The Norman Transcript

State/Region

July 14, 2013

Lawmakers exploring issues

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma’s underfunded pension systems, the high number of working poor without health insurance and state employees who haven’t had an across-the-board pay raise in seven years are some of the dozens of topics that lawmakers want to explore before the 2014 legislative session begins in February.

Nearly 200 requests have been filed in the House and Senate for interim studies to take place over the next several months.

On Friday, House Speaker T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton, approved 68 studies out of the 134 that were requested by individual House members. In the Senate, President Pro Tem Brian Bingman has assigned each of the 55 study requests to standing committees, where the chairman has the discretion of whether to proceed with a study.

“As committee chairmen, we are expected to have some increased knowledge and understanding of that particular area,” said Sen. Brian Crain, R-Tulsa, chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. “With that increased understanding, for those that come under health and human services, I can make a determination if those have some real merit.”

Among the requests that Crain will consider for his committee are ways to reduce Oklahoma’s high divorce rate, youth access to tobacco alternatives like electronic cigarettes, increasing organ donation and the certification process for dialysis centers.

Crain also is among several legislators who have requested interim studies on how the state can expand health insurance to cover some of the estimated 17 percent of Oklahomans currently uninsured. Crain co-authored a measure late last session that would have used a state tobacco tax earmarked for health care, combined with modest co-pays and federal Medicaid dollars, to expand the state’s Insure Oklahoma program for the working poor. However, the bill never was granted a hearing amid resistance from some conservative Republicans in the Legislature who oppose any attempt to draw down additional federal Medicaid dollars.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State/Region
  • Oklahoma Senate approves limits on abortion drug

    OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Senate voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to further restrict the use of abortion-inducing drugs in Oklahoma in a bill written in direct response to a recent state Supreme Court decision....

    April 16, 2014

  • March Oklahoma revenue misses mark by 9.1 percent

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma’s finance secretary says collections by the general revenue fund fell 9.1 percent below the official estimate in March....

    April 16, 2014

  • University of Tulsa researchers find new species

    TULSA — A salamander first discovered by a University of Tulsa doctoral student in 2011 is being hailed as a new species in an international journal for animal taxonomy....

    April 16, 2014

  • Oklahoma House passes state trooper pay raise bill

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers could get their first pay raise in seven years under a plan given final legislative approval Tuesday, though it remains unclear whether money will be available in the overall state budget to ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Barresi decries plan to eliminate Okla. tests

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma State Superintendent Janet Barresi is raising concern about a bill before the Legislature that would eliminate state testing in social studies and geography....

    April 16, 2014

  • State-mandated minimum wage draws ire across state

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Organizers seeking a higher minimum wage in Oklahoma are upset with Gov. Mary Fallin’s decision to sign a bill that prohibits cities in the state from establishing mandatory minimum wage or vacation and sick-day ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Oklahoma’s 8-month streak without tornado falls

    TULSA — After Oklahoma’s eight-month streak without a tornado was snapped this weekend by a pair of suspected twisters, the state’s wild weather jag continued into Monday, with blowing snow from the Panhandle to Tulsa and freezing ...

    April 15, 2014

  • 4 now charged in college player’s death

    OKLAHOMA CITY — A fourth person was charged Monday in the death of an Australian baseball player who was fatally shot as he jogged in a southern Oklahoma neighborhood last summer....

    April 15, 2014

  • Fallin signs minimum wage increase ban

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Cities across Oklahoma are now prohibited from establishing mandatory minimum wage or vacation and sick-day requirements under a bill signed into law Monday by Gov. Mary Fallin....

    April 15, 2014

  • Opponents carve anti-pipeline message

    NELIGH, Neb. — Opponents of a proposed pipeline that would carry oil from Canada south to the Gulf Coast have stamped a massive message of resistance into a Nebraska field that is in the project’s path....

    April 14, 2014

Video
Facebook