Capitol repair goes to voters
The House Appropriations and Budget Committee passed a measure Wednesday that would let voters decide whether the state should seek a $200 million bond issue to repair the Capitol. Rep. Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview, the author of House Joint Resolution 1033, said the proposed bond issue is similar to a package the House took up and defeated last year 77-15. The bond issue would repair and restore the Capitol and repair other buildings in the Capitol complex. The committee passed it 15-3; it now goes to the House Calendar Committee, which will decide if it gets a hearing in the House.
may be reduced
A measure that would gradually reduce the amount appropriated to the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority won approval Wednesday night by the House Appropriations and Budget Committee. House Bill 2218, by Rep. Tom Newell, R-Seminole, would reduce appropriations each fiscal year until June 30, 2020, when the authority would receive no direct appropriation from the Legislature. The authority will be free to raise money through other methods. HB 2218 passed 13-5; it now goes to the House Calendar Committee.
School weapons bill passes panel
The House Public Safety Committee passed a bill Wednesday that would allow a person with an Oklahoma handgun permit to carry a firearm on private elementary or private secondary school property if a policy has been adopted by the private school. House Bill 1622, by Rep. Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City, also would lower the penalty for carrying a firearm on school property from a felony to a misdemeanor with a fine not to exceed $250. HB 1622 passed 12-0. It now goes to the House Calendar Committee.
Liquor store bill advances
The House Economic Development and Financial Services Committee approved a measure Wednesday that would allow voters to decide whether to change the state constitution to allow liquor stores to sell corkscrews, bottle openers, stemware and other items. Rep. Colby Schwartz, R-Yukon, author of House Joint Resolution 1041, filed a similar measure last year; it passed the House but stalled in the Senate. HJR 1041 passed 13-0. It now goes to the House Calendar Committee.
to be honored
The Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women will present House Floor Leader Pam Peterson, R-Tulsa, with its 2013 Kate Barnard Award at a ceremony and luncheon Feb. 28 at the state Capitol. Peterson is being recognized for initiating and leading an interim legislative study on human trafficking. Peterson is the first woman to serve as majority floor leader in the House and she also serves as chairman of the Task Force to Stop Sexual Violence. She served on the Commission on the Status of Women from 2007 through 2012.
MICHAEL MCNUTT, CAPITOL BUREAU