Continuing Oklahoma's economic growth will be the top priority of a wide-ranging Senate agenda this legislative session, according to the leader of the Oklahoma State Senate.
"We'll be addressing all of Oklahoma's needs, but our overall theme will be one of economic growth. We're experiencing an economic renaissance of sorts in Oklahoma, and we're going to do everything we can as legislators to make sure the success continues," said Senator Stratton Taylor, President Pro Tempore of the Senate.read more.
OKLAHOMA CITY - Recent rate hikes by Oklahoma Natural Gas will soon be the subject of a state Senate investigation, announced Senator Frank Shurden, author of a measure which calls for the investigation.
Shurden, D-Henryetta, said Senate Resolution 2 calls for the investigation to determine if ONG's recent rate hike, which added almost $30 to the average consumers monthly gas bill, was truly justified.read more.
Saying this week's reduction in workers comp rates is the beginning of a trend, the leader of the Oklahoma Senate is predicting continued cuts in the future. The State Board for Property and Casualty Rates implemented a 10 percent reduction yesterday on the heels of approving a 4.5 percent cut last year.read more.
OKLAHOMA CITY - A measure giving municipalities and County Commissioners the ability to set speed limits for trains at local rail crossings will soon be heard in the state Legislature, Senator Frank Shurden announced today.
Senate Bill 270 would allow towns and cities to set speed limits in incorporated areas and County Commissioners to set them for unincorporated crossings as long as the new limit is above 25 miles per hour.
Currently rail speed limits are set by the Federal Railroad Administration in Washington, D.C.read more.
In an effort to stimulate long-term economic growth in Oklahoma, Senate budget leaders are proposing an educational investment program that will pump an additional $165 million in the state's three branches of education next fiscal year.read more.
A proposed reduction in business taxes could be larger than initially anticipated, according to a Senate leader who is advocating the tax reduction. Senator Ted Fisher had originally proposed a $20 million cut in the unemployment tax, but the Sapulpa legislator said today new statistics indicate the reduction could be much larger, possibly in excess of $54 million depending on future economic growth.read more.
OKLAHOMA CITY - A Senate leader is urging Governor Keating to join the growing chorus of voices calling for a significant cut in workers compensation rates. The State Board of Property and Casualty Rates will consider rate cut requests at a meeting later this month.read more.
OKLAHOMA CITY -Today the Chairman of the State Senate's Business and Labor Committee called for Governor Frank Keating's reconsideration of the ongoing state hiring freeze.
Senator Lewis Long pointed to a Senate study he requested on the implications of the freeze which shows that savings from the freeze have been offset by a 65 percent increase in contracts with temporary workers.read more.
Senate budget leaders have announced an extensive road building program that will double Oklahoma's highway construction budget and create more than 21,000 spin-off jobs in the process. The $750 million program employs a "lease-back" mechanism that will allow the state to build roads and highways immediately, but pay off the construction cost over a period of years.read more.
The latest revenue report from the Office of State Finance confirms what legislative leaders have suspected for years: the state's economic policies are stimulating strong and steady growth across Oklahoma.
"All of the numbers point to one, indisputable conclusion. Oklahoma is on an economic roll," said Senator Kelly Haney, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
"Our economy is growing so fast that even the budget experts can't keep up with it. The economic plan for Oklahoma is right on track."read more.
A letter from a state appeals court judge indicates a gubernatorial veto handed down last May is causing a case backlog in the criminal courts that could delay executions and result in charges being dismissed against some accused criminals. For that reason and others, legislative leaders are contemplating a supplemental appropriation to the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System.read more.
OKLAHOMA CITY - Just two days after Senator Kelly Haney initiated an inquiry into skyrocketing propane prices, Governor Frank Keating has joined the growing chorus of voices calling for action to protect Oklahoma consumers.
"I'm glad to have the Governor on board," said Senator Haney, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. "If we present a united front, I think we'll stand a much better chance of getting Oklahoma consumers the relief they deserve."read more.
OKLAHOMA CITY - In an effort to keep Oklahoma's current economic growth on track and boost the personal income of individual Oklahomans, Senate leaders will be pursuing a stimulus package this legislative session that will cut business taxes and encourage higher wage jobs.read more.
OKLAHOMA CITY - Citing the impact of recent reforms and other market factors, a state legislator is preparing to file a "friend of the court" brief with the State Board on Property and Casualty Rates, urging it to implement a workers compensation insurance rate cut.
"All of the evidence indicates that workers comp rates should be reduced, not just by a little, but by a lot," said Senator Jim Maddox, chairman of the Senate Small Business Committee. "The market conditions are right for what could be the biggest rate cut in recent history.read more.