March 6, 2014
House Rules to recommend striking title on two mea
The House Rules Committee met briefly after the House adjourned Thursday afternoon to discuss striking title on two measures.
Rep. Lisa Billy said she wants to strike title on HB3212 because the District Attorneys Council is not 100 percent on board with the bill. The council would feel more comfortable if the title was off, Billy said.
HB3212, Billy, R-Purcell, and Sen. Josh Brecheen, R-Coalgate, states when the total system correctional facility limits reach 95 percent capacity, the Department of Corrections will notify the Pardon and Parole Board of all eligible offenders and the board will then consider all offenders who are not incarcerated for specific crimes for and who are within 12 months of his or her release, for parole. The bill allows the Pardon and Parole Board to have the authority to place such offenders on the parole review docket for purposes of parole consideration.
March 6, 2014
Income tax reduction measure passes House, heads
After nearly three hours of questions and debate on HB2508, the House passed the income and corporation tax measure by a vote of 57 to 34.
An amendment adopted on the measure combines Rep. David Derby’s HB2661, lowering the corporate income tax, with Rep. Earl Sear’s HB2508, which lowers the individual income tax.
One representative compared debate on the bill to the movie “Groundhog Day,” stating each year the debate and measure are the same. Questions on the bill involved funding core government functions, Oklahoma’s growing economy and the implementation date.
“I just picked 2016, let things sort out, have a breath in there and I picked 2016 because I didn’t want to do it for 2015,” said Sears, R-Bartlesville.
March 6, 2014
Miller: 12-month gross receipts increase nearly 2
Oklahoma’s monthly gross receipts continued to rise in February, the fourth anniversary of the low point reached following the Great Recession, State Treasurer Ken Miller said Thursday, and gross receipts for the past 12 months have increased nearly 25 percent since their lowest mark.
“Collections, as they did this month, have topped the same month of the prior year in 41 of the past 48 months,” Miller said. “The state’s gross receipts have grown by almost 25 percent in the last four years.”
Twelve-month gross receipts have expanded by $2.2 billion or more than 23 percent since exiting their trough in February 2009, eight months following the official end of the last national recession.
March 6, 2014
Reynolds’ bills make it off House floor; constit
Thanking the change in leadership for allowing his bills to be heard, Rep. Mike Reynolds had three bills approved by House members Thursday, including two – HB1454 and HB2438 -- without debate or discussion.
The bill that did receive some controversy was HB2621.
HB2621, with the title stricken, states the surviving spouse of a person killed during an act of violence occurring within a federal military installation that could be classified as "terrorism" or "combat related" will be entitled to claim an exemption for the full amount of the fair cash value of the homestead for all assessment years from 2009 through December 31, 2014. The bill requires the spouse to prove residency and to have previously qualified for the homestead exemption.
Discussions began with Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City, requesting to strike title and calling his own bill “unconstitutional in its current form.”
The constitutionality of the bill revolved around the retroactivity in the bill and the vagueness of the language.
Members immediately attacked the bill and questioned why Reynolds, who often nitpicks at other members’ bills, would bring the bill to the floor without a committee substitute or floor substitute.
Reynolds defended his bill saying it would have passed without much contention had he not “in good conscience” brought forward the problems with his own bill.
The bill passed by a vote of 77 to 16, with Grau taking constitutional privilege.
March 6, 2014
Senate finishes week passing more than 20 bills, f
The Senate finished its first week of floor work with a flurry, passing more than 20 bills but failing one.
The one bill to fail was SB1209, by Sen. Earl Garrison, D-Muskogee, and Rep. Mike Brown, D-Tahlequah. The bill removes language prohibiting passengers from riding on the bed of a pickup truck.
Garrison said the bill was requested by a constituent whose two children died after falling from the back of a pickup truck.
Just two members questioned the measure: Sens. Gary Michael Stanislawski, R-Tulsa, and Bryce Marlatt, R-Woodward.
Stanislawski asked Garrison whether he thought the bill might be too far reaching, since it would, for example, prevent someone from riding the back of a pickup “a half block down the street.”
“I don’t think it’s overreaching,” said Garrison, who explained that approximately 28,000 people die each year as a result of accidents from riding in the back of pickup trucks compared to 12,000 who die in fires.
Garrison particularly focused on children, saying they should be treated better than cattle. “I put (cows) in a trailer, not in the back of a pickup,” he said.
Marlatt asked whether hunters would be able to be transported in the back of a pickup truck as they moved from field to field, sometimes on county and state highways. Garrison said he believed that would be permitted if the pickup was outfitted with seats and seatbelts.
The bill failed 10 to 26 with no further discussion and no debate. Garrison served notice that he may ask that the bill be reconsidered on a future legislative day. He has three legislative days during which to exercise that notice.
March 5, 2014
House Rules to recommend striking title on four me
The House Rules Committee met after the House adjourned Wednesday to discuss four bills. Rep. Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City, said he wishes to strike title on HB3359, HB3360, HB3368 and HB3369 to continue to work with involved parties on the bill.