Columns/Opinions

Wed
18
Apr
Edgar's picture

Funding Education While Protecting Taxpayers

By Rep. Scooter Park

In March, I voted with my colleagues in the House to approve a $2.9 billion budget for K-12 education for Fiscal Year 2019, which starts in July. This budget contains more than $353 million to give teachers an average raise of $6,100 beginning in the 2018- 19 school year and going into the future. It also contains money to give school support staffers a $1,250 raise; and $33 million for textbooks.

The last few years we’ve put textbook funding through the school formula. This year, we itemized $33 million for textbooks and left $33 million in the formula. We’re also putting an additional $17 million in the formula and $20 million more for education from the passage of House Bill 1019XX.

Wed
18
Apr
Edgar's picture

Cole Statement on Syria Action

Washington, D.C. - Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement in response to the strike by the United States, Great Britian and France against military targets in Syria.

“President Trump and our allies were correct to strike Syrian targets in response to the illegal and immoral use of chemical weapons against its own citizens by the regime of Bashar al-Assad,” said Cole. “The President was also right to warn Russia and Iran to cease supporting the actions of the brutal Assad regime.”

 

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Wed
04
Apr
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Funding Initiatives That Help Us All

By: Congressman Tom Cole

 

Now that the Fiscal Year 2018 omnibus spending bill has been signed into law, many Americans will benefit from the wide range of funding that supports the nation’s health, economy and military. The Department of Defense and the military will receive the largest increase in discretionary spending this year, but there are also important spending increases that are directed toward programs that are critical to protecting and serving the nation’s wellbeing, workforce and schools. The Labor, Health and Human Services,

Wed
28
Mar
Edgar's picture

Latest Teacher Pay Raise Plans

By SCOOTER PARK 

Several state groups that represent large numbers of teachers have come forward with teacher pay raise plans and ideas for how to fund them. In the meantime, the House is considering other measures of funding raises for teachers, state employees, education and other state services.

The Oklahoma Education Association on Friday held a press conference in Oklahoma City outlining a $906 million tax increase plan that would pay for educator and state employee pay raises as well as increase funding for schools.

 

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Wed
21
Mar
Edgar's picture

The Costs of Tariffs

By: Congressman Tom Cole

 

This past year, the United States has been experiencing a welcome surge in economic growth. The economic successes America is enjoying is surely due to the hard work and ingenuity of the American people, the implementation of the Republican tax reform and President Trump’s initiative to bring

American companies back home. In general, free trade contributes to our national prosperity as well. However, having open markets is not an invitation for others to take advantage of us. When bad actors exist, we have every right to use our power to protect our interests.

 

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Wed
07
Mar
Edgar's picture

Putting More Pressure on North Korea

By: Congressman Tom Cole

 

After the recent closing of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, its neighbor, North Korea, continues to pose one of the most persistent U.S. foreign policy challenges which has spanned the past four U.S. administrations. It is the only country to have tested nuclear weapons this century and remains the greatest and most immediate threat in the Indo-Asia-P

acific area. The hope that North Korea will resume and continue talks with South Korea after the Olympics remains a question. Whatever the outcome, confronting the North Korean threat is critical, and the U.S. must be guided by a strong sense of resolve.

 

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Wed
21
Feb
Edgar's picture

House Back in Session

By Rep. Scooter Park

The state Legislature is back in session, so I’m again splitting my time between the district and the state Capitol.

In addition to the regular legislative session, we are still convening in our second special session working to close the books on the Fiscal Year 2018 budget. If you’ll recall, the governor vetoed the budget we handed her in late November at the adjournment of the first special session. Her action left three state health care agencies with only enough funding to get through April. Because of an extraordinary flu season, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority is now struggling just to get through March.

 

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Wed
21
Feb
Edgar's picture

From the Desk of Sen. Chris Kidd

The third week of the regular session is underway. We have two more weeks of committee work on bills before we turn our attention to debate before the full Chamber.

This session, I filed nine Senate bills and three have already received committee approval. SB 1364 authorizes the board of county commissioners to trade-in equipment to a vendor or on a statewide contract by acquiring used equipment values pursuant to state statute.

SB 1488 modifies the Wildlife Conservation Code to add a lifetime landowner hunting license for legal residents who have resided in the state for at least six months and intend to remain residents. The price of the new lifetime license for 500 to 1,000 acres would be $50,000 and $75,000 for any tract of land over 1,000 acres. SB 1492 relates to boiler inspectors and requires that deputy inspectors receive a valid National Board Commission within 24 months after appointment rather than 18.

 

Wed
14
Feb
Edgar's picture

A Budget Agreement To Put Us Back On Track

By: Congressman Tom Cole

Congress has passed yet another continuing resolution to temporarily fund the government and avert a shutdown. The agreement secures funding to ensure the President’s defense priorities can be met. It also ends a months-long impasse on spending priorities and provides for a path ahead to undo the damaging cuts that have hindered our armed forces and diminished our ability to meet security threats around the globe.

Wed
14
Feb
Edgar's picture

Key Criminal Justice Reform Measure Passes Out of House

OKALHOMA CITY – A keypiece of several criminal justice reform measures making their way through the legislative process passed off the House floor today.

House Bill 2281, by state Rep. Terry O’Donnell, would adjust penalties for 21 lowlevel property offenses, including larceny, forgery and other “paper crimes.” The threshold for a felony conviction for those crimes would match the threshold set in House Bill 2751, which passed in 2016.

O’Donnell said the bill would particularly help reduce the state’s female incarceration rate, which is the highest in the nation, and prevent many children from ending up in the foster care system.

 

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