It was a productive week of work for the Senate and House of
Representatives as they plowed through crowded agendas, passing
nearly 150 bills apiece. This did not include more than 50 House
appropriations bills passed by the Senate and returned to the House
for consideration of amendments.
A huge majority of the bills, besides the appropriations
passed by large vote margins. This is a usual practice at this point
in the session. In many instances legislators know the bills are
going to conference and they will get another chance to vote on
There also is a reluctance to kill bills of fellow members. They
often leave that up to the members in the other house.
Four measures were defeated in the House during the week, some by
substantial margins. They also returned several bills to committee,
which effectively kills them. The Senate defeated two measures and
several others were laid over for later consideration. Gov. Frank
Keating got into the act by vetoing a bill.
The governor vetoed Senate Bill 1089 by Sen. Angela Monson, D-
Oklahoma City, that would have taken $35.9 million from the state's
rainy day fund and appropriated it to the State and Education
Employees Group Insurance Board. It also would have allowed state
employees to choose a different health plan.
In his veto message, the governor said he is "opposed to a bill
that subsidizes an inefficient, backward government-run insurance
plan that should be privatized." He said he believes state employees
are entitled to unrestricted private choices for indemnity and
preferred provider medical plans. He also opposed the idea of taking
the money from the rainy day fund, saying if the Legislature wants
subsidize the board's rate increase it should be through direct
Last year the Legislature enacted a law by Rep. Jim Glover, D-
Elgin, to allow Highway Patrolmen and police to stop motorists who
are not wearing seat belts. Ostensibly the bill was designed to help
enforce the state's mandatory seat belt law, which of course was
passed to protect us from ourselves.
This week one of the bills resoundingly defeated in the Senate was
Senate Bill 767 by Sen. Ben Brown, D-Oklahoma City. It would have
amended the current law prohibiting anyone from riding outside the
passenger compartment of a motor vehicle on streets, highways and
turnpikes, but exempting pickup trucks from the restriction. Brown's
bill would have extended the restriction to pickups for persons
18 years old.
Apparently the Senate believes a person riding in the cab of a
pick up should be required to wear a seat belt, but it's all right
for that person, even a minor child, to ride in the open bed of the
pickup without wearing one. If that makes sense, it must be
The House leadership must be satisfied with the method now used
for setting legislative pay. Five Joint Resolutions were introduced
in the House relating to the matter of legislative compensation.
Most of them were similar proposals. All five were sent to the House
Rules Committee, and all five were allowed to die there.
Rep. Forrest Claunch, R-Midwest City introduced House Joint
Resolution 1056 amending the constitution to abolish the present
Board on Legislative Compensation and setting the base pay for
legislators at the level in effect on Jan. 1, 1989. It would have
required their compensation to be adjusted upward or downward each
year based on changes in the Consumer Price Index.
Rep. Dan Webb, R-Oklahoma City, had two joint resolutions. One
would have submitted a constitutional amendment to a vote of the
people abolishing the present board, and requiring legislators' pay
to be set by law. It would have prohibited any increase during a
legislative session in which state employees did not receive an
increase. His second proposal would have allowed legislators to
refuse an increase in compensation approved by the board. …