Committee Meetings Mark First Week

Committee Meetings Mark First Week

By State Rep. Mike Sanders

Committee meetings are where the action takes place in the first week of session as each bill must be vetted before the full House votes on it. In meetings, committee members diligently review, amend, and offer suggestions to improve legislation before considering whether or not to pass it on to the next step in the process.

The House Rules Committee, which I serve on, will be looking at a number of bills that affect election procedures, ethics, and constitutional amendments that, if passed, will be added to the 2010 ballot. Because of the number of constitutional amendments already on the 2010 ballot, it will be very important that we give careful consideration to how pressing the need is before approving any new ones.

An important piece of legislation that has passed out of the House Judiciary Committee is a bill that would allow the use of the death penalty for repeat child molesters. Though the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled against the use of the death penalty for sex crimes, conservatives feel that this will be an opportunity to again challenge the decision. The legislation also sets the maximum penalty for a first offense at life without parole and the maximum penalty for failure to register as a sex offender at 20 years imprisonment.

Legislation to prevent tornado deaths is also headed to the House floor. The bill would require mobile home parks and RV parks to develop a plan to either shelter or evacuate their residents. In the Lone Grove tornado, seven of the eight people who died lived in a mobile home park. Throughout Oklahoma, mobile and RV park residents are particularly vulnerable and I think this legislation is a good first step in preventing needless deaths.

I would like to congratulate Linda Huffman of Kingfisher who served as Nurse of the Day on February 4. It was a pleasure having her up here. Father Stephen Hamilton of Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Kingfisher also came by the Capitol to join the pro-life rally.

I will keep you regularly updated on the activities of the Legislature through this column. As always, I would love to hear from you. I can be reached at the Capitol at (405) 557-7407

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