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Oklahoma Bar Association

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Legislative

The Legislative Monitoring Committee focuses on the following measures:

  • Administration of justice
  • Court organization, selection, tenure, salary and other incidents of the judicial office
  • Rules and laws affecting practice and procedure in the courts and in administrative bodies exercising adjudicatory functions
  • The practice of law

OBA Bylaws Art. VIII Sec 3

Legislative Proposals and Endorsements in Principle:

  • The House of Delegates has the authority to place a measure on the Legislative Program or to endorse it in principle, with at least a 60% vote.

OBA Bylaws Art. VIII Sec 5

Action by the Association upon proposals for improvement of the law by legislation or by judicial rule shall consist of:

  • Adoption as part of the Legislative Program of the Association;
  • Endorsement in principle.

OBA Bylaws Art. VIII Sec 2

Legislative Report - 57th Legislature

The First Regular Session of the 57th Legislature convenes on Feb. 4 and will end May 31, 2019.  The OBA Legislative Monitoring Committee meets regularly and is watching legislative activity.

Day at the Capitol Speakers Provide Insightful Information

By Angela Ailles Bahm

On March 12, the Legislative Monitoring Committee presented the OBA’s annual Day at the Capitol event. The speakers were exemplary. We were particularly honored to host General Counsel for Gov. Stitt Mark Burget. I believe this may have been a first (and hopefully not a last) to have a direct representative of the governor at this meeting. Presenters also included Attorney General Mike Hunter, Oklahoma Supreme Court Chief Justice Noma Gurich, Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman and Administrator of the Courts Jari Askins.

During lunch, we were honored to have former President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee and former Rep. Randy Grau give us some direction on how to talk to legislators. We were delighted to have this as another first, two former members, one from each chamber, provide us with their unique perspectives. Following the presentations and lunch, attendees were encouraged to walk over to the Capitol to take the opportunity to meet with their legislators. As always, the committee’s objectives are to educate and encourage active participation in the legislative process.

Generally, there seems to exist an air of comity between the branches of government this legislative session. Attorney General Hunter discussed his office’s focus on public safety. One of the bills championed by his office is called “Francine’s Law,” HB 2640. It is named after Francine Frost, a woman who went missing in Tulsa over 30 years ago. This legislation, if enacted, would require all state agencies to include unidentified remains in a database called the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs).

In Ms. Frost’s case, her grandson was able to use the public database to eventually locate the previously unidentified remains of his grandmother. AG Hunter also addressed his office’s efforts at addressing the backlog of untested rape kits and the need for more funding of diversion programs along with criminal justice reform.

Chief Justice Gurich noted the number of new legislators and discussed the justices’ efforts at ensuring they are seen by the legislators as a resource. About 40 judges from across the state participated in an event at the judicial center on Presidents Day during which they also visited the Capitol. She noted personal concerns arising from bills hat would realign the Supreme Court and the Court of Criminal Appeals from the current nine districts to five districts, matching the current congressional districts. These bills are SB 973 and HB 2366. Both bills effectively create five districts from which Supreme Court justices would be selected, in addition to four at-large positions.

Judge Balkman also noted several bills. HB 2612, “the Unity bill,” is the bill that creates rules for Oklahoma’s medical marijuana industry. SB 300 adds back the limit of 30 requests for production of documents. SB 65 is a family law bill that, in part, will require a judge to provide written findings considered when making a determination on child custody and visitation.

Administrator of the Courts Askins noted her office administers OSCN, including inputting new laws when they go into effect. She asked that when members note mistakes in the system, to please contact her office. She took pride in the fact that their margin of error was less than another national online research tool. Ms. Askins created an excellent PowerPoint presentation on the complicated matter of how the courts collect money and how those collections are then distributed. The short of it is that the judiciary is underfunded. Yearly, they have to take funds from the designated MIS fund to meet payroll. Efforts are in the works to reduce the number of noncourt-related, executive branch agencies being funded through court collections.

Gubernatorial General Counsel Burget started by letting us know the philosophy of the governor’s office is “do the right thing; do the smart thing and use common sense.” Agency reform and accountability is the number one priority. Last month the governor signed into law changing the method of obtaining and controlling agency administrators and boards. SB 456, SB 457, HB 2480, HB 2479 and HB 2483 impact the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Oklahoma Department of Corrections, Oklahoma Health Care Authority, Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and the Office of Juvenile Affairs. Effectively, the governor will choose the administrator of the agency and some members of the board. The speaker of the House and president pro tem will choose other board members, and the governor will have direct control to hire and fire the chief administrators.

In keeping with his business approach to governing, the governor will work with the agencies to create metrics and goals for improving fiscal outlooks and efficiency. Approval was noted of the bills that would correlate the Supreme Court and Court of Criminal Appeals to the current congressional districts. For future legislation, the governor’s office will look at judicial funding and appropriations. Mr. Burget also discussed the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board and looking for methods of increasing the number of inmates who are under supervision after release. It is anticipated that increasing the number of supervised parolees, as opposed to permitting parole waivers, would result in less recidivism – and therefore save money.

Again, the speakers were candid and insightful. I cannot thank them enough for giving their time and energy and participating in the event!

As an update, below is a list of the bills which were addressed during Reading Day and, as of the writing of this article, are still active bills. You can see each bill’s current status by typing in the bill number on the legislative home page at www.oklegislature.gov, e.g. “HB1276” or “SB742,” and clicking “search.” This takes you to the bills “history” page. March 14 was the deadline for bills to be passed out of their house of origin. By April 25, the bill must pass out of the opposite chamber and will then be back in its house of origin for further consideration and vote. The last day of this session is May 31. Here’s a link to the House site that has great information on “How an Idea Becomes a Law” and the legislative process –
//www.okhouse.gov/information/CourseOfBills.aspx.

As always if you have any suggestions on how to improve the Legislative Monitoring Committee, please let me know.

UPDATED READING DAY BILLS

Family Law

  • HB 1276 Title 43 Child custody; provides court shall provide equal shared parenting time
  • HB 2616 Title 43 Creates child support guidelines review committee
  • HB 2270 Title 10 Relates to uniform parentage act and limitations of paternity actions
  • HB 1274 Title 10A Defines and addresses situational neglect
  • HB 2329 Title 10A Pertains to reporting of child abuse or neglect
  • HB 2604 Title 10A Pertains to perpetrator registry
  • HB 2189 Title 12 New law allows for alternative methods of providing testimony in criminal cases
  • HB 2091 Title 22 Increases number of members on Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board
  • Speaker also listed by reference HB 1061; SB 833; HB 1022; HB 1222; SB 742 and SB 300.

Criminal Law

  • HB 1001 Removes weapons prohibition for felons as passenger in vehicle
  • HB 1019 Oklahoma criminal discovery code – access to discovery
  • HB 1030 Title 37A New law; pertains to alcoholic beverages; allows certain felons to possess an employee’s license
  • HB 1145 Pertains to expungements
  • HB 2019 New law broadens judicial discretion for pregnant women or caregivers

Estate Planning/Banking/General Business

  • SB 732 Title 14A UCC; changes to dollar amounts from Reference Base Index
  • SB 123 Title 46 Extends time to six months mortgagor can cure default
  • SB 737 Title 18 Similar to above
  • SB 204 Title 18 Includes a “natural person” as a “charitable organization”

Government Law

  • HJR 1020 Change to Constitution regarding legislative term limits
  • HB 1391 Title 74 Pertaining to fingerprinting and background checks
  • HB 1921 Title 62 New law; Oklahomans Virtually Everywhere Act
  • SB 179 Title 62 Provides for training employees as financial managers
  • SB 198 Title 74 New law; guidelines for social media

Civil Procedure/Courts

  • HB 1092 Provides for collection of attorney’s fees in small claims cases
  • SB 779 Pertains to 3009.1; eliminates need to obtain provider’s sworn testimony in addition to evidence of payment
  • SB 300 Limits production of documents to 30
  • HB 1332 Title 47 Allows ATVs to be driven on certain municipal and county roadways

Environmental/Natural Resources

  • SB 353 Title 15 New law addressing “design professional services agreement”
  • SB 542 Title 29 New law relating to Wildlife Conservation Code, requiring education program
  • SB 702 Title 27A New law requiring DEQ and Water Resources Board to share information in certain circumstances
  • HB 1403 Title 82 New law pertaining to “treasured stream”
  • HB 2474 Title 82 Disclosure and website of applications to Oklahoma Water Resources Board
  • SB 568 Title 82 Creates phase 2 Arbuckle – Simpson Hydrology Study Revolving Fund

Schools

  • HB 1065 Modifies definition of threatening behavior
  • SB 441 Pertains to length of school year
  • SB 698 Title 61 Public Facilities Act; eliminates certain criteria

Indian/Real Estate Law

  • HB 1916 Title 60 New law prohibiting transfers of certain items of tangible personal property to public trust
  • HB 1220 Title 16 False affidavit shall result in award of costs and attorney
  • HB 1222 Title 16 Provides for effective conveyances by married grantors
  • HB 1223 Title 16 Pertains to claims and purchases of mineral interests
  • HB 2121 Title 60 Provides for notice relating to Uniform Unclaimed Property Act
  • SB 915 Title 16 Relates to remote online notarial acts
  • Also provided an update to the Stigler Act amendments in the lawsuit, Carpenter v. Murphy

Marijuana Law

  • HB 1100 Modifies certain prohibited acts. Relates to Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Act
  • SB 305 Pertains to discrimination against medical marijuana license holders
  • SB 307 Relates to tax on retail medical marijuana sales
  • SB 755 New law pertaining to advertising
  • SB 756 Relates to packaging and providing restrictions and requirements
  • SB 759 Provides for limitations to physicians and prohibitions for taking certain actions
  • SB 763 Pertains to allowing physicians to set certain limits
  • SB 765 Title 21 Relates to prohibitions on smoking and adding marijuana
  • SB 898 Pertains to dispensaries checking certain information at point of sale
  • SB 882 New law directs Bureau of Narcotics to develop and implement program for disposal of medical marijuana waste
  • SB 532 Title 12 Relates to foreclosure of medical marijuana businesses

Ms. 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 through Communities or angela.ailles-bahm.ga2e@statefarm.com.