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Press Releases

Showing: March, 2016

“Both the Senate and the House have passed legislation approving the new English Language Arts and Mathematics standards. Additionally both resolutions included suggested improvements and instructions intended to assure that the State Department of Education provides assistance to educators in developing their curriculum, and review clarifications and comments.

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The Senate unveiled a portrait Tuesday of the nation’s first African American Deputy Marshal, Bass Reeves.

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State Sen. Roger Thompson has been honored for his outstanding support of Oklahoma farmers and ranchers during the 2015 legislative session. Thompson, R-Okemah, was one of 12 state leaders and legislators presented the Oklahoma Farm Bureau Champion Award during the organizations Legislative Conference this month.

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Senate president Pro Tempore Brian Bingman issued the following statement after the full Senate approved supplemental appropriations for Education and Corrections on Tuesday.

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Legislation to help families get assisted outpatient treatment for adult relatives with mental illness before a situation reaches a crisis has been approved by the full Senate. House Bill 1697, by Sen. AJ Griffin and Rep. Lee Denney, was approved unanimously by the full Senate on Tuesday. The legislation is named the Labor Commissioner Mark Costello Act. Costello’s adult son, Christian, who struggled with mental illness for years, is charged in his father’s 2015 death.

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The state Senate Wednesday approved Senate Bill 1113, which allows a citizen to recover attorney’s fees and associated costs if they successfully challenge a civil forfeiture.

“I am glad the Senate took a small step toward reform this morning,” said Sen. Kyle D. Loveless (R-Oklahoma City). “I have worked for nearly a year on this issue and believe there is still work to be done to correct this flawed law.”

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The full Senate has given unanimous support to legislation to better protect victims of domestic violence. Senate Bill 1491, also known as Kristen’s Law, was authored by Sen. Bryce Marlatt and changes the legal definition of pattern of physical abuse. The bill was approved Wednesday 44 to 0.

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The full Senate has approved Sen. David Holt’s legislation to make “revenge porn” against the law in Oklahoma. Approved Wednesday on a vote of 42 to 2, Senate Bill 1257 criminalizes the dissemination of non-consensual pornography, sometimes called “revenge porn.”

“Non-consensual pornography is a purely destructive act,” said Holt, R-Oklahoma City. “It targets women and it should be a crime. Prosecutors have told me that our current laws are inadequate, and I hope we can get this legislation through to change that.”

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Two bills reforming parts of Oklahoma’s juvenile justice system won approval by the full Senate on Wednesday. Sen. AJ Griffin is the author of Senate Bills 1200 and 1233. She said the measures are part of a comprehensive juvenile justice reform effort based on the findings and recommendations of a two-year task force.

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A proposal to combine multiple state law enforcement agencies into one single agency received the stamp of approval today in the Senate. Senate Bill 1561, by Sen. Ralph Shortey and Rep. Mike Christian, would create the Oklahoma Department of Law Enforcement (ODLE), and bring three separate law enforcement agencies under one umbrella, merging them into four divisions reporting to a single superintendent who will have supervisory authority over the agency. The proposed legacy divisions are:

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Sen. Mike Schulz, R-Altus, has won approval for a proposed constitutional amendment allowing most statewide office holders to remain in office 12 years, the amount legislators can serve, before being term limited. The measure was approved by the full Senate Wednesday on a vote of 32 to 12.

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Governor Mary Fallin, Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman and House Speaker Jeff Hickman today announced an agreement to use about $78.5 million from the state’s Rainy Day Fund to partially offset budget cuts to common education and corrections for the remainder of this fiscal year.

Under the agreement, the Department of Education is to receive $51 million and the Department of Corrections (DOC) is to receive $27.5 million.

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Oklahomans will be able to fly commercially with an Oklahoma driver license under legislation passed by the Senate today and authored by Sen. David Holt. Senate Bill 1362 passed the Senate 35-8. In a carefully crafted compromise, the legislation allows Oklahomans to voluntarily choose to retain a license that is not compliant with the federal REAL ID Act or choose to obtain one that is.

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The Senate approved a joint resolution Tuesday to put on the November ballot a state question to make the Commissioner of Labor a gubernatorial appointed position. Sen. Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, is the author of Senate Joint Resolutions 65.

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The full Senate approved legislation Wednesday to ensure Oklahomans have a say in tribal compacts with the state. Sen. Greg Treat is the author of the Senate Bill 1326, which he said will mirror the founding fathers’ instructions for federal tribal compact negotiations.

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A measure to improve transparency of state agency rules was approved Tuesday by the full Senate. Sen. Nathan Dahm is the author of the bill that he says will also allow the legislature more oversight of agency rules.

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OKLAHOMA CITY –  Rachel Carlile, a student at Carl Albert State College (Poteau Campus) was recognized on March 7 at the state Capitol by Sen. Joseph Silk, the Oklahoma Council of Two-Year College Presidents, and the Oklahoma Association of Community Colleges for academic excellence during her two year college program.
Rachel was among 40 students nominated by their college president to be on the All Oklahoma/ USA Coca-Cola Academic Team. This prestigious recognition is given to outstanding students who maintain a 3.5 cumulative G.P.A.

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The Senate has passed Senate Joint Resolution 44, authored by Sen. David Holt, by a vote of 46-1. The legislation, approved Monday, would give the people of Oklahoma the opportunity to measure the current 15 percent cap on the state’s Rainy Day Fund against the total state budget of approximately $24 billion.

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Senate Democratic Leader John Sparks announced Monday he’s submitted a formal request to Superintendent of Public Education Joy Hofmeister for a fiscal impact statement on bills currently before the Oklahoma legislature regarding vouchers, or the inaccurately named Education Savings Accounts.

“This request specifically asks for the direct fiscal impact these voucher bills will have on Oklahoma’s public schools once they are fully implemented,” said Sparks, D-Norman, “not the fiscal impact they will have on the state budget.”

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On Monday, the Senate approved legislation modifying the Taxpayer Transparency Act to include federal funding for state agencies. Senate Bill 1342, by Sen. Greg Treat, would provide more transparency into how federal funds are utilized by state agencies.

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