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Press Releases

Showing: December, 2005

OKLAHOMA CITY-As Oklahoma continues to make national headlines because of the devastating fires that have swept across the state this week, Senator Kenneth Corn said the story that isn’t being told is the true emergency facing rural fire departments in Oklahoma.

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Oklahoma has been under smoke for a few months now, with no relief to the widespread wildfires in sight. State Senator Jeff Rabon (D-Hugo) was part of an initiative to release $1.5 million to rural fire departments to help aid in fighting the wildfires that are plaguing Oklahoma.

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OKLAHOMA CITY- Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan and two members of his leadership team said Wednesday they agree with Assistant Majority Leader Jeff Rabon that something needs to be done immediately to address the needs of rural fire departments that have depleted resources fighting a record number of wildfires in recent weeks.

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Senator Jeff Rabon, Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Natural Resources & Regulatory Services, is urging legislative leaders and Governor Henry to immediately convene a special session to provide immediate funding to rural fire fighters.

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“We need to recognize the budget numbers presented this morning for what they are – estimates based on an economy that is growing, in great part, due to the latest energy boom in Oklahoma. To forget the lessons of the past would be reckless and irresponsible.

“We must take a responsible approach and proceed carefully, choosing first to keep the commitments we have already made and then to invest in our priorities of education, health care, public safety and our state’s crumbling roads and bridges.

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“Oklahomans have a deep belief in personal responsibility and accountability and that includes a Legislature that governs and budgets in a responsible manner. As we carefully consider how best to make substantial new investments in the priority areas of education, public safety, health care and our state’s crumbling roads and bridges, Senate Democrats will proceed with the knowledge that the Legislature is accountable to the people of Oklahoma.

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Oklahoma’s population grew at a paltry 0.7% during the past year – far more slowly than most of its neighboring states and below the national average, according to new data released this week by the U.S. Census Bureau.

“Oklahoma’s slow-growing population is just the latest indication that we’re falling behind our neighboring states in the competition for people, jobs and businesses,” stated Senate Republican Leader Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City.

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A pair of Oklahoma City lawmakers is calling on the Oklahoma Department of Human Services to halt plans to create a group home for five unwed teen mothers and their children in a Southside neighborhood.

Senator Debbe Leftwich and Representative Al Lindley met with residents of the area Tuesday night and vowed to do everything they can to keep DHS from going forward with the proposed group home at 1329 S.W. 71st Circle.

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House and Senate Republican leaders today announced meaningful lawsuit reform as the top priority for the upcoming 2006 legislative session.

Speaker of the House Todd Hiett and Senate Republican Leader Glenn Coffee said enacting meaningful lawsuit reform is a must if the state wants to attract and keep good jobs.

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“It is amazing to me the lengths to which Senator Coffee and members of the Senate Republican Caucus will go to sling mud at policies proposed by Democrats – proposals that could clearly be seen as a bi-partisan effort to move Oklahoma forward.

“If the Minority Leader would spend more time trying to conduct the business of this state and less time grandstanding for political gain perhaps then we could all come together and do what’s right for Oklahoma.

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State Senate Republican Leader Glenn Coffee expressed skepticism Friday that a Democrat state senator is serious about two proposals he purports would implement reforms to make state government more fiscally responsible.

“Senate Democrats practically invented fiscal irresponsibility, so I am highly skeptical that Sen. Corn is serious about his proposals,” stated Coffee, R-Oklahoma City.

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Poteau Lawmaker Will File Legislation to Protect Critical State Services

A Democratic Senator will file a pair of bills that will bring greater financial responsibility to state government. State Senator Kenneth Corn said the measures will be considered when session begins on February 6, 2006.

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Senator Kenneth Corn said today that Republicans in the House are looking for nothing more than political cover with their latest press release that falsely accuses Senate Democrats of stalling on funding for Oklahoma prisons. Corn said the refusal by Republican Speaker of the House Todd Hiett to address the issue during a special session shows Republicans have taken a do-nothing approach to public safety.

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State Senator Jeff Rabon urged the Oklahoma Attorney General on Wednesday to coordinate a statewide investigation into the “hijacking of democracy” by out-of-interests seeking a statewide vote on TABOR.

Rabon pointed to the arrest last week of a teenage TABOR petition circulator who was in alleged violation of his parole from Massachusetts and two incidents in Tulsa Tuesday where petition circulators attempted to gather signatures inside polling places on Election Day. One of the TABOR supporters was a precinct worker who was relieved of her duties.

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(Oklahoma City) Senator Cal Hobson and Representative Bill Nation said they are pleased, but not surprised that the Oklahoma State Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that 2004 legislation calling for the issuance of revenue bonds to fund endowed chairs at Oklahomas colleges and universities is constitutional.

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(Oklahoma City) A pair of State Senators offered support Tuesday for Oklahoma Department of Agricultures plan to provide state assistance to help rural fire departments pay the costs of fighting the rash of wildfires that swept across the state in recent weeks.

Secretary of Agriculture Terry Peach announced the plan Tuesday.

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(State Capitol, Oklahoma City) The Chairman of the Senate Republican Rural Caucus said his group would fight any effort by urban legislators Democrats or Republicans to forcibly consolidate rural public school districts.

The members of the Senate Republican Rural Caucus strongly oppose forced school consolidation, and we will oppose any effort to do so in the Oklahoma State Senate, stated Sen. Owen Laughlin, R-Woodward.

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OKLAHOMA CITY – With almost annual attempts to force rural schools to consolidate against their will, one rural lawmaker says it is time for Oklahoma to settle the issue “once and for all.”

Senator Jay Paul Gumm, a Democrat from Durant, filed a measure that would end the concept of forced school consolidation. The proposed constitutional amendment would put the power to consolidate rural districts solely in the hands of local voters.

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Note to Editor: Earlier today Senator Gumm issued a press release stating he has filed legislation to end the threat of forced school consolidation

I welcome rural Senate Republicans to this fight and look forward to their support for SJR 35.

Further, I expect them to encourage leaders in their own party especially those in the House of Representatives to end their incessant and repeated attempts to destroy rural public education and the communities we call home.

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Senator Daisy Lawler has filed a measure that would ensure gas and diesel fuel taxes currently going to the state's General Revenue Fund would instead go to the State Transportation Fund.

"I want the public to know that when they're paying gas or diesel taxes, all the money is going to roads, bridges and other transportation needs. Under my bill, the percentages of those taxes that currently go to the General Revenue Fund would be redirected to transportation," said Lawler, D-Comanche.

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