The Republican and Democratic leaders of the Oklahoma State Senate commented on the passing of former Sen. Sam Helton, D-Lawton:read more.
State Senator Frank Simpson has been recognized by the Department of Defense for the second consecutive year for his work on public policy changes that positively impact the quality of life of service members and their families residing in Oklahoma.
Ronald T. Keohane, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, directed that the award be delivered to Simpson.
Nearly half of Oklahoma counties, 32 of the 77, are considered food urban/rural deserts where citizens have limited or no access to fresh food and produce. One of those areas is north Tulsa, and Sen. Kevin Matthews requested an interim study to find ways to help his district and others around the state through the use of urban gardens.
The Senate Transportation Committee held an interim study Wednesday to look at the both the costs and the benefits of the Heartland Flyer, the AmTrack line that brought back passenger rail service between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth after a 20 year absence.
Sen. Frank Simpson, R-Springer, requested the study. His district includes Ardmore, one of the stops on the Heartland Flyer line. That community and Oklahoma City are both making millions of dollars in infrastructure investments in their railway stations and other related improvements to capitalize on the rail line.
Senator Larry Boggs welcomed the news that the Department of Corrections (DOC) will give one-time stipends of $1,750 to agency employees, saying the move builds upon the success of a 2014 bill that provided recurring pay raises to correctional officers and other state employees.read more.
Lawmakers heard testimony from members of the insurance industry, consumer advocacy organizations and citizens Tuesday as they examined an issue many Oklahomans may not be aware of—how insurance companies use credit scores and other financial information, including buying habits, to decide a policy holder’s car insurance rates.read more.
A joint committee of Senate and House members met Tuesday to study state employee insurance plans and how to better serve the health needs of state and education employees while also controlling health care costs to the state. The study was requested by Sen. Kim David, Chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, and Rep. Michael Rogers, R-Broken Arrow.
Sen. Larry Boggs has officially begun his second term after being officially sworn in during a special oath of office ceremony at the Capitol on Wednesday.
“I am honored to be able to continue my service in the Senate on behalf the citizens of District 7,” Boggs said. “While we have many challenges ahead, we also have the opportunity to strengthen our public policies so that when our economy does rebound, Oklahoma will be able to build on that growth, creating jobs and building a better future for citizens.”read more.
Members of the Senate Health and Human Services met Tuesday to hear from local healthcare organizations about the importance of the health center uncompensated care fund (UCF) to the health and well-being of Oklahomans. The Oklahoma Department of Health stopped distributing payments to federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) for health care to the uninsured following the second mid-year revenue failure but resumed payments for services rendered in July.
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Senate Republicans elected their leadership members earlier this week, and Sen. Nathan Dahm will continue his role as a Majority Whip. The Broken Arrow Republican was first elected to serve in the position in 2014.read more.
A child abuse registry created in 2010 to help child care providers screen out potential employees with findings of abuse or neglect has glaring gaps that could leave many Oklahoma children at risk. That’s according to Sen. AJ Griffin, who requested an interim study to look at the issue. The Senate Health and Human Services Committee heard testimony Tuesday about the child abuse registry known as Joshua’s List, named for a two-year-old killed by a family child care home provider.read more.
Nationwide, more than 70 percent of wrongful convictions in criminal cases were tied to misidentification by eyewitnesses. In Oklahoma, that’s the case in about 30 percent of such cases. On Monday, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony on the need for law enforcement to adopt proven methods aimed at improving the reliability of eyewitness identification. State Sen. David Holt requested the interim study.read more.
Oklahoma’s concurrent enrollment tuition waiver program allows qualifying high school juniors and seniors to enroll in college classes before they actually graduate. Eligible seniors can actually get tuition waivers for up to six credit hours a semester. The idea is to encourage high school students to jump start their college education while saving their families money.read more.
The Senate Education Committee Wednesday held an interim study on child sexual abuse in Oklahoma’s schools.
“Creating a safe environment in our schools is a top priority,” said Sen. Kyle D. Loveless (R-Oklahoma City), who requested the study. “As the father of two daughters, I want to know they are safe and learning while at school-that’s why I will continue to work on this issue.”
Much of the study focused on preventing abusers from moving from district to district.
State Sen. Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, issued the following statement after the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled pro-life legislation approved in 2015 was unconstitutional because it covered multiple subjects. Treat was principal author of Senate Bill 642.