30 May

Jobs Bill for Oklahoma Veterans Signed by Governor

State of Oklahoma

House of Representatives


May 30, 2012

Rep. Chuck Hoskin
State Capitol Building Rm. 509
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
Contact: Eric Russell


Jobs Bill for Oklahoma Veterans Signed by Governor


OKLAHOMA CITY- Friday, Governor Fallin signed a bill that will assist veterans seeking employment after serving in the armed forces.

The bill, authored by Rep. Chuck Hoskin, D-Vinita, Sen. Sean Burrage, D-Claremore, and co-authored by House Democratic Leader Scott Inman, D-Del City, would ease the transition from service to civilian life for more than 329,000 veterans who call Oklahoma home.

“It is often the case that soldiers cannot easily explain their training and skills in civilian speak, because the methodology of military training doesn’t always perfectly align with a university degree or trade school program,” said Rep. Hoskin. “This bill addresses that problem by offering veterans the opportunity to demonstrate transferable skills.”

When an interview is a component of the selection process, the bill requires that public employers must interview each veteran who meets the minimal and special qualifications for the position. The interview allows the employer to determine whether a veteran’s military education, training, or experience produced a transferable skill that would qualify them as a top candidate for the position.

“Transferable skill” means a skill that a veteran has obtained through military education or experience that substantially relates, directly or indirectly, to the civil service position for which the veteran is applying. For example, an Army infantryman receives training in the use, maintenance and storage of weapons, skills which are transferable to positions in corrections or law enforcement.

“In 2011, Oklahoma had approximately 9,000 unemployed veterans; hopefully that number will decline as a result of this bill,” said Rep. Hoskin. “I am grateful for the service that these men and women have provided to our great country, and the goal of this legislation is to give back to them as they return home by making their job prospects brighter.”


27 Apr

Senate Republicans Continue War on Women

For Immediate Release
April 27, 2012
Contact: Trav Robertson


Senate Republicans Continue War on Women 
Senator Tom Coburn and Senator Jim Inhofe Vote “No” on Violence Against Women Act


Oklahoma City – Yesterday, the United States Senate passed SB 1925, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, without the consent of Oklahoma’s Senators Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe. This continues a pattern of bad behavior of the Oklahoma Republican Party’s war against women. The VAWA was first signed into law in 1994 by President Clinton, and was reauthorized in 2000 and 2005. 

The legislation will protect approximately 150,000 Native American women in Oklahoma who could be at risk. In a regional survey conducted by University of Oklahoma researchers showed that nearly three out of five Native American women had been assaulted by their spouses or intimate partners. In addition, a recent Center for Disease Control (CDC) study found that approximately 46 percent of Native American women have experience rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

With non-Indians constituting more than 76 percent of the overall population living on reservations and other Indian lands, interracial dating and marriage are common, and many of the abusers of Native American women are non-Indian men. Too often, non-Indian men who batter their Indian wives and girlfriends go unpunished because tribes cannot prosecute non-Indians, even if the offender lives on the reservation and is married to a tribal member, and because Federal law-enforcement resources are hours away from reservations and stretched thin.

Congress can close this jurisdictional gap in the criminal justice system by supporting the Leahy-Crapo bill and providing tribes with the authority to hold offenders accountable for their crimes against Native American women, regardless of the perpetrator’s race. This bill builds on the Tribal Law and Order Act – which President Obama signed on July 29, 2010 – to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of tribal justice systems and will provide additional tools to tribal and Federal prosecutors to address domestic violence in Indian Country.

The bill has passed the Senate and will now move to be heard in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Call the OK GOP Chairman Matt Pinnell to demand that he convince these Republican Senators to protect women in Oklahoma.


Call them to stop the war on women:

Senator Tom Coburn: (202)-224-5754
Senator Jim Inhofe: (202)-224-4721
Oklahoma Republican Party: (405)-528-3501

20 Dec

Mary Fallin Would Deny “Tiny Tim” Health Insurance??

For Immediate Release
December 20, 2011
Contact: Trav Robertson
Phone: 405-427-3366


Governor’s Executive Order Eliminates Healthcare for Babies & Newborns

Oklahoma City, OK– State Democratic Party Vice-Chair, Dana Orwig and Party Treasurer, Donna Russell posed this question today when it was discovered that Governor Mary Fallin and Insurance Commissioner John Doak created and signed an emergency rule (365:10-1-15) eliminating birth as a “qualifying event” for individual healthcare coverage.

Treasurer Russell stated, “Simply put, this leaves an infant uninsured and the parents, not their insurance companies, responsible for ALL hospital charges. Fallin and Doak sold out our state’s newborns to the insurance industry. What happens to preemies or babies with high bilirubin? As a former teacher I believe this is the most irresponsible attack on our children I have ever witnessed.”

According to the Oklahoma Department of Health, the delivery of a premature child can cost approximately $64,000.00. The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy asserts that Oklahoma ranks 5th highest in teen birth rates and 4th highest in child deaths.

“Fallin’s actions have the stench of hypocrisy. She claims to be pro-life and in one single moment she puts the life of every single newborn in danger and every family into potential bankruptcy…as a member of the clergy, I find her actions immoral,” Orwig stated.

Both officers concluded, “This is a pattern of behavior by Republicans, using the insurance industry as a whole to mislead Oklahomans on how to plan for their futures properly. As mothers, we cannot believe that Republican Governor Fallin and Republican Commissioner Doak, who claim to support family values, do not have the moral compass to protect those who cannot control the circumstances into which they are born. It is reprehensible to stick hard-working Oklahomans with the bill and they should reverse this order immediately.”


15 Dec

Economy: Putting Americans Back to Work and Rebuilding a Fair Economy for the Middle Class

Over the last few decades, middle-class security had been slipping away for millions of families. Wages stagnated while health care costs soared. Fewer employers offered retirement and health benefits. College tuition costs skyrocketed. And then the Wall Street meltdown and housing market crash cost 8.8 million jobs and sent the economy into a deep recession. In January 2009 – just as the President took office – more than 700,000 Americans lost their jobs.

From day one, President Obama took immediate action to address the crisis and began laying the foundation for a job-creating economy that’s built to last. President Obama’s recovery program supported as many as 3.5 million jobs by cutting taxes; investing in clean energy, roads and bridges; keeping teachers in the classroom; and protecting unemployment benefits. The private sector has now created nearly 3 million jobs during 21 straight months of private-sector growth – but our work is not done. His proposed American Jobs Act would put even more people back to work now and put even more money in people’s pockets, but Washington Republicans are blocking it.

As we recover from the greatest economic and financial crisis since the Great Depression, President Obama is fighting to restore the basic values of balance and fairness that made our country great. We are now at a make-or-break moment for the middle class.

The President believes Americans should be able to earn enough to raise a family, send their kids to school, own a home and put enough away to retire. That can only happen when hard work pays off, responsibility is rewarded, and when everybody plays by the same rules, does their fair share and has a fair shot at success. To create true middle-class security, we can’t just cut our way to prosperity, as some have suggested. An economy that creates the jobs of the future and exports goods stamped “Made in America” will not come by outsourcing, but by out-educating, out-innovating and out-building the world.

09 Dec

Push Back Against Right-Wing Overreach by Rep. Mike Brown

State of Oklahoma
House of Representatives
Push Back against Right-Wing Overreach
By State Representative Mike Brown

December 9, 2011

In the last seven years Republicans have consistently won elections on the promise to create a fairer and more business friendly tax policy, to improve vital government services like education, public safety and health care, to prepare students for a competitive marketplace and to protect Oklahoma families.

On the surface, these promises resonate with the average Oklahoman who reacts positively to terms like, “improve”, “protect” and “fair”. But a sober assessment of their agenda reveals that what this has amounted to are attacks on workers, the middle class, and public services and institutions.

Republicans were successful in convincing much of the public that state budget shortfalls were in part a result of teachers and public servants being lavishly overpaid and granted extravagant benefits packages – and were not deterred by the facts that the average pension is $19,000 a year, and teachers pay is ranked 48th in the nation. They purposely distorted the word “union” to justify denying municipal employees their right to negotiate at arm’s length and in good faith with their employer.

In order to make the state more “business friendly” Republicans felt it necessary to drive through an alarming amount of destructive legislation that eroded the rights of workers by overhauling the Workers’ Compensation system to better favor doctors, lawyers and insurance companies. There is now a $350,000 hard cap on noneconomic damages that cannot be lifted by a judge or jury, even in cases where the victim suffered permanent and substantial physical abnormalities or disfigurement.

Republicans have assaulted our public education system as failing in order to further their agenda of supporting charter and private schools, but of the 1,845 school sites in Oklahoma, only 8% are on the “needs improvement” list. Nonetheless, rather than providing adequate funding to improve these schools they instead took dollars from our public coffers to provide vouchers for private schools. The school voucher bill lauded this past year by Republicans to create educational opportunities for “needy” children will award scholarships to eligible “needy” families, which according to them is a family of four that makes as much as $122,000.00 a year.

The “fair” business environment the Republicans have created has led to Chesapeake Energy paying an effective corporate tax rate of -2.1 percent from 2008-2010, Devon Energy paying 0.6 percent, Williams paying 1.0 percent, and OneOK paying 1.1 percent. Don’t look for things to change under the current regime, as the chairman of the Task Force on State Tax Credits supports oil and gas incentives, regardless of the loss of revenue to the state and thus, public services.

Now the talk is centered on the Republicans efforts to reduce and/or eliminate the state income tax, which is the single largest source of support for education, health care, transportation and public safety. There is no talk of backfilling the major budget cuts any of these programs have endured over the last several years. As classroom sizes continue to grow, caseloads increase, fewer nutrition sites open their doors and fewer law enforcement officers patrol our streets and guard our prisons, Republicans continue their right-wing overreach to dismantle democratic institutions and government services.

There is an enormous chasm between the Oklahoma Republican regime and the average Oklahoman. Republicans have waged a successful campaign against policies that form the very foundation of economic opportunity and the middle class, but their mantra of “jobs” along with the political exploitation of religion and Second Amendment rights has been exposed as merely a smokescreen for an anti-worker, anti-public services doctrine.

This next session more efforts will be underway to disenfranchise voters and shortchange vital government services. As the Republican agenda continues to benefit corporations and the wealthy at the expense of the middle class, I promise to be at the front lines of these critical fights.

*Mike Brown represents District 4 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. He lives with his family in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

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