Press Releases

Showing: June, 2008

State Senator Don Barrington of Lawton praised Thursday’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to protect individuals’ Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

“The U.S. Supreme Court got this one right. The founding fathers intended the Second Amendment to protect the rights of individual Americans to own guns, and we finally have a ruling from the high court that the liberal gun-grabbers have gone too far in trying to take away our gun rights,” said Barrington, who is a member of the Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus and a card-carrying member of the National Rifle Association.

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Justices Strike Louisiana Death Penalty for Child Rapists

Senator Jay Paul Gumm, D-Durant, released the following statement after the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in the case of Kennedy v. Louisiana. A 5-4 decision of the court overturned a Louisiana law that allowed the death penalty to be imposed on a man convicted of raping his eight-year-old stepdaughter.

Gumm was the chief legislative advocate of Oklahoma’s law – found in 2006’s SB 1800 – that provides the death penalty for child molesters on a second or subsequent offense.

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On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down laws in several states, including Oklahoma, that allow the death penalty for the crime of child rape.

The ruling drew a sharp rebuke from Oklahoma State Senator Jonathan Nichols, who in 2006 authored Oklahoma's law subjecting repeat child molesters to the death penalty.

"This is a heartless decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that guts Oklahoma’s efforts to protect children from violent predators," said Nichols, R-Norman.

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Statement by Sen. Jay Paul Gumm, D-Durant – Author of “Nick’s Law”

Following is a statement by Sen. Jay Paul Gumm, D-Durant, following an announcement by House Republicans that several interim studies will focus on autism. Gumm wrote “Nick’s Law,” which would have required health insurance to cover diagnosis and treatment of autism, a measure killed repeatedly by House Republican leadership.

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State Senator Kenneth Corn on Thursday was honored by the State Chamber of Commerce with the group’s “Defender of Free Enterprise Award” for his leadership in advancing legislation that would significantly impact economic development in Oklahoma.

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Pressure Will Continue to Build in Oklahoma As Well, Gumm Says

OKLAHOMA CITY – A national news program this week highlighted the growing epidemic of children with autism and the push by parents to force health insurance to cover diagnosis and treatment of the disorder.

NBC’s “The Today Show” aired a segment Thursday (June 12) as part of a continuing series of reports on autism. The story featured parents who are encouraging state legislatures across the nation to pass laws requiring coverage of autism diagnosis and treatment.

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On Friday Gov. Brad Henry line item vetoed Senate Bill 1323, a budget bill for the Department of Corrections, violating two major recommendations of an independent performance audit of the agency.

“This veto is another example of Gov. Henry snubbing his nose at good and honest government reforms. The governor was against the independent performance audit of DOC from the beginning, so it is not surprising that he would try to wipe out some of the audit’s common sense recommendations,” stated Senate Co-President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City.

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State Capitol, Oklahoma City – When it comes to choosing trial lawyers or teachers, Oklahomans now know where Gov. Brad Henry’s loyalties lie: The trial lawyers.

Friday Henry vetoed a bipartisan lawsuit reform bill that would have curbed lawsuit abuse against teachers and school administrators who enforce discipline in the classroom. The veto is a major blow to teachers and schools, but it protects Henry’s allies in the trial lawyer industry.

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State Capitol, Oklahoma City – A lot of good ol' boys at the State Capitol oppose the Senate Republicans' efforts to make state government more open, more efficient, more accountable, and more innovative.

Gov. Brad Henry is apparently one of them.

Friday Henry vetoed Senate Bill 1865, by Co-President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee, that would have created an Office of Accountability and Innovation at the Legislative Service Bureau.

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Measure to Save Taxpayers Thousands of Dollars

OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill requiring the hundreds of reports submitted by state agencies to legislators be transmitted electronically was signed this week by Gov. Brad Henry.

Senate Bill 1507 could potentially save taxpayers thousands of dollars in printing and postage costs every year. The measure was sponsored by Senator Jay Paul Gumm, D-Durant, and Rep. Joe Dorman, D-Rush Springs.

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