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Press Releases

Showing: March, 2008

Bill Now Heads to Governor Henry for His Signature

Crossing party lines and teaming up with her Republican counterparts to speed up the legislative process for a bill aimed at making government more efficient, State Senator Nancy Riley applauded the teamwork behind her bill that passed the Senate on Monday making the mining application process less burdensome for local communities. The bill now goes to the Governor for his signature before becoming law.

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The Senate Education Committee approved legislation Monday that allows students with disabilities to receive an automatic special education transfer after they have been granted school transfers for three consecutive years. The transfer will become permanent and automatically renew each year.

House Bill 2518, authored by State Senator Sean Burrage, D-Claremore, and Rep. Ben Sherrer, D-Chouteau, now goes to the full Senate for approval.

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The State Senate unanimously passed a mining bill on Monday that prevents the needless waste of municipalities’ time and resources in the process of reconsidering mining permits.

Senator Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, authored Senate Bill 706 that allows municipalities the right to limit consideration of certain mining requests. SB 706 helps ensure that city resources are not wasted by reviewing the same application over and over again after it has already been denied.

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The Co-Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee on Tuesday emphasized the importance of adhering to a fair and fiscally responsible approach to transportation funding.

Sen. Jeff Rabon said that while the Legislature must do more to provide for the state’s long-term transportation funding needs, but not at the expense of essential services. Rabon was specifically critical of proposals to divert revenue produced by motor vehicle excise taxes to transportation funding.

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An agreement on lawsuit reform is possible this year, according to the Republican co-chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, if Gov. Brad Henry is willing to make a counter-offer to the bipartisan lawsuit reform plans that he rejected during the 2007 legislative session.

“I believe that a meaningful lawsuit reform bill is doable this year if the governor will get engaged in the process and make a formal counter-offer to the bipartisan proposals he rejected last year,” stated Sen. James Williamson, R-Tulsa, the co-chairmen of the Judiciary Committee.

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Legislation to strengthen penalties for assaulting a pregnant woman has cleared its first hurdle in the State Senate. Sen. Debbe Leftwich is Senate author of House Bill 1897, which was approved Wednesday by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety and Judiciary.


Domestic violence is the number one cause of death for pregnant women. Oklahoma needs to do more to address such violence before it results in the death of a woman and her baby, said Leftwich, D-Oklahoma City.

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Senator James A. Williamson, the co-chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, made the following statement regarding a study by the Oklahoma Bankers Association regarding House Bill 1804, Oklahomas illegal immigration law.

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Senate Honors Miss Oklahoma

The Oklahoma State Senate gave unanimous approval to a resolution honoring Makenna Smith, Miss Oklahoma 2007. The resolution was requested by Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan and Co-President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee, with all of the members of the Senate co-authoring the measure.

“Makenna has done a wonderful job representing our state and promoting a very important cause—her platform has been seat belt safety, and I’m sure she’s been an effective spokesperson for this important public safety issue,” said Morgan, D-Stillwater.

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Parents of multiples would have the right to keep their children in the same classroom under legislation approved unanimously by the State Senate. The measure, Senate Bill 2037, is awaiting consideration by the House Education Committee. The bill’s author, Sen. Jonathan Nichols, R-Norman, said he was contacted by a mother of twins about the problem.

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The state Senate recently approved a bill that would establish a task force to study state agency roles and responsibilities to help ensure that mentally ill women who have been incarcerated are successfully reintegrated into society.

Sen. Constance N. Johnson, author of Senate Bill 1959, explained that with Oklahoma leading the nation in the incarceration of women, the state must begin treating the cause rather than the symptoms.

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Freedom of Information Oklahoma, a statewide organization actively supporting organizations and individuals working to open records or provide access to government, has honored the Directors of the state Senate Communications Division and Information Systems Department with its annual Sunshine Award.

Malia Bennett has been the Senate’s Director of Communications since 2003. The Communications Division works with all 48 members of the Senate, and assists media and the public by providing information on the business of the Senate.

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"Apple and I are saddened to learn today of the death of our friend, Steffanie Collings, who fought to survive brain cancer for the last five years of her life. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Steffanie's parents, Monty and Tracy. The courage and compassion of the entire Collings family inspired us to seek help for them wherever it might be found. Steffanie in particular was one of the bravest people I've ever met.

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The Oklahoma Senate voted Thursday to send a proposal for term limits for statewide officials to a vote of the people.

Sen. Randy Brogdon, R-Owasso, successfully attached an amendment to SB 1987 for a legislative referendum that would place a 12 year limit on the terms of Oklahoma’s statewide elected officials.

Brogdon’s proposal was adopted on a bipartisan 26 to 22 vote, with 2 Democrats joining all 24 Republican senators in support of the amendment. After adoption of the amendment, the Senate voted 31 to 17 for SB 1987.

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The Oklahoma State Senate approved SB 1910 Thursday, by State Senator Constance N. Johnson, D-Oklahoma County, creating a special license plate for Oklahomans wishing to demonstrate support for the Campaign for a United States Department of Peace.

Sen. Johnson said there is a national grassroots effort being led by the Peace Alliance, a nonpartisan citizen action group, which wants Congress to create a federal Department of Peace.

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Two bills authored by State Senator John Sparks (D-Norman), which would protect land owners from damages by trespassers overwhelmingly passed the Oklahoma Senate today.

Senate Bill 1735 and Senate Bill 2111 would allow property owners to protect their land from activities that destroy property, including damage from recreational use by all-terrain vehicles and hunting and fishing activities.

“This bill makes trespass violators accountable for the damages they cause to personal property. Responsible government means protecting property owners,” Sparks said.

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Major components of the Senate Republicans’ education reform agenda received bipartisan support in the Oklahoma Senate on Thursday.

The Senate voted in favor of a tax credit for private school scholarship programs, an expansion of charter school sponsors to include federally-recognized Native American tribes, and a pilot program that would deregulate 10 public school districts.

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Legislation to prevent election fraud has won the support of the full Senate. The measure, Senate Bill 1150, was approved Thursday. Sen. John Ford, principal author of the bill, said it would simply require voters to show some form of identification at the polls.

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State Sen. Kenneth Corn is blasting an amendment that was narrowly approved by the full Senate on Thursday as devastating to public education, particularly in the state’s largest cities. The amendment would give tax credits for those donating money for scholarships to be used by families who want to remove their children from public school and enroll them in private institutions.

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The State Senate unanimously passed Senate Joint Resolution 38 by Co-President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee that acknowledges the inherent right of Oklahoma citizens to hunt and fish.

The resolution will add a new section to the State Constitution that gives all Oklahomans the right to hunt, trap, fish, and take game and fish. The legislation would not allow state laws to prohibit anyone from engaging in such activities.

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The Oklahoma State Senate unanimously approved a bill that requires state agencies and public school districts to purchase and display American and Oklahoma flags that were manufactured solely in the United States.

State Senator John Sparks, author of Senate Bill 2070, said the plan is Patriotic and is the right thing to do as a sign of support for Americans who have served and are currently serving in the armed forces.

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