Senate bill would make sealing court records more difficult
BY BARBARA HOBEROCK World Capitol Bureau
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
2/13/13 at 4:19 AM
OKLAHOMA CITY - A Senate panel passed a measure Tuesday that would make it more difficult to seal court records.
The Senate Judiciary Committee passed Senate Bill 1041 by Sen. Anthony Sykes, R-Moore.
The measure says court records could not be sealed unless authorized by the Oklahoma Constitution or state law.
"The mere fact that the parties agree shall not be grounds to seal any records or files," it states.
Sykes said judges are sealing records just because both sides want them sealed.
Sen. Brian Crain, R-Tulsa, had some concerns with the measure.
He said that in divorce cases, false allegations could be made that could damage a person's reputation for years to come. He said judges should have the discretion to determine when a court record is sealed.
Tax credits: The Senate Finance Committee passed SB 323 by Sen. Mike Mazzei, R-Tulsa, which would put a 2016 expiration date on several tax credits that do not now have sunset provisions.
The credits range from employer-sponsored child care to rehabilitation of historic places.
The Senate is analyzing which credits could be eliminated to free revenue to allow for an income-tax cut.
Mazzei said the measure would force lawmakers to review the credits to see whether they are working and are necessary.
Cowboy day, song: The Senate Tourism and Wildlife Committee passed a bill that would declare the fourth Saturday of July as "National Day of the Cowboy."
"All citizens of this state are encouraged to recognize and celebrate annually on this day our state's long and proud tradition of cowboy culture with appropriate ceremonies, events and activities," reads SB 88 by Sen. Don Barrington, R-Lawton.
The same panel passed a measure that would require the Oklahoma Historical Society to hold a statewide contest to determine an official state cowboy song.
Sen. Harry Coates, R-Seminole, said the bill is the result of a request from a constituent.
All four measures head to the Senate floor.
Original Print Headline: Legislation on sealing court records advances