was reversed on appeal and the district attorney subsequently dismissed the charge.

SB 675 (Smith /Steidley): Modifies duties of the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System to require operation of a cost effective system by implementing certain procedures to track expenditures, adopting written policies regarding travel, and reviewing assignment of indigency status to identify clients who have the ability to pay for services. A procedure for approval of expert and other witness services is provided. Also, the bill eliminates court authority to appoint the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System for non-capital post-conviction cases.

HB 1196 (Paulk/Brown): Increases the maximum fine which may be issued by a municipal criminal court of record from $750 to $1,200.

 

CIVIL LAW AND PROCEDURE

SB 441 (Smith/Steidley): Clarifies that a judgment lien attaches to the homestead of a judgment debtor. Also, the bill prescribes methods for computation of prejudgment and postjudgment interest.

HB 1003 (Beutler/Wilkerson): Criminalizes and sets civil penalties for sham legal process. Allows county and court clerks to refuse to file documents that are the result of a sham legal process.

HB 1772 (Toure/Henry): Modifies procedures relating to attorney liens. In order to preserve a lien against the judgment debtor, the attorney must endorse the judgment rather than make an entry on the judgment docket.

HB 1776 (Toure/Henry): Relates to notice and service of summons in actions by owners to foreclose the right to reopen public ways. The petition and notice of hearing must be sent by first class mail at least 30 days before a hearing to the owners of abutting land.

HB 1778 (Toure/Henry): Provides time limits for filing applications to correct, open, modify, or vacate judgments and decrees in cases where moving party did not prepare the judgment, decree, or appealable order and a copy was not mailed to the moving party as required by law. The bill requires mailing of file-stamped copies of judgments, decrees, and appealable orders to all parties who are not in default for failure to appear in the action by the preparing party or by person designated by the court within 3 days after the judgment, decree, or appealable order has been filed.

 

COMMERCIAL LAW

SB 15 (Henry/Toure): Repeals Article 6 of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) which governs bulk sales. A "bulk sale" is one in which all or substantially all of the inventory of a business is sold. By most accounts, the Article never really worked very well, was expensive, and has often been ignored by practitioners. Repeal of the Article should benefit Oklahoma businesses.

 

BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS

SB 483 (Hendrick/Toure): Dramatically changes the Uniform Partnership Act of 1914. It adopts the "entity" approach which treats a partnership as an entity separate from its partners. Filing with the Secretary of State is made an option for the first time, and limited liability partnership law is fully integrated into the general partnership statutes. Businesses choosing to operate as general or limited liability partnerships should benefit from these improvements in the law.

 

CHILD SUPPORT

SB 693 (Cain/Blackburn): Contains amendments to the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) as drafted by the Commissioners on Uniform Laws. The federal "Welfare Reform Act" (Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996) requires each state to adopt these amendments.

SB 706 (Cain/Seikel): Contains all of the federal mandates from the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 relating to child support with the exception of the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act amendments which are contained in SB 693. Provisions included in the bill relate to the following areas: automated state central case registry, automated state centralized collection and disbursement unit, state new hire directory, income withholding, access to locator information from interstate networks, collection of social security numbers, expedited procedures, paternity establishment, review and adjustment procedures, credit bureau information and reporting, bank match requirements and procedures, liens, license revocation, denial of passports,

HB 2058 (Greenwood/Hendrick): Requires the Department of Human Services to expand services to include collection of court-ordered requirements relating to child support which include medical and child care costs and insurance premiums.

 

HEALTH CARE INSTRUCTIONS

SB 715 (Henry/Deutschendorf): Creates the Oklahoma Do-Not-Resuscitate Act. Under the act, a person may direct that life-sustaining treatment not be performed in the event of cardiac or respiratory arrest. Methods for making such a direction include notifying the attending physician, appointing a representative who may notify the attending physician, communicating with family members, health care providers, or others (such communication must meet clear and convincing standard), executing an advance directive for health care which makes the direction, or completing a do-not-resuscitate form. The bill provides a recommended do-not-resuscitate form and provides for revocation of a do-not-resuscitate consent. Immunity is provided for persons who carry out do-not-resuscitate consents and orders in good faith. Issuance of a do-not-resuscitate consent or order shall not impair, modify, or invalidate any policy of life insurance. Do-not-resuscitate forms, identification bracelets, necklaces, and cards will be available from the Department of Human Services.

HB 2012 (Monson/Askins): Allows a legal guardian, attorney-in-fact with health care decision authority, or a family member to consent to certain experimental treatment, test, or drug for an adult person incapable of giving consent.

 

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