OKLAHOMA CITY-Senate Republican leaders declared the 2001 session of the Oklahoma Legislature a success, grading it an 'A-minus' for the people of Oklahoma.
"This session the people of Oklahoma saw the legislature work in a bipartisan spirit to address the needs of our state," Republican Floor Leader Jim Dunlap said. "Right to work is going to a vote of the people, the income tax was cut at all levels, we passed a bill emphasizing parental consent before a minor receives an abortion, advanced major criminal justice reform, and furthered efforts to improve our children's schools."
Assistant Republican Floor Leader Jim Williamson added that the $46 million tax relief package was good news for Oklahoma taxpayers at all income levels. "This year we showed that the legislature can look out for the little guy. With revenues on the rise we lowered the income tax, provided a tax credit for the working poor, and funded state services. We had a banner year," Williamson said.
Republican Whip Scott Pruitt emphasized that families won big this year. "With the passage of the parental consent amendment and our actions to curb the distribution of sexual and violent video games to children parents can know that steps are being taken to reclaim our streets and schools," Pruitt said. "Those seeking to expose our children to violence and explicit sexuality should know that the state is arming itself to stop them."
Republican Caucus Chair Glenn Coffee said that sweeping criminal justice reform is a big winner for Oklahoma. "Now Oklahoma's prison system will not only be tough on crime by putting more violent offenders behind bars for longer sentences, it will smarter by ensuring punishment and rehabilitation fit the crime committed," Coffee said.
According to Williamson other legislative victories include the passage of several education reforms and the record level funding for common education. Williamson said that legislation requiring reading sufficiency and accountability along with providing schools the tools needed to reduce administration and send more dollars to the classroom will all make a major impact on the education of Oklahoma children.
Dunlap concluded that the Republican caucus will work in the interim and through next session to address the issues left on the table this year. "We still need to reform our antiquated and costly workers' compensation system, eliminate the death tax, provide for better insurance coverage for teachers, and establish voluntary marriage covenants," Dunlap said. "Republicans will keep pushing for these and other reforms for the people of Oklahoma."