The 2nd Regular Session of the 46th Legislature convened on February 2nd, 1998. The Senate introduced 673 bills and 17 joint resolutions for consideration and the House introduced 1146 bills and 55 joint resolutions. Approximately 450 bills and joint resolutions were submitted to the Governor for signature. The Governor vetoed 34 of these measures in addition to 8 line item vetoes. Although the Senate successfully over-rode the Governor's veto of SB 973 and SB 1059, the House failed in its attempt to override the vetoes for these measures.
The Senate received from the Governor 113 executive nominations to various state boards and commissions and confirmed 98 of these nominees.
Two Senators announced plans to leave the Senate at the end of their terms of office: Senator Bill Gustafson, Minority Floor Leader, and Senator Darryl Roberts, Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education and former Majority Floor Leader. Senator Roberts served in the Senate for sixteen years; Senator Gustafson served for eight years. Both will be missed for the leadership they have provided.
Regulation of the growing hog and poultry industries topped the legislative agenda along with revisions to the Truth In Sentencing law, tax reductions, and pay raises for state troopers and other state employees. Delivery of higher education services to the Tulsa metropolitan area was a major issue of interest and concern. A constitutional amendment to set aside 62% of state revenues for public education and a capital improvement bond issue were also under discussion at the end of the session. With enactment of HJR 1093(1), the Legislature placed a moratorium on hog farming applications until agreement could be reached on revisions to hog farming regulations and industry fees. Passage of SB 1175(1), which incorporates this agreement, will lift the moratorium. Agreement was reached on regulation and education of poultry growers with passage of SB 1170(1). Agreement could not be reached on changes to the Truth In Sentencing Act; however, extension of the effective date of the Act was under consideration in the closing hours of session. These measures and legislation addressing some of the other substantive issues considered this session are summarized in the body of this document.
The Governor called the Legislature into Special Session, beginning June 15, 1998, to consider Truth In Sentencing legislation, various appropriation matters, and an executive nomination to the State Board of Education. Special Session adjourned with confirmation of the nominee and resolution of the appropriation issues. Implementation of the Truth In Sentencing Act was delayed one year with enactment of HB 1002.
The Senate will lose another respected member with selection of Senator Howard Hendrick as the new Director of the Department of Human Services.