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16 Feb
0

RELEASE: Daycare Tax Credit for Military Families Endorsed by House A&B Subcommittee

Daycare Tax Credit for Military Families Endorsed by House A&B Subcommittee

OKLAHOMA CITY (16 February 2017) – Legislation to create an income tax credit for daycare expenses incurred by families of deployed military personnel cleared a House of Representatives panel recently.

House Bill 1312 by Rep. Collin Walke, D-Oklahoma City, was endorsed by the House Appropriations and Budget Subcommittee on Finance by a vote of 7-0 Feb. 15. The measure now advances to the full A&B Committee for consideration.

The bill would authorize a tax credit for daycare expenditures on a qualifying dependent child during any period when a member of the armed services is deployed “to another location in support of combat, contingency operation, or natural disaster” for 30 or more consecutive days, during which time the service member is unable to be accompanied by his/her family at government expense.

The proposed credit could not be used to reduce the claimant’s tax liability “to less than zero,” HB 1312 decrees.

Also, the legislation would apply to dependent children 12 or younger at the time the daycare expenses were paid, and permissible expenses would be limited to the care of a child “for not more than 12 hours per day.”

The bill defines “servicemember” to mean a member of the Armed Forces of the United States, the Reserve Corps of the nation’s Armed Forces, or the Oklahoma National Guard.

“I believe the tax loss to the state treasury from my proposal would be relatively low, but it would nevertheless be a valuable benefit to military families whenever a parent is deployed to a combat zone or a disaster area for an extended period,” Walke said.

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MIKE W. RAY
Media Director, Democratic Caucus
Oklahoma House of Representatives
(405) 962-7819 office
(405) 245-4411 mobile

16 Feb
0

RELEASE: DNC Statement – Trump’s Belief That Flynn Was Right on Sanctions Fits With Pattern of Pro-Putin Policies

Trump’s Belief That Flynn Was Right on Sanctions Fits With Pattern of Pro-Putin Policies

Washington, DC – DNC national press secretary Adrienne Watson released the following statement in response to President Trump:

“The fact that Donald Trump believes General Flynn was right to do what he did — undermining U.S. sanctions on Russia — is outrageous and part of a larger pattern of disturbing pro-Putin policies of Trump’s, including undermining NATO and refusing to personally condemn Russian aggression in Ukraine.

The DNC previously issued the below statement when Trump refused to unequivocally deny his staff was in contact with Russia during his campaign.

“Trump refused to say his staff was not in contact with the Kremlin during the campaign. His silence speaks volumes and reinforces the need for an independent, transparent investigation through a special congressional select committee, or 9/11 commission and an independent counsel out of the Department of Justice.”

14 Feb
0

RELEASE: ODP Statement – ACLU of Oklahoma Challenges Patrick Wyrick’s Appointment to Oklahoma Supreme Court

For Immediate Release
February 14, 2017

Media Contact:
Angela Allmond, Communications Director
405-536-2417
Oklahoma Democratic Party

 

ACLU of Oklahoma Challenges Patrick Wyrick’s Appointment to Oklahoma Supreme Court

 OKLAHOMA CITY – The ODP is pleased to learn that the ACLU of Oklahoma announced the filing of a lawsuit against Governor Fallin’s appointment of Patrick Wyrick to the Oklahoma Supreme Court Judicial District 2 on behalf of Oklahoma’s Second Court District.

Oklahoma Democratic Party Chair, Mark Hammons, held a press conference earlier today denouncing Wyrick’s appointment and introduced the March 1, 2016, Voter Register with Patrick Wyrick’s signature confirming his residency in Moore, Oklahoma in Cleveland County. A person interested in sitting on the Oklahoma Supreme Court must be 30 years or older, an attorney or judge, and be a qualified elector in the Supreme Court Judicial District they wish to represent for at least one year immediately prior to appointment.

The Voter Register confirms Wyrick’s residency less than a year ago in Cleveland County and outside of Judicial District 2. The State Election Board requires that voters register to vote where they live. Although records show that Wyrick registered to vote in Atoka, Judicial District 2 in October of 2016, only two months after the vacancy was announced, there is no record of Wyrick voting in any recent election in Atoka County.

To view today’s Oklahoma Democratic Party Press Conference, please visit our Facebook Page for the posted Video. A link to a copy of the Voter Register is included with this release.

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The mission of the Oklahoma Democratic Party is to represent working people in Oklahoma and the best way to accomplish that is to elect Democrats to all areas of government. Oklahoma Democrats are progressive and sensible. We are optimistic about the future, and we are determined to see Oklahoma’s traditional values upheld. More information about the Oklahoma Democratic Party can be found at www.okdlive.wpengine.com or by calling (405) 427-3366.

14 Feb
0

RELEASE: House Dems – House Committees Approve Bills to Entice Doctors, Workers to Move to Rural Areas

House Committees Approve Bills to Entice Doctors, Workers to Move to Rural Areas

OKLAHOMA CITY (14 February 2017) – Two House bills intended to attract doctors and workers to sparsely populated areas of Oklahoma were endorsed in committees this week.

House Bill 2301 by Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, would authorize a tax exemption on the first $25,000 of annual income earned by any “qualifying doctor” who moves to a rural area of Oklahoma. The exemption could be claimed so long as the doctor remained in that designated area, the bill indicates.

The bill defines a “rural area” to mean any town or unincorporated area that has fewer than 25,000 residents and is at least 25 miles from the nearest municipality that has a population that exceeds 25,000.

The bill also specifies that a “qualifying doctor” means a medical doctor or osteopathic physician who:

  •             is licensed to practice medicine in Oklahoma;
  •             was graduated from a medical institution of higher education in this state; and
  •             resides within the same county as the rural area where the compensation that qualifies for the tax exemption proposed by HB 2301 is earned.

HB 2301 cleared the Appropriations and Budget Committee in a bipartisan vote Monday, 21-5. Supporters included 17 Republicans and four Democrats, while the opponents numbered three Democrats and two Republicans.

House Bill 1156 – which would provide a five-year exemption from all state income taxes for anyone who moves from another state to any Oklahoma county with a declining population – passed the House Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development.

The bill stipulates that the move must be made to a county “which has been projected to have a decline in its population” between Jan. 1, 2018, and Dec. 31, 2075, as identified in” a publication issued by the Oklahoma Department of Commerce: the “2012 Demographic State of the State Report – Oklahoma State and County Population Projections Through 2075”.

Counties identified in the Commerce Department report included Alfalfa, Beaver, Blaine, Choctaw, Cimarron, Cotton, Craig, Dewey, Ellis, Grant, Greer, Harmon, Harper, Hughes, Jackson, Jefferson, Kay, Kiowa, Major, Nowata, Roger Mills, Seminole, Tillman, Washita and Woods.

HB 1156 received a “do pass” recommendation from the committee on a 16-1 vote Tuesday. The lone vote in opposition was cast by Rep. Brian Renegar, D-McAlester.

“How come this bill is in Ag” instead of the Appropriations and Budget Committee, Renegar asked.

“Because this is a rural development bill,” replied Rep. Scott Biggs, R-Chickasha, principal author of HB 1156.

In response to a question from Rep. Steve Kouplen, D-Beggs, Biggs said HB 1156 is identical to HB 2301 introduced two years ago by former Rep. Tom Newell, R-Seminole. HB 2301 “got hung up” in a House/Senate conference committee that was unable to agree on a compromise, Biggs related.

Biggs claimed that a Rural Opportunity Zones measure that Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed into law in 2011 “has been successful in attracting people” to rural areas of the Sunflower State. ROZs are 77 Kansas counties authorized to offer 100% state income-tax waivers for up to five years, and/or student loan repayments up to $15,000, to new full-time residents who have not lived in Kansas for at least the past five years.

After the committee meeting, Renegar said he opposed HB 1156 because, “I don’t believe people who are making $30,000 to $50,000 a year are going to move to an area of declining population just so they can save perhaps $2,500 a year on taxes. It costs a lot of money to pack up and move.”

HBs 2301 and 1156 will now be placed on the House calendar for floor votes.

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MIKE W. RAY
Media Director, Democratic Caucus
Oklahoma House of Representatives
(405) 962-7819 office
(405) 245-4411 mobile

13 Feb
0

RELEASE: ODP – Patrick Wyrick Should Immediately Step Down

For Immediate Release
February 13, 2017

Media Contact:
Angela Allmond, Communications Director
405-427-3366
Oklahoma Democratic Party

 Patrick Wyrick Should Immediately Step Down

OKLAHOMA CITY – Patrick Wyrick’s appointment by Governor Fallin to serve as a Justice for the Oklahoma Supreme Court displays a callous disregard of the Oklahoma Constitution and serves as another example of backroom politics. Wyrick should immediately step down.

Oklahoma’s Constitution, Article 7, Section 2 requires that a Supreme Court Justice “shall have been a qualified elector in the district for at least one year immediately prior to the date of filing or appointment.” Patrick Wyrick has been and still is, a resident of Cleveland County which is not within the boundaries of Supreme Court District 2. In March of 2016, Wyrick voted in Cleveland County. To lawfully vote in Cleveland County he was required to have been a resident of that County. In fact, Mr. Wyrick has declared himself to be a resident of central Oklahoma by living and voting in that area for well over a decade.

Even if we believe that Mr. Wyrick changed his residence to Atoka in October 2016, that would not qualify him as a resident of Judicial District No. 2 for the required year prior to either filing for the position or of his appointment.

Governor Fallin is sworn to uphold the Constitution, and yet she has violated the Constitution by this appointment. Patrick Wyrick should immediately step down. What kind of a judge seeks and accepts an office knowing he does not meet the legal qualifications? Wyrick has started his service by violating his oath to uphold and defend Oklahoma’s Constitution. Accepting a position for which he is not qualified is an apparent violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct, Rule I.I which requires that “A judge shall comply with the law. . .” The Judicial Code, Rule 1.2, also requires that: “A judge shall act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the of the judiciary, and avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety.” Certainly, his actions do not promote public confidence but rather create the appearance of impropriety.

The Democratic Party calls on Governor Fallin and Patrick Wyrick to do the right thing and renounce this position immediately. If the Governor and Wyrick will not follow the law, the Democratic Party is prepared to file suit to enforce Oklahoma’ s Constitution.

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The mission of the Oklahoma Democratic Party is to represent working people in Oklahoma and the best way to accomplish that is to elect Democrats to all areas of government. Oklahoma Democrats are progressive and sensible. We are optimistic about the future, and we are determined to see Oklahoma’s traditional values upheld. More information about the Oklahoma Democratic Party can be found at www.okdlive.wpengine.com or by calling (405) 427-3366.

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