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Press Releases

Showing: April, 2008

Members of the Oklahoma State Senate paid tribute Wednesday to Sen. Owen Laughlin for his 12 years of service in the Oklahoma Legislature. Laughlin, R-Woodward, is one of five members elected in 1997 who are serving their final session due to term limits.

Members of both parties from all parts of the state rose to say their farewells to Laughlin, and praised his work as Republican Co-Floor Leader in the Senate, including Republican Co-President Pro Tempore, Senator Glenn Coffee.

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The Oklahoma State Legislature on Wednesday honored an Oklahoma family-owned and -operated company that has been putting smiles on Oklahomans’ and others’ faces for the past 40 years. Sen. Ron Justice and Rep. Susan Winchester introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution 85 congratulating Braum's Ice Cream and Dairy Stores on their 40th anniversary and designating April 30, 2008 as "Braum's Day" at the Oklahoma State Capitol.

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Republican state senators unanimously voted to designate Sen. Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City, to be the next President Pro Tempore of the Oklahoma State Senate. The President Pro Tem is the Senate’s top leader.

“I am honored and humbled by the confidence my colleagues have shown by entrusting me with the leadership of our caucus,” stated Coffee.

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State Sen. Randy Brogdon said Attorney General Drew Edmondson’s office has agreed to compromise legislative language on a term limits referendum. The language ensures that the proposed 12-year term limits for statewide elected officials would not apply retroactively.

“General Edmondson made some suggested changes to the bill’s language. I merged his language with my amended language, and I heard back from his office this morning that he has no additional changes,” said Brogdon, R-Owasso.

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A recent State Chamber of Commerce memo to members of the Oklahoma State Legislature exaggerates the cost of legislative mandates for insurance coverage, State Senator Andrew Rice (D-Oklahoma City) said today.

“The truest statement in this memo is that the cost of health insurance continues to spiral upward,” Rice said. “However, the Chamber offers no proof that insurance mandates are among the reasons why.”

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The Oklahoma State Senate approved a measure Tuesday aimed at tackling the growing epidemic of childhood obesity. Senate Bill 1186, by State Senator Mary Easley, (D-Tulsa) increases the physical activity requirement in grades kindergarten through fifth grade from 60 minutes each week to 120 minutes each week.

Easley explained those minutes could include physical education, exercise programs, fitness breaks, recess, classroom activities, and wellness and nutrition education.

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A measure to allow ag producers with land inside city or town limits to burn debris following a natural disaster has cleared its final legislative hurdle. The Senate unanimously approved House amendments to SB 1662 on Monday. The measure, by Sen. Don Barrington and Rep. Shane Jett, now moves to the Governor's desk.

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State Sen. Mike Johnson, the Republican co-chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, commented on Gov. Brad Henry’s signing of a $7.068 general appropriations bill that contains the state’s budget for fiscal year 2009.

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The state Senate on Tuesday honored the Tulsa Memorial High School basketball team for an extraordinary season of athletic accomplishments culminating in a class 6A state championship.

Senate Resolution 73, authored by Sen. Brian Crain, commends the Chargers who overcame a disappointing early season and the loss of two promising players to claim the state title.

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NOTE TO EDITORS: Earlier today Senator Brodgon issued a news release stating he would like the Senate Democratic Caucus to send his term limit bill to a conference committee for further review and study. Senator Morgan, leader of the Senate Democratic Caucus, issued the following statement in response to Senator Brodgon.

“We would be pleased to accommodate Senator Brogdon’s request to send this bill to a conference committee. A conference committee is the perfect place for members to bring their ideas forward and iron out differences in proposed language.”

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With a 47-0 bipartisan vote, the Oklahoma State Senate today approved a bill that would utilize the use of a Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to protect domestic abuse victims. Authored by State Senator Debbe Leftwich, Senate Bill 2163, now goes to Governor Brad Henry for approval.

Leftwich, an Oklahoma City Democrat, said the plan makes smart use of existing technology to better protect Oklahoma citizens.

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Senate Leaders Name GCCA Members

Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan and Co-President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee announced Wednesday that 46 of the Senates 48 members have been assigned to the General Conference Committee on Appropriations.

The joint Senate-House conference committee, which will consider legislation dealing with budgetary matters, will include every senator other than the two Senate leaders.

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A bill requiring hundreds of reports submitted by state agencies to legislators be transmitted electronically passed the Oklahoma Senate today.

Senator Jay Paul Gumm said Senate Bill 1507 which passed 47-1 could potentially save taxpayers thousands of dollars in printing and postage costs every year. The bill now goes to Governor Brad Henry for his approval.

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Oklahomans could vote this fall to change how the state handles funds from the Constitutional Reserve Fund, commonly known as the Rainy Day Fund, following natural disaster declarations. Sen. Don Barrington said his amendment to HB 1519, both of which the Senate approved Tuesday, would get communities and counties their money faster following natural disasters.

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Sen. Kenneth Corn on Wednesday was successful in winning the Senate’s approval for two amendments intended to curtail the influence of special interests in Oklahoma’s electoral process and restore integrity to the system.

The amendments were made to House Bill 2196, which creates the Oklahoma Clean Campaigns Act of 2008. The first of Corn’s two amendments would ensure that contributions accepted by a candidate for a specific state or local office not be used in a campaign for a different office.

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The state Senate on Wednesday approved an amendment that would prohibit elected officials and state employees from accepting gifts from lobbyists.

Sen. Debbe Leftwich, author of the amendment, said it was time for the Legislature to act with courage to restore the public’s trust in the legislative process. Her amendment to House Bill 2196, which creates the Oklahoma Clean Campaigns Act of 2008, was approved with broad bipartisan support.

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A bill that will assist hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans facing hunger passed the Senate on Tuesday in a unanimous, bipartisan vote, according to the bill’s co-author, State Senator Andrew Rice.

“When our neighbors are going hungry, all of us are affected – it’s a moral issue. I’m encouraged that all of my Senate colleagues, from both sides of the aisle, share my views and showed they are willing to take immediate action to combat food insecurity,” Rice said.

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Senate Approves School Content Bill

The Oklahoma State Senate approved legislation Wednesday requiring the State Board of Education to adopt a policy that establishes different levels of content and rigor of subject matter being taught in schools during Veteran’s Day and Celebrate Freedom Week, and that content should be grade-appropriate.

House Bill 2229 is authored by State Senator Earl Garrison, D-Muskogee and Rep. Ed Cannaday, D-Porum. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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Health Care Debate: More than Words
Senate Democrats Run to Lend a Voice for Affordable Health Care

In late January, just before session began, members of the Senate Democratic caucus announced their intentions to elevate the debate over health care to a new level this legislative session. With several of their health care measures winning approval in the Senate and awaiting action by the House of Representatives, they have made good on that promise, and seem more determined than ever to keep the fight alive.

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The state could soon be getting a boost in funds dedicated to the construction and maintenance of roads and bridges, following the Senate approval of House Bill 2551 on Wednesday.

The measure would remove language requiring the State Board of Equalization to certify three percent growth in the General Revenue Fund before appropriating $50 million to the Rebuilding Oklahoma Access and Driver Safety (ROADS) Fund.

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