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Sunday May 27, 2018

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  • Pictured are Karen Wages, CEO, Poteau Chamber, Nancy Billings, Poteau Chamber, Randy Wiles, Daniel Wiles, Joshua Wiles, Suni Daun Veerkamp, Dee Shelburn and Laura Taylor, Central National

    Poteau Chamber welcomes…

    The Poteau Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the Cruise Planners Travel Agency has new members of the Poteau…

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  • KTC offering some great…

    Check out some of the short-term classes being offered at the Kiamichi Technology Center in Poteau.

    May 30-31,…

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  • EOMC offering New Walk In…

    POTEAU, OKLAHOMA - Eastern Oklahoma Medical Center is proud to announce the opening of their Walk in Clinic located…

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  • TALIHINA CHAMBER - MOTHER’S…

    Press release

    Buy a brick for your mother this Mother’s Day or your father this Father’s Day.

    We are having a sale…
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  • Poteau Chamber provided a Ribbon Cutting to the management team of the Garden Walk Apartments to welcome them as new members

    Garden Walk Apartments joins…

    The Poteau Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the Garden Walk Apartments as their newest members to the…

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  • Poteau Chamber welcomes new…

    The Poteau Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce a new support partner with the community.

    The chamber would…

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  • Poteau Chamber Welcomes…

    POTEAU, OKLAHOMA – The Poteau Chamber of Commerce welcomed Mahindra with a ribbon cutting during their grand opening…

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  • Learn more about KTC with…

    Poteau, Oklahoma - Join Poteau Chamber and Kiamichi Technology Center-Poteau for this month’s Coffee and Conversation.

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  • Governor Mary Fallin congratulates Spirit AeroSystems officials during Wednesday's opening of the aerospace company's center of excellence in McAlester. The center focuses on the fabrication of complex commercial and military aircraft parts.

    Governor Mary Fallin Helps…

    Press release

    McALESTER – Governor Mary Fallin today helped Spirit AeroSystems unveil its second center of excellence…

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  • Poteau Chamber Welcomes New…

    The Poteau Chamber of Commerce is please to announce their Snyder Garden Center as their newest member to the Poteau…

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  • Business Building for lease…

    Building for lease in Poteau

    This 6400 square feet, 80 x 80 building is located at 806 S. Broadway in Poteau.

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  • Jeff Cooper Joins United…

    Press release

    Darali and Jim Mixon, of United Country-Mixon Realty, is proud to announce that Jeff Cooper has joined…

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  • P&K welcomed to community…

    The Poteau Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce P&K Equipment as new members of the Chamber.

    P&K Equipment…

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  • MONTE SHOCKLEY II JOINS…

    Press release

    Darali Mixon, Broker/Owner, of United Country-Mixon Realty, is pleased to announce that Monte Shockley…

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  •  Governor Mary Fallin poses Friday with state, local and tribal officials and executives from Sofidel Group on a hill overlooking the future site of the Italian manufacturer's new, modern integrated plant that will support 300 jobs.

    Groundbreaking Ceremony for…

    Press release

    Governor Mary Fallin Takes Part in Groundbreaking Ceremony for Sofidel Group’s $360 Million New Inola…

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Whatzup Politics

Whatzup Politics (1416)

By OICA CEO Joe Dorman

 

The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) is in the process of compiling and publishing a report card on the actions of the Oklahoma Legislature as it pertains to childhood well-being. Our report card delves into policies dealing with foster care issues, criminal justice reform and improvements within systems of government aimed at boosting the state’s child welfare rankings.

 

OICA reviewed more than 20 bills, with 19 of those being signed into law by Governor Fallin. We will have those results available at oica.org by June 1 for your consideration.

We also tracked two additional bills that will not be on the scorecard as they did not advance far enough in the Legislature to receive a final vote.

 

One of those is House Bill 2858, which sought to facilitate adoptions for children in protective custody. HB 2858 would have required a parent of a child who had been taken into protective custody by DHS to be notified that they can voluntarily place the child up for adoption with a licensed child-placing agency. We appreciate Reps. Tammy West and Mark Lawson for authoring this in the Oklahoma House, along with Senator Adam Pugh carrying the bill in the State Senate.

 

The other bill, authored by Rep. Jason Dunnington, was House Bill 3146, would have re-established the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in Oklahoma. We are thankful that Rep. Dunnington assisted in the multiple efforts to have this included within budget agreements. OICA will continue to work on this tax policy which provides significant relief to working class Oklahomans who could greatly benefit from this credit.

 

In addition to our report card, OICA is in the process of contacting Oklahoma’s legislative and executive branch candidates for state government to ascertain where they stand on policies that benefit the children of Oklahoma. OICA and multiple other children’s programs have worked to designate 2018 as the Year of the Child in Oklahoma. This is an effort to increase awareness of Oklahoma’s subpar rankings for child wellbeing and to enlist the help of our lawmakers. We are asking three simple questions and allowing each candidate a 250-word limit on each question.

 

The questions are:

1. What ideas will you pursue to better the lives of Oklahoma’s children? For example, what laws or policies will you champion, what programs will you attempt to expand or decrease, and what area of interest regarding children will you establish yourself as a leader amongst your colleagues.

2. What have you done to support children prior to this election? For example, discuss policies which you have had a direct impact in seeing implemented, what volunteer work have you personally done to improve the lives of children, or have you had a job which you have worked with kids?

3. What will you do to support families in your new role, if elected? For example, would you support ideas such as restoration of the Earned Income Tax Credit, fiscal policy revisions for child-related programs, criminal justice reform, and/or list enhancements for quality of life improvements for families?

 

We will publish the results of the survey in mid-June prior to the Primary elections on June 26 so you will have the opportunity to review answers. We also encourage you, if you are not registered to vote, to register before the June 1 deadline.

 

Please make sure your voice is heard in the upcoming elections, and vote for candidates who will improve the state for children!

Press release


WASHINGTON—Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-2) released the following statement after House passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019 (H.R. 5515):


“I can think of no better way to honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and their families than to ensure that the troops who carry on the fight for our freedoms have the necessary tools and resources to prevail over our enemies,” said Mullin. “As we prepare to recognize Memorial Day this weekend, I am proud to support the FY19 NDAA which delivers a 2.6 percent pay raise to the men and women of our armed forces—the biggest pay raise in 9 years—and rebuilds and restores the readiness of our military.”


H.R. 5515 passed the House by a vote of 351 – 66.




Friday, June 1st, is the last day to apply for voter registration in order to be eligible to vote in the June 26th Primary Election and City of Poteau Special Municipal Election, Leflore County Election Board Secretary Sharon Steele said today.


Steele said that persons who are United States citizens, residents of Oklahoma, and at least 18 years old may apply to become registered voters.


Those who aren't registered or need to change their registration may apply by filling out and mailing an Oklahoma Voter Registration Application form in time for it to be postmarked no later than midnight Friday, May 31st.


Steele said applications postmarked after that time will be accepted and processed, but not until after June 26th.


The County Election Board responds in writing to every person who submits an application for voter registration. The response is either a voter identification card listing the new voter's precinct number and polling place location or a letter that explains the reason or reasons the application for voter registration was not approved. Steele said any person who has submitted a voter registration application and who has not received a response within 30 days should contact the County Election Board office.


Oklahoma Voter Registration Application forms are available at the County Election Board office located at 103 N. Church St., Poteau, and at most post offices, tag agencies and public libraries in the county.

 

Applications also are available at www.elections.ok.gov.

By Congressman Markwayne Mullin

 

The summer kicks off this weekend as we observe Memorial Day, but this day is so much more than just the beginning of backyard barbeques, trips to the lake, and summer vacation for our kids. Memorial Day is when we set aside time to remember the men and women who sacrificed their lives so that we can enjoy the freedoms that we have as Americans. It is a day of remembrance and a day to honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice defending our country.


The first time I came to Washington, I was with my papa, Kenneth “Cowboy” Morris, on an Honor Flight. He served in World War II and like any veteran, he lost friends in the war. Not only did my papa’s Honor Flight experience allow him to see the memorials with his own eyes, but it also gave him the opportunity to honor the men he served with who didn’t make it home.


I make it a priority to try to meet every Honor Flight from Oklahoma. My boys, Jim and Andrew, got to experience their first Honor Flight when they were in Washington not too long ago. I was grateful they were able meet a few of the men and women whose service to the nation has allowed them to live in the land of the free and home of the brave.


These Honor Flights also remind us that those who sacrificed their lives in our nation’s wars are more than names on a stone memorial. They were real people who made real sacrifices and they made real impacts on those around them.


Another way we can honor these heroes is to make sure that we always remember the families of the fallen. While their loved one paid the ultimate sacrifice, they also mourn the loss of a brother, sister, mother, father, cousin, uncle, aunt, or friend on Memorial Day.


Memorial Day is the time we set aside to remember those service members who paid the ultimate sacrifice and to reflect on the impact they have on this country. One of the ways we honor the memories of the fallen is to teach future generations about the significance of those who gave all while defending the freedoms we often take for granted.


As Americans, it is our duty to honor those fallen and always give honor and respect to the families who have lost their loved ones while serving. Please take time this weekend to reach out to those families and thank them for the sacrifice that they live with every day. And never pass up an opportunity to thank a veteran.



Press release

 


OKLAHOMA CITY - Senator Greg Treat, Majority Floor Leader and Republicans’ selection to serve as the next Senate leader, on Wednesday announced the senators who will round out his leadership team.


Treat said Senator Kim David, current Senate Appropriations Committee chair, will serve as the next Majority Floor Leader and that Senator Roger Thompson, current chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance, will serve as the next Appropriations Committee chair. David, the first woman to serve as Appropriations Committee chair, will be the first woman to serve as Majority Floor Leader.


“I’m grateful that my colleagues selected me to lead the Senate and I’m excited about the opportunity this new role presents,” said Treat, R-Oklahoma City. “I’m excited to announce that Senator David and Senator Thompson have accepted my offer to take up key leadership roles next year in the Senate. Both are hardworking, skilled and talented, and have a deep dedication to the state of Oklahoma and will work hard for the members of the Oklahoma Senate. Though the official transition will take place later this year, we’re already looking ahead to next session and how we can help the Senate GOP continue to make Oklahoma an even better state.”


In March, Senate Republicans named Treat as their pick to succeed Senator Mike Schulz as Senate President Pro Tempore. The official transition from Pro Tem Schulz to Senator Treat will take place in November. The Pro Tem selects the senators who serve as Majority Floor Leader, Appropriations Committee chair, and other committee chairs, which will be announced at a later date.
“I appreciate Senator Treat for asking me to join his leadership team. The floor leader has a lot of responsibility to manage the flow of work and activity in the Senate. Senator Treat did a great job in this role, and I look forward to building upon his success to ensure the Senate continues to operate in a professional and orderly manner,” said David, R-Porter.


Senator Thompson, R-Okemah, said, “I want to thank Senator Treat for this honor and for the opportunity to serve the state and the Senate in an important role. Senator David has done a tremendous job as Appropriations chair during a difficult time. I look to build upon her efforts to inject more transparency into the budgeting process. Senate Republicans will keep our focus on making sure Oklahomans’ tax dollars are used wisely and efficiently.”


Press release


WASHINGTON—Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-2) announced that he will host Taylor McClellan from Newalla, Oklahoma for the 7th Annual Congressional Foster Youth Shadow Day tomorrow, Wednesday, May 23, 2018 on Capitol Hill. Taylor will join more than 100 foster youth and alumni in Washington, D.C. to accompany members of Congress on their daily routine and get a behind-the-scenes look at the House of Representatives.


"I look forward to welcoming Taylor to Capitol Hill as a part of National Foster Care Month," said Mullin. "With more than 400,000 young people in the foster care system, we need to make sure that the system in place is effective and functions properly. As adoptive parents of two, Christie and I are committed to ensuring that every child has a safe, supportive, and forever family.”


Taylor will visit with Mullin in the morning before joining a number of constituent meetings. Please contact Amy Lawrence in Mullin’s office if you are interested in press availability.


Want to stay up-to-date on what Congressman Mullin is doing in Oklahoma and Washington on your behalf? Sign up for his newsletter by visiting Mullin.house.gov/newslettersignup.

By OICA CEO Joe Dorman

 

With the close of the 2018 legislative session, state senators and representatives have returned to their home districts. People often forget that, although our local lawmakers serve in a part-time legislature, their work with constituent services and within their home area will continue throughout the year. As a legislator, I often had the pleasure of attending chamber functions, school functions and charitable events that supported various local programs. After two regular sessions and two extraordinary sessions, I know that lawmakers are ready to be back with their families. In addition, it is campaign season for most, so they want to be around their voters to make their case and explain why they should be reelected.

 

Even with the break, there is still some work to be done at the Oklahoma State Capitol. During the summer and fall months, lawmakers will return for special meetings requested by individual members to look into issues through committee-based interim studies. These requests will require legislative staffers to work with members to delve into topics which are of special interest to constituents. They can be on any issue, whether it be a previously-passed law or a potential idea for a future bill.

 

The deadline for members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives to file interim study requests is Friday, June 8. In the opposite chamber, the deadline to request a Senate study is July 13.

 

Oklahoma House Speaker Charles McCall and Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Schulz will consider each request based on its merits as well as on committee and staff workloads. In most cases, similar requests regarding topics may be combined by either the presiding officer or the committee chair over the study.

 

Approved studies and related committee assignments will be announced no later than Friday, July 13 in the House of Representatives. Studies are typically held from August through October for both bodies.

 

The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) requested a House study last year regarding a review of Adverse Childhood Experiences and Trauma-informed Care. This led to the passage of Senate Bill 1517 this year which will create a task force of experts to suggest new policies and potential laws to help reduce the horrible conditions and statistics facing the youngest of Oklahomans. We have requested a follow-up study in the State Senate this year to hit the ground running on ideas for the upcoming task force.

 

If you have suggestions for studies, please contact your local state senator or representative for them to consider your ideas. If you have some topic regarding youth policies, feel free to send your idea to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will approach lawmakers with proposals also. I can speak from experience that some of the best ideas come from the folks back home and we want to see some creative solutions for the problems facing our state!

 

 

About OICA
The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy was established in 1983 by a group of citizens, to create a strong advocacy network that would provide a voice for the needs of children and youth in Oklahoma, particularly those in the state’s care and those growing up amid poverty, violence, abuse and neglect, disparities, or other situations that put their lives and future at risk.

Our mission statement: “Creating awareness, taking action and changing policy to improve the health, safety and well-being of Oklahoma’s children.“

 

Press release




OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today complimented lawmakers for passing criminal justice reform legislation, appropriating a record amount of funding for public schools, and approving a budget for the upcoming fiscal year without cuts to state agencies.


The $7.6 billion budget puts significantly more money toward education, mental health services, and public safety.


“The budget includes many of the priorities I have requested lawmakers to approve the past three years,” said Fallin. “It provides for a teacher pay raise and additional funding for public schools as well as increased funding for mental health and corrections to implement criminal justice reform measures.”


“For the first time in years, no agency is receiving a cut. This budget provides a long-term solution to multi-year budget deficits and helps reduce the reliance on one-time funds.”
In all, the governor received 342 measures for consideration during this year’s session. She signed 324 and vetoed 18.


2018 Policy Highlights


Education
“Common education receives a 19.8 percent increase in funding for the upcoming fiscal year, which is the largest appropriation for public schools in state history. The appropriation includes $353 million to fund teacher pay raises that average $6,100 per teacher, which move Oklahoma teacher from last in the seven-state region to second for average annual pay, and from 49th in the nation to 29th. When taking into account the cost of living, Oklahoma teachers will be the 12th-highest-paid in the country. It also has $52 million for support personnel pay raises, $24 million for flex health benefits; $33 million for textbooks, and $17 in new funding for the school funding formula.
“Improving the quality and outcomes in education is the single-most important thing we can do to attract and retain jobs, alleviate poverty, and help Oklahomans have fulfilling and productive lives.” – Governor Mary Fallin

 

• House Bill 1023XX – establishes a new teacher salary schedule, the largest teacher pay increase in state history. Teachers will receive a $6,100 pay raise on average in the upcoming school year.
• HB 1026XX – provides a $1,250 annual increase in pay for school support personnel.
• HB 3705 – appropriates $2.9 billion, a 19.7 percent increase over last year, for K-12 public education. This is the largest appropriation to education in state history. Funding contained in HB 3705 includes $353.5 million for teacher pay; $52 million for support personnel pay: $33 million for textbooks: $17 million for the state aid formula; and $24.7 million for flex health care benefits. The total increase in common education funding for the 2019 fiscal year is $480.2 million.
• Senate Bill 1171 – establishes work-based learning opportunities, such as apprenticeships and internships, as a duty of the Governor’s Council of Workforce and Economic Development (GCWED) in an effort to improve the state’s talent pipeline.
• SB 980 – creates a tiered certification program for teachers so that high-quality teachers have the ability to advance in their careers without having to leave the classroom to become administrators.
• SB 1196 – allows junior and senior high school students to participate in concurrent enrollment program, regardless of location in the state.
• SB 1370 – Allows high school students to replace one credit of math for a three-hour per school day CareerTech program that is endorsed or aligned to industries in Oklahoma.
• HB 2009 – requires schools to annually publish a report listing all increases in wages, salaries, rates of pay or fringe benefits and any changes to job class to increase transparency.
• HB 2860 – requires school districts to provide a link to the State Department of Education’s Oklahoma cost accounting system and school district financial information on their websites to increase transparency.
• HB 3311 – requires the inclusion of civics in the subject matter standards for history, social studies and U.S. government
Economic Development & Commerce
• SB 897 – codifies the Incentive Approval Committee for the Quality Jobs program to review all applications for approval and oversight. This ensures taxpayer interests are represented when Quality Jobs applications are reviewed.
• SB 923 –implements changes recommended by the Incentive Evaluation Commission for Small Employer Quality Jobs by increasing the maximum number of full-time employees from 90 to 500.
• HB 3324 – provides for the transfer of 5 percent of the quarterly incentive payments made by the Oklahoma Tax Commission to qualifying establishments related to the Oklahoma Quality Jobs Incentive Act, the Small Employer Quality Jobs Incentive Act and the 21st Century Quality Jobs Incentive Act to the Quick Action Closing Fund.
• SB 1585 – establishes automotive engineer tax credits by creating several income tax credits designed to incentivize qualified employers and employees in the automotive manufacturing industry.
• SB 1388 – creates a statewide framework for wireless providers to work with municipalities and others to deploy small cell devices.
• SB 1475 – creates the Occupational Licensing Advisory Commission, which will review each occupational or professional licensing once every four years and make recommendations to the Legislature.
• HB 2933 – a product of the Governor’s Task Force on Occupational Licensing, directs licensing boards to grant a one-year waiver of fees associated with licensure or certification to a low-income applicant.
Health & Human Services
• HB 2932 – establishes Medicaid work requirement eligibility for able-bodied adults without dependents. Directs the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to apply to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for a waiver.
• HB 2825 – directs the Department of Human Services (DHS) to explore opportunities to enhance community partnerships for the purpose of linking Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients with career and technology education and training programs. This will expand opportunities for TANF recipients to participate in and complete employment and training activities.
• HB 3104 – clarifies that DHS must report any infant who is diagnosed with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome or Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.
• SB 1367 – states that a law enforcement officer may not take a person into custody if the officer was contacted by the person in question for medical assistance (either for themselves or another person).
Public Safety
• HB 2798 creates the Opioid Overdose Fatality Review Board.
• HB 2635 – protects the motor vehicle report (driving record) from being expunged after one year and keeps it at the three-year window for insurance and business owners who hire people to drive for companies.
• HB 2651 – allows for a course of study for students who are training to acquire a commercial driver’s license. This allows those training sites to include human trafficking material in their classes.
• SB 1203 – reduces the fine for speeding violations for 1-10 mph over the speed limit to $100.
• SB 1517 – creates the Task Force on Trauma-Informed Care to create a list of best practices for children and their families at risk of adverse childhood experiences.
• HB 3300 – the Breanna Bell Act, which protects people with disabilities from sexual assault.
• HB 1124 – the Justice for Danyelle Act, which prohibits sex offenders from loitering within 1,000 feet of their victims’ home.
• HB 3328 – Creates the Commission on the Prevention of Abuse of Elderly and Vulnerable Adults.
• HB 2630 – helps the Department of Corrections (DOC) expand the Global Positioning Satellite Program (GPS by loosening some of the rules that disqualify certain offenders from participating. These requirements apply to low-level non-violent offenders who are better managed in a public setting.
• SB 904 – allows DOC to fund community sentencing programs across the state.
Veterans & Military
• HB 3042 – directs Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs (ODVA) to develop a long-term care facility to replace the Talihina Veterans Center.
• SB 922 – establishes the Oklahoma Women Veterans Program to ensure that women veterans have equitable access to federal and states veterans’ benefits and services. The program will be overseen by a women veterans coordinator.
• SB 1053 – authorizes the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs to obtain certification to accept payments and reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid programs.
Government Modernization & Budget
• HB 1010XX – provides the revenue to fund a historic teacher pay raise. This is accomplished by an increase of $1 per pack of cigarettes, taxing little cigars at the same rate as cigarettes; raising the fuel tax by 3 cents a gallon on gasoline and 6 cents a gallon on diesel; and raising the gross production tax from 2 percent to 5 percent on all wells.
• HB 1011XX – puts a $17,000 cap on deductions on adjusted gross income. Charitable contributions and medical expenses are not capped.
• HB 3603 – authorizes the governor to appoint the executive director of the Department of Tourism.
• HB 3036 – makes the commissioner of health a gubernatorial appointee, with the advice and consent of the Senate.
• HB 1024XX - provides a tiered pay raise for state employees, ranging from $750 to $2,000 depending on salary.
Criminal Justice Reform
“Our state prisons are filled to well over capacity so it is crucial that we make some changes to our criminal justice system. These bills will not jeopardize public safety while addressing Oklahoma’s prison population. Too few Oklahomans are getting the treatment they need for substance abuse and mental health issues, and are instead winding up in our criminal justice system.” – Governor Mary Fallin
• SB 650 – authorizes no more than one nonviolent felony to apply for expungement if they have no new convictions or pending charges within the last seven years.
• SB 786 – eliminates the mandatory minimum and allows a judge to sentence up to the current maximum sentence of seven years in prison for burglary in the second degree, and creates a new felony offense, burglary in the third degree (defined as breaking into a vehicle), punishable by up to five years in prison.
• SB 649 – reduces enhanced sentences for certain repeat nonviolent felonies.
• SB 689 – creates risk and needs assessment as a tool for sentencing.
• SB 793 – changes the penalties for commercial drug offenses, and distinguishes conduct by possession with intent to distribute, distribution, and manufacturing.
• HB 2281 – adjusts penalties for numerous low-level property offenses, including larceny, forgery and other “paper crimes.”
• HB 2286 – creates an administrative parole process for nonviolent offenders who comply with case plans in prison so that the Pardon and Parole Board can focus on more serious offenders, and establishes a geriatric parole release process for inmates who are 60 and older and who have been determined to not be a public safety risk.
Transportation
• HB 3576 – creates the Oklahoma State Safety Oversight Program to be overseen by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT). It directs ODOT to develop and enforce standards for all private and public rail-fixed guideway public transportation systems statewide that are not administered by the Federal Railroad Administration.
• HB 2650 – amends the specifications of merging traffic in and near construction work zones allowing for more flexibility within the confines of federal law. It allows for more efficient methods of traffic control, increasing safety and decreasing congestion.
• HB 2578 – creates the Aerospace Commerce Economic Services (ACES) within the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. The purpose of ACES is to create a partnership of service providers (similar to CADSQ) to more effectively respond to the needs of the aviation, aerospace and defense industries in the areas of education and training, research, and economic development.
• HB 2253 – closes a tax loophole by requiring 50 percent of an aircraft’s operations be charter to qualify for the aircraft excise tax exemption.
Energy
• SB 1576 – keeps wind farms from interfering with the flight paths of military installations, thereby protecting the work and mission of Oklahoma’s military bases.
• SB 893 - imposes a cap of $500,000 on the zero emission facilities electricity production tax credit. The cap is only applicable to credits that are earned from electricity produced by means of water, sun or geothermal energy.
Pensions
• HB 1340 – gives retirees in all of the state retirement systems a one-time payment in varying amounts.
• SB 527 – gives someone who is disabled in the line of duty with less than 20 years of service the half-pay cost-of-living adjustment.
Agriculture
• HB 2913 - creates the Oklahoma Industrial Hemp Agriculture Pilot Program to be administered by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry (ODAFF).
• SB 1600 – increases appropriations to ODAFF, allowing an additional $400,000 in funding to rural fire departments across Oklahoma.

2019 Fiscal Year Budget Highlights
Overview
• Funds core government services.
• Uses a low percentage of one-time funds, which will be used to fund one-time costs.
• Education will have the largest funding increase.
Health and Human Services
• $22.6 million: Fully funds the Pinnacle Plan and restores provider rate cuts for the Department of Human Services, and money to go to the Developmental Disabilities Services waiting list. This fully funds the Pinnacle Plan, and funds services for Oklahoma’s most vulnerable citizens.
Corrections
$17.5 million: for the FY 18 supplemental annualized for the Department of Corrections (DOC).
• Payroll-even after the $1,500 raise signed into law in March 2018, Oklahoma is 18 percent below contiguous states in pay. The vacancy rate for correctional officers is currently 30 percent, agency-wide, it is 22 percent. These vacancies require employees to work overtime to staff critical correctional officer posts which put a strain on an already overburdened payroll. This supplemental will help DOC address the pay deficit for qualified applicants.
• Contract beds- Oklahoma currently has more inmates than beds, and many inmates that are sentenced to DOC custody will wait in county jails before being received by DOC. This supplemental will go towards making a timely payment to the counties where these inmates are housed.
• Health services- costs associated with the over-50-year-old population accounts for 43 percent of DOC’s cost for specialty care, pharmaceuticals, laboratory services etc. Travel to medical appointments with outside providers has increased with an aging population.
• Critical needs and necessary purchases- aging infrastructure has suffered from decades of neglect, and money is being redirected from planned projects to emergencies. Repairs to critical infrastructure are a necessary and immediate need.
Criminal Justice Reform
$7.1 million:
• Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services will receive $4 million to fund risk/needs assessments, and $1 million will go to drug and mental health treatment courts.
• $2 million to restore provider rate cuts.
• $111,000 to the Pardon and Parole Board to hire two new field staff positions that were eliminated due to budget cuts. Funding will ensure that work activities, including the processing of pardons and paroles, will not be delayed.
• $4.8 million: The Department of Corrections Defender Management System-funding for an entirely new system will allow DOC to track and monitor offenders on probation in one system and will allow for shared data regarding offenders to be shared in one database statewide.
• $500,000: Pay for Success is a proven program to reduce the number of women sent to prison and the resulting impact incarceration has on their children. Oklahoma is using Pay for Success contracting to improve criminal justice outcomes for women, reduce incarceration, and, consequently, lower overall public sector costs. The Pay for Success contract between the Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES) and Family and Child Services is the 17th Pay for Success contract in the U.S. and the first-ever PFS contract focused on female incarceration.
General Government
• $53.695 million: State employee pay raise- it has been 11 years since state employees have had an across-the-board pay raise. The amount is staggered according to employee salary.
• $7.5 million: Higher Education Concurrent Enrollment- provides funding so high school seniors can take college classes for college credit while still in high school. This program saves families money on tuition costs and reduces student debt.
• $8.36 million: Provides raises to other educators outside of K-12, such as CareerTech, Oklahoma School for the Blind, Oklahoma School for the Deaf and Department of Corrections teachers.
• $4 million: State Emergency Fund- additional funding needed due to the wildfire outbreak in west and northwest Oklahoma.
• $500,000: ABLE Commission- will help fund data migration from archaic system to a new, more user-friendly web-based solution, and the number of locations where alcohol is sold is expected to double with new laws, and more agents are needed to monitor locations.
• $4 million: Closing Fund
• $2 million: Performance audits-funding will go toward independent auditing firm performing performance audits to ensure that tax dollars are maximized and are being spent on mission-critical needs. First agencies on the list for audits are the Oklahoma Tax Commission, the Office of Management and Enterprise Services, the Department of Corrections, and the Department of Public Safety.
• Commerce- $445,000 to Aerospace Commerce Economic Services (ACES)-this initiative aims to grow the aerospace industry, and will help drive further job creation, economic growth and increased tax revenue for the state.
• Agriculture - $4,000 to rural fire and $1,000 to the Made in Oklahoma program.

 

Press release

 

Hello citizens of Poteau, my name is Don Harmon.

 

I was born in Poteau and am a life-long resident here. I worked at the Poteau Food Market/ Super H Foods for 20 years for the late Hildred Lafevers.

 

In 1998 I began working for the City of Poteau reading water meters. I retired March 23, 2018 after 20 years of faithful service.

 

I would like to continue to serve the city of Poteau once again as your Councilman.

 

I will do my best to serve you with honesty and honor if you will elect me on June 26th, 2018.

 

I am married to Kim Harmon who is the director of the Poteau Nutrition Center. We have four daughters and we attend The First Freewill Baptist Church in Poteau.

 

I have been asked several times who can vote in this election. Everyone living in the city limits of Poteau can vote in this election.

 

I would love to have your vote and to serve you the People of Poteau.

Press release


OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Tom Gann released the following statements on yesterday’s grand jury’s findings from its investigation of the state Health Department. The findings confirmed the gross mismanagement of state government.


“I believe the findings of the grand jury reveal that this type of mismanagement is not an exception but the norm of how our state government is managed,” said Gann, R-Inola.
The first recommendation issued by the grand jury stated, “The Board and the Commissioner improve the control environment and tone at the top of the agency.”


“I have written before about the tone at the top,” Gann said. “It truly matters how we approach the use of taxpayer dollars. The Oklahoma taxpayer deserves better.


“As a member of the House Special Investigative Committee, I was astounded by the magnitude of this type of mismanagement that was able to continue undetected and ignored for so long.


“I believe it is time to pass reform measures that would hold agency heads personally liable for the accuracy and completeness of agency financial reports. This is done in the corporate world, where corporate officers are subject to forfeiture of benefits and civil penalties and are required to certify and attest to the integrity of their financial reports. It should be no different for any agency head that oversees an agency that compares to some corporations in terms of the size of their budgets.


“The disruption of services by agencies as a means to gain more appropriations from the Legislature should be outlawed. The state Health Department never needed to disrupt services across the state and never needed the additional money to provide those services. The process of how agencies come to the Legislature for more money is a shell game.


“This calls into question the recent tax increases. Are they really necessary? I never thought the Legislature was getting a real picture of the financial situations and by testimony by the state auditor and attorney general yesterday no one in state government does either.


“If we are ever going to be the state we can be, we must break the mentality of tax and spend to ‘get something done’ and create a culture of transparency of state resources so when there is a need the Oklahoma taxpayer is assured the money is needed and will be spent properly.”

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