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Legislative Update June 16, 2010

End of Session Action

Disability and Agency Related Legislation

Note:  Up until the last week of the regular legislative session, any bill sent to the Governor will become law unless the Governor vetoes it within five days (excluding Sundays) from the day he receives it.  If the Governor vetoes a bill, each house of the Legislature can attempt to override the veto and enact it without the Governor’s signature. This process changes at the end of the legislative session.  When a bill is sent to the Governor during the last five days of session, he has 15 days from receipt of the bill in which to sign it into law or veto it.  If the Governor takes no action on the bill within that 15 days, the bill dies (known as a pocket veto).

Scholarships for students with disabilities

The Governor has signed HB-3393 (Nelson; Anderson), a bill to allow schools to meet their obligations under IDEA by providing special educations students with scholarships, as requested by parents, to attend private schools.  The Scholarships for Students with Disabilities program would let schools convert state and local funds they receive for students with disabilities into tuition for private school attendance.  A school district would not be responsible for any additional special education or related services costs if the scholarship amount does not cover all needs.  Supporters argued the bill would let parents choose the education they felt best for their child, while opponents were concerned about possible conflict with federal special education law and lack of accountability for appropriate special education services.  The bill was much debated and changed during the legislative process.  In final House passage of the conference report (final version), author Rep. Jason Nelson explained that the child’s IEP would simply be used to determine if he/she is eligible for a scholarship; the IEP would not be effective once the student is attending a private school under a scholarship. 

Office of Disability Concerns; Client Assistance Program

During the last hour of the legislative session, a bill was brought to the House floor calling for several agency consolidations that had not previously been considered this year.  HB-3035 would have transferred the Office of Disability Concerns (ODC) into the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS).  Under federal law the Client Assistance Program (CAP), currently administered by ODC, cannot be in the vocational rehabilitation agency itself, so passage of HB-3035 would have forced the governor to designate another agency to administer CAP.  The same bill would have merged the Human Rights Commission with the Attorney General’s Office, and made other consolidations.  As House members raised questions about the bill’s contents, author Chris Benge asked that the bill be laid over.  It was not brought up again before the session ended. . 

Funding Oklahoma Medicaid

After passing medical claim access fee legislation to raise matching funds for Oklahoma Medicaid, the House on May 24th narrowly failed to approve an emergency clause that would have made the access fee effective immediately.  Instead, it will now be several months before the fee takes effect, delaying the accumulation of state matching funds needed to draw federal Medicaid dollars.  The fee was part of the state budget agreement, as a way to gain federal funds and prevent drastic Medicaid cuts.  It is uncertain whether this delay will impact Medicaid services.

Southern Oklahoma Resource Center; developmental disabilities

HB-2456 - CCR carried by Crain.  Originally an appropriation bill for the Department of Human Services (DHS), this bill was ultimately used as a vehicle to authorize DHS to close the Southern Oklahoma Resource Center (SORC) at Pauls Valley.  SORC is one of two state residential facilities for individuals with developmental disabilities who need high levels of care.  The conference committee substitute for HB-2456 also set the district court in Oklahoma County as the venue for any legal action resulting from closure of SORC.  Southern Oklahoma legislators argued SORC closure could have devastating results for SORC residents and their families.  Supporters of the measure argued SORC closure will free up money to spend on senior nutrition programs and children’s services.  In the end the House did not vote on the conference bill, so the measure died.

Vulnerable adults; intervention and assistance

HB-2906 (Morgan; Eason-McIntyre)  Creating the Vulnerable Adult Intervention Team Pilot Program, to be established by DHS if funds are available.  The purpose of the program would be to provide interdisciplinary community assistance, intervention and referral services for persons with mental or physical illnesses or disabilities, dementia or other related disease or condition.  The interdisciplinary team would have nine members including the directors of DRS, Mental Health, DHS, and Health. This bill died, but some of its provisions were included in SB-1601.

SB-1601 (Burrage; Peters) The conference report incorporates the task force provision and adds municipal employees to those required to report abuse, neglect or exploitation of vulnerable adults.  The Vulnerable Adult Intervention Task Force includes representatives from several agencies including the Director of the Department of rehabilitation Services or his designee.  Members must be appointed by July 1.  The purpose of the task force is to study and examine how to best provide interdisciplinary community assistance, intervention, and referral services for persons with mental or physical illnesses or disabilities, dementia or other related disease or conditions.  Signed by the Governor 6-11-10.

Self-directed care

HB-2596 (Morrissette)  The bill creates the Empower-OK program which gives seniors and people with disabilities more choice in the long-term care services they receive.  Self directed nursing care works by allowing eligible recipients to hire friends, family or a trusted neighbor to provide basic health and wellness services in-home for as long as recipients are able. Specifying content of the cash and counseling program to be developed by the Health Care Authority as a means of  giving a recipient more control over the long-term care services he or she needs and the choice of service providers..  The bill specifies that other benefits a person receives shall not be reduced as a result of the person participating in a cash and counseling program. 

Disabled parking

HB-2567 (Wesselhoft; Leftwich)  Requiring municipalities to adopt disability parking ordinances.  Adding stickers issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs and disability placards issued by other states to those items recognized for disability parking privileges.  Providing a $500 fine for falsifying information on an application for a disability parking document, illegally parking in designated disability spaces, or allowing a non-eligible person to use the permit issued to an eligible person.  Authorizing municipalities to enforce disability parking ordinances on both public and private property.  Allowing volunteer disability parking enforcement units to use digital photos in addition to other means to obtain photographic evidence of violations.  Signed by Governor 6-7-10.

State employee insurance

SB-2052 (Coffee; Benge)  The bill would have reorganized state employee benefits including health insurance under a state Health and Wellness Council.  The manner of calculating the benefits allowance would be altered.  New hires after November 2010 would have any excess benefit allowance deposited into a health savings account or similar account, but would not receive the excess in their paychecks.  Dependent coverage would be affected by the changes.  Vetoed.  The Governor’s veto message referred to the sweeping policy changes in the bill and the need for all affected to have a chance to offer input on the changes.

State agencies; administrative rules

HB-3311 (Scott Martin, Faught; Sparks)  This bill was modified several times in process.  At more than one time the bill required legislative approval of agency rule changes before they could go into effect. (Currently, the Legislature can disapprove rules, but if it fails to act, rules can still go into effect.)  In the end, the bill only required that each bill written contain a statement of the bill’s subject.  There is no impact on s tae agency rules.  HB-3311 was signed by the Governor on 6-9-10.

Nursing home staff

SB-1289 (Coates; Morgan)  Specifying that nursing homes may not hire persons who have pled guilty, no contest or received deferred sentences for a felony, in addition to those convicted of a felony.  Signed by the Governor 4-29-10. 

State agencies

SB-1303 (Coates; Liebmann)  Changes bid amount for certain construction projects from $50,000 to $100,000. Changes contract amount on small construction projects from $2,500 to $5,000.  In conference committee.  DEAD.

Volunteer medical providers

SB-1311 (Cox, Rice)  This bill makes some changes in current law related to volunteer medical licenses.  The Board of Osteopathic Examiners is added as a board that may issue volunteer licenses.  The issuing Board may now set the length of time for which a license is valid.  Documentation is required that the individual has been licensed to practice in their field of medicine and has no record of disciplinary action.  Signed by Governor 5-11-10.

Business Enterprise Program vendors

SB-1321 (Gumm; Terrill)  Increases the penalty for vendors (retailers) who fail to honor sales tax exemptions for veteran families.  Failure to honor the sales tax exemption will result in a fine of $500 and additional fines for subsequent violations. Signed by the Governor 6-9-10.

Do-not-resuscitate form

SB-1325 (Anderson; Enns) Modifying the do-not-resuscitate consent form.  Providing that the representative of an incapacitated person can revoke the do-not-resuscitate consent form in writing to a physician.  Signed by Governor 4-20-10.

Injury prevention; pedestrian safety for the blind

SB-1329 (Bass; Hoskin)  Creating the Motorcycle Mobility and Safety Act.  Allowing motorcycles to proceed through red lights when the driver thinks the light change can only be triggered by a larger vehicle. Motorcyclists are supposed to stop first at a red light and look to make sure there are no people or vehicles about to cross the street.   (Blindness organizations express concern the law could jeopardize the safety of visually impaired pedestrians and make it more difficult for them to travel independently in their communities.  Blind individuals are taught to safely cross intersections by depending on the information provided in part by the sound of moving traffic.  When a motorcycle proceeds through a red light, the blind pedestrian will receive the wrong information about the direction of the flow of traffic, increasing the chances of injury or death from acting on inaccurate aural information.)  Signed by Governor 5-4-10.

Lung disease; nursing homes and facilities for persons with mental retardation

SB-1373 (Crain; Schwartz)  Mandates Department of Health create a plan to improve management and treatment of lung disease and increase public awareness of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).  The bill in its final form also approved creation of a public trust to act as recipient of grants for use in development of electronic medical records exchange protocols.  Signed by Governor 6-9-10.

Pain management

SB-479 (Jolley; Trebilcock)  Creates the Oklahoma Interventional Pain Management and Treatment Act.  Providing that individuals must be licenses physicians in order to practice interventional pain management as defined in the legislation.  Establishes the conditions under which a registered nurse anesthetist can perform certain pain management treatments (under supervision or as requested by a licensed physician).  Penalties are provided for violation of the Oklahoma Interventional Pain Management and Treatment Act.  Signed by Governor.

State agencies; independent contractors

SB-1384 (Rice; Williams)  Directing several agencies to jointly investigate the inappropriate classification of workers as independent contractors rather than as employees.  The House passed version adds classification requirements and penalties for failure to comply.  The bill has passed both houses but in different versions; no further action as yet.  DEAD

State employee retirement

SB-1637 (Aldridge; Billy)  Authorizing annual benefit increase for members of state retirement system and authorizing suspension of increases under certain circumstances.  DEAD.  Conferees appointed but no report resulted.

State employee information

SB-1753 (Leftwich; Terrill)  This bill would have blocked wholesale release of state employee birthdates when employee information is requested under the Open Records Act.  The bill was a response to a media outlet request for personal information for all state employees, including birthdates.  The bill died in the House. 

State employees holidays

HB-3052 (Kirby and others; Lamb and others)  The bill specifies that state employee holidays will include two days off for Christmas.  Signed by the Governor.

Livable communities

SB-1640  (Halligan; Williams)  Certified Retirement Communities Program Act.  Directing the Department of Commerce to develop a certification to recognize communities that have created conditions favorable to retirees and that would attract older residents and tourists by offering favorable tax provisions, health and safety improvements, public transportation, community services and activities, etc.  Signed by Governor 5-6-10.

State publications; formats

SB-1697 (Anderson; Murphey)  Requires state agencies issue publications in electronic format whenever possible and requires that the Dept. of Libraries and Publications Clearinghouse retain electronic copies.  State agencies publishing electronic versions of a publication must post the publication on their website and maintain it there.  The state Publications Clearinghouse must be notified of the electronic version and be given the link to its location.  Signed by Governor 5-11-10.

Volunteer medical providers; charitable health services

SB-1699 (Rice; Cox)  Exempting volunteer medical services providers from the requirement to prove lawful presence in the U.S. when applying for the special volunteer medical provider license.  (Note: The volunteer medical provider license already requires applicants to show they are licensed to practice in another state or retired from practice in this state.)  Signed by Governor 4-14-10.

State agency information

SB-1759 (Sykes; Murphey)  Creating the Taxpayer Transparency Act.  Requiring a state website to post agency financial information to include all expenditures of stimulus funds.  Providing that a legislative technology oversight board shall establish a policy on state agency use of social media.  Signed by Governor.

2-1-1 human services information

SB-1776 (Anderson; Peters)  Renaming the Oklahoma 2-1-1 Collaborative the 2-1-1 Coordinating Council; providing duties.  Signed by Governor 4-20-10.

Textbooks; students with disabilities

SB-1784 (Stanislawski; John Wright)  Allowing schools to expend funds from the textbook allowance for other instructional expenses.  (This bill has been tracked for potential impact on availability of accessible textbooks for students with disabilities.)  Dead.  Conferees unable to agree.

Newborn eye care; disability prevention

SB-1817 (Crain; Holland)  Modifying provisions relating to newborn eye care.  Stipulates that midwives or others attending a birth are also responsible for treating newborns with a prophylactic ophthalmic agent as directed by the CDC to prevent eye disease.  Allowing parents to refuse such treatment on religious or other grounds. Requires documentation of refusal of treatment. Also states that the Board of Health shall promulgate rules to implement the new provisions of law.  Signed by Governor 5-6-10.

Health information

SB-1836 (Crain; Cox)  Modifying duties of Health Information Infrastructure Advisory Board.  Requires Health Information Infrastructure Advisory Board to develop a strategy to assist hospitals in receiving electronic health record incentive payments, and to administer loans made available by the 2009 federal stimulus act.  (Note: DRS has a seat on the advisory committee.)   Dead.  Did not emerge from conference committee.

Textbooks; students with disabilities

SB-1858 (Paddack; Coody)  Allows schools to spend textbook allowance funds for other educational expenses.  Dead.

Physical education; schools; children’s health

SB-1876 (Coates; Hickman)  Specifying curricula for physical education classes in schools.  Calls for curriculum to offer a variety of activity, and accounts for differences in culture, ability, and gender.  Signed by Governor.

Injury prevention

SB-1908 (Sykes; Tibbs)  Initially this bill prohibited distracted driving including use of personal communication devices.  The bill has been changed and the conference committee version only makes use of electronic communication devices a cause for revocation of learner’s permits and Intermediate Class D licenses.  Signed by Governor.

Health information

SB-1915 (Adelson; Steele)  Initially this bill required health benefit plans to use a certain design for treatment of diabetes.  The bill was completely changed in process.  It now establishes the “All Payer All Provider Database” which will include health claims and outcome information provided by medical providers and third-party payers.  The database will be kept by the Insurance Department and information in the database will be used for health planning purposes.  The bill passed both houses but differing versions were never reconciled.  The bill is dead.

Home care

SB-1916 (Ford; Peters)  Directing the Health Department to establish a registry for home care agency workers.  Dead.

Cancer research

SB-1919 (Nichols; Nations)  Providing a tax credit for donation to cancer research institute.  Signed by Governor.

Health insurance

SB-2046 (Bill Brown; Ritze)  Authorizes out-of-state insurance companies to do business in Oklahoma and relieves them from having to comply with state laws mandating coverage of certain medical services.  Vetoed.  The Governor’s veto message indicates the bill could be costly and is not in the best interest of consumers.

Education; online studies and weighted education funding

SB-2109 (Stanislawski; Coody)  Makes certain provisions pertaining to students enrolled in online courses as it relates to the weighted membership.  Signed by Governor.

State employees health insurance

SB-2127 (Aldridge; Moore)  Recreating the State Employee Health Insurance Review Working Group, giving it authority to hire and monitor a consultant who will make recommendations for cost savings and effectiveness in state employee health insurance.  Dead.

Diabetes

SCR-34 (Constance Johnson)  Designating November 14th as Diabetes Awareness Day.  Filed with Secretary of State.

Health insurance

SJR-59 (Newberry; Thompson)  Constitutional amendment prohibiting forced participation in a health care system.  This would require a vote of the people.  The bill was filed with the Secretary of State without the Governor’s signature.

Health care

SJR-64 (Coffee; Benge)  Directs the Attorney General to file a lawsuit against the US Congress, the President, and the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to prevent federal health care legislation from taking effect.  Dead.

Group homes

HB-2282 (John Wright; Aldridge)  Continues the Group Homes for Persons with Developmental or Physical Disabilities Advisory Board until July 1, 2014.  Signed by the Governor 4-5-10.

Injury prevention; inattentive driving

HB-2276 (Duncan; Anderson)  Current law (OS 47 Sect. 11-901b) requires drivers to devote their full attention to driving, but provides they can only be cited for inattentive driving when an accident results.  HB-2276 provides that an inattentive driver can be given a ticket if the law enforcement officer on site observes the driver is involved in an accident or observes that the driver is driving in a reckless or inattentive way that could endanger other motorists.  This change is expected to allow officers to cite drivers for inattention when using cell phones or texting devices while driving only if an accident results or the officer clearly observes reckless driving that endangers others connected with cell phone, texting or other distractions.  Signed by Governor.

Long-term care

HB-2285 (John Wright; Aldridge)  Extending the sunset date for the Long Term Care Advisory committee from 2010 to 2014.  Signed by Governor 4-5-10.

State employee health insurance

HB-2888 (Moore; Aldridge)  A conference committee version of this bill creates a legislative committee to oversee state employee benefits.  It provides that all new state employees shall be informed that any excess benefit allowance they may have shall be deposited into a flexible spending account or a health savings account, if they are enrolled in a high deductible health plan. 

The bill also provides that beginning in 2011, the benefit allowance will be frozen at the Plan Year 2010 amount and shall not be increased for three years thereafter.  The way of calculating the benefit allowance will change beginning in 2015, when it will be set by OSEEGIB and tied to the amount of health savings account contributions provided to employees. Changes in this bill will affect health insurance premiums of active state employees and retirees under age 65.  Dead.  (Some provisions incorporated into other legislation)

ADA, accessibility and enforcement

HB-2946 (Jordan; Anderson) Requires people with disabilities who might have accessibility complaints to notify businesses four months (120 days) in advance if they wish to file a civil suit charging the business is in violation of ADA accessibility requirements.  (New Law O.S. 12 Section 2003.2)  When a lawsuit is filed charging a business is in violation of accessibility standards (ADA), the filing must be accompanied by the earlier notice to the business and certified letter receipt.  The bill provides grounds for dismissal of accessibility lawsuits. The bill is similar to the “ADA Notification Act” legislation which has been introduced in Congress several times but never passed.  It appears that HB-2946 affects only civil actions filed in state district courts.  Thus provisions of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act related to filing federal complaints or actions in federal court should not be affected by HB-2946.  The bill was signed into law by the Governor on 4-21-10.

State government

HB-2310 Murphey; Sykes

State government; Oklahoma Innovation, Efficiency and Accountability Act of 2010.   Requires those state entities charged with certification, licensure or permitting to provide a web-based link to such applications and application renewals. Changes authority from Board of Health to Fire Marshal.  Vetoed.  The veto message refers to a conflict of interest created by the provision requiring the Office of State Finance to do state agency performance assessments.

State agency task forces and advisory boards

HB-2319 Murphey; Sykes

Task Force Accountability Act of 2010.  Dissolves any state task force or advisory board created and codified in state law if it does not meet at least once or issue a final report within three years from its creation.  Signed by Governor 4-27-10.

State agency purchasing

HB-2332 (Murphey)  Modifying purchasing provisions.  Relates to state agency purchase and contracts with social media and other technology services and products.  Addresses liability issue.  Signed by Governor 4-27-10.  Share bill with IS and DRS CDS.

School testing

HB-2584 (Thomsen; Bingman)  Creating a task force to review the school testing system in Oklahoma.  (Noted for possible impact on school testing accessibility for students with disabilities.)  Dead.

Public transit

HB-2957 (Harold Wright; Schulz)  Making it illegal for a public transit driver to use a cell phone or other electronic communication device while driving a transit vehicle.  School bus drivers are also subject to the law.  Signed by Governor.  Effective date November 1.

Orthotics and prosthetics

HB-2678 (Faught; Jolley)  Modifying licensing procedures under the Orthotics and Prosthetics Practice Act.   Mandates persons must demonstrate certification by the Board for Orthotist/Prosthetist Certification, or the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics & Pedorthics to obtain license to practice orthotics or prosthetics.  Signed 4-20-10.

State agency information

HB-2698 (Randy McDaniel)  Creating the Oklahoma Government Website Information Act.  Requires state agencies to post on their websites or on a central website their administrative rules, proposed rule changes, laws that affect agency operations and laws that would help the public interact with the agency.  Signed by Governor.

Multiple sclerosis

HB-2710 (Collins)  Provides an option for a taxpayer to donate part of his income tax refund to the Multiple Sclerosis Society.  Signed by Governor.

Health; smoke-free restaurants; healthy communities and schools

HB-2774 (Steele; Jolley)  Provides a reimbursement incentive to restaurants to become smoke free.  Funds for the incentive come from the Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Revolving Fund and are disbursed by the Health Department.  The bill also created the Certified Healthy Communities Act.  The Health Department is directed to create a program to certify communities as healthy communities if they request it and meet standards.  Criteria for certification as a healthy community would include but not be limited to enforcement of social host bans to reduce alcohol consumption by minors, adopting local ordinances that promote sidewalks and walking, development of recreation facilities and community gardens, and development of incentives to promote community health and mental health services.  An advisory committee will help the Health Department establish the range of criteria to use.  The bill creates a similar healthy schools certification program.  Signed by Governor 5-10-10.

Medicaid; self-directed care

HB-2777 (Steele; Crain)  This bill started out requiring methods for verifying income of Medicaid applicants, but has been changed to direct DHS and OHCA to offer a self-directed care option to certain Medicaid beneficiaries if CMS approves.  The bill makes the existing pilot self-directed care option permanent.  Persons on Medicaid home and community waivers would be eligible to use the self-directed option if capable of doing so.  The bill deletes provision of home modification and assistive devices as services allowed under the self-directed option.  The bill includes a method for verifying income of persons applying for Medicaid.  Signed by Governor 5-6-10.

Nursing homes; Medicaid payment rates for nursing homes

HB-2778 (Steele; Crain)  Requires more transparency and clearer standards for deciding which nursing homes will receive the higher Medicaid payment rates for providing quality care and living conditions.  The bill amends current law allowing the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to adopt a nursing home incentive payment rate plan based on resident satisfaction surveys, inspections and many other factors.  HB-2778 makes added requirements for how the incentive reimbursement rate plan is developed and the criteria used.  It requires creation of an advisory committee, and regular reports to the Governor and Legislature.  Signed by Governor.

Community based providers

HB-2828 (Peters and others; Bingman)  Establishes the Community-Based Providers Quality Assurance Assessment, an assessment (fee) charged to community-based providers that is places in a special fund of the Health Care Authority and used to match federal Medicaid funds which will be used to pay for community-based services.  This appears to be a way to maximize federal Medicaid dollars available to Oklahoma for providing supports and services to individuals with disabilities under Medicaid-funded programs (e.g. home and community based waivers).  Community-based providers can claim Medicaid reimbursement for preparation of the information and forms required for the Community-Based Quality Assurance Assessment.  Signed by Governor.

Transportation

HB-2846 (Joyner; Branan)  Amends existing law related to regional transportation authorities.  Under current law as amended by HB-2846, any group of cities, counties, or agencies of such subdivisions could band together to form a regional transportation authority with the ability to develop, construct, maintain and operate transportation systems.  The subdivisions which are part of such a transportation authority could hold elections to vote on adding a sales tax in the area to fund transportation.  Signed by Governor 4-19-10.

Medicaid coverage of orthotic and prosthetic devices

HB-2990 (Enns; Russell)  The House-passed bill requires the Health Care Authority to use the Medicare rate for reimbursement for prosthetic devices under Medicaid, if funds are available.  The Senate bill only requires a study of Medicaid coverage for orthotic and prosthetic devices.  The Senate has appointed its GCCA members as conferees, but the House has not yet named conferees.  Stopped at this point, the bill died.

Special education

HB-3170 (Hickman; Marlatt)  Provides restrictions for reimbursement of excess cost funding for out-of-state residential placements for students with special needs. Did not come out of conference committee.

To hear and watch House sessions and segments of sessions. www.okhouse.gov

On left, go to Staff Information. Then Video.Live/Archives. Then find the day of session that you want. Then click on “Links” at the bottom of the session you want.  This opens individual items or segments that can be opened up separately.  Click on the bill number  you want to bring up video and sound. In some cases there may be several parts to the coverage on a particular bill, so each part must be opened up separately.