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Press Releases

Showing: May, 2007

Oklahoma fire departments will be receiving much-needed funding for new equipment under a budget package recently approved by the Legislature.

Under the agreement, $2.5 million in funding will be deposited into a revolving fund established last year by the Legislature to provide fire departments throughout the state with money for new equipment. Sen. Jeff Rabon said providing departments with funding for critical equipment upgrades and repairs, has been a priority throughout the Legislative session.

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Legislation that will help Oklahomans see exactly how their tax dollars are being spent is now on its way to Gov. Brad Henry. Senate Bill 1, the “Taxpayer Transparency Act,” by Sen. Randy Brogdon, calls for the creation of an online database to show exactly how state tax dollars are spent. The measure was given final approval by the Senate on Wednesday and by the House on Thursday. Both chambers approved the bill unanimously.

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The “Letha Kay Louise Slate Act” is now one step closer to becoming law. The measure, authored by Sen. Debbe Leftwich, closes a loophole in current Oklahoma law impacting child neglect cases. The measure, part of Senate Bill 790, won final passage in the Senate on Thursday. Leftwich said the legislation is named for a Stephen’s County baby who drowned in a bathtub while her mother took a nap.

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Senate Democrats List 2007 Accomplishments

Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan said Thursday Democrats and Republicans in the Oklahoma State Senate proved the skeptics wrong by working together in an unprecedented manner in the First Session of the 51st Oklahoma Legislature.

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State Sen. Jonathan Nichols and Sen. Kenneth Corn have authored language to increase funding to help combat child abuse and domestic violence in Oklahoma. The language was included in House Bill 1282 which was approved by the Senate on Thursday.

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The full Senate on Wednesday gave final approval to a bill to ensure that winners of the Oklahoma lottery must first pay delinquent taxes or child support liabilities.

Sen. Kathleen Wilcoxson, author of Senate Bill 513, explained the measure would allow the Lottery Commission to work together with the Tax Commission and the Department of Human Services to determine whether a winner owes child support or any taxes.

The bill will now advance to the House for final consideration.

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Legislation requiring financial literacy instruction for all Oklahoma secondary school students to help them avoid money problems in their adult years has been given final approval by the state Legislature and will now be considered by the Governor.

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Oklahoma Senate Co-President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee graded the 2007 legislative session a “B+,” but said the session could have gotten an “A” if Gov. Brad Henry had signed a bipartisan lawsuit reform bill passed by the Legislature.

“This was a ‘B+’ session that could have been an ‘A’ if Gov. Henry had signed the lawsuit reform bill,” stated Coffee, R-Oklahoma City. “But we still accomplished a lot for the people of Oklahoma, and the Senate finished the people’s business early and in an orderly fashion.”

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Legislative leaders in the Oklahoma Senate and House of Representatives have submitted a compromise lawsuit reform proposal to Gov. Brad Henry in an effort to reach an agreement before the Legislature adjourns for the year.

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The full Senate has given final approval to a measure to help Oklahoma military bases slated for expansion. Sen. Randy Bass, D-Lawton, is principal author and Sen. Don Barrington, R-Lawton is co-author of Senate Bill 751, which was approved on Wednesday.

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The Senate General Conference Committee on Appropriations has given its approval to a bipartisan plan to help expanding military bases in Oklahoma. Senate Bill 751 creates the “Military Base Protection and Expansion Incentive Act.” Sen. Randy Bass, D-Lawton, is principal author of the measure, and Sen. Don Barrington, R-Lawton, is co-author.

“This brings us one step closer to getting this bill through the legislative process and to the governor’s desk,” Barrington said. “This is critical for our military bases and for our state.”

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The full State Senate gave final approval Tuesday to legislation that will provide access to quality health care for more of Oklahoma’s uninsured children. Senate Bill 424 now heads to the Oklahoma House of Representatives where passage will send it to Governor Brad Henry for his signature.

It is a major part of the 2007 Legislative Agendas of Senate Democrats and the governor. It passed by a wide 41-7 bipartisan margin Tuesday.

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Two Lawton Senators said the full Senate will soon be voting on a bipartisan compromise measure to help Oklahoma military bases meet needs for additional infrastructure. Sen. Randy Bass, D-Lawton, and Sen. Don Barrington, R-Lawton, are co-authors of Senate Bill 751, which creates the “Military Base Protection and Expansion Incentive Act.”

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A law to ensure child predators will spend more time behind bars is on its way to Gov. Brad Henry. The full Senate voted 45-2 in favor of House Bill 1816 on Thursday. The measure, also known as “Jessica’s Law” is named for 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford. The Florida girl was kidnapped and murdered in 2005 by a registered sex offender who lived near her family home.

Sen. Todd Lamb, Senate author of HB 1816, said the legislation targets predators who seek out children younger than 12.

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The Senate has given final approval to a bill increasing the punishment for reporting a false Amber Alert. Sen. Cliff Aldridge is the principal author of SB 371 which makes the crime a felony offense.

“We’ve had 13 Amber Alerts in Oklahoma since the system was created—four of those have been false Amber Alerts,” said Aldridge, R-Midwest City. “That’s almost 25 percent. Just like the boy who cried wolf, too many of these false reports could cause citizens not to take these reports seriously.”

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On a bipartisan vote, the Oklahoma Senate sent Gov. Brad Henry a revised version of a pro-life measure to prohibit taxpayer dollars, state-run hospitals, or state employees from being used to perform abortions.

“Senate Bill 139 is ‘Round 2’ of the Legislature’s effort to get the State of Oklahoma out of the abortion business. Passage of this legislation is a great victory for the unborn, and I strongly encourage the governor to sign it this time,” stated Williamson, R-Tulsa, the bill’s author.

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In honor of Oklahoma's coal and railroad industry, a painting depicting the relationship between McAlester's first coal production and the KATY railroad was unveiled Wednesday in the Senate. The painting, by world-renown artist Wayne Cooper, was sponsored by the Puterbaugh Foundation and commissioned by the Oklahoma State Senate Historical Preservation Fund.

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State Sen. Susan Paddack said she was extremely pleased that Gov. Brad Henry signed Senate Bill 930 into law. The tort reform bill would protect health care providers who do charity work. Paddack, D-Ada, was principal author of SB 930.

“There are doctors throughout this state who want to help fill that need for volunteer services, but may hesitate to do so because of the fear of becoming the target of a frivolous lawsuit,” Paddack said. “SB 930 will give them the protection they need.”

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One day after the enactment of a bipartisan tax relief package, legislative leaders and the governor on Tuesday announced the outlines of a $7.1 billion state budget agreement that speeds up tax cuts for working Oklahomans, boosts teacher pay and includes important funds for critical state services such as public safety and state prisons.

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“At my request, Senate Bill 139 had been placed on the agenda today for a vote. However, Sen. Charlie Laster, the Democrat Floor Leader, refused to hear the bill today. Senator Owen Laughlin, the Republican Floor Leader, has agreed to bring the bill up tomorrow. I suspect Laster’s refusal was for the purpose of rallying opposition among his colleagues.

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