A view from Talimena Drive in Southeastern Oklahoma
LEGISLATIVE NEWSFLASH MAY 12, 2010
Ooh Rah! Our right of way bill (HB 2706) has been signed by the governor! This fixes the flaw in Oklahoma traffic law that prevented the person who turned left in front of a US Navy SEAL from being prosecuted. It was a fatal crash that occurred in OKC. This is a bill that was on its way to dying when Suzette rescued it.
We are now five for five.
ABATE of Oklahoma
LEGISLATIVE NEWSFLASH MAY 4, 2010
We Got the Red Light Bill Passed!
It’s official. Our malfunctioning traffic signal bill/red light bill/dead red bill will now become the law of the land here in Oklahoma come November 1st. You will be able to proceed cautiously through a malfunctioning red light or turn left when the left turn light won’t turn on for you. The Governor signed it into law this afternoon.
I have to admit, this one was a struggle. It started five years ago with Tiger Mike and Holly and they worked it well for three years. I started working on it two legislative seasons ago. Suzette and I spent as much time tromping around for this one as we did for Gunner’s Law. Suzette met with the OKC Chief of Police among other outside people about it. I met with Tulsa PD about it etc etc. We had countless meetings with legislators. Anyway, I’m sure Suzette, and we ducklings who follow her around, will find something to work on next year but it won’t be a malfunctioning red light bill.
Here are some answers to the public criticism that will follow when news of this bill is made public. You will see headlines that read: New Motorcycle Law Allows Motorcyclists to Run Red Lights!
The defense: The traffic control system is to allow all of us to move around safely. It should control and protect all licensed motor vehicles that travel the public roadways. Motorcycles are licensed motor vehicles in this country. We should not be denied safety and convenience because of our choice of a motorcycle as our mode of transportation. Some censored traffic lights do not detect us so therefore, the system fails us. Not all the lights can be adjusted to detect us. We must have a legal solution for when we are caught in one of these signals.
The solution is this law. You must know: 1. that the light is sensor controlled. 2. that it has not detected you. Having satisfied both of those requirements, you may proceed through the intersection when it is safe to do so.
We didn’t ask for this law for our convenience. Every year, motorcyclists are killed or injured while waiting for a traffic signal that will never come.
There will also be raving letters to editors about blood in the street. The smart ass answer to them is to say that we didn’t suddenly get stupid just because we passed a law. Please hang onto this email as it gives you the tools you’ll need to answer other riders and the newspaper. I’ll be glad to help you with them.
So far, we’re doing fairly well this year. We will keep on truckin” til we’re successful with our last bill. It has to do with intersection right of way.
ABATE of Oklahoma
LEGISLATIVE NEWSFLASH APRIL 27, 2010
Good news is coming in pairs for us.
SB 1329, our malfunctioning traffic light bill, has now passed in both chambers of the legislature and is headed for Governor Brad Henry’s desk for his signature.
SB 1917, the bill that will make ABATE specialty license plates available, has passed in both chambers of the legislature and is now headed for Governor Brad Henry’s desk for his signature.
We still have one bill left to pass - HB 2322, known as the Casey Lewis bill. Casey Lewis was a US Navy SEAL who was horribly killed by an Oklahoma City motorist that turned left in front of him. No charges could be filed against the motorist due to a subtle flaw in Oklahoma ’s right of way law. HB 2322 slams that loophole shut. It needs to pass in the House before being sent to Governor Henry’s desk for his signature. We are confident that it will pass in the House.
We owe Suzette a lot. She has taken a part-time job and turned it into a full time passion for motorcycle legislation. For two sessions now, she has remained doggedly focused and single minded about working these bills through the complex rules of the Oklahoma legislature. The contacts she brought with her have been invaluable. We also now have a lot of new contacts who have been instrumental to our success. Please let Suzette know how much we appreciate her efforts on our behalf. Her email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
ABATE of Oklahoma
Please pass this good news on to your chapter members who may not be on this list.
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE APRIL 12, 2010
I just got a call from Suzette and it gives me great pride and pleasure to announce that Gunner's Bill is now Gunner's Law! The Governor signed it this afternoon. (HB 2264) Also signed into law was SB 1670 - the bill that changes the makeup of the Oklahoma Motorcycle Safety Advisory Committee. So, not only will we generate about $400,000 each year but we will also have a substantial say in how it is spent. This will, for the first time, give Oklahomans a statewide comprehensive motorcycle safety program. There is no doubt that this victory will save lives. No legislation is more important than legislation that saves lives. .
Most especially we must thank Suzette Rhodes for being the brains behind this great accomplishment. After that, there are literally hundreds of people who helped make it happen. At the top of the list are all of you who made it to the Legislative Breakfast and everyone who wanted to be there but, for one reason or another, couldn't come. A big thank you goes out to all of you who contacted your legislators and those chapters that invited legislators to come speak and get acquainted. We are also greatful to those who put there money where their beliefs are and joined ABATE of Oklahoma. The COC with their thousands of members and tight organization also made a very positive force.
I would like to particularly thank the ABATE Board of Directors who took a big leap of faith in voting to hire a professional lobbyist. Some of you had to wrestle with that vote. For those Representatives, it was not an easy decision.
Thanks also goes to the Oklahoma Office of Highway Safety. It was their inspiration that got all of this started. Thank you Scott and all of the wonderful members of your staff. We literally couldn't have done it without you.
ABATE of Oklahoma
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE APRIL 5, 2010
Gunner’s bill passed in the Senate this afternoon with a vote of 44 – 0. Now, it will go to the Governor for his signature. There is no indication that the Gov. wants to veto this bill. Additionally, when a governor vetoes a bill, the veto can be overridden by the legislature. It requires a 2/3 vote to override. This bill passed in the House with a big majority and in the Senate, it was unanimous. We are one signature away from Gunner ’s Bill becoming Gunner ’s Law.
Just by joining ABATE, everyone of you had a part in passing this bill.
Job Well Done!
ABATE of Oklahoma
LEGISLATIVE REPORT MARCH 29, 2010
The legislative news for this week is as short as it is sweet.
SB 1329 the malfunctioning traffic light bill passed in the House Safety Committee by a vote of 11-0 last week. That’s a big sigh of relief and the unanimous vote just put the frosting on it.
Also last week, SB1670, our bill that will change the composition of the Motorcycle Safety Committee, passed in the House Safety Committee by a vote of 11-0. How sweet it is.
bill to fix a loophole in the right of way laws has been re-written at
Suzette’s request and is moving nicely through the process. Before
And finally, our bill that will create motorcycle ABATE tags is moving along as well. It has been rolled into a single bill that now has about 40 other tag requests in it. Generally, these composite bills just move right on through without a lot of notice or opposition.
the news is good. We’ve got five bills
moving nicely through the process plus the May as Motorcycle Safety Month
that is being very competently handled by
Never, ever, plan a party until a bill is actually signed into law by the Governor. However, all indications are that ABATE of Oklahoma is going to have a good year.
This week’s team will be Suzette, of course, plus Arlene Urias, Jim (Radar) Koelle and yours truly. We’re all working hard but having fun doing it.
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE MARCH 20, 2010
Even though the weather has been bleak all weekend, the news from our legislative efforts is anything but bleak. We had two crucial meetings on two different issues.
a little background. We’ve been trying to get motorcycle awareness messages
put on the state’s electronic highway signs for some time. We hit dead end after dead end. Suzette
Rhodes, our professional lobbyist, came up with a winning idea. Representative T. W. Shannon, from Lawton,
is the Chairman of the House Transportation Committee. Suzette has worked
with him successfully in the past. She
asked Chairman Shannon if he could set up a meeting in his office with some
of the Oklahoma Transportation Department officials. On Tuesday,
Chairman Shannon (R-Lawton) believes in our cause and has done us a great service. Please make a phone call or send an email to his office thanking him on behalf of ABATE of OK. Calls or emails from our Lawton members would be particularly helpful.
also set up a meeting with
happy to let you know that
ABATE of Oklahoma
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE MARCH 2, 2010
same day, Tuesday,
As you’ll all remember, we’ve been chasing the Malfunctioning Traffic Light Bill for several years. It’s been controversial and at times, difficult to promote.
Having been successful in the Senate, the action now moves to the House of Representatives. The House members will note the wide margin these bills passed by in the Senate and that will help us.
We’ll put out more information later this week but when you see bills like these that we’ve had a tough time with in the past getting passed by 45 to 0 and 41 to 4, it tells us one important thing. These bills have been lobbied hard, skillfully, and successfully. We have our professional lobbyist, Suzette Northcutt, to thank for making it happen. In supporting roles, we have Jim (Radar) Koelle and yours truly, John Pierce. What is meant by supporting roles is that we follow Suzette around the Capitol and try to keep up.
The most important part of the team however is you, the ABATE members. Nearly 200 of you took a day off work, got up early, came to the Capitol, and let your legislators know that you believe in citizen involvement in government and that you care deeply about these issues. That’s a lesson that none of them missed.
Senators voted to give us what we asked them for. We must thank them for that. Call, write, email, whatever, just let them
know that we appreciate what they’ve done for us. Our members and lobbyists cannot pass
legislation. Only legislators can do
that. As a closing thought, there were
four Senators who voted against
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE FEBRUARY 17, 2010
We’re off to an early
start! On Tuesday, Feb. 2nd, HB 3339, our bill to change the
membership of the Motorcycle Safety Advisory Committee, was scheduled to be
heard by the House Public Safety Committee. The bill is being sponsored
by Rep. Mike
Yesterday, Feb. 17, we
had two bills scheduled to be heard in committee. First thing in the morning,
SB 1329, our Malfunctioning Traffic Signal bill, was heard in the Senate
Judiciary committee. It is sponsored by our good friend from
In the afternoon, SB
1670, the Senate version of our motorcycle safety committee bill was heard in
the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee. It, too, is
sponsored by Senator Randy Bass of
Jim (Radar) Koelle made
a very early start from
Today, (the 17th)
was an absolutely
I’m very pleased with our progress. We are light years ahead of where we were at this time last year. The new connections and friendships we’ve made in the last year are really paying off. We now have people other than ABATE members who believe in what we’re doing and are willing to help us behind the scenes. It makes a big difference.