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Oklahoma Capitol briefs, May 19

Oklahoma Capitol briefs, May 19
Published: May 19, 2012


House delays teacher bonuses

The House approved a bill Friday that would extend the moratorium another year on National Board Certification bonuses for newly certified teachers. Under House Bill 2790, the Board of Education would not provide a $5,000 bonus through June 30, 2013, to any teacher who obtains National Board Certification between June 30, 2010, and June 30, 2013, unless the teacher started the process before June 30, 2010. No new applicants would be accepted into the associated scholarship program or have their application fee paid through June 30, 2013. HB 2790 passed 60-29, but a measure that would make the bill effective immediately failed. Rep. Corey Holland, R-Marlow, said the emergency clause was needed because without it teachers could apply for the program. Holland said the bill would give time for lawmakers to come up with a solution next year on how to pay for the program, which costs the state about $15 million a year. Holland used a parliamentary procedure to bring the emergency clause up for another vote next week. The measure eventually will go to the Senate.

Fallin makes appointments

Gov. Mary Fallin on Friday nominated nine appointees who will make up the new War Veterans Commission if confirmed by the Senate. The governor nominated Wes Benge, Robert Keister, Don Wadley, Dr. Curtis Bohlman, Tommy Howell, Darrell McGee, Rich Putnam, Jerry G. Riley and Tommy Sellers to the War Veterans Commission. The commission is the controlling board of the Veterans Affairs Department. The governor appoints the members using lists of names submitted by the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Disabled American Veterans. Four members are selected from a list provided by the American Legion, three from the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and two from the Disabled American Veterans. Additionally, three members of the commission must be Vietnam-era veterans. The Veterans Affairs Department has come under recent scrutiny for allegations of mistreatment of residents at the state's veterans centers. The Senate has launched an interim study to ensure that veterans receive quality care, to investigate reports of abuse and to evaluate the management structure of the agency.

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