Monday - September 28, 2020
State Tipoffs Involving Oklahoma Newsletter for Sunday May 24, 2020 ( 38 items )  

Cost-of-Living-Adjustment Approved by Okla. State Senate, Heads to Governor
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, May 18 -- The Oklahoma State Senate issued the following news release: The full Senate approved House Bill 3350 on Friday that gives a cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) to state retirees. State Sen. Roland Pederson, R-Burlington, was a co-author for the measure. "It's been my goal for the past four years to secure a cost-of-living adjustment for our hard-working state retirees," Pederson said. "The last COLA was given in 2008, and inflation has rapidly risen over the p  more

First-Time Jobless Claims Fall, Remain High as Oklahomans File for PUA and PEUC Relief
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, May 23 -- The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission issued the following news: The number of jobless claims filed with the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) for the week ending May 16, 2020, were down from the previous week and remain high compared to the pre-COVID-19 and Oil Industry crises. For the week ending May 16, 2020, unadjusted initial claims in Oklahoma totaled 23,880, a decrease of 15,199 from the previous adjusted week of 39,079, revised up 6  more

Okla. A.G. Hunter Urges the U.S. House to Pass Bill to Protect First Responders From Coronavirus
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, May 22 -- Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter issued the following news release: Attorney General Mike Hunter joined a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general in sending a letter to Congress, urging members to pass the Safeguarding America's First Responders (SAFR) Act. The Act would permit the families of first responders, who die or are permanently disabled as a result of COVID-19, to receive the same federal benefits extended to first responders, or their surviv  more

Okla. Department of Corrections Assists Comanche County With COVID-19 Containment
LAWTON, Oklahoma, May 20 -- The Oklahoma Department of Corrections issued the following news: After an outbreak of COVID-19 at the Comanche County Detention Center in Lawton, county officials contacted Secretary of Public Safety Chip Keating, requesting the state's help. Nearly a dozen ODOC security staff reported to the jail Sunday to help stabilize the facility and ramp up sanitization efforts after more than 100 inmates and 16 staff tested positive. ODOC remains on-site helping advise staff  more

Okla. Department of Corrections Begins Transporting Comanche County Jail Inmates
OKLAHOMA CITY, May 22 -- The Oklahoma Department of Corrections issued the following news: State and county authorities unite to prevent further spread of COVID-19 inside the Comanche County Detention Center in Lawton. This morning the Comanche County Facilities Authority (CCFA), which oversees the jail's operations, signed an agreement with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections (ODOC) to house COVID-19 negative county jail inmates. Detention center authorities requested state assistance t  more

Okla. Department of Corrections Completes Comanche Co. Inmate Transfers
OKLAHOMA CITY, May 23 -- The Oklahoma Department of Corrections issued the following news: The Oklahoma Department of Corrections (ODOC) has completed the transport of COVID-19 negative testing Comanche County jail inmates. Wednesday, ODOC transport vans began moving 119 male inmates from the Comanche County Detention Center (CCDC) in Lawton to a state prison in Sayre. This morning, ODOC staff moved 32 female county jail inmates to Mabel Bassett Correctional Center in McLoud. Jail inmates are  more

Okla. Department of Corrections: Comanche County Jail Inmates Continue Move to State Prisons
OKLAHOMA CITY, May 22 -- The Oklahoma Department of Corrections issued the following news on May 21: The Oklahoma Department of Corrections (ODOC) continues transporting healthy inmates from the Comanche County Detention Center (CCDC) in Lawton to a state lockup. Wednesday, the Comanche County Facilities Authority, which oversees jail operations, and ODOC signed an agreement for the state to house the county's healthy inmates in the wake of a COVID-19 outbreak inside the jail. Wednesday, ODOC  more

Okla. Senate President Treat Issues Statement on Comments on Session
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, May 23 -- The Oklahoma Senate issued the following statement Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, as the 2020 legislative session wound down Friday: "All sessions are unique for a variety of reasons, but no one could have expected the events that unfolded during the 2020 session. The Senate closed in mid-March after a positive case of COVID-19 was confirmed. We worked remotely serving our constituents and connecting them with important services whil  more

Okla. State Sen. Boren Seeks Answers, Relief for Self-Employed Oklahomans Who Have Received No Unemployment Benefits
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, May 20 -- The Oklahoma State Senate issued the following news release: Unemployed Oklahomans who are self-employed rallied at the state Capitol Monday wanting answers to why their claims have not been fulfilled after weeks of waiting. Sen. Mary Boren has been working tirelessly trying to get answers as many unemployed Oklahomans are facing eviction and other financial troubles. "Being that the state has already received its federal unemployment funds, I don't understan  more

Okla. State Sen. Ikley-Freeman Appointed to State Health Care Board
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, May 23 -- The Oklahoma State Senate issued the following news release: Sen. Allison Ikley-Freeman, D-Tulsa, was recently appointed to the Oklahoma Health Care Workforce Resources Board. The board governs the Oklahoma Health Care Workforce Resources Center (OHCWRC), which was created in 2006 to collect and analyze data relating to health care worker supply and demand trends; ensure Oklahoma's education and training systems have the resources to support and produce the n  more

Okla. State Sen. Pemberton Issues Statement on Retirement Legislation
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, May 18 -- The Oklahoma State Senate issued the following statement by State Sen. Dewayne Pemberton, R-Muskogee, after passage of retirement legislation (H.B. 3350): The bill will provide a 2% cost-of-living adjustment for those who have been retired from public service for 2-5 years and a 4% increase for those who have been retired for more than 5 years. Pemberton was the original principal Senate author of HB 3350 along with Rep. Avery Frix, R-Muskogee, who was the pri  more

Okla. State Sen. Standridge Issues Statement on SoonerCare 2.0
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, May 18 -- The Oklahoma State Senate issued the following statement by State Sen. Rob Standridge, R-Norman: State Sen. Rob Standridge, R-Norman, applauded House passage of Senate Bill 1046 on Friday, just two days after the Senate approved the measure as a part of the launch of SoonerCare 2.0 on July 1. The measure has now been sent to the governor and awaits his signature. The state's current Medicaid Program, SoonerCare, currently only covers children, pregnant women,  more

Oklahoma City Community College to Offer Drone Pilot Test Prep Course
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, May 23 -- Oklahoma City Community College issued the following news: Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC) will offer an online drone Remote Pilot Test Prep course July 21-28. This course prepares individuals for the Federal Aviation Administration exam to operate commercial small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) without a pilot's license or Section 333 exemption. "We are offering students a truly unique opportunity," said OCCC President Jerry Steward. "Drone technology  more

Oklahoma Gov. Stitt Announces Interim Oklahoma Commissioner of Health
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, May 23 -- Gov. Kevin Stitt, R-Oklahoma, issued the following news release: Governor Kevin Stitt announced the selection of Colonel Lance Frye, M.D., as the interim Oklahoma Commissioner of Health. Col. Frye will begin leading the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) as interim commissioner effective immediately. "Col. Frye is a proven leader and highly qualified medical expert who has faithfully served our country and state with a focus on the health of those a  more

Oklahoma Gov. Stitt Joins Local Government Leaders in Announcing CARES Act Funding Portal
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, May 21 -- Gov. Kevin Stitt, R-Oklahoma, issued the following news release on May 20: Governor Kevin Stitt today joined Mayor of Lawton Stan Booker and Cleveland County Commissioner Rod Cleveland in announcing the launch of an online platform to help facilitate the process for Oklahoma cities and counties seeking to apply for reimbursement through the $1.2 billion in federal funds provided to Oklahoma under the CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF). "Our mission is t  more

Oklahoma Gov. Stitt Signs Bill to Provide Cost of Living Adjustment for First Responders, Teachers, State Employees
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, May 22 -- Gov. Kevin Stitt, R-Oklahoma, issued the following news release on May 21: Governor Kevin Stitt signed HB 3350, providing a Cost of Living Adjustment to first responders, teachers and state employees. The increase applies to members of the Oklahoma Firefighters Pension and Retirement System, Oklahoma Police Pension and Retirement System, Uniform Retirement System for Justices and Judges, Teachers' Retirement System of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Public Employee  more

Oklahoma Is Still Open for Business After Gov. Stitt Vetoes S.B. 1595
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, May 22 -- Gov. Kevin Stitt, R-Oklahoma, issued the following news release on May 21: Governor Kevin Stitt protected Oklahoma businesses and the jobs they create by vetoing Senate Bill 1595, which would have eliminated a critical recruitment tool for economic developers. "I want the world to know Oklahoma is open for business," said Gov. Stitt. "As governor, my job is to protect Oklahomans from bad legislation that would hurt our state. This bill was passed late on a Fr  more

Oklahoma Senate Approves Bill to Use TSET Funds for Medicaid, Senate Joint Resolution 27 Will Send Plan to Voters to Decide
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, May 20 -- The Oklahoma State Senate issued the following news release: A plan to help pay for Medicaid in Oklahoma passed off the Senate floor Friday. Senate Joint Resolution 27, by Senate Majority Floor Leader Kim David, R-Porter, refers to Oklahoma voters a constitutional amendment to allow a larger portion of the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust Fund (TSET) annual settlement payments to go towards paying for either the governor's Medicaid expansion program or Medic  more

Oklahoma Senate to Honor Out-of-State Teaching Certificates Under New Law
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, May 20 -- The Oklahoma State Senate issued the following news release: This week, the State Board of Education must begin authorizing out-of-state teaching certificates after Senate Bill 1125 was signed into law Monday. The bill, by Sen. Adam Pugh, R-Edmond, will help increase the number of teachers in the state by recognizing valid out-of-state teaching certificates, with no other requirements except a criminal history record check. "This is an exciting opportunity fo  more

Oklahoma Senate: Barbara E. Hoover Act Signed Into Law
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, May 20 -- The Oklahoma State Senate issued the following news release: Legislation protecting the use of video monitoring for residents in assisted living centers and continuum of care facilities was signed into law by Gov. Kevin Stitt on Tuesday. Authored by Sen. James Leewright, R-Bristow, the measure offers these residents the same level of protection as those in nursing homes. The legislature previously passed a law allowing nursing home residents and their familie  more

Oklahoma Senate: Governor Signs Department of Corrections Employee Pay Raise Oversight Bill
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, May 20 -- The Oklahoma State Senate issued the following news release: The legislature approved a $2 per hour pay increase for "behind the wall" personnel at the Department of Corrections (DOC) but hundreds of employees were inadvertently excluded. To address the oversight, Sen. Adam Pugh, R-Edmond, filed Senate Bill 1424, which was unanimously approved by both chambers and signed into law Tuesday. The bill provides a $2.00 per hour increase to those 453 employees arou  more

Oklahoma Senate: Governor Signs Oil, Gas Produced Water, Waste Recycling & Reuse Act Into Law
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, May 20 -- The Oklahoma State Senate issued the following news release: Legislation designating who owns and is responsible for wastewater resulting from oil and natural gas drilling operations was signed into law on Tuesday by Gov. Kevin Stitt. Authored by Sen. Dave Rader, R-Tulsa, Senate Bill 1875, also known as the Oil and Gas Produced Water and Waste Recycling Reuse Act, clarifies that produced water and waste is the property of the oil and gas producer until it is   more

Oklahoma Senate: Legislation to Address Workplace Violence in Hospitals/Health Care Facilities Signed Into Law
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, May 20 -- The Oklahoma State Senate issued the following news release: Legislation strengthening laws dealing with violence against people who work in hospitals and health care facilities has been signed into law. Senate Bill 1290, the Medical Care Provider Protection Act, by Sen. Darrell Weaver, R-Moore, and Rep. Cynthia Roe, R-Lindsay, was approved by the governor on Tuesday. Weaver said despite a lifelong career in law enforcement, he was shocked to learn how often   more

Oklahoma Senate: Nonconsensual Selling of Intimate Images/Video to Become Felony
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, May 20 -- The Oklahoma State Senate issued the following news release: Sen. Kim David is the author of legislation to protect victims from their intimate images and videos being sold by former partners without their knowledge or consent. Such actions will become a felony under Senate Bill 1462, which the Porter Republican filed after learning of a constituent's struggles to protect her image and reputation from someone she trusted at one point, who is now her ex-spouse.  more

Oklahoma Senate: Rights of Nursing Mothers Protected Under Signed Legislation
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, May 20 -- The Oklahoma State Senate issued the following news release: Gov. Kevin Stitt signed two bills Tuesday to protect state employees who are nursing. Sen. Kim David, R-Porter, authored the measures to ensure mothers are allowed daily break time and privacy to breastfeed or express milk. "There is nothing more beneficial to a baby's health than to be nursed. We want to support moms who choose this healthy option," David said. "It's something that needs to be done  more

Oklahoma Senate: Shepherd's Law Providing for Licensure of Midwives Becomes Law
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, May 20 -- The Oklahoma State Senate issued the following news release: Legislation creating a system for licensing midwives has been signed into law. Senate Bill 1823, creating Shepherd's Law, was signed into law Monday by Gov. Kevin Stitt. State Sen. Brenda Stanley, a former educator, is principal author of SB 1823, also known as Shepherd's Law, named for the baby of a former student--the infant died a day after a planned home delivery that went wrong. Stanley, R-Midw  more

Oklahoma State Senate Democrats Applaud Passage of COLA for Retirees
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, May 18 -- The Oklahoma State Senate issued the following news release on May 15: Senate Democrats applauded passage of House Bill 3350, providing a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for retired public employees. The full Senate approved the bill on Friday. Senate Democratic Leader Kay Floyd said her caucus had long fought for a cost-of-living adjustment for public retirees, including firefighters, police, state employees, and teachers. Sen. Kevin Matthews, Democratic C  more

Oklahoma State Senate: Bill Extending Emergency Certifications Signed Into Law
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, May 22 -- The Oklahoma State Senate issued the following news release: Oklahoma's schools will soon have more teaching applicants thanks to a bill signed Thursday. The State Board of Education approved emergency rules in March to allow emergency teaching certificates to be renewed for up to three years, and the governor approved the rules in April. However, the legislature felt more must be done for Oklahoma schools, so Senate Bill 1115 removes the emergency certificati  more

Oklahoma State Senate: Bill Raising Age for Tobacco Products to 21 Becomes Law
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, May 22 -- The Oklahoma State Senate issued the following news release: Legislation raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21 has been signed into law. Sen. Greg McCortney, R-Ada, is principal author of Senate Bill 1423, signed into law by Gov. Kevin Stitt on Tuesday. McCortney, chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, said the legislation ensures Oklahoma's statutes now align with the federal Tobacco-Free Youth Act, which was si  more

Oklahoma State Senate: Bill Signed Into Law Creating 'Imagination Library' for Oklahoma Children
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, May 23 -- The Oklahoma State Senate issued the following news release on May 22: Oklahoma is on its way to having its own Imagination Library--a literacy program providing free books to encourage children to read. Sen. John Haste, R-Broken Arrow, and Rep Tammy Townley, R-Ardmore, are principal authors of SB 1803, creating the framework for Oklahoma's Imagination Library, modeled after a program founded by entertainer Dolly Parton in her home state of Tennessee. The gove  more

Oklahoma State Senate: Legislation Allowing Curbside Sales/Deliveries of Alcohol Becomes Law
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, May 22 -- The Oklahoma State Senate issued the following news release: A convenience to Oklahoma consumers born out of the pandemic will be allowed to remain in place. The measure, by Sen Roger Thompson, R-Okemah, and Rep. Kevin Wallace, R-Wellston, allows curbside sales or home deliveries of beer, wine and spirits to continue. Gov. Kevin Stitt signed Senate Bill 1928 into law Thursday. "During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission   more

Oklahoma State Senate: Nation's First Anti-red Flag Law Now on the Books
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, May 23 -- The Oklahoma State Senate issued the following news release: The nation's first anti-red flag gun law is now on the books in Oklahoma to strengthen and protect citizens' Second Amendment rights. Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, authored the measure, which was signed into law by the governor on Tuesday. Senate Bill 1081, also known as the Anti-Red Flag Act, prohibits the state or any city, county or political subdivision from enacting red flag laws. It also p  more

Oklahoma State Senate: The Riley Boatwright Act is Signed Into Law
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, May 22 -- The Oklahoma State Senate issued the following news release: Legislation requiring school districts across the state to provide emergency medical services at athletic events and school activities was signed into law Thursday by Gov. Kevin Stitt. Named the Riley Boatwright Act in memory of a Lexington, Okla., middle school athlete who died from injuries suffered in a football game in 2019, Senate Bill 1198 directs all Oklahoma school district boards of educati  more

Oklahoma State Senate: Unborn Person Wrongful Death Act Signed Into Law
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, May 23 -- The Oklahoma State Senate issued the following news release: Legislation was signed into law Thursday to hold physicians who perform fraudulent abortions solely liable for the wrongful death. Senate Bill 1728, by Sen. David Bullard, creates the Unborn Person Wrongful Death Act and modifies provisions related to awarding damages resulting from such wrongful deaths. The Durant Republican said the bill will allow parents and grandparents of unborn children to s  more

Public Service Company of Oklahoma Announces More AEP Foundation Emergency Grants for Helping Agencies
TULSA, Oklahoma, May 23 -- Public Service Company of Oklahoma issued the following news release: Public Service Company of Oklahoma is announcing more than $70,000 in grants from the American Electric Power Foundation to help nonprofit agencies across Oklahoma address the basic needs of people struggling in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The AEP Foundation is the charitable arm of PSO's parent company, American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP). "The COVID-19 crisis continues to affect our stat  more

Seven University of Oklahoma Students, Alumni Receive Fulbright Grants
NORMAN, Oklahoma, May 21 -- The University of Oklahoma issued the following news release: Seven University of Oklahoma students and alumni have been awarded Fulbright grants to learn and teach abroad in the 2020-2021 academic year. They are among more than 1,900 U.S. students, artists and early career professionals who were offered Fulbright Program grants to study, teach English and conduct research in over 140 countries throughout the world. Fulbright grant recipients are selected on the bas  more

University of Central Oklahoma to Graduate 1,400 Students at Virtual Spring Commencement Ceremony
EDMOND, Oklahoma, May 19 -- The University of Central Oklahoma issued the following news release: The University of Central Oklahoma will celebrate the achievements of approximately 1,458 graduates during the Spring 2020 Virtual Commencement Ceremony in light of in-person commencement ceremonies being canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ceremony will include a reading of each graduate's name and remarks from UCO President Patti Neuhold-Ravikumar. Students also had the opportunity to per  more

USDA Approves Oklahoma to Accept SNAP Benefits Online
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, May 23 -- The Oklahoma Department of Human Services issued the following news release: On May 20, 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the approval of a request from Oklahoma to provide online purchasing of food to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households. The USDA SNAP online purchasing pilot program, created in the 2014 Farm Bill authored by former House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, will allow Oklahomans to be abl  more