Regular committees of the Senate and House completed their work
for the second session of the 46th Legislature this week. Thursday
was the final day for reporting bills and joint resolutions from
committees. Those remaining in committee cannot be considered this
session without a suspension of the joint rules by both houses. What
further committee work that is done will be by conference
Several key bills were moved ahead for floor consideration and in
many cases, probable conference committee action. The Senate and
House both advanced tax reduction measures.
The House Revenue and Taxation Committee, chaired by Rep. Ron
Langmacher, D-Carnegie, approved Senate Bill 1167 by Sen. Dick
Wilkerson containing Gov. Frank Keating's tax cut proposals for
year. It had passed the Senate intact earlier by a vote of 41 to 4.
The Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Wilkerson, responded by
adopting several tax-cutting House measures including House Bill
by Langmacher reducing state income taxes. All of the measures are
destined to go to conference, where the leadership will decide which
if any of the tax cuts will be allowed. That decision will be made,
of course, after both houses have made a record of voting for all of
Antitrust reform act
On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee unanimously approved
SB 1357, by Sen. Howard Hendrick, R-Oklahoma City, and Rep. Opio
Toure, D-Oklahoma City, who chairs the committee. The Oklahoma
Antitrust Reform Act is the result of combined efforts of industry
leaders, the attorney general's office and the authors who worked
with D. Kent Meyers with the law firm of Crowe & Dunlevy. He teaches
antitrust law at the University of Oklahoma Law School.
Attorney General Drew Edmondson appeared before the committee in
support of the legislation, which he said is designed to develop a
modern state antitrust act that conforms significantly with federal
Assistant Attorney General Mickey Moon outlined three primary
things the bill will accomplish. It will encourage entry into
Oklahoma's consumer markets for new businesses seeking to compete
consumer demand. It will protect consumers against future
anticompetitive conduct, and third, it will enable the AG's office
investigate potential anticompetitive conduct without having to
formally and publicly initiate an antitrust suit.
The legislation amends only those antitrust provisions in Title 79
of the Oklahoma statutes. It brings Oklahoma law into conformance
with four basic parts of the federal law: Sections 1 and 2 of the
Sherman Anti-Trust Act, Section 7 of the Clayton Act and Section 2
the Robinson-Patman Act.
It also brings under review certain public trusts such as airport
and water, trusts which have municipal corporations as
Under the present law they can engage in anticompetitive actions.
Also included are the Grand River Dam Authority and the Oklahoma
Municipal Power Authority to the extent their goods or services are
not regulated by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.
One of the key questions about the bill came from Rep. Bill
Settle, D-Muskogee, who asked if the new law would change existing
Meyers said it would not because there have been so few cases
under Title 79.
Most of the questions from committee members centered on Section 4
of the bill which deals with price discrimination and tracks the
Rep. Ray Vaughn, R-Oklahoma City, noted the section has only two
sentences but the first one covered 25 lines (252 words). Citing
Wal- Mart as an example, he asked about price differentials for
different quantities. He posed a question as to whether a
manufacturer could sell a million "widgets" at a lower per unit
than it sells a 100 "widgets."
Meyers explained it would not affect the Wal-Marts and other large
marketers. In fact, he said this section is less than what is in the
present law. …