Revision of the 1997 Truth In Sentencing Act was a major issue during the 1998 session. Following an interim study of Truth In Sentencing, SB 1130 (Hendrick/Wells) was introduced which incorporated the agreements reached by the Senate and House on the issues raised by district attorneys, sheriffs, judges, and other participants in the interim study. Although the bill was not heard in the House Committee, its contents were substituted by Senate amendments into HB 2927 (Benson/Taylor), introduced in the House to significantly change the original Truth In Sentence model enacted last year. Negotiations between the Legislature and the Governor proved fruitless in the waning hours of session. As a result, the House approved a one-year extension for implementation of the Truth In Sentencing Act, but the Senate was unable to pass the extension in the final minutes of session. Consequently, the Governor called the Legislature into Special Session on June 15th to address Truth In Sentencing. Again, negotiation of the areas of concerns was unsuccessful which resulted in the Legislature enacting HB 1002 (Steidley/Hobson). This bill changes the effective dates for various Truth In Sentencing provisions from July 1, 1998, to July 1, 1999, thereby delaying implementation of the Act for a year. The bill allows the present earned credits law to continue in effect during this period and extends the "Prison Overcrowding Emergency Powers Act until July 1, 1999, as well. The bill also creates a two-step parole process for persons convicted of crimes between July 1, 1998, and July 1, 1999, and prohibits parole reconsideration under certain conditions.
SB 883 (Helton/Askins): Modifies the requirements for operating emergency vehicles. Under this act, peace officers may operate a police vehicle properly and lawfully in response to a crime in progress without using audible signals.
SB 1105 (Wilkerson/Wells): Communication via a cellular phone by a hostage or barricaded suspect can not be disseminated without the consent of the supervising law enforcement officer or agency. Violations are considered a misdemeanor and are punishable by a fine.
SB 1168 (Cain/Blackburn): Authorizes the Department of Corrections to dispose of a parcel of real property located at 1411 Classen Drive in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and use the proceeds to provide critical training for correctional officers.
SB 1181 (Shurden/Stanley): This bill amends the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act by allowing military persons to be eligible for an Oklahoma Self-Defense license. It modifies the reciprocal provision to only acknowledge those states that recognize the Oklahoma Self-Defense license. It authorizes retired peace officers not participating in a retirement system to be eligible for a concealed firearms permit. There is a provision allowing a person to carry a firearm while on a boat or while fishing or bow hunting, provided the firearm is carried only for self defense purposes. The bill allows for application packets to be in all sheriff's offices. Instructors will have a four year instructor permit. It allows armed private investigators to carry a concealed firearm between job assignments.
SB 1216 (Wilkerson/Wells): This bill requires the private prisons notify the Department of Corrections in the event of riot or other disturbance when at least fifty percent (50%) of the prison population is from Oklahoma contracts.
SB 1367 (Douglass/Bryant): This bill is a restitution collection bill. It establishes a process for collection of restitution from defendants refusing to pay as ordered. It allows defendants to be subject to criminal contempt of court with imprisonment, fine, or both as the penalty. It provides a method for reducing the restitution to a judgment for purposes of collection. It allows converting the restitution to community service hours, with or without compensation, to provide a way to make payments on or satisfy the restitution order.
HB 2214 (Voskuhl/Wilkerson): Opens certain juvenile records to public scrutiny. Under existing state law, most records on youth under the age of 18 who are arrested and prosecuted for crimes "are confidential and shall not be open to the general public, inspected, or their contents disclosed." This act opens, for public inspection, the arrest records of any juvenile who is detained for committing any act that would be deemed a felony if committed by an adult. Other exceptions to the confidentiality restriction include arrest records of juveniles who are adjudged to be delinquent or who are certified by a court to be prosecuted as adults.
HB 2542 (Gray/Weedn): This is the partial-birth abortion bill. It defines certain terms and prohibits any physician from performing a partial-birth abortion and thereby killing a human fetus. The penalty is Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00), or imprisonment for two (2) years. It provides the biological father, if married to the mother who obtains a partial-birth abortion, and the maternal grandparents the right to bring a civil action for monetary damages suffered as a result of a partial-birth abortion. A hearing before the State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision is provided for any physician accused of conducting a partial-birth abortion. Any finding from the hearing before the Board is admissible in the criminal trial. The woman obtaining a partial-birth abortion cannot be prosecution under this law.
HB 2547 (Newport/Shurden): Body piercing on any person under eighteen (18) years of age is prohibited by this measure. An exception is made when a parent or legal guardian gives written permission and is present during the procedure. The penalty is a misdemeanor with ninety (90) days imprisonment in the county jail, or by a fine of Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) or both. The State Board of Health must promulgate rules for licensure for body piercing and equipment. An Administrative fine of Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) may be imposed for violation of any rule.
HB 2616 (Hilliard/Hobson): This bill provides for the reception of inmates into the Department of Corrections at any location specified by the Director of the Department of Corrections. It authorizes inmates to bypass the Lexington Reception and Assessment Center when received into the custody of the Department.
HB 2883 (Smith, Hopper/Laughlin): Authorizes a retired peace officer who has applied for a C.L.E.E.T. identification card to carry a concealed firearm as an off-duty peace officer until the authority to carry a concealed firearm as a retired officer is approved or denied by C.L.E.E.T.
HB 3151 (Benson/Fisher): Requires the Office of Juvenile Affairs to do the following: promulgate uniform rules and adopt uniform procedures and forms for the maintenance, transfer and release of confidential information; conduct literacy skills analysis and provide placement of the child in a literacy program; Identify services available to the child or provided to the parent to alleviate or remediate conditions in the home; exempt from the Oklahoma Central Purchasing Act merchandise-for-resale purchased in a juvenile facility canteen
HB 3193 (Covey/Stipe): Provides that the clerk is not required to mail the order and judgment of forfeiture to the bondsman or insurer if, within fifteen (15) days from the date of forfeiture, the defendant is returned to custody, the bond is reinstated by the court with the bondsman's approval, or the order of forfeiture is vacated or set aside by the court.