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Press Releases

Showing: January, 2004
Senator Withdraws Controversial Bill

State Senator Sam Helton has decided to withdraw Senate Bill 1130, also known as the “Dog and Cat Ownership Responsibility Act.” The Democrat from Lawton has received numerous phone calls, letters and E-mails from across the state opposing this bill.

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State Senate President Pro Tempore Cal Hobson said Thursday he hopes the second session of the 49th Oklahoma Legislature will be remembered in the future as the session when lawmakers made the health of Oklahomans their top priority.

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Skyrocketing insurance industry profits are proof that limiting the legal rights of injured people is not the solution to rising premium costs, according to Sen. Frank Shurden, D-Henryetta.
"Insurance premiums and profits are what need to be capped, not payments to people who are truly injured," Shurden said.

The veteran Democratic senator said that he doesn’t accept the arguments presented by Oklahoma Republican legislative leaders who plan to introduce "Texas Republican-style" lawsuit reform legislation during the 2004 legislative session.

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Workers Comp Reforms Proposed

Tulsa / Oklahoma City – At press conferences in Tulsa and Oklahoma City today, legislative Republicans unveiled the details of legislation to reform Oklahoma’s workers compensation system, renowned as one of the most expensive in the nation.

The bill, authored by Sen. Scott Pruitt, R-Broken Arrow, and Rep. Ron Peterson, R-Broken Arrow, will result in a minimum savings of $100 million for state employers according to the National Council on Compensation Insurance. The bill does not decrease benefits to employees, but instead seeks to eliminate unnecessary litigation.

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State Capitol, Oklahoma City – Senate Republican Floor Leader James A. Williamson, R-Tulsa, today introduced legislation, SJR 38, to send a “defense of marriage” constitutional amendment to a vote of the people.

“As President Bush noted in his State of the Union address, the sanctity of marriage is under assault from activist judges in America today,” Williamson said. “Amending our state Constitution is the best way we can ensure traditional marriage is protected here in Oklahoma.”

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State Senator Kenneth Corn announced today that he is the primary author of Senate Bill 1106, which will pay 100 percent of teacher’s health insurance premiums. Currently the state pays for 75 percent of certified personnel’s health insurance premiums.

The Democrat from Poteau also applauded the recent announcements by Governor Brad Henry and House of Representatives Speaker Larry Adair to also support paying 100 percent of the teacher’s benefit allowance.

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Parents, educators, administrators and other concerned citizens are invited to attend a public hearing on dyslexia at the State Capitol on Wednesday, January 21. Senator Kathleen Wilcoxson, who organized the event, said she will unveil legislation to identify and provide instructional intervention for dyslexic students.

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Gov. Henry Challenged to Put Politics Aside, Join GOP in Bipartisan Effort

Click here for a detailed summary of the GOP lawsuit reform plan

Oklahoma City – Republican leaders in the state Senate and House of Representatives today announced the details of their Texas-style lawsuit reform package.

Lawsuit reform legislation is being introduced in the Senate by Senate Republican Leader James A. Williamson, R-Tulsa, and in the House by Rep. Jim Newport, R-Ponca City.

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Senate Republican Leader Glenn Coffee said today that Senate Republicans are generally supportive of the higher education bond proposal, but are concerned whether the new state lottery will provide sufficient funds to pay the annual debt service.

“Senate Republicans have long been very supportive of higher education, and I am certain there will be widespread support within our caucus for the concept of a higher education bond issue,” stated Coffee, R-Oklahoma City.

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Comments from Senator Mike Morgan, D-Stillwater

“We stand behind the commitment that Senate Leadership made to the college presidents last spring and remain in support of the $500 million higher education bond issue. We also believe it’s important to make passage of this legislation one of the first priorities when the Legislature convenes next month.

“The economic development impact of this bond issue goes far beyond the 4,000 initial construction jobs and the $700 million that projects themselves will pump into Oklahoma’s economy.

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Members of the public could soon have the opportunity to fly into space and back from the Oklahoma Spaceport in Burns Flat. Rocketplane Limited Inc. will soon begin work on development and operation of a reusable launch vehicle, Senate Aerospace and Technology Committee Chairman Gilmer Capps and company officials announced at the Oklahoma State Capitol Friday.

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“We’ve just received the report and haven’t yet had a chance to digest it in its entirety. I am encouraged by the emphasis the EDGE report places on improving the health of Oklahomans and its support of an increase in the tax on tobacco products.

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Oklahoma City – Senate and House Republican leaders and Lieutenant Governor Mary Fallin held a joint news conference today at the state Capitol to announce plans to introduce lawsuit reform legislation during the legislative session which begins February 2nd. The legislation will be modeled after significant lawsuit reforms passed and signed into law in Texas in 2003. Following are quotes from participants in today’s news conference:

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In an effort to restore public confidence, State Senator Kenneth Corn (D-Poteau) announced today he will file legislation to bring reforms to the Career Tech system that will provide accountability and responsibility to the taxpayers of Oklahoma. Pointing to problems throughout the Career Tech system in Oklahoma, Corn has taken steps to produce changes that he says are common sense solutions to prevent the problems from occurring again.

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Senator Says Oklahoma Beef is Safe

Consumers shouldn't be afraid to purchase Oklahoma beef despite the recent discovery of mad cow disease in the United States, according to a longtime state senator and rancher.

Sen. Frank Shurden, D-Henryetta, said mad cow disease -- which is scientifically classified as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) -- is highly unlikely to be found in Oklahoma cattle.

"Most Oklahoma cattle are raised in feedlots and are slaughtered at approximately two years of age or younger," Shurden said.

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