Move on personhood bill fails
A procedural move to go around House leadership to bring the so-called personhood bill up for a vote on the House floor failed Wednesday. Meanwhile, an anti-abortion group backed off its threat to keep track of House Republicans who voted against parliamentary procedures to bring Senate Bill 1433 up for a hearing on the House. Kevin Calvey, vice chairman of Oklahomans for Life, said Tuesday the group would regard the failure of any member to support procedural votes to bring SB 1433 before the whole House as an abortion-rights vote on that member's record. In an email sent to House members, Calvey, a former Republican House member, wrote that “Oklahomans for Life will not be scoring procedural votes on SB 1433.” Rep. Mike Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City, made a motion to suspend the rules in an attempt to bring SB 1433 up for a House vote. But Speaker Pro Tem Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview, ruled that those motions have to go through the majority floor leader. Backers of SB 1433 say it is a statement that Oklahomans value life and that nothing in the measure would prohibit contraception or in vitro fertilization. Opponents say it could lead to restrictions on abortions, birth control, in vitro fertilization and stem cell research. Thursday is the last day for Senate-originated bills to be heard on the House floor.
House approves intangible tax fix
The House unanimously passed a measure Wednesday that would let voters decide whether to keep intangible personal property from being taxed. Senate Joint Resolution 52 passed 89-0 and now goes to a conference committee. The measure is a proposed state constitutional amendment eliminating property taxes on intangible property, which includes such things as client lists, trademarks and copyrights. If voters turn down the amendment, Oklahoma businesses would face the largest tax increase in state history, said Rep. David Dank, R-Oklahoma City, the House author of SJR 52. The state Supreme Court in 2009 issued an opinion saying companies should be assessed ad valorem tax on intangible property.
MICHAEL MCNUTT, CAPITOL BUREAU