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Press Releases

Showing: March, 2010

Sen. Constance N. Johnson on Tuesday praised the Senate’s recent approval of a resolution urging the review of questionable arson convictions. Authored by Johnson, Senate Resolution 99 also supports judicial review and the official adoption of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 921 publication as the standard of care for fire investigation.

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The State Senate voted unanimously Tuesday in support of legislation to ensure Oklahoma students will be taught about the Oklahoma City Bombing. House Bill 2750, by Senator Ron Justice, R-Chickasha, and Rep. Lee Denney, R-Cushing, now moves to Governor Brad Henry for consideration.

While 168 lives were lost in the bombing 15 years ago, the terrorist attack deeply impacted people throughout the state. Justice pointed out people in communities throughout Oklahoma lost friends and family members the morning of April 19th, 1995.

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Committee gives bipartisan approval to reform measure

The Senate Education committee advanced House Bill 2753 by President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee (R-OKC) and Representative Lee Denney (R-Cushing), moving the charter school agenda forward.

HB 2753 removes many restrictions that previously prohibited the advancement of charter schools. Coffee says this is a positive stride in giving charter schools the freedom to provide quality choices to parents and students across our state.

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Sen. Dan Newberry on Tuesday praised the state Senate’s passage of an Obamacare opt-out measure designed to prohibit the new federal law from forcing citizens and employers to participate in a nationalized health care system.

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“I appreciate Commissioner Cline’s work toward determining the pressing issues at the Medical Examiner’s office and presenting his recommendations. We’ve known for some time that there is significant work to be done in bringing this office up to the level the citizens of Oklahoma expect and deserve, and Commissioner Cline’s audit confirms this.

“I look forward to working with the Governor and the Speaker in restoring this office to full effectiveness.”

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State Sen. Jay Paul Gumm is continuing his efforts to ensure compliance with a tax break for disabled veterans originally passed in 2005. Gumm said despite widespread publicity about the law and a $500 administrative fine approved in 2006 for noncompliance, there are still retailers in the state refusing to honor the tax exemption.

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State Sen. Randy Brogdon called Tuesday’s Senate vote on an ObamaCare opt-out measure an important step toward reasserting Oklahoma’s sovereignty as a state. Brogdon, R-Owasso, is Senate author of House Joint Resolution 1054, by Rep. Mike Ritze, R-Broken Arrow, and Rep. Mike Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City. The measure was approved in the Senate on a bipartisan vote of 36 to 11.

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A long-time advocate of health care reform said any additional cost to the State of Oklahoma as a result of federal health care legislation could be easily offset by eliminating waste, fraud and utilizing better management of medical records.

“The fact is, if we had already addressed these issues, the federal government wouldn’t have needed to step in,” said Senator Jim Wilson, D-Tahlequah. “We already take billions of dollars from the federal government to fund a variety of programs.”

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Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee and House Speaker Chris Benge urged Oklahoma’s Attorney General on Monday to file suit against the federal government, challenging the constitutionality of yesterday’s health care legislation.

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“Proponents of Obamacare have mentioned the historic nature of its passage. This indeed is historic. Our federal government has assumed a role it was never meant to possess.

“Bigger government and mandated health care will now put unnecessary burdens on Oklahoma families, small businesses and especially our senior citizens. Tax increases necessary to fund this so-called ‘reform’ will strap families across our state and nation, making economic and job growth more difficult. Billions of dollars will be cut from Medicare, raising premiums yet cutting benefits for seniors.

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“Proponents of Obamacare have mentioned the historic nature of its passage. This indeed is historic. Our federal government has assumed a role it was never meant to possess.

“Bigger government and mandated health care will now put unnecessary burdens on Oklahoma families, small businesses and especially our senior citizens. Tax increases necessary to fund this so-called ‘reform’ will strap families across our state and nation, making economic and job growth more difficult. Billions of dollars will be cut from Medicare, raising premiums yet cutting benefits for seniors.

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Sen. Joe Sweeden this week said he would continue fighting for expansion of the state’s “Make My Day” legislation, as his proposal to expand the rights of business owners to defend their property advances to the state House.

Sweeden said Senate Bill 2257 would make it lawful for business owners to use force against any person who unlawfully interferes with real or personal property in the owner’s lawful possession, or in defense of a physical threat.

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The state Senate on Tuesday approved a resolution designating the “Honor and Remember Flag” to officially recognize and honor fallen members of the United States Armed Forces. Sen. Bill Brown, R-Broken Arrow, author of Senate Concurrent Resolution 48, said the flag was an appropriate unifying symbol for recognizing the nation’s debt to fallen servicepersons.

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State Senator Bryce Marlatt (R-Woodward) will appear before the U.S. Senate Environmental & Public Works Committee this week to provide testimony regarding rural transportation funding needs, as well as to discuss legislation he authored this session to find ways to implement innovative funding alternatives for Oklahoma’s state roads and bridges.

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Days after single-handedly killing a resolution to allow the people of Oklahoma to vote for a freeze on property taxes for senior citizens, Senator Kenneth Corn says he switched his vote from YES to NO “when he remembered Oklahoma voters had already decided the issue.”

“This late memory retention is very convenient on the part of Senator Corn,” said Senate President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee, “but regardless of his reasoning, Senator Corn cannot deny that he cast the deciding vote against this very fair tax relief measure.”

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Legislation to give additional protection to domestic violence victims is now awaiting action in the House of Representatives. Senate Bill 2022, by Sen. Debbe Leftwich, D-Oklahoma City, and Rep. Sue Tibbs, R-Tulsa, expands current law by enabling victims to see exactly where their abusers are via GPS.

Two years ago, Leftwich authored and passed legislation to allow court-ordered GPS tracking of domestic abusers. Law enforcement can access their location and determine if they are in violation of any court orders regarding proximity to their victim.

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The State Senate approved legislation Wednesday which would require state elected officials as well as those in the federally-funded Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program to undergo random drug testing. Sen. Bryce Marlatt is co-author of Senate Bill 1392, and successfully amended the measure to ensure state elected officials are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol while on the job.

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After voting in favor of a freeze on property taxes for Oklahoma senior citizens, Senator Kenneth Corn (D-Howe), flip flopped and cast the deciding vote to deny this much needed tax relief for the most vulnerable, fixed-income citizens in the state.

SJR 57, authored by Senator Jim Reynolds (R-OKC), failed in the Senate by a vote of 22-25, with Corn voting in favor of the measure. Reynolds later moved to reconsider the vote, which was granted by his colleagues.

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The State Senate unanimously approved legislation Wednesday to protect victims of domestic violence from being denied insurance coverage. Senate Bill 1251, by Sen. Jim Wilson, would prohibit health insurance companies from classifying domestic violence as a pre-existing condition.

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Senator Jay Paul Gumm has won Senate approval for a bill to end the sales tax on groceries throughout Oklahoma once the state recovers from the recession.

The measure, which was approved on a bipartisan 33-11 vote, contains provisions to protect cities and counties dependent on those revenues. Those entities would be reimbursed by the state for the tax they no longer would be able to collect on the sale of groceries.

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