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Press Releases

Showing: February, 2014

The full Senate voted 40-0 Thursday in favor of legislation requiring advance notice before state parks can be closed. Sen. Jerry Ellis presented SB 1959 both in committee and on the floor. The measure, authored by Sen. Sean Burrage, D-Claremore, and co-authored by Ellis, D-Valliant, would require the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department to notify local governments before closing any state park, parkland or public recreation facility within the state agency’s jurisdiction.

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Senate Passes Tax Cut Legislation

The Senate today passed legislation that would lower the state’s income tax rate to below 5 percent if the state’s economy continues to improve.

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Senate leader files tax cut legislation

Today, Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman filed legislation that keeps the promise of tax reduction to Oklahoma citizens made by the Legislature and governor last year.

Senate Bill 1246 would reduce the state’s income tax rate from 5.25 percent to 5 percent as soon as Oklahoma’s fiscal environment returns to the level it was last year when the agreement was first reached.

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The full Senate has given bipartisan, unanimous approval to a measure that would prohibit registered sex offenders from legally changing their names. Senate Bill 1421, by Sen. Kyle Loveless, was approved on Wednesday on a vote of 44-0.

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. Frank Simpson was one of six senators recently appointed to the newly created Capitol Construction Oversight Committee.  Legislation (Senate Bill 2044) authorizing a $160 million bond issue for the much-needed repairs to the state building was approved by the Senate last Thursday and will now be considered by the House. 

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The state Senate today approved legislation that would allow a monument to the Bill of Rights to be placed on the grounds of the State Capitol.
Sen. Patrick Anderson, author of Senate Bill 1159, said the proposal was a unifying project signifying the importance of the individual freedoms enshrined by the Bill of Rights.

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Earlier this week, the Senate Appropriations Committee gave unanimous approval to a measure seeking to lower Oklahoma’s high female incarceration rate. Senate Bill 1278, by Sen. Kim David, would authorize the Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES) to enter into a Pay-for-Success (PFS) contract pilot program for those criminal justice programs that have had proven outcomes with reducing public sector costs associated with female incarceration.

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The Senate Public Safety Committee passed legislation Thursday barring cell phone use in Oklahoma school zones.

Senate Bill 1601 makes it illegal for anyone operating a motor vehicle to use a wireless communications device in a school zone. The bill does not apply to cars that are stopped, drivers who are using hands free devices or specifically-listed emergency calls.

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The Senate approved legislation Thursday that would authorize the issuance of a bond to repair Oklahoma’s state Capitol, which has long been plagued with structural problems.

Additionally, Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman announced the formation of a Senate Capitol Construction Oversight Select Committee to monitor estimates and expenditures as they arise to ensure the funds are spent prudently.

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The Senate Public Safety Committee approved legislation Wednesday that could save hundreds of Oklahoma lives. Senate Bill 442, by Sen. Ron Sharp, would make it unlawful to compose, send or read a text message while driving.

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OKLAHOMA CITY – The Senate approved a measure Wednesday to protect the visitation rights of noncustodial parents.  Senate Bill 1612, by Sen. Ron Sharp, would require custodial parents to provide the noncustodial parents, who are current on their child support, with the court ordered visitation schedule. 

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OKLAHOMA CITY – The Senate gave unanimous approval to legislation Wednesday that would help better prepare students for jobs in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).  Senate Bill 1181, by Sen. Ron Sharp, seeks to put into effect some of the recommendations made by the governor’s Science and Technology Council, a group focused on enhancing workforce development through the strengthening of STEM education programs at K-12 and college levels. 

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Time is running out for Oklahomans who want a say in whether or not a horse slaughter plant should be built in their community. Sen. Randy Bass is the author of Senate Joint Resolution 66, which has been assigned to the Senate Committee on Agriculture. So far the measure has not been given a hearing, and if the bill isn’t heard in committee by next Monday, the issue will likely be dead for the session.

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A portrait of the late Pearl Carter Scott, one of the country’s youngest pilots and a former Chickasaw legislator, will now grace the walls of the Oklahoma State Capitol following the unveiling ceremony Wednesday in the House of Representatives. The portrait, painted by Oklahoma artist Christopher Nick, was a gift of the Chickasaw Nation, Governor Bill Anoatubby and Rep. Ray McCarter, Ed.D.

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The Senate Appropriations Committee today approved a proposal to complete the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum with one-time monies from the state’s Unclaimed Property Fund.

The fund, which is comprised of lost and unclaimed monies and no tax or fee revenue, will allow the project to be completed without further obligating the taxpayers and without taking any federal funds. Senate Bill 1651 will take $40 million out of the fund, which will be matched by $40 million in private donations, to help pay for completion of the project.

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Senate Passes Pension Reform Legislation

New state employees would be able to utilize a portable 401(k)-style retirement plan under legislation passed in the state Senate on Wednesday. Senate Bill 2120 will move state employees hired after Nov. 1, 2015 away from the traditional defined benefit to a defined contribution plan, similar to the private sector.

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The Democrats of the Oklahoma State Senate have chosen Sen. John Sparks as leader-elect of the Caucus. Sparks, of Norman, was elected during a meeting of the Senate Democratic Caucus on Monday. He will succeed Sen. Sean Burrage of Claremore, who is not seeking re-election to his seat. Sparks will take over from Burrage at the close of the current legislative session.

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The Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday approved legislation that would modify the existing income tax credit for investments in clean burning fuel property, including compressed natural gas, to encourage public access to CNG fuel.

Under current law, the credit may be claimed for fueling equipment used exclusively for a private fleet. Senate Bill 1711 would allow the credit to be claimed only if the fuel is also made available for sale to the public.

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The Senate gave unanimous approval to legislation Wednesday that would help better prepare students for jobs in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Senate Bill 1181, by Sen. Ron Sharp, seeks to put into effect some of the recommendations made by the governor’s Science and Technology Council, a group focused on enhancing workforce development through the strengthening of STEM education programs at K-12 and college levels.

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The Senate Finance Committee has passed legislation that will help match Oklahomans with jobs identified by the state Department of Commerce as critical occupations.

Senate Bill 1639 would create the Quality Workforce Act, which would incentivize Oklahoma companies to pay for employees to gain a degree or industry certificate in high-need job areas.

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