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Press Releases

Showing: May, 2000

Car tags - After Governor Keating vetoed car tag reform for the second year in a row, lawmakers voted to bypass the state chief executive and put the question directly on a statewide ballot in August. The measure would junk Oklahoma's current tag system, replacing it with a system of flat annual fees ranging from $85 to $15 depending on the age of a vehicle. It would also reform the excise tax, assessing it on the actual sales price rather than the inflated sticker price as current law allows. The measure would result in a $22 million tax cut.

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Oklahoma would ultimately deposit 75 percent of its annual tobacco payments into a special trust fund administered by two panels of private citizens, under a bill given final approval by the State Senate Friday.

HB 2022 by Senate President Pro Tempore Stratton Taylor would ask voters to amend the Oklahoma Constitution to establish the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust Fund and guidelines for its administration.

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Statement by Senator Stratton Taylor, President Pro Tempore

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Oklahoma voters will get to decide in August whether they would like to slash the cost of annual car tags. State lawmakers voted Friday to place the question directly on a state ballot, bypassing Governor Keating, who had vetoed two previous car tag reform efforts.

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Statement by Senator Stratton Taylor, President Pro Tempore

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Statement by Senator Stratton Taylor,
Senate President Pro Tempore

"This is an important step in the right direction. It sends the signal that the state of Oklahoma will accept nothing less than the best possible treatment for our elderly. Families shouldn't have to worry about the quality of care their loved ones receive, no matter what nursing home is involved."

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Checks should soon be going out to injured workers and Oklahoma businesses under legislation approved by the House and Senate late Wednesday.

SB 1414 by Senator Brad Henry and Representative Mike Ervin will pay off injured workers who are owed money by the former Special Indemnity Fund, in addition to awarding a $30 million premium rebate to customers of the State Insurance Fund and providing for similar rebates in the future.

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Statement by Senator Stratton Taylor, President Pro Tempore

"You know the end of session is near when Governor Keating throws his annual temper tantrum about all of the great ideas of his that haven't been enacted into law yet. What the Governor forgets is the Legislature wasn't elected to rubber stamp every single idea that happens to pop into his head. As Oklahomans have learned from experience, no Governor is always right, especially this one."

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Consumer protections, an enhanced competitive environment and school funding safeguards highlight the final version of an electric deregulation bill approved by the State Senate Tuesday. SB 220 by Senator Kevin Easley passed on a 30-18 vote.

The measure would deregulate the electric industry in Oklahoma, encouraging competition among providers in an effort to reduce rates for state consumers.

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Statement by Senator Stratton Taylor,
Senate President Pro Tempore

"I think it's insulting to Senator Monson to suggest that she cannot think for herself or make her own decisions. For some reason, the Governor and others seem to believe that she is less of a Senator simply because she is an African American woman. I find that insulting on a number of different levels."

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A car tag proposal touted by Governor Keating and House Republican legislators does nothing to reform Oklahoma's flawed excise tax system and therefore is not a reasonable resolution of the ongoing tag debate, according to the author of HB 2663, the tag reform measure vetoed by the Governor.

Senator Jim Maddox has been working to see if a compromise on the tag issue is possible during the final days of the legislative session.

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Statement by Senator Angela Monson,
Chairwoman of the Senate Finance Committee

"I think it's offensive for the Governor or anyone else to imply that the Senate leadership is racist when the exact opposite is true. Senator Taylor has appointed two African-American women to leadership positions and has consistently supported issues that are important to minority
communities. His track record on racial issues is impeccable, which is a lot more than I can say for Governor Keating."

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House Speaker Loyd Benson and Senate President Pro Tempore Stratton Taylor announced late today that both Houses have reached a final agreement that will allow lawmakers to put the finishing touches on the state budget.

Speaker Benson said he was pleased by the agreement.

"Writing a state budget is a huge task at best," he said, "but the hard work has paid off. We have a solid proposal for a balanced budget - a proposal that's good for Oklahoma. Improving the higher education and health care systems is vital to the quality of life of every Oklahoman."

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The Oklahoma Black Legislative Caucus is calling on Governor Keating to retract racially charged remarks he made Thursday at the State Capitol and apologize.

In a media event staged by the Governor, Keating told reporters that Senator Angela Monson and Democratic leaders would be making a "racist statement" if Monson did not advance the appointment of Russell Perry as Secretary of Commerce.

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Statement by Senator Stratton Taylor, Senate President Pro Tempore

"Senator Monson expressed concerns about whether the appointment was a wise use of taxpayers' dollars given the duplicative nature of the post and asked that her committee be able to review it."

"I'm disappointed that Governor Keating has inappropriately tried to inject race into a policy debate, but given his track record of offensive public statements, I'm not surprised."

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Statement by Senator Stratton Taylor,
Senate President Pro Tempore

"This isn't a compromise. It's the exact same proposal that they've been pushing all session long. They've dressed it up in slightly different clothing this time, but it still guts funding for education and road construction without doing a single thing to reform the excise tax on car purchases. They may not mind draining money out of public school classrooms or stalling road improvements, but I don't think there is any public support for those ideas."

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Statement by Sen. Angela Monson, Chairwoman of the Senate Finance Committee

"This isn't about racism, it's about spending tax dollars wisely and managing state government in an efficient manner. To suggest otherwise is racially offensive."

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More Oklahoma college students will have scholarship opportunities under an education reform clean-up bill approved by the State Senate Wednesday. In addition to correcting flaws in a 1999 education reform act, HB 2728 will expand eligibility requirements for the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program (OHLAP).

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By rejecting a bipartisan solution to Oklahoma's car tag dilemma,Governor Keating has confirmed that he is more interested in partisan politics than he is in affordable tag prices, according to the leader of the Oklahoma State Senate.

Today, the Governor vetoed a car tag reform bill for the second year in a row.

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Every year in this country some 275 million worn out tires are thrown away. Some are being recycled, but Senator Carol Martin would like to see more of that being done here in Oklahoma. The problem is tire-recycling companies can only take in as many tires as they send out in the form of recycled products. In other, the input can only be as great as the output.

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