Sen. Dan Newberry this week applauded U.S. Sens. Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe for defending the Second Amendment rights of Oklahomans, as controversial legislation expanding background checks and limiting ownership rights may soon be heard in the U.S. Senate.
Among other restrictions, the proposed legislation would establish new limits on magazine capacity, and expand background check requirements for gun ownership. Newberry said the dedicated opposition of Coburn and Inhofe contributed to the decision of Senate Democrats to shelve a proposed assault weapons ban.
OKLAHOMA CITY – History repeated itself Tuesday when Sen. Ron Sharp found himself voting on House Bill 1999 dealing with the issue of horse slaughter – an issue his father, H.K. Sharp, dealt with in the early 1960s working at the State Department of Agriculture. The bill would allow for the slaughter of horses in Oklahoma, but not for human consumption within the state. Even with the Shawnee Republican’s “no” vote, the measure still passed 32-14.read more.
OKLAHOMA CITY – The president of AARP Oklahoma, Marjorie Lyons, was recently appointed to serve on the Citizens Advisory Panel for Aging Issues by Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman. The Broken Arrow resident is the first appointee to this unique panel, which will oversee the functions and operations of the Aging Services Division of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS).read more.
The state Senate this week approved a measure that would broaden the number of high school graduates eligible for in-state tuition at Oklahoma colleges and universities.
Under Senate Bill 423, authored by Sen. John Sparks, individuals who receive a diploma from an Oklahoma high school will always be eligible for in-state tuition. Sparks said his bill would give more people an opportunity to further their education at Oklahoma colleges and universities and compete for high-paying jobs.
In an effort to restrain Oklahoma's state bond indebtedness, Sen. Josh Brecheen filed Senate Joint Resolution 10 this year. The Senate overwhelmingly approved the proposed constitutional amendment Wednesday which would prohibit state annual debt service payments from exceeding 4.5 percent of the average of the general fund revenue for the preceding five fiscal years. Oklahoma's current ratio of net tax-supported debt as a percentage of the five year average of unrestricted revenue stands at approximately 3.4 percent.read more.
The Oklahoma State Senate has given approval to a concurrent resolution calling on Congress to enact a balanced budget or see their pay reduced. Sen. Jerry Ellis, D-Valliant, is author of SCR 1 urging citizens to demand Congress to enact a balanced federal budget beginning in fiscal year 2013.
Cities that want to ban smoking in municipal parks would have the legal authority to do so under a measure approved by the State Senate on Wednesday. Members voted 44 to 1 in favor of Senate Bill 501 authored by Sen. Frank Simpson, R-Springer. The legislation would give local governments the authority to ban smoking on any property they own or operate, including municipal parks and sports complexes.
The Senate unanimously approved legislation Wednesday to protect the rights of veterans who are deployed. Senate Bill 466, by Sen. Frank Simpson, would not allow a soldier’s deployment time to be used against them in legal actions.
The Senate has voted unanimously to expand Oklahoma’s Child Abuse Response Team (CART) program. First launched in 2005, the program uses investigators who are highly trained in investigating child abuse, including forensic interviews of children and case development for prosecution, to oversee and coordinate the investigation of such cases.
Sen. Kim David is principal author of Senate Bill 639 which would expand the number of CART investigators at the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI).
OKLAHOMA CITY – Long-time educator Sen. Ron Sharp praised passage of legislation Monday that will help increase funding for education and other important state services. The Shawnee Republican said Senate Bill 585 is a win-win for all Oklahomans including students, taxpayers and businesses.read more.
Legislation to help give Oklahomans more information about benefits versus costs for student loan debt has been approved by the full Senate. Sen. Jim Halligan is principal author of Senate Bill 156, also known as “Truth in Lending.”
In an effort to provide additional protections for Oklahoma seniors, a measure was approved by the Senate Tuesday to allow residents in nursing homes to install electronic monitoring devices in their private rooms. Senate Bill 587, by Sen. Ron Justice, would allow for such installation if the resident or their legal representative paid for the monitoring.
Legislation approved by the state Senate on Tuesday would expand the number of events that qualify under the Oklahoma Quality Events Incentive Act.
Authored by Sen. Dan Newberry, Senate Bill 976 would help the state attract and retain major events like the 2013 Bassmaster Classic, which drew a crowd of 106,850 to Tulsa. The attendance figure was a near-record for the event.
Members of the Oklahoma Veterans Council, a coalition of Oklahoma veterans’ organizations, met at the State Capitol with Sen. Frank Simpson Monday to discuss Senate Bill 467. The measure would abolish the War Veterans Commission, which is the governing body of the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs.
The full Senate has given unanimous approval to a measure aimed at making sure voters know if someone filing for office has a criminal background. Senate Bill 287, by Sen. Susan Paddack, would require additional information on the declaration of candidacy forms. She said currently, application forms for positions appointed by the Governor require far more information than forms required for those seeking public office.
The full Senate has given approval to legislation that would reduce the state income tax rate from 5.25 percent to 4.75 percent. Senate Bill 585 by Sen. Mike Mazzei, R-Tulsa, and Sen. Rick Brinkley, R-Owasso, would be fully effective in tax year 2015 and would cut income taxes by $250 million while actually enabling increased funding for core services, like education. The measure was approved 33 to 13on Monday.
New products for delivering nicotine are not being addressed by current Oklahoma laws aimed at preventing children from using tobacco products. That would change if Senate Bill 802 becomes law. Sen. Rob Johnson, R-Yukon, is the principal author of Senate Bill 802, which was approved by the full Senate on Wednesday 26 to 15.
Too few college students and teenagers realize binge drinking can be deadly, and many may fail to seek help in an emergency because they’ve been drinking as well and are afraid of getting into trouble. That’s why Sen. Cliff Branan has authored Senate Bill 1, which was approved unanimously on Monday. The measure gives immunity to those who call to get help for a friend who may have alcohol poisoning.
The full Senate has given overwhelming support to legislation targeting those who plan crimes of mass violence and those who fail to report such plans. Senate Bill 995, by Sen. Brian Crain, carries a maximum penalty of life in prison for anyone who plans to commit a plan of mass violence at a school, place of worship, a place of employment, a sporting event, entertainment venue or any other location used for large gatherings of people.
The Senate approved two measures Tuesday that democrat Senators Constance N. Johnson and Jabar Shumate believe could jeopardize the state’s higher education funding. Senate Bills 58 and 59 remove the mandate for a Langston University presence in Tulsa and allows for the duplication of Langston University course offerings – both of which are in direct violation of a 1978 agreement with the U.S.read more.