Sen. Coffee praises “historic” week

As the State Senate met its first deadline for passing bills off the floor this week, President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee said today he is proud of the work Senators did for the state of Oklahoma in an unprecedented legislative week for Republicans.

For the first time in state history, Republicans now have control of the State Senate after the 2008 elections gave the GOP a 26-22 lead in the chamber.  All Senate Republican legislative agenda items were passed off the Senate floor and sent over to the House prior to Thursday’s deadline.
“Oklahomans gave us a huge responsibility when they elected a Republican majority last fall,” said Pro Tem Coffee.  “We’ve taken this opportunity to pass the much-needed, quality reforms Republicans have worked hard to accomplish for many years.  Our goal has always been to provide a pro-family, pro-jobs and pro-business agenda that moves our state forward, and I am encouraged to see that goal take shape this week.

“This was a historic week for Republicans and for the state.”
Legislation approved by the State Senate this week includes reform in the areas of government accountability, education, victim protection rights, and the judicial, workers compensation and election systems:

  • Pro Tem Coffee’s State Office of Accountability and Innovation provides a step toward greater efficiency in state government. (Senate Bill 646)
  • Senator Don Barrington expanded his successful Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday to include school supplies and reference materials. (Senate Bill 723)
  • The Educational Accountability Reform Act by Senator Clark Jolley provides more transparency and accountability into Oklahoma’s education system. (Senate Bill 1111)
  • Another reform measure by Pro Tem Coffee creates a Chief Information Officer who would oversee consolidating state information technology services under one roof. (Senate Bill 980)
  • Oklahoma school systems are given more local control through Senator John Ford’s School District Empowerment Program, which also removes many of the unfunded state mandates. (Senate Bill 834)
  • Majority Floor Leader Todd Lamb authored legislation that reforms the workers compensation system in much need of overhaul.  (Senate Bill 609)
  • One piece of Pro Tem Coffee’s legislation revokes state retirement benefits from state or county officers convicted of felonies. (Senate Bill 899)
  • A resolution by Senator Patrick Anderson provides for fair representation on the Judicial Nominating Commission(Senate Joint Resolution 27)
  • Pro Tem Coffee’s domestic violence legislation will allow a rape victim to have immediate access to medical care without first having to pursue legal charges against her attacker. (Senate Bill 894)
  • Voter ID reform by Senator John Ford ensures clean and fair Oklahoma elections.  (Senate Bill 4)
  • Pro-life legislation was approved that provides protections for pregnant women subject to domestic violence abuse, and includes circumstances under which she is justified in using force or deadly force against another to protect her unborn child. (Senate Bill 1103)
  • The Senate took the lead in ending the patronage system for appointing tag agents, and placing the appointment power under the professional supervision of the Oklahoma Tax Commission. (Senate Bill 888)