Press Releases

Showing: March, 2012

Sen. Sean Burrage, Democratic Leader of the State Senate, issued the following statement after the governor and legislative leaders unveiled planned reforms for DHS.

“The plan to hire 200 new child welfare workers, recruit more foster parents and phase out shelters is extremely encouraging. I’m hopeful these initiatives will mark a real turning point in how Oklahoma deals with at-risk children and families.

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Sen. Constance N. Johnson says Wednesday’s ruling by Oklahoma County District Judge Bryan Dixon is a victory for women’s rights. The judge ruled that a 2010 law requiring women to have ultrasounds before having abortions is unconstitutional.
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March 27, 2012 was officially recognized as Cherokee Nation Legislative Day at the State Capitol. Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman and Senate Democratic Leader Sean Burrage co-authored Senate Resolution 45 honoring the tribe, which is the second largest federally recognized tribe in the nation, and the largest in the State of Oklahoma.
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Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman issued the following statement after Tuesday’s passage of SCR 33, a measure calling on Congress and the President to begin work on a balanced budget amendment and to reduce spending:
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In an effort to stem the nation’s ever-increasing debt, the State Senate has given approval to a measure calling on Congress and the president to reduce spending and initiate a constitutional amendment mandating a balanced budget.

Sen. Dan Newberry, R-Tulsa, is principal author of Senate Concurrent Resolution 33, co-authored by Rep. Glen Mulready, R-Tulsa. Newberry said the federal government’s inability to stop adding to the national debt is one of the greatest threats facing the country today.
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The House Appropriations and Budget Committee on Public Safety on Monday approved legislation that would allow portable building manufacturers to apply for a $500 permit once a year to cover one vehicle, rather than apply for an individual license for each transport.

Sen. Mark Allen, author of Senate Bill 1180, said the bill would ease a burden on Oklahoma businesses.
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Sen. David Holt (R - Oklahoma City) and Rep. Mike Sanders (R - Kingfisher) this morning dedicated the "President George W. Bush Bridge" with the former President himself in his office in Dallas, Texas. The legislators presented President Bush with a replica of the sign that was placed this past weekend at the southbound Interstate 44 Bridge over the Red River. The Oklahoma Legislature approved the naming in 2011.

"Oklahomans remain grateful for President Bush's courage, and we are glad that we had this opportunity to communicate that personally," said Sen. Holt. read more.

On Monday, the Senate approved Senate Joint Resolution 25, which will allow voters this November to decide whether or not to take the Governor out of the parole process for nonviolent offenses. The resolution, authored by Sen. Josh Brecheen and House Speaker Kris Steele, is supported by the Governor.
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A measure to simplify the criteria for students to be eligible for in-state tuition at Oklahoma colleges and universities has been approved by the state Senate.
Under Senate Bill 1624, authored by Sen. John Sparks, if a student is a United States citizen and an Oklahoma resident at the time they graduate from an Oklahoma high school, they will always be eligible for in-state tuition. Sparks said his proposal will make it easier for many native Oklahomans to pursue their educational goals in Oklahoma.
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Currently, an active member of the Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) who is a war veteran is eligible for up to five years of service credit for overseas deployments. An unintentional loophole in Oklahoma statutes, however, did not extend this benefit to certain veterans of the Vietnam or Gulf Wars.

Senate Bill 616, by Sen. John Sparks, addresses the problem ensuring these veterans get the benefits they deserve.
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A measure that would help the state’s 107 housing authorities recoup millions in unpaid rent and property damages each year was approved in the Senate. Senate Bill 1019, by Sen. Earl Garrison, would allow public housing authorities to file claims with the Oklahoma Tax Commission to garnish former tenants’ personal income tax refunds for any monies owed for rent or property damage.
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Senate approves Caylee’s Law

The state Senate has approved Caylee’s Law, a measure requiring parents or guardians to report that a child has gone missing within a 48-hour period.
Sen. Ralph Shortey, author of Senate Bill 1721, said the bill was motivated by the 2011 trial of Casey Anthony, who was convicted of lying to police regarding the disappearance of her daughter. SB 1721 creates a felony for failure to report a missing child within 48 hours.
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The Senate today approved legislation that would require candidates in presidential primaries to provide proof of identity and eligibility to hold office.
Sen. Ralph Shortey, author of Senate Bill 1569, said critics of similar legislation filed last year claimed the measure was an attempt to capitalize on criticism of President Barack Obama, but his proposal is a matter of common sense reform.
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Each year, more active and retired military veterans are found to be struggling with mental health injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), depression, anxiety, and acute stress disorder. Some individuals turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with their injuries which can lead to encounters with the criminal justice system. The Senate approved Senate Bill 1222, by Sen. Frank Simpson, Tuesday to help address the special needs of veterans.
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Legislation to prevent cover-ups of on-campus sexual assaults and child abuse has been approved by the full Senate. Senate Bill 1889, by Sen. Bryce Marlatt, won unanimous approval on Tuesday. Marlatt described it as the “anti-Sandusky” bill.

Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky is facing multiple counts of sexual abuse of children, including assaults that allegedly occurred on campus.
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Senate approves debt-reduction bill

Legislation intended to reduce the state’s long-term fiscal burden and protect the viability of pension systems was approved by the Senate on Tuesday.
Senate Bill 1264, authored by Sen. Dan Newberry, will guarantee a percentage of spillover funding is dedicated toward paying the state’s pension liability debt. read more.

The full Senate has given approval to legislation preventing cities or state government from disarming citizens during a state of emergency. State Sen. Anthony Sykes is the principal author of Senate Bill 1760. Sykes said the bill would prevent what happened in New Orleans just a few years ago.
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The Senate on Tuesday approved legislation to target meth manufacturers while preserving citizens’ access to medicines. Sen. Rick Brinkley, author of Senate Bill 1634, said his proposal would provide law enforcement officials with powerful tools to fight meth, but would not make pseudoephedrine available by prescription only.
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The full Senate has given approval to a measure that would lower the state’s personal income tax rate over a two year period. Senate Bill 1623, by Sen. Mike Mazzei, R-Tulsa, was approved Tuesday. Mazzei said the measure will enable citizens to keep more of their hard-earned money and make Oklahoma more attractive for job creation.
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The Senate showed their support of Oklahoma’s heroes who are wounded in battle by giving unanimous approval to a bill to protect Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) in divorce proceedings. Senate Bill 1951 would deem a portion of CRSC as separate property, not divisible as a marital asset or community property. The bill would prohibit alimony payments, whether designated for support or for property division, to be based on CRSC.
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