By Angela Ailles Bahm
As I write this article, the political machinery keeps ticking away. I hope you are using the tools and free resources on the Oklahoma Legislature’s website at www.oklegislature.gov to monitor bills you are interested in — and that you are providing input to your legislators.
As a reminder, March 21 is the annual OBA Day at the Capitol. I again urge everyone to attend and participate if you possibly can. The agenda has been drafted thanks to our executive director, John Morris Williams. Registration will begin at 9:30 a.m., and the program will begin promptly at 10 a.m. Presenters will include OBA President Linda Thomas, Legislative Liaison Clay Taylor, Administrative Director of the Courts Jari Askins and yours truly. Rep. Chris Kannady (House District 91), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, will speak and provide an update.
In addition, former representative and attorney Randy Grau will assist attendees with a presentation on how to approach legislators. Lunch will take place from noon to 1 p.m., and afterward all attendees who choose to will visit legislators at the Capitol. You must RSVP to attend. Call Debbie Brink at 405-416-7014, 800-522-8065 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t miss the opportunity!
For me personally, this has always been a very rewarding opportunity. One shouldn’t need it, but it gives you a reason to go to the Capitol and see exactly what is taking place. I have enjoyed seeing debate take place on the floor by sitting in the gallery of both the House and the Senate. It truly gives you an idea of the scope of the issues with which our legislators are dealing and emphasizes the need for lawyer and citizen input. Again, take advantage of this opportunity and attend with us for a Day at the Capitol.
As a reminder, there are 17 attorneys in the House and five in the Senate. When you go to the Capitol, I urge you not to just visit these fellow lawyers but also make sure to take the opportunity to introduce yourself to your senator and representative and to give them your business card. Take the opportunity to offer your expertise as a resource to them.
In this article, I cannot possibly address all the bills that might affect your area of practice. If you have bills you think the Legislative Monitoring Committee should have an interest in and report on, please do not hesitate to let me know.
Bills that continue to be monitored include:
HB 1570 Creating the Civil Procedure Reform Act.
HB 1925 Creating the Court Redistricting Act of 2017.
HB 2306 Adding some court costs and filing fees.
SB 536 Eliminating the ability to charge a fee as a condition of licensing.
SB 699 Creating a mandatory retirement age for appellate judges.
SB 700 Provides for appointment by the Senate and House of attorney JNC members.
SB 708 Adds to the qualifications to become a judge that one must have tried three jury trials.
Again, these are just a small sampling of bills still making their way through the legislative process. Bills must come out of their house of origin by March 23 for them to continue to be viable. If they come out of their house of origin, then they move to the other house for consideration.
I look forward to seeing you March 21.
Ms. Bahm practices in Oklahoma City and will serve as the Legislative Monitoring Committee chairperson. She can be contacted at email@example.com.