September 1, 2015

Conservation Commission voiced their support

Commissioners with the Oklahoma Conservation Commission voiced their support regarding a proposed Conservation Museum, brought to them Tuesday’s by Tom Lucas, a former United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service employee.

Lucas retired in January and in March formed the Rural Development “A” Team, LLC for the “purpose of providing basic economic development services to small towns and communities in Oklahoma.” With this LLC, Lucas hopes to pioneer a first-of-its-kind Oklahoma Conservation Museum.

Lucas’ concern is the fleeting population of elderly individuals who lived through the Dust Bowl. With the loss of that generation, their stories will be gone, too, he said. And as that generation fades, Lucas said their kids will not recognize artifacts lefts from that time period and will throw them away.

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September 1, 2015

House Speaker Jeff Hickman named Rep. Charles McCa

House Speaker Jeff Hickman named Rep. Charles McCall chair of the House Appropriations and Budget Subcommittee on Revenue and Taxation on Tuesday.

McCall, R-Atoka, previously served as vice chair under the late Rep. David Dank, R-Oklahoma City, who passed away in April.

McCall, according to a press release announcing the appointment, has a background in banking and finance, currently serving as chief executive officer and board chair of AmeriState Bank in Atoka.
 
“Rep. McCall has the experience, knowledge and temperament to succeed as chair of this important House committee,” said Hickman, R-Fairview. “As we continue to review tax incentives and credits, and discuss reforms to our tax system, and particularly as we work through these challenging economic times for our state, I feel fortunate to have a Revenue and Tax chairman with Rep. McCall’s financial expertise.”
 

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September 1, 2015

Conservation Commission held first preliminary

The Conservation Commission held its first preliminary conversation regarding the 2017 fiscal year budget request at Tuesday’s meeting. Executive Director Trey Lam said the agency will be requesting the same amount that was appropriated to the agency in FY2016, with an additional $6.3 million for repairs, operations and maintenance and rehabilitation.

OCC received a total appropriation of $9.9 mill in FY2016, down almost 4 percent from the $10.3 million received in FY2015.

“With the shortage that we currently have, asking for additional funds is pretty much moot point but we have some definite needs that have to be addressed, so we will ask for one-time monies,” he said.

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August 31, 2015

Wildlife Conservation will be implementing option

Later this year the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation will be implementing a new option for those who want to utilize their lands without a hunting or fishing license.

HB1774, by Rep. Charles McCall, R-Atoka, and Sen. Frank Simpson, R-Ardmore, allows the Wildlife Conservation Commission to establish an Annual wildlife Conservation Passport and a Three-Day Wildlife Conservation Passport. The bill establishes a $15 fee for the Three-Day passport. The bill allows any person arrested while violating the provisions of this bill to purchase a temporary 30 license from the arresting game warden in lieu of posting bond. It sets the fee for a substitute license purchased to be $50 for legal residents of this state and $90 for nonresidents. It directs the fees from licenses purchased to be deposited in the Wildlife Conservation Fund to be used exclusively for developing, managing, preserving and protecting wildlife and wildlife habitat.

Don Brown, spokesman for the department, said they have long had in place a longer term passport program that allows those without a state-issued hunting or fishing license access to lands owned and operated by the agency. These passes are frequently used by bird-watchers, photographers and others who might want access to these lands other than for hunting.
 

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August 31, 2015

Wildlife Conservation will be implementing option

Later this year the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation will be implementing a new option for those who want to utilize their lands without a hunting or fishing license.

HB1774, by Rep. Charles McCall, R-Atoka, and Sen. Frank Simpson, R-Ardmore, allows the Wildlife Conservation Commission to establish an Annual wildlife Conservation Passport and a Three-Day Wildlife Conservation Passport. The bill establishes a $15 fee for the Three-Day passport. The bill allows any person arrested while violating the provisions of this bill to purchase a temporary 30 license from the arresting game warden in lieu of posting bond. It sets the fee for a substitute license purchased to be $50 for legal residents of this state and $90 for nonresidents. It directs the fees from licenses purchased to be deposited in the Wildlife Conservation Fund to be used exclusively for developing, managing, preserving and protecting wildlife and wildlife habitat.

Don Brown, spokesman for the department, said they have long had in place a longer term passport program that allows those without a state-issued hunting or fishing license access to lands owned and operated by the agency. These passes are frequently used by bird-watchers, photographers and others who might want access to these lands other than for hunting.

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August 31, 2015

Prescription drug abuse becomes the fastest growin

As prescription drug abuse becomes the fastest growing addiction problem in the state, the Coalition Against Rx Drug Epidemic (CARE) held a rally on the stairs of the State Capitol on Thursday, International Overdose Awareness Day. 

Prescription drugs are what Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics Director Darrell Weaver called “a loaded pistol sitting in the cabinet.”

“Overdose rates in Oklahoma over the last 10 years have absolutely skyrocketed,” he said. “(Years ago) I said prescription drug abuse is a silent cancer in Oklahoma. It’s affecting more lives in Oklahoma than anything you can ever imagine.”

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