Bill seeks to hike OETA's government coverage
A measure that would allow Oklahoma's public television system to increase its legislative and state government coverage won unanimous approval Wednesday. A House budget subcommittee on CareerTech voted 5-0 to pass Senate Bill 429; it now goes to the House Appropriations and Budget Committee. The measure authorizes OETA to develop the Oklahoma Public Events Network to televise legislative proceedings, state agency meetings and appellate court arguments. A House fiscal analysis said OETA officials estimated the cost to set up cameras and other equipment to televise proceedings from the state Capitol would be about $600,000, with annual costs estimated to be as much as $1.8 million.
House resolution honors
life of late state trooper
The House passed a resolution Wednesday honoring the life of Oklahoma Highway Patrol Capt. Rodrick “Pete” Norwood, who died last week. About 40 troopers and Norwood's family members were in the House chamber for a 15-minute ceremony. Norwood, an 18-year patrol veteran, died Saturday. He was 42. Norwood joined the patrol in 1995; at the time of his death he served as legislative liaison. “Pete was everybody's friend,” said patrol Chief Kerry Pettingill. “Pete was what we want in a state trooper.” Norwood's funeral is set for 1 p.m. Thursday in Anadarko High School's auditorium.
A legislative panel passed a bill Wednesday that would allow money from the Oklahoma's Promise college scholarship program to be used to pay tuition for students attending CareerTech. Rep. Lee Denney, House sponsor of Senate Bill 432, said the measure would create a program for students pursuing certain industry certificates through CareerTech centers. The House budget subcommittee on CareerTech voted 3-2 to pass SB 432. It now goes to the House Appropriations and Budget Committee.
Panel gives bill approval
to change early voting
A bill that would change early voting to Thursday, Friday and Saturday, from Friday, Saturday and Monday before an election has won approval from the House Judiciary Committee. Senate Bill 869 also would allow county election boards to process and start counting absentee votes before the election day. SB 869 passed 12-3. It now goes to the House Calendar Committee, which will decide whether it gets a hearing in the House.
Bill would penalize sales of illegal substances
The House passed a bill Wednesday that would suspend the tobacco license for any convenience store owner who was found to sell synthetic marijuana or synthetic meth, which are packaged, passed off and sold like incense and bath salts. Senate Bill 619 also would cancel the tobacco license for a convenience store owner who is convicted of using, possessing, manufacturing or selling any controlled substance. Rep. Scott Biggs, R-Chickasha, the House sponsor of SB 619, said the intent is to keep synthetic marijuana and synthetic meth products out of convenience stores. The House voted 84-12 to pass SB 612. It now goes to the governor.
Michael McNutt, Capitol Bureau