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Press Releases

Showing: May, 2014

Legislation that will encourage water districts and municipalities to expand the state’s supply of water through reuse and conservation has been signed by the governor.

Sen. Rob Standridge, author of Senate Bill 1187, said his proposal establishes state policy to facilitate reuse efforts, and specifies permitting requirements for projects.
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Sens. Josh Brecheen and Anthony Sykes issued the following statements after today’s Senate approval of House Bill 3399. The measure, approved by a vote of 31 to 10, repeals the Common Core standards and prevents federal control over standards and assessments.

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The Senate concluded the 2nd session of the 54th Legislature a week ahead of schedule Friday.

President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman said the session was challenging, yet productive, citing many accomplishments passed into law this year, including:

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Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman comments on House Joint Resolution 1033, which will allow for the issuance of up to $120 million in bond indebtedness with a 10-year repayment term to repair the state Capitol.

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OSSAA transparency bill signed

The Governor signed legislation Friday that would provide more transparency of how school athletic funds are used by athletic associations. House Bill 2730, by Rep. Bobby Cleveland and Sen. Ron Sharp, was drafted following concerns raised against the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Athletic Association (OSSAA) during a House interim study last fall. The OSSAA is responsible for supervising the extracurricular activities, including athletics, of grades seven through twelve for Oklahoma’s public schools.
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“We disagree with Mr. Fent’s assessment and are hopeful the courts will as well. When the people of Oklahoma added this provision to our state’s constitution in 1992, it was clear that it was meant to protect Oklahomans from tax hikes, not tax cuts. We believe the courts will agree that this lawsuit represents a manipulation of the intent of this constitutional provision and will be thrown out, allowing Oklahomans to see a reduction in their taxes as promised.” –Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa.

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Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman comments on Senate passage of House Bill 2562, which sets the state’s gross production tax rate at 2 percent for any new wells drilled in the state for the first 36 months of production, followed by a permanent rate of 7 percent thereafter.

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Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman issued the following statement on passage of Senate Bill 2131, which gives $36.8 million in pay raises to more than 12,000 state employees at 25 agencies ranging from 5% to 13.5%, with most raises based upon the 2013 state employee compensation study.

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Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman issued the following statement on the passage of House Bill 2630, which creates a 401k-style, defined-contribution pension system for new state employees. Current employees, teachers and those designated as “hazardous duty” will all remain under the existing defined-benefit pension system.

“We worked tirelessly this legislative session with all stakeholders to ensure this legislation protects current state employees and gives them more confidence in their pension’s solvency, while also helping us attract the next generation of workers.

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Sen. Rick Brinkley, Chair of the Senate Pension Committee, issued the following comments after presenting House Bill 2630 for final approval by the Senate on Wednesday. The bill creates a defined-contribution pension system for new employees, while current state employees, teachers and those designated as “hazardous duty” will remain under the existing defined-benefit plan.

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Sen. Gary Stanislawski, R-Tulsa, is Vice-Chair of the Senate Education Committee, and is the Senate author of a measure modifying Oklahoma’s Reading Sufficiency Act. He issued the following statement following Wednesday’s override of Gov. Fallin’s veto of House Bill 2625.

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After advancing through both houses of the Legislature today, a proposal that will enable water districts and municipalities to more efficiently undertake water reuse projects will move to the desk of the governor. Sen. Rob Standridge, author of Senate Bill 1187, said reuse should be an important part of the state’s long term vision for water.

The bill establishes policy to facilitate reuse projects, including permitting requirements.

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Senate approves 2015 Budget Bill

Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman issued the following statement on passage of SB 2127, the general appropriations bill that puts into law the state budget agreement reached by the Senate, House and governor’s office last week. The measure was approved 31-9 on Tuesday.

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Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman sent a letter today to the state Corporation Commission asking for a Notice of Inquiry regarding wind energy development in Oklahoma.

Sen. Bingman authored Senate Bill 1440 this legislative session in an attempt to study wind development more closely before wind farms are constructed, especially close to more populated areas in Oklahoma. The legislation was temporarily shelved in order to allow more time to study the issue.

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Sen. Gary Stanislawski, R-Tulsa, is Vice-Chair of the Senate Education Committee, and is the Senate author of a measure modifying Oklahoma’s Reading Sufficiency Act. He issued the following statement following Gov. Fallin’s announcement that she had vetoed House Bill 2625 on Tuesday.

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Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City, released the following statement today regarding the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum.

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Caregiver bill becomes law

A new law to help keep caregivers better informed about important medical information could help reduce hospital readmissions. Senate Bill 1536, by Sen. Brian Crain, R-Tulsa, and Rep. Harold Wright, R-Weatherford, which was approved by the governor, allows patients to designate a caregiver upon formal admission. The hospital must also notify the designated caregiver of the patients discharge and consult with the caregiver about aftercare.

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The full Senate honored one of its former members on Wednesday for his historic preservation efforts in the state Capitol, and for his work to create an important art collection to adorn the building. Senate Resolution 90, authored by Pres. Pro Tempore Brian Bingman and coauthored by the full Senate, honored Sen. Charles Ford for his work restoring the Senate Chamber and other areas of the Capitol to their original architectural design, as well as raising $2.5 million in
private donations to create a significant collection of original art telling the story of Oklahoma.

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Legislation to combat fraud and waste in Oklahoma’s unemployment system has been signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin. House Bill 2505, sponsored by Sen. Dan Newberry, enacts a number of important reforms to limit exploitation and ensure benefits are directed to those who need them.

The measure requires the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission to review at least five percent of cases where misconduct has been alleged in claims. Additionally, claimants must sign a form stating they will not commit fraud in claims.
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With Governor Mary Fallin’s signature, a bill subjecting all law enforcement dash cam videos to the Open Records Act has become law. Previously, a statutory loophole exempted all Oklahoma Highway Patrol videos. The authors of HB 2676 were Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City, and Rep. Ken Walker, R-Tulsa. The measure received overwhelming approval in both chambers, passing 38-4 in the Senate and 76-6 in the House.
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