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Press Releases

Showing: April, 2005

Assistant Majority Leader Jeff Rabon said after Lt. Governor Mary Fallin and Senate Republicans pulled their petty political stunt Thursday, it was obvious that they were the party quickly becoming the road block for true workers’ compensation reform.

Rabon, a Hugo Democrat, said there are still four weeks left in session and two measures still alive to address the issue before session adjourns on May 27th.

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State Capitol, Oklahoma City – Senate Republicans have requested that Lt. Gov. Mary Fallin continue to preside over the Oklahoma State Senate on Monday in an effort to secure an up-or-down vote on a real workers’ compensation reform bill – a request Fallin says she will honor.

“This battle is about whether we’re going to save and create Oklahoma jobs with real workers’ comp reform, or whether the Democrats will succeed in protecting trial lawyers,” stated Senate Republican Leader Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City.

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Oklahomans should know more about House Bill 2046, the workers’ compensation reform measure being pushed by Lt. Governor Mary Fallin, than Republicans are telling them.

Senate Republican Leader Glenn Coffee and Senator Scott Pruitt are using gross generalities to mislead the public about the bill and the reasons Democrats oppose it in its current form, Senate Judiciary Chairman Charlie Laster said Friday.

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Senator Jeff Rabon, Assistant Majority Leader and Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Natural Resources and Regulatory Services, stated today that rural Oklahoma is not getting its fair share of the pie in the latest budget agreement announced by both Senate and House leaders.

Vital programs that benefit rural Oklahoma were removed from the budget agreement that was announced last week in a press conference. Services that already took a deep cut two years ago during the fiscal downturn.

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Thursday afternoon Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Mary Fallin and Senate Republicans resumed their attempt to bring a workers’ comp reform bill to a vote in the Senate as a call for senators to come into session was continued.

Yesterday, Senate Democrats said “we’ll find out tomorrow if (Republicans) are really interested in passing a workers’ compensation bill this year.” But Thursday Senate Democrats went into in hiding to avoid an up-or-down vote on workers comp reform. All 22 GOP senators reported to the Senate floor, but 25 senators are needed to achieve a quorum.

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Students from Bryant and Red Oak Elementary Schools looked on as Gov. Brad Henry put his signature on Senate Bill 4 which names Selenite as Oklahoma’s official state crystal. The ceremonial signing took place at the State Capitol on Wednesday.

While Sen. Kathleen Wilcoxson carried the legislation, she explained the students from the Moore School District’s gifted and talented program, Students Experiencing Appropriate Research and Creative Happenings (SEARCH) actually came up with the idea.

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Passage Wednesday of meaningful pro-life legislation is a victory for all Oklahomans, said Senator Daisy Lawler, author of the measure and a founding member of Democrats for Life.

House Bill 1686 will ensure “informed consent” by Oklahoma women seeking abortions and “parental notification” before a minor can receive an abortion, the Comanche Democrat said.
The measure passed on a 44-4 vote.

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The classification of Oklahoma’s state liability system as “moderate” by the United States Chamber of Commerce shows that Oklahoma has been successful in striking a balance between maintaining a positive business climate and protecting the rights of everyday Oklahomans to seek justice in the courts, Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan said Wednesday.

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State Senator Kathleen Wilcoxson, R-OKC, said she’s optimistic about legislation now headed for a conference committee that would strengthen laws against hazing as well as enact campus drinking bans aimed at protecting young people. Wilcoxson is the Senate author of HB 1970 by Rep. Fred Perry, R-Tulsa.

“When a young person goes to college and joins a fraternity or sorority, their parents never imagine their child could be harmed as a result of hazing. We believe stronger penalties could help prevent such incidents from occurring in the first place,” Wilcoxson said.

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Senate Democrats voted along party lines Wednesday to block a meaningful workers’ compensation reform bill from advancing on the Senate floor.

“Senate Democrats had a meaningful workers’ comp reform bill on their desks, and they chose to play politics instead of choosing to make history. Their vote today was a vote against meaningful workers’ comp reform,” stated Sen. Scott Pruitt, R-Broken Arrow, the Senate author of House Bill 2046.

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Senate Democrats are not serious about passing meaningful lawsuit reform, Senate Republican Leader Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City, said Wednesday.

Senate Democrats passed Gov. Brad Henry’s watered-down lawsuit bill on a party-line vote Wednesday as part of House Bill 1554. Republicans, who support real lawsuit reform, opposed the Democrats’ watered-down version.

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Senate Judiciary Chairman Charlie Laster said Wednesday he’s concerned the decision by Senate Republicans not to go forward with a floor vote on House Bill 2046 could make reaching a workers compensation reform agreement difficult before the constitutionally-mandated May 27 Sine Die adjournment date.

“First Speaker Hiett wouldn’t participate in negotiations and now the Senate Republicans appear to be walking away. It’s going to be tough to negotiate compromise when there’s nobody to negotiate with,” Laster said.

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After years of blocking pro-life legislation, Senate Democrat leaders – who hold only a razor-thin majority in the Legislature’s upper chamber – finally allowed a significant pro-life bill to be heard on the Senate floor Wednesday.

House Bill 1686 passed the State Senate Wednesday 44 to 4.

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A mother and legislator, Senator Debbe Leftwich authored and gained passage of Senate Resolution 25, declaring Thursday April 28th “Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day” in Oklahoma.
The resolution was unanimously adopted by the full Senate on Monday.

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A group of grade school students from Tulsa has helped create legislation to ensure the emergency workers from two of the nation’s worst terrorist attacks will be honored. Senate Concurrent Resolution 14 by Sen. Nancy Riley honors the first responders, or Homeland Emergency Responders (HEROs) from both the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., as well as the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City. The measure, which was unanimously approved, would declare September 11, 2005, to be “HERO Day” in the state.

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The State Senate has given full approval to a measure designed to boost film and music production in Oklahoma. House Bill 1716, by Sen. Debbe Leftwich, D-OKC, and Rep. Susan Winchester, R-Chickasha, creates an income tax credit equal to 25 percent on profits for a film or music project when those profits are re-invested into another Oklahoma film or music project.

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Senate Leader Names GCCA Members

Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan has announced that 45 of the Senate’s 48 members have been assigned to the General Conference Committee on Appropriations.

“We have found in recent years that including nearly all of the members in the appropriations process allows our budget to truly reflect the values of the Oklahomans we represent,” Morgan said. “Having reached an agreement with the House on sub-committee allocations, it’s time for the heavy lifting on the budget to begin.”

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A bill to give victims of rape and domestic violence greater economic protection won’t be heard this session after the House failed to vote on the measure by their April 21 deadline for committee action on Senate bills. State Sen. Debbe Leftwich said while she and other supporters were deeply disappointed, they were not surprised.

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