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Press Releases

Showing: April, 2006

Senator Debbe Leftwich said Friday that Oklahoma officials should do everything within their power to prevent the closure of the Dayton Tire plant in southwest Oklahoma City.
The Oklahoma City Democrat said she would be working with Governor Brad Henry in an effort to convince company officials to keep the plant open.

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The citizens of Choctaw have been shortchanged by the state’s Centennial Commission. That’s according to State Sen. Cliff Aldridge who said the list of projects approved by the Commission has left him questioning the fairness of the selection process.

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State Senator Kenneth Corn questioned Friday why the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives refused to hear a measure that would allow Oklahoma voters to ensure that all motor fuels taxes used for highway and bridge maintenance.

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Without Explanation, Gumm’s Amendment Rejected by House Leaders

With neither explanation nor comment Thursday, the Oklahoma House of Representatives rejected on a voice vote a proposal to impose the death penalty on repeat child molesters.

With that, and the House’s failure to consider a second bill that contained the death penalty before a legislative deadline, House Republicans put the rights of child molesters above those of their victims, according to the author of the original bill to enact the death penalty for repeat child molesters.

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An advisory study examining how to ensure the future of the Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (OSUCOM) residency program in Tulsa has been concluded and negotiators are optimistic about the proposal. That’s according to State Sen. Mike Mazzei, a member and lead negotiator with the joint legislative task force charged with finding a long term solution.

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Senate Overhauls Spyware Bill

Legislation designed to better protect consumers from identity theft was overhauled by the Senate and is now headed to a conference committee for further refinement. House Bill 2083, by Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond, and Rep. Guy Liebmann, R-Oklahoma City, was approved by the full Senate on Wednesday.

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An advisory study examining how to ensure the future of the Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (OSUCOM) residency program in Tulsa has been concluded and negotiators are optimistic about the proposal. That’s according to State Sen. Mike Mazzei, a member and lead negotiator with the joint legislative task force charged with finding a long term solution.

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Legislation giving retired educators and retired state employees their first health benefits increase in six years is on its way to the House for consideration. That’s after language by Sen. Jeff Rabon was approved by the full Senate late Tuesday afternoon as an amendment to HB 2986.

When benefits were last raised during the 2000 session, they were increased from $75 a month to $105. Rabon’s amendment would nearly double the current state benefit of $105 a month for health care to $205 dollars.

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SB 1037 is Key Plank of Senate Democrats’ Agenda to “Create a Safer Oklahoma”

A key plank of the Senate Democrats’ agenda to “Create a Safer Oklahoma” won the approval of the full House today and is expected to be signed into law within a matter of days. Senate Bill 1037, known as the Caitlin Wooten Act, is authored by Democratic Senator Susan Paddack and State Rep. Wes Hilliard, also a Democrat. The bill is named after 16-year-old Caitlin Wooten.

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Senate Approves Kelsey’s Law

The State Senate on Wednesday approved a measure designed to better protect children from child abuse.

House Bill 2840, the Kelsey Smith-Briggs Child Protection Reform Act, was named in memorial of a two year-old victim of child abuse from Meeker. The bill would significantly reform the way courts and the state Department of Human Services handle cases related to child abuse and neglect.

Senator Harry Coates, co-author of the bill, said the measure will provide protection for children and prevent future cases from falling through the cracks.

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State Senate Republican Leader Glenn Coffee said a bloated budget proposal put forth by Senate Democrats shortchanges taxpayers and is little more than political posturing in an election year. The budget proposal increases the size of the state budget by nearly 20 percent compared to the budget from two years ago.

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In only his first year in the Oklahoma Legislature, State Senator Randy Bass shouldered into law a measure that provides members of the Oklahoma National Guard a $250,000 life insurance policy and a measure that exempts $10,000 or half of military retirement pensions, whichever is greater, from state income taxes for members of Oklahoma’s military family.

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Democrats Govern Responsibly, Republicans Stump for Elections

“Republicans in the Senate are using fuzzy math to justify their vote against critical services upon which all Oklahomans depend like education, childhood immunizations, and rural fire protection.

“Senate Republicans proved today they don’t understand how to govern and are willing to turn their back on the children of Oklahoma in order to provide tax cuts that benefit the wealthiest among us the most.

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State Senators Wednesday approved a $6.5 billion general appropriations bill that includes more than $300 million in new funding for education and enough money for a 5-percent pay raise for state employees.

The Senate amended version of House Bill 2351 passed by a bi-partisan 27-19 vote.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Johnnie Crutchfield said the provisions of the bill provide the framework of the Senate position on the Fiscal Year 2007 state budget.

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A bill aimed at strengthening penalties for Internet sexual predators won approval from the full House Wednesday.

Senate Bill 1479, by State Senator Jim Wilson, (D-Tahlequah) and Rep. Purcy Walker, (D-Elk City) increases the punishment for child predators using modern technology to sexually solicit minors, making the crime a felony and increasing the sentence to 10 years in prison.

The bill now goes back to the Senate.

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A Senate measure to help protect motorists and make Oklahoma’s roads safer has been signed into law by Governor Brad Henry. Senate Bill 1929, authored by Senator David Myers and Rep. Jim Newport, creates the David Jaggers Law, named after a long-time motorcycling enthusiast and active member in the Downed Bikers Association who was killed by a negligent, reckless motorist while riding his motorcycle.

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Legislation to broaden the rights of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves has been approved by the full State Senate. House Bill 2615, known as the “Stand Your Ground” bill by Sen. Harry Coates, R-Seminole and Rep. Kevin Calvey, R-Del City, was approved by the Senate on Tuesday by a vote of 39 to 5.

Coates said the “Make My Day” law had resulted in a dramatic decrease in burglaries in Oklahoma. He predicted the “Stand Your Ground” bill would also help deter crime.

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Leftwich and Hamilton Question Motive Behind Last-minute Resolution

After defeating a two-year effort to protect the rights of women by refusing to allow an up or down vote on the Victim’s Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA) last week, House Rules Committee Chair Sue Tibbs, R-Tulsa, offered a resolution on the floor of the House Monday containing watered down language from the bill. Her actions have two members of the Legislature demanding an explanation.

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A bill by that protects the right of law-abiding citizens to “keep and bear arms” even during times of emergencies is now law in Oklahoma.

Senator Jay Paul Gumm, D-Durant, sponsored House Bill 2696 in the Oklahoma State Senate. The new law removes the power of a governor to prohibit during emergencies the possession of guns by law-abiding citizens. Rep. Trebor Worthen, R-Oklahoma City, was the measure’s House author.

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A bill authored by Senator Susan Paddack, an Ada Democrat, that will give Oklahoma families a tax credit for rebuilding their homes that were destroyed or damaged by the recent wildfires won the approval of the full Senate today. House Bill 2121 enacts a tax credit for the difference between the ad valorem paid on the property in the year prior to the wildfire damage and the ad valorem taxes paid in the first year the property is rebuilt.

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