House Democrats Announce Leadership Team for 2015-2016 Legislative Session


State of Oklahoma

House of Representatives

May 6, 2013

For immediate release

Contact: MaryAnn Martin, Ph.D.

(405) 962-7819

House Democrats Announce Leadership Team for 2015-2016 Legislative Session

OKLAHOMA CITY- House Democrats elected their leadership team today for the 2015-2016 legislative session.

Rep. Scott Inman, D-Del City, was reelected by unanimous consent to serve his third term as Democratic Leader.

Should the partisan makeup of the House change after the 2014 elections, Rep. Jeannie McDaniel, D-Tulsa, will serve as House Speaker Pro Tempore. McDaniel, currently serving her fifth term in the state House, was elected without opposition.

Rep. Jerry McPeak, D-Warner, won re-election as Caucus Chair. Also serving his fifth term in the House, McPeak was elected to serve his third consecutive term as Caucus Chairman.

House Democrats elected Rep. Steve Kouplen, D-Beggs, to replace Rep. Joe Dorman, D-Rush Springs, as Caucus Vice Chair. Dorman is term limited in 2014. Kouplen previously served as Assistant Floor Leader.

“I am honored and humbled to once again receive the support of the members of our House Democratic Caucus to serve as their leader,” said Leader Inman. “I look forward to fighting alongside my Caucus as we push to advance our agenda of improving our public schools, the lives of our seniors and veterans, and our state’s infrastructure, and to increase pay for our public safety officers.”

“I am honored by this nomination from Leader Inman to be Speaker Pro Tempore,” said McDaniel. “I value the respect of my fellow Caucus members for their confidence that they would support me to represent them in this prestigious position.  It is my goal to continue to be a voice for my district and a friend to all who serve here in the House.”

“I work to keep the lines of communication open within the House Democratic Caucus,” said McPeak. “I hope to do right by our outstanding members and to ensure that each of our members’ voices and concerns are heard. I am honored to continue to work with my colleagues in this capacity.”

“I’ve come to know my colleagues over the past five years and I am gratified with their support to serve as Caucus Vice Chair,” said Kouplen. “My job will be to support and help the caucus represent those Oklahomans who make this one of the greatest places on earth to live and raise a family.”

“With Rep. McDaniel’s compassion, Rep. McPeak’s’ firm hand, and Rep. Kouplen’s calm head, House Democrats have another phenomenal leadership team in place,” said Leader Inman. “We have a dynamic, enthusiastic caucus and our leadership team will work to capitalize on that energy in ways that benefit not only our constituents, but all Oklahomans.”

 

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Sherrer Criticizes Proposal to Address Online Testing Problems

 

State of Oklahoma

House of Representatives

May 1, 2013

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Representative Ben Sherrer

State Capitol Building Rm. 500

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma  73105

405-557-7364

 

Sherrer Criticizes Proposal to Address Online Testing Problems

OKLAHOMA CITY – The State Department of Education’s proposal to use partially completed test results is intolerable, state Rep. Ben Sherrer said today.

“The determination that unanswered questions will be scored as incorrect answers is absolutely intolerable,” said Sherrer, D-Chouteau. “The interruption of the test should invalidate the test. No student should be penalized as a result of the failure of the State Department of Education or its paid contractor to properly deliver the online test.”

Sherrer said the testing scores under the proposal would be grossly different from what the students would have achieved on the test.

“I find it offensive that this proposal is deemed by the State Department to ‘. . . assist in a small way with the disruption.’ The algebra EOI test is high-stakes for our students. Our local schools’ A-F grades depend upon student performance on these tests. I can’t believe the State Superintendent would propose to solve testing malfunction problems by using incomplete testing results and rating unanswered questions as incorrect.”

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ALEC is not OK

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is holding their Spring Task Force Summit on May 2 – 3, 2013.  Through ALEC, behind closed doors, corporations hand state legislators the changes to the law they desire that directly benefit their bottom line. Along with legislators, corporations have membership in ALEC. Corporations sit on all nine ALEC task forces and vote with legislators to approve “model” bills. They have their own corporate governing board which meets jointly with the legislative board.  (ALEC says that corporations do not vote on the board.) Corporations fund almost all of ALEC’s operations.  Participating legislators then bring those proposals home and introduce them in statehouses across the land as their own brilliant ideas and important public policy innovations—without disclosing that corporations crafted and voted on the bills. ALEC boasts that it has over 1,000 of these bills introduced by legislative members every year, with one in every five of them enacted into law. ALEC describes itself as a “unique,” “unparalleled” and “unmatched” organization. We agree. It is as if a state legislature had been reconstituted, yet corporations had pushed the people out the door.

Sign the Petition!

 

By signing this petition, I am committed to educating fellow members as well as the public on what American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is and their purpose.  I am also committed to doing my part and participating in the action planned in Oklahoma City on May 2 and 3 to help have our voices of strong opposition to ALEC heard.

Senate Democratic Leader Sean Burrage and Caucus Chairman Tom Ivester Comment on Senate Committee Passage of HB 2032

Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105

For Immediate Release: April 4, 2013

Senate Democratic Leader Sean Burrage and Caucus Chairman
Tom Ivester Comment on Senate Committee Passage of HB 2032

Senate Democratic Leader Sean Burrage and Caucus Chairman Tom Ivester issued the following comments Thursday in response to the passage of HB 2032 by the Senate Finance Committee earlier in the day.

“Once again, the Oklahoma State Senate is engaged in a process that forces the kind of rushed decision-making that can result in bad policymaking,” said Burrage, D-Claremore. “Our members were informed of this morning’s Finance Committee meeting well after the close of the normal Senate business day. They were handed a much expanded version of the bill with less than 45 minutes to review it before voting on it in committee. No one can be expected to engage in knowledgeable debate or cast a fully informed vote in this kind of environment. And while we are continually bombarded with the message that it’s a ‘work in progress’ and ‘title is off the bill,’ this is not a practice that promotes good policymaking.”

“As to the content of the bill, this is the third tax bill we’ve seen this session,” Burrage continued. “Senate Republican leadership says that the average Oklahoman could save $80 a year with this tax cut. That’s just $1.50 per week. But, when you add it all up, it means millions of dollars that could be used to restore funding cuts to our local schools, give our teachers or our Highway Patrol a raise, fix our roads and bridges, and restore our State Capitol which is literally crumbling around us as we debate these bills.”

“While I understand that tax cuts are an important political talking point for the members of this body, we are seeing political infighting among Republicans in the Senate, Republicans in the House and the Governor’s office affect our ability to make good public policy,” said Ivester, D-Sayre. “We’re being forced to debate political talking points – whether a tax cut should be implemented before or after an important election year in 2014, whether the rate should be at or just below five percent – instead of discussing whether a small tax cut is more important than investing in our schools, paying our teachers and public safety officers appropriately and making sure our State Capitol doesn’t fall down around us any more than it already has. Drama about what is politically expedient is overtaking our ability to do what is best for Oklahoma.”

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For more information, contact:
Sen. Burrage: (405) 521-5601
Sen. Ivester: (405) 521-5545

Rep. Mike Reynolds to Privatize State’s Education System

For Immediate Release
April 4, 2013
Contact: Trav Robertson
405.427.3366

 

 REP. MIKE REYNOLDS TO PRIVATIZE STATE’S EDUCATION SYSTEM

He Continues Barresi’s War on Education

OKLAHOMA CITY – In reply to a student’s cry for help in affording higher education, Oklahoma State Representative Mike Reynolds emailed all of his fellow legislators, “It is not our job to see that anyone gets an education.” Reynolds continued, “their GPA, ACT…have nothing to do with who is responsible. Their potential to benefit society is irrelevant.

Rep. Reynolds is the principal author of House Bill 1027 which continues Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi’s assault on public education by providing parents a loophole to use taxpayer dollars to pay for their private school tuition.

“As a state we need to support our children by encouraging them to attend college,”  said Oklahoma Democratic Party Vice-Chair and educator Dana Orwig. “According to a recent report released by the State Chamber; our state receives $4.72 for every dollar spent on higher education.”

Coincidentally, on April 1st the Republican-controlled legislature missed the state mandated education budget deadline for the ninth year in a row. The last time it was passed on time was during the Democratic-controlled Oklahoma House of Representatives in 2004.

The Vice Chair concluded, “The Barresi-Reynolds plan to privatize Oklahoma’s education system will crush many schools in our state. At a time when our businesses are facing increasing competition in the global marketplace, I want to know what Barresi thinks about Mike Reynolds’ comments on the the state’s responsibility to provide opportunities for education and if she agrees with him. ”

 

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Oklahoma sees substantial benefits from higher education, State Chamber reports

Republican Representative Mike Reynolds Calls Student’s Potential Irrelevant

House Democrats Urge Legislature to “Fund Ed First”