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Press Releases

Showing: January, 2019

Senate Republicans have unveiled their agenda for the 2019 legislative session. State Sen. Stephanie Bice, who holds dual leadership roles as Finance Chair and Assistant Majority Floor Leader, said the legislative priorities her caucus has identified will include key reforms, a continued commitment to education and an emphasis on increased transparency and accountability.

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State Sen. Casey Murdock said legislation giving counties an opportunity to opt out of Oklahoma’s medical marijuana law approved last year was his effort to represent the will of the people in Senate District 27.

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Senate Republicans will increase accountability in state government by creating a legislative budget office and will protect and honor the state’s $2.9 billion investment in education as part of their 2019 legislative session.

Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat and members of the GOP Caucus on Tuesday announced a four-point agenda for the upcoming legislative session.

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Legislation has been filed to bring Oklahoma’s poultry laws in line with U.S. Department of Agriculture standards. Sen. Ron Sharp (R-Shawnee) authored Senate Bill 995 to provide small farm exemptions from the Poultry Products Inspection Act, if the small farm abides by certain sanitary standards and only processes their own poultry.

Sharp said if the state fails to update poultry laws, it could jeopardize poultry famers from qualifying for federal funds and contracts.

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Following the discovery of a $30 million slush fund at the Department of Health last year, a multi-county grand jury made seven recommendations to prevent future financial deceit by state agencies.  Sen. Paul Scott has authored legislation to implement one of those recommendations by punishing state employees who hide public funds under their control.  

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Following the discovery of a $30 million slush fund at the state Department of Health last year, a multi-county grand jury made seven recommendations to prevent future financial deceit by state agencies. Sen. Paul Scott has authored legislation to implement one of those recommendations by punishing state employees who hide public funds under their control.

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In an effort to decrease the number of injuries and accidents caused by people passing stopped school buses, Sen. Paul Scott has authored Senate Bill 947. The bill will increase the penalty for overtaking a stopped school bus from $100 to $500.

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State Senator and Legislative Black Caucus Chair George E. Young, Sr. released the following statement regarding a video that surfaced this week on social media of a University of Oklahoma student in blackface.

“As members of the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus, we stand firm with the members of OU Black Student Association in stating our disappointment in the recent news of the blatant display of racism.

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State Sen. J.J. Dossett has filed legislation to assure students, parents and educators that the results of a single high-stakes reading test won’t cause children to be held back. Dossett, a former teacher, said when the Reading Sufficiency Act (RSA) was originally approved in 2011, the idea was to use a federally-mandated reading test to determine whether kids could continue to the fourth grade.

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Bergstrom visits J-M Mushroom Farm

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Sen. Micheal Bergstrom toured J-M Farms this week, getting a firsthand look at Miami’s local mushroom producer.  Bergstrom was hosted by Scott Englebrecht and McKinzie Koons.

 “J-M Farms is a vital part of our community here in northeastern Oklahoma, as well as across the state and region,” said Bergstrom, R-Adair.  “It provides approximately 600 jobs directly and indirectly in the area and ships more than 28 million pounds of product annually within Oklahoma and nine surrounding states.”

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Sen. Ron Sharp is continuing his push this session to save taxpayers from paying for special elections when state legislators leave office before their term is up. Senate SB 363 requires state Senators or Representatives who resign, are removed from office, or are expelled, to pay the remaining balance of their campaign fund to the State Election Board to offset the costs of the resulting special election.

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Senate bills filed for 2019 session

The Senate has completed filing bills for the first session of the 57th Legislature. The deadline was Thursday, January 17. A total of 1040 Senate Bills and 21 Senate Joint Resolutions were filed. In 2017, a total of 831 Senate bills were filed, along with 46 Senate Joint Resolutions.

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Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat on Thursday filed legislation that would allow homeless students to qualify for the highly successful Lindsey Nicole Henry (LNH) scholarship program.

The LNH scholarship program was created in 2010 to provide state funds to children with special needs to attend private schools that could better accommodate their needs. The program has been very successful and many families of special-needs students say the program improved their children’s lives for the better.

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State Sen. Greg McCortney has filed legislation to add school nurses or other designated employees to those who can administer life-saving opiate antagonists. Currently, state law includes first-responders, including emergency medical technicians, law enforcement and firefighters. Senate Bill 85 would amend that law to include school medical personnel or an employee designated by the school’s administration to be able to administer opiate antagonists, a treatment that can temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, allowing time to seek emergency medical care.

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State Sen. Carri Hicks is among a group of educators who sought public office in 2018 to fight for Oklahoma public schools. But by law in Oklahoma, when these legislators complete their service at the Capitol, they cannot return to the classroom for two years unless a school can find alternative funding that does not include state dollars. Hicks wants to give Oklahomans the opportunity to change that law and has filed Senate Joint Resolution 8. She’s dubbed the legislation the “Right to Return.”

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State Sen. Darrell Weaver has filed legislation to require anyone presenting budget information on behalf of a state agency to the legislature to do so under oath. Under Senate Bill 332, it would be a misdemeanor to knowingly present inaccurate budget information to lawmakers.

Weaver, a former director of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, said his legislation was aimed at increasing transparency, accountability and restoring public trust in government.

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OKLAHOMA CITY Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat on Wednesday filed bills granting the Oklahoma governor more appointment power of five top agency directors. Treat said the bills will provide more accountability and give the governor the ability to truly lead the state.

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Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, announced a slate of appointments to various state agencies, boards and commissions.
The Senate pro tempore regularly makes appointments to fill spots on the various state agencies, boards and commissions. The governor and House speaker also make appointments.

Pro Tempore Treat said as the new leader of the Senate he will emphasize and prioritize the appointment process.

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Continuing his efforts to provide increased agency fiscal efficiency and accountability, Sen. Ron Sharp filed legislation Friday to require legislative oversight of state agency director salary increases. Senate Bill 247 would require approval of proposed agency director pay raises by the House and Senate appropriations subcommittees tasked with oversight of the director’s agency.

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Thursday was the deadline for filing bills to be considered during the 2019 legislative session. Together, the legislature will consider just over 2,800 bills and joint resolutions. Sen. Paul Scott, R-Duncan, filed 21 bills and one joint resolution for the upcoming session. His final bills were filed Thursday afternoon.

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