After passing one of the final legislative deadlines of the year, the Senate will turn its attention to floor activity.  270 House proposals have cleared Senate committees and are eligible to be heard by the full Senate.

I’m very pleased that one of my proposals was among the first to be signed this year by the governor.  Senate Bill 1706 adds a deterrent to legislation we approved last year to discourage the misuse of TANF funds.  The bill specifies that TANF recipients who misuse the funds at establishments like liquor stores, casinos and strip clubs, will be subject to a reduction in their benefit amounts.  This deterrent will help ensure such funds are being used for their intended purpose.

The full House last week approved my bill that would encourage water districts and municipalities to expand the state’s supply of water through reuse and conservation.  This proposal will facilitate the implementation of water reuse projects for the purpose of conserving and augmenting the supply of public water, and will be particularly important for our rural water conservation efforts.

The House also approved my legislation that would modify the existing income tax credit for investments in clean burning fuel property, including compressed natural gas, to encourage public access to CNG fuel.  Senate Bill 1711 would allow the credit to be claimed only if the fuel is also made available for sale to the public.  This will ensure the tax credit serves the purpose of making CNG fuel more accessible.

 Two measures designed to ensure that the state’s sex offender registry works to keep Oklahoma families safe were also signed into law last week.  House Bill 3016 will require sex offenders to register in Oklahoma if they spend 14 days in the state in a 60-day period. Current law only requires them to register if they spend seven consecutive days in the state.  This would prevent people who live in the state on weekends from getting around registration requirements.

Under Senate Bill 1444, when sex offenders check in with local law enforcement, which current law requires, their photo must be updated if it is more than a year old.  Sex offenders can be required to remain on the registry for life, in the case of some crimes, but there has never been a requirement that they provide an updated photo.

A Senate proposal that would provide funding to repair our Capitol building has been approved by a House committee, bringing it one step closer to the desk of the governor.  Senate Bill 2044 would authorize the issuance of up to $160 million in bonds to renovate the property.  The bill also establishes a Senate Capitol Construction Oversight Select Committee to monitor expenditures related to the project.  The Capitol is a proud symbol of our history and identity, and we need to ensure it will be here for future generations of Oklahomans.

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