The Norman Transcript

Business

February 9, 2014

Senate Republicans announce agenda

NORMAN — The Senate Republican caucus unveiled its 2014 legislative agenda Thursday with an emphasis on continuing Oklahoma’s economic momentum. The agenda focuses on jobs and the economy, education, health and human services, public safety, veterans, transportation and government reform.

“We’ve made tremendous strides in recent years to grow Oklahoma’s economy, creating jobs and investment in our state,” Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman said. “We must continue this momentum as we enter the legislative session — this agenda helps us keep the focus on making Oklahoma the best place to live and work in the nation.”

In jobs and the economy, Senate Republicans will work to pass legislation they believe ensures that Oklahoma remains a leader in the production and harvesting of the state’s abundant natural resources.

Additionally, the caucus plans to limit federal regulatory intrusion in Oklahoma and protect policies passed in recent years, like workers’ compensation and lawsuit reforms.

In education, they plan to protect and fund existing education reforms to improve student achievement and accountability through high standards and expectations. Work force development continues to be a problem in the state, and Senate Republicans will work to pass legislation to increase the number of students obtaining critical post-secondary degrees and industry certifications.

Finally, the caucus will work to empower parents, educators and communities as they help every Oklahoma student achieve his or her potential.

Another issue this session will be reforming Oklahoma’s pension system so it keeps the promises made to those currently working for the state, but also reflects the needs of the next generation of employees.

Judicial reform is also be on the agenda in 2014 as the caucus seeks to finalize reforms to Oklahoma’s judiciary.

“Our Founding Fathers saw the wisdom in three separate, but equal branches of government and it is critical that we have safeguards against the erosion of those principles,” said Sen. Anthony Sykes, R-Moore, and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “The Senate has passed several sensible measures that return the people’s voice to the third branch of government.”

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