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Press Releases

Showing: February, 2002
Sales Tax Holiday Bill Clears Senate

Legislation aimed at giving Oklahomans their own sales tax holiday weekend each August has won approval from the full Senate. Senate Bill 816 by Senator Johnnie Crutchfield would exempt most clothing and footwear purchases of up to $100 beginning the first Friday in August and ending the following Sunday.

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Currently, Oklahoma law has a seven year statute of limitations for sex crimes such as rape. But changes in forensic science have made it possible to match samples with a suspect many years after that statute of limitations has passed. That's according to Senator Jonathon Nichols, R-Norman. He and Senator Billy Mickle, D-Durant, have co-authored Senate Bill 1428 which would eliminate that statute of limitations. The full Senate gave its approval to the measure today.

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The State Senate has given unanimous approval to a measure aimed at making sure more World War II vets get their long delayed high school diplomas. That's according to Senator Johnnie Crutchfield, author of Senate Bill 900.

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Sen. Paul Muegge Announces Retirement

OKLAHOMA CITY Saying he has accomplished all his goals as a state legislator and is looking forward to spending more time with his family, State Senator Paul Muegge announced today that he is retiring from the Oklahoma Legislature.

The veteran legislator from Tonkawa said he would step down at the conclusion of legislative business this year and would not seek re-election to his Senate District 20 office in November. The 65-year old farmer and rancher has represented citizens in Alfalfa, Grant, Kay, Major and Woods counties for the past 12 years.

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Sympathy Note Legislation Clears Senate

A bill protecting people who want to express sympathy or condolences is one step closer to becoming law. Thats after the full Senate approved SB 1262 by Senator Glenn Coffee.

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Senate Approves Anti-Prostitution Bill

Legislation to crack down on prostitution, pimps and their customers has made it half-way through the legislative process; thats after the full Senate Approved Senate Bill 1502. Senator Keith Leftwich and Representative Al Lindley co-authored the measure in response to complaints that hookers and pimps had overrun an Oklahoma City metro neighborhood.

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Saying it's time to do something big for Oklahoma, education and economic development, Senator Brad Henry is preparing to take his proposal for a statewide lottery vote to the full Senate Floor.

SJR 40 cleared a major hurdle late Wednesday when it received the approval of the full Senate Appropriations Committee.

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Saying it was important to create an environment that would encourage capital investments and economic growth, Senator Mark Snyder has won committee approval for his legislation phasing out capital-gains taxes.

Our current taxation of long terms capital gains discourages the kind of investment and economic growth Oklahoma must have to become prosperous. My legislation calls for a gradual reduction over the next several years until weve finally eliminated the tax altogether, explained Snyder, R-Edmond.

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Statement by Senator Brad Henry,
Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee

"My reason for not hearing the covenant marriage bill is pretty simple. I don't think the government should be sticking its nose any further into the private lives of Oklahomans, especially when it comes to marriage. Government shouldn't be in the business of telling people who they should marry or how long they should stay married. That is a personal and private decision that should be left to a husband and wife in consultation with their families and their pastor, not the legislature or the governor.

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A bill to make sure more WWII veterans will finally get their long delayed high school diploma has passed its first test. Senator Johnnie Crutchfield, D-Ardmore is author of Senate Bill 900, which seeks to correct a technicality in the law approved last year which inadvertently disqualified some veterans from obtaining their diplomas. The legislation has won approval from the Senate Education Committee.

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(Oklahoma City) Governor Keatings proposal to radically alter Oklahomas two largest state retirement systems may not be in the best interest of current or future teachers and state employees, according to State Senator Larry Dickerson.

The Poteau legislator said the plan could also hurt Oklahomas effort to recruit new teachers to address a statewide teacher shortage.

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Statement by Senator Stratton Taylor,
Senate President Pro Tempore

This will make an already difficult budget situation even more difficult. I will continue to advocate that we shield education, health care and other vital services from any budget cuts. Because those programs make up a major share of the state budget, it will probably require us to make significant cuts in other state agencies in order to balance the budget.

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Legislative Leaders Announce GCCA

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Legislative concern about tight revenues this year has prompted the leaders of the House and the Senate to assemble the joint committee that will write Oklahoma's state budget.

The bipartisan House/Senate General Conference Committee on Appropriations must reconcile state funding requests with available tax revenues for Fiscal Year 2003, House Speaker Larry E. Adair and Senate President Pro Tempore Stratton Taylor said. The budget writers must finish their task before the Legislature adjourns in late May.

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Senate Minority leader Jim Dunlap said he and members of his caucus would ask Governor Frank Keating for an audit of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, after the agency threatened to send out some 15,000 letters to Oklahomans telling them that without additional funding their services would be terminated. Before that could happen, House Speaker Larry Adair and Senate President Pro Tempore Stratton Taylor announced an agreement to approve a $15.6 million supplemental appropriation to the agency. Senator Dunlap said the action by the OHCA was nothing short of extortion.

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Oklahoma City – State legislative leaders have announced an agreement to pass emergency funding to prevent pending cuts to health care programs for the elderly, disabled and children.

House Speaker Larry Adair and Senate President Pro Tempore Stratton Taylor said today that they plan to approve a $15.6 million supplemental appropriation for the Oklahoma Health Care Authority as quickly as possible. The OHCA was preparing to send out letters to 15,000 elderly and disabled health care recipients this Friday, informing them that their programs would soon be cut.

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Anti-Prostitution Bill Clears Committees

Legislation aimed at cleaning up neighborhoods overrun with prostitutes, pimps and customers has won the approval of both a Senate subcommittee and full committee and is headed to the full Senate for a vote. Thats according to Senator Keith Leftwich. The South Oklahoma City Senator said he and House of Representatives co-author Al Lindley are gratified their colleagues are taking this problem seriously.

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Senate Subcommittee Kills 4x4 Bill

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education has voted down a measure requiring Oklahoma high school students to take four years of math, science, social studies and English. Senator Kathleen Wilcoxson, a former educator is author of the bill. The former Oklahoma City Teacher of the Year said she was very disappointed with today's vote.

"The soul purpose of a high school education is to assure that every student has the necessary prerequisites to go to college, Career-tech or into the workforce without the need for remediation," explained Senator Wilcoxson.

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Under current law, there may be times when Oklahomans want to extend messages of sympathy or compassion to another, but are advised by their lawyer not to for fear it could be used against them in a lawsuit. That would change under Senate Bill 1262 by Senator Glen Coffee.

Basically were saying that a court in civil action cant use a communication expressing sympathy, compassion or benevolence relating to the pain, suffering or death of an individual, explained Coffee, R-OKC.

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State Senator Johnnie Crutchfields legislation creating an Oklahoma sales tax holiday has cleared its first major hurdle, winning approval by the Senate Finance Committee.

A program like this is a shot in the arm for the economy. I believe the interest and economic activity it will create will result in the state coming out ahead, and I know it is something Oklahomans want and need, said the Ardmore legislator.

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Senator Nancy Riley said she would continue working to secure a tax break for a Sand Springs Employer of 350; that after her attempts to attach an amendment to another tax incentive bill were blocked in the State Senate.

Im very disappointed that Senator Brad Henry would not include this legislation in his bill to help Great Plains Airline. More people are going to be immediately impacted with whats happening to Sheffield Steel in Sand Springs. It is a crisis for the community, and a crisis for the state, explained Riley.

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