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Press Releases

Showing: March, 2017

Although Drumright teacher Emma Akin touched the lives of countless school children throughout the country, many Oklahomans have probably never heard of her trail blazing efforts to enhance the education of African American students in segregated schools.  State Sen. James Leewright sought to raise awareness of the educator’s life and achievements recently when he welcomed a delegation of Drumright constituents to the State Senate to help honor Akin.

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The State Senate presented a resolution Thursday morning commemorating the 75th anniversary of Tinker Air Force Base. The resolution was presented by Sen. Jack Fry to Lt. Gen. Lee K. Levy, Air Force Sustainment Center Commander at Tinker Air Force Base and the senior ranking military member in the state.

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OKLAHOMA CITY- University of Oklahoma sophomore, Seth Nightengale, got a special opportunity this semester when he was selected to be in the prestigious Capitol Scholars Program.  The program gives college students the opportunity to intern in the Oklahoma Legislature, a state agency or with an advocacy group.  The Ardmore native chose to work in the Senate with Sen. Frank Simpson who he said has been a remarkable mentor. 

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State Sen. Rob Standridge applauded the State Board of Education’s decision Thursday to approve a proposed French immersion charter school in Norman. The concept for the charter school came about after the French immersion program at Reagan Elementary in Norman was cut. Parents of students who were thriving in the program worked tirelessly to continue the school’s mission through a charter school, the Le Monde Internal School. Standridge was among those supporting the application.

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State Senator Adam Pugh has been named to the Journal Record’s 2017 class of Achievers Under 40.  The Edmond Republican is one of 39 recipients who were selected this year from 139 submissions from across the state.

“It’s an incredible honor to be selected to such an innovative and dynamic group of community leaders in Oklahoma,” Pugh said.  “I appreciate the opportunity to represent Edmond and the State Senate in this year’s class of honorees and I’m thankful to the citizens of our district for their support.”

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The Senate unanimously passed legislation Wednesday to change how first-time Driving Under the Influence (DUI) offenses are handled in Oklahoma. Sen. Kim David is the author of Senate Bill 643, also known as the Impaired Driver Elimination Act 2 (IDEA2), which is strongly supported by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). The legislation would create the Impaired Driver Accountability Program (IDAP) within the Department of Public Safety (DPS).

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Sen. Kim David (R-Porter) announced Thursday that bond authorization for construction of a new state public health lab (PHL) will be considered in the Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget later this session.

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OKLAHOMA CITY – The Senate passed legislation Wednesday evening in an effort to address the number of illegal immigrants in Oklahoma as well as the hundreds and thousands of dollars of untaxed cash that those individuals send out of Oklahoma annually.  Senate Bill 547, by Sen. Paul Scott, would charge illegal immigrants and anyone else who does not present a valid personal identification a fee on their international wire transactions. 

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Oklahoma Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Schulz, R-Altus, released the following statement after receiving a resignation letter from Ralph Shortey:

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The Oklahoma Senate Democratic caucus issued a statement Wednesday through their leader, Sen. John Sparks, D-Norman, commenting on the resignation of Ralph Shortey.
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Teacher pay, teacher recruitment, reducing administrative costs among measures

The Oklahoma Senate on Wednesday approved several education related bills, including measures that address teacher pay, teacher recruitment, and the reduction of administrative costs, among other issues.

The measures approved by the Senate on Wednesday are among the education issues included in the Senate Republicans’ 2017 legislative agenda.

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The Oklahoma Legislature would have a better picture of total state debt under a measure passed unanimously Tuesday. Senate Bill 638, by Sen. Greg Treat, would require the State Bond Advisor and the Office of Management and Enterprise Services to produce an annual written debt affordability study to be presented to the Legislature and Governor by January 15 each year.

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Senate approves veterans bills

The Senate approved a trio of veterans bills Tuesday afternoon addressing various needs of Oklahoma’s military men and women. Navy veteran and Chairman of the Senate Veterans Committee, Sen. Frank Simpson, R-Springer, is the author of the measures.

Senate Bill 544 authorizes the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs (ODVA) to work with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in relocating the Talihina Veterans Center following the deaths of two residents in the last five months.

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The Senate gave unanimous approval to Senate Bill 632 Wednesday to create the “Education Compact for Kids in State Care”. Sen. Ron Sharp, R-Shawnee, said he authored the legislation to ensure that kids in transition back to their home schools after being placed within the Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs (OJA) or the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) don’t fall through the cracks in Oklahoma’s public school system.

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Building upon the success of previous legislation, the Oklahoma Senate on Tuesday approved a series of criminal justice reform bills.

The measures continue an effort by the Oklahoma Senate to examine and modify, as necessary, the state’s criminal justice system in order to address the state’s prison population and provide treatment for those in the justice system who need mental health or substance abuse services.

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The Oklahoma Senate on Tuesday approved a handful of judicial reform bills, including measures that would change the way state judges are appointed.

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A measure that would give counties the option to decide whether to allow Sunday liquor store sales has won full Senate approval. Sen. Stephanie Bice began working two years ago to help Oklahomans modernize state liquor laws, with voters overwhelmingly supporting State Question 792 last November. Senate Bill 211 represents another step in that effort, and will address an important parity issue.

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The Senate approved Senate Bill 81 Monday to better protect elementary teachers and school employees from violent students. Sen. Ron Sharp, R-Shawnee, said the legislation was requested by Oklahoma Professional Educators who noted that violence in elementary schools is increasing at an alarming rate.

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Oklahoma’s lack of a series of certifications may be keeping millions in federal transportation grants out of the state’s hands, according to State Sen. Mark Allen.

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Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Schulz on Thursday called for the immediate resignation of Senator Ralph Shortey.

Schulz, R-Altus, made the request in a letter that reads: "In light of the criminal charges filed against you today, I respectfully request on behalf of the Oklahoma State Senate your immediate resignation as Senator of District 44."

Click herefor a copy of the letter.

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