May 22, 2015

Majority Leader Charles Ortega declared sine die

Majority Leader Charles Ortega declared sine die at about 5 p.m. Friday, wrapping up work on the House floor for 2015.

The majority of bills heard after recess received relatively little discussion, but questions were raised over a few pieces of legislation.

Members voted to approve a pay raise to the state’s appellate judges that was accidentally overlooked the previous year.
 

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May 22, 2015

House members Friday approved a bill

House members Friday approved a bill providing modifications to the controversial third-grade Reading Sufficiency Act.

SB0630, by Sen. John Ford, R-Bartlesville, and Rep. Dennis Casey, R-Morrison, would require local teams assigned to students to meet for three years instead of two.
 
A bill last year resulted in a parent-teacher team to be formed that would determine whether a student would be promoted to the fourth grade if they failed to meet the requirements of the RSA.

That bill amended the earliest version of the law, which required third-graders who could not read at grade level to be held back. Currently, students who score unsatisfactory are subject to retention. A provision of the bill raises the minimum threshold to proficient after a period of time.

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May 22, 2015

The Senate passed all bills heard on the floor

The Senate passed all bills heard on the floor during Friday’s floor session, the last day of this legislative session, though two bills failed initially and were only given passing votes after motions to reconsider.

The Senate adjourned sine die just after 3 pm Friday.
 

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May 22, 2015

The House approved its remaining budget items

The House approved its remaining budget items Friday morning before breaking for recess.

Much like the discussions on HB2242, the general appropriations bill, earlier in the week, House Democrats criticized the lack of additional Rainy Day Funds being used. However, passage of these budget items was fairly quick.
 

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May 21, 2015

The House took up the denial of permanent proposed

The House took up the denial of permanent proposed rules by the Statewide Virtual Charter School Board Thursday that limit face-to-face instruction.

HJR1032, by Rep. Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City, disapproves proposed permanent rules of the Statewide Virtual Charter School Board. It requires an educator to limit face to face instruction with a student to nine hours a week.

Echols, who called the proposed rule “hate and mean spirited” last week, said the rule served no purpose. He called the bill, “the easiest vote I’m going to cast all year.”

Echols said denial of the rule has no impact on the school funding formula or on teacher compensation.

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May 21, 2015

A bill requiring yearly continuing education train

A bill requiring yearly continuing education training and an increase in basic training for reserve officers narrowly passed the Senate after much debate Thursday.

“We have seen a deficiency in our reserve officer training program,” said the bill’s author Sen. Ralph Shortey. “I applaud those agencies that are doing more than required. But the minimum is not enough, continuing education should be a mandate.”

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