On Thursday, the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs (ODVA) was among seven state agencies to testify before the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services during the committee’s second budget and performance hearing. Sen. Frank Simpson said he was greatly disappointed by the changes made by ODVA to address problems discovered within the agency and at the state’s seven veteran centers during last year’s interim study.
Oklahoma City has moved ahead with plans to take an additional 30,000 acre-feet of water from Canton Lake in the western part of the state. State Sen. Bryce Marlatt said he learned Tuesday that Oklahoma City had instructed the Army Corps of Engineers to begin transferring the water on Wednesday morning. The entire process will take approximately three weeks.
Sen. Rob Standridge has filed legislation that would disallow the use of any welfare cash cards in strip clubs, liquor stores, and casinos. Senate Bill 667 states that no electronic benefit transfer card containing state or federal funds from programs including, but not limited to, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), may be used in such establishments.
Standridge said his proposal would work to ensure the funds are directed to their appropriate use – to provide support for the needy while they get back on their feet.
Senator David Holt, R-Oklahoma City, has introduced legislation to make "Black Friday" sales and other low-price retail sales legal in Oklahoma. Under current law, which was originally enacted in 1941, retailers must sell products for at least six percent more than they paid for it. A December 2011 opinion from the Oklahoma Attorney General confirmed that state law bars all “Black Friday” and other low-price sales, even if they are only temporary.read more.
Taking an additional 30,000 acre-feet of water from Canton Lake would only be a temporary fix for Oklahoma City’s water woes, but the immediate and long-term impact on western Oklahoma would be devastating, with repercussions for the entire state, said State Sen. Bryce Marlatt, R-Woodward. He urged Oklahoma City officials to be better stewards of the resource—and better neighbors to Western Oklahoma.
Following last fall’s interim study of the state’s seven veteran centers and the Oklahoma Department of Veteran’s Affairs (ODVA), Sen. Frank Simpson has filed several bills to address problems brought to light by veterans’ families and facility employees.
Senator David Holt (R – Oklahoma City) and Senator Jabar Shumate (D – Tulsa) have introduced the “Parent Empowerment Act”, Senate Bill 1001, which will give Oklahoma parents the power to force a dramatic change in their students’ underperforming schools.
With budget review hearings slated to begin next week and the 2013 Legislative Session right around the corner, the State Senate on Friday announced a new website dedicated to giving members of the public and the press instantaneous access to the research materials and other presentations Senators will use as they develop the Fiscal 2014 budget.
The deadline for members of the Oklahoma State Senate to file legislation for the first session of the 54th Legislature was 4 p.m. on Thursday, January 17th. By that deadline 1119 bills and 34 joint resolutions filed. Last year at this time, a total of 972 bills and 45 joint resolutions were filed with 753 Senate Bills and 41 Senate Joint Resolutions carried over from the 2011 session.
Sen. Nathan Dahm has filed three proposals to protect the Second Amendment rights of Oklahomans to keep and bear arms. Dahm said the Constitution provides clear protections to gun owners, but if lawmakers are not diligent, those protections can easily come under attack by proponents of big government.read more.
State Sen. Randy Bass announced he has filed a trio of bills designed to make the voting process easier for more Oklahomans while enabling more citizens to volunteer at voting precincts.
Bass said Senate Bill 278 would expand the period for in-person absentee voting in counties with populations of at least 50,000 during presidential elections. Currently, voters can cast early ballots on the Friday, Saturday and Monday before the election at their county election board. Bass said his bill would expand in-person absentee voting to seven days.
Spurred by recent actions taken by the Oklahoma Insurance Department, Sen. Harry Coates will be filing legislation to prevent the department and any other state agencies from wasting taxpayer money on unnecessary travel expenditures.
Sen. Patrick Anderson has filed Senate Bill 240 to replace Oklahoma’s current income tax structure with a flat tax of 2.95%. The Anderson flat tax plan is simple, fair, and revenue neutral. Additionally, the plan would result in Oklahoma having the lowest income tax rate in the nation, among the 43 states that do impose an income tax.
Sen. Nathan Dahm and Rep. Mike Ritze plan to ensure the Legislature stands up for the rights of Oklahomans and remains committed to preventing the provisions of Obamacare from taking effect.
Dahm and Ritze have filed Senate Bill 203 and House Bill 1021, proposals which will nullify the provisions of Obamacare in Oklahoma. Dahm said health care operates best as an enterprise, not as a birthright.
With workers compensation reform among the top priorities for Senate leaders in the coming session, Sens. Anthony Sykes and Josh Brecheen are getting a firsthand look at Arkansas’ administrative model this week.
The two Senators traveled to visit with Arkansas officials about their transition to an administrative system, and its success in lowering workers comp premium rates and getting employees back to work efficiently.
Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman addresses the Senate following his election as Pro Tempore.
The Senate applauds Pro Tem Brian Bingman.
The Senate re-elects Sen. Brian Bingman to serve as Senate Pro Tempore on Organizational Day