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Press Releases

Showing: January, 2007

Democrats of the Oklahoma State Senate unveiled an aggressive 2007 legislative agenda today. Senate Democratic leaders said the “Oklahoma Rising” agenda includes opportunities for all Oklahomans.

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Senate Co-President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City, said he is concerned that Gov. Brad Henry’s so-called “Smart on Crime” proposal is backdoor effort to reinstate early release programs for offenders.

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State Senate Co-President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City, commented on the Senate Democrats’ 2007 legislative agenda announced today.

“I am encouraged by the positive tone of the Senate Democrat leaders during today’s announcement. Senate Democrats appear ready to abandon the obstructionism we have seen from them in the past, and seem willing to work with Republicans to find common ground on issues that can move our state forward,” Coffee said.

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Statement by Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan

“The history of Oklahoma’s energy industry is filled with innovation and imagination. For nearly a century, Oklahomans have led the world in new technologies in energy exploration and production. In a changing and volatile world is important for Oklahoma to invest in the development of new forms of energy, including bio-fuels. I applaud the Governor for coming forward with a bold initiative to keep Oklahoma among the world leaders in energy.”

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Senate Co-President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City, made the following statement regarding Gov. Brad Henry’s proposal to create a biofuels research center in Oklahoma.

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Senate Co-President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City, made the following statement regarding Gov. Brad Henry’s proposal to expand pre-K programs to include three-year-olds.

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Republican leaders in the evenly divided State Senate said Gov. Brad Henry may need to increase taxes to pay for the new spending he is promising for the upcoming legislative session.

In December, Gov. Henry publicly cautioned state lawmakers about new spending in what could be a tight budget year. But in the past week, he has proposed about half-a-billion dollars in new spending – with even more new spending proposals likely to come in the days before the State of the State address scheduled for February 5.

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Statement By Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan

“I am pleased to see Governor Henry continuing his commitment to invest in Oklahoma’s future by proposing an ambitious budget for our public schools, colleges and universities and world-class career tech system.

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With $140 million left on the table after the 2006 session of the Oklahoma Legislature, one lawmaker wants to use half of that money to shore up the Teachers’ Retirement System.

Senator Jay Paul Gumm, a Democrat from Durant, has introduced legislation to take $70 million of the so-called “spillover” dollars and put it into the beleaguered system. That money, left on the table after last year’s budget was written, would give the Oklahoma Teachers Retirement System (OTRS) a much needed shot in the arm.

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Statement by Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan

“I am encouraged by the agenda unveiled today by Senate Republicans. It appears to be void of the partisan rhetoric we have seen from them in the past. I am confident we can find common ground upon which to build a brighter future for all Oklahomans.

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Republicans in the evenly divided Oklahoma State Senate unveiled their 2007 legislative agenda – titled a “Vision for a Better Oklahoma” – at news conferences in Tulsa, Oklahoma City, and Lawton on Wednesday.

“Today we’re presenting our vision for making Oklahoma a superior state in which to live and raise a family, receive an excellent education, work at a quality job, succeed in business, and comfortably retire,” stated Senator Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City, the Senate’s co-President Pro Tempore.

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Statement By Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan

“The Oklahoma’s Promise scholarship program is one of the most valuable assets we have as we seek to increase the number of college graduates in our state. The governor’s plan for dedicating a portion of the income tax to the program is certainly intriguing and I look forward to looking at it more closely, especially their long-term projections.

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State Sen. Jeff Rabon has authored legislation calling for a salary increase of $1 per hour for state-funded school support personnel.

Rabon said the increase that would be provided through SB 770 is needed to keep pace with the increasing costs of supporting a family.

“As the father of three elementary school children, I know how hard support personnel work to keep everything running smoothly in our schools,” said Rabon, D-Hugo. “This proposal is really the least we can do to ensure the compensation is fair for the hard work done by our support personnel.”

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Senator Authors Legislation to Create Oklahoma’s First Public Cord Blood Bank

A lawmaker says every Oklahoma family should be able to bank potentially life-saving umbilical cord blood from newborns through a publicly funded cord blood bank.

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Senate Meets Bill Filing Deadline

Despite ice and sleet storms the previous weekend that made it difficult for members and staff to travel to the State Capitol, the Oklahoma State Senate met its January 18 deadline for filing legislation to be considered for the 2007 session. By 11:30 p.m. on Thursday, 1,091 bills and 30 joint resolutions had been filed. In 2006, which was the second session of the 50th Legislature, the Senate considered 1,034 new bills and 608 carryover bills, along with 32 joint resolutions.

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A Tulsa senator has filed legislation to crack down on the growing problem of caller ID spoofing. State Sen. James A. Williamson said ID spoofing enables perpetrators to harass others and even use the technology to commit crimes that can bilk individuals and companies out of thousands of dollars.

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Thursday, January 18 is the deadline for members of the Oklahoma State Senate to file legislation for the 2007 session, the first of the 51st Legislature. By 5 p.m., 830 bills and 23 joint resolutions had been filed, with staff members expected to work into the evening filing the final measures.

In 2006, which was the second session of the 50th Legislature, the Senate considered 1,034 new Senate bills and 608 carryover bills, along with 32 Senate Joint Resolutions.

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Oklahoma’s declining gross production tax revenues should serve as sobering evidence that state lawmakers must take greater care in how they appropriate oil and gas revenue, a veteran State Senator said Thursday.

Senator Kenneth Corn, a Democrat from Poteau, said Tuesday’s state revenue report is exactly why he believes the state needs a Constitutional amendment limiting use of excess gross production tax revenue to one-time expenditures.

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State Sen. Debbe Leftwich said Wednesday’s vote in the U.S. House of Representatives to hike the federal minimum wage was a victory for working people throughout Oklahoma and across the nation. The measure would increase the federal minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $7.25 over a two-year period.

Leftwich, co-chair of the Senate Business and Labor Committee, said the measure was long overdue, and said she planned to file similar legislation in Oklahoma.

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Oklahoma Senate Co-President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee announced that he has named Karl Ahlgren to the position of Assistant Secretary of the Senate. The appointment is part of the power-sharing agreement negotiated between Republicans and Democrats in the evenly divided State Senate.

A 23-year veteran of Oklahoma government and politics, Ahlgren will alternate duties with the Secretary of the Senate, Michael Clingman, who was elected by the Senate on January 2. Ahlgren will handle floor management, parliamentary and clerk duties in the Senate chamber.

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