The Tribune

Last week, I visited the Tribune to congratulate them on their move to downtown Bethany, and present them with a citation.

I am grateful to Editor Nathan Winfrey and his team for their work writing the first draft of our community’s history!

Art in the OK Capitol: “A Storm Passing Northwest of Anadarko”

“A Storm Passing Northwest of Anadarko”

All session this year, I have tried every week to post a picture I take of a piece of art from the walls of the Oklahoma Capitol, and give you a little bit of historical background.   This is my final post, as the 2013 legislative session is about to conclude.   If you’d like to see all of my “Art in the OK Capitol” posts from this session, click here.

This week’s piece is “A Storm Passing Northwest of Anadarko” by Wilson Hurley, commissioned by the State as part of the Oklahoma Centennial and dedicated in 2002.   The portrait hangs on the second floor of the Capitol, in the southwest corner.

The piece is part of Hurley’s four-painting series, “Visions of the Land: The Centennial Suite”, which all hang together on the second floor.    As I write this, our state is still reeling from one of the worst tornadoes in world history.   Severe weather is part of life in Oklahoma, and it is fitting that “A Storm Passing Northwest of Anadarko” hangs in the Capitol.

For more information about this painting, click here.

The tornado

The tornado that hit Moore on May 20th has consumed everyone’s thoughts the last 24 hours. I have heard from friends as far away as China. I am glad I can report that we are okay. I am heartbroken for those who can’t say the same.

As a Senator, I’m doing what I can to help.

The State of Oklahoma maintains a “rainy day fund.” In Senate committee today, we considered Senate Bill 249, a $45 million appropriation from the “rainy day fund” to aid the disaster recovery from the tornadoes. I voted for it.

Black Friday!

Big day in the Senate.   By a 29-16 vote, we passed SB 550 and took a big step closer to legalizing “Black Friday” and other low-price sales in the state of Oklahoma.  SB 550 now goes to the House and into the steady hands of Rep. Tom Newell.   After that, on to the Governor.

Here is coverage from AP on passage of the bill.

Quick Update on “Black Friday” Legislation

A quick update on my bill (SB 550) with Rep. Tom Newell to bring lower prices and a true “Black Friday” to Oklahoma consumers for the first time:

Senate and House conference committees have approved final language, and I am now working towards a full Senate vote this week.

To remind you, current law requires OK consumers to pay at least six percent above the retailer’s cost on all retail products.   Oklahoma is one of two states with a pricing law this restrictive, and it means that the low price sales around the country have left OK behind (most notably on “Black Friday”).  This is illustrated in the picture that shows “Black Friday” advertisements from OK and other states, with a much higher price in Oklahoma for the same product.

Our bill will allow retailers to charge below their cost for most general merchandise during limited periods that could include “Black Friday” and other traditional seasonal sale periods.   There’s been a lot of compromise necessary to amend this archaic law, but I am pleased that in this final version, the consumers will get the low prices they enjoy in other states, on the products and during the time periods they expect.

Governor Fallin signs pro-marriage bill

The Tulsa World has coverage today of Governor Mary Fallin’s signature on Senator David Holt’s pro-marriage bill with Speaker T.W. Shannon.   It can be read here.

Art in the OK Capitol: “Charles Banks Wilson”

Me and Wilson the day his portait was unveiled in 2011.

All session this year, I will try every week to post a picture I take of a piece of art from the walls of the Oklahoma Capitol, and give you a little bit of historical background.

This week’s piece is “Charles Banks Wilson” by Mike Wimmer, donated by Howard and Billie Barnett and dedicated in 2011.   The portrait hangs on the fourth floor, just steps from my office.

Over the last two weeks, I wrote about paintings by Wilson in the Capitol.   I am writing about his portait today because since my last blog, Wilson passed away at the age of  94.

I had the honor of being present when the portrait of Wilson was unveiled, and I’m glad that I got to meet him.   His work will long be remembered in the Oklahoma Capitol.

Here is more information on Wilson and his portait.

Senator Holt to Co-Chair 25th Anniversary of the Myriad Gardens

The OKC Friday Paper has coverage this week of the announcement that Senator David Holt will co-chair the 25th anniversary celebration of the Myriad Gardens in downtown Oklahoma City.

Art in the OK Capitol: “Carl Albert”

“Carl Albert”

My mom, Mary Ann Fuller Holt, with Speaker Albert.

All session this year, I will try every week to post a picture I take of a piece of art from the walls of the Oklahoma Capitol, and give you a little bit of historical background.

This week’s piece is “Carl Albert” by Charles Banks Wilson, dedicated in 1977.   I wrote about the legendary Wilson in my blog last week.   The portrait hangs in the fourth floor rotunda, near the House chamber.

Carl Albert is the highest-ranking national leader Oklahoma has ever had, attaining the post of U.S. House Speaker in 1971.   For a time, when the V.P. position was vacant, he was a heartbeat from the Presidency.   He represented Southeast Oklahoma in Congress.   Both sets of my grandparents lived in McAlester for most of their lives, and my family has a ranch there now, so I’ve always had a special affection for Speaker Albert.   I saw him once while he was still alive, dining at Giacomo’s in McAlester.

For more information regarding this painting, click here.   Here is more information on “the little giant from little Dixie.”




The Oklahoma Senate today passed landmark workers compensation reform 35-12, and I was proud to be a co-author of SB 1062.   Oklahoma has some of the highest workers compensation costs in the nation, and this legislation will significantly reduce those costs.  This is the boldest thing the Legislature has done since I got here.  The bill now goes to the Governor for her signature.