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Committee Action Taken on OBA Legislation of Interest

UPDATE Feb. 10, 2016:  HB 3162 and HJR 1042 were laid over as a result of their authors requesting they not be heard in committee today.
HRJ 1037, Rep. Calvey’s bill to abolish the JNC and hold contested elections, was passed out of committee. A committee substitute was filed yesterday and is available online. The next step for the bill is for it to be voted on by the entire House of Representatives.

The Oklahoma House of Representatives Elections and Ethics Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on HJR 1037 on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, at 9 a.m., Room 512A at the Capitol.

This measure, if approved by voters, would call for the popular election of all appellate judges and justices in Oklahoma. Full text of the proposed legislation is available on the Oklahoma House website. The Oklahoma Bar Association opposes this measure.

In addition, the House Government Oversight and Accountability Committee will hold a hearing for HB 3162 on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016 at 9 a.m. in Room 412C. This measure would terminate the appointment of all current attorney members of the Oklahoma Judicial Nominating Commission.  Those members, who were elected to the commission by their fellow lawyers in nonpartisan elections, would be replaced with political appointments. Full text of the bill may be found online. The OBA also opposes this measure.

Also on Feb. 10, at 10:30 a.m., the House Rules Committee will hear HJR 1042 in Room 512 A. This measure calls for a constitutional amendment that changes the selection method the Judicial Nominating Commission currently uses to determine candidates for judicial office. A proposed committee substitute for this measure has been filed by the author.

The OBA supports in principle the current method of judicial selection in our state, which utilizes the Oklahoma Judicial Nominating Commission in its current composition to determine three qualified candidates for judicial office. Six lawyers elected by their in nonpartisan elections currently represent a minority voice on the 15-member commission.

Related: Will We Let History Repeat Itself? by OBA President Garvin A. Isaacs

OBA members are always encouraged to contact their own representatives to discuss issues of importance. If you don’t know who your representatives are, you can easily find them on online.

Let your voices be heard! Remember that OBA Day at the Capitol is set for Tuesday, March 8.