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Press Releases

Showing: May, 1999

The Senate today approved a second bill designed to bail out the Special Indemnity Fund and deliver relief to injured workers and business owners around the state. SB 680 by Sen. Brad Henry is almost identical to HB 1771, legislation which was vetoed by Governor Keating earlier this week.

The Governor's office has indicated he will sign the latest measure.

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma and Texas may soon have a rock-solid answer to what is Sooner soil and what belongs to the Lone Star state. The battle that has ensued for years is closer to resolution than ever before, following a cooperative effort by the Oklahoma and Texas state legislatures.

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Having beaten the disease once, Senator Larry Dickerson is beginning a second battle against cancer. The Poteau legislator announced today he will soon begin undergoing a series of treatments to attack a malignant tumor in his lung. The survival rate for the type of cancer Dickerson has is almost 90 percent.

"I'm going into this with a very positive attitude and most importantly, the love and support of my family and friends. I've beaten this disease once and I don't have any doubt that I'll beat it again," said Senator Dickerson.

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"Any bill that forces us to make severe cuts in education year after year for the foreseeable future is no solution. We already rank 50th in school funding. We can't afford to fall to 51st."

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Legislation mandating vehicle seizures of repeat drunk drivers was approved by the State Senate Wednesday. The bill also contains a provision which would allow authorities to better track DUI offenders who rack up multiple offenses in courts that don't leave a paper trail.

SB 423 is the product of the mother-son team of Representative Mary Easley and Senator Kevin Easley. The legislation is now awaiting House action.

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"It looks like we're going to head to another special session because of the Democrat Legislature Leadership's refusal to hear HB 1003, the Truth-in-Sentencing reform bill supported by their own party members," Senator Mark Snyder, Senate Republican Leader said.

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Governor Keating axed the equivalent of a $120 million tax cut for business and denied thousands of injured workers their court-awarded settlements when he vetoed HB 1771 late Wednesday, according to the author of that legislation, Senator Brad Henry.

The Shawnee legislator called the veto "the most irresponsible" of Keating's administration.

"Basically, the Governor killed a $120 million tax cut. He took money out of the back pocket of business with one hand and slapped injured workers with the other," said Senator Henry.

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Legislation mandating vehicle seizures of repeat drunk drivers has gotten even tougher in conference committee, picking up a provision which would allow authorities to better track DUI offenders who rack up multiple offenses in courts that don't leave a paper trail.

SB 423 is the product of the mother-son team of Representative Mary Easley and Senator Kevin Easley. The legislation is ready for floor action in the Senate.

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Oklahoma's senior U.S. Senator and state transportation czar are trying to derail Oklahoma's newly restored passenger rail service before it ever leaves the station, according to the state lawmaker who was instrumental in bringing Amtrak back to Oklahoma.

"We wanted a Cadillac, but they're trying to give us a Yugo instead. Either these guys didn't know what they were doing when they negotiated the deal or they're deliberately trying to sabotage Amtrak's chances of being successful in Oklahoma. This deal stinks," said Senator Dave Herbert.

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Governor Keating can deliver the equivalent of a $120 million tax cut to businesses across the state and help the families of thousands of injured workers if he signs HB 1771 into law. That legislation would pump much-needed money into the Special Indemnity Fund and return a $120 million premium rebate to State Insurance Fund customers.

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Oklahoma motorists will pay the biggest price for Governor Keating's decision to veto legislation today which would have slashed car tag fees, delivering millions of dollars in savings. Official projections showed HB 1734 would have put an additional $53 million into the pockets of Oklahomans over the next nine years, giving Oklahoma the lowest tag and excise fees in the region.

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In an effort to justify an ill-advised veto of car tag reform legislation, Governor Keating is cooking the books in a futile attempt to show that HB 1734 increases vehicle tags and fees rather than decreases them. Figures from the Oklahoma Tax Commission show the opposite.

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House Bill 1734 isn't the great savings for Oklahoma drivers that supporters have claimed. That's according to State Senator Scott Pruitt, who was one of only two Senators voting against the measure on Tuesday. Pruitt said the legislation is really just smoke and mirrors.

"While it will cut the price of car tags, the flip-side of this is a substantial hike in the excise tax you pay on your vehicle. Supporters have been playing that fact down, but I think Oklahomans would be extremely angry to find out they'd been had," said Senator Pruitt.

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Constitutional questions about the Board of Regents for Oklahoma Colleges authority over Rogers State University could require the two entities to part ways, according to a Senator who is drafting legislation to correct the problem.

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Injured workers and business owners will be the main beneficiaries of legislation approved by the State Senate Wednesday. HB 1771 by Senator Brad Henry and Representative Mike Ervin will pump much-needed money into the Special Indemnity Fund, the account used to compensate workers for on-the-job injury awards, in addition to returning a $120 million premium rebate to State Insurance Fund customers.

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Oklahoma public schools could receive a budget increase of $110 million this year under an omnibus education funding program unveiled by the leader of the Oklahoma State Senate today. The plan by Senator Stratton Taylor would leverage existing state funds, money from the tobacco settlement and federal funds.

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The State Senate approved legislation Tuesday slashing annual license plate fees, an action that will result in $53 million in savings for Oklahoma motorists by the year 2009. It will also give Oklahoma some of the lowest tag and excise fees in the region, lower than Texas, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Colorado.

HB 1734 now goes to the Governor for his signature.

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"If Governor Keating vetoes the bill, he'll be vetoing a tax cut. Just ask the Senate Republicans who voted for the bill. They supported it because it's going to deliver significant relief to thousands of Oklahoma motorists. It looks like Governor Keating is out of step with his own party and his own rhetoric.

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Oklahoma is ready to shoot for the stars. That's after the Governor signed Senate Bill 720 into law, clearing the way for development of the state's first spaceport. Senate President Pro Tempore Stratton Taylor and House Speaker Loyd Benson were principal authors of the legislation. Senator Gilmer Capps and Representative Jack Bonny co-authored SB 720.

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Annual license plate fees may soon be measured in dozens rather than hundreds of dollars, allowing Oklahomans to enjoy some of the cheapest car tags in the country. Already approved by the House, HB 1734 will be heard by the Senate Monday.

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