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Magna Carta News
Monday, November 17, 2008
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Oklahoma City, Ok

Contact: State Rep. Mark McCullough
Capitol: (405) 557-7414

McCullough Renews Push for Workers' Comp Reform

OKLAHOMA CITY (November 17, 2008) - Laying the groundwork for the coming legislative session, state Rep. Mark McCullough recently presented his workers reform proposal to business leaders, saying it could drive down costs while improving worker benefits.

"My plan would dismantle our lawsuit-based Workers' Compensation Court and replace it with an administrative system modeled after the successful Arkansas system," said McCullough, R-Sapulpa. "Oklahoma's current workers comp system fails both injured workers and employers. My plan would reduce costs to the employer while creating an easier path back to work for injured employees. While there are obvious reasons for business leaders to support this plan, injured workers would get the most benefit thanks to streamlining access to medical care and focusing on vocational rehabilitation."

This year's House Bill 2605, by McCullough, would have created a three-member Workers' Compensation Commission to replace the current Workers' Compensation Court.
McCullough plans to file the legislation again in the 2009 session, which begins in February.
The legislation is the result of months of work, including an in-depth legislative study that identified the major failings of Oklahoma's workers' compensation system.

That study demonstrated the rate of permanent partial disability payments (PPDs) in Oklahoma is almost twice the regional average and the average lost-time claim frequency is much higher - 60 percent higher than the national average.

According to figures in the 2006 Workers' Compensation Court report and the 2006 National Council on Compensation Insurance report, there were 14,919 total claims that year, including 10,700 joint petitions with an average payout of $17,692 per claim and another 3,413 Court ordered PPDs with an average payout of $22,299 per claim.

That same year, Oklahoma's workers' compensation system ordered vocational rehabilitation for only 4 percent of all cases.

That's why House Bill 2605 will reform the system to emphasize treatment and rehabilitation for injured workers, McCullough said.

"Our lawsuit-driven system provides little benefit to injured workers and devours financial resources that would otherwise be used to grow our economy and create new jobs," McCullough said. "Since most attorneys are paid by getting a cut of a worker's monetary award, they don't have any incentive to pursue rehabilitation programs for clients. I believe it's better to help an injured worker regain his or her health instead of giving them a one-time minor payment that ultimately goes to their lawyer."

McCullough noted that attorney involvement is 50 percent higher in Oklahoma's workers comp system than the national average, which helps explain why Oklahoma experience the highest payout for claims in 18 years in 2006 - $270 million, a 69 percent increase since 2000.

To reverse those trends while helping injured employees return to health and work, House Bill 2605 would move all workers' compensation claims, issues, and hearings to an administrative process.

The new Workers' Compensation Commission would have authority to hold hearings to settle proceedings related to all compensation claims made by employees. The responsibilities and authority of the commission members, who would all be gubernatorial appointees, would include appointing administrative law judges to preside over claims hearings.

The bill also establishes a Vocational Rehabilitation program to help return employees to their prior working capabilities.

McCullough said he was "pleasantly surprised" by business leader's enthusiastic response when presented with his plan at a recent forum.

"It's obvious to all that our system is broken," McCullough said. "We can't solve this problem by tinkering with the system. We need to reform it to include every best practice and efficiency. I hope 2009 is the year we finally fix the system."


Friday, September 19, 2008
  Rep. Duncan announces landfill legislation
*Oklahoma** House of Representatives*

*Media Division*

September 19, 2008


Contact: State Rep. Rex Duncan

Capitol: (405) 557-7344

*/Duncan/**/ Announces Landfill Legislation/*

OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Rex Duncan, R-Sand Springs, said he will
introduce legislation during the 2009 session to regulate large
landfills and the contents they are permitted to bury.

Currently, Duncan said the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality
(DEQ) cannot take adverse action against landfills in response to
complaints regarding odor emitted by large "trash mountain" sites.

Duncan said landfills that are authorized to bury solid waste and other
questionable materials can be just as objectionable as the Concentrated
Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) found in Western Oklahoma. The obvious
difference, Duncan noted, is that the landfills haul the "smell" to the

Duncan is also concerned that the DEQ has allowed the height of some of
these "trash mountains" to increase to the point some have become the
key terrain feature on the horizon.

"At some point in time the DEQ should require the closing of these
mountains and I intend to author restrictions on the size and content –
apparently there are no meaningful limits in the statutes," said Duncan.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008
  Lawmaker Calls On Attorney General to Investigate Google-Yahoo
Contact: State Rep. Mike Thompson
Capitol: (405) 557-7403

Lawmaker Calls On Attorney General to Investigate Google-Yahoo

OKLAHOMA CITY (September 17, 2008) -
State Rep. Mike Thompson has sent a letter to Attorney General Drew Edmondson asking him to investigate the proposed Google-Yahoo! deal that would give Google control of over 90 percent of the search advertising market.

Thompson said Oklahoma should add its name to the growing number of organizations and states that are investigating the deal. The transaction is currently being investigated by the Department of Justice and has been the subject of hearings in both the United States Senate and House. States as diverse as California, New York, Florida, and Connecticut are currently looking at the deal because of its monopolistic implications and impact on privacy.

Last week the Association of National Advertisers, a major trade group that represents companies like Procter & Gamble and General Motors, sent a letter to the DOJ opposing the Google-Yahoo! deal.

"This deal is in direct contradiction to the competition and innovation that drive the Internet and our economy," said Thompson, R-Oklahoma City. "Google is a major corporation. Like any other major corporation, Google believes its profits are paramount. That's fine until it comes at the expense of average citizens and consumers."

Google has also been criticized for its policies regarding online consumer privacy across its many applications including Google Search, YouTube, Google StreetView and its recently released web browser "Chrome." This summer, Google lawyers presented legal arguments stating that "... complete privacy does not exist" as part of a consumer lawsuit against Google over trespassing related to its StreetView application.

"Attorney General Edmondson and the U.S. Department of Justice need to thoroughly investigate the implications of the Google-Yahoo! deal, especially its impact to online consumer privacy.

With 90 percent of the search engine market and access to all that data on online consumer behavior, Google's privacy policies would effectively become national standards. Policymakers are obligated to carefully review this deal," Thompson said.

Thompson represents Oklahoma's State House District 100, which includes portions of Oklahoma City, Bethany and Warr Acres.


Monday, August 25, 2008
  Oklahoma Missing Angels Act
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Oklahoma City, Ok

Contact: State Rep. Dennis Johnson
Capitol: (405) 557-7327

Governor Signs Birth Certificate Law in Special Ceremony

OKLAHOMA CITY (August 25, 2008) - Legislation allowing the state to issue birth certificates to the parents of a stillborn child has received the governor's signature in a special ceremony.
House Bill 2995, by state Rep. Dennis Johnson, would allow the certificates to be issued in cases of stillbirth for any child 20 weeks or more into a pregnancy. The newly created document would be a "Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth," or COBRS.

"In the past, the parents of a stillborn baby simply received a death certificate, which did little to acknowledge the parents' real loss," said Johnson, R-Duncan. "These families have decorated a nursery, their extended family and friends are excited about the new baby coming, and a birth occurs. The birth certainly doesn't have the outcome the parents expect and then they realize that this short life has already come and gone. I experienced that grief as a grandparent last year and wanted to change the way our state treats parents facing this tragedy. The new certificates focus on the fact that the parents did give birth to a child and help them cope with their loss."

Under the legislation, the parents of a stillborn child can request the birth certificate. This new law is also retroactive so parents can get a COBRS for children lost in past years.
The new law is titled the "MISSing Angels Act" and "Christopher and Kendall's Law" in honor of two children lost to stillbirth. Christopher was born to Pat Flynn in 1978 and Johnson's granddaughter Kendall was born last year.

Flynn approached Johnson about carrying the birth certificate legislation before the 2008 session.

"This document is a simple thing, but it can help provide closure," Johnson said. "It acknowledges that your child was born, was a person and is recognized as a citizen of Oklahoma."

More than 26,000 children are stillborn nationally each year.
The First Breath Foundation helped developed House Bill 2995 and is seeking passage of similar measures across the country. Oklahoma is the 24th state to adopt this law.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008
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Oklahoma City, Ok

Contact: State Rep. Randy McDaniel
Capitol: (405) 557-7409

McDaniel Calls for Better Rating System for Care Facilities

OKLAHOMA CITY (August 13, 2008) - One of the most important decisions families face is selecting a care facility for a loved one in need. Whether a family is choosing a day care center for a child or a nursing home for an elderly parent, information on quality of care is crucial.
State Rep. Randy McDaniel, R-Oklahoma City, believes the state can do more to help those families.
In response to tragic events involving abuse and neglect, he noted that efforts have been made at the state level to better inform the public about the performance of day care centers, assisted living centers and nursing home facilities.

"While I applaud efforts to improve the information made publicly available so all Oklahomans can make an informed decision, I believe the system needs to be improved," McDaniel said.
He noted that the most common method for evaluation of a facility is the "star method." Under that system, the best facilities, in theory, receive five stars and the worst receive one or no star.
"Unfortunately, the criteria for making evaluations are flawed," McDaniel said. "One major problem is that there is only a limited distinction made between centers of excellence and centers barely meeting the criteria to retain their license under the current system for day care operations. They are all grouped closely together with nearly the same star rating."
He said another problem is the fact that private and faith-based facilities were not taken into consideration. In order to achieve the highest rating, facilities must belong to a national assembly. However, many day care centers that do not receive state or federal money do not join those groups because they require a membership fee costing thousands of dollars.
They do not join because the perceived benefits are limited and they already enjoy a large demand for their services. Because those facilities do not join national assemblies, they are able to keep overhead and prices lower, but they are also unable to receive a top rating from the state.
"As a consequence, some of the best facilities in Oklahoma are given a lower star rating than poorer-performing facilities that use state dollars to obtain membership in a state-selected national organization," McDaniel said. "There are similar problems in the rating systems used for assisted living centers and nursing homes.
"Quality of care should matter more than whether or not a facility receives state funding."
McDaniel plans to address this problem during the next legislative session.
"Oklahomans have a right to expect a rating system that is fair and impartial," McDaniel said. "When ratings are given by state agencies charged with monitoring all facilities, the ratings have an implied level of credibility and authority that many will use in their decision-making process. Until the rating system is improved, one should use caution and seek additional sources of information before making the critical decision about where to place a loved one."

Thursday, July 24, 2008
  Google's units of knowledge called knols
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Oklahoma City, Ok

Google has been developing a new program that it calls "knols" which they define as a knowledge base much like Wikipedia which has been around for a long time. We were alerted to today's grand opening of the Google knowledge base site by one of our news sources so we went to check it out.

We found that the front page was dominated by knols most of which were probably written by Google employees or their friends. We feel reasonably safe in making that assumption because the vast majority of knols were all about the same general topic which was medicine, illnesses and diseases.

When something new is first opened by such giants as Google it is usually only one key person at the helm who chooses who is going to get all the publicity and what they will do or write about to get that publicity and it isn't as though they had actually opened the new facility to the public and pick articles actually written by the public at large as advertised. That's pretty normal because if it is brand new and almost no body has heard of it yet except a few geeks then nobody will be certain to contribute to the knowledge base who can or will write good copy.

A company must present what it deems to be an acceptable front page that will not offend anyone because of possible controversial material. So they have them write about some benign subject or subjects certain not to offend.

The first knol in the knowledge base is an article on backpacking in the mountains and then from there a slew of articles about various diseases and disabilities that constantly plague portions of humanity.

We did find some contrast to the mundane articles in the form of several articles written by Oklahoma City author Bill Bauer of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Bill is a true internet pioneer in that he can be counted on to be at the forefront of most new things that pop up on the internet. For instance he was one of the first to start blogging when blogging first appeared on the internet back in 1998. His first blog was quickly followed by many more and most of them are still in existance today.

We quickly found that his current list of new knols starts with this one.
which for some strange reason he left untitled

For his second entry into the knol empire Bill answered a question on where he is one of the top notch experts on collections law which is his forte.

For his next article Bill answered a question about oldsters and garnishment of their pension checks. It seems that some inhumane debt collector has been hounding a pair of oldsters who were shuffled over to a doctor who doesn't do SSI and who now wants his money for essentially doing nothing.

Bill's next article discusses unfair debt collection practices which are more than abundant in the collection industry. Such unfair debt collection practices are becoming much more plentiful as debt collectors scramble to survive in the now failing economy.

Bill and his students have been extremely successful in bringing both debt collectors and their lawyers to their knees for a long time now.

Friday, July 18, 2008
  Wesselhöft Statement on Efforts to Fire Regier
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Oklahoma City, Ok

Oklahoma House of Representatives

Media Division

July 17, 2008


Contact: State Rep. Paul Wesselhöft
Capitol: (405) 557-7343

Wesselhöft Statement on Efforts to Fire Regier

OKLAHOMA CITY – Note: State Rep. Paul Wesselhöft, R-Moore, issued the following statement today in response to calls for the firing of Jerry Regier, interim director of the Oklahoma Construction Industry.

“It has been appalling to read the recent attacks on one of Oklahoma’s most honorable sons, Jerry Regier. State Senators Debbe Leftwich (D) Oklahoma City, and Harry Coates (R) Seminole have called into question the merits of the Oklahoma Construction Industry Board’s (CIB) hiring of Regier as its interim director.

“Jerry Regier has an impressive history of success and accomplishment guiding and resurrecting countless programs and agencies. Amongst his accomplishments, Mr. Regier was the founding President and driving force behind the Family Research Council; an early Washington, DC watchdog organization. In Oklahoma, he took the reigns of the Department of Health and Human Services at a time of crisis, righted the ship, and uncovered numerous ghost employees. He appointed me to head Oklahoma’s new abstinence initiative, in which we successfully lowered the teen and out of wedlock birth rates.

“For the State of Florida, he restructured the Department of Children and Families, successfully reducing a backlog of 30,000 social services cases and increasing adoptions by some 150 percent. He put in place a new foster care system which had literally lost children in the past.

“One must wonder why Senators Leftwich and Coates would call for the ouster of the man who in 2001 was named Administrator of the Year in Oklahoma by the American Society of Public Administration (Oklahoma Chapter). They had not said one word about the CIB for the past 8 months since Boyd West had been fired as the Administrator…so why now? Clearly it seems to be politically motivated.

“As the Chairman of the Industry and Labor Committee, in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, I understand the critical need for quality leadership within our construction industry at this point in time. Jerry Regier is the right man, at the right time for this post. He has been a problem solver in a wide range of administrative posts, from local government up to multiple Federal posts under three different Presidents. Many of these agencies were in states of crisis, and Jerry succeeded in bringing each situation encountered to a positive and productive resolution. There should be no doubt that a similar result will occur for the CIB should Mr. Regier be allowed to continue in his capacity as Interim Director. The Board should not allow these Senators to now become Administrators of an Executive branch agency, but should do what is right for the good of the CIB.”


Thursday, July 17, 2008
  OEA Renews Push for Forced Rural School Consolidation
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Oklahoma City, Ok

Oklahoma House of Representatives

Media Division

July 17, 2008


Contact: State Rep. Jeff Hickman

Capitol: (405) 557-7339

OEA Renews Push for Forced Rural School Consolidation

OKLAHOMA CITY – A state teacher’s union is renewing its push for “back-door consolidation” of rural schools, a state legislative leader warned today.

State Rep. Jeff Hickman noted this is the second time in three years the Oklahoma Education Association has tried to force rural consolidation.

“The OEA keeps using the same old bait-and-switch: They say they want to help education but pursue strategies guaranteed to force the closing of rural schools,” said Hickman, R-Dacoma

This year’s state appropriation for public schools was $2.53 billion – an increase and record amount in a session when most state agencies received no extra funding at all. Oklahoma schools are expected to also receive another $628.2 million in federal funds and around $1 billion more in local funding.

In spite of that record support, the OEA plans to promote a proposed constitutional amendment mandating an increase in “per-pupil” funding they say would require an additional $850 million appropriation, according to the July 17 edition of The Oklahoman.

That plan would almost certainly force the closure of dozens of rural schools in an effort to reach the OEA’s arbitrary goal, Hickman noted. Many of those smaller, rural districts are at or near the top in the state in academic performance. “The OEA’s plan would force the elimination of schools across the state to reduce overhead and boost per-pupil funding,” Hickman said. “Their plan would not provide any true benefit to students and would actually create serious hardships for families throughout Oklahoma. The OEA bosses in Oklahoma City may not think it’s a big deal for rural parents to have to drive children an hour or more to school, but I think most parents would disagree, especially in a time of $4 gas.”

This is the OEA’s second attempt to force school consolidation. In late 2005, the union filed a lawsuit on behalf of the super-wealthy Jenks and Western Heights school districts claiming they were underfunded.

The OEA lawsuit was modeled after an Arkansas plan that forced the closure of 57 school districts in that state. If the OEA had been successful at forcing the Arkansas model on Oklahoma, up to 250 Oklahoma school districts could have faced closure thanks to the OEA’s back-door consolidation plan.

“You don’t improve education by closing schools – particularly some of our best-performing districts,” Hickman said, “It’s too bad the OEA doesn’t understand that.”

Tuesday, April 15, 2008
  UMB Bank ripoff report
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Oklahoma City, Ok

UMB Bank ripoff report

It seems that someone is very upset with UMB Bank because of it's policy of charging $8.00 a day for each day that his account balance is negative. That would not normally be seen as something to make headline news but in this case it well may be since a bank error led to the overdraft in the first place. The customer did nothing to generate a negative balance. He wrote no checks and did not use his bank debit card during the month yet ended up owing the bank a huge amount of money in overdraft and negative balance fees.

The customer is so outraged that he has created a video which is now featured in Google Videos, Youtube, It seems to be getting a great deal of attention as Yahoo videos reports it was viewed about 2500 times,

Over 100 websites have this video

UMB Bank among the listings on the most wanted

Thursday, January 24, 2008
  Smoke-a-nazis hard at it in Oklahoma again
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Oklahoma City, Ok

Contact: State Rep. Ken Luttrell
Capitol: (405) 557-7355

Legislation to Protect Children from Smoking Hazards

OKLAHOMA CITY (January 22, 2008) - Hoping to protect children from the
harmful effects of smoking, legislation filed by state Rep. Ken Luttrell
would make it illegal to smoke in a car carrying minors.
"I feel we have an obligation to protect our children," said
Luttrell, D-Ponca City. "You wouldn't drink and then drive a car with
children in it, so why would you want to expose your children to
concentrated smoke? Who will protect children if their parents won't?"
House Bill 2589, by Luttrell, would make it illegal to smoke
while driving if minors are present in a vehicle. Violations would
result in a fine of up to $100.
The bill would also make it illegal to seat minors in a smoking
room at a restaurant or other facility.
Luttrell noted that a recent test conducted in California showed
how quickly chemicals accumulate in a car when someone smokes inside it.
The test showed that air quality became toxic - up to 30 times the
hazardous level set by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. The
test found that cracking a window while smoking made little difference.
This research shows because children's bodies are still
developing, they are more susceptible to the effects of second-hand
smoke. Children exposed to cigarette smoke can develop asthma,
bronchitis and ear infections.
Luttrell's legislation is based on laws approved in Arkansas,
California and Louisiana. Up to 16 states are expected to consider
similar legislation this year, he said.
The bill was also requested by the Northern Oklahoma Association
of Mayors.
"Frankly, I hope the state never has to write a single
citation," Luttrell said. "If we can educate the public about the risks
created for children travelling with a smoker, I believe most Oklahomans
will do the responsible thing."


Wednesday, January 23, 2008
  Shelton Seeks Insurance Help for Smokers
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Oklahoma City, Ok

Contact: State Rep. Mike Shelton
Capitol: (405) 557-7367

Shelton Seeks Insurance Help for Smokers

OKLAHOMA CITY (January 22, 2008) - In Oklahoma, smokers often have to
have cancer before an insurance company will pay for treatment. That's
why state Rep. Mike Shelton has filed legislation to require insurance
companies to provide coverage for smoking cessation programs.
"Our insurance companies are being penny wise and pound
foolish," said Shelton, D-Oklahoma City. "It's ridiculous to refuse
coverage for treatments that can prevent cancer in the long run and save
lives at the same time."
House Bill 2868 would require insurance companies to provide
coverage for "supplies, medication, and related services used as an aide
in the cessation of smoking when recommended or prescribed by a
physician or other licensed health care provider."
Shelton became aware of the problem when a friend was trying to
quit smoking but could not afford the cessation treatments on her income
and her insurance would not provide coverage.
"Asking someone to simply stop smoking without help is absurd,"
Shelton said. "It's not that easy. Nicotine is a very addictive drug and
many people cannot quit relying on willpower alone."
In 2004, Oklahoma had the third-highest rate of smoking
prevalence among the 50 states (26.1 percent of the adult population),
according to federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If the state is every going to improve that number, officials
must aggressively support smoking cessation efforts, Shelton said.
"The Legislature needs to be more proactive when it comes to
improving the health of Oklahoma citizens," Shelton said. "There's a
reason Oklahoma ranks so horribly in almost every health category - the
Legislature, under both Democratic and Republican control, has failed to
act. As a result of those years of neglect, we're now forced to make up
time. This issue is literally a life-and-death situation for many
Oklahomans. We can't afford to risk the lives of our citizens based on
the opinion of a claims adjuster or even insurance company. Our citizen
and families are too important."
Shelton noted that the state smoking cessation hotline has
received roughly 17,000 calls in the last year, indicating a growing
demand for smoking cessation aid.
"House Bill 2868 makes great financial sense," he said. "We can
pay now to help someone stop smoking or pay later for expensive
radiation and chemotherapy treatments."


Tuesday, January 22, 2008
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Oklahoma City, Ok

Contact: State Rep. Rebecca Hamilton
Capitol: (405) 557-7397

Bill to Target Companies Creating Illegal Immigration Problem

OKLAHOMA CITY (January 22, 2008) - Legislation filed this week by state
Rep. Rebecca Hamilton would target the root cause of illegal
"There has been too much invective, blaming and name-calling
where this issue is concerned. That kind of behavior damages our
community and encourages legislators to vote for bad laws that don't
help anyone. I hope that this bill will begin a conversation focused on
finding positive solutions that build our state and that avoid
abrogating the human rights of any of our residents.
"The influx of illegal immigrants into Oklahoma is a symptom of larger
problems. If we don't address the causes of illegal immigration, we will
never be able to deal effectively with it. Illegal immigration is in
large part a direct result of the failure of United States corporations
operating south of the border to be good corporate citizens in those
countries. Legislation that tries only to punish people and pit one
group of low-income workers against another doesn't help the problem. In
fact, it makes it worse." said Hamilton, D-Oklahoma City.
House Bill 3067, by Hamilton, would repeal portions of an
infamous law approved last session to address illegal immigration
problems (House Bill 1804) - a law many critics argue has simply been
Hamilton said her bill would instead target the primary cause of
illegal immigration - the exploitation of immigrant workers by large
corporations - instead of targeting poor people whose lives are already
a financial struggle.
"Every country has the right to defend its own borders, but
Oklahoma's current immigration law doesn't do that," Hamilton said. "We
need to go after those who profit off illegal immigration both here and
in other countries."
House Bill 3067 would make it illegal for the state of Oklahoma
to contract with any company that has closed American facilities and
opened new factories outside the country unless they operate those
factories in compliance with United States wage, safety and human rights
Companies that operate in other countries and do not maintain workplace,
labor and minimum-wage standards comparable to U.S. law would also be
barred from receiving state contracts under the legislation.
Citing United States Department of Labor statistics, the
legislation notes that wages in both Mexico and the United States have
fallen since the ratification of the North American Free Trade Agreement
In addition, Hamilton noted most labor unions in Mexico are either owned
outright by the employer or controlled by the Mexican government,
meaning workers have no leverage to protect their basic rights in
American-owned facilities in Mexico.
Hamilton said American-owned plants in Mexico pay substandard wages and
deduct fees from their Mexican worker's wages, which "makes it
impossible for people to live on what they are paid by these
The low wages and poor working conditions available in Mexico lead many
natives to illegally enter the United States where they can earn more
even when working for less money than most Americans and taking jobs
that are relatively hazardous.
"You can't solve a problem unless you address the root causes,"
Hamilton said. "Right now, the state of Oklahoma is basically targeting
Hispanic people and other immigrants when we should be targeting the
companies that take advantage of lax border enforcement to exploit
lower-wage workers in both countries."
Hamilton, who was one of only nine lawmakers to consistently
opposed House Bill 1804 in the Legislature, noted those who claim House
Bill 1804 is forcing illegal immigrants to leave Oklahoma cannot base
those arguments on hard data. And anecdotal evidence clearly contradicts
those claims, she said.
For example, although Census Bureau figures indicate more
illegal immigrants live in Hamilton's south Oklahoma City district than
any other district in Oklahoma, there has been no noticeable population
shift since House Bill 1804 took effect.
"I can say without equivocation that the people in my district
are still here," Hamilton said. "If large numbers of people living
illegally in Oklahoma are leaving the state, I would have noticed it."


Saturday, December 15, 2007
  December Ice Storm in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
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Oklahoma City, Ok

Ice Storm Photos by Magna Carta News Service

Photo 1 of December ice storm   Photo 11 of December ice stormPhoto 16 of December ice stormPhoto 17 of December ice stormPhoto 18 of December ice stormPhoto 19 of December ice stormPhoto 22 of December ice stormPhoto 25 of December ice storm

Friday, June 08, 2007
Magna Carta News Logo
Oklahoma City, Ok

Oklahoma House of Representatives

Media Division

May 1, 2007


Contact: State Rep. Rex Duncan

Capitol: (405) 557-7344

Media Advisory:

State Officials to Urge Support of “War on Terrorism” License Plate

WHO: State Rep. Rex Duncan and representatives of 45th Infantry Division

WHAT: Press conference to unveil the new “War on Terrorism” license plate

WHERE: The 45th Infantry Division Museum, 2145 N.E. 36th Street in Oklahoma City.

THE STORY AT A GLANCE: Time is running out for Oklahomans to order a “Global War on Terrorism” license plate.

Although the specialty plate was authorized nearly one year ago, logistical problems slowed the creation of the plate and state officials must now obtain at least 100 orders by May 31 or the program will be discontinued.

Officials representing the 45th Infantry Division will join state Rep. Rex Duncan (R-Sand Springs and author of the legislation creating the tag) to unveil the new license plate and call on Oklahomans to support the program.

The cost for the plate is $37 with $20 generated by each license plate designated for support of the 45th Infantry Division Museum in Oklahoma City.

The 45th Infantry Division Museum, which is free to the public, is currently funded through minor state appropriations and private donations.

To order a plate, Oklahomans should download Form 708-E from the Oklahoma Tax Commission website at Applications and payments can be mailed back to the Tax Commission at the address on the form. Any Oklahoma tag agent office may also accept the applications and payments.

The plate’s design may be viewed at


Thursday, June 07, 2007
  Disabled Oklahomans May Get New Name for Agency
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Oklahoma City, Ok

Contact: State Rep. Paul Wesselhöft
Capitol: (405) 557-7343
Moore: (405) 517-7148

Disabled Oklahomans May Get New Name for Agency

OKLAHOMA CITY -In an attempt to cast Oklahoma's disabled community in a more positive light, legislation to change a state agency's name now heads to the governor's desk.

House Bill 1084, by state Rep. Wesselhöft, will rename the Oklahoma Office of Handicapped Concerns as the Office of Disability Concerns.

Wesselhöft said his bill has the support of the Office of Handicapped Concerns

"It is important that we be sensitive to the disabled community to make sure they are viewed as people with disabilities and not 'handicapped,'" said Wesselhöft. "We need to do whatever we can to show our support."

The word handicap comes from the expression "cap in hand," a reference to beggars that many people with disabilities think is inappropriate and belittles their ability to function as everyday citizens.

House Bill 1084 has passed both chambers of the Oklahoma Legislature, receiving unanimous approval from the House of Representatives on Monday.

Wesselhoft encouraged Gov. Brad Henry to sign the bill.


  Disabled Oklahomans May Get New Name for Agency
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Oklahoma City, Ok

Contact: State Rep. Paul Wesselhöft
Capitol: (405) 557-7343
Moore: (405) 517-7148

Disabled Oklahomans May Get New Name for Agency

OKLAHOMA CITY -In an attempt to cast Oklahoma's disabled community in a more positive light, legislation to change a state agency's name now heads to the governor's desk.

House Bill 1084, by state Rep. Wesselhöft, will rename the Oklahoma Office of Handicapped Concerns as the Office of Disability Concerns.

Wesselhöft said his bill has the support of the Office of Handicapped Concerns

"It is important that we be sensitive to the disabled community to make sure they are viewed as people with disabilities and not 'handicapped,'" said Wesselhöft. "We need to do whatever we can to show our support."

The word handicap comes from the expression "cap in hand," a reference to beggars that many people with disabilities think is inappropriate and belittles their ability to function as everyday citizens.

House Bill 1084 has passed both chambers of the Oklahoma Legislature, receiving unanimous approval from the House of Representatives on Monday.

Wesselhoft encouraged Gov. Brad Henry to sign the bill.


Thursday, February 15, 2007
  Derby Legislation Eliminates Unnecessary Police Expense
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Oklahoma City, Ok

Contact: Ray Carter, House Media
Capitol: (405) 557-7421

Contact: State Rep. David Derby
Capitol: (405) 557-7377

Derby Legislation Eliminates Unnecessary Police Expense

OKLAHOMA CITY (February 14, 2007) - Because of a quirk in state laws on
drug testing, law enforcement officials have been required to determine
if seized drugs included products that haven't been on the market for
State lawmakers voted Wednesday to eliminate that waste of
manpower hours and taxpayer dollars.
House Bill 1297, by state Rep. David Derby, updates statutes
dealing with law enforcement lab tests for opiates. The bill deletes
Dextropropoxyphene from the list of drugs that law enforcement officials
must look for in lab tests and adds Propoxyphene and Oxycodone to the
"Our crime labs are going to save two hours of analytical time
per tablet because of that little word change," said Derby, an Owasso
Republican who previously worked as a forensic chemist. "Some of the
drugs on the current list haven't been produced in over 20 years, but we
still have to test for them. That's a complete waste of money and time."
House Bill 1297 passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives on
a 101-0 vote on Wednesday. It now proceeds to the state Senate.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007
  Legislation to Target MySpace Predators Passes House
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Oklahoma City, Ok

Contact: Sasha Bradley, House Media
Capitol: (405) 557-7422

Contact: State Rep. Paul Wesselhoft
Capitol: (405) 557-7343
Moore: (405) 517-7148

Legislation to Target MySpace Predators Passes House

OKLAHOMA CITY - Sexual predators are targeting Oklahoma's innocent
children through harmless entertainment outlets, such as the web.

What may seem like a safe and innocent way for children to communicate
with friends and relatives via Internet is also a way for sex offenders
to prey on the young and innocent, state Rep. Paul Wesselhoft warned
House members today - and that's why he wants to make it difficult for
sex offenders to have 'MySpace' accounts.

House Bill 1714, by Wesselhoft, allows the court to prohibit sex
offenders from accessing certain communication web sites and allows the
court to require sex offenders to list any current email addresses they
are using.

MySpace, the leading social networking and lifestyle portal, allows
individuals worldwide to create their own personal webpage giving
visitors a personal profile containing a wide range of information,
including pictures, interests, relationship status, occupation,
hometown, education background, body type and even sexual orientation.

"It's scary but true: Your child may be communicating with molesters and
rapists right under your nose," said Wesselhoft, R-Moore. "Online social
networking sites such as MySpace provide an open invitation for child
predators to communicate with children, giving these predators pictures
to look at, the physical location of the child, and the child's favorite

According to a report done by KWTV News Channel 9, there are over 40
registered sex offenders living in Oklahoma and Cleveland counties who
matched up with MySpace account users based on name, age and location.

Currently, MySpace has around 80 million worldwide visitors daily. A
report by ComScore Media Metrix, an audience measurement research
service, showed that 85 percent of MySpace account users are older than
18. Based on MySpace's account numbers and ComScore's percentage, there
are around 12 million account holders who are minors.

Wesselhoft said those 12 million children are easy prey for sexual
predators with MySpace accounts.

House Bill 1714 passed the full House today on a 99-0 vote.

"Something needs to be done to protect our children from these sick
individuals. I am glad my fellow House members agree," said Wesselhoft.
"Hopefully, this law will help protect our children from these sick
individuals." recently announced that they would be teaming up with
Sentinel Tech Holding Corp., the leading online identity and
background-verification company, in a joint effort to build Sentinel
Safe, a technology that will allow the company to block convicted sex
offenders from accessing the popular website. Through this landmark
partnership, MySpace said they will be able to search existing state and
federal databases to identify and delete the profiles of registered sex

  Bill to Penalize Lawmakers for Special Sessions Denied Vote
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Oklahoma City, Ok

Contact: State Rep. Sally Kern
Capitol: (405) 557-7348

Bill to Penalize Lawmakers for Special Sessions Denied Vote

OKLAHOMA CITY (February 14, 2007) - In the private sector, employees who
don't do their job face financial consequences and may be fired.
State Rep. Sally Kern hoped to apply that principle to the Oklahoma
Legislature by cutting lawmakers' pay if a special session is convened
to complete the state budget, but she has been informed that legislation
will not receive a hearing this year.
"My legislation would make lawmakers accountable to the citizens
who elect us," said Kern, R-Oklahoma City. "For most Oklahomans, if they
don't do their job, there are consequences, but that's not the case at
the Legislature. Our main job is to write the state budget, but when we
didn't get it done on time last year no one paid a price. That's not
House Joint Resolution 1001, by Kern, would allow a vote of the
people to amend the Oklahoma Constitution to include penalties for
lawmakers should a special session be required to complete the state
The amendment would require a special budget session to begin
the first Monday after adjournment of the regular session and limits the
session to just two weeks. Lawmakers could not recess the special
session for more than two days under the proposal.
Perhaps most importantly, legislative leaders (the Senate
President Pro Tempore, Speaker of the House, and the minority leaders of
both chambers) would forfeit one-third of their salary for the month of
the special session. All other members would lose 25 percent of their
income that month if a special session occurs for budget reasons.
Kern said she is disappointed the bill will not be scheduled for
a vote and believes that most Oklahomans agree.
"The legislation may need some improvements, but the concept is
good," Kern said. "When I talk about this bill at public events, it gets
enthusiastic support. The people like this bill and I think it's a
crying shame the legislation won't get a vote."
Kern said she hoped to amend her legislation to ensure no
participant in the budget process is exempted.
"Right now, House Joint Resolution 1001 penalizes only members
of the Legislature, but I think the governor also needs to be included,"
Kern said. "He is one-third of the budget process and bears some
responsibility anytime the process doesn't work."
Because Senate Democratic leaders fought tax cuts for working
families, lawmakers did not finish the state budget by the end of the
2006 regular session, which adjourned in late May, and did not reconvene
in a special session until the end of June. Had lawmakers not completed
the budget by July 1, a government shutdown loomed.
Monday, February 05, 2007
  Kiesel Bill Would Boost Medical Care for Elderly
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Oklahoma City, Ok

Contact: Ray Carter, House Media
Capitol: (405) 557-7421

Contact: State Rep. Ryan Kiesel
Capitol: (405) 557-7372
Seminole: (405) 382-4737

Kiesel Bill Would Boost Medical Care for Elderly

OKLAHOMA CITY (February 5, 2007) - Legislation authored by State Rep.
Ryan Kiesel could increase the number of doctors specializing in
geriatric care in rural Oklahoma.
House Bill 1830, by Kiesel (D-Seminole), creates the Oklahoma
Geriatric Medical Loan Repayment Program. The program would provide
educational loan repayment assistance for up to five Oklahoma licensed
physicians each year who have completed a fellowship training program in
geriatrics, including geropsychiatry. Each loan recipient would be
eligible for $25,000 in annual assistance for up to five years.
In exchange, the doctors receiving financial assistance from the
state would agree to provide medical care in high-need areas of
"The demand for access to affordable and quality health care is
rising at an exponential rate and it makes perfect sense for Oklahoma to
provide an incentive for medical students to specialize in fields where
the demand will continue to increase and then, when they graduate, to
give them a further incentive to serve patients in high-need areas
including rural Oklahoma. The quality of healthcare an Oklahoman
receives should not depend on what part of the state they live in," said
A recent report by the Oklahoma State University Center for
Rural Health highlights the need for more doctors in rural Oklahoma. The
report indicated residents of rural counties in Oklahoma experience
greater mortality and poor medical conditions.
Kiesel noted that the average age of someone living in rural
Oklahoma is also much older than the average age in urban areas,
creating a strong demand for geriatric care.
According to the Oklahoma State University Center for Rural
Health report, 15 percent of the population in rural areas is age 65 or
older, compared to just 11 percent in urban areas.
At the same time, there is just one primary care physician for
every 1,535 people in rural counties, compared to one doctor for every
740 people in an urban area.
"Oklahoma's aging population will result in a greater demand for
geriatric medicine and it is imperative that we have doctors with this
specialty practicing in all areas of the state," said Kiesel.
If House Bill 1830 becomes law, Kiesel predicted the state could
begin improving its ranking in health reports.
"One of the primary factors driving the costs of health care is the
overall health of our population. A healthier Oklahoma is an important
part of any plan to control the costs of health insurance and provide
all Oklahomans options for affordable health care," said Kiesel.
House Bill 1830 has been assigned to the House Public Health
Committee where it now awaits a hearing.

Friday, February 02, 2007
  Key Files Bill to Equip Rural Emergency Responders with Better Communications Equipment
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Oklahoma City, Ok

Contact: State Rep. Charles Key
Capitol: (405) 557-7354

Key Files Bill to Equip Rural Emergency Responders with Better Communications Equipment: Says Would Help Responders Better Prevent, Respond to and Recover from Mutli-Jurisdictional Emergencies

OKLAHOMA CITY-(February 1, 2007)- Tragedies such as the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing and the recent grassfires that have plagued rural Oklahoma are exactly why the state needs an interoperable radio communications system for emergency responders, said State Rep. Charles Key.

Key has filed House Bill 2060, which would create the Small County Emergency Responders Grant to provide funds for counties with populations of less than 30,000 to purchase equipment capable of communicating with emergency responders across several jurisdictions and to take actions necessary to bring County Emergency Management Programs into National Incident Management System Compliance.

"Combining every state emergency responder on one system would make our state response to disasters and multi-jurisdiction emergencies much more effective," said Key, R-Oklahoma City. "Right now, emergency responders cannot communicate when responding to multi-jurisdictional emergencies. Not only is it dangerous, but it also prevents our state from receiving federal funding necessary to protect our citizens."

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has provided nearly $30 million to Oklahoma in federal funds to set up an 800-megahertz system along the Interstate 44 corridor that would cover the state's most populous areas.

Key's measure would appropriate $20 million for the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) to distribute to the qualified counties to purchase equipment that would work on both the current VHF system and any future statewide 800-megahertz system.

To qualify for the funding, the county must have populations of less than 30,000 and submit, for OEM's approval, a plan for the county to purchase the equipment and implement the interoperable communications system. Upon approval, each county would receive approximately $450,000 to make the upgrades.

Each county would also be required to submit a plan to bring the county into NIMS compliance.

In 2004, the Department of Homeland Security developed the National Incident Management System (NIMS) to develop compliance regulations to ensure that states and local governments can effectively work together to prepare for, prevent, respond to and recover from emergencies and disasters. Federal funding is withheld from states that are not in compliance with NIMS regulations.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007
  Kern Files Pro-Life Measures to Strengthen State Laws
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Oklahoma City, Ok

Contact: Jason Sutton, Media Specialist
House Media Division
Capitol: (405) 962-7623

Contact: State Rep. Sally Kern
Capitol: (405) 557-7348
Oklahoma City: (405) 942-3504

Kern Files Pro-Life Measures to Strengthen State Laws

OKLAHOMA CITY- (January 24, 2007) -Doctors who are not allowed to practice at a nearby hospital would be prevented from performing abortions if a bill by state Rep. Sally Kern clears the legislative process.

Kern also filed a measure that would strengthen last year's parental notification law.

"Like most Oklahomans, I believe life begins at conception and am deeply disturbed that there is more red tape required to pierce someone's ear than there is to end an unborn baby's life," said Kern, R-Oklahoma City. "My bills will ensure abortionists who are more interested in fast cash than patient care can't evade Oklahoma's informed-consent and patient-safety laws."

House Bill 1004 would require doctors who perform abortions to have clinical privileges to render patient care at a local hospital that offers obstetrics and gynecological services. The hospital must be within 30 miles of where the abortionist practices.

House Bill 2047 would build on the Parental Notification Act by requiring women who seek abortions to provide proof of age or emancipation, and parents who consent to a minor's abortion would have to provide a copy of their identification along with a signed, dated and notarized letter of consent.

The bill would also require doctors who perform emergency abortions on minors to notify the child's parents within 24 hours after the procedure, and keep the parent's notarized consent form and proof of identification in the child's medical file for at least seven years.

In 2005, the Legislature passed legislation that requires parental notification for minors seeking an abortion; a state version of the federal Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which criminalizes acts of violence that result in death or harm to an unborn child; and an informed consent law requiring doctors to fully inform women of the risks involved prior to performing an abortion.

Last year, the Legislature passed another law that requires an abortionist to obtain the written informed consent of one parent before performing an abortion on a minor; to give the mother the option to view her unborn baby by ultrasound prior to the abortion; and to inform the mother that her unborn baby, if 20 weeks or older, may feel pain during an abortion and that anesthesia can be administered to the baby to relieve that pain.

The measure also contained language that expanded the recognition of an unborn child as a separate victim if a crime is committed against the mother, and that allows funding to be directed to organizations that help pregnant women with pro-life counseling and support-services.

Monday, January 22, 2007
  House Completes Bill-Filing Process
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Oklahoma City, Ok

Contact: House Media
Capitol: (405) 557-7421

House Completes Bill-Filing Process

OKLAHOMA CITY (January 19, 2006) - By the close of the House bill-filing
process on Jan. 18, lawmakers in the Oklahoma House of Representatives
had filed 1,195 bills, 45 joint resolution and 11 concurrent
"Once again, our dedicated House staff have pulled through and
completed the grueling bill-filing process in a swift and orderly
manner," said House Speaker Lance Cargill, R-Harrah. "I appreciate their
hard work.
"In the weeks ahead, the House Republican caucus will unveil
details about our agenda."
Lawmakers will begin working their way through the mountain of bills
that await votes on Feb. 5 when the regular session convenes. The
session is scheduled to end in just four months by the May 25
adjournment date.
Normally, only a small percentage of bills become law, and many
of those measures deal with the state budget.
Last year, members of the Housed filed 1,654 bills and joint
resolutions, according to the "Session Highlights 2006" publication of
the House Committee Staff Division.
During 2006, only 336 of those measures became law. However, the
state budget was not completed during the regular 2006 legislative
session, and that work spilled over into a special legislative session.
During the 2006 special session, House members filed another 253 bills
and joint resolutions and 47 became law.

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