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Oklahoma lawmakers to take up familiar topics

Nearly 2,500 measures have been filed for the Oklahoma Legislature's upcoming session, which starts next month.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Modified: January 18, 2013 at 10:10 pm •  Published: January 19, 2013

Other measures

The Republican-controlled Legislature, which has made changes in workers' compensation a priority since gaining control of both chambers in 2008, will take up a measure proposing an overhaul of the system. HB 1362 by Rep. Arthur Hulbert, R-Fort Gibson, would change the workers' compensation system from a judicial system to an administrative one.

Lawmakers will pick up where they left off last year in trying to decide how to pay for renovating and repairing the state Capitol and completing the American Indian Museum and Cultural Center.

Rep. Earl Sears, R-Bartlesville, has a couple of ideas how to pay for the Capitol repairs and renovation. HB 1129 would appropriate $153 million to pay for the work; House Joint Resolution 1008 would let voters decide in 2014 whether the state would authorize a $153 million bond issue.

Sen. Kyle Loveless, R-Oklahoma City, has proposed two new ideas to pay for completing the half-built American Indian Cultural Center and Museum in Oklahoma City. SB 482 would authorize a $32 million bond issue and Senate joint Resolution 9 would let voters decide whether the state should pursue a bond issue.

Another attempt will be made to pass personhood legislation, which holds that individual rights and constitutional protections begin at conception. HB 1029, by Rep. Mike Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City, is similar to last year's measure that caused an emotional battle in the House before it failed to get a vote on the floor. Reynolds also last year backed a resolution with the same language, but the state Supreme Court unanimously ruled it was unconstitutional because it would interfere with a woman's right to an abortion.

Among another attempt to lower the state's personal income tax is SB 240, which would replace Oklahoma's income tax structure with a flat tax of 2.95 percent. House Democrats already have come out against the measure, saying it would lower taxes for the rich while raising them for everyone else.

Anderson also has filed SB 32, which would allow cities and towns to ban any breed of dog. It's considered an attempt to allow cities and towns to ban pit bull terriers. State law doesn't allow breed-specific bans. Legislative efforts to ban pit bull terriers in 2006 failed.