Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman has announced the appointment of University of Oklahoma economist Cynthia Rogers to the Incentive Evaluation Commission. Rogers has been appointed to a term that will expire in June, 2020.
Bingman said he was confident Rogers would provide exceptional leadership as a member of the Commission. Rogers has had a long and distinguished career in academia, with extensive work on economic development, and state and local tax policy research.read more.
OKLAHOMA CITY Sen. Kevin Matthews believes citizens absolutely have the right to protect themselves when their lives or their loved ones are in immediate danger. However, he does not feel that people should be able to use the law as a defense when they provoke a violent situation or had other options available to them, such as calling the police, to avoid using force.
With the 2016 legislative session quickly approaching, the Senate has completed its bill filing period. Thursday, January 21 was the deadline, resulting in the filing of 704 Senate bills and 42 Senate Joint Resolutions. A total of 636 Senate Bills and 31 Senate Joint Resolutions carried over from the 2015 session.
Friends, family, and supporters looked on Thursday as Senator-elect J.J. Dossett was officially sworn in to represent District 34 in the Oklahoma State Senate. Dossett, D-Owasso, won the seat in a special election held January 12, becoming the first Democrat chosen to represent that district since 1990.
“I am extremely grateful for the support I received and for the faith the citizens of District 34 have placed in me,” Dossett said. “I don’t take it for granted, and I will always endeavor to be the strongest voice possible for all those I represent here in the Senate.” read more.
Sen. David Holt is proposing a $10,000 teacher pay raise, and he has introduced a package of six pieces of legislation to implement the pay raise without a tax increase, using a multi-year, multi-faceted approach that can be considered this legislative session. Oklahoma teachers have not received a pay raise since 2008 and salaries now lag behind the national average by more than $10,000.
The chair of the Senate Education Committee has filed legislation designed to help more Oklahoma schools attract high quality teachers and enhance course offerings. Senate Bill 1384 would help schools attain these goals by giving local districts autonomy over mergers enabling the combination of administrative and support services without requiring any schools to close.
Sen. Kyle D. Loveless (R-Oklahoma City) Thursday unveiled the details of his legislative efforts to reform Oklahoma’s civil asset forfeiture laws.
In May, Loveless introduced Senate Bill 838, the Personal Asset Protection Act. The bill has been the subject of intense debate during the interim.
Sen. David Holt has introduced Senate Joint Resolution 44, which would ask the people of Oklahoma to set the cap on the state’s Rainy Day Fund at 15 percent of the total state budget (approximately $24 billion). Currently, the Rainy Day Fund’s 15 percent cap is measured against the artificially smaller number of “general revenue fund certification” that was just $5.6 billion for the most recent budget, less than a quarter of the dollar amount actually spent by the state.
OKLAHOMA CITY – Three students from Senate District 18 were recently appointed to serve as delegates on the newly-formed Oklahoma State Department of Education Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council. Olivia Kuester from Coweta Junior High, Kristen Webb from Haskell High School and Amber Hatton-Hunt representing Wagoner High School/Indian Capital Tech attended their first meeting on Thursday morning in the Blue Room of the State Capitol. read more.
Sen. Jason Smalley, R-Stroud, released the following statement Friday following the announcement that four Wal-Marts will be closed in his Senate District 28. The company will be closing a total of 269 stores, which includes 154 in the U.S. and six in Oklahoma.
“The closing of multiple Wal-Mart stores in Senate District 28 and surrounding districts is extremely disappointing. The loss of jobs is going to affect numerous families and take away opportunities for these communities to grow.read more.
Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Schulz today announced his intention to file legislation that would allow most statewide officials to serve up to 12 years in office. Schulz said his proposal would not apply to the office of the governor, or corporation commissioners. Oklahoma corporation commissioners may currently serve terms of up to 12 years.
OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. Marty Quinn was recently appointed to serve on the Joint Legislative Task Force on The Grand River Dam Authority by Senate President Pro Tem Mike Schulz. The Republican legislator from Claremore replaces Sen. Earl Garrison.
The task force was established to study the functions, activities, policies, procedures and expenditures performed by the district and any related issue the task force deems appropriate.read more.
A legislator working to improve Oklahoma’s forfeiture laws said the U.S. Department of Justice’s recent decision to suspend the Federal Equitable Sharing Program was a step in the right direction, but reform of state statutes is still needed. The federal program allowed state and local law enforcement agencies to partner with federal law enforcement in prosecuting civil asset forfeitures under federal law instead of using state law. The program also allowed local agencies to receive up to 80 percent of the proceeds from those forfeitures.
State Sen. Roger Thompson has been appointed to a national task force examining local and state revenues. Oklahoma State Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Schulz nominated Thompson to serve on the National Conference of State Legislatures Task Force on State and Local Taxation.read more.