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OK House Approps. Subcommittee on Gen Govt & Transportation Report

OK House Approps. Subcommittee on Gen Govt & Transportation Report

OK House Approps. Subcommittee on Gen Govt & Transportation

Monday, February 15, 2010, 9:00 a.m., Room 412C, State Capitol

Members Present: Rep. Liebmann, Chair; Rep. Schwartz, Vice-Chair; Rep. Banz; Rep . Brown; Rep. Jackson, Mike; Rep. Kouplen, Rep. Lettrell; Rep. Martin; Rep. Proctor; Rep. Reynolds, Mike; Rep. Russ; Rep. Shannon

Members Absent: Rep. Jett; Rep. Martin; Rep. Thompson

Others Present: former Senator Herbert

By Scott Wilson, The Journal Record Legislative Report

Chair convened the meeting at 9:05 a.m.

Liebmann began the meeting by welcoming the members and all others present and warned that another committee meeting was scheduled to meet in the room in 30 minutes

HB 2846 By Joyner. Cities, towns, counties, or their agencies, may join to create a transportation authority to construct, maintain, and operate transportation-related projects. They can no longer create regional economic development authorities; EMERGENCY.

Liebmann announced that there was a committee substitute and asked if there was any objection to adopting it. Rep. Reynolds objected and said he had not even seen the substitute. Liebmann said it was online and had been promptly filed. He then called a vote on whether or not to adopt the committee substitute. The measure failed 3 to 6 and the committee proceeded with the original bill.

Liebmann then recognized Rep. Jackson to present the bill. Jackson said he had just been given the bill to present, but would do his best to present it. He described the bill as one that would allow regional transit authorities to operate the transportation projects that they create, and said that he was open to questions.

Reynolds said he believed the bill gave powers of eminent domain to unelected officials and asked if Jackson agreed. Jackson said he would agree with that statement. Reynolds then said that he was concerned that unelected officials could have such power. Jackson responded by saying that unelected officials already have the power to exert the state's right to eminent domain, and that it was necessary for them to have that power in order to effectively construct transit systems.

Liebmann then recognized former Senator Dave Herbert who said he was not acting in the interests of his company (National Bureau of Collections Inc.), but rather as Governor Henry's personal appointee on the issue. Herbert said the bill simply allowed transit authorities, which were already permitted by law, to operate the systems they are already authorized to create. Reynolds said that the bill was written too broadly and would give inappropriate power to such authorities. Herbert said the bill may be written broadly, but that it was written as such to prevent having to re-visit the issue for every particular case in which it would apply.

Jackson then moved to adopt the committee substitute previously voted on to be the working draft. Vice Chair Schwartz seconded the motion, and the substitute was adopted with a vote of 8 to 2. Rep. Reynolds was present, but abstained from voting.

Shannon entered the meeting.

Reynolds then objected the vote and asked the Chair, "didn't we just do this?" Liebmann responded that another member was present, more discussion on the bill had taken place, and another vote was necessary. Reynolds said he thought House rules forbade voting twice on the same issue. Liebmann consulted legal counsel and said committees were not under House rules. Reynolds asked what rules the committee was under so he could file the proper protest.

Rep. Russ then asked what the "transportation related projects" referred to in the bill were. Herbert said they were projects like the possible toll road in Cleveland county, light rail, and other similar projects.

Brown asked who the "other agencies" referred to in the bill was. Herbert said they were already established municipal and city transportation authorities needed to coordinate inter-county transit projects.

Do Pass was motioned and Reynolds requested Debate.

In speaking against the bill, Reynolds argued that it would extend the powers of eminent domain to unelected bodies and would effectively give them authority over elected bodies such as city councils. He urged all those who believed in protecting private property rights to vote against the bill.

In speaking for the bill, Jackson said the bill only allows pre-existing legal entities to operate forms of transit that they were already authorized to create , and urged the members of the committee to adopt the bill.

The bill passed 6 to 5.

HB 3127 By Dorman. Establishes that the reports required in the act should be filed with the Oklahoma Tax Commission and the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. Further mandates supplements to reports should be filed with Dept. of Commerce.

Liebmann asked if there was any objection to adopting a committee substitute for the bill. Reynolds objected. Rep Dorman said the substitute made the bill have no fiscal obligation. The substitute was then adopted without objection.

Dorman said his bill would provide better disclosure to the Oklahoma Tax Commission and Department of Commerce. Reynolds asked if the bill actually made loop holes in the law, would Dorman allow amendments to the bill. Dorman said he would.

The bill passed 11 to 0.

HB 3236 By Jackson. Clarifies authorities given to municipalities over 1,500 people.

Liebmann recognized Jackson to introduce his bill. Jackson said his bill was a request bill from local municipalities to make certain financial and development reports be made every year instead of every ten years. This would, he argued, allow these cities and municipalities to more easily adapt to the needs of their citizens.

Reynolds asked why trash receptacles and decorations were provided in the bill. Jackson said city officials are already allowed to provide these things, but that the bill allowed them to react quicker to those needs. Reynolds also asked if the bill would allow lots of business owners to gang up against the wants of a few and put things like bus stops and adjust districting where they wanted. Jackson said "that is democracy." He further said that the bill did not change business districting, but only made the reports that dictated spending be made every year instead of every ten years. Reynolds argued that the bill's language actually allowed redistricting. Jackson said city officials already had the power to do this, but would just be able to react more quickly to problems if the bill was passed.

Brown said he was concerned that districts could be expanded to incorporate rural areas that would have to pay higher taxes but not get all the services provided to most in similar districted areas. Jackson understood that that could be a problem, but that it was neither helped nor hurt by the current bill.

The bill passed 10 to 1.

HB 3286 (1) By McNiel. Allows the Authority to issue its obligations in order to provide net proceeds on a pooled basis not to exceed one hundred million dollars for the Infrastructure Pool and for the Economic Development pool; EMERGENCY.

Liebmann recognized Rep McNiel to present her bill. McNiel said that her bill allowed funds allocated but not used in the state's Infrastructure Fund to be put immediately back into the fund.

Do Pass was motioned and Reynolds requested debate.

In speaking against the bill, Reynolds said it was the intention of McNiel to pass the original bill and then come back a year later and amend it to be perpetual. He argued that the bill made the one-hundred million dollar fund live forever on the state's budget.

In speaking for the bill, Mcniel said her motives were not sinister in passing the original bill, and the that her current bill only made a good law better.

The bill passed 10 to 1.

HB 3348 By Harrison. Executive agencies, boards, and commissions may not use any revenues to advertise themselves unless that advertisement includes some description of the functions, duties, or mission of the agency, board, or commission; EMERGENCY.

Liebmann asked if Rep. Herrison was present, but he was not. It was announced that Herrison's wife had just gone into labor. Liebmann asked if anyone would present the bill. Rep. Brown said he would, and described the bill would not allow certain state entities to spend money on their own advising for certain inappropriate things. No questions were asked.

The bill passed 11 to 0.

The Chair adjourned the meeting at 9:45 a.m.

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