Oklahoma City - A bill that would have saved millions of dollars through cost-sharing of school administrations is apparently dead for the session. Senate author Carol Martin and House author Joan Greenwood were told House Education Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Jack Begley would not allow his committee to hear the bill this session.read more.
Legislation that will soon be considered by the State Senate would slash the annual tag fees paid by Oklahoma motorists, charging them a flat fee of $15, $45 or $85 depending on the age of their vehicle.
If approved by the full Legislature and the Governor, the measure will also give Oklahoma some of the lowest tag and excise fees in the region -- lower than Texas, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Colorado.read more.
Oklahoma City - The principal authors of a state bill to ban remediation at Oklahoma's two premier universities today called it "tragic and appalling" that opponents of the measure apparently have little interest in stemming the state's alarming remediation rate.
The remarks by state Representative Carolyn Coleman, R-Moore, and State Senator Kathleen Wilcoxson, R-OKC, came amid attacks from Senator Keith Leftwich (D-Oklahoma City) that House Bill 1710 would cripple sports programs at the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University.read more.
The Oklahoma State Senate has approved a $2,000 pay raise for state employees. SB 959 passed on a unanimous 46-0 vote Wednesday afternoon. The legislation is expected to be approved by the House on Thursday and will then go to the Governor for his signature.read more.
Despite Republican claims to the contrary, car tag reform is alive and well at the State Capitol, according to the leader of the Oklahoma State Senate.
Senate President Pro Tempore Stratton Taylor pointed out that two tag bills have been reported out of Senate Committee and will soon be heard by the full Senate.read more.
A Senate leader has decided to kill a controversial proposal by Governor Keating that could have crippled athletic programs at the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University.
The proposal in question, HB 1710, would have banned the teaching of remedial courses at the state's two comprehensive universities - an action that athletic officials claim would have put them at a competitive disadvantage in recruiting and retaining student athletes.read more.
State Senator Dave Herbert has unveiled a master plan for the expansion of passenger rail service in Oklahoma that would link Tulsa, Oklahoma City and northern Oklahoma with Amtrak lines running the length of the country.
The three-phase program is contingent on the passage of SJR 37, a proposal by Sen. Herbert that would ask Oklahoma voters to temporarily raise the state gas tax by one-cent and use the revenue to expand rail service.read more.
Citing the concerns of the University of Oklahoma's athletic director, a State Senate leader is calling for Governor Keating to withdraw his controversial proposal to ban the teaching of remedial courses at OU and Oklahoma State University. The legislation, HB 1710, is currently awaiting action in a Senate committee.read more.
State Senator Dave Herbert will unveil a proposed blueprint for the expansion of passenger rail service in Oklahoma. The plan would link Oklahoma's two major metro areas and northern Oklahoma with high-speed rail lines that would also tie in would link with Amtrak lines running the length of the country.
The plan will formally be unveiled at a State Capitol news conference on Monday.read more.
Oklahoma veterans programs will receive less federal funding than expected next year, a development that makes Governor Keating's proposed cuts to the state veterans budget even more damaging than previously thought, according to a State Senator who has been leading the fight against the reductions.read more.
Legislation that would drastically reduce the fees Oklahoma motorists pay for their annual car tags has cleared Senate Committee and is headed to the full Senate for consideration.
The Senate Finance Committee approved two tag reduction bills Tuesday, HB 2663 by Senator Jim Maddox and Representative Ron Kirby and HB 2189 by Senate President Pro Tempore Stratton Taylor and House Speaker Loyd Benson. The latter measure is a "shell" bill that may ultimately be used as a vehicle for compromise tag legislation.read more.
Statement by Senator Stratton Taylor, Senate President Pro Tempore
"Dick Rush and the Chamber know how the legislative process works. When a bill is defeated in committee, it is dead for the session. Their performance has more to do with politics than anything else."read more.
In light of indications that there are enough votes in the state Senate to bring the right-to-work question to a statewide vote, Senate Republican Leader Mark Snyder (R-Edmond) called on Senate President Pro Tempore Stratton Taylor (D-Claremore) to allow a Senate floor vote on the matter.
Snyder pointed to the State Chamber's announcement that 25 state Senators - 15 Republicans and 10 Democrats - already have pledged that they would vote for the measure, thus ensuring enough votes for Senate passage.read more.
OKLAHOMA CITY - A painting by Oklahoma artist R.T. Foster will be unveiled at the State Capitol Monday. The work portrays the sooner state's highest scoring fighter pilot of World War II. That's according to Senator Charles Ford of Tulsa, President of the Oklahoma Historical Preservation Fund, Inc.
The painting will be dedicated during a ceremony in the Senate Chambers on Monday, March 20, at 1:45 p.m.read more.
Statement by Senator Stratton Taylor,
Senate President Pro Tempore
All Oklahomans will be able to hold their HMOs legally responsible for health care decisions under patients' rights legislation approved by the Oklahoma State Senate Wednesday.
SB 1206 by Senator Brad Henry would allow members to sue their HMO if it improperly denied them necessary medical treatment ordered by their treating physician or made other health care decisions that were found to be detrimental to them. The measure easily passed the Senate 41-4 with bipartisan support.read more.
The State Senate has taken court action to preserve an insurance rebate that would reward thousands of Oklahoma businesses and pay off approximately 6,000 injured workers in the process.read more.
OKLAHOMA CITY - A bill that would represent the most dramatic reform of the state's workers' compensation system has cleared another hurdle, winning approval of the full Senate. That's according to Senate author Scott Pruitt, author of SB 1606.
"Basically, SB 1606 would change Oklahoma from an adversarial court system to an administrative system that would result in lower costs for businesses and quicker settlements for injured workers," said Senator Pruitt.read more.
Governor Keating should force his road-building czar to give Tulsans the straight story about road construction delays in their city, instead of offering misleading excuses, according to a state lawmaker who has questioned the Keating administration's commitment to highway improvements in the Oklahoma's second largest metro area.
Senator Lewis Long said the excuses recited by Secretary of Transportation Neal McCaleb at a Tulsa news conference last week didn't fool anyone.read more.
State leaders have plenty to brag about on Oklahoma's economic development front, according to a new report by the State Senate staff. The study was compiled at the request of Senator Ted Fisher, chairman of the Senate Economic Development Committee and author of the Quality Jobs Act.
"Too often it seems like people ignore the many good things that are happening in Oklahoma and dwell on the negative. I just think that if we did a better job of promoting the attributes of our state, we'd have even better success on the economic development trail," said Senator Fisher.read more.