The week in review: April 21, 2017

From Caldwell and Associates

It was a somber week at the state legislature with the news of Rep. David Brumbaugh’s passing over the weekend. The House honored Rep. Brumbaugh on Monday.

After last week’s deadline, the Senate dedicated its week to hearing bills on the floor. The deadline for the House Appropriations and Budget Committee to hear Senate bills was Thursday, so the House stayed busy with floor hearings and some committee work. The next deadline is April 27, when bills and joint resolutions must be heard on the floor of the opposite chamber.

At this point in the legislative process, bills amended in the opposite chamber are sent back to the originating chamber. The principal bill author will recommend if the chamber should concur with the amendments or reject them and request a conference committee before the measure is put back to a vote in the chamber of origin.

If the title was struck from a bill before passing in the opposite chamber, it will be sent to a conference committee to have changes made or the title restored. 

Bills passing the opposite chamber unchanged are sent to the governor.

As the last weeks of session near, the budget remains a controversial topic. The Save Our State Coalition revealed their budget plan for the state this week while health providers came to the Capitol to advocate once again for a cigarette tax increase. House Minority Leader Scott Inman also voiced an opinion on what he says is the Republican budget plan.

Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill aimed at solving some of the state’s budget woes. She signed HB2298 on Monday, the bill to sunset the wind industry’s zero-emission tax credit on July 1. It was originally scheduled to expire in 2021. Noticeable changes in income tax collections are not expected until 2028.

The House also passed SB0170, the bill to eliminate the income tax trigger. The bill will return to the Senate for consideration. 

Legislation Summary

Two measures closely watched by the Conservation Coalition of Oklahoma advanced out of the Senate this week.  

HB1304 passed the Senate by a vote of 37 to 1. Authored by Rep. Casey Murdock and Sen. Darcy Jech, the bill modifies definitions within the Oklahoma Swine Feeding Operations Act. It allows municipalities to issue a waiver of the setback requirements for swine feeding operations and extends the waiver to changes in ownership of the property. 

The bill has been sent to Gov. Mary Fallin.  

HB1392 passed the Senate 36 to 5 after the title and enacting clause were restored. Authored by Rep. Dell Kerbs and Sen. Eddie Fields, the bill reauthorizes the Oklahoma Wildlife Diversity Program check-off and creates an Oklahoma Emergency Responders Assistance Program check-off.

The bill returns to the Senate for consideration since it was amended in the House. Sen. Fields can recommend the Senate concur in the amendments or request a conference committee for the bill before it is put to a vote on the floor again.

A complete list of measures monitored for the Conservation Coalition of Oklahoma is available here.