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Press Releases

Showing: October, 2006

Gov. Brad Henry signed into law Thursday Senate Bill 1919 which authorizes creation of the African-American Centennial Plaza on the grounds of the State Capitol as part of Oklahoma’s Centennial Celebration in 2007.

The governor was joined at the ceremonial signing by State Senator Constance N. Johnson, D-Oklahoma City, and Rep. Jabar Shumate, D-Tulsa, who co-authored the legislation.

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State Senator Judy Eason McIntyre had always been careful to have an annual mammogram, and had always gotten a clean bill of health—until this past August. When she saw the cluster of white flecks on the mammogram image, she knew something was wrong. A couple of weeks later a biopsy confirmed it was cancer.

“Emotionally, I went from shock, fear, denial, a feeling of helplessness…I started really thinking funeral plans,” said Eason McIntyre.

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State Sen. Susan Paddack is back from a week-long trip to the Middle East and Africa aimed at giving leaders from across the country an opportunity to experience first-hand what it is like for Americans serving in the military. The Joint Civilian Orientation Conference (JCOC), organized by the Department of Defense, enabled Paddack to meet with men and women serving in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. Tinker Air Force Base nominated Paddack to be one of only 45 participants nationwide.

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(State Capitol, Oklahoma City) – Oklahoma inmates must be moved out of a private prison in Hinton within six months. Other private prison space in Oklahoma was allowed to lie dormant for years, but now other states are signing up to rent the space, making these prisons unavailable for Oklahoma’s prisoners.

State Sen. Owen Laughlin, a former prosecutor, said these developments – and a growing shortage of bed space at state-owned prisons – are a direct result of decades of neglect of Oklahoma’s prison system by Democrat legislators.

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A legislative initiative to ensure women have access to life-saving breast and cervical cancer treatment has helped thousands of Oklahomans. That’s according to State Sen. Debbe Leftwich, co-author of the legislation creating the Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Program. Leftwich is also Co-chair of Oklahoma’s Cancer Caucus.

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State Capitol, Oklahoma City – Senate Republican leader Glenn Coffee said a reported shortage of bed space at state prisons is a crisis manufactured by Democrat leaders who support the early release of prisoners and who don’t like using less-costly private prisons to lock up state prisoners.

“If there is a shortage of bed space at state prisons, it is because Democrat leaders did not allow DoC to adequately utilize less-costly private prison space when it was available,” stated Coffee, R-Oklahoma City.

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Oklahoma should consider sentencing reform as an alternative to building more prisons, said Senator Richard Lerblance, Chairman of the Oklahoma Sentencing Commission.

“We need to think outside the box on how to fix the Department of Corrections’ prison-crowding crisis,” said Lerblance, D-Hartshorne. “We need to take this opportunity to re-examine exactly who we as a society are demanding to be locked up and ask if imprisonment is the best solution to that problem.”

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Republicans Out of Touch on Prisons

Republicans are out of touch on the current prison space shortage facing the Department of Corrections—that’s according to State Sen. Kenneth Corn who said Republicans have thwarted Democrat-led efforts to address the issue.

“During the last session as well as last year’s special session, the Democrat controlled Senate called for improvements in the state prison system that would allow for the continued growth of inmates,” said Corn, D-Poteau. “That effort was blocked by Republicans.”

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State Sen. Kenneth Corn said with current Department of Corrections (DOC) projections indicating Oklahoma will soon run out of room, he supports the construction of new prison space. Corn, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety and Judiciary, called the situation critical.

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Sen. Jeff Rabon on Friday said Oklahoma ranchers can now apply for Livestock Assistance Grants to offset grazing loss suffered through one of the worst periods of drought in state history, but more must be done to remedy the problems currently facing livestock producers in the state.

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The Senate Task Force on Illegal Immigration Issues held a second meeting Wednesday, hearing presentations from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety and the Oklahoma Criminal Justice Resource Center.

Sen. Daisy Lawler, Chair of the Task Force, said information presented by the agencies further illustrated the scope of the illegal immigration problem and gave task force members a better understanding of how state corrections and law enforcement agencies deal with illegal immigrants under current laws.

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