Senate Republicans Monday voted by acclamation Monday to re-elect Brian Bingman to the position of President Pro Tempore of the Oklahoma state Senate. Bingman, R-Sapulpa, is now President Pro Tempore-Designate for the 54th Legislature. Bingman continues to serve as Senate President Pro Tempore through the end of the 53rd Legislature in 2012. Majority Leader Mike Schulz said Bingman has been an effective leader as lawmakers have worked to promote Oklahoma’s economic recovery with a pro-jobs agenda.
Sen. Sean Burrage, Democratic Leader of the State Senate, issued the following statement in reaction to Monday’s selection of Sen. Brian Bingman as President Pro Tempore-Designate for the 54th Legislature:read more.
Sen. Dan Newberry today issued the following statement regarding the Governor’s signing of Senate Bill 1274, the Heartbeat Informed Consent Act. The law will require abortion providers to inform patients they have a right to hear the heartbeat of their unborn child before it is aborted.read more.
A measure to better protect youth from human trafficking was signed into law earlier this week. House Bill 2518, by Rep. Sally Kern and Sen. Josh Brecheen, strengthens Oklahoma’s human trafficking laws in the hopes of deterring the industry in the state.
The Governor signed legislation Tuesday to help ensure that blind and deaf students around the state have access to information about available programs that could improve their education. Senate Bill 1119, by Sen. Earl Garrison, would require school districts to provide parents of students with auditory or visual impairments with written information about programs offered by the Oklahoma School for the Blind and the Oklahoma School for the Deaf for which the students might be eligible.
“There seems to be an irrational political pressure to further erode Oklahoma’s tax base when we have no way to even begin to address all of the needs and obligations we’re currently facing. Reality doesn’t seem to figure into this discussion at all.”—Sen. Sean Burrage, D-Claremore
“We don’t have enough money to pay the bills as it is, and unless natural gas prices start improving, we could find ourselves facing another revenue shortfall in the months ahead. It is beyond irresponsible to still be discussing further cuts in taxes at this point in time.”—Sen. Tom Ivester, D-Sayreread more.
Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman today issued the following statement regarding the passage of House Bill 3052. The measure was developed through the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, and is intended to reduce crime while controlling the growth of the state’s prison population.read more.
The Senate today approved legislation intended to reduce unemployment benefit fraud.
Sen. Dan Newberry, Senate author of House Bill 2204, said the bill provides reforms to deter fraud and encourage unemployed workers to actively seek job opportunities.
“Unemployment benefits are intended to provide assistance to those who lose a job, as they transition to new opportunities,” said Newberry, R-Tulsa. “But we must be careful that these benefits do not provide a disincentive to work. This measure helps us strike a better balance between these two concerns.”
The Senate gave unanimous approval to House Bill 2396, by Sen. Kim David and Rep. Wade Rousselot, to better protect victims of domestic violence by increasing protective orders from three to five years. The measure would also allow lifetime protective orders in certain cases.
State Sen. John Ford said he is gratified that Oklahoma is continuing to pursue ways to further ensure the integrity of the state’s election process. Ford, who represents Washington, Nowata and northern Rogers counties, was the author of a state question requiring voters to provide identification when casting their ballots. The proposed law was overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2010.
The Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus hosted Rev. Jesse Jackson at a press conference at the State Capitol Wednesday. Members discussed inequality in the state of Oklahoma and the impact on minority groups of policy issues such as the open carry proposal and the Stand Your Ground law as they relate to recent killings in Tulsa; assaults on women’s reproductive health rights; the lack of inclusion and diversity on state agencies, boards and commissions; and the exploitation of African American college student athletes by universities and low graduation rates, among other issues.read more.
Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman today released the following statement on the passage of House Bill 2155, the Oklahoma Option.read more.
“Oklahoma does not have enough revenues to even begin to meet critical needs in education, health, public safety, transportation and other services our citizens depend upon. House Bill 3038 will further erode those resources. We’re 48th in the nation in the health of our citizens. If this becomes law, we’ll soon be 50th. We’re close to last when it comes to teacher pay and per pupil spending. We’ll soon be dead last in those categories, too. Supporters claim we’re going to see businesses and people flock to Oklahoma if we end the income tax.read more.
Legislation to target meth manufacturers without limiting consumer access to medicines has been approved by the Senate. House Bill 2941, authored by Rep. David Derby and Sen. Rick Brinkley, was approved Tuesday by a vote of 46-1.
Brinkley said the proposal is a way to fight meth addiction in Oklahoma without burdening law-abiding citizens by forcing them to get a prescription for safe, effective cold and allergy relief like Claritin or Advil Cold and Sinus.
On Monday, the Senate added two more paintings to its diverse collection of artwork depicting famous Oklahomans and special events in the state’s history. The newest additions depict two of Oklahoma’s most famous Wild West Show personalities, Gordon “Pawnee Bill” Lillie and Lucille Mulhall.
The portraits, by Tulsa artist Tracey Harris, were sponsored by Bob Funk and commissioned by the State Senate Historical Preservation Fund, Inc.
Two Tulsa lawmakers said they were disappointed by the governor’s veto of House Bill 2296 on Friday. Sen. Brian Crain and Rep. Eric Proctor co-authored the bipartisan measure, which would have given liability protection to mobile home park operators who allowed residents to take shelter in their office during severe weather
A measure to help eradicate feral hogs, one of Oklahoma's greatest agricultural nuisances, has been signed into law. Senate Bill 1751, authored by Sen. Josh Brecheen and Rep. Don Armes, would authorize citizens to use an electronic tracking device while employing the services of a "Judas pig" to help locate and capture or kill entire herds of feral swine.
Sen. Tom Adelson said after careful consideration, he has decided against seeking reelection to the State Senate. Adleson represented Tulsa District 33 for two terms and under term limits, could have served another four years.
“I want to thank my supporters for their encouragement and commitment to improving state government and to making Oklahoma a great place to live and work and raise a family,” said Adelson, D-Tulsa. “I am so very grateful for the chance to listen and learn about their concerns and ideas to make Oklahoma an even better state.”
The State Senate honored the Oklahoma State University Cowgirls Basketball Team Thursday for their outstanding 2012 season capped by winning the Women's National Invitation Tournament for the first time in school history. A resolution was approved congratulating the team for their courage and perseverance following the tragic plane crash involving head coach Kurt Budke and assistant coach Miranda Serna along with OSU alumni, pilot and former Oklahoma State Senator Olin Branstetter and his wife, Paula on November 17, 2011.read more.
Sen. Gary Stanislawski said a bill allowing access to statistical data about drug prescriptions has been approved by both chambers and is one step closer to becoming law.
Stanislawski, R-Tulsa, is principal author of Senate Bill 1065, which deals with the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP). The database is maintained by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (OBNDD) to track prescriptions of specific types of drugs, like Vicodin.read more.