eCapitol

An Oklahoma-based company with corporate headquarters located in Oklahoma City, eCapitol launched as an online capitol news and information business in the early 1990's. eCapitol provides on-the-ground, politically-neutral reporting of capitol activity and ways for KGOU to follow legislation, track votes and analyze amendments in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

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Politics and Government
7:03 am
Sat February 28, 2015

First Legislative Deadline Passed

Oklahoma House of Representatives Chamber
Credit http://www.oklegislature.gov/

Lawmakers crossed the deadline for hearing bills and joint resolutions in committees of their chamber of origin Thursday and Friday, cutting the number of measures from over 2,100 to just over 900.

By Jan. 22’s deadline for filing bills and joint resolutions to be heard during the 2015 legislative session, representatives filed a total of 1,233 measures and senators filed 828.

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Politics and Government
7:31 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

Senate Rules Panel Calls For US Constitutional Convention, & OK Constitutional Amendment

Credit kjd / Flickr.com

Oklahoma could join a growing list of states calling for a convention to be held to amend the U.S. Constitution.

The Senate Rules Committee considered a bill on Wednesday calling for a constitutional convention to be held to consider amendments to restrict the federal government's power and impose term limits for members of Congress.

Former U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn visited with House and Senate Republicans on Monday and urged them to pass the bill.

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Politics and Government
6:50 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

Oklahoma Committee Approves Ban On Regulating Gay 'Conversion' Therapy

Oklahoma State Representative Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City.
Credit okhouse.gov/

Legislation to prohibit Oklahoma from regulating the practice of so-called gay conversion therapy has been approved by a state House committee.

Without debate, the Children, Youth and Family Services Committee voted 5-3 and sent the bill to the full House.

In other states, bills have been filed to ban conversion therapy, a range of practices aimed at changing one's sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

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Politics and Government
7:01 am
Sat February 21, 2015

Legislature Steps Up To Deal With Budget Shortfall

State agencies are being asked to return to the Capitol to have an in-depth discussion about their budgets, the leaders of the House and the Senate said Thursday. The meetings to discuss budgets are a result of the $611 million dollar shortfall authorized by the State Equalization Board last Tuesday.

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Politics and Government
7:54 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

House Public Safety Panel Approves Bill Limiting Public Access To Government Records

Dashboard cameras
Credit Fernost / Creative Commons

A bill that started out to limit when police video record are released has been further amended to increase fees for copies of public records and create further exemptions for public access to government records.

The amendments were offered by  Rep. Mike Christian, R-Oklahoma City and the bill received approval from the House Public Safety committee Thursday.

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Politics and Government
7:11 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

Senate Energy Committee Approves Bill To Preempt Local Control Of Drilling Operations

Protestors outside a public meeting in Oklahoma City about an oil company's proposal to drill near Lake Hefner held signs and chanted "Stop fracking now" and "No more drilling."
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Senate Energy Committee approved a bill Thursday during its first meeting of the session that would give the state authority to regulate oil and gas operations.

Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, said SB0809 “…preempts cities from preventing drilling operations in municipalities.”

There were no questions from committee members about the bill and it received a do pass recommendation. Sen. John Sparks, R-Norman, cast the only vote against the do pass recommendation.

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Politics and Government
4:59 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

House Education Committee Vote On AP U.S. History Draws Nationwide Attention

Brian Hardzinski KGOU

Updated 12:20 p.m.

House Speaker Jeff Hickman (R-Fairview) says no decision has been made about whether or not a controversial bill that directs the State Board of Education to adopt a new program to replace the Advanced Placement U.S. history course and test will be heard by the full chamber.

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Politics and Government
8:55 am
Sun February 8, 2015

Oklahoma Legislators Get To Work - Last Week At The Capitol

Oklahoma Capitol Building

Legislative committee work dominated the first full week of the Oklahoma legislative session for the House and Senate, as well as some other planning.

Oklahoma Senate leader pushes budget-only session: A plan to dedicate every other legislative session in Oklahoma exclusively to creating a state budget is picking up momentum in the Legislature. Gov. Mary Fallin touted the idea on the campaign trail, and now Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman has written a resolution that would send the plan to a vote of the people. A similar proposal passed the House last year on a bipartisan 70-18 vote and had the support of Republican House Speaker Jeffrey Hickman. If approved by voters, the Legislature would write a budget every year, but only deal with non-budget bills every other year.

House Bill 1409 received a "do pass" recommendation from the House Committee on Public Health. Among its provisions, it would triple the waiting period for terminating a pregnancy after informed consent has been provided: from 24 to 72 hours.

The House Elections and Ethics Committee gave do pass recommendations to four bills. A fifth bill, by House Speaker Jeff Hickman, was laid over. The committee substitute for HB1097, by Rep. Donald Condit, D-McAlester, generated the most discussion. The bill would make sheriffs elections non-partisan. Condit said he filed the bill after speaking with a constituent who had been unable to vote in recent sheriffs’ elections. The Committee also approved a measure where voters could apply to become permanent absentee voters. State Rep. Elise Hall, author of House Bill 1559, said the intent of her legislation is to improve the absentee ballot system and encourage greater voter participation.

The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services made its annual appropriation request Tuesday in front of the House Appropriations and Budget Subcommittee on Health. The department is requesting a total of $141,104,999 for FY16. A large majority of these appropriations would go towards maintaining existing programs and the Smart on Crime Initiative, which includes funding drug courts and mental health courts. Commissioner Terri White said the department's most important goal was to maintain these existing programs such as the Systems of Care Program.

The Senate Public Safety Committee approved SB0578, by Sen. Wayne Shaw, designed to reduce the number of aged prisoners in the Department of Corrections’ custody by establishing a secure nursing facility for prisoners. Such a facility currently does not exist, Shaw said, and the older, often ailing inmates, remain in prison and cost the state additional money. The proposal would create a stand-alone long-term care facility for any incarcerated offender deemed by the DOC to be either critically or terminally ill.

The House Criminal Justice and Corrections Committee passed four bills on Wednesday with minimal debate. Rep. Bobby Cleveland, R-Slaughterville, voiced repeated concerns about HB1046, a bill that would modify the way in which restitution is paid in Oklahoma. HB1046, by Rep. Scott Biggs, R-Chickasha, requires that if the court cancels all or part of restitution owed, the court must also apply the same percentage reduction to any court-ordered monetary obligation owed by the defendant.

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Politics and Government
6:55 am
Sun February 1, 2015

Fallin Will Propose Tapping Revolving Funds To Fill $300 Million Budget Gap

Governor Mary Fallin.
Credit facebook

Gov. Mary Fallin will recommend in her State of the State speech and executive budget Monday transferring up to $300 million of unencumbered money out of state agency revolving funds to shore up the fiscal year 2016 budget, according to an eCapitol report. “The governor, as she has already said, will propose using some, but not all, of unencumbered revolving fund money to balance the budget.

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Politics and Government
6:34 am
Sat January 31, 2015

Bill Would Change Requirements For Officers To Transport Those Needing Mental Health Evaluations

Oklahoma City Police Car
Credit Paul L. McCord Jr. / Flickr Creative Commons

A recently proposed bill would allow law enforcement to contract a third party to provide transportation of individuals requiring mental health services.

Current law requires sheriffs and peace officers to transport individuals to and from designated sites or facilities for examination, emergency detention, protective custody and inpatient services.

SB0252, by Sen. Ron Sharp, would be the first step in fixing the inefficient process, said Sharp in a press release.

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