Capitol Report Notebook: Bills will die this week
BY RANDY KREHBIEL World Staff Writer
Sunday, February 24, 2013
2/24/13 at 3:10 AM
A substantial number of the 2,500 pieces of legislation filed for this year's legislative session will fall by the wayside this week with the first of four major deadlines before adjournment in May.
Except for certain appropriations measures, Senate bills and joint resolutions not given a "do pass" recommendation by a Senate committee - and, in some cases, two committees - will be dead or dormant until next year.
The same is true of House bills and joint resolutions.
Generally, bills and joint resolutions not heard at all in committee during the first year of a Legislature - as is this session - can be brought up the next year. Measures that fail a "do pass" vote are dead and, theoretically, their subject matter cannot be raised until the next Legislature - in this case 2015.
The primary use of joint resolutions is as vehicles for state constitutional amendments, which require a vote of the people.
Next, the full House and Senate must vote on measures that have received committee approval. Then House bills go to Senate committees and Senate bills go to House committees, and the process repeats itself.
Dems blast House committee: Democratic members of the House States' Rights committee created a stir last week by publicly ridiculing the Republican majority for spending its time on "Internet myths and tinfoil-hat fantasies."
Among other things, the committee has been assigned bills worrying over a 20-year-old United Nations document called Agenda 21, and passing judgment on the constitutionality of actual and anticipated federal laws.
Some bills also mete out fines and prison time for anyone trying to enforce certain federal laws deemed unacceptable.
"These proposals actually expand the scope of government, reduce individual rights, and incur additional costs across the board; but ironically, the only response we received was the authors talking about their anger at the intrusion of government in their lives," said Rep. Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City, the ranking Democrat on the committee.
Debt cap: A bill championed by House Speaker T.W. Shannon would make it virtually impossible to issue bonds to fix the state Capitol or other large projects. Shannon's HB 2195 would cap general obligation debt at current levels, with no allowance for inflation.