Press Releases

Showing: February, 2001

A resolution calling for a statewide vote on right to work will be taken up by the full Senate on March 14th, according to Senate President Pro Tempore Stratton Taylor.

The Senate leader has scheduled debate on SJR 1 to begin at 10:30 am on Wednesday, March 14th.

By announcing the time and date of the floor debate in advance, Senator Taylor said he hoped to allow members of the Senate and general public time to adjust their schedules accordingly.

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Statement by Senator Kelly Haney,
Chairman, Senate Appropriations Committee

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An initiative that would transfer state marriage initiative funds to a heating assistance program has cleared its first legislative hurdle. SB 264, which mandates the funding transfer, was approved unanimously by the Senate Appropriations Committee Wednesday.

Senator Kevin Easley, who first proposed the transfer in January, expects the measure to gain widespread legislative support.

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State Senator Scott Pruitt (R-Broken Arrow) urged the Democrat leadership of the Senate to stop allowing political alliances to derail workers' compensation reform. Pruitt, the principal author of SB 770 which will transfer Oklahoma's antiquated court based workers' comp system to a more efficient administrative system, feels that needed reform is falling prey to the powerful lobby of the trial bar.

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Republican Floor Leader Jim Dunlap, responding to recent comments from the Senate Appropriations Committee leadership stating that a slumping economy may eliminate the possibility for tax relief, reminded Senate leaders that the experts agree that tax relief fuels economic growth.

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State marriage initiative funds that are transferred to a heating assistance program should not be replenished if the ultimate goal is to funnel additional money to high-priced consultants, according to a state lawmaker who proposed the funding transfer.

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State budget writers should move with caution after receiving the latest revenue certification from the State Board of Equalization today, according to a State Senate budget leader.

Even though the panel today certified an additional $17.9 million for appropriation next fiscal year, it also reduced budget estimates for every major revenue source but one - gross production taxes.

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One of Oklahoma's largest hog farming operators has been publicly protesting the 3- mile setback restrictions they're legally bound to honor, but one state Senator says the corporate leaders need to look to the law already on the books for the answer instead of complaining to the Legislature.

Seaboard has reportedly invested millions of dollars getting their operations ready, but the corporation claims it is being unfairly hindered by an Oklahoma law designed to protect property owners located near the operation.

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Oklahoma's wealthiest citizens, particularly its millionaires, would be the biggest beneficiaries of Governor Keating's proposed state income tax cut, according to a new analysis by the Senate staff.

The study shows that more than 81 percent of the $1 billion tax reduction proposed by Governor Keating would go to a little over one-third of Oklahoma taxpayers - those who make more than $50,000 a year.

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Citing erroneous government employment statistics compiled and reported by the Office of State Finance over the last seven years, a State Senator is urging OSF to recheck all of the other reports it has distributed to reporting authorities, the media and other entities during the Keating administration.

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OKLAHOMA CITY - A proposal to let the people of Oklahoma decide whether to have a statewide lottery to fund education will face its first hurdle tomorrow, and the Senate author is asking the public's help in getting in passed.

"We know the states with the highest amounts of college graduates are the ones with the highest average incomes. With this source of revenue, we can help make sure every Oklahoma student who wants to continue their education can go to on to college or a technical center for free," explained Senator Brad Henry.

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Word that the national economic slowdown has helped create unexpected budget shortfalls in as many as 15 states should send a message of caution to state policy makers in Oklahoma, according to a State Senate budget leader.

Senator Kelly Haney, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said that although the state currently has a modest amount of growth revenue, Oklahoma could easily find itself facing the same budget shortfall scenario as other states if it doesn't heed the economic warning signs.

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Saying he was inspired by a Tulsa energy producer who has volunteered to help with high home heating costs, State Senator Kevin Easley wants the state to team up with the energy industry to help Oklahomans who are struggling to pay skyrocketing utility bills.

"I wish I could claim credit for this idea, but it came from the industry itself. A small producer in Tulsa is offering to help Oklahomans pay their utility bills and I think the state should do everything it can to encourage other industry members to join in the effort," said Senator Easley.

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Oklahoma public schools that are struggling to pay higher heating bills, accommodate new student growth and implement a teacher pay program authorized last year received little or no help from Governor Keating in his executive budget, according to a State Senate budget leader.

Senator Cal Hobson noted that the Governor virtually ignored a number of bills that are coming due in public school classrooms, opting instead for a block grant approach that guarantees little or no new money for districts across the state.

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A quick walk through the student union at any of our state colleges shows where businesses feel they can make money from the college crowd. Amidst the bookstores and fast food counters there is one group that offers free gifts, easy money and seemingly no consequences - credit card companies.

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The leader of the Oklahoma State Senate has announced that right to work legislation will be assigned to the Senate General Government Committee this year.

Senate President Pro Tempore Stratton Taylor said he made the decision after discussing the issue with other Senators.

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The Oklahoma State Senate will soon consider two new rules designed to make the legislative process run in a more efficient manner. The rules are the byproduct of the work of a special bipartisan task force that was appointed to study the Senate rules and offer proposals for improvement.

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