Chamber celebrates legislative victory with tort reform bill
For more than a decade, the Tulsa Metro Chamber has fought for comprehensive tort reform counting it as one of its top legislative priorities in the interest of local and statewide businesses, and thus celebrated a huge victory when HB 1603 passed the House and Senate last week.
“Passage of this measure is quite possibly the single most valuable, pro-business legislation of this decade,” said Mike Neal, Tulsa Metro Chamber president and CEO.
HB 1603, authored by Rep. Dan Sullivan (R-Tulsa) and Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee (R-Oklahoma City), passed the House by a vote of 86-13 and the Senate by a vote of 42-5 on Thursday. This historic language now heads to Gov. Brad Henry, who is expected to take final action this week. The pro tem and speaker and their representatives have been in discussions for several weeks to craft compromise language between all interested parties, and an agreement was reached on a wide array of issues.
The agreement is comprehensive and includes reforms which will improve health care access for all Oklahomans, as well as assuring small business’ health and viability in the state.
Major points of the agreement include a cap on non-economic damages at $400,000, except in extraordinary cases, such as gross negligence or severe disfigurement. It would create a task force to issue recommendations on the newly-created indemnity fund, which would cover court-awarded costs up to $20 million a year.
As a top priority on the OneVoice legislative agenda, the bill’s passage further demonstrates the importance of speaking with a united voice and how effective collaboration on major issues is to seeing positive legislation passed. Additionally, the efforts of Rep. Dan Sullivan, Senate Pro Tempore Coffee and all parties who put the interests of Oklahoma’s businesses and employees first are applauded.
Tulsa Metro Chamber named 2009 Headliner
Community and business leaders in the Tulsa region gathered Thursday evening to honor the Tulsa Metro Chamber as the 2009 Headliner named by the Tulsa Press Club & Benevolent Association.
For more than 50 years, the Tulsa Press Club has been honoring Tulsa and Oklahoma leaders who have a habit out of making positive headlines in local media. These leaders – called Headliners – are defined as “outstanding civic, business, and professional leaders, whose contribution to the growth, welfare and culture of Tulsa has made them Headliners in every sense of the word.”
With this mission in mind, the Tulsa Press Club chose the Tulsa Chamber as this year’s Headliner citing the Chamber’s history of affecting positive change across the Tulsa landscape for more than a century.
The evening’s emcee Steve Turnbo recognized the Chamber’s many contributions to the Tulsa region through a video highlighting prominent events in Tulsa’s history made possible through the Tulsa Chamber including events such as the development of the Port of Catoosa; Tulsa’s selection during WWII as the site for a bomber production plant leading to its advancement in the aerospace and aviation fields; relocation of Henry Kendall College to Tulsa eventually changing its name to the University of Tulsa; and passage of Vision 2025, among others.
Mayor Kathy Taylor joined Turnbo in thanking and praising the Chamber for it's leadership and collaboration with other organizations in bringing positive results to the Tulsa region.
Additionally, Chuck Lawson, owner of the Tulsa Drillers, applauded the Chamber for efforts to secure a new home for the Drillers at the currently under construction ONEOK Field.
Chamber President and CEO Mike Neal was joined on stage by 2009 Chairman of the Board David Page in accepting the honor and recognizing all the past chairs and community leaders who have supported the Chamber attributing to its success since its inception as the Tulsa Commercial Club in 1903.
“Without the many community partners and leaders who continuously support our programs and initiatives we would not be able to achieve the success we have seen for this region,” said Neal. “We’re humbled by such a tremendous honor and thank all of our past, present and future leaders who strongly believe in the mission and goals of the Tulsa Metro Chamber.”
With this honor, the Chamber joins the ranks of such prominent citizens as Henry Zarrow, Mayor Kathy Taylor, and Governors Henry Bellmon and David Boren, among many others.
Proceeds from the Headliner dinner benefit the Tulsa Press Club Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides scholarships to students at Oklahoma colleges who are studying communication and journalism. It supports the mission of the Tulsa Press Club to promote the highest standards of journalism and to encourage the pursuit of journalism careers among students.
Remembering Wayman Tisdale
June 9, 1964 – May 15, 2009
Basketball legend, jazz great and Tulsa native Wayman Tisdale lost a two-year battle with cancer last Friday at age 44. An American hero known for his immense talents and trademark smile, Tisdale is survived by his wife, Regina, and their four children.
Tisdale began his basketball career at Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa. He then made a name for himself at the University of Oklahoma, where he still holds the career scoring record with 2,661 points, the career rebounding record with 1,048, and the single-game scoring mark with 61 points. He is a three-time All-American and was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame earlier this year.
Tisdale was the second overall pick in the 1985 NBA draft. The 6-foot-9 forward played 12 seasons in the NBA for the Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns. He also won an Olympic gold medal with the U.S. men’s basketball team in 1984.
Tisdale’s career didn’t end when he retired from the NBA. He became an award-winning jazz musician with several albums reaching Billboard’s top 10. His most recent album, “Rebound,” was inspired by his former career and his renewed perspective after a leg amputation in 2008. Fellow Oklahoman and country music star Toby Keith teamed up with Tisdale to record Barry White classic, “Never Gonna Give You Up” for the album.
Tulsa Metro Chamber salutes the life and the many, many gifts of Wayman Tisdale. He will be greatly missed and forever remembered.
Tulsa Chamber staff meet with Congress
A delegation of Tulsa Metro Chamber of Commerce staff and members met with Oklahoma members of Congress about issues of importance to the area while in Washington, D.C., for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Summit.
A delegation met with Oklahoma members of
Congress during the Small Business Summit in D.C.
In addition to independent meetings with Oklahoma lawmakers, Summit attendees visited Capitol Hill and heard briefings by Sen. Orin Hatch (R-Utah), U.S. Chamber staff and others.
“We felt this was a very successful trip that comes at a time when lawmakers are making final decisions on their funding requests in appropriations bills,” said Vice President of Government Affairs Bernie Koch. “Our conversations with members of Congress from Oklahoma went very well. I think it was especially helpful that we were on the same page as our regional partners like INCOG. Many in the delegation said they appreciated the strong efforts at a common agenda from the Tulsa Chamber and our regional OneVoice partners.”
The group brought a unified agenda of requests and issues to the Oklahoma lawmakers including:
• Timely action in reauthorizing federal transportation funding for FY 2010 and sufficient funding to address critical Tulsa region projects, including funding for reconstruction of the entire length of I-244.
• Funding for the I-244 bridges over the Arkansas River.
• Reconstruction of I-44 from I-244 to SH-66.
• Reconstruction of US-169 north of I-244 to Owasso.
• Funding for the completion of the Gilcrease Expressway, including right-of-way acquisition, utility relocation and construction of a bridge over the Arkansas River.
• Funding for the Riverside Drive extension (River Road/South Delaware Ave.)
• Support for a FY 2010 appropriation for $1 million for permitting and final design activities by the Corps of Engineers to improve Zink Dam and construct the Sand Springs and South Tulsa/Jenks low water dams.
• Support for authorization to deepen the Kerr-McClellan Waterway to 12 feet and to widen the last 50 miles to the Port of Catoosa. Support to address the backlog of maintenance on the waterway and opposition to lockage fees.
• Support for development of renewable and alternative energy sources and infrastructure, such as non-corn based ethanol, LNG, CNG, biofuels, nuclear, ethanol, wind power, solar and others, in addition to encouraging continued development of conventional energy sources.
• Support for $2 million in funding for the National Energy Policy Institute at the University of Tulsa.
• Opposition to the Obama Administration’s 2010 budget proposal to repeal the intangible drilling cost credit (IDC) and the depletion allowance, which will be counterproductive to achieving energy independence and economic recovery.
• Support for extending tax incentives for businesses on former Indian lands in Oklahoma, making them permanent.
• Opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act.
Tulsa hosts Department of Commerce officials
Tulsa Metro Chamber’s economic development division hosted a group of business recruiters from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce last week for a two-day familiarization tour. While here, the ODOC officials visited dozens of office and industrial spaces available for new businesses looking to relocate, including the CityPlex Towers and the Eastgate Metroplex.
“We work collaboratively with the Department of Commerce to recruit business to the Tulsa region, and it is important for them to be familiar with the many opportunities we have to offer when they are talking to potential companies,” said Jim Fram, the Chamber’s senior vice president of economic development.
ODOC works with relocating corporations to secure economic incentives and to find office and industrial space in the state. Last week was the first such trip to Tulsa for ODOC recruiters for several years, but the Chamber plans to host annual visits in the future. These visits are one of the ways to be more proactive in bringing new companies to the Tulsa area, Fram said.
“The Tulsa metro region is a central location, it’s affordable, we have a talented workforce and we offer a pro-business environment,” Fram said. “The Chamber strives to show ODOC recruiters and site location consultants that we are a great place to do business and a great place to live.”
Resource Campaign goal in sight
Resource Campaign volunteers celebrated another successful week raising nearly $150,000 to bring the campaign’s total-to-date to $1,749,168.
Only four weeks left to secure sponsorships
With only four weeks left in the campaign and approximately $550,000 to reach the $2.3 million goal, Campaign Chairman John Bowen congratulated and encouraged volunteers at the weekly rewards lunch held at The Melting Pot.
"Our volunteers realize how important this campaign is to the Chamber and its ability to provide top-notch programs and benefits to Chamber members as well as the Tulsa region," said Bowen. "I’m thrilled with their progress thus far and look forward to seeing how far they will go in the final weeks."
At the lunch, top producers were announced and awarded a trip for two to Whistler, British Columbia. In all, 28 volunteers have been awarded the trip.
The Chamber's annual Resource Campaign, which generates revenue by selling sponsorships and memberships, officially kicked off on March 31. Approximately 150 volunteers will help raise the $2.3 million goal amount by connecting businesses with Chamber sponsorship opportunities for maximum exposure and return.
If you would like to learn more about available sponsorships or trade opportunities with the Tulsa Metro Chamber, contact Karen Humphrey, campaign director, at email@example.com or call 560-0250.
This annual campaign contributes approximately 23 percent of the Chamber's total annual budget, all of which is directly returned to Chamber members in the form of business-building events and initiatives benefiting the entire community.
Chamber welcomes new businessesEach month the Tulsa Metro Chamber's Hospitality Club welcomes new businesses and new Chamber members to the community by assisting with ribbon cuttings and groundbreaking announcements.
Hibdon Tires Plus
Ralph Blewett, Store Manager
7816 S. Olympia Ave.
Tulsa, OK 74132
Tulsa Sunshine Center
Janice Barlow, Office Manager
2221 W. Detroit
Broken Arrow, OK 74012
Geiger Printing & Promotion
Jody Geiger, Marketing & Sales
4512 E. 51st St., Ste. E
Tulsa, OK 74135
Amanda Kuppinger, Consultant
Oklahoma Wesleyan University
Paulita Brooker, Interim Associate Vice President
4500 S. Garnett, Suite 110
Tulsa, OK 74146
Street Lamps of America
Ken Sarinske, Owner
5330 S. Mingo
Tulsa, OK 74146