With the 2016 legislative session quickly approaching, the Senate has completed its bill filing period. Thursday, January 21 was the deadline, resulting in the filing of 704 Senate bills and 42 Senate Joint Resolutions. A total of 636 Senate Bills and 31 Senate Joint Resolutions carried over from the 2015 session.
Rules approved last year ended the practice of filing shell bills—legislation without final language that could be used as a vehicle for new law or modifying existing law after the session was underway. The new rules allow for substantive legislation to be introduced after the filing deadline. The floor leader must assign the bill to committee, but at that point, the entire committee becomes the published author of the bill.
Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman praised Senate staffers for their professionalism as the deadline approached, despite unusual circumstances. Senate staff offices on the third floor were part of the first phase of the historic renovation and restoration of the Capitol building. During the interim the various staff divisions were located in committee rooms and other available spaces in the building with the goal of having everyone back in their offices on the third floor before session began. Staffers moved back to the third floor during the final days of bill filing.
“Our staff is always extremely dedicated and professional, even with the intense workload that comes with the approach of the bill filing deadline,” said Bingman, R-Sapulpa. “Despite the massive move that has been underway in the last few days, that dedication and professionalism continued to be the standard as staff diligently worked with our members to complete the bill filing process. As always, we are extremely grateful and appreciative of their efforts.”
Members of the public can read and download legislation by going to the official State Senate website at www.oksenate.gov and following the link for legislation at the top of the homepage. The Senate website also includes daily agendas, meeting notices, calendars, and other helpful information.
The 2016 legislative session will reconvene on Monday, February 1. The Senate offers streaming audio and video from the chamber, as well as from all committee rooms. Wireless internet access is available to all Capitol visitors throughout the Senate gallery, rotunda, committee rooms, offices and press rooms.
You can follow the Oklahoma State Senate on Twitter at OKSENATEINFO.