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“No” votes by Senate Republicans Wednesday may have doomed the celebration of Oklahoma’s Centennial in 2007, Senator Jeff Rabon said.
Senate Bill 5X, which would have provided $10 million in funding for projects across the state, failed on a 24-23 vote with all 22 Republican Senators voting against the measure.
“Because they defeated this bill, its unlikely now that there will be any state funds to finish centennial projects in towns like Ponca City, Choctaw, Owasso, Seminole and Tinker Air Force Base,” Rabon said. read more.
The State Senate has given unanimous approval to a resolution honoring the centennial of the Catholic Diocese of Oklahoma. Sen. Mike Johnson, R-Kingfisher, is author of the measure which was approved during Wednesday’s special session at the State Capitol.read more.
Senate Republican Leader Glenn Coffee made the following comments regarding today’s meeting of the Oklahoma State Senate in special session:
“Now that the Senate Democrats’ theatrics are over, the real work can begin on properly funding public safety,” stated Coffee, R-Oklahoma City.
“Instead of putting on a political sideshow by forcing the Senate to meet in a meaningless special session, Senate Democrats would have better served the public by working with Republicans to develop a bipartisan agreement,” he said.read more.
Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan said today that after comparing the Republican plan which advocates deficit spending with the Senate Democrats’ comprehensive plan that will be taken up during a special session today and Wednesday, he is confident the only plan that keeps Oklahomans safe is the Senate Democratic plan.
“Their plan is based on a ‘promise now-pay later’ mentality,” Morgan, (D-Stillwater) said. “Our plan is based on an ‘act now to keep Oklahomans safe’ mentality.”
Comments by a Senate Democrat leader that there is “no difference” between inmates at minimum and maximum security prisons shows just how out of touch Senate Democrats are on public safety issues.
Sen. Kenneth Corn, D-Poteau, the Democrat’s point person on public safety funding, made the comment while criticizing a GOP prison funding proposal that would give correctional employees larger pay increases if they work at more dangerous facilities. Corn said no pay differential is necessary because there is “no difference” between inmates in different types of facilities.read more.
Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan said today he is disappointed, but not surprised by the Republicans’ latest political stunt in response to the public safety crisis in Oklahoma created by a shortage of corrections officers in the state’s prisons.
“Their solution to this serious public safety crisis is to hold a press conference. Senate Democrats intend to return to work tomorrow and Wednesday and pass a funding plan that will once again make Oklahoma families safe,” Morgan said.
The Senate Finance Committee chair said he was pleased House Republicans appear to have “finally begun to value rural Oklahoma” and the work of Rural Enterprises of Oklahoma (REI).
Senator Jay Paul Gumm, D-Durant, said a proposal announced Monday by Speaker Todd Hiett to partner with REI on a rural economic initiative is in stark contrast to many policy positions historically held by House Republicans.
With worsening drought conditions throughout the state raising concerns about grass and wild fires, Sen. Jeff Rabon has asked Gov. Brad Henry to expand the special session call to provide emergency funding for fire fighting for the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division.
“This really is an emergency—especially in southeastern Oklahoma where the drought conditions are approaching historic levels. This is a potentially deadly situation that could result in the loss of lives and millions of dollars in damages,” said Rabon, D-Hugo.
Sen. Debbe Leftwich, D-OKC, and Rep. Susan Winchester, R-Chickasha, said they were both looking forward to seeing new film and music production projects in the Sooner State after taking part in a ceremonial bill signing ceremony with Gov. Brad Henry on Thursday at the State Capitol. The ceremony centered on two pieces of legislation co-authored by the two lawmakers with the aim of boosting film and music production in Oklahoma.
Governor Brad Henry held a ceremonial bill signing today for House Bill 1653, also known as the Graduated Driver's License Act. Authors of the measure, Sen. Debbe Leftwich and Rep. Danny Morgan say the bill will allow teenagers more time to develop their driving skills, therefore lowering the risk of accidents, fatal or otherwise.