“This law would allow Oklahoma families to rest easier, removing doubt as to whether a community vendor might be a sex offender in disguise,” said Gumm, D-Durant. “It’s critical that we take every possible precaution to prevent future instances of abuse and exploitation. This legislation is another important part of that effort.”
Expanding the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation’s (OSBI) DNA database could help solve some of the most horrific crimes committed according to Republican State Sen. Jonathan Nichols, author of Senate Bill 1102. The measure would add a number of misdemeanor crimes to the felony crimes already on the books which can result in the harvesting of DNA samples. The measure was approved by the full Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday.
“We’re talking about people who have been charged and convicted of misdemeanor criminal acts like peeping toms,” said Nichols, R-Norman. “We know for a fact that cold cases are often solved through DNA, and the perpetrator’s DNA may be in the system because of an entirely unrelated crime.”
Expanding the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation’s (OSBI) DNA database could help solve some of the most horrific crimes committed according to Republican State Sen. Jonathan Nichols, author of Senate Bill 1102. The measure would add a number of misdemeanor crimes to the felony crimes already on the books which can result in the harvesting of DNA samples. The measure was approved by the full Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday. “We’re talking about people who have been charged and convicted of misdemeanor criminal acts like peeping toms,” said Nichols, R-Norman. “We know for a fact that cold cases are often solved through DNA, and the perpetrator’s DNA may be in the system because of an entirely unrelated crime.”
A measure to create more uniformity in adoptions and ensure full disclosure of fees has cleared its first major hurdle in the Senate. Senate Bill 1029, by Sen. Steve Russell, was approved by the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. Russell, R-Oklahoma City, said that as an adoptive parent, it was an area of law of special concern to him.
Senator John Sparks (D-Norman) has filed a measure intended to eliminate the state income taxes paid by full time Higher Education and Career Technology students.
The Oklahoma State Capitol is quickly approaching the centennial of its official opening in 1917. To help commemorate the centennial and ensure the building is ready for its next century, State Sen. Harry Coates has authored Senate Bill 482. Rep. Liebmann will co-author the legislation which would create the Oklahoma State Capitol Centennial Commemoration and Preservation Act.
Coates, who has 40 years of experience in the construction industry, pointed out that many of the buildings main components such as the wiring and piping are original from 1917. There are also problems with some of the buildings newer additions including malfunctioning elevators and an inefficient heating and air system among others.
"The truth of the matter is that the Capitol has fallen into a state of disrepair – from the electrical to the plumbing to the exterior masonry – from a lack of funding for the upkeep and maintenance. We have all kinds of construction issues with the Capitol building,” said Coates. “If we don’t take steps in the very near future, in the next year or two, to make the repairs to the outside, especially to the weatherproofing envelope of the building including the masonry, it doesn’t matter what kind of money we spend on the interior it will all be for not because we didn’t adequately protect the building from the elements.”
A commission will be created to prepare and implement a master plan to make capital improvements to the State Capitol and grounds. The master plan will include a timetable and budget for completion of all parts of the plan. The master plan may include among other projects and activities:
· interior and exterior renovations to the Capitol and grounds
· publications, films, and other educational materials
· bibliographical and documentary projects
· conferences, lectures, seminars, and other programs
· exhibits, including but not limited to, a centennial commemorative painting and mobile exhibits
· ceremonies and commemorations
An initial draft of the plan must be submitted to the Governor, Pro Tem and Speaker by January 1, 2010 and the finalized plan by January 1, 2011.
"We as citizens must remember that this is the people’s house and, therefore, the responsibility of maintaining and protecting this building falls to every Oklahoman." said Liebmann, R-Oklahoma City. "Our Capitol has been nationally-recognized for excellence in public building design and construction so it’s important that we do all we can to protect this beautiful piece of our history as well as get it ready for its next century."
Membership of the commission will include the Governor and all living former governors, along with the Lt. Governor, Pro Tem of the Senate, Speaker of the House and numerous others. They will also be responsible for planning the festivities for the State Capitol’s centennial celebration.
The bill also authorizes the creation of a not-for-profit corporation to raise funds and to assist in the implementation of the master plan in relation to the centennial commemoration of the State Capitol in 2017.
SB 482 will next be heard by the full Senate.
“State agencies do receive funds beyond those appropriated by the State Legislature. Many collect fees and receive federal funds as well. Again, those are all monies generated by the public, and state agencies shouldn’t be using those other funds for hiring lobbyists.”
“Agency liaisons provide a number of valuable services on behalf of the state agencies year-round, in terms of information and constituent issues that require attention not only during the session but in the interim as well.”