Oklahoma Capitol Almanac

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Associated Press

Posted on April 4, 2013 at 3:03 AM

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Okla. House panel passes trio of school safety measures, including emergency plan requirements

Three bills containing the recommendations of a task force on school security have easily cleared an Oklahoma House committee, including a measure to impose new requirements for schools to report their emergency plans to authorities.

All three bills passed unanimously Wednesday with little discussion or debate in the House Public Safety Committee. The bills already have cleared the Senate and now proceed to the full House, where they are expected to pass easily.

The bills emerged from a 22-member School Security Commission created in following the deadly school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

The measures require schools to report emergency response plans to local law enforcement, create a school security institute, and require schools to report the discovery of firearms on campus to local police.

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Okla. Senate committee approves bill boosting pay for highway troopers and drug enforcement

An Oklahoma Senate committee has advanced a proposed pay raise for Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers.

The Senate Appropriations Committee passed bill Wednesday without opposition, sending it to the full Senate. Dacoma Republican Rep. Jeff Hickman first introduced the measure in the House where it passed on a 90-0 vote in March.

Hickman's proposal includes about $7 million to raise trooper pay. An amendment also approved by the committee expands the pay raise to members of the Alcoholic Beverage Law Enforcement Commission and the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control. It's unclear how much the additional pay raises will cost.

Hickman says the pay raise will address a critical "manpower issue" within the OHP.

A similar proposed pay raise for prison officers never came to a vote in the House.

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Oklahoma House committee approves proposal allowing convicts to request DNA tests

An Oklahoma Senate committee has approved a bill that would allow convicted criminals to request

DNA testing of evidence in their cases.

Oklahoma is currently the only state with no such law on its books. The bill already passed the House in February and now heads to the full Senate.

The Senate Appropriations Committee voted 20-0 for the bill Wednesday. Rep. Lee Denney first introduced the measure.

The bill would apply to people convicted of violent felonies or who have received prison sentences of 25 years or more. It would allow them to request DNA testing of evidence and more testing if new technology becomes available.

Oklahoma County Chief Public Defender Bob Ravitz says 300 people have been exonerated nationally thanks to DNA testing, including about a dozen in Oklahoma.

Okla. Senate committee OKs proposal to limit state's bond debt payments to fraction of revenue

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An Oklahoma Senate committee has cleared a proposal to limit the state's bond debt.

The Senate Appropriations Committee advanced the bill by Republican Sen. Josh Brecheen of Coalgate on a 17-2 vote Wednesday. It now goes to the full Senate.

The bill has already passed the House, but the Senate committee approved a substitute measure. The first version directly limited the state's total bond debt to a percentage of general revenue. The version that cleared the Senate committee instead places a limit on the state's interest payments on its bonds at 4.5 percent of general revenue.

The change is intended to give room for the legislature to issue bonds for Capitol repairs and other major public projects. Brecheen says the limit would make Republicans friendlier to a bond issue.

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