By Angela Ailles Bahm
On Jan. 28 the Legislative Monitoring Committee hosted the annual OBA Legislative Reading Day, and more than 75 lawyers attended. It is one of the biggest responses in quite a number of years. Personally, I am hopeful this is indicative of citizen participation in the legislative process — but it could also have been that attendees received two hours of free CLE and pizza.
The presentation method for the reading day changed this year. I started the CLE by demonstrating for the attendees how to use the legislative website to research and track bills. Attendees logged on to the system and created their free legislative monitoring account. Next, six speakers presented “10 bills in 10 minutes.” The presenters were Oklahoma County Special District Judge Richard Ogden, family and domestic docket; Mack Martin of the Martin Law Office, criminal lawyer; Lesley March, assistant attorney general and unit chief for the Victim Services Unit; Jim Milton with Hall Estill, trust and estate planning; Susan Carns Curtis of Carns Curtis Law, personal injury lawyer; and Clayton Cotton with Fenton, Fenton, Smith, Reneau and Moon, business and insurance defense litigation attorney.
I cannot thank these lawyers enough for their time and effort. Within a week they were asked to review bills filed in titles, which they were assigned de-pending on their area of expertise. They did an excellent job condensing a lot of important information into 10-minute presentations.
The morning ended with a panel of legislators. Thank you to OBA Legislative Liaison Clay Taylor, who organized and moderated the panel. Panelists were Sen. Kay Floyd (District 46), Sen. David Holt (District 30), Rep. Chris Kannady (District 91) and freshman Rep. Collin Walke (District 87). Again, my thanks for their willingness to give time on their Saturday to participate in this important educational opportunity. The legislative session began Feb. 6. The legislators and everyone present were very appreciative of the enormity of the issues to be addressed during the 2017 session.
I cannot possibly include all of the bills in this article that were discussed. Very briefly, the following is a list and brief description of some I thought were notable:
HB 1257 Abrogates common-law marriages
HB 1277 Eliminates incompatibility as a reason for dissolution of marriage under certain circumstances
SB 192 Eliminates a statute of limitations for certain sexual and child-related crimes
SB 369 Modifies jury trial procedures and particularly affects the sentencing stage
HB 2323 Allows any citizen who is not a felon to carry a gun, concealed or unconcealed
SB 362 and HB 1927 Creates the Uniform Commercial Real Estate Receivership Act
SB 424 Reduces the time to respond to discovery served with the summons to 30 days
SB 621 Pertains to the Residential Landlord Tenant Act and prohibits discrimination against a tenant or prospective tenant who has been a victim of domestic violence or sexual violence
HB 1888 and SB 441 Creates subpoena power for DHS
HB 2194 Modifies procedures for eminent domain and condemnation proceedings
SB 699 Provides for automatic retirement of appellate judges, applying the “rule of 80”
SB 700 New law eliminating the current Judicial Nominating Commission and creating a new JNC; members appointed by the President Pro Tem and the Speaker of the House
To view these bills and any other bills, use the free service on the legislative website, www. oklegislature.gov. Click on the tab LEGISLATION and see the pull-down menu to search for a specific bill, search by text and create an account to use the Track Bills (legislative electronic notification system, LENS) to build your tracking list.
Also, be sure to sign onto the MyOKBar Communities on the new and improved OBA website. For members of the Legislative Monitoring Committee, you can get to lists of bills filed under each title and stay on top of what is happening with the committee. If you are not a committee member, it is not too late to sign up. Go to www.okbar.org.
The next meeting of the Legislative Monitoring Committee will be Feb. 22, at noon at the Oklahoma Bar Center. If you plan to attend, please be sure to RSVP; lunch will be provided. I look forward to seeing you then.
Ms. Bahm practices in Oklahoma City and will serve as the Legislative Monitoring Committee chairperson. She can be contacted at email@example.com.