Columns/Opinions

Wed
21
Jun

The US is a Leader in Veterans Funding

By: Tom Cole

Since becoming president, Donald Trump has consistently vowed to rebuild our national defense and to improve the services we render to our veterans. Last week, the House of Representatives took the first step for helping the president make good on that promise. When it comes to funding veterans’ programs, our nation spends more on veterans than any other country in the world. Each year, Congress is responsible for maintaining that funding, and just this past week, the bill to fund the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and military construction was introduced in the House. It includes funding for VA health programs, oversight measures, facility development and construction, as well as funding for the numerous military construction projects across the country.

 

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Wed
21
Jun

For the Children:Three Important Advocacy Events

By OICA CEO Joe Dorman

Our group is called the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy, and we take that last word in our name very seriously. If it were not for the citizen-led organizations demanding more for our society and working to help certain segments have better opportunities, we would see fewer folks of all ages have a chance to achieve the American dream.

OICA often partners with other foundations, organizations and nonprofits to help their efforts, as the rising tide truly does lift all ships in the effort for prosperity. If more organizations worked together, not just on idealistic goals, but also in achieving workable collaborations, far more people would see the benefit of that work.

 

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Wed
14
Jun

Oklahoma State Senate

by State Senator Chris Kidd 

June 12, 2017

In my previous column, I discussed the FY18 budget. While the budget was the major focus of the 2017 session, the senate achieved significant policy goals across a wide variety of areas. The REAL ID bill was the first one signed into law bringing Oklahoma into compliance with the federal REAL ID law and ensuring Oklahomans can use their state-issued IDs to enter federal buildings and fly.

We approved the Energy Jobs Act of 2017, which was one of the most significant job-creating bills of the year. The regulatory change is estimated to generate $18 million in new revenue for the state. The oil and gas industry predicts that it will generate approximately $490 million in new royalty payments and $229 million in new state and local revenues. They also say it will create 6,000 new jobs in the energy sector and lead to $6 billion in investment from major oil and gas companies.

Wed
14
Jun

After Paris Climate Agreement, America Will Continue To Lead

by Congressman Tom Cole 

President Trump has come under fire recently because of his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement. I believe he was right to do so. The agreement would have damaged the U.S. economy, eliminated millions of jobs, and drastically increased the cost of energy for American consumers. It also would have required the United States to shoulder the costs in a manner far disproportionate to the amount of greenhouse gasses we produce. Perhaps most importantly, the Paris Agreement was a treaty that should have been subjected to Senate ratification, yet former President Obama simply signed the agreement. More than likely because he knew that it could never pass the Senate, which the Republican Party controlled at the time.

Wed
07
Jun

For the Children: Interim Studies Offer Opportunities for Lawmakers and Constituents

By OICA CEO Joe Dorman

With the regular session now over at the Oklahoma State Capitol, legislators have transitioned back to their districts full-time. Many senators and representatives are scheduling town halls to discuss what occurred or attending community events to share stories about what to expect going forward. I highly encourage you to attend at least one function where your legislators are speaking so you can hear from them and have the chance to ask questions regarding issues important to you.

Wed
07
Jun

Chickasaw Nation to build casino in Terral

150 new jobs, $3.1 million annual payroll estimated with the project

Terral, Oklahoma (June , 2017) – Chickasaw Nation leaders announced plans today to build a casino near Terral, Oklahoma. Construction site preparation has begun for the new facility located south of Terral along Highway 81 just north of the Red River. The casino, which has yet to be named, will be the first built by the Nation in Jefferson County and will create 150 new jobs in the area.

The 36,000-square-foot project will feature approximately 600 electronic games and six black jack style table games as well as a restaurant and retail shop. Architects have designed the casino to accommodate future expansion if warranted.

 

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Wed
31
May

After heavy rains, beware of rise of giant mosquitoes

By Leilana McKindra

STILLWATER, Okla. – A wave of dangerous storms that recently rolled through the state brought large amounts rain and snow and now may also have sparked a rise in the population of giant pests known as floodwater mosquitoes.

Common in Oklahoma, floodwater mosquitoes, sometimes called gallinippers, can grow up to six times larger than common mosquitoes.

 

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Wed
31
May

Budget Approved

Finally! A budget deal was reached by the House and the Senate and supported by the governor last week. This was an ugly process this year, the most stressful and frustrating I’ve seen since coming to the Capitol. But, the budget we adopted has some good points.

First, it holds 15 agencies flat, meaning they will receive almost identical funding to what they received last year.

 

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Wed
24
May

OSU releases two new wheat varieties

By Leilana McKindra 

STILLWATER, Okla. – Oklahoma State University’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources released two new hard red winter wheat varieties, Spirit Rider and Smith’s Gold.

“Spirit Rider and Smith’s Gold fit a strong wheat breeding tradition at OSU for excellence that extends straight from the field and into the bakery,” said Brett Carver, lead researcher for the OSU Wheat Improvement Team, an interdisciplinary team of researchers responsible for developing the new varieties. “Commercial entities already have handed down that opinion, so we can move forward knowing the hard red winter wheat class will be well represented by these two varieties.”

Spirit Rider’s parentage includes OK Bullet, which was bred by OSU. While carrying some characteristics of its parent, Spirit Rider offers improved straw strength, standability and yield potential. It also has good disease resistance.

 

Wed
10
May

Oklahoma State Senate

May 1, 2017

The legislature has sent over 200 bills to the governor for her final approval and she has signed more than 120 into law that will be going into effect this summer or fall.

She’s signed two of my Senate bills, two House bills and she’ll be considering another House bill this week.

Work on the budget continues daily. Again, we have a nearly $900 million shortfall to address before we can even begin considering creating new programs.

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