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Press Releases

Showing: April, 2013

OKLAHOMA CITY – Statement from Sen. Ron Sharp on final passage Tuesday of SB 1062, creating the Administrative Workers’ Compensation Act, and the Senate’s approval last week of House Bill 2032 reducing the state income tax.  The Senate approved the Workers’ Comp bill Tuesday and it will now go to the Governor’s office.  However, the Senate amended the income tax cut bill so the House has to vote on it again before it can move on to Gov. Fallin’s desk. 

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Gov. Mary Fallin’s desk is the next stop for legislation meant to encourage underage drinkers to call for help if one of their friends becomes unresponsive. Senate Bill 1, by Sen. Cliff Branan and Rep. Mike Jackson, was given final passage with a unanimous Senate vote on Tuesday. Branan said the measure would protect an individual from being charged for underage drinking if they call for help for a friend who may have consumed lethal amounts of alcohol.

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Several members of the state Senate wore pink Tuesday in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Day at the state Capitol. This year marked the 5th anniversary of the special event started, and chaired each year, by former state senator and breast cancer survivor, Judy Eason-McIntire.

The Senate approved Senate Concurrent Resolution 24, authored by Sen. Jabar Shumate, Rep. Anastasia Pittman and Rep. Kevin Matthews, designating the special educational day at the Capitol.

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The state Senate moved Tuesday to abolish Oklahoma’s judicial workers’ compensation system. Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman’s Senate Bill 1062, the Administrative Workers’ Compensation Act, replaces Oklahoma’s adversarial court process with an administrative system. Oklahoma and Tennessee are the only two states left in the nation currently employing a judicial process for the resolution of workers’ compensation claims.

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A bipartisan group of state senators issued the following comments on Tuesday’s passage of Senate Bill 1062, which is the latest attempt at workers’ compensation reform in Oklahoma.

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Legislation giving communities local control over smoking in public parks and municipal facilities has been signed into law. Gov. Mary Fallen signed Senate Bill 501, by Sen. Frank Simpson and Rep. Pat Ownbey, on Monday. The measure also places Fallin’s Executive Order prohibiting the use of all tobacco products in state-owned or leased buildings, land and vehicles into state law.

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A measure to help better address suicide in the state will soon be law. Gov. Fallin signed Senate Bill 181 last week. The measure, by Sen. Kim David, will extend the Oklahoma Suicide Prevention Council until 2020 as well as increase the number of members to represent the special needs of more citizens in the state.

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Senator Susan Paddack, D- Ada, issued the following statement on the amendment and passage of her bill, Senate Bill 408, today by the Oklahoma House of Representatives:

“I was surprised today to see that my bill, Senate Bill 408, was amended to include language which would allow school personnel to carry guns in our schools.

That language came from a House bill that was not heard in the Senate this session.

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Oklahoma Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman issued the following statement Wednesday following Senate passage of a responsible income tax cut.

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Sen. Dan Newberry today issued the following statement after the Senate’s passage of House 2032. The bill would cut the top income tax rate from 5.25 percent to 5.0 percent on January 1, 2015, and to 4.85 percent, on January 1, 2016, contingent on state revenues.

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Under legislation passed by the Oklahoma state Senate on Wednesday, the future maintenance and management of state-owned assets would be prioritized and made more efficient through a central Long-Range Capital Planning Commission.

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Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman issued the following statement Wednesday following passage of Senate Bill 1062, the Administrative Workers’ Compensation Act, in the House of Representatives. Bingman’s workers’ compensation overhaul, authored in the House by Speaker T.W. Shannon, passed the House by a vote of 74-24. The bill now returns to the Senate for final approval before being sent to the Governor.

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Gov. Mary Fallin has signed legislation to address pricing disparities between orally and intravenously-administered cancer medications. Sen. Greg Treat, author of Senate Bill 765, explained that due to certain insurance classifications, oral cancer medications may be far more costly for patients than intravenous treatments, even when the same medicines are used.

Treat said his legislation will establish parity in pricing for medications that can potentially save lives.

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The full Senate voted to improve and reform Oklahoma’s A-F grades for public schools. Sen. Clark Jolley, the original author of the A-F legislation, said the idea was to help parents more easily understand how their children’s schools were doing.

Jolley and Rep. Lee Denney, along with other lawmakers and representatives from the governor’s office, formed a working group to examine concerns raised by superintendents, educators and others and determine what modifications should be made. The results are contained in House Bill 1658, co-authored by Jolley and Denney.

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The Senate has approved legislation designed to curb the widespread abuse of prescription drugs in Oklahoma. House Bill 1419 is a bipartisan effort to address fraud and the practice of “doctor shopping” by strengthening the state’s prescription monitoring program.

Sen. Rob Standridge, Senate author of HB 1419, said the proposal represents a strong step in the right direction, but that the state must address more broadly the epidemic of prescription drug abuse in its overall public health strategy.

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The full Senate has given unanimous approval to House Bill 2228, creating the “Protect Against Pedophiles Act.” The measure, by Senator Kyle Loveless and Rep. Joe Dorman, gives schools a greater ability to protect Oklahoma children from predators by conducting background checks for adults volunteers. The measure was approved on Monday, 44 to 0.

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The Senate this week approved legislation allowing rural communities to add volunteer firefighters. House Bill 1904 will allow towns that have reached their limit of 25 volunteer firefighters to add an additional five firefighters if needed.

Sen. John Sparks, Senate author of HB 1904, said the measure would allow communities that have battled some of the most threatening wildfires in recent years to strengthen their ability to defend life and property.

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Legislation enabling convicted criminals to request DNA testing of evidence in their cases has been approved by the State Senate. House Bill 1068, by Sen. Jim Halligan and Rep. Lee Denney, would enable those convicted of violent crimes and sentenced to 25 years or more to request DNA testing of evidence. The measure was approved unanimously on Wednesday.

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The Senate gave overwhelming approval to legislation Wednesday that would give foster parents an additional financial incentive for taking in foster children. House Bill 1919, by House Speaker T.W. Shannon and Sen. A.J. Griffin, would provide a tax credit for foster parents.

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The Senate this week approved legislation establishing regulations for the Lifeline Program – a federal program administered by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. The program, widely known as ‘Obama phones’, provides phone service for qualifying low-income individuals.

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