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Press Releases

Showing: January, 2003

Funding for education has dominated forums held by Senator Jonathan Nichols, R-Norman. The forums provide classroom teachers an opportunity to ask questions about the current revenue shortfall. Nichols has held the forums in Blanchard, Norman and Washington schools.

To keep the budget crisis from further hurting the classroom, Nichols believes the legislature should fund education first. "We should fund education in February, and at the same level as fiscal year 2003, before budget cuts were implemented."

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Senator Glenn Coffee has announced plans to file legislation eliminating state income tax on retirement income. The Oklahoma City Republican said he had filed the measure for the 2003 legislative session, but would not kick in until the economy had begun a strong recovery.

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Senator Daisy Lawler is fulfilling a campaign pledge beginning this Friday evening when she presents a personal check for $1,000 to Bridge Creek Public Schools.

"I taught elementary school for 28 years. I know how our schools are struggling financially, and I wanted to do everything I could to help. That's why I promised last fall that if I were elected, I would donate 15 percent of my salary to schools in Senate District 24. The first check will be to Bridge Creek Schools," said Senator Lawler, D-Comanche.

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State Senator Frank Shurden says a recent poll shows most Oklahomans favor the idea of deciding whether to allow cockfighting by county option. The poll also revealed an overwhelming majority believes the penalties included in the State Question approved last November are too harsh.

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State Senator Jonathan Nichols feels it's time Oklahomans who always make it to the polls have a place of honor. That's why Nichols has authored legislation creating the "Oklahoma Voter Hall of Fame."

"We live in the greatest country in the world and enjoy freedoms others can only dream about. But with those freedoms comes a responsibility to participate in the democratic process. There are thousands of Oklahomans who take that responsibility seriously by participating in our elections," explained Senator Nichols, R-Norman.

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Given Oklahoma's ongoing budget crisis, Senator Frank Shurden wants a careful look at how much is being spent on professional service contracts and whether some of those could be eliminated to save state dollars.

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Senator Supports Retired Teachers

Senator Kenneth Corn (D-Poteau) strongly opposes the proposal of one state representative to suspend state payments for retirement contributions for two years.

House Bill 1036 authored by Rep. Robert Worthen could cause the Oklahoma teacher's retirement system to lose at least $220 million annually as well as lose investment earnings if payments are suspended.

"I do not support delaying payment to the teachers' retirement fund," said Senator Corn. "This would be a reckless move on a system that is already badly damaged."

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(Oklahoma City) Citing the state budget crisis and other pressing issues, the new leader of the Oklahoma State Senate is urging policy makers to put aside their differences in the coming legislative session and work together for the good of the state.

Senator Cal Hobson made those comments Tuesday afternoon after he was formally elected Senate president pro tempore during a one-day organizational meeting of the Oklahoma Legislature. The president pro tempore position is the top leadership post in the Legislature's upper chamber.

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