The 47th Oklahoma Legislature convened on January 5, 1999, for organizational purposes. The roll call of members elected to the Senate in November included four new members: Senators Coffee, Crutchfield, Johnson, and Pruitt. Senator Stratton Taylor was re-elected as President Pro Tempore of the Senate. Officers of the Majority Party and the Minority Party were announced and seated, including Majority Floor Leader, Senator Billy Mickle, and Minority Floor Leader, Senator Mark Snyder.
Pursuant to executive order 99-02, the Governor called the Legislature into special session on January 20th to address the oil industry crisis. The Legislature enacted HB1001X, which reduced FY '99 appropriations by approximately 1.2% to finance a gross production tax reduction, and HB1003X, which changed the state's 7% gross production tax rate on oil production to a rate based upon the price of oil. The Legislature resumed Special Session from June 14-18 and on June 30th to enact Truth in Sentencing compromise legislation (see HB 1008X and HB 1009X).
The Legislature reconvened its regular session on February 1st to consider 832 Senate bills and joint resolutions and 865 House bills and joint resolutions. As of the final morning of session, the Legislature had enacted 400 bills and 5 joint resolutions and submitted these measures to the Governor for approval. The Governor vetoed 9 of these measures. The Governor nominated and requested the Senate's advice and consent on 164 appointees to state boards and commissions; the Senate confirmed 141 of these executive nominations.
In the aftermath of the deadly tornadoes that struck central Oklahoma on Monday evening, May 3rd, the Legislature enacted several measures to provide relief for affected Oklahomans. These measures include SB 1, SB 316, and HB 1466 which provide tax relief for citizens and businesses whose property and vehicles were damaged or destroyed or who contributed items from their inventory for relief efforts, SB 69, the Emergency Price Stabilization Act, and SB 259 which addresses the use of public employees and resources in disaster relief efforts. These and other measures are summarized in a special legislative brief on Tornado Disaster Relief.
Other issues gaining attention during the 47th Legislature include education reform, resolution of truth-in-sentencing, workers' compensation and Special Indemnity Fund changes, use of unmarked police cars, car tag tax and fee reductions, creation of a spaceport, restoring Amtrak services, unlimited branch banking, and use of tobacco settlement funds. Legislation addressing these issues and some of the other substantive issues considered during this first session of the 47th Legislature is summarized in the body of this document.