The first session of the 56th Oklahoma Legislature adjourned May 26, 2017. The OBA Legislative Monitoring Committee is continuing to meet periodically in preparation for the 2018 session.
Day at the Capitol - Tuesday, March 6, 2018
List of Attorney Legislators - A total of 149 elected representatives and senators serve in the Oklahoma Legislature. The OBA is proud of its 23 lawyer members, who represent 15 percent of the House and Senate in Oklahoma.
Committee Begins Its Work Monitoring Legislation
Bar Members Urged to Attend Day at the Capitol on March 6
By Angela Ailles Bahm
The Legislative Monitoring Committee has been, and continues to be, actively engaged for the benefit of the bar association. This is no longer a “one and done” committee. If you have any interest in the legislative process, I strongly urge you to consider becoming a member. The committee uses its MyOKBar Communities page to communicate with and keep members informed – and to post lists of bills. We have meetings scheduled for the first Tuesday of every month at the Oklahoma Bar Center in Oklahoma City at noon, for now, at least through May. If you cannot attend personally to enjoy lunch with us, you can attend by phone/videoconference using BlueJeans. You can also keep informed of what the committee is doing and upcoming events by regularly checking this page.
After the last regular session, Sen. Kay Floyd asked us to help with an interim study project. Sen. Floyd was permitted to have a hearing on an interim study that took place in November. The stated purpose of the study was to “examine the monetary and non-monetary ramifications of filing unconstitutional legislation in Oklahoma.” She asked the committee for assistance in preparing a summary of cases in which legislation has been determined to be in violation of the state Constitution. Hopefully, the outcome will be educational for the Legislature in understanding the implications of creating unconstitutional law, the drain on already depleted resources and the impact on the state’s reputation and the negative effect of that on economic development.
Along those lines, another project the committee has completed was creating a list of constitutional provisions that impact the legislative process. This effort put the constitutional provisions in layperson terms to help our legislators avoid unconstitutional legislation. A special shout out to those who did most of the work: Duchess Bartmess, Robert Clark, Clayton Cotton, Shanda McKenney, David Miley and Miles Pringle. The committee plans to provide that list to legislators along with a notepad that includes an email address to which members of the Legislature can send questions. The questions will be answered by committee members to help provide understanding of the intended and unintended consequences of proposed legislation.
Last year I asked that all chairs of committees and sections be made members of the Legislative Monitoring Committee. I have asked that to take place again this year. I am aware several sections and committees have their own legislative liaisons and/or monitor legislation independently. Why not get the benefit of everyone’s efforts? That benefit already became apparent during the annual OBA Legislative Reading Day, Jan. 27. Several section and committee chairs were our presenters of bills in a session called “10 Bills in 10 Minutes.” I can’t thank them enough and hope they will continue to provide me with bills of interest I can report to you.
Next up, the committee will be hosting the annual Day at the Capitol, Tuesday, March 6. Mark your calendar now and RSVP by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org! Registration will begin at 9:30 a.m. Attorney General Mike Hunter will start the day off, speaking at about 10 a.m. Afterward, we will have a variety of additional speakers, a legislative panel, lunch and then everyone goes to the Capitol to meet with legislators. It is always an informative and interesting day – and will be again this year. I hope to see you there!
Committee members, be sure to log into the committee’s page within MyOKBar Communities and keep an eye out for the summaries of bills. If you think some proposed legislation needs to be watched by the committee and reported on in future articles, please let me know. If you are not a member of the committee, sign up online.
Ailles Bahm is the managing attorney of State Farm’s in-house office and also serves as the Legislative Monitoring Committee chairperson. She can be contacted via email.