Senate panel OKs bill requiring candidates to declare felony, misdemeanor convictions
BY BARBARA HOBEROCK World Capitol Bureau
Thursday, February 14, 2013
2/14/13 at 7:16 AM
OKLAHOMA CITY - A Senate panel on Wednesday passed a measure that would require those convicted of felonies and misdemeanors to make it public on candidate declarations for office.
Senate Bill 287, by Sen. Susan Paddack, D-Ada, heads to the Senate floor for consideration.
Paddack said the measure would not preclude a candidate with a criminal background from filing for candidacy.
But the public has a right to know what is in the person's background, she said.
"Public officials are held to a higher standard," Paddack said.
Under the measure, the person would be required to disclose if he or she had ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor or if they are named in an outstanding arrest warrant.
The name of the offense, date of conviction or issuance of the outstanding warrant would be required as well under the measure.
The candidate would also have to list the date he or she was restored to eligibility to run for office.
A person convicted of a misdemeanor involving embezzlement or a felony can't hold public office for 15 years following the completion of the sentence, said Paul Ziriax, State Election Board secretary.
Paddack said the application for a gubernatorial appointment to boards and commissions asks for far more specific information in addition to criminal background convictions. The application form asks if the person has ever been arrested or subject of an investigation or complaint by any local, state or federal law enforcement agency.
The panel also passed Senate Bill 282 that would allow for military and tribal identifications without an expiration date to be used for voter identification purposes, said Sen. John Ford, R-Bartlesville, the author.
Other forms of identification that have an expiration date must be current to be used to vote, Ziriax said. For example, a person could not use an expired driver's license to vote.
The measure heads to the Senate floor.
The Senate Rules Committee also passed a measure, Senate Bill 233, that would double the deposits required for a recount when the result margin in an election is 10 percent or greater.
Currently, $600 is required for the first 3,000 ballots and $600 for each additional 6,000 ballots. Candidates for state or federal office must pay an additional $300 when filing their recount petition with the State Election Board.
Ziriax said during the last election cycle, there were several races with wide margins where recounts were requested and the results were confirmed.
"If it is such a wide margin and a low probability of success, it is not a good use of taxpayer dollars or the time for county election boards to conduct those," Ziriax said.
The measure heads to the Senate.
Original Print Headline: Bill seeks disclosure of a candidate conviction
Barbara Hoberock 405-528-2465
Sen. Susan Paddack: "Public officials are held to a higher standard." She said the public has a right to know what is in their background.