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Press Releases

Showing: March, 2009
Senate Committee Passes Tort Reform
Doctors voice their support in press conference

The Senate Judiciary Committee passed House Bill 1603 by President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee with bipartisan support today, advancing tort reform legislation to the Senate floor.

“The numbers don’t lie, and the numbers tell us that Oklahoma is sixth in the nation in medical students per capita, yet 49th in the nation in the number of active physicians,” said Coffee.

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The House of Representatives joined the Oklahoma Senate in giving unanimous approval to legislation designed to honor Oklahomans who pay the ultimate price in the War on Terror.

The measure, Senate Bill 712, was approved by representatives Monday 99-0. The measure had previously been approved by the Senate on a 47-0 vote. The next stop for the bill is Governor Henry’s desk.

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Does Senator Coffee’s Loan Comply with State Ethics Rules and Laws?

Saying full disclosure is needed to restore public trust in the State Senate, Democratic Caucus Chairman Kenneth Corn today pressed again his request for Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee (R-Oklahoma City) to release all pertinent documents related to his tax troubles and the loan he secured to pay his tax debts. The Poteau Democrat noted several papers across the state over the weekend, including the second largest newspaper in Oklahoma, the Tulsa World, have echoed his request.

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Oklahoma Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee issued the following statement regarding the passing of Jarita Askins:

“Oklahoma lost a great leader and public servant this week. As a mother of successful children, she obviously instilled strong Oklahoma values and has a living legacy that goes on. Our thoughts and prayers are with Lt. Governor Jari Askins and her family during this difficult time.”

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The state Legislature this week approved a resolution praising volunteer firefighters and mourning the loss of John Adams, a volunteer member of the Silver City Fire Department.

The 45 year-old Silver City resident died on duty, after fighting a 12-hour wildfire west of Mannford. The fire covered 600 acres and required a total of nine fire departments, 23 brush trucks, three tankers, a Blackhawk helicopter and 60 firefighters to contain. Senate Concurrent Resolution 14 was authored by Sen. Brian Bingman and Rep. Skye McNiel to honor Adams.

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The Senate Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee on Tuesday approved legislation that would restrict drivers with intermediate Class D licenses to a curfew of 10 p.m. for one year after becoming a licensed driver. The measure would also extend the amount of required driving training for parent-taught drivers from 40 to 50 hours.

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Republican State Sen. Dan Newberry has won Senate passage for a measure opposing the creation of a new currency to replace the dollar as the worlds standard. The full Senate approved Senate Concurrent Resolution 16 on Wednesday. Newberry, R-Tulsa, said Chinas proposal to create a new currency would undermine Americas dominance in global economics.

This outrageous proposal is set to be debated at the upcoming G20 meeting in London, Newberry said.

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As part of National Agriculture week, the state Senate on Tuesday approved a resolution declaring March 24, 2009, as “Ag Day” in the state of Oklahoma. Sen. Ron Justice, author of the resolution, said it was important to remember the important role agriculture plays in our economy and culture.

“When we promote agriculture, we’re promoting Oklahoma,” said Justice, R-Chickasha. “The performance of the agricultural economy is vital to both our state and the nation as a whole. Today, we salute our agricultural system and its role in making Oklahoma a great state.”

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The Oklahoma State Senate has had 40 President Pro Tempores since statehood and the Senate dedicated two portraits Tuesday afternoon of former Pro Tem Mike Morgan and the Senate’s current leader Glenn Coffee. The portraits by world-renown Norman artist Mike Wimmer were commissioned by the Oklahoma State Senate Historical Preservation Fund.

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According to the American Cancer Society, colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in Oklahoma and in the nation, and it’s the third most common cancer in this state. In an effort to raise awareness about this disease, Sen. Debbe Leftwich, co-chair of the Legislative Cancer Caucus, authored a resolution recognizing March as “National Colon Cancer Awareness Month” in Oklahoma. The measure was approved by the full Senate on Monday.

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“The Senate Democratic Caucus was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Jarita Askins, mother of Lt. Governor Jari Askins. Many of us had the good fortune to know Mrs. Askins, and know that she lived a life of public service and of strong faith—a legacy she shared with her children.

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The State Legislature honored Miss Oklahoma 2008 Kelsey Cartwright Monday. State Sen. Randy Brogdon authored Senate Concurrent Resolution 6 recognizing her many talents and accomplishments.

“I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time with Miss Cartwright, and I can tell you she is a fine lady that represents the state of Oklahoma extremely well. She is a tremendous young lady who is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside,” said Brogdon, R-Owasso. “We were so pleased to get to honor her and wish her all the best during her reign and in her future endeavors.”

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In 2006, nearly 73,000 Americans died of Alzheimer's disease and 411,000 citizens were diagnosed with the disease, and that number is expected to skyrocket as Baby Boomers get older. State Sen. Mary Easley wonders why, based on these numbers, the federal government is not spending more to research the disease. She authored Senate Concurrent Resolution 2 urging Congress to increase federal funding for Alzheimer's disease research. read more.

In an effort to honor the rich heritage of rodeo and the western way of life, State Sen. Joe Sweeden, D-Pawhuska, and Lt. Governor Jari Askins are working to bring the PRCA National Steer Roping Finals back to Oklahoma.

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In response to the $410 billion legislation passed by the U.S. Congress last week, State Senator Randy Brogdon has publically called on the Oklahoma Congressional Delegation to place a one year moratorium on earmarks that they insert in federal legislation.

“We are in a financial crisis right now, “said Brogdon. “And until our economy recovers, the last thing we need is pork barrel spending that ends up costing Oklahoma taxpayers more money in the long run.”

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The Senate unanimously approved a resolution Monday encouraging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to continue researching and developing new uses for natural gas. State Sen. Earl Garrison authored Senate Concurrent Resolution 9 to help bring awareness to the benefits of natural gas both financially and environmentally, and to urge the federal and state government to make necessary regulatory changes regarding natural gas for the benefit of the nation.

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The Senate unveiled another original work of art commissioned by the Oklahoma State Senate Historical Preservation Fund Tuesday. The painting, by Oklahoma City artist Christopher Nick, is of Oklahoman Andy Payne who was the winner of the 1928 Trans-Continental Foot Race as well as the Clerk of the Oklahoma Supreme Court for 38 years retiring in 1973.

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The Oklahoma State Senate paused to honor former State Capitol reporter John Greiner on Monday. The 66-year-old Greiner retired from “The Oklahoman” newspaper last fall. State Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee praised Greiner’s ethics and experience in covering the statehouse.

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A ‘Historic’ Week Just Completed

As the State Senate met its first deadline for passing bills off the floor this week, President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee said Friday he is proud of the work Senators did for the state of Oklahoma in an unprecedented legislative week for Republicans.

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A bill providing tax credits for victims of the February 10 storms that destroyed dozens of homes and businesses and caused multiple fatalities is now headed to the House of Representatives. Sen. Todd Lamb, R-Edmond, and Sen. Johnnie Crutchfield, D-Ardmore, worked together for passage of the legislation. Eight people in Crutchfield’s district died in that storm, and many others were left homeless.

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