Committee Strives to Make Legislative Review Easier for Bar Members

By Duchess Bartmess

This year, as in the past, there are many bills and joint resolutions worthy of review and analysis. Knowledge and understanding by bar members of proposed new laws and proposed changes in existing law grows more important every year. With 2,500 measures carried over from 2013 and the more than 2,000 new measures introduced in 2014, it simply is not practical to try to review, understand and report on every introduced bill and joint resolution.

Therefore, this year the Legislative Monitoring Committee decided that members of the bar will be better served by a condensed report regarding a limited number of significant legislative measures in each bar journal published during the legislative session. The Saturday review group concentrated on determining which legislative measures would be of the greatest interest to the practicing attorney. Each publication of the Oklahoma Bar Journal will contain a list of 10 legislative measures with more detail as to content and the current status of each. 

This should make it much easier for the busy practitioner to look up the legislative measures of interest and to contact members of the legislature to discuss those measures. To read the bill or joint resolution in its entirety and find out what legislative committee it has been assigned to, a member can access that information at www.oklegislature.gov.

BILLS WORTH YOUR ATTENTION

HB 2686 An Act relating to civil procedure; providing procedure for certain claims or challenges to state statute; requiring ruling by a panel of judges, with exception; requiring written opinion; providing for assumption of original jurisdiction by the Supreme Court; providing for codification; and providing an effective date.

HB 2903 An Act relating to statutes and reports; authorizing statement in legislative measures related to Section 57 of Article V of the Oklahoma Constitution; providing for presumption based upon approval of statement; prescribing required vote for approval; providing for codification; and declaring an emergency. (Emergency Measure)

HB 2999 An Act relating to the Administrative Procedures Act; amending 75 O.S. 2011, Section 309, which relates to individual proceedings; prohibiting presence of certain persons in executive session; limiting assistance of counsel to proposed conclusions of law; modifying contents of the records; providing additional notice and opportunity to present evidence; prohibiting consideration of the case unless all parties are present; requiring access to certain information; proscribing communication after evidentiary record is concluded; requiring disclosure if additional information is received; providing for evidentiary hearing to be reopened; requiring withdrawal and disqualification for failing to disclose information; prescribing information be maintained and provided in compliance with the Oklahoma Open Records Act; and providing an effective date.

HB 3003 An Act relating to affirmative defenses; amending 12 O.S. 2011, Section 2008, as last amended by Section 3, Chapter 9, 1st Extraordinary Session, O.S.L. 2013 (12 O.S.L. 2013, Section 2008), which relates to general rules of pleading; adding affirmative defense of common sense; and providing an effective date.

HB 3365 An Act relating to product liability; providing certain rebuttable presumptions in production liability actions; providing grounds for rebutting presumptions; providing circumstances for which a product liability action may be asserted; providing for liability under certain circumstances; providing for codification; and providing an effective date.

SB 1475 An Act relating to durable powers of attorney; amending 58 O.S. 2011, Sections 1074 and 1075, which relate to relationship of court-appointed fiduciary and attorney-in-fact and incapacity of principal; modifying authority of certain fiduciary; modifying certain termination procedures; requiring filing of certain notice; allowing reliance on certain authority prior to filing of certain notice; and providing an effective date.

SB 1503 An Act relating to the Governmental Tort Claims Act; amending 51 O.S. 2011, Sections 152 and 155, as last amended by Section 34, Chapter 15, O.S.L. 2013 (51 O.S. Supp. 2013, Section 155), which relate to definitions and exemptions from liability; modifying definition; modifying certain exemptions; and providing an effective date.

SB 1686 An Act relating to discovery master; authorizing appointment of discovery master; requiring certain orders to contain specified findings; establishing procedures for certain disqualification; requiring certain notice; specifying contents of certain orders; authorizing amendment of certain orders; requiring certain oath; establishing authority of discovery master; providing for certain sanctions; requiring filing of certain report; establishing procedures for adoption or modification of certain report; requiring certain review; establishing guidelines for certain compensation; construing provision; providing for codification; and providing an effective date.

SB 1893 An Act relating to discovery; amending 12 O.S.2011, Section 3226, as last amended by Section 2, Chapter 278, 2012 (12 O. S. Supp. 2013, Section 3226), which relates to general provisions governing discovery, modifying requirement related to discovery methods; requiring certain release or authorization under specified circumstances; and providing effective date.

SB 2078 An Act relating to authorized disclosure of confidential information; amending 40 O.S. 2011, Section 4-508, as last amended by Section 132, Chapter 304, O.S. L. 2012 (40 O.S. Supp. 2013, Section 4-508), which relates to disclosure of certain information; modifying entities to whom certain information may be disclosed; and providing an effective date.

MORE INFORMATION ON PENDING BILLS

The committee compiled a master list of 489 bills of interest and also a streamlined list of 30 bills that every lawyer should know about. The master list will be updated weekly. Plus, there are the top 10 bills (more or less) in five practice areas: 1) business, labor and industry, 2) civil procedure and courts, 3) criminal law, 4) family law and 5) tax, energy and transportation.

All the lists can be found at www.okbar.org/members/Legislative. On that same webpage, you’ll also find links to the Legislature’s website and how to contact your legislators.

OBA DAY AT THE CAPITOL

All members are encouraged to come to Oklahoma City to participate in OBA Day at the Capitol, March 25. This is a great opportunity to speak to your legislators in person about issues important to you. The OBA is providing a free lunch that day, but an RSVP is required.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ms. Bartmess practices in Oklahoma City and chairs the Legislative Monitoring Committee. She can be reached at duchessb@swbell.net.
 

OBA DAY AT THE CAPITOL

Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Oklahoma Bar Center

10 a.m. Registration

10:30 a.m. Welcome and Town Hall Meeting Update
Renée DeMoss 
OBA President 

10:45 a.m. Bills of Interest to Trial Courts
Judge James Croy 
Oklahoma Judicial Conference

11 a.m. Civil Procedure & Evidence Bills
Jim Milton 
OBA Civil Procedure and Evidence Committee

11:15 a.m. Criminal Law & Procedure Bills
Trent Baggett
District Attorneys Council 

11:30 a.m. Family Law Bills
M. Shane Henry 
OBA Family Law Section 

11:45 a.m. Bills of Interest to the Judiciary 
Mike Evans 
Administrative Office of the Courts

Noon Lunch

12:45 p.m. Talking to Legislators and Instructions for the Day 
John Morris Williams
OBA Executive Director 

1 p.m. Adjourn and Meet with Legislators at the State Capitol

Please RSVP if attending lunch to:

debbieb@okbar.org or 
call 405-416-7014; 800-522-8065


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