Jay Paul Gumm advances several proposals
CapitolBeatOK Staff Report
State Sen. Jay Paul Gumm, a Durant Democrat, is advancing substantive legislation this session, despite his status as a member of the Legislature’s minority party.
Today (Wednesday, March 10), the full Senate voted unanimously for Gumm’s bill increasing the “zone of safety” around schools, childcare facilities, playgrounds and parks.
Under current law, sex offenders are prohibited from loitering within 300 feet of those places where children congregate. Gumm’s bill – Senate Bill 2064 – would extend the zone of safety to within 500 feet of the locations. Further, the bill would put new restrictions on sex offenders who enter the zone to pick up or drop off their own children.
Gumm says the bill is aimed at keeping convicted sex offenders farther away from children and teens. Gumm said that those offenders who have legitimate business in the area only could be within that zone of safety for a “reasonable” amount of time and would have to inform the school or childcare facility of their status as a sex offender prior to entering the area. Further, the offender would have to inform the facility of the specific time he or she will be in the area. SB 2064 legislation now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.
Gumm in 2006 wrote a bill to impose the death penalty on repeat child molesters. That bill passed the Legislature and was signed into law by Gov. Brad Henry.
On Monday of this week, the Senate approved a measure Monday that supporters say would be a critical component of the state’s effort to support small businesses.
Gumm’s Senate Bill 1723 would establish an “Entrepreneur Ready Community” program, helping communities find ways to encourage creative Oklahomans to take their ideas and turn them into goods and services. “The idea is widen the scope of traditional economic development efforts,” Gumm said. “We know how critically important small businesses are to the state’s economy. This will direct critical efforts – as a matter of policy and direction – toward those individuals who have an idea but who need guidance creating a small business.”
Gumm, the former executive director of a local chamber of commerce, said one of the consistent criticisms of economic development efforts is that it appears to focus efforts on new business recruitment or expansion from outside Oklahoma into the state.
“The ‘Entrepreneur Ready Community’ bill puts a focus on what I call ‘home-grown economic development’,” he said. “Oklahoma has exceptional human resources in the form of our people. There are creative Oklahomans out there today who have ideas for great products or services, but who need help turning those ideas into a businesses and job-creators.”
Under the bill, Oklahoma communities could earn the title of “Entrepreneur Ready Community.” Gumm believes, “By sending the message that a community is a haven for ‘home-grown’ businesses, a community could become even more attractive for major industrial recruits. That would create an environment in which job creation truly self-perpetuates. The end-game is simple: a robust local economy that also adds strength to our state’s economic future.”
Gumm continued, “We have a strong sense in Oklahoma that small business is critical to our long-term economic health,” he said. “As we look for ways to strengthen Oklahoma’s economy, there is no doubt that small businesses are is the key to a brighter future.” SB 1723 now moves to the state House.
NOTE: Editor Patrick B. McGuigan contributed to this report.