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Route 66 Centennial Commission established

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Legislature has created a 21-member Oklahoma Route 66 Centennial Commission to plan, coordinate and implement a statewide effort celebrating the 100th anniversary of Historic Route 66.

Gov. Kevin Stitt signed the bill.

Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell, who will serve as chairman of the commission, sees the effort in terms of economic development, historic preservation and marketing.

“Through the efforts of this commission, we have a unique opportunity to pull together all of the private and public assets that have made Route 66 an iconic destination for travelers from around the world,” said Pinnell. “We have the historic buildings, attractions and roadbed. We have dedicated community leaders who recognize the significance of the route. By working together, we can add value to all of those assets.”

Route 66 was officially created by federal designation on Nov. 11, 1926, which gives the commission a little more than seven years to build momentum for the centennial celebration.

The Oklahoma Historical Society will provide support services for the commission.

“My goal is to have a kickoff symposium for all stakeholders on Dec. 3 and 4, 2019,” said Pinnell. “We will gather people from across the state to identify attractions, set goals and develop a work plan.”

The symposium will be hosted at the Oklahoma History Center in the Capitol Complex in Oklahoma City.

The master plan will include suggestions for exhibits, programs and events focused on Route 66; a greater awareness of the highway’s cultural impact through popular culture; and opportunities to combine private investment and public policy to encourage further preservation of assets along the route.

–Staff report


Pinnell to speak at forum

OKLAHOMA CITY – Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell will be the speaker for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber Forum at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at Vast on the 50th floor of Devon Energy Center in downtown Oklahoma City.

Pinnell will discuss his vision for strengthening the hospitality industry.

–Staff report


Luttrell appointed to Energy Council

OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Ken Luttrell, R-Ponca City, has been appointed as an at-large member of the Energy Council by House Speaker Charles McCall.

The Energy Council is a nonprofit organization that promotes a balanced national energy strategy and related environmental policies. The council also promotes an understanding of energy and its role in the global economy and environment and to assist legislators in their policymaking efforts and their respective states.

“Energy is significant to the people of my House district and to our entire state in terms of the number of jobs this sector provides and its effect on our overall economy,” Luttrell said.

Luttrell serves on the House Energy & Natural Resources Committee. His House District 37, which covers Kay and Osage counties, is the home of a Phillips 66 refinery, power generation facilities, wind farms and other energy-related businesses.

–Staff report


Caldwell selected for CSG national task force subcommittee

OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Chad Caldwell, R-Enid, has been selected to participate on a subcommittee of The Council of State Governments’ national Healthy States Task Force.

“The CSG Healthy States National Task Force will bring together a diverse group of state policymakers to explore ways states can best meet the challenges presented by the current health care system and leverage the revolutionary changes occurring in the health sector,” CSG Executive Director David Adkins said.

 Caldwell will serve on the Capacity, Preparedness and Resiliency, or CPR, Subcommittee. The subcommittee will examine case studies and review recent state responses to health crises, including ways to prevent and/or reduce the impact of crisis through preventive care.

“It’s an honor to be selected to represent Oklahoma on this committee to study the current state of health care in our nation and to work with others to find solutions,” Caldwell said. “We know we must address health care needs for our state residents and particularly for our rural areas, but we have to have a reasoned approach that works for our individual states and not a one-size-fits all mandate.”

Caldwell was first elected as a representative in 2014. He serves House District 40, which includes the city of Enid in Garfield County. Caldwell is chairman of the House Health Services and Long-Term Care Committee and also serves on the House Public Health Committee. In addition to his service in the Legislature, Caldwell serves as the executive director of a nonprofit hospice in Enid.

–Staff report


Veteran registry bill signed

OKLAHOMA CITY – Legislation providing for greater inclusiveness of military personnel and veterans in the Oklahoma Veterans Registry has been signed into law by Gov. Kevin Stitt.

The Oklahoma Veterans Registry is a voluntary registry of all Oklahoma residents serving on active duty or in the Oklahoma National Guard, as well as all honorably discharged veterans residing in the state. The purpose of the registry is to provide better access to state and federal benefits.

State Rep. Tommy Hardin, R-Madill, and state Sen. Frank Simpson, R-Ardmore, were the authors of House Bill 1198, which created the registry in 2017. The law stipulated that the registry must be completed by 2020.

A bill passed this session, Senate Bill 358 by Simpson and Hardin, creates a new requirement that the State Department of Health provide a list of all deaths of Oklahoma veterans to the Veterans Registry so that the registry remains current.

Hardin said the registry went live this month. He and Simpson are both veterans and were the first Oklahoma veterans to sign up for the registry. On Thursday, members of the Legislature’s bicameral, bipartisan Veterans Caucus also enrolled in Veterans Registry.

–Staff report


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