(Clearly Sen Russell and other Oklahoma residents are worth much more!)
Feb 23, 2011
Story from the Red Dirt Report;
OK Senate approves lawsuit-reform bill despite concerns over constitutionality
By Andrew W. Griffin
Red Dirt Report, editor
Posted: February 23, 2011
OKLAHOMA CITY – Despite the passage Wednesday afternoon of Senate Bill 863, with a bi-partisan vote of 29-18, there was no overwhelming sense in the Oklahoma Senate that something positive for Oklahoma’s citizens had been approved.
No, it appeared to be a sort of deflated victory for the lawsuit-reform bill’s author, Sen. Anthony Sykes, a Moore Republican.
During debate on the Senate floor, there was no real sense that Sykes was firmly behind this particular bill which would limit pain and suffering awards – non-economic damages – to a paltry $250,000.
And while this bill was being pushed by the Republican leadership and is an issue that Gov. Mary Fallin has taken to heart, one of the most passionate opponents to the bill was Sen. Steve Russell a Republican and a highly-decorated veteran of the U.S. Army. It was Russell who made numerous comments about SB 863. He noted how less than two years ago there was similar tort-reform legislation approved by both the House and Senate and signed into law by Gov. Brad Henry.
Russell said that while former Sen. Glenn Coffee and Rep. Dan Sullivan had heralded the passage of the previous bill, somehow it seemed as though now it was needing to go down to $250,000, down from $400,000 and why was that?
Read more from the Red Dirt Report
Feb 14, 2011
Feb 10, 2011
Oklahoma money and politics gets attention from a national watchdog organization:
For example, a quick glance at who contributed to the election campaigns of members of the Oklahoma Senate’s Judiciary Committee illuminates some noteworthy facts.
Lawyers and lobbyists were the second-highest contributors to committee members (contributing $58,124), behind the oil and gas industry (which contributed $59,850). The chair of the committee and author of recent lawsuit-related bills, Senator Anthony Sykes, received 7 percent of his total contributions from lawyers and lobbyists and 30 percent from interests in the energy and natural resources sector. Senator Jonathan Nichols received the most from lawyers and lobbyists with $20,700, or 83 percent of his total contributions, coming from the sector.