GUEST EDITORIAL - More than two-thirds of Oklahoma taxpayers approve of holding the growth of state government to a reasonable level. Unfortunately, the other one-third – those who do not embrace responsible growth – are beginning to panic because of the TABOR (Taxpayer Bill of Rights) initiative. A natural impulse in a panic situation is to huddle in a defensive posture and try to protect your own at all cost. Such is the case with many tax-receiving groups around the state. read more.
State Senator Tom Adelson said Friday that the federal government’s approval of the Oklahoma Premium Assistance Plan means thousands of currently uninsured Oklahomans will soon have health insurance coverage under what he called the “most innovative public-private partnership in the history of Medicaid.”
In a recent report by the Oklahoma Aging Partnership (OAP), the majority of Oklahoma State Senate Democrats were recognized for their perfect voting record on matters important to older Oklahomans. The report gave 20 perfect scores – 18 of which went to Senate Democrats.read more.
Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan called on Republicans in the State Senate Friday to denounce a statement by former Education Secretary William Bennett that links the crime rate and the abortion of black babies. Bennett served as Education Secretary under former Republican President Ronald Reagan and served as Drug Czar under George H. W. Bush.
Morgan demanded that Republicans in the Senate call their radical right wing allies in Washington and ask them to stop appointing such questionable leaders to positions that control the destiny of so many Americans.read more.
State Sen. Susan Paddack said friends and neighbors in her community of Ada were devastated by this past weekend’s kidnapping and murder of teenager Caitlin Elizabeth Wooten. The Ada high school student was abducted by her mother’s former boyfriend and was later found dead in an apparent murder/suicide. Now Sen. Paddack is looking at possible legislation to prevent similar crimes in the future.
Senate President Pro Tem Mike Morgan, in his capacity as acting governor of Oklahoma, issued an executive proclamation today lifting the burn ban in five counties in Southeastern Oklahoma.
The order removes the burn ban in Choctaw, Latimer, LeFlore , McCurtain and Pushmataha Counties. Senator Morgan issued the order at the recommendation of Agriculture Secretary Terry Peach and the Forestry Division of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture.read more.
Before state lawmakers start making plans for future tax rebates, cuts or other expenditures, they must repay millions of dollars owed to Oklahoma counties. That’s according to State Sen. Jeff Rabon who said repaying the counties must be a top priority in the 2006 legislative session.
In the wake of the Hurricane Katrina disaster, State Senator Kenneth Corn said he will ask Oklahoma’s Civil Emergency Management to examine emergency evacuation plans for population centers around the state to ensure that Oklahomans will not be left behind should a disaster occur in this state.
The Republican transportation plan announced yesterday that seeks to increase appropriations to counties across Oklahoma will do so at the risk of Oklahoma school children, Senator Cal Hobson warned today.
“The dollars it will take to increase the county appropriation from 15 percent to 30 percent will have to come from somewhere because those dollars are designated for specific services that Oklahomans count on every single day,” Hobson (D-Lexington) said. “And that will mean less money for education-leaving Oklahoma school children behind.”
School is back in session and children across the state will get a civics lesson first hand from their elected officials. Senators across the state will once again be traveling to schools in their districts to personally meet with students, answer questions and share ideas from the students in the public school system. The Senators will also provide the students with a greater understanding of the legislative process through explaining how a bill is drafted and the steps a bill goes through to become law.read more.
Republican state lawmakers today unveiled a plan that will provide nearly 300 million in new road funding in the next five years, more than double the amount that would have been provided by a fuel tax increase rejected by voters Tuesday.
Yesterday, the people said: Not one more dime of my money fix Oklahomas roads with the dollars you already take from us, said House Speaker Todd Hiett, RKellyville. We all agree that Oklahomas roads are in bad shape. But the voters expect us to live within our means. read more.
Senate Republican Leader Glenn Coffee called on Democrats in the State Senate Wednesday to denounce a “wacky” ruling by a Democrat-appointed federal judge that the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional – and demanded that they call their liberal Democrat allies in Washington and ask them to stop putting liberal activist judges on the federal bench.read more.
(Oklahoma City) – Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan announced today that copies of the “Emergency Fuel Tax Relief Act” were distributed this morning to the offices of Governor Brad Henry, House Speaker Todd Hiett, Senate Republican Leader Glenn Coffee and House Democratic Leader Jari Askins.
“The Emergency Fuel Tax Relief Act,” as contained in Senate Bill 2X, includes Morgan’s plan to save Oklahomans $1 million a day for the final three months of the year by suspending the 17-cent per gallon state tax on gasoline from October 1 through December 31.read more.
RAINN recognizes Senator Nichols for his work on SB 646 to expand the State
DNA Database to include all convicted felons
State Senator Jonathan Nichols was presented with the “Crime Fighter Award” from the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN). The RAINN Crime Fighter Award is a national honor bestowed on individuals for leadership in fighting crime and helping victims.read more.
Sen. Patrick Anderson has proposed using funds from the Department of Commerce budget to help Oklahoma communities provide economic incentives to relocate gulf coast area businesses and industries destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Anderson suggested the initiative in a letter to Gov. Brad Henry sent on Thursday.
“Last May Gov. Henry vetoed intent language for $3,155,000 in funds specified for economic development projects in communities throughout the state. The money itself is still in the Department of Commerce budget,” said Anderson, R-Enid.read more.
State Senator Johnnie Crutchfield and State Representative Wes Hilliard are working closely with federal, state and local officials to ensure a smooth transition for Hurricane Katrina victims who will temporarily be placed at Falls Creek Baptist Camp in Davis.
“We don’t know exactly when the evacuees will be here,” Crutchfield said. “But we want to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible for these families who literally have nothing but the clothes on their back.”read more.
State Senator Daisy Lawler said she will work with Senate leaders to conduct an energy summit where stakeholders can share ideas at a state level on how to address the skyrocketing energy costs.
“I believe it is imperative that we expand refinery capacity here in Oklahoma,” Lawler said. “The energy summit will allow experts to come together and roll up their sleeves to help bring solutions to working families in Oklahoma.”read more.
Senator Earl Garrison and Representative Barbara Staggs announced today that Tahlequah and Muskogee Schools are making room for the children of the evacuees from hurricane ravaged Gulf Coast area.
The plan announced by the two Muskogee Democrats also includes educational opportunities for pre-school children and adults seeking job training or a high school equivalency diploma.read more.
Sen. Don Barrington has asked Senate staff to examine possible legislative and/or administrative solutions that would allow college and university students displaced by Katrina to relocate to Oklahoma schools.
“The short-term and long-term impact of Katrina is almost unimaginable. Many people may not realize that several major universities have been virtually destroyed. It may be years before they can be totally rebuilt, but their students can’t wait that long,” said Barrington, R-Lawton.
State Sen. Kathleen Wilcoxson is urging Oklahoma to consider scaling back planned expenditures on upcoming centennial celebrations in order to offer greater assistance to neighbors in need.