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Week In Review

For the week of Monday, March 1 to Thursday, March 4, 2004

Monday, March 1st

• The whole Senate is now focused on floor votes on bills in order to beat the March 11th deadline to have bills heard out of the house of origin. There were 700 Senate bills that made it out of committee, and those bills must now be heard on the floor before the deadline.

• The Senate approved the following bills on Monday:

-SB 1136 by Sen. Kenneth Corn would provide a veteran’s preference over non-veterans for those employed in state agencies when a reduction-in-force is implemented. The bill passed 42-4.

-SB 903 by Sen. Johnnie Crutchfield and Rep. Danny Hilliard would divide the state into 11 regional water planning districts under the Oklahoma Water Resources Development Plan. The bill and emergency passed 44-1.

-SB 1259 by Sen. Bernest Cain and Rep. Leonard Sullivan would designate a section of the North Canadian River as the Oklahoma River. The bill passed
36-9 and the emergency passed 37-8.

-SB 860 as amended by Sen. Angela Monson and Rep. Clay Pope, which proposes to amend the state constitution to raise the median income cap for senior citizens to qualify for the property valuation freeze using HUD standards. The title was restored and the bill passed 41-0.

-SB 1156 by Sen. Harrison and Rep. Ron Langmacher requires an annual audit to be performed by the Oklahoma Water Resources Board to the Clean Water State Revolving Fund Loan Account. The bill and emergency passed 46-0.

-SB 1501 by Sen. Mark Snyder, Penny Williams and Rep. Ron Peters creates the Oklahoma School of the Arts, which would be a boarding school for students in their final two years of high school. The bill and emergency passed 32-11.

-SB 1552 by Sen. Bernest Cain and Rep. Terry Ingmire would create the Interstate Compact for Juveniles Act. The bill passed 27-14 but the emergency failed 28-13. A motion to reconsider the emergency was made by Sen. Cain.

• The House heard several appropriation bills on Monday and was also working to get bills heard on the floor. Among those measures that were considered:

-SB 1899 as amended by Rep. John Nance and Sen. Jay Paul Gumm would require males between the ages of 16 to 26 to sign a consent statement for the Selective Service System when applying or renewing a drive license or identification card. If the individual refuses to sign the consent form, the license or identification card will not be issued. The bill passed 69-29.

-HB 2352 as amended by Rep. Chris Benge and Sen. Debbe Leftwich would require an individual to posses an instruction permit for six months before qualifying to receive a driver license. The bill passed 51-46.

-HB 1833 as amended by Rep. William Paulk and Sen. Angela Monson would limit the liability of medical volunteers. The bill and emergency passed 99-1.

-HB 2102 as amended by Rep. John Carey, Rep. Greg Piatt, and Sen. Nancy Riley encourages mothers to breastfeed in a discreet and modest way in any location. The bill would also exempt mothers from serving on juries while breastfeeding or are unemployed and have a child who is not enrolled in a full time early childhood education program. The bill and emergency passed 99-1.

-HB 1864 by Rep. Randall Erwin and Sen. Frank Shurden would exempt natural or artificial gas and electricity costs from county sales taxes; but the utility would still be subject to city or town sales taxes. The bill and emergency passed 99-2.

Tuesday, March 2nd

• The Senate met on Tuesday and heard the following legislation:

-SB1490 by Sen. Mike Morgan and Rep. Larry Roberts would create the Oklahoma Child Lead Poisoning Prevention Act. The bill would allow families with children six years of age or younger to relocate to another area with the state paying for the current residence. The bill and emergency passed 35-6.

-SB 873 by Sen. Glenn Coffee and Rep. John Nance would allow municipalities to include any public school system located in whole or in part within the corporate limits of the municipality or any public school system completely surrounded by the municipality. The bill and emergency passed 45-1.

-SB 885 by Sen. Owen Laughlin and Rep. Sue Tibbs would require the Oklahoma State Election Board to issue a “Voters Bill of Rights.” The bill and emergency passed 41-0.

-SB 1098 as amended by Sen. Jay Paul Gumm and Rep. John Carey would decrease the amount of time for a person required to register under the Sex Offenders Registration Act. The bill would also require the person to register if their spouse lives in the state. The measure passed 35-6.

-SB 1398 by Sen. Johnnie Crutchfield and Rep. Jerry Ellis would require deputies and jailers to receive appropriate training as directed by the Department of Health. The sheriff would be required to comply with minimal supervision standards set by the Department of Health. The bill and emergency passed 43-0.

-SB 1445 by Sen. Bernest Cain and Rep. Jari Askins would require the Oklahoma State Board of Education to establish at least a 150 minutes per week health and fitness program for all public school students. The bill passed 28-16.

-FS for SB 1446 by Sen. Dick Wilkerson and Rep. Larry Ferguson would allow any person arrested for possession of marijuana to be released only if the arrested person deposits a valid driver license with the police officer, the officer is satisfied with the identity of the individual and the arrested person signs promise to appear as provided for on the citation. The bill passed 26-15 but the emergency failed 29-12.

-SB 1552 by Sen. Bernest Cain and Rep. Terry Ingmire creates the Interstate Compact for Juveniles Act. The motion to reconsider passed 43-0. The bill and the emergency passed 33-10.

-SB 1625 as amended by Sen. Jerry Smith and Rep. Chris Hastings would increase the fines for disobeying defendant’s subpoena. The title was restored and the bill passed 43-0.

-SB 1627 by Sen. Bernest Cain and Rep. Jari Askins would create the Healthy and Fit Kids Act of 2004 and establish a Safe and Healthy School Advisory Committee at each public school site that will focus on issues affecting the health and well being of children. The bill passed 32-13 and the emergency passed 35-10.

• The House on Tuesday took floor action on the following bills:

-HB 1822 as amended by Rep. Joe Sweeden and Sen. Frank Shurden would require any institution in the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education to provide the state regents with reports based upon their proposed tuition and fee increases prior to February 1 of each year. The bill passed with a final vote of 54-42 but the emergency failed 56-39.

-HB 2145 by Rep. Al Lindley and Sen. Debbe Leftwich would create the Advancement of Hispanic Students in Higher Education Task Force. The task force would focus on recruitment, retention and completion of Hispanic students in higher education. The bill passed 62-36 but the emergency failed 55-41.

-HB 1870 by Rep. Darrell Gilbert and Sen. Daisy Lawler pertains to updated federal regulations and would provide medical care for children with special health care needs and leadership in building and promoting a community-based system of services through the Children with Special Health Care Needs Program. The bill and emergency passed 91-8.

-HB 2613 by Rep. Joe Sweeden and Sen. Angela Monson would require health benefit plans to cover tobacco cessation programs. The bill failed by a vote of 50-49 and a motion to reconsider at a later date was made by Rep. Sweeden.

Wednesday, March 3rd

• The Senate heard several bills along with the following pieces of legislation:

-SB 1247 as amended by Sen. Jay Paul Gumm and Rep. John Carey would require businesses to repay amounts received as incentive payments or reductions in tax liability. The amendment set up a payment schedule that would include 100 percent if the business leaves in seven years or less, 80 percent for seven to nine years, 70 percent for nine to 10 years and no repayment after 10 years. The bill passed 43-1.

-SB 1108 by Sen. Sam Helton and Rep. Bill Nations would exempt payment data obtained or created by the public body in performance of a contractual agreement from the Oklahoma Open Records Act. The bill and emergency passed 43-0.

-SB 1172 as amended by Sen. Kenneth Corn and Rep. Glen Bud Smithson prohibits the manufacturing of methamphetamines within 2,000 feet of a public or private school university, vocational facility or any other institute of higher education, child care facility, park or recreational area, and housing projects. The bill also enables the Oklahoma District Attorney to prosecute for child endangerment if any physical evidence of meth by-products is found on an article of the child’s clothing, toy, etc. If the accused is convicted of child endangerment, the Department of Human Services will take custody of the child. The bill and emergency passed 46-0.

-SB 1208 by Sen. Charlie Laster and Rep. Kris Steele would allow the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET) to issue peace officer certification to tribal police officers who are commissioned by an Oklahoma law enforcement agency and have been cross-deputized and who have met the training and qualification requirements. The bill and emergency passed 45-0.

-SB 1224 as amended by Sen. Ben Robinson and Rep. Ron Peters would increase the age requirement for the use of a child restraint system to six years of age. The bill and emergency passed 38-7.

-SB 1272 by Sen. Kenneth Corn and Rep. Terry Harrison would increase minimum salaries for teachers and add steps for years of experience and level of higher education. The bill and emergency passed 46-0.

-SB 1310 by Sen. Cliff Branan and Rep. Susan Winchester would require the State Department of Education to establish a program to provide a performance bonus to eligible teachers. The bill and emergency passed 40-4.

-SB 1342 by Sen. Jay Paul Gumm would allow for continued collection of sales tax by a county if the county hospital undergoes change of ownership. The bill passed 42-2.

-SB 1372 as amended by Sen. Angela Monson and Rep. Bill Nations would allow pharmacists to certify that a brand name drug is medically necessary for the well-being of a patient. The bill passed 45-0.

-SB 1419 as amended by Sen. Jerry Smith and Rep. Randall Erwin would add a surcharge to bonds for the operation of county jail and authorizes the sheriff or booking office to collect the charge from the bondsman. The title was stricken. The bill and emergency passed 39-6.

-SB 1597 as amended by Sen. Cliff Aldridge and Rep. Lance Cargill would require the court to find a substantial hardship if the juror is the primary caregiver of a child 10 years-old or younger and show the impossibility of obtaining proper childcare. The title was stricken and the bill passed 35-9.

• The House also focused on floor action, and approved the following measures:

-HB 1136 as amended by Rep. Joan Greenwood and Sen. Kathleen Wilcoxson would prohibit public or private schools from employing any educator to teach English, science or social studies in grades seven and eight unless the teacher is licensed or certified to teach the subjects at the middle or secondary level. The bill and emergency passed 83-15.

-FS for HB 2710 by Rep. Opio Toure and Sen. Dick Wilkerson would prohibit the execution of those with severe developmental disabilities. The bill passed 52-46 but the emergency failed 52-46.

-HB 2134 as amended by Rep. Ron Peters and Sen. Nancy Riley would delete requirements for blood testing when obtaining a marriage license. An amendment was made by Rep. Bill Graves to prohibit the recognition of civil unions between same sex couples. The amendment passed 90-3. The bill passed 94-2.

-HB 2139 as amended by Rep. Jerry Ellis and Sen. Johnnie Crutchfield would allow county and municipal jail facilities to have only one jailer or dispatcher onsite if the facility houses 20 or less prisoners and provides 24 hour supervision of prisoner activity through direct observation or closed circuit television and intercommunication system that terminates in a located that is staffed 24 hours a day and is capable of providing emergency response. The bill passed 78-20.

-HB 2267 by Rep. Joe Hutchison and Sen. Frank Shurden would allow non-resident college students enrolled in 12 or more hours to purchase a resident hunting and fishing license. The bill passed 96-0.

-HB 2626 by Rep. Jari Askins and Sen. Debbe Leftwich would increase the punishment for those convicted of spousal or child abuse to between one and seven years in the custody of the Department of Corrections and would increase the maximum fine to $5,000. The bill passed 94-4.

-HB 2205 by Rep. Mike Wilt would allow civil damages to be sought against an inmate any time during the convict’s incarceration or within five years after his or her release from prison. The measure passed 97-1.

Thursday, March 4th

• The Senate convened at 9:00 a.m. and continued working through measures on 3rd reading before adjourning and will reconvene on Monday, March 9th at 10:00 a.m.