David Holt

Teachers and education supporters rally at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City in March 2015, asking for better pay.
Emily Wendler / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

State. Sen. David Holt is proposing $10,000 teacher pay raises over the next few years, and says it’s possible without raising taxes.

His plan is three-pronged. School districts would be consolidated and excess money would go to teacher pay. All revenue growth after fiscal year 2017 would go directly to raises, and the state would find another $200 million by reforming tax credits.

Holt said legislators have a moral obligation to raise pay, and help solve the teacher shortage.

Oklahoma State Senator David Holt, R-Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma Senate

State Sen. David Holt has introduced legislation to set the cap on the state’s Rainy Day Fund at 15 percent of the total state budget, rather than the much smaller general revenue fund certification number.

"Our state's Rainy Day Fund is 15 percent of about $5 billion. But our total state budget is about $24 billion,” Holt said. “So it's no wonder it's inadequate."

The New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets take on the Phoenix Suns on April 6, 2007 during the team's second and final season in Oklahoma City.
David Holt

If you follow state Sen. David Holt on Twitter, you may have noticed a recurring hashtag over the past month or two. #10YearsBigLeagueCity. He was marking the anniversary, and the decade that’s passed, since Oklahoma City got its first taste of professional basketball.

Oklahoma Capitol Building
ana branca / Flickr

The Oklahoma Senate has approved Open Records Act legislation that would limit access by the public and media to audio and video recordings obtained from equipment attached to a law enforcement officer or vehicle.

The Senate voted 46-0 for the House-passed bill Tuesday and sent it to a joint House-Senate conference committee for more work. Its Senate author, Republican Sen. David Holt of Bethany, says lawmakers are working with law enforcement and media representatives to fashion the bill's final form.

Oklahoma State Senator David Holt, R-Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma Senate

More than a third of Oklahoma's eligible voters aren't registered, so lawmakers are considering allowing online registration to make the process more convenient and renew interest in elections.

State Election Board statistics show that more than 2.1 million people were registered to vote in January 2005. Ten years later and about 10 percent more residents, 119,280 fewer Oklahoma residents were registered to vote.

Last year's general election drew less than 30 percent of Oklahoma's eligible voters.

Oklahoma State Senator David Holt, R-Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma Senate

Public and media access to police footage from cameras worn by officers or in their patrol cars has led to a clash over Oklahoma's Open Records Act as police and prosecutors seek to limit what kinds of videos are publicly released.

Advocates for more government openness raised concerns after a bill in a House committee was amended to gut a law that allows the public to access government records.

Rep. Mike Christian, a former Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper and the committee's chairman, acknowledged his amendment went too far and says he will work with prosecutors, police and the press on a compromise.

Meanwhile, freshman Democratic Rep. Claudia Griffith, who authored the original bill, said she would not bring it to her colleagues without a major rewrite.

"In no way will I let it be heard on the House floor in this way," said Griffith, D-Norman. Her original bill would have let police hold back videos from dashboard cameras and other records that might be used as evidence in criminal trials.

At issue now is how much access the media and public should have to police videos. In a letter to police chiefs across the state, Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater urged departments not to outfit their officers with body-worn video cameras until the Open Records Act can be changed.

"My biggest concern is to protect law enforcement officers, victims, witnesses and the integrity of law enforcement investigations," Prater said. "There is a lot of privacy interests involved here."

Oklahoma State Senator David Holt, R-Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma Senate

Republican state Sen. David Holt has filed bills to make changes to Oklahoma election laws, including allowing voting by mail.

The bills filed Wednesday include one to move Oklahoma to a mail election in 2020.

Another bill would create a "top two" system in which all candidates would appear on the ballot in August and, if none receive more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote getters would advance to the November election.

State Sen. David Holt (R-Oklahoma City) knocks doors for State Representative Jason Nelson (R-Oklahoma City) with his children Maggie and George.
Kate Carlton Greer / KGOU

While most of the candidates on Tuesday’s ballot have been knocking doors, making phone calls and earning votes for weeks now, several state lawmakers are running unopposed and have quieter campaigns.

Richard Bauer / Flickr Creative Commons

Some attorneys who specialize in obtaining arrest videos from police say they're concerned a bill designed to make Highway Patrol dash-cam videos open to the public could actually have the opposite effect.

 

Ralph Ellison Portrait Planned For Oklahoma Capitol

Oct 16, 2013
A young Ralph Ellison
http://www.ralphellisoncentennial.com

UPDATE: The Ralph Ellison Centennial Gala is Feb. 8 at the Oklahoma History Center. 

Portraits hanging on the walls of the state Capitol building provide a glimpse of the people who helped make Oklahoma what it is today.

You can see Will Rogers, Wiley Post, Robert S. Kerr, Carl Albert, Woody Guthrie and Angie Debo.

But Ralph Ellison, one of Oklahoma’s most famous writers, is not honored in this way, and that is about to change.

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