SB 545 (Kerr/Braddock): Prohibits intentional discharge of any firearm into a dwelling or building. The penalty is a felony with 2 to 20 years imprisonment. Adds this offense to the list of crimes eligible for murder in the first degree if a person is killed as a result of the commission of the felony offense.
SB 610 (Douglass/Bryant): Expands victims rights. The bill clarifies exceptions which previously limited victims from receiving certain assistance from the Crime Victims Compensation Fund, and expands the list of information which must be provided to victims from the district attorney's office. Restitution to victims is mandated for all property offenses, and the bill provides that restitution is a continuing obligation of the defendant until fully paid. A procedure is established for obtaining a restitution order. Restitution claim forms must be provided to victims through the district attorney's offices and must be review by the court. The bill also has provisions expanding who may view an execution. It authorizes certain persons who are not immediate family members of the deceased victim and any surviving victims to view the execution. There are also provisions in the event the defendant has been sentenced to death in multiple jurisdictions. This bill has an emergency clause.
SB 611 (Douglass/Sadler): Focuses on driving under the influence of alcohol and ignition interlock devices. When a person is subject to a suspension of any driver license due to blood alcohol concentration, the Department of Public Safety may not modify the license until an ignition interlock device is installed on each vehicle the operator will drive. This provision does not apply to vehicles owned or leased by employers. Employers may give permission to have the device installed upon any employer owned or leased vehicle. The court upon appeal may only review whether or not the person should have a modification to drive. The court cannot order any modification without the installation of an ignition interlock device. All provisions relating to where a person may drive under modification have been removed, since there is no authority to drive without the ignition interlock device. The bill also provides an increase in the fee allowed for attendance of an offender to a victim impact panel from $15 to $25.
SB 628 (Shurden/Stanley): Relates to firearms. Persons with nonviolent felony convictions who have received a full and complete pardon from the proper authority and have had restored all their rights of citizenship may apply for a concealed handgun license and have in their possession firearms. This bill clarifies the provisions of the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act, by amending attempted suicide, mental illness, and other emotional disorders needing medication by requiring at least ten years stabilization and a medical certificate be presented. The bill amends provisions for victim protection orders which have been withdrawn or dismissed by providing a one year waiting period before application for a handgun license, and makes any preclusion period begin when the final order is entered. Any administrative fee charged for any infraction of a concealed handgun license must be paid within thirty days or the license will be suspended.
SB 645 (Wilkerson/Askins): Creates the Oklahoma Drug Court Act, which establishes a judicial intervention procedure for treatment of substance abusing offenders arrested on nonviolent criminal offenses. The district attorney must approve eligible offenders and a treatment plan must be submitted with a plea agreement for approval of the drug court judge. Eligible offenders who are admitted to the drug court program immediately receive treatment under court monitoring and vigilant drug testing. Upon successful completion of the treatment program the offender may not be incarcerated in a state prison facility.
SB 721 (Rozell/Steidley): Would have created the Oklahoma Community Corrections Act. The entire bill was incorporated into the Truth In Sentencing Act, House Bill No. 1213, which was signed by the Governor on April 22, 1997, and becomes effective July 1, 1998. The bill originally was discretionary and under the Truth In Sentencing Act and sentencing matrices became mandatory for nonviolent felony offenses. (Pending in the Legislature)
SB 745 (Gustafson/Davis): Mandates pre-sentence investigations for violent offenders. The authority to waive a pre-sentence investigation has been removed. The cost for the pre-sentence investigation, which must be paid by the offender, has been lowered, and provisions have been made for a payment schedule of the fee, if the defendant has an economic hardship. The information to be collected in the pre-sentence investigation report has been expended to include more characteristics about the offender. The court is prohibited from approving any plea agreement without reviewing the pre-sentence investigation report, and the district attorney must have the report before finalizing any plea agreement on any violent offender. The term violent offense is defined for purposes of this bill.
Sentencing under the act begins July 1, 1998, and counties are required to have local planning councils in place by October 1997, with plans for the community sentencing system submitted for state funding by February 1998. Misdemeanor offenses are not affected by this measure. The Oklahoma Sentencing Commission is directed to make all future modifications to the state's sentencing ranges and membership is expanded.
HB 1729 (Paulk/Helton): Amends provisions of the Sex Offenders Registration Act, which resembles "Megan's Law," federal legislation named for a seven year old girl raped and murdered in 1994 by a twice-convicted pedophile who lived in anonymity across the street from the girl's home. This law requires local authorities, organizations and families to be notified whenever dangerous child molesters or rapists are released and move into their communities.
The changes to HB 1729 are as follows:
Also, the provisions of the Sex Offenders Registration Act shall not impose a duty upon a licensed Realtor to disclose any information regarding an offender required to register.
The protection provided to the public by the provisions of this act is vital because 355 sex offenders who completed their sentences were released from custody last year, and 335 were released the year before. According to the Department of Corrections, Oklahoma's sex offender registry currently bears the names of approximately 1900 convicts.