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Press Releases

Showing: May, 2009

Earlier this month, members of an Oklahoma delegation traveled to Washington, D.C. to receive the Partners in Conservation Award from Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. This coalition of individuals and agencies worked collaboratively with the Bureau of Reclamation and the Chickasaw Nation to protect valuable aquifer resources and to improve water resource conditions in Oklahoma.

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Positive Reforms Become Law, More Positive Results to Come

With the passage of a landmark lawsuit reform bill; a new centralized function for state information services that will save Oklahoma millions of dollars, as it has in other states; and the new public-private partnership which will ensure OSU Medical Center’s future; a water bill that keeps Oklahomans in control of our most precious commodity; and many other major reforms, the first legislative session under a Republican majority produced unprecedented success and offers more opportunities to continue a reform agenda in 20

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The tone of the first session of the 52nd Oklahoma Legislature was set early on when Senate Republicans wrote into the Senate Rules special protections for insurance companies and the theme continued until the very last day in what Senate Democratic Leader Charlie Laster is describing as a “Special Interest Feeding Frenzy.”

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On the final day of the 2009 legislative session, the state Senate approved a measure that would lower the legal blood alcohol concentration limit for the offense of boating under the influence from 0.10 percent to 0.08 percent.

Sen. Bill Brown, Senate author of Senate Bill 902, noted that alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents, accounting for nearly twenty percent of all reported fatalities.

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The State Senate has given final approval to legislation creating stronger penalties for domestic abuse and for possession of child pornography. Senate Bill 1020, by Sen. Jonathan Nichols, was approved unanimously on Friday.

“Crimes like domestic abuse and child pornography destroy families and shatter lives,” said Nichols, R-Norman. “My legislation creates stronger sentences and closes loopholes so these serious crimes will carry the serious punishments they deserve.”

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Governor, Senator Jolley Craft “Positive Compromise” to SB 1111

The State Senate and House passed a bill late today that will provide transparency and accountability in the testing and ranking of student achievement. The vote was unanimous in the Senate and by a wide bipartisan majority in the House.

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On Friday, Sen. Jay Paul Gumm and Rep. Joe Dorman succeeded in their effort to close a loophole that allows sex offenders to use ice cream trucks to come into close contact with children.

The Oklahoma Legislature approved a compromise version of Senate Bill 1020 which would strengthen state laws on domestic violence and increase penalties for child pornography.

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The Senate gave final approval to legislation Friday to help reach out to the thousands of at-risk youth in the state and help them become productive citizens. Senate Concurrent Resolution 32, by Sen. Harry Coates, creates the Task Force on Youth Transitioning into Adulthood to look at why so many of Oklahoma's children are falling through the cracks.

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The Senate gave final approval to legislation late Wednesday night to ban cell phones from prisons. Sen. Don Barrington is author of Senate Bill 1064 and says keeping cell phones out of prisons will make them safer.

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Senate President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee applauded Governor Henry’s signing of HB 1603 – the comprehensive lawsuit reform bill which passed both houses of the legislature by a wide margin last week.

“We’ve spent years in working toward making this day a reality,” said Coffee. “The significance of this day cannot be understated. We made history a week ago by passing this legislation in the Senate and House, and the governor’s assent to our work today is very gratifying.”

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Interests of Oklahomans Put First

In an effort to safeguard Oklahoma’s water resources, the State Senate voted unanimously to support House Bill 1483.

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The State Legislature did its part in reforming the tag agency patronage system by giving bipartisan support to Senate Bill 888. The Governor will now decide the outcome of such reform.

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State Sen. Steve Russell’s bill to exempt Oklahoma soldiers from state income tax on federal pay is one step closer to becoming law. Senate Bill 881, co-authored by Rep. Gary Banz, R-Midwest City, was approved on a bipartisan vote of 45 to 0 on Friday. Russell said he was elated that the bill was so close to the governor’s desk. The tax exemption would apply to all troops, whether they are National Guard, Reserve or active.

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State Sen. Jim Reynolds said he was extremely disappointed that Oklahomans have been denied the opportunity to vote to slow increases on their property taxes. Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City, said despite the fact that Senate Joint Resolution 5 was approved earlier this session by both the Senate and the House, it is unlikely that the measure will be sent to the Secretary of State to be placed on the ballot.

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A bill waiting to be heard on the Senate floor has been stripped down by Senate Republicans to protect the insurance industry, a pattern of behavior by the majority party that began quickly after they came into power for the first time in state history.

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The state Legislature approved legislation Tuesday recognizing the many contributions of cowboys to Oklahoma’s culture and economy. House Concurrent Resolution 1025, by Rep. Danny Morgan and Sen. Harry Coates, proclaims July 2009 as Oklahoma Cowboy Heritage Month and designates July 25, 2009 as Oklahoma Day of the Cowboy.

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Caucus Celebrates Success of 2009 Rural Agenda

The Senate Republican Rural Caucus announced Tuesday the accomplishments and advances made for Rural Oklahoma this session.

Senator Ron Justice, R-Chickasha, Chairman of the Republican Rural Caucus commended his fellow caucus members for working together to achieve a quality reform policy agenda.

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On Tuesday, the Senate recognized an Oklahoma soldier for his service to his country as well as his humanitarian efforts to help needy Iraqi families and those of deployed soldiers. Senate Resolution 41, by Sen. Harry Coates, Don Barrington and Randy Bass, commends Colonel William J. Finley

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"Senator Justice is correct that Senate Democratic members did “find the problems” with the Republican leadership’s budget proposal that completely gutted funding for REAP and would have required furloughs of state troopers.

Senate Democrats understood doing so would have jeopardized the public safety of all Oklahomans and left rural Oklahoma in the dust.

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The Oklahoma State Senate has honored the crew of Apollo X with a resolution commemorating the fortieth anniversary of the first mission ever to achieve lunar orbit.

The crew included astronauts, Eugene A. Cernan and John W. Young, along with Weatherford, Oklahoma native, Thomas P. Stafford. Sen. Clark Jolley authored the resolution which was approved unanimously on Wednesday.

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