OKLAHOMA CITY —
Once the panel is appointed, one of its first orders of business will be to commission a detailed plan for the repair and renovation of the Capitol that will include a list of priorities, said John Estus, a spokesman for the Office of Management and Enterprise Services.
“There are safety hazards throughout the building, inside and out, and those issues need to be addressed first,” Estus said. “Once we address those, we can start talking about some of the other needs from a historic restoration standpoint.”
Estus said the Capitol renovation plan will go ahead, despite a legal challenge of the bill by an Oklahoma City attorney who claims in a court filing that the measure violates a provision of the state constitution that prohibits a bill from addressing more than one subject. A Supreme Court hearing in that case is scheduled for July 9.
“The bottom line is we’ll be implementing the law as it’s written, regardless of the court issue,” Estus said.
While the massive overhaul of the Capitol likely is months away, several renovations of the building are ongoing.
The House and Senate are using part of a $7 million increase in appropriations to renovate office space and conference rooms on the second, third and fifth floors of the building.
Among the other bills scheduled to take effect on July 1 are several school safety measures passed in the wake of last year’s deadly school shooting in Newtown, Conn. One of the new laws establishes a school safety institute within the state’s Homeland Security Office to provide training for schools and police. The others slightly modify existing laws that require schools to run intruder drills, report all firearms found on campus and share their emergency plans with local emergency responders.
The proposals came from a committee convened by Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb to study school security after a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in December.
Other bills that take effect provide for the appropriation of state funds to various state agencies, exempt canoes from registration and excise taxes, and increase the penalties for littering and cutting or damaging fences.
Beekeepers who produce less than 500 gallons of honey annually will be exempted from state inspections after July 1 if they meet certain requirements, while new school board members will be required to receive 12 hours of education on legal issues.