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Press Releases

Showing: September, 2007

As Oklahoma’s baby boomers enter their retirement years, more of the state’s citizens will face issues such as the need for senior services and programs. They’ll also face a greater risk of financial exploitation and other crimes that target the elderly. Those issues and others are on the minds of the state’s Silver Haired Legislature which convened on Tuesday at the State Capitol.

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Calling it a “moral imperative” for Oklahoma’s working families, a southern Oklahoma senator again will introduce legislation to remove the state sales tax on groceries.

This will be the third year Senator Jay Paul Gumm will try to end collection of the state’s portion of the sales tax on groceries. The state sales tax on groceries is 4.5 cents on every dollar spent at the check-out stand.

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Oklahoma Task Force on Hunger to Meet

A task force created during the 2007 legislative session to address Oklahoma's growing hunger crisis will hold its first meeting Tuesday, September 25. Sen. Andrew Rice and Rep. Kris Steele were the authors of SB 499 creating the task force.

Rice said he is anxious to hear expert testimony on this issue that affects thousands of Oklahomans on a daily basis.

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State Senator Don Barrington, the author of Oklahoma’s sales tax holiday, announced Monday he will introduce legislation expanding Oklahoma’s annual back-to-school sales tax holiday to include school supplies.

Currently, clothing and footwear valued up to $100 are tax-free during the first weekend in August. Barrington’s bill would expand the list of tax-free items to include school supplies such as pencils, paper, crayons, notebooks and calculators.

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Sen. Kenneth Corn and Rep. Bud Smithson announced that they had filed legislation to help ensure Oklahoma workers would keep more of their hard earned dollars. Senate Bill 1132 would exempt most overtime pay from state income taxes. The lawmakers unveiled the measure at a State Capitol press conference on Monday.

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Republican leaders in the Oklahoma Senate said they are willing to consider a proposal to exempt overtime pay from income taxes. Sen. Kenneth Corn, D-Poteau, announced Monday he is introducing the legislation.

“The idea of exempting overtime pay from income taxes is being promoted nationally by prominent Republicans like former Speaker Newt Gingrich, and it is an idea Senate Republicans are willing to consider here in Oklahoma,” stated Senate Co-President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City.

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State senators from across Oklahoma will be spending time in local classrooms—the visits are part of a nonpartisan program called America’s Legislators Back to School, sponsored each year by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). The program is officially kicked off during the third week of September and continues throughout the school year.

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Sales tax collection numbers for the month of August show that the much anticipated back-to-school sales tax holiday was a huge success, resulting in increased revenue for the state of Oklahoma.

Senator Don Barrington, R-Lawton, author of the bill that created the sales tax holiday, said he is excited to see how great a success the holiday was for Oklahoma families and the results it continues to bring to the state.

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Preliminary sales tax receipts from August show that Oklahoma’s Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday increased state revenues by boosting economic activity, according to the chief legislative proponent of the measure.

Senator Jay Paul Gumm said that while saving parents millions of dollars on school clothing for their children, the three-day event in early August stimulated revenue growth for the state, exactly as supporters expected.

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State Senator Calls Decision by Court of Criminal Appeals ‘Judicial Activism Run Amuck’

Outrage and disappointment were the reactions of one legislator in response to the decision by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to overturn the death penalty in the Trooper Nikky Joe Green murder trial.

State Sen. Jonathan Nichols, R-Norman, blasted the Court’s decision to reverse the imposition of the death penalty for Green’s killer, Ricky Ray Malone, in part because Green’s widow referenced God and the Bible.

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State Sen. Kathleen Wilcoxson stood at her desk in the Senate Chamber and explained how the members debated and voted on bills. She laughed that some of her fellow Senators had given her a wooden soap box to stand on so she could be seen when she addressed the Chamber because she was the shortest of the 48 members. It all was part of a State Capitol tour on Thursday for Afghan business women visiting the United States.

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Afghan Business Women to Tour Capitol

A group of Afghan business women will tour the Oklahoma State Capitol on Thursday, September 6. The group will be hosted by Sen. Kathleen Wilcoxson, R-Oklahoma City. Wilcoxson said the tour would begin at 12:45 at the tourism desk on the first floor of the Capitol.

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State Sen. David Myers on Tuesday said he was unsure why State Treasurer Scott Meacham was speaking out against the proposed coal-powered electrical plant near Red Rock. Myers is the Co-Chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Natural Resources and Regulatory Services.

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