CNHI News Service

OKLAHOMA CITY ? Seeking to help taxpayers, land owners and religious symbols on public land, state lawmakers spoke out on diverse issues Tuesday at the Oklahoma Capitol.

Rep. Al Lindley, D-Oklahoma City, responded to a widespread practice in which legislators use taxpayer resources to offer birthday greetings to constituents.

Lindley asked Attorney General Drew Edmondson to issue an official opinion on the letters he said serve to "curry favor." In his announcement of the opinion request, Lindley asked whether the greetings comprise a "proper use of state resources."

For nine years, Lindley said, he has used his own campaign funds to issue birthday letters.

And Sen. Debbe Leftwich, D-Oklahoma City, joined a growing list of Oklahoma lawmakers seeking a limit to local governments' eminent domain power. A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision allowed cities and counties to seize land and homes for private development.

"Certainly I can see how a new school or a safer road would qualify ? but I don't think cities should be able to force people out of their homes simply because a big business wants their land," Leftwich said.

Rep. Jim Newport, R-Ponca City, reacted to another Supreme Court ruling, related to Ten Commandments displays at courthouses.

"We need to protect our state's rights and express our support for our common legal heritage," Newport said.

He plans to reintroduce his bill to allow displays of the commandments in Oklahoma's public places.

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