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Press Releases

Showing: April, 2001

In light of last week's Supreme Court's ruling regarding seat belt usage, State Senator Jeff Rabon, D-Hugo and State Representative Terry Matlock, D- Garver have renewed their commitment to protecting the citizens of Oklahoma.

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Statement by Senator Stratton Taylor,
Senate President Pro Tempore

"Governor Keating was mistaken when he suggested that the Democratic legislative leadership was working on its own redistricting plan. We're working with all Senators, Republicans and Democrats, to ensure that we draft a redistricting plan that best serves the interests of every Oklahoma citizen."

"As part of that process, we will be happy to examine the information that Governor Keating has compiled. We appreciate his interest in this issue."

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Voters may soon get to decide whether they would like to replace Oklahoma's state tax code with a system that is even better than the state of Texas, according to the leader of the Oklahoma State Senate.

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(Oklahoma City) By trying to kill an amendment designed to protect the rights of hunters, anglers and other Oklahoman sportsmen, Representative Russ Roach is threatening the sporting pastimes of hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans, according to the Senate author of the legislation.

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OKLAHOMA CITY-State Senator Scott Pruitt, R-Broken Arrow, called on the CEO of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to better explain why last March he mailed letters to Medicaid recipients notifying them that their services would be terminated. Pruitt delivered a letter signed by the entire Senate Republican Caucus to the Health Care Authority Wednesday to request the explanation.

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OKLAHOMA CITY - The average Oklahoma family would save hundreds to thousands of dollars each year if voters opt to replace the state tax system with the Texas tax code, according to an analysis by the State Senate staff.

Senate President Pro Tempore Stratton Taylor said the findings should bolster support for the Texas Plan - his proposal to adopt the Texas tax code in Oklahoma. Texas doesn't have an income tax or a sales tax on groceries.

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Statement by Senator Ben Robinson,
Chairman, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Social Services

"When I heard about Sen. Pruitt's comments, I thought that they were some kind of belated, bad April Fool's joke. To suggest that the Health Care Authority acted improperly when it mailed out the termination letters is not just laughable - it's ludicrous."

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Senate President Pro Tem Names GCCA

OKLAHOMA CITY - Senate President Pro Tempore Stratton Taylor has appointed a bipartisan delegation to the General Conference Committee on Appropriations (GCCA) that will help write the final Oklahoma state budget for Fiscal Year 2002.

"We have always tried to be as inclusive as possible on the budget, seeking as many viewpoints and generating as much discussion as we can. By involving as many members as we can, I've found that we ultimately get a better product," said Senator Taylor.

2001 GCCA SENATE ASSIGNMENTS

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Another original painting depicting a key scene in Oklahoma history has been dedicated at the State Capitol. State Senator Charles Ford, President of the Oklahoma State Senate Historical Preservation Fund said the painting was endowed by native Oklahoman and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral William J. Crowe, Jr.

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OKLAHOMA CITY -Long-time education champion Senator Penny Williams is being honored with a lecture series bearing her name.

"The Senator Penny Williams Distinguished Lecture Series" has been established and endowed by friends of Senator Williams. This series will bring internationally known lecturers to the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics (OSSM) to interact with its students, faculty and supporters.

Federal Judge Robert Henry, who is also a former Oklahoma Attorney General and legislator, was among those involved in creating the lecture series.

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(Oklahoma City) Oklahomans who participate in sporting events or occupations that involve animals should have constitutional protections that ensure that their activities can never be outlawed, according to State Senator Frank Shurden.

The Henryetta legislator successfully amended legislation on the Senate floor Tuesday that would change the state constitution so activities such as hunting, fishing, rodeo and the raising of livestock would be considered an inherent right of state citizens. As amended, HB 1375 would require a vote of the people.

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Oklahoma can cash in on the ongoing electricity crisis in California by launching a concerted effort to lure power-starved industries to the Sooner State, according to the leader of the Oklahoma State Senate.

Senate President Pro Tempore Stratton Taylor is asking the State Department of Commerce to target California-based industries with an extensive marketing effort extolling Oklahoma's many attributes, namely its inexpensive and plentiful energy supply.

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Although Governor Frank Keating approved emergency funds to help public schools pay for last winters' high heating costs, he line item vetoed funds that would have done the same thing for state residential schools for deaf and blind children.

"Surely this was a mistake on his part. I'd hate to think that the Governor would deliberately veto critically needed funds from these schools in particular," said Senator Ben Robinson, D-Muskogee.

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A controversial political consultant was awarded more than $1.2 million in state contracts without having to compete for the business, according to state records.

Documents show that Mary Myrick was either awarded the contracts on a "sole source" basis or was the only vendor who bid on the state business. All of the contracts were awarded through agencies overseen by Health and Human Services Secretary Jerry Regier.

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Oklahomans may be sweating out one of their last April 15th deadlines on state income taxes if the leader of the Oklahoma State Senate gets his way.

Senate President Pro Tempore Stratton Taylor pointed out that state income taxes, the April 15th deadline and tax audits would be a thing of the past if voters adopt his "Texas Plan" - an initiative that would replace the Oklahoma tax code with the Texas tax system. Texas levies no personal or corporate income tax.

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Teachers, farmers, state agencies and other business representatives recently showed their support and asked for the continuation of state funding for the weather monitoring system known as Mesonet at a Senate Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting at the Capitol in Oklahoma City, according to Senator Cal Hobson, D-Lexington. The Mesonet system was recently named one of 114 semi-finalists out of more than 700 entries submitted in the Stockholm Challenge, a worldwide-recognized program for innovative informational technology projects.

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Statement by Senator Stratton Taylor,
Senate President Pro Tempore

"I applaud Governor Keating for officially joining the Texas Plan team. From the beginning, I have advocated that this be a bipartisan effort. By working together on this historic initiative, we have an opportunity to do great things for the state of Oklahoma."

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Starting this July, Oklahoma drivers may have one less headache to worry about. That's after the State Senate approved legislation to end the state's mandatory vehicle inspections. Those inspections cost Oklahomans $5 a year for each vehicle they own.

House Bill 1081, authored by Representative Richard Phillips, R-Warr Acres and Senator Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City, carries the amendment that would eliminate the inspections. Senator Coffee said it was time to end the yearly inspection requirement.

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Federal funds originally earmarked for local drug prevention and school safety programs ended up in the pockets of a controversial Oklahoma City political consultant and entertainer Bill Cosby, thanks to a sole source contract executed by Health and Human Services Secretary Jerry Regier, according to state records.

Contract information indicates that Regier used the federal grant money to pay Mary Myrick to organize a one-day Safe and Drug Free School Summit in Oklahoma City in February of 2000. The contract for Myrick's public relations firm totaled $450,000.

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OKLAHOMA CITY - With only seven weeks remaining in the 2001 legislative session, Senate Appropriations Chairman Kelly Haney says he is still working to restore critically needed funding to agencies such as Agriculture, Commerce and the Oklahoma Arts Council. That's after Governor Keating vetoed budgets for those agencies.

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