April 1, 2015

House Appropriations and Budget Committee approved

The House Appropriations and Budget Committee approved 10 bills Wednesday.

One of those bills was SB0177, by Sen. Jim Halligan, R-Stillwater, and Rep. Lee Denney, R-Cushing. It modifies the income level for participation in the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access program. The bill changes the measure of the income to federal adjusted gross income from income from taxable and nontaxable sources and increases the amount to $55,000 from $50,000.

The raise would not occur until 2018, Denney said. The bill shifts the reported income to the federal adjusted gross because the state regents, she said, are the ones who determine eligibility and they believe this will make the process easier for them.

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April 1, 2015

The Senate Energy Committee gave its approval

The Senate Energy Committee gave its approval to the latest version of a proposal to regulate transportation network service companies, such as Uber and Lyft.
The committee substitute for HB1614, by Rep. Katie Henke, R-Tulsa, and Sen. Jason Smalley, R-Stroud, received a do pass recommendation with its title stricken from the committee.

Only Sen. Ralph Shortey, R-Oklahoma City, voted against the bill’s do pass recommendation. His nay vote came after he questioned the $5,000 permit cost.

“Do you know of any other company required to pay a permit fee like this to do business in the state?” Shortey asked Smalley. Smalley said he was unaware of any other similar fees.

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April 1, 2015

The Senate Appropriations Committee gave its appro

The Senate Appropriations Committee gave its approval Wednesday to the latest rendition of Erin’s Law, legislation adopted in other states to teach children about sexual abuse.

Sen. A.J. Griffin said HB1684 is a modified version of that legislation, changed to address the concern raised by some lawmakers.

The bill was not debated and now moves to the floor for consideration.
 

April 1, 2015

The House approved a measure Wednesday

The House approved a measure Wednesday that would allow the courts to try minors accused of accessory to murder in the first degree as youthful offenders.

SB0410, by Sen. Corey Brooks, R-Washington and Rep. Dennis Johnson, R-Duncan, requires any person between the ages of 13 and 17 years who is charged with accessory to murder in the first degree to be held accountable to such acts as a youthful offender.

The bill brought about concerns from some members who felt the bill could have serious implications. Johnson said the measure was a response to the June 2013 slaying of 14-year-old Alyssa Wiles, a Duncan teenager who was stabbed by her 16-year-old boyfriend.

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April 1, 2015

The House Rules Committee gave its unanimous

The House Rules Committee gave its unanimous approval to a measure Wednesday that would allow the people of Oklahoma to weigh in on other methods of capital punishment.

SJR0031, by Sen. Anthony Sykes, R-Moore and Rep. Mike Christian, R-Oklahoma City, proposes a vote of the people on a constitutional amendment that states that methods of execution can be changed. The measure also states that the death penalty is not cruel and unusual punishment.

Christian said this measure would be a companion to his other bill, HB1879, which requires death sentences to be carried out by nitrogen hypoxia if lethal injection is held unconstitutional or is unavailable. That bill passed out of the House overwhelmingly.
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April 1, 2015

The House Elections and Ethics Committee failed

The House Elections and Ethics Committee failed a bill Wednesday that would remove Oklahoma from being a Super Tuesday presidential primary participant and move the election to a later date.

SB0233, by Sen. Brian Crain, R-Tulsa, and Rep. Gary Banz, R-Midwest City, moves the date of the presidential primary from the first Tuesday in March to the fourth Tuesday in March.

An amendment adopted at last week’s meeting that moved the date to April was rescinded and the language of the original Senate bill was restored. The enacting clause was also stricken from the bill.
Banz said restoring the language and removing the enacting clause is merely a procedural move in order to send the bill to conference.

“This guarantees we have the opportunity moving forward with the Senate to discuss the merits of the bill without having to nail down specifics and without a definitive nature of when that final date is,” Banz said.

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