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Press Releases

Showing: January, 2006

Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan and members of the Senate Democratic Caucus today announced their “Agenda for a Safer Oklahoma” at the Oklahoma State Capitol.

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An Oklahoma state senator’s fight to enact harsher penalties for repeat child molesters came to a top-rated national cable news network Saturday evening.

Senator Jay Paul Gumm appeared on the Jan. 28 edition of “The Big Story Primetime”, broadcast nationally on the Fox News Channel. Gumm, D-Durant, was invited to appear to discuss Senate Bill 1747, a measure he wrote that would make repeat child molesters eligible for the death penalty or life without parole.

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Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan and Senator Stratton Taylor, chairman of the Appropriations Sub-Committee on Education, today announced funding proposals for Higher Education and CareerTech completing Senate Democrats $300 million education funding plan.

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The co-chairs of Oklahoma’s Cancer Caucus said the loss of Sen. Robert M. Kerr underscores the need to raise awareness about cancer and use every resource possible to fight the deadly disease.

The organization was formed last June making Oklahoma only the third state in the nation to have an official caucus to develop and pass legislation dealing with cancer research, prevention and treatment. Sen. Debbe Leftwich, D-Oklahoma City, and Rep. Kris Steele, R-Shawnee, are co-chairs of the Caucus.

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Senator Robert M. Kerr’s tomorrows were always more important to him than his yesterdays. After expecting the news for weeks, we learned Senator Kerr from Altus passed away in Oklahoma City early Wednesday morning. He is not the first nor will he be the last great man or woman to succumb to the cancer cell’s wrath, but his legacy won’t be just his valiant fight with cancer.

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Senator Kerr Remembered as Statesman

State Senator Robert. M. Kerr is being remembered as a statesman and gentleman. After waging a long and difficult battle, the 3yearold lawmaker has lost his bout with cancer. Surrounded by family and friends, he passed away Wednesday morning shortly before seven at the OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City. Kerr had first been diagnosed with cancer 2 years ago, but had been in remission for years. Doctors discovered the cancer had returned in early 200.

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State Sen. Scott Pruitt, today introduced legislation reducing the state income tax from 6.25 percent to 4.9 percent. When fully implemented in 2007, it would be an annual, across the board cut in the state income tax cut of $481 million.

Pruitt cited double-digit growth in state spending last year alone and at least $610 million in new money in the next fiscal year as evidence the cut was necessary and affordable.

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Statement by Sen. Glenn Coffee

Senate Republican Floor Leader Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City, made the following statement regarding the passing of state Sen. Robert M. Kerr, D-Altus:

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Sen. Kerr’s family during their time of loss. Sen. Kerr was a brave and honorable man, a model public servant, and a great friend whom I will dearly miss. The Oklahoma State Senate is brokenhearted today.”

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State Sen. Kenneth Corn is calling on fellow members to help pass three measures aimed at removing patronage and politics in appointments and redistricting. Corn, D-Poteau, said he has introduced measures establishing specific qualifications for the appointments of tag agents and county election board secretaries, as well as a measure creating an independent commission for legislative redistricting.

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“We are all deeply saddened at the passing of our friend and colleague Senator Kerr. He was a dedicated public servant who loved Oklahoma. His courageous fight was an inspiration to me and all of his colleagues. Bob Kerr was truly a hero.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Bob’s wife and partner, Robbie, and the rest of the Kerr family in this difficult and trying time.

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One of Oklahoma’s strongest rural economies was chosen by Senate Democrats as the site to unveil their legislative agenda to “empower the middle class.”

Durant and Bryan County have enjoyed tremendous growth over the past seven years. Senate leaders said that growth proves that policies to lift up middle class families create opportunity for all.

The area’s own Senator Jay Paul Gumm said a key component of Senate Democrats’ middle class agenda is a “Back-to-School” sales tax holiday that would strengthen Oklahoma’s retail economy.

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"Senator Bob Kerr was probably one of the most courageous men I've ever served with in the Oklahoma Legislature. If there was ever a person who came to the State Senate to do the right thing and was there for the right reasons it was Bob Kerr. He stood up for southwest Oklahoma. He wanted so much for that part of the state to grow and for its people to have opportunities and for Oklahoma overall to have a brighter future. The legacy he leaves behind for every lawmaker that follows - it'll be very tough to meet. He's certainly a role model for us all.

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The chair of the Senate Appropriations Sub-Committee on Natural Resources and Regulatory Services said Wednesday that the states Rainy Day Fund should be tapped to help cover wildfire losses and expenses to rural fire departments that federal emergency funds will not cover. Sen. Jeff Rabon, D-Hugo, said he would push for $40 million dollars to be made available from the emergency fund to assist fire departments, agencies and citizens impacted by the disaster.

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Former State Senator Angela Monson is being honored for her distinguished service in the Oklahoma Legislature. On Thursday, January 26, the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women will present Monson with the Kate Barnard Award. The award is given annually to an outstanding woman in public service.

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Senator Clark Jolley, REdmond, today announced that he has requested an Attorney Generals opinion on the legality of Oklahoma legislators to have discussions with, hear testimony from and receive contributions from parties which are suing the Oklahoma Legislature.

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State Sen. John Ford will continue to push for a new law to prohibit anyone from giving or accepting campaign contributions in any state government building—including the State Capitol.

“We’re here to do the business of the people and I believe my fellow members act in good faith. But I worry about the public’s perception when people are giving and accepting campaign contributions here at the Capitol,” said Ford, R-Bartlesville. “That’s why I filed Senate Bill 1025.”

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Building on past successes and providing innovative solutions for the future, Senate Democrats unveiled their legislative agenda to “Strengthen Small Business” Tuesday afternoon at the Oklahoma State Capitol.
Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan and Shawnee Senator Charlie Laster teamed up to make the announcement.

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Senate Democrats aren’t serious about making Oklahoma a more attractive place for jobs and businesses, Senate Republican Leader Glenn Coffee said Tuesday.

Coffee made the statement in response to the Senate Democrats’ release of their so-called “responsibility and accountability” small business plan on Tuesday.

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The state of Oklahoma was hit with more bad economic news last week as Delta Faucet announced that it plans to close its Chickasha plant later this year.

“How many jobs does Oklahoma have to lose before Democrats in the Oklahoma State Senate abandon their failed economic policies? When will Senate Democrats join Republicans in our efforts to pass pro-jobs economic reforms?” questioned Senate Republican Leader Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City.

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Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan said today that the leadership of the Oklahoma Education Association is woefully out of touch and again denounced the organization’s lawsuit seeking an additional $1 billion in funding for public schools.

The Senate leader’s comments followed an opinion article by OEA President Roy Bishop in the Daily Oklahoman, in which the top teachers’ union official intimated that schools should not have to explain how state tax dollars are spent.

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