[oklahoma-l] State Legislative Update
sandi.webster at cox.net
Wed Mar 10 20:24:23 GMT 2010
Jean, Thanks for the update. Sandi
From: oklahoma-l-bounces at acb.org [mailto:oklahoma-l-bounces at acb.org] On
Behalf Of Jean Jones
Sent: Wednesday, March 10, 2010 9:23 AM
To: 'oklahoma-l at acb.org'
Subject: [oklahoma-l] State Legislative Update
State Legislative Update
March 10, 2010
DRS Receives Supplemental Funding
On March 5 Governor Henry signed HB-2461, providing an additional $1.2
million for the Department of Rehabilitation Services for the current fiscal
year. The supplemental appropriation helps make up for some of the funding
cuts DRS has experienced this year due to the state revenue shortfall. The
School for the Deaf and School for the Blind are especially expected to
benefit from the supplemental funding, since state dollars are their
principal source of support.
DRS was one of a limited number of education, health and public safety
agencies that received supplemental funding.
Senate Bill Impacts Travel Safety for Blind Pedestrians
SB-1329 (Bass, Anderson and Lamb of the Senate; Hoskin and Ownbey of the
House) would create the Motorcycle Mobility and Safety Act. The bill would
allow motorcycle and bicycle drivers to proceed through red lights if they
believe the traffic light will only change to green if the presence of a
larger vehicle is detected. Under the bill, motorcycle and bicycle drivers
are supposed to stop before proceeding through red lights and make sure no
vehicles or pedestrians are in the intersection or preparing to enter the
intersection. If an accident results from the motorcycle or bicycle going
through a red light, the vehicle that had the green light could not be
charged with failure to yield the right-of-way, following too close or
driving too fast for conditions. This bill passed the Senate of a 45-0
vote, and its next stop is the House.
Blindness organizations have expressed concern that SB-1329 provisions would
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 of bicycle 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
deliberately inaccurate aural information.
Special Education Scholarship Bill Advances
HB-3393 (Nelson of the House; Anderson of the Senate) creates the
Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program. This bill would allow
schools to meet their obligations under the Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act (IDEA) by paying for special educations students to attend
private schools chosen by their parents. (This is in addition to existing
provisions in federal and state law that obligate school districts to pay
for students with disabilities to attend private or public schools outside
the district when those schools can better meet the needs of the student.
Under the bill, the amount available to a special education student would be
calculated on a per capita basis considering the average local and county
revenue for the school district which is chargeable in the State Aid
formula, state-dedicated revenue, and state-appropriated funds per average
daily membership generated by the student, and the cost of special education
services specified in the child's Individual Education Plan (IEP). A school
would pay the lesser of the calculated amount or the actual tuition and fees
at the private school. Under this law a school district would not be
responsible for any additional special education or related services costs
not covered by the scholarship amount. The bill has passed the House 78-10
with title stricken.
The state would be exempted from any liability related to use of the
Scholarships for Students with Disabilities.
The bill also amends current law to make the Self-Directed Care Program for
recipients of home and community based waiver services a permanent rather
than pilot program. It deletes home modifications from those services
which can be obtained under the Self-Directed Option. It also changes
composition of the advisory committee for the Self-Directed Option.
In addition, the bill specifies that services under the Self-Directed Option
may be provided in association with the Scholarships for Students with
Disabilities program, as long as the services are included in the
individual's plan of service (under a home and community based waiver) but
are not part of the student's IEP or covered by some other program.
HB-3393 passed the House on a vote of 78-10 with title stricken. It now
proceeds to the Senate.
Action on Bills Affecting Vending Facility Program
Two bills with the potential to significantly impact vending facilities
managed by blind individuals are now dead for the year. SB-1896 (Bingman)
and HB-2797 (Kiesel) are known as the Beverage Container Recycling Act.
They would require retailers to charge and refund deposits on beverage
containers, thus creating difficulties for small vending operations without
storage space or cash on hand to enable them to meet the requirements of the
law. The legislation has been introduced several times in recent years but
so far has not become law.
SB-1321 (Gumm) would modify the penalty for vendors (retailers) who fail to
honor sales tax exemptions for families of disabled veterans. The bill
would make failure to honor the sales tax exemption a misdemeanor with a
fine up to $500 if the vendor has reason to know that the customer is
eligible for the sales tax exemption and fails to honor it. SB-1321 has
passed the Senate and been sent to the House.
SB-1768 (Schulz) adds to the entities that are exempt from the annual fee on
vending machines. Machines owned by and located in schools, churches and
government entities are already exempt from the fee. Added would be
machines in those locations that are owned by other entities when there is a
revenue sharing agreement in place that provides some of the machine income
to the school, church or agency. This bill has passed the Senate and moved
to the House.
Bill Affecting State Use Contracts Dies
HB-3045 (Renegar) states that the Department of Central Services shall not
impose any fee for the management of a contract for the sale of state use
items. This would eliminate the fee established by law several years ago to
support operation of the State Use program, which promotes employment of
people with disabilities through state agency purchase of goods and services
produced by sheltered workshops and businesses owned by individuals with
disabilities. The bill has not passed in committee and is dead for this
Sheltered Workshop Licensure Proposed
HB-2744 (Ownbey) provides for licensing of sheltered workshops and requires
background checks at sheltered workshops. The bill amends the Adult Day
Care Act by including sheltered workshops under the Act and adding the
purpose of providing a safe environment for disabled adults working in
sheltered workshops. Sheltered workshops would be subject to the licensure
requirements that apply to adult day care facilities, which are licensed by
the State Department of Health. The bill did not emerge from committee and
is dead for this session.
HB-2846 (Joyner) amends existing law permitting the creation of regional
transportation and economic development 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 such as public transit and commuter rail. The subdivisions which
are part of such a transportation authority could hold elections to vote on
adding a sales tax or other revenue source in the area to fund a
transportation system or economic development projects. The bill has passed
the House Appropriations Committee.
HB-2957 (Wright) makes it illegal for a public transit driver to use a cell
phone or other electronic communication device while driving a transit
vehicle. The bill has cleared committee and been placed on the House floor
Vulnerable adults; intervention and assistance
HB-2906 (Morgan) creates 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 the Department of Rehabilitation Services, Mental Health, DHS, and
Health. The bill has passed the House Appropriations Committee.
Disabled Parking Measure Targets Abuses
HB-2567 by Rep. Wesselhoft requires municipalities to adopt disability
parking ordinances. It adds stickers issued by the Department of Veterans
Affairs and disability placards issued by other states to those items
recognized for disability parking privileges. The bill sets 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. It
authorizes municipalities to enforce disability parking ordinances on both
public and private property. HB-2567 has passed the House and now goes to
Medicaid Coverage of Prosthetic Devices
HB-2990 (Enns) requires the Health Care Authority to use the Medicare rate
for reimbursement for prosthetic devices under Medicaid, if funds are
available. The bill passed the House Appropriations Committee with title
Bills Propose Changes in State Government
Members of state boards and commission, such as the Commission for
Rehabilitation Services, would be term-limited under SB-1597 by Senator
Stanislawski. The term limits would take effect starting November 1, 2010.
The bill passed the Senate 26-16. It now goes to the House.
Financial operations of all state agencies would be consolidated under a
single agency under HB-2310 by Rep. Murphey. The Oklahoma Innovation,
Efficiency and Accountability Act of 2010 would take staff and funds from
each agency and combine them to centrally handle payroll, claims, purchasing
and other financial services. Bill supporters see this as a way to reduce
the cost of government. Critics point to different agency financial service
needs, and potential for confusion and delayed payment of client services
purchases and vendor claims. They fear distancing financial services from
programs would lead to inefficiency without significant cost savings.
HB-2310 bill passed the House Government Modernization Committee and next
will be taken up by the full House.
HB-3311 by Rep. Martin requires the Legislature to approve state agency
administrative rules before they can go into effect. Currently, the
Legislature can disapprove agency rules, but if it does nothing, the rules
become effective. Under HB-3311, if the Legislature does not specifically
vote to approve an agency's rules, the rules would not become effective.
The bill has cleared committee and goes next to the full House.
HB-2319 by Rep. Murphey is the Task Force Accountability Act of 2010. It
requires legislatively created task forces to meet and issue reports in a
timely fashion. Inactive task forces would be eliminated. The bill has
passed the House and been sent to the Senate.
Bill Would Reduce Funds for Equipment for the Deaf
HB-2822 (Auffet) relates to the telephone access line surcharge for
hearing-impaired services. It provides that telephone customers need not
pay the surcharge if they are otherwise exempt from taxation. The bill did
not clear committee and it is dead for this session.
Diabetes Bill Transformed Into Health Care Data Legislation
SB-1915 by Sen. Adelson began as a bill focusing on diabetes treatment, but
its original language has been completely changed. The bill which emerged
from committee puts the Insurance Department in charge of a health care
database, built by health care and claims data from health care providers.
The data will be used to analyze health care needs, costs and utilization
and to aid health care planning. The bill is ready for a full Senate vote.
SB-1640 (Halligan) is the Certified Retirement Communities Program Act. It
directs 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. The bill has passed the Senate and goes next
to the House.
SB-1818 (Crain) creates the Certified Healthy Communities Act. The
Department of Health would set criteria for certifying communities as
healthy. Criteria would include such things as ordinances that promote
sidewalks and bicycle trails, strict social host policies, availability of
parks and outdoor recreation facilities, free clinics, community mental
health services, farmers markets. Criteria do not need to be limited to
those listed. Public transportation and accessibility are not specifically
mentioned in the bill. SB-1818 has passed the Senate and now goes to the
SB-2120 (Sparks) provides for donation of income tax refunds to a certain
vision research and patient care facility. The bill passed the Senate and
now goes to the House.
Bills on Needs of Blind Students are not Heard
Two bills addressing the educational needs of students with visual
disabilities have both failed to meet the deadline for committee passage and
are dead for this session. HB-3328 by Rep. Pittman directed the formation of
a Braille production program at a state prison, and required the Department
of Corrections to develop a training program to qualify inmates in Braille
transcription. (Note: A prison Braille transcription program is currently
in place at a private prison in the state and is being used by DRS for
Braille production.) Although HB-3328 did not survive, its concept could be
implemented without legislation if determined feasible.
HB-3331, also by Rep. Pittman, outlined certain evaluation requirements for
students with visual disabilities, teacher training, and testing
accommodations for visually impaired and blind students. The measure was
similar to legislation presented last year by Rep. Pittman, who has worked
closely with parents and teachers to identify critical needs of blind
students. Although the bill is no longer active this session, some of its
issues are being addressed by working groups convened by the Special
Education section in the State Department of Education.
Bills Address Accident and Injury on the Roads
HB-3250 (Tibbs and Morgan) would make it illegal to use a cell phone or
electronic communication device while driving unless the device is
hands-free. The bill provides for some exceptions such as law enforcement
personnel, persons reporting emergencies, and persons with commercial
chauffeur licenses while performing the duties of their jobs. Violation of
the law would be punishable by a fine and court costs not to exceed $1,000.
The bill is ready for full House consideration.
SB-1908 (Sykes) prohibits distracted driving. It defines "distracted
driving", "personal communication device", and "use". Persons guilty of
distracted driving are subject to a $100 fine and court costs. The bill
provides exceptions for hands-free use of cell phones and for use of
electronic communication devices for emergency purposes. The bill is ready
for a full Senate vote.
SB-1324 (Russell) adds a fee of three dollars to motorcycle registration, to
be used for motorcycle safety and education. The bill has passed the
DVR/DVS Legislative Information Rep.
OK Department of Rehabilitation Services
Toll Free: 800-845-r8476
Email: jjones at okdrs.gov
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