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Press Releases

Showing: May, 2008
Autistic Children “Will Be Wards of the State in Any Case,” Peterson Says

A “puff-piece” profile of the lawmaker leading the fight against “Nick’s Law,” the autism insurance bill, reveals his true intentions, according to Senator Jay Paul Gumm.

The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA) distributed a profile of Rep. Ron Peterson, R-Broken Arrow. The profile lauds the lawmaker’s “courage” for blocking even consideration of Nick’s Law when it arrived in the House of Representatives, noting Peterson’s defense of “free enterprise.”

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The state Senate on Friday approved a bill that would increase penalties for date rape as well as create new laws against the desecration of human bodies and aggravated child pornography possession. Sens. Jonathan Nichols, Jim Reynolds and James A. Williamson praised the Senate’s passage of the measure, and addressed the importance of providing protection for Oklahoma’s most vulnerable citizens.

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As the clock runs out on the 2008 legislative session, Senator Jay Paul Gumm expressed disappointment that House Republican leaders continue to stonewall families with autistic children.

“If the Speaker and his minions truly believe in their argument - believe their position is righteous – then why do they fear a vote on ‘Nick'’ Law’?” Gumm asked.

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The Oklahoma State Senate approved a resolution Friday recognizing Aug. 19, 2008 as the 50th anniversary of the sit-in movement that began in Oklahoma City at Katz Drug Store. The resolution also honors the life and legacy of local civil rights pioneer Mrs. Clara Luper and all those who participated in that first peaceful and non-violent demonstration 50 years ago.

Senate Resolution 102 is authored by Sen. Constance N. Johnson, D-Oklahoma County. A copy of the resolution will be distributed to Mrs. Luper, the NAACP Youth Council in Oklahoma City and the Oklahoma History Center.

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Senate Passes Elder Abuse Bill

Both the Senate and House unanimously approved a measure Thursday making various types of abuse against elderly and incapacitated Oklahomans a felony. Principal Senate author Sen. Ron Justice said the measure, which strengthens Elderly and Incapacitated Person Act, was long over due.

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Senate Co-President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee, the leader of Republicans in the evenly divided Senate, gave the 2008 legislative session a “solid B” grade.

“2008 was a good legislative session, but not a great one. I’d grade it a solid B,” stated Coffee, R-Oklahoma City.

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The full Senate has given unanimous approval to a resolution honoring the life of former Lieutenant Governor and University of Oklahoma football star Jack Mildren. Lt. Gov. Jari Askins, President of the Senate, presided over the chamber as the resolution was read and approved unanimously. Mildren, age 58, was diagnosed with cancer two years ago and died on Thursday.

Sen. Kenneth Corn, principal author of Senate Resolution 105, said he was extremely saddened by Mildren’s passing. He recalled Mildren as a man who loved life and always had a smile on his face.

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Supporters of a proposal that would require health insurance policies to cover autism diagnosis and treatment say a proposal being suggested to families is no solution at all.

“Suggestions by some House Republicans that an insurance ‘rider’ for autism could be a solution is nothing but a lame effort to reduce political pressure,” said Senator Jay Paul Gumm. “It is no solution at all, and could make the situation worse.”

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The Oklahoma State Senate voted 47 to 0 in favor of an ethics reform bill today, sending House Bill 2196 to Gov. Henry’s desk. Earlier in the day, the House of Representatives voted 90 to 6 for the bill.

HB 2196 bans campaign contributions from lobbyists and lobbyist principals during regular legislative sessions. The ban applies to contributions to the campaigns of state legislators and candidates for a state legislative office.

House Bill 2196 is authored by Rep. David Dank, R-Oklahoma City, and Senate Co-President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City.

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Gov. Brad Henry and legislative leaders have reached an agreement on a $475 million bond package.

The agreement includes money for roads, higher education endowed chairs, a low-water dam project on the Arkansas River in Tulsa, flood control dams in rural Oklahoma, and the Native American Cultural Center in Oklahoma City.

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The Oklahoma State Senate approved a resolution Thursday memorializing Congress and the President to promote the formation of democratic institutions, multiparty elections and respect for human rights in Ethiopia, and to play a mediatory role in peaceful resolution.

Senate Resolution 77 is authored by Sen. Constance N. Johnson, D-Oklahoma County. A copy of this resolution will be distributed to President George W. Bush and the members of the Oklahoma Congressional Delegation.

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The state Senate on Thursday voted in favor of strengthening penalties for assaulting pregnant women. House Bill 1897, known as the “Scum of the Earth Bill”, would allow felony charges to be filed against a person who assaults a woman and causes her to miscarry.

Noting that domestic violence is the number one cause of death among pregnant women, Senate author Debbe Leftwich said the state has a moral and legal responsibility to address the problem.

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The Oklahoma State Senate unanimously approved legislation Wednesday updating a state statute which protects visitation rights for grandparents.

House Bill 2469 is authored by State Senator Earl Garrison, D-Muskogee, and Rep. Wade Rousselot, D-Okay. The bill now goes to Gov. Brad Henry for his approval.

The measure provides that a grandparent may have visitation rights with a grandchild if the grandchild’s mother dies from complications related to the birth of a child.

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Senate Approves DPS Canine Bill

The Oklahoma State Senate approved legislation Wednesday authorizing the Commissioner of Public Safety to house and train canines for drug and bomb units.

House Bill 2695 is authored by State Senator Earl Garrison, D-Muskogee and Rep. Paul Roan, D-Tishomingo. The bill now goes to Gov. Brad Henry for approval.

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Sen. Todd Lamb on Wednesday praised Gov. Brad Henry for taking action to make Oklahoma schools some of the safest in the nation by signing Senate Bill 1941, the Oklahoma School Security Act.

“The signing of this measure is good news for Oklahomans. It’s incumbent upon us to do everything in our power to mitigate risks at our schools and ensure they are safe environments for students and staff,” said Lamb, R-Oklahoma City. “This law gives us the opportunity to make numerous security improvements and reduce instances of violence and bullying in our schools.”

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Senator Anthony Sykes said Tuesday that Senate Democrats are not allowing his House Bill 3001 to come out of conference committee.

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The full Senate has given final approval to a measure requiring all prenatal classes to provide educational materials to expectant mothers about the dangers of alcohol and drug use during pregnancy. Charlie Laster is the Senate author of House Bill 2705, authored by Rep. Kris Steele in the House of Representatives.

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Sen. Jeff Rabon on Tuesday criticized the recent House passage of a resolution encouraging the Attorney General to defend the state in a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Oklahoma’s moratorium on the out-of-state sales of Oklahoma water.

Approval of House Concurrent Resolution 1088, Rabon said, amounted to little more than political grandstanding.

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There is Still Time for Oklahoma’s Autistic Children and Families, Gumm Says

Yogi Berra’s words – “It ain’t over until it’s over” – still has a slim chance of ringing true for families fighting for autism insurance, according to the bill’s sponsor.

Monday (May 19), two newspapers – both in predominantly Republican communities – published editorials in support of “Nick’s Law,” a measure by Senator Jay Paul Gumm that would require health insurance policies cover diagnosis and treatment for autistic children.

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The Oklahoma State Senate approved a resolution Tuesday recognizing the need to provide protections for credit cardholders and urges Congress to support the “Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act of 2008.”

Senate Resolution 67 is authored by Sen. Jim Wilson, D-Tahlequah. Copies of the resolution will be distributed to Oklahoma’s Congressional delegation and to the chair and members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

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