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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

For Immediate Release: February 19, 2007

Sen. Owen Laughlin
Senator Owen Laughlin

SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE VOTES TO PROTECT
TEACHERS FROM LAWSUITS

The Senate Education Committee passed legislation Monday to protect teachers and school employees from facing lawsuits for doing their jobs. The legislation had been blocked by Senate leaders in past years, but it received a committee hearing this year thanks to the Senate’s new 24-24 tie.

Senate Bill 1024, authored by Republican Floor Leader Owen Laughlin, received a “do pass” recommendation from the committee on a bipartisan 9 to 5 vote. The committee is evenly divided with 7 Republicans and 7 Democrats.

“This bill creates a positive learning environment for our children because it helps remove the fear that many teachers have of being sued at the drop of a hat,” said Laughlin. “This bill says if teachers follow the rules and follow the law, they don’t have to worry about defending themselves against lawsuits.”
Laughlin said lawsuit protection for teachers is long overdue.

“In the past, this bill has never received a committee hearing,” stated Laughlin, R-Woodward. “But with a tied Senate this year, Republicans were able to give the bill a hearing and get it passed with bipartisan support. It’s an example of how good ideas are now being considered in the Senate.”

Laughlin noted that SB 1024 had originally been assigned to the Senate Rules Committee, where it likely would not have received a hearing. Last week Republican Co-President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee reassigned the bill to the Education Committee, where it received a fair hearing and a favorable vote.
All seven of the Education Committee’s Republican members supported SB 1024, along with two Democrats. Five Democrats opposed the measure.

For more information contact:
Senator Laughlin's Office - (405) 521-5626

Inon: Horizontal Blue Band

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