It’s going to be an interesting legislative session for a few reasons.
There are the obvious reasons: Republicans lead the Senate for the first time in state history with a 26-22 majority. State leaders will have to come up with a budget with less state revenues available.
But judging by the contention over committee assignments, it could be interesting to watch how Republicans and Democrats work together. In dueling news releases issued Thursday, Minority leader Sen. Charlie Laster, D-Shawnee highlighted the experience of key Democrats and proposed committee spots for them.…
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Oklahoma’s agriculture expert in Congress, Rep. Frank Lucas, praised President-elect Barack Obama’s choice of former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack to head the USDA. Lucas, who will be the top Republican on the House Agriculture Committee next year, said today:
“Governor Vilsack is a fine choice for Secretary of Agriculture.
“Hailing from one of the largest agriculture producing states in the nation, he understands the challenges facing American farmers and ranchers and has been a strong voice for conservation. I look forward to working with him in the future both as the Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee and to ensure that he gives consideration to the needs of wheat and cotton farmers, as well as farmers and ranchers in his home state of Iowa.…
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State House Democrats have filled their floor leadership positions for the upcoming 52nd Oklahoma Legislature.
Democratic Floor Leader Mike Brown of Tahlequah said Tuesday that Rep. Ben Sherrer of Chouteau will be the Democratic whip.
Reps. Wes Hilliard of Sulphur and Jerry McPeak of Warner will be deputy Democratic floor leaders.
Reps. Wallace Collins, Wade Rousselot, Jabar Shumate, Jeannie McDaniel and Larry Glenn were named assistant floor leaders.
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Rep. Frank Lucas’ rise to the top Republican spot on the House Agriculture Committee says a lot about his knowledge of farm issues and his colleagues’ trust in him — not to mention his seniority (he’s been on the committee for 14 years).
It also says that he’s probably not going to be in the mix for governor in the 2010 race. Not that he’s been discussed much; it is two of his Oklahoma House mates — Rep. Tom Cole of Moore and Rep.…
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Sen. Tom Coburn, wastewatcher-in-chief in Congress, issued a report today that is something like the greatest hits of pork in 2008.
Couldn’t find any Oklahoma projects in it — all those Sooner state projects are totally legit — though he does cite a trip to the Galapagos Islands that included Rep. Frank Lucas.…
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The Supreme Court this morning declined to hear two cases from lower courts questioning the U.S. citizenship of President-elect Barack Obama.
This has been a huge topic of posts on some Internet sites, and some of those who doubt Obama is a U.S. citizen have been lobbying the electors who will vote next week on making Obama’s victory official.
Bob Cleveland, a GOP elector in Oklahoma, told me last week that he has been bombarded with e-mails and calls from people urging electors to abstain from voting until the question is resolved.…
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The new chairman of the House Higher Education and CareerTech Committee said today he isn’t happy with the 5 percent pay raise given to the state’s higher education chancellor.
“This type of action in an environment where higher education officials have already requested $80 million in additional funding next year makes me truly question what other unnecessary or wasteful spending is going on within our higher education system,” said Rep. Todd Thomsen, R-Ada.
State Regents for Higher Education on Thursday approved a 5 percent pay increase for Higher Education Chancellor Glen Johnson.…
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Committee chairs might not sound like an important job, but these members are the gatekeepers of the bills that get heard.
State Senate President Pro Tempore Designate Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City, made the committee chair announcements last week.
Under Coffee’s leadership, the number of committees and subcommittees shrunk by two to 20 from 22. The criminal jurisprudence committee will be eliminated and the Health and Social Services and Human Services will be combined into a single appropriations subcommittee on health and human services.…
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