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Press Releases

Showing: May, 2006

Thanks to the efforts of two state legislators, Oklahoma's elderly and disabled will now be better protected from financial scams and solicitations. Governor Henry has signed Senate Bill 1793, by Senator Ron Justice and Representative Phil Richardson, into law. It will now be a felony to knowingly, through deception or intimidation, obtain or use the funds, assets or property of individuals 62 years of age or older or those who are disabled.

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Beginning this year, cities and towns throughout Oklahoma will be required to develop emergency evacuation plans. State Sen. Kenneth Corn is author of Senate Bill 1709. Corn says the legislation, which was signed into law by Governor Brad Henry on Friday, will better protect Oklahoma citizens in the face of a large-scale disaster.

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A bill to protect students and victims of violent crime from their attackers was signed into law by Gov. Brad Henry on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 1597 by Sen. Charlie Laster, will protect the rights of juvenile victims by limiting contact between attackers and school-age victims of violent crime.

“This law ensures that victims of violent crime will be notified if an adjudicated juvenile offender returns to school, and gives the student the option of telling the school they wish to avoid contact with their attacker,” said Laster, D-Shawnee.

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Oklahoma’s deaf and hearing impaired students are one step closer to having better access to specialized education. The State Senate unanimously passed House Bill 1646 Thursday authored by Chickasha Republicans Senator Ron Justice and House Speaker Pro Tempore Susan Winchester.

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In the final days of the 2006 Legislative Session, the Senate took a moment to recognize Oklahoma’s outstanding country music talent that was showcased this week in Las Vegas, Nevada at the 41st Academy of Country Music Awards. Senate Resolution 122, by Senator Jim Reynolds, congratulates those Oklahomans who were nominated or won awards as well as the hosts and performers.

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The Oklahoma Legislature has taken strong action to combat child abuse in Oklahoma, passing a bill that would subject child predators to the death penalty and establish the Child Abuse Response Team (CART) within the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

Sen. Jonathon Nichols, author of Senate Bill 1800, said the measure would create a statewide team of expert child abuse investigators who will assist local law enforcement entities in handling difficult child abuse cases.

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Legislation was approved Thursday on the House floor for the creation of an African-American Centennial Plaza to be built south of the State Capitol as part of Oklahoma’s Centennial celebration in 2007.

Senate Bill 1919, co-authored by Sen. Constance N. Johnson (D-Oklahoma City) and Rep. Jabar Shumate (D- Tulsa), calls for the creation of an African-American Centennial Plaza and a committee to oversee the design of the project. It now goes to Gov. Brad Henry for his signature.

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The Oklahoma Legislature created a task force this week to explore ways to increase the number of citizens saving for college educations. House Concurrent Resolution 1075, authored by Senator Daisy Lawler and Rep. Randy Terrill, creates the Oklahoma College Savings Task Force.

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Senator Gumm Nears Victory in Struggle to Protect Children

The original author of legislation to allow the death penalty for repeat child molesters is now only one step away from seeing the proposal signed into law.

Senator Jay Paul Gumm, D-Durant, has pressed for passage of the legislation for the entire 2006 session.

“This has been a long struggle, with many twists and turns,” he said. “Now, working with lawmakers of both parties and in both the Senate and House of Representatives, we are close to victory.”

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A bill creating an online insurance verification pilot program is just one step away from becoming law. That’s according to Senate author James A. Williamson who said House Bill 3115 was approved by the full Senate on Thursday and is now on its way to the Governor’s desk.

“We believe about 25 to 35 percent of driver’s are actually on the road without insurance,” said Williamson, R-Tulsa. “When they get involved in an accident, the other motorist is left holding the bag for thousands of dollars. It isn’t right and it’s high time we take some steps to address this costly problem.”

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The Leader of the Senate today said while there is still unfinished business to attend to during a special session, he believes the Senate Democrats accomplished great things for the people of Oklahoma during the Second Session of the 50th Oklahoma Legislature.

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“Every year at this time, leaders of the Legislature are asked to assign a grade to the session. Unfortunately, there is only one grade I can give to this session – an Incomplete.

“The most important job we have every year is to write the budget and fund government. This year, we haven’t managed to get that done yet. I am confident we will get the job done. There will not be a government shutdown. But I wouldn’t be telling you the truth if I didn’t say I was disappointed.

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Sen. Daisy Lawler said she was pleased that the full Senate had approved her measure creating a task force on Oklahoma illegal immigration issues. Senate Resolution 125 was approved by the Senate on Friday.

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Senate Republican Leader Glenn Coffee of Oklahoma City said the 2006 legislative session saw some successes, but overall was average at best.

“The 2006 legislative session shows that a change in leadership is needed in the Oklahoma State Senate. We had a chance for an A+ session, but we ended up with an average session, at best,” Coffee said.

“On the one hand, the strong Republican minority in the Senate helped push through meaningful pro-life legislation, Medicaid reform, and more funding for roads and bridges in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

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Legislation clearing the way for the creation of a world-class diabetes research and treatment center in Oklahoma is now on its way to Governor Brad Henry for his signature.

Senate Bill 1056, authored by Senators Cal Hobson and Glenn Coffee and Representative Thad Balkman, authorizes the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents to build the center, which would have locations at the OU Health Sciences Center campuses in both Oklahoma City and Tulsa. The measure was approved by both chambers on Friday.

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State Sen. James A. Williamson said Gov. Brad Henry’s call for a special session on the state budget is a failure of leadership by the governor.

“This special session is a failure of leadership by Gov. Henry. It is incredible to me that he apparently has no ability to convince any of the Senate Democrats to compromise on the budget and tax cuts,” stated Williamson, R-Tulsa.

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Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan issued the following statement in response to Governor Brad Henry’s issuance of a call for a special session to address the state budget.

“While it is unfortunate that we won’t be able to complete our budget work by Friday’s deadline, I believe the most important thing is that we do the job right. This year that will require some additional time.

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State Senate Republican Leader Glenn Coffee of Oklahoma City made the following statement regarding Gov. Brad Henry’s call for a special session on the state budget:

“This is the special session that should not be. It is only necessary because of the weeks of obstruction by Senate Democrats and their unwillingness to allow a meaningful income tax cut for Oklahoma taxpayers in a year with a record tax surplus,” Coffee said.

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Senate Honors Troy Aikman

The State Senate has passed a resolution honoring the outstanding career of professional football player, Troy Aikman. Senate Resolution 53, authored by Senator Frank Shurden, praises Aikman's athletic prowess throughout his high school, college and professional football career and congratulates him for being selected as an inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year.

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Senator Nancy Riley said the State Senate on Thursday took an important step to ensure the protection of our most vulnerable citizens by passing her bill to reform the Sex Offender Registration Act.

“Several recent incidents have brought to light an urgent need for these reforms,” said Riley, R-Tulsa. “The residents in my district have been extremely concerned about this issue and I’m pleased the Senate passed this measure, taking it one step closer to becoming law.”

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