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Press Releases

Showing: December, 2008
Legislation Named in Memory of Senator's Father, read more.

With an estimated one in eight veterans under age 65 uninsured nationwide, State Senator Andrew Rice has introduced a bill to ensure that all Oklahoma veterans have access to adequate health insurance.

"There is a common misconception that all veterans qualify for free health care through the U.S. Veterans Affairs Department, but sadly this isn't the case," said Rice, D-Oklahoma City. "Thousands of vets are falling through the cracks. They make too much to qualify for Medicaid or means-tested VA care, but are too poor to afford private coverage."

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“The announcement today by Blue Cross and Blue Shield is yet another clear and convincing piece of evidence that Nick’s Law should become Oklahoma’s law.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield says they have developed a benefit that ‘doesn’t unduly create a price impact’. That statement corresponds with the actuarial study we provided that shows we can help autistic children for mere pennies a day.

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Sen. Kenneth Corn on Tuesday announced plans to introduce legislation that would prohibit the partisan appointment of County Election Board Secretaries.

Corn said it was important that the Legislature make a firm commitment to ending political patronage, without exceptions. The proposal would require that Election Board Secretaries have at least three years of experience with the system.

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Senator Glenn Coffee confirmed Monday that one of his first reforms of state government will be in the form of authoring legislation ending the Senate’s tag agency patronage system by prohibiting lawmakers from recommending tag agents to the Oklahoma Tax Commission (OTC).

In the past, Oklahoma State Senators have suggested to OTC those individuals they thought should hold the position of tag agent. Under Coffee’s legislation, the Oklahoma Tax Commission will directly appoint tag agents.

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“Certainly, the figures released today are not surprising, given the recent drop in oil and gas revenues in Oklahoma. We’re fortunate that our state is not in similar fiscal crises in which many states across the nation find themselves. But we will still need to look closely at all agency budgets and identify efficiencies to carry us through this period. This is an opportunity to find and cut fat and unnecessary programs while making our government more efficient in the long term.”

 

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Sen. Kenneth Corn on Thursday said one of the state’s greatest impediments to economic growth is a lack of college graduates. The Poteau Democrat announced plans to file legislation that would provide qualifying high school graduates with two years of tuition at Oklahoma colleges and universities.

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Senate President Pro Tem Designate Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City, announced the composition of the twenty standing committees and Appropriations Subcommittees today.

“The citizens of Oklahoma have sent outstanding leadership to the State Senate,” said Coffee. “I appreciate the input of the Minority Leader on the composition of the committees. Nonetheless, we believe we’ve maximized the talents and experience in our membership with the official composition of our committees.

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Democratic Leader says Democratic Caucus Eager to Work with New Republican Majority to Ensure the Spirit of Bi-Partisanship Continues

As final preparations are being made for the upcoming legislative session slated to begin in early February, Democratic Leader Charlie Laster (D-Shawnee) has ensured experienced members of the Democratic caucus will play key roles in the committee work that is crucial to the legislative process.

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State Sen. Jim Reynolds and Rep. Gary Banz announced they will donate an American flag that flew over the USS Oklahoma National Memorial to the Norman Veterans Center. The lawmakers will also present the staff with a citation thanking them for their dedication to caring for Oklahoma veterans. The lawmakers will make their presentation on Friday, December 19 at 10:00 a.m. at the Veterans Center. Reynolds said his first-hand experience with the staff prompted the tribute.

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Lawmakers at the state and federal levels are looking for ways to spur economic growth, and an Oklahoma legislator has a plan to boost his state’s economy.

Senator Jay Paul Gumm says a tax cut geared toward working and middle class Oklahomans is “a sure-fire way” to strengthen Oklahoma’s economy. That is why the Democratic senator from Durant has continued his fight to remove the sales tax on groceries.

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Author Wants State to Use More Tried and True Construction Methods

The weak economy is negatively impacting many industries including construction. Due to the economic slowdown, many commercial construction projects are getting put on hold across the state. State Sen. Harry Coates says that construction professionals are seeing even more of their job opportunities go to out-of-state entities because of an unfair state law.

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OKLAHOMA CITY – TARC, a Tulsa-based organization advocating for the rights of citizens with developmental disabilities, has chosen Senator Jay Paul Gumm as its “Elected Official of the Year.”

Gumm received the award during TARC’s annual awards dinner held Monday at Tulsa’s Southwood Baptist Church. The lawmaker was honored for his efforts to require insurance companies to cover diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders. The measure, known as “Nick’s Law,” has been reintroduced for the 2009 legislative session as Senate Bill 1.

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Even Editorial Opposition Admits “Bill Will be Hard to Stop”

While the legislative session will not get into full swing until February, momentum is already building for Senate Bill 1, also known “Nick’s Law.” The legislation would require health insurance companies to cover diagnosis and treatment of autism in children.

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Senate President Pro Tem Designate Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City, named the Senate’s new committee Vice-Chairs on Wednesday. Committee chairs were announced last week.

Under the new committee structure, which was reduced last week from 22 full committees and standing subcommittees to 20, fifteen Republican Senators and five Democrats will assume leadership roles in their respective committees in the 2009-10 legislative session.

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State Sen. Sean Burrage has been named as one of only 24 elected public officials to be selected for the Aspen Institute’s Rodel Fellowships in Public Leadership 2008 Class of Fellows. Each of the members of the class was selected based on their reputation for intellect, thoughtfulness, and a bipartisan approach to governing. The class is evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats and represents Fellows from 22 states, serving both local and state levels of government. Burrage is the only elected official from Oklahoma chosen for the 2008 class.

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Sen. Kenneth Corn has announced plans to file legislation that would prohibit students under the age of 18 from dropping out of school. The measure would also implement a Statewide Truancy Court Program, providing every District Attorney in the state with a truancy officer. The proposal is supported by the Oklahoma District Attorney’s Council, Corn noted.

Corn said reducing Oklahoma’s dropout rate is critical to ensuring future economic growth in the state.

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