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Press Releases

Showing: April, 2009
Budget Process Moving Forward
Senate President Pro Tem Names GCCA Panel

Senate President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee named the 23 members of the Senate Appropriations Committee to the General Conference Committee on Appropriations today.

“I’m very proud of the conferees on this panel,” Coffee said. “We’ve streamlined the process this year, naming members who bring direct experience in this year’s appropriations process, and we anticipate a productive path toward moving the budget forward in the coming days.

Senators named to the GCCA include:

Senator Mike Johnson - Chair

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Says the Bill did Nothing but Protect the Powerful Insurance Industry

“We knew in January when Senate Republicans changed the rules to include special protection for one specific industry—the powerful insurance industry—we would be faced with a barrage of bills that would make it harder to make health care more affordable for Oklahoma families.

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After receiving bi-partisan support from both chambers, Senate Bill 1111 by Senator Clark Jolley was vetoed by the Governor late last night.

The “Educational Accountability Reform Act” would have provided greater accountability and transparency in public education if enacted into law.

Jolley says while he is disappointed with the veto, he is encouraged by the Governor’s call for the parties to meet and work together to correct problems currently faced in Oklahoma’s education system.

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The State Senate gave final passage to Senate Bill 834 – the School District Empowerment Program sponsored by Senator John Ford (R-Bartlesville) today. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk for his approval.

If signed by the Governor, the School District Empowerment Program will remove many of the unfunded state mandates currently restricting the ability of local school districts to best decide how to use resources to benefit their students.

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Beginning November 1, trucking companies will finally be able to purchase oversize and/or overweight annual vehicle permits to replace the current permits which have to be requested with each delivery. The new annual permit was created by House Bill 2054, which was recently approved by the Governor. Sen. Bryce Marlatt is the Senate principal author of the measure.

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Republicans Following-Through on Promises that Produced Majority

Noting that Republicans have held the majority in the State Senate for fifty legislative days of the 101-year history of the state of Oklahoma, Senate Republicans marked the occasion with a news conference to shine light on their many accomplishments in a very short time.

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All the Chest Pounding and “Atta Boys” Can’t Hide GOP Love for Powerful Insurance Industry

Calling the latest press conference by Senate Republicans nothing but chest pounding and political cover, Democratic Leader Charlie Laster said Oklahomans should be outraged with the outcome of the GOP’s first 50 days.

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Note to Editors: Senator Jay Paul Gumm, author of the original Nick’s Law that would have required insurance companies to provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of Autism, issued the following statement on the passage of Senate Bill 135 today.

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Oklahoma County District Judge Carolyn Ricks ruled Thursday that the read more.

House Bill 1059 by Senator Jonathan Nichols unanimously passed the Senate and allows greater access to dental care for Oklahomans in need.

House Bill 1059 permits out-of-state dental licensees participating in public health initiatives or disaster community service events to receive a special volunteer license, who wish to donate their expertise for the dental care and treatment of indigent and needy persons of the state.

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Local veterans and supporters came to the State Capitol on Wednesday to voice their criticism of a recently released report issued by the Department of Homeland Security. The report, “Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence on Radicalization and Recruitment,” suggested those who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as individuals who opposed abortion and supported Second Amendment gun rights were a potential threat to national security.

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The action of my colleagues in the Senate today leaves me disappointed but unbowed.

This is not the end of this fight. Indeed, this is just the beginning. We’ve worked too hard for too many years to let one more defeat stop us in what will ultimately be victory for reform and a benefit for all Oklahomans.

I would remind my colleagues that Republicans won our current majority based largely on our vow to bring lawsuit reform to our state, and that position is shared by a large majority of Oklahomans – Republican, Democrat, and independent.

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Sen. Kenneth Corn on Wednesday said a measure passed by the state Senate would limit the ability of Oklahoma citizens to determine how their tax dollars are to be used in the Legislature. Future generations of Oklahomans, Corn added, could be helpless in determining the Legislature’s spending priorities under the legislation.

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The State Senate has given its approval to a measure allowing voters to decide whether all official business of the state should be conducted in English. The Senate voted on Wednesday evening to approve House Joint Resolution 1042, authored by Senator Anthony Sykes. Sykes said a compromise was worked out earlier in the day prior to the vote.

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The State Senate passed a referendum Wednesday with bipartisan support that will send the stem cell research funding issue to a vote of the people.

House Joint Resolution 1035 by Senator Clark Jolley, R-Edmond, designates a source for funding stem cell research in Oklahoma. The resolution reads that 10% of earnings accrued to the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust Fund each year will be directed towards adult stem cell research.

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Measure Goes to Governor’s Desk

Yet another Republican Senate legislative agenda item has is on its way to the governor after SB 1111, authored by Senator Clark Jolley, passed the House today. The ‘Educational Accountability Reform Act’ will provide greater accountability and transparency in public education when enacted into law.

The law will restructure Oklahoma’s education system to create better transparency and accountability on data and testing. The current Office of Accountability would be restructured into the Educational Quality and Accountability Office.

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The state Senate on Wednesday voted in favor of legislation to prohibit motorists from driving for extended periods of time in the left lane. Sen. Kenneth Corn, co-author of the measure, said the new law would result in improved traffic flow, reducing the number of drivers who impede traffic.

Under House Bill 1368, drivers must use the right-hand lane unless passing.

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The State Senate passed SB 135 with overwhelming bipartisan support today, granting much needed relief for autistic children and their families.

Senator Ron Justice, R-Chickasha, authored the legislation and applauded the efforts of his colleagues.

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Coffee Guards Sanctity of Life

Senate Bill 1103 by President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee received the Governor’s signature, providing protections for pregnant women who are subject to domestic violence abuse.

The “Use of Force for the Protection of the Unborn Act” gives a pregnant woman the right to use force or deadly force against another to protect her unborn child. Such protections include reasonable belief that the unborn child is threatened, making the use of force immediately necessary for the child’s protection.

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The Oklahoma State Senate passed a referendum late Tuesday that will send Workers Compensation reform to Oklahoma polls next year.

Following the Governor’s veto, Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee said, “We are disappointed in the Governor’s veto, because we’ve worked very hard to bring responsible reform and increased accountability to the Oklahoma’s Workers Compensation system. Contrary to what the Governor said, this legislation removes the politics from the process, and we look forward to sending this to the people for them to have the final say.”

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