Oklahoma lawmakers are gearing up to sift through more than 2,000 legislative bills when the session begins Feb. 5.

The deadline to file a bill was Thursday and House members had filed 1,195 bills, 45 joint resolutions and 11 concurrent resolutions. Senators had filed 1,091 bills and 30 joint resolutions by 11:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Of the 1,654 House bills and joint resolutions filed last year, only 336 became law, according to House media.

Rep. Randy Terrill, R-Moore, filed several pieces of legislation in hopes his will make it through the lawmaking process. Here are a few of his bills.

Tax Reform

House Bill 1388 would "accelerate and deepen" the personal income tax cuts already in place in the state. The cuts would drop from the current 5.65 percent personal income tax rate to a 5.25 percent rate in fiscal 2008 and then again to 4.65 percent in fiscal 2009.

Terrill said reducing this tax rate is feasible because "we have significant amount of growth revenue because our economy is pretty strong."

He said accelerating the tax cuts will help create economic development and more jobs.

"We need to create a climate in Oklahoma that is business-friendly," Terrill said.

The money would not be taken from government services, but rather, surplus funds generated through economic growth, he said.

But once taxes are cut, it will take a vote of the people to boost them back up.

Terrill said even if the economy takes a plunge, there may still be tax overages that will either be spent by the government or go back into the taxpayers' hands.

His bill would give the money back to the taxpayer, he said.

House Bill 1386 would provide corporate income tax reform and relief.

The current corporate income tax is 6 percent, regardless of the size of the company, he said. He would like to see the rates reduced for smaller businesses so they can grow.

The bill calls for a tiered structure where only companies that yield an annual taxable income of $200,000 or more would be taxed at the 6 percent rate. Smaller companies would be taxed at a lower percentage based on their taxable income. Less than $10,000 in taxable income would justify paying no corporate income tax, under his plan.

He estimates the tax relief would save small businesses about $20 million a year. The tax cuts would also be money that would go to the surplus funds, he said.


House Bills 1803 and 1804, which Terrill said he is going to combine, will address five main areas regarding illegal immigration.

The first area would aim to prevent identity theft by requiring any person seeking state identification to prove he or she is a citizen or resident of the country. The person may prove it through documents such as a birth certificate or social security card, he said. The citizenship status would then be printed on the identification card and when a person's legal status expires, so does the identification card, Terrill said.

The second area piggybacks on the first measure by requiring voting polls to see identification, which would note the citizenship status, before a person can vote. The measure would help with voter fraud, he said.

"So we know you are who you say you are when you go to vote," Terrill said.

The third area would cut off government subsidies such as state health care or welfare to all illegal immigrants.

The next would make the unlawful presence of illegal immigrants a state crime, instead of just a federal crime, he said. Local and state law enforcement agencies would be required to detain illegal immigrants until they are deported. Answering the age-old question on how to pay for law enforcement increases, Terrill said there is funding available through federal grants to cover the costs.

The final aspect of the bill would penalize employers who knowingly employ illegal immigrants. He said the Oklahoma Department of Labor would monitor businesses and employees to see if they verified citizenship through a pilot program that matches names to social security numbers.

Verification would mean more Department of Labor employees needed.

He said the fees businesses would pay if the department found they were knowingly employing illegal immigrants would go toward hiring more compliance officers.

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