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Press Releases

Showing: January, 2010

Senate Republican Rural Caucus Chairman Ron Justice and members of the Senate Republican Rural Caucus unveiled their policy agenda for the 2010 legislative session at a news conference Wednesday.

With continued success in moving rural Oklahoma forward, the Senate Republican Rural Caucus pledged to continue their efforts in protecting the resources and assets that are vital to the well being of Oklahoma’s economic development and job growth.

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State Sen. John Ford said he was encouraged by Gov. Brad Henry's announcement that he supported increasing the cap on the state's Rainy Day Fund. Ford originally filed legislation raising the cap from 10 to 15 percent to be heard in the 2007 session, however that measure did not make it into law. This past November he announced he had filed the same proposal with Senate Joint Resolution 47 and would push for its passage in the 2010 legislative session.

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"Fred Morgan is a respected former legislator as well as a trusted and valued Senate staffer. His experience and knowledge of the inner workings of the State Capitol and his history of bipartisan cooperation will serve the State Chamber well. I wish my friend, Fred Morgan, all the best in his new endeavor.

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Sen. Joe Sweeden has filed legislation that will move back the starting date for Oklahoma public schools to the last full week in August. Sweeden said the measure could result in important savings in the midst of a budget crunch.

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Oklahoma could more aggressively punish convicted sex offenders under legislation filed by Sen. Dan Newberry.

“The heartbreaking nature of these crimes demand a stronger approach to sentencing and punishment,” said Newberry, R-Tulsa. “Abuse, exploitation and kidnapping are crimes that tear families apart and permanently impact the lives of far too many vulnerable people. These measures would bring us a step closer to appropriate punishments for such heinous offenses.”

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OKLAHOMA CITY –Republicans in the Oklahoma State Senate released the second section of their 2010 Legislative agenda today, focusing on the areas of Public Safety and Transportation.

In this challenging financial climate, Senate Republicans are working to bring new and better jobs to Oklahoma and provide for a more favorable business climate and better way of life for all Oklahomans, including keeping our citizens safe, and continued improvement of our transportation system.

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OKLAHOMA CITY—“Senate Republicans again today failed to address the elephant in the room and ignored the pressing issue on the minds of all Oklahomans - ‘What will be done this session to get us out of the horrible budget crisis?’”

“It’s truly bizarre. For the second week in row, Senate Republicans gather in a room to share “new” ideas, which are anything but new, and continue to show a lack of basic leadership on the one issue that has to be addressed immediately—creating a new budget to finish this year in the midst of a billion dollar shortfall.

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OKLAHOMA CITY – State Sen. Debbe Leftwich applauded Gov. Brad Henry’s executive order to prohibit state employees from texting while driving. The prohibition would ban texting when public employees are driving on state business.

“This is a great start. Studies have shown texting while driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving—but this executive order only applies to state employees,” said Leftwich, D-Oklahoma City. “I will continue to push for passage of Senate Bill 900, which would ban teenagers from texting while behind the wheel.”

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One of the most important tools in improving Oklahoma's economy is to increase the number of students who graduate from high school and college. That's according to Sen. John Ford, who has filed legislation requiring schools to set specific goals to increase graduation rates.

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Sen. Dan Newberry on Monday criticized President Barack Obama’s proposal of a 10-year tax on the country’s largest banks to cover a projected $117 billion shortfall in the federal government’s Financial Crisis Bailout Fund. Newberry said the proposal would be counterproductive to economic recovery.

The tax would be levied against approximately 50 of the nation’s largest financial institutions, regardless of whether they have received funds through the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Institutions which have already repaid TARP funds would also be subject to the new tax.

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State Sen. Kenneth Corn  is calling for “immediate action the first week of the legislative session” on his proposal to restore nearly $4.7 million in budget cuts made late last year to senior citizen nutrition meal programs around the state.

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Bill Filing Ends for 2010 Session

Bill filing has ended for the 2010 legislative session. Thursday, January 14 was the deadline for members of the Oklahoma State Senate to file legislation for the second session of the 52nd Legislature, with 1082 bills and 28 joint resolutions filed. In 2009, Senators filed 1,240 bills and 42 joint resolutions for the upcoming session. Of those, 860 Senate Bills and 38 Senate Joint Resolutions are still alive for the 2010 session.

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State Sen. Debbe Leftwich has filed legislation aimed at party bus companies that turn a blind eye to drunken teen passengers. Leftwich said she began working on the legislation after being contacted by officials with Santa Fe South High School last spring.

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Thursday, January 14 marks the deadline for members of the Oklahoma State Senate to file legislation for the 2010 session, the second of the 52nd Legislature. By 5 p.m., 942 bills and 26 joint resolutions had been filed, with staff members expected to work into the evening filing the final measures. Final figures will be released on Friday.

Members of the public can read and download current legislation by going to the official State Senate website at www.oksenate.gov and following the link for legislation at the top of the homepage.

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Sen. Constance N. Johnson in December announced her intentions regarding a four year strategy to repeal Oklahoma’s death penalty. On Thursday, Johnson said the plan involves initially highlighting the economic and ethical concerns that make capital punishment an ineffective deterrent and a drain on state resources, and in the interim conducting education and awareness raising activities across the state to undo many commonly held misperceptions and much misinformation about the death penalty in our state.

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First in Multi-Part Roll-out of Agenda Goals for 2010

Oklahoma Senate Republicans today released the first section of their 2010 Legislative agenda, focusing on their goals for Economic Development, Energy, and Government Reform.

Under the leadership of Senate President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee (R-OKC) and Majority Floor Leader Todd Lamb (R-Edmond), who also chaired the Senate Republican Agenda Committee, Senate Republicans have constructed an ambitious legislative road map to build upon the successes of their first session in the majority in 2009.

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“Senate Republicans did a great job of ignoring the huge elephant in the room today. They refused to talk about what they are going to do to get us out of this billion dollar budget hole.

“They spent their morning talking about all the proposals they will push that curry favor with Corporate America through giveaways to giant corporations and less regulation.

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"Once again actual revenue receipts have failed to meet projections. However, we continue in positive discussions with the governor's office and the House, and I am optimistic that a new budget framework can be announced by the beginning of the new legislative session in February.

"We know that many Oklahoma taxpayers are hurting because of the national recession, policies coming out of Washington, and the depressed job market. It is imperative that the new budget framework is fiscally responsible, and protects Oklahomans from tax increases."

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State Senator Jim Wilson recently filed legislation to authorize the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission to create a voluntary Shared Work Unemployment Compensation Program. Senate Bill 1385 would allow part time employees to receive unemployment insurance payments.

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