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Press Releases

Showing: April, 2002

Statement by Senator Stratton Taylor,
Senate President Pro Tempore

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Statement by Senator Stratton Taylor,
Senate President Pro Tempore

(Oklahoma City) Because Governor Keating has apparently abandoned his pursuit of a controversial state pension overhaul, both his original and revised state budget plans are hopelessly out of balance, according to the leader of the Oklahoma State Senate.

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Statement by Senator Stratton Taylor,
Senate President Pro Tempore

"In order for Governor Keating's budget plan to balance, whether it is his original proposal or his revised one, he has to pass his 401(k) state employees/teacher retirement program. It's the linchpin of his budget. The sooner that we vote on the Republican retirement program, the sooner that we will know whether Governor Keating's overall budget plan will work. If it fails, the governor will be back to square one.

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(Oklahoma City) Governor Frank Keating should intervene on behalf of an anti-sexual harassment bill now stalled in the State House, according to the State Senate author of the legislation.

Senator Brad Henry believes that SB 1594 could be revived if Governor Keating would urge House Republicans to support the measure, instead of voting against it as they did on Monday.

The bill was defeated on a 43-55 vote, but remains alive on a motion to reconsider. The vast majority of the "no" votes were cast by Republican legislators.

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Statement by Senator Stratton Taylor,
Senate President Pro Tempore

"I guess this means that Governor Keating doesn't want us to debate his retirement proposal or his consolidation plans. If he wasn't really interested in pursuing those issues, he could have saved us all a lot of time by not requesting a hearing in the first place.

"This is a perfect illustration of why it is so frustrating to try and conduct budget negotiations with Governor Keating and his Republican colleagues. They request something, we comply and then they say they really didn't want it.

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(Oklahoma City) In an effort to get budget talks moving, the leader of the Oklahoma State Senate is offering to hold a floor vote on a Republican-sponsored retirement bill that would make major changes in the pension systems for teachers and public employees.

Although he vehemently opposes the proposed legislation, Senate President Pro Tempore Stratton Taylor said Governor Keating and GOP legislative leaders have told him it is one of their top priorities and a key to their yet-to-be-made-public budget plan.

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Statement by Senator Stratton Taylor,
Senate President Pro Tempore

"Two days ago, we formally asked Governor Keating and Republican legislative leaders to present us with a budget proposal that reflected the most current revenue situation so that we could begin budget negotiations.

"Judging from the governor's press statement, that request was far too difficult and complex for them to comply with.

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(Oklahoma City) Governor Keatings congressional redistricting plan would disenfranchise voters in southeastern Oklahoma, preventing them from receiving adequate representation from the state congressional delegation in Washington, DC, according to a coalition of southeastern Oklahoma state legislators.

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The State Senate has given final approval to a measure intended to make sure more World War II vets who left high school to join the service are eligible to finally receive their diplomas. Senator Johnnie Crutchfield is principal author of Senate Bill 900.

"The original measure required World War II veterans to have 18 months of consecutive service in order to be eligible for a high school diploma. Unfortunately that inadvertently caused some very worthy heroes to be left out of the program. SB 900 corrects that," explained Senator Crutchfield, D-Ardmore.

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The House of Representatives has given its final approval to a measure to ensure photographs of a murder victim when they were still alive will be admissible during a trial. The measure, co-authored by Representative Fred Morgan and Senator Glenn Coffee is now ready for Governor Frank Keating's signature.

The legislation is named for Kristie LeGrange, a twenty-six year old Home Based Family Therapist who was brutally murdered by one of her clients.

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Legislation aimed at driving prostitutes, pimps and their customers out of neighborhoods and other areas is on its way to the Governor for his signature; that after the Senate gave final approval to the measure late yesterday.

Senator Keith Leftwich and Representative Al Lindley wrote the legislation after meeting with residents of an Oklahoma City neighborhood that had become overrun with prostitutes.

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Governor Signs Smoking Bill

Oklahoma City - Legislation banning smoking in state owned and state leased buildings, including the State Capitol, was signed into law by the Governor today, making the new restrictions effective July 1st, 2002.

Senate Bill 1553, authored by Senator Ben Robinson (D-Muskogee) and Representative Ray Vaughn (R-Edmond) passed in the Senate after the House approved a committee substitute earlier this month. Before the bill even progressed to the House, the Senate removed original language that banned smoking in many other public places, including restaurants.

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(Oklahoma City) Oklahoma public school teachers and education support personnel will receive expanded health care benefits under legislation passed by the State Senate Wednesday.

HB 1968 by Sen. Johnnie Crutchfield and Rep. Kenneth Corn was approved on a unanimous 42-0 vote.

"In order to attract and retain the best teachers in Oklahoma, we have to offer a competitive compensation package. By boosting health benefits, we can better compete with the other states that routinely raid Oklahoma to fill their teaching ranks," said Sen. Crutchfield.

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(Oklahoma City) A congressional redistricting plan that puts the people ahead of incumbent politicians has been filed with the state courts by the leader of the Oklahoma State Senate.

Because it ignores political interests and preserves the historic structure of the existing congressional districts, Senate President Pro Tempore Stratton Taylor said he believes the plan is the best of any offered to date.

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Statement by Senator Jim Dunlap,
Senate Minority Leader

"It's interesting to finally see any kind of plan on congressional redistricting from the majority party. It is also interesting that for the first time in state history, the Democrat leadership is not concerned about the seniority of our congressional delegation. Senator Taylor also makes a point about not crossing county lines, but his map clearly crosses community lines such as Enid, Oklahoma City and Tulsa."

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Senator Scott Pruitt (R - Broken Arrow) today presented a resolution to Benjamin Netinyahu that he authored calling for the United States Government to fully support Israel during this latest round of violence in the Middle East. The former Israeli President was speaking at an American Legislative Exchange Council Summit in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Using existing Next Generation High-Speed Rail (NGHSR) demonstration funding, the Federal Railroad Administration is currently teaming with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation in order to perform precision aerial digital mapping of the developing high-speed corridor between Texas and Oklahoma's two largest metropolitan areas, according to Senator Dave Herbert, D-Midwest City.

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Senator Carol Martin has successfully carried Governor Frank Keating's nomination for Dennis Howard to serve another five-year term as a member of the State Board of Agriculture. That nomination won full Senate approval Thursday.

"Dennis Howard is a native of Waurika, and has served all of Oklahoma well in his duties within the Department of Agriculture. He has aggressively sought new ways to promote agriculture in our state and help our producers find new markets," said Senator Martin, R-Comanche.

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Oklahoma City - Legislation that would ban smoking in state owned and state leased buildings, including the State Capitol, gained the final approval from the Senate today and is now headed to the Governor's desk for consideration.

Senate Bill 1553, authored by Senator Ben Robinson (D-Muskogee) and Representative Ray Vaughn (R-Edmond) passed in the Senate after the House approved a committee substitute earlier this week. Before the bill even progressed to the House, the Senate removed original language that banned smoking in many other public places, including restaurants.

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Senator Scott Pruitt has authored a resolution calling for the United States Government to fully support Israel during this latest round of violence in the Middle East. The measure was approved unanimously by the full Senate Wednesday afternoon.

"Oklahoma knows first hand the tragedy and the horror of terrorism. We know how destructive it is, and we lament the tragic loss of life by the Israeli and Palestinian people during recent hostilities in the region," said Pruitt.

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