House Media Division
Rep. Phil Richardson announced today his plans to retire from the Oklahoma House of Representatives after this legislative session.
“It has been an honor to serve the people of House District 56 and I look forward to seeing them around the district as friends and neighbors,” said Richardson (R-Minco). “I turned 70 this year and decided it was time to return to my farming and cattle operations and let someone else step up to represent the district.”
House Speaker Kris Steele commented on Richardson’s announcement.
“The Legislature has been blessed to have a man of Representative Richardson’s character and wisdom serving alongside us these past few years. He will be sorely missed, but he will leave an incredibly positive legacy through the policies he has helped enact and through his humble, dependable personality. We all wish him the very best in the future and thank him for his years of outstanding public service,” said Steele (R-Shawnee).
Richardson was first elected in 2004, when Republicans became the majority in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Since then, the legislative process has become more transparent and more inclusive, he said.
“We’ve used technology and rule changes to allow the public more access to what goes on here,” Richardson said. “They can now know how their state representatives voted in conference committee and lawmakers have been given more time to examine bills. In many of the things we’ve worked on, like redistricting, we’ve tried to include the minority party and keep things very fair.”
During his tenure at the Legislature, Richardson has focused on rural issues. He authored bills that created the Feral Swine Control Act, preserved the Oklahoma Wildlife Diversity Program, lowered the cost of hunting licenses for minors, strengthened trespassing laws, banned computer-assisted remote hunting and permitted individuals to protect their property and livestock from wildlife.
Richardson currently serves as chairman of the House Agriculture, Wildlife and Environment Committee and served as co-chair of the Joint Legislative Water Committee that has worked on legislation to ensure Oklahoma properly manages its water resources. This year, he has a bill that would set up planning councils to seek regional input on a state water plan and allow voters to increase infrastructure funding for local water and wastewater projects.
“Water is a very important issue to rural Oklahoma,” Richardson said. “It is critical to agriculture and smaller communities often struggle to continually modernize their water and wastewater systems. I think the Legislature is taking an important first step this year in preparing the state for better water management.”
Although he is ready to return to life a non-legislator, Richardson said he will miss many of his colleagues.
“It has been an honor to serve with so many well-meaning and thoughtful individuals. They are a joy to work with, even when we disagree,” Richardson said.
[Note: Testimony to Jerry Bohnen's popularity is the outpouring of comments to this story, the largest number of comments we've experienced on a single story.]
KTOK News Director Jerry Bohnen, an award-winning fixture at the station for 32 years, was dismissed Thursday in what he was told was part of “corporate downsizing” by Clear Channel Communications.
See Also http://www.okgazette.com/oklahoma/article-14816-off-the-air.html
Bohnen, 63, inductee into the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame and the “dean” of broadcast journalists in the state, won national plaudits for his non-stop live broadcasts in the aftermath of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in 1995. His investigation into the conviction of a man for murder resulted in a new trial and exoneration for the accused, winning for Bohnen an Edward R. Murrow Award.
Bohnen is the author of Dixie Cup Assassins, an ebook available from Amazon.com. There will be a book signing Saturday (April 7th) at 3 p.m. at Full Circle in 50 Penn Place.
In 2009, The Oklahoman’s Mel Bracht profiled Bohnen and wrote, After 30 years at KTOK-AM 1000, Jerry Bohnen remains dedicated to his job as station news director. He has to be, to get up at 2 a.m., so he can be at work by 3 a.m.
“It can be a grind,” Bohnen said, “but I like it. People ask me when I’m going to retire. Heck, when I drop dead in front of the microphone. I can’t afford to retire and don’t know anything else.”
Other Clear Channel employees dismissed are Dave Garrett, sports director at a second station, Dan Stroud, morning show co-host on a country station, KTOK’s The Eggman (afternoon drive), a production assistant and an IT worker.
Congressman Tom Cole
The Supreme Court is still deliberating the constitutionality of President Obama’s health care law, but the court of public opinion has already returned its verdict. Surveys show that a majority of Americans believe the law’s individual mandate provision, which would force every citizen to purchase health insurance or pay a fine, is unconstitutional. Public opinion polls also show the law remains just as unpopular today as it was when Democrats forced it through the Pelosi/Reid Congress two years ago over widespread protests.
Since taking control of the House last year, Republicans have voted 25 times to repeal, dismantle and defund this misguided law before it can do any more damage to the economy. Even though it hasn’t yet been fully implemented, Obamacare is already stifling job creation and interfering with Americans’ health care choices. New nonpartisan studies show the law’s negative impact will be even worse than previously thought — costing taxpayers $1.8 trillion and forcing between 3 and 5 million Americans out of their employer-provided coverage each year from 2019 through 2022.
While provisions like the individual mandate are well-known, some less prominent Obamacare policies are just as troubling. Chief among these is the clause establishing the “Independent Payment Advisory Board” (IPAB). As envisioned under Obamacare, IPAB would grant 15 unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats the authority to determine cuts to Medicare.
It’s not an exaggeration to describe IPAB as a rationing board. The panel of presidential appointees would have extraordinary power to make decisions about Medicare benefits. If IPAB deemed some procedures and services “unnecessary,” they would have the authority to cut reimbursement rates for those services. Many physicians have already stopped treating Medicare patients because reimbursement rates are 20 percent lower than rates for patients covered by private health plans. Lowering rates further, which is what IPAB is specifically tasked to do, would severely jeopardize access to care for seniors. There is little Congress could do to prevent IPAB-recommended Medicare cuts from being implemented. Provided the president agrees with what his hand-selected board proposes, a supermajority vote of Congress would be required to override the decision.
To prevent such an unacceptable outcome, defund and dismantle this deeply unpopular law that raises health costs, decreases access to care and stifles job creationl, defund and dismantle this deeply unpopular law that raises health costs, decreases access to care and stifles job creation.House Republicans approved the Protecting Access to Healthcare Act (PATH). The legislation would repeal IPAB and would also help lower health care costs by implementing sensible medical liability reform.
Medical decisions should be made by Medicare patients and their doctors — not by a panel of government appointees selected by the president. By repealing this outrageous policy, House Republicans will protect seniors’ access to health care and come one step closer to abolishing the president’s deeply unpopular law. Whatever the outcome of the Supreme Court decision, conservatives will continue working to make health care more accessible and affordable by ensuring that patients — not the federal government — are in control.
Apr 2 2012 | Posted in Congress
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