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Press Releases

Showing: May, 2016

Senate Democratic Leader John Sparks, D-Norman, issued the following comments in response to the passage of the state’s fiscal year 2017 budget and the close of the legislative session.

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Oklahoma Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, commented on the close of the 2016 legislative session:

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State Sen. Roger Thompson has been selected to represent the Oklahoma State Senate with another national appointment. Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Schulz has chosen Thompson to serve on the Fiscal Affairs and Government Operations Committee of the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC) of the Council of State Governments (CSG).

The SLC includes the states of Alabama; Arkansas; Florida; Georgia; Kentucky; Louisiana; Mississippi; Missouri; Oklahoma; North Carolina; South Carolina; Tennessee; Texas; Virginia; and West Virginia.

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Oklahoma Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, released the following comment after the Senate approved House Bill 3168, which will allow for the issuance of up to $125 million in bonds to continue the repair and restoration of the state Capitol:

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The Senate has passed HB 2763, which creates the Revenue Stabilization Fund, with the intent of preventing future budget shortfalls like the one the state is currently experiencing. The authors are Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City, and Rep. John Michael Montgomery, R-Lawton. It passed the Senate 44-2 and now awaits the governor’s consideration.

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The Senate gave approval Thursday to a measure aimed at protecting services for the state’s most vulnerable citizens. Senate Bill 694 shields several programs administered by the Department of Human Services by mandating their FY 2016 funding levels must remain unchanged through FY 2017. Sen. AJ Griffin, R-Guthrie, Sen. Kim David, R-Wagoner, Rep. Jason Nelson, R-Oklahoma City, and Rep. Pat Ownbey, R-Ardmore, were the architects of the legislation.

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Sen. AJ Griffin, R-Guthrie, and Rep. Scott Biggs, R-Chickasha, principal authors of House Bill 2398, issued the following statement on Monday after the full Senate gave final passage to the measure which closes a loophole in Oklahoma’s sodomy law. The legislation was written in response to an Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals discussion upholding a lower court’s dismissal of a sodomy case on the grounds that Oklahoma’s rape law covers people who are unconscious and unable to give consent, but didn’t specifically address sodomy under such circumstances.

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The Senate Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget voted Friday in favor of legislation aimed at protecting students and schools from federal overreach as the result of the president’s public school restroom directive regarding transgendered students. President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman is the principal Senate author. The bill passed 20 to 15.

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The increasing popularity of drones has created new security concerns for businesses, government facilities and private citizens. On Wednesday, Gov. Fallin signed House Bill 2599 to restrict flight of unmanned aircraft over locations and businesses that are completely fenced in or have signs to prevent intruders. Sen. Ron Sharp is the principal Senate author of the bill that he says will help better protect the privacy and security of Oklahoma businesses and facilities.

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The full Senate voted Monday to approve a group of bills aimed at helping close the budget gap for the 2017 fiscal year. The finance reform measures will generate more than $250 million that can be appropriated in the 2017 budget as part of a comprehensive effort to address the state’s $1.3 billion shortfall.

Senate Finance Chair Mike Mazzei presented the measures on the floor.

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Oklahoma Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman issued the following statement Thursday, after his office and others in the Senate received questions from constituents about plans to raid the teacher retirement pension system to help balance the Fiscal Year 2017 budget:

“There is absolutely no way the Oklahoma Senate would ever consider any plan to raid the teacher retirement system to balance next year’s budget. We’ve worked too hard to strengthen TRS and reduce the unfunded liability that had threatened it in the past.

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The Oklahoma Senate Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget Thursday approved three additional measures aimed at helping close the budget gap for the 2017 fiscal year budget. The measures approved by the committee reform various tax credits and incentive programs, generating new revenues for the state.

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The Oklahoma Senate Thursday approved a measure to eliminate a tax rebate for economically at-risk oil and gas wells, which has ballooned in cost as a result of low commodity prices.

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Defendants suffering from mental illness will be able to enter two new pleas beginning November 1 following the signing of Senate Bill 1214 earlier this week. The bill, by Sen. Ron Sharp and Rep. Justin Wood, modifies the “not guilty by reason of insanity” (NGRI) defense by creating the “guilty but with mental defect” and “not guilty by reason of mental illness” defenses.

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Gov. Mary Fallin signed legislation Monday to modernize how schools, hospitals and other entities apply for money for high speed internet services through the Oklahoma Universal Service Fund (OUSF). Sen. Eddie Fields is the principal Senate author of House Bill 2616, which modifies the Oklahoma Telecommunications Act to reflect advances in technology.

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State Sen. Kevin Matthews is encouraging North Tulsa young people to take advantage of a program to help them learn more about STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and other skills and how they can tap into those to become entrepreneurs.  As part of that, he’s inviting boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 18 to participate in a field trip to Tulsa’s Hardesty Center Fab Lab this Saturday, March 7, at 9 a.m.   

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The Oklahoma Senate Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget Thursday approved reforms that would generate approximately $190 million to help address the $1.3 billion budget shortfall. The measures approved by the committee reform various tax credits and incentive programs, generating new revenues for the state.

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. Greg Treat was honored Thursday by the Innocence Project for authoring several criminal justice reforms this session.

“I’m humbled to have been recognized by the Innocence Project,” said Treat, R-Oklahoma City. “These bills will help lower incarceration rates and prison costs while still holding offenders accountable for their crimes and preserving public safety. These will also ensure that once nonviolent offenders pay their debt to society that they can go on with their lives, find employment and become productive taxpaying citizens."

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On Tuesday, the Senate gave unanimous final approval to legislation that will create a new defense for those who suffer from mental illness. Senate Bill 1214, by Sen. Ron Sharp and Justin Wood, will modify the “not guilty by reason of insanity” (NGRI) defense in Oklahoma by adding a “guilty but with mental defect” and “not guilty by reason of mental illness” defense.

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