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Press Releases

Showing: April, 2015

A medical pilot program using cannabidiol, a derivative linked to marijuana, has cleared both Senate and House chambers and is now heading to the Governor’s office.

House Bill 2154, co-authored by State Rep. Jon Echols and Sen. Brian Crain, creates Katie and Cayman’s Law, and would legalize clinical trials using CBD, a non-intoxicating derivative of marijuana. Previous medical studies suggest this product can be used to effectively treat children and adults who suffer from epileptic seizures and help reduce the number and intensity of those seizures.

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Sen. Kevin Matthews released the following statement Monday afternoon following the resignation of Tulsa County Undersheriff Tim Albin. A 2009 internal review found that Albin had asked employees to modify reviews and training documentation for the reserve deputy, Robert Bates. Bates shot Eric Harris on April 2 saying he mistook his handgun for a stun gun. The incident took place in Senate District 11, which Sen. Matthews represents.

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One in every 30 children in the U.S. are homeless, and Sen. Kay Floyd wants to ensure that Oklahoma’s children don’t fall through the cracks of society but have all the services they need to grow up healthy and independent. Senate Bill 511 instructs the Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth, which is the agency that serves at-risk youth, to include recommendations for the development and improvement of services for homeless children and youth in their annual report.

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The arrest of an unlicensed bounty hunter in Oklahoma City Thursday indicates a new law is working like it’s supposed to, according to the Senate author.
The Bail Enforcement and Licensing Act, authored by Sen. Ralph Shortey in 2013, requires all bail enforcers in Oklahoma to undergo training, psychological testing and a background check before being licensed by the state Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET). Anyone working as a bail enforcer in Oklahoma without a license could be charged with a felony. The law went into effect earlier this year on Feb. 1.

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Sens. Anthony Sykes and Dan Newberry Wednesday said the Legislature has acted to protect religious liberty with the passage of Senate Bill 788 and House Bill 1007. Authored by Newberry, SB 788 would prevent any church or clergyman from being required to solemnize a marriage in violation of his or her right to the free exercise of religion as protected under the First Amendment.
Newberry said the passage of SB 788 marked an important victory for clergy members.

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School employees will soon be protected from liability for acting in their official duty at school functions under legislation signed into law Tuesday. Senate Bill 5, by retired educator Sen. Ron Sharp and Rep. Josh Cockroft, will provide immunity from liability for teachers and other school employees for use of necessary and reasonable force to control and discipline a student during any authorized school function.

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The Senate and House on Tuesday gave final approval to two proposals that would develop a system for evaluating tax credits and economic incentives to determine their effectiveness. Authored by Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman and House Speaker Jeff Hickman, Senate Bill 806 requires that any economic incentive include a measurable goal or goals when enacted.

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Gov. Fallin recently signed into law a measure to address Oklahoma’s historic teacher shortage. On Monday, Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister announced that the state still has around 1,000 vacant classroom positions this school year, and at least 500 others being filled by people who received emergency teaching certification.

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The annual Breast Cancer Awareness Day will be held at the state Capitol on Tuesday, April 21. The educational event is free to the public and provides information on prevention, treatment, support groups and other pertinent topics.

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The governor will soon be considering a measure that could give terminally ill patients one last chance of survival by giving them control over their terminal treatment options. House Bill 1074, also known as the Right-to-Try Act, would allow such patients, who have received approval from their physician, access to investigational medications, biological products or devices that have completed Food and Drug Administration phase one safety testing and remain under an approved investigation. The bill, which was approved by the Senate earlier this week, is authored by Rep.

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Statement from Sen. Kevin Matthews, Vice Chair of the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus, concerning the fatal shooting of Eric Harris by Tulsa County reserve deputy Robert Bates on April 2. The incident took place in Senate District 11, which Sen. Matthews represents.

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As the state approaches the 20th anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing, the Oklahoma Senate paused Thursday to honor and remember state workers who were injured and who died in the blast, and the many others who assisted in the rescue, search and recovery efforts and in seeking justice for the victims. Senate Resolution 27, by Sen.

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The Senate gave unanimous approval Wednesday of a measure to increase the penalty for assault against off-duty law enforcement officers. House Bill 1318, by Rep. Mike Sanders and Sen. Kyle Loveless, would make assault against an off-duty officer a felony when the crime is directly related to the officer’s official position.

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Legislation giving all state school districts the ability to expand public education options has received final Senate approval and will next move to Gov. Mary Fallin’s desk. Senate Bill 782, by Sen. Clark Jolley and Rep. Lee Denney, amends current law which only gives school districts in the state’s two largest counties, Oklahoma and Tulsa County, the ability to create charter schools.

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The 20th Biennial A. C. Hamlin Banquet, originally scheduled to be held Tuesday, April 28, 2015 at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, has been rescheduled to September 28, 2015. The reception begins at 6:00 p.m. and dinner is at 7:00 p.m. Please mark your calendars for the new date and watch for more information regarding ticket purchases.

The A. C. Hamlin Biennial Banquet is held in honor of Albert Comstock Hamlin, who was the first African American elected to the Oklahoma state Legislature (1908) and was the only black to serve until 1964.

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A bill allowing companies to use private instructors and examiners to quickly train and fill open positions that require a commercial driver’s license (CDL) is headed to the Governor’s desk.

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Former state Rep. Kevin Matthews was sworn in Wednesday as the newest Senator to represent Senate District 11 in Tulsa County. He began his legislative career when he was elected to the House of Representatives in November 2012. Matthews’ Senate oath of office was administered by the honorable Supreme Court Justice Tom Colbert.

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State Sen. Gary Stanislawski has been selected to serve on the Council of State Governments Education and Workforce Committee. The Tulsa Republican was chosen by Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman for the post that will continue through 2016.

The Council of State Governments (CSG) is the nation’s only organization serving all three branches of state government. CSG is a region-based forum that fosters the exchange of insights and ideas to help state officials shape public policy.

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“We are shocked and saddened by the passing of Rep. David Dank,” said Bingman, R-Sapulpa. “He was a dedicated legislator and a tireless advocate for taxpayers and constituents, but more importantly he was a man of honor and integrity. These qualities were evident in everything he did, from his hard work at the state Capitol to numerous other community leadership and public service efforts. Our prayers are with his family in their time of mourning.”

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A bill to help make sure that teens in foster care are encouraged to enroll in Oklahoma’s Promise has been signed into law. Senate Bill 763, by Sen. Randy Bass, D-Lawton, was approved by Gov. Mary Fallin on Friday. The measure directs the Department of Human Services to work in conjunction with the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education to encourage greater participation in the state-funded scholarship program.

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