OKLAHOMA CITY - Driving is a privilege that many people take for granted. That's why Senator Keith Leftwich is announcing an initiative designed to put a greater emphasis on educating Oklahoma's young drivers.
Senator Leftwich is holding a public hearing on the proposal on Wednesday, February 4 in the State Capitol's Senate Chamber. The 10:30 a.m. meeting is to solicit the public's view of driver's education.read more.
If Oklahoma does not begin addressing some of the many problems its children face, the state will be incurring huge costs in the future when it ultimately is forced to deal with the results of that neglect. That is the conclusion of a new Senate report commissioned by Senator Ben Brown.read more.
Financial obligations stemming from a massive road building program and a criminal punishment program will eat up a good deal of the state's growth revenue, leaving legislators little available funding to devote to other initiatives, according to the Senate's budget leader.read more.
Improved public schools, an unemployment tax cut and a moratorium on hog and poultry farms will be among the top items on the Senate agenda when the 1998 Oklahoma Legislature convenes for its regular session on February 2nd. Passing legislation that will keep Oklahoma's economy on track will be the biggest priority, according to the leader of the State Senate.read more.
Saying current higher education appropriations will support a four-year university in Tulsa, a state legislator has filed a bill that would create such an institution in the state's second largest city.
"We could end all of the squabbling and give the people of the Tulsa area what they deserve without spending another dime on higher education. All we have to do is take the funding that's now being appropriated to the Rogers University consortium and instead devote it to a four-year university in Tulsa," said Senator Lewis Long.read more.
OKLAHOMA CITY - The summer of 1997 was a tragic season for Tulsa's East Central High School. One of the school's outstanding students was killed by a drunk driver.
Seventeen-year-old Greg Gifford was driving through a construction zone with friends when they ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time. A drunk driver traveling at speeds of 90 miles an hour and upwards, plowed into the side of the teenagers' car, killing Greg and critically injuring another student.read more.
OKLAHOMA CITY - According to numbers from the Office of State Finance, Oklahomans paid an all-time record for professional services contracts; $230,426,811 for fiscal year 1997.
"While some people are applauding the continuation of a hiring freeze on state jobs, Oklahoma citizens are paying through the nose for outside contractors to fill those job slots," according Senator Lewis Long.
In FY '95 state taxpayers shelled out $145,575,845 for professional service contracts. That number jumped to $170,184,128 in FY '96, and a record $230,426,811 for FY '97.read more.
OKLAHOMA CITY - "The future of our state hinges on the excellence of our educational system, " commented Senator Cal Hobson, who announced legislative efforts are underway to boost higher education's contribution to Oklahoma's economy.
The Senate Appropriations Vice-Chairman today discussed various proposals being considered, including more fellowships for graduate students, and additional investments and statutory changes to enhance technology and economic development as a result of research at state facilities.read more.
Statement from Senator Cal Hobson,
Vice-chairman, Senate Appropriations Committee:
OKLAHOMA CITY - State Senator Jeff Rabon (D-Hugo) announced a plan today to give county infrastructures an incredible boost.
Rabon is filing a bill for the 1998 Legislative Session that for one year would triple the state dollars county governments use for country road improvements.
"I am proposing a one-time allocation of Oklahoma's unobligated 1998 growth revenue for the purpose of improving our county roads," said Senator Rabon.read more.
Senator Kevin Easley (D-Wagoner Co.) is encouraged by the latest in a series of meetings aimed at drafting new laws to regulate the poultry and hog farming industries. The panel of House and Senate lawmakers are reviewing the recommendations of the Oklahoma Waste and Water Quality Protection Task Force.read more.
OKLAHOMA CITY - Three state senators are voicing their commendation of Governor Frank Keating's decision to apply for recently approved federal heath insurance dollars. The new money for Medicaid is targeted to help children whose parents cannot afford health insurance.
Senators Ben Robinson (D-Muskogee), Angela Monson (D-Oklahoma City), and Bernest Cain (D-Oklahoma City) are expressing their whole-hearted support for the action by Governor Keating and the Oklahoma Health Care Authority.read more.
OKLAHOMA CITY - Saying he wanted Oklahomans to be able to take advantage of federal tax changes, Senator Grover Campbell announced he had filed a bill to help those who are saving for retirement.
"In the Tax Relief Act of 1997 passed by Congress, there was a four year window established for Americans to roll their regular IRA's into what is called a Roth IRA," explained Campbell, R-Owasso.read more.
OKLAHOMA CITY - Saying it was time to pick up where her predecessor had left off, Senator Kathleen Wilcoxson, R-Oklahoma City and Representative Dwayne Steidly, D-Claremore today announced they had filed a bill to ban the sale of 3.2. beer between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m.
"Three years ago, after many hard fought battles, State Senator Helen Cole was finally able to pass the state's first limits on the overnight sales of 3.2. beer," said Senator Wilcoxson, R-OKC.read more.
OKLAHOMA CITY - A proposed new student loan program could provide some answers for Oklahomans unable to afford a college education while at the same time foster job growth and economic development.
State Senator Gene Stipe (D-McAlester) has filed a bill for the upcoming legislative session to provide tuition loans to state residents attending Oklahoma colleges and universities. Upon graduation and employment at specified companies, the borrower's state income tax would be credited against the borrower's loan obligation.read more.
OKLAHOMA CITY - An important and possibly the most divisive issue facing state lawmakers in the upcoming session of the Legislature is that of animal waste regulation.
State Senator Paul Muegge is at the forefront of this battle between corporate hog and chicken producers and those concerned about the environment. In his capacity as chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Muegge has pledged to find a solution to Oklahoma's animal waste problems.read more.
Two Tulsa legislators are asking the State Regents for Higher Education to delay a January 15th public hearing on the future of Rogers University, saying the Regents have yet to provide RU students and stakeholders with a specific proposal outlining their plans for Tulsa higher education.read more.