Thursday, August 25, 2016

SoonerPoll finds rising support for Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform

State Sen. Kyle Loveless

SoonerPoll: Support for Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform on the rise

(August 24th, 2016)  New data from Sooner Poll shows more Oklahomans than ever want to see Civil Asset Forfeiture reform. Support for reform is up to 73.7% in 2016 compared to 69.9% in 2015.

"These numbers clearly show Oklahomans are ready for lawmakers to act on Civil Asset Forfeiture," says Bill Shapard, President of Sooner Poll.  "Despite overwhelming public support during the 2016 legislative session, for whatever reason, leadership decided to brush the issue aside.  But, when almost 3 out of 4 Oklahomans want to see this issue addressed, lawmakers really need to pay attention."

Sen. Kyle Loveless (R-Oklahoma City) has championed Civil Asset Forfeiture reform for more than a year and plans to re-introduce legislation in 2017.  Sen. Loveless has built a coalition spanning the political spectrum to push for substantive reform next year.

"The work to reform Oklahoma's Civil Asset Forfeiture system has always transcended partisan lines and this new poll only amplifies the call to end the practice of seizing money and property from Oklahomans who have not been convicted of any crime," says Ryan Kiesel, Executive Director of the ACLU of Oklahoma.  "Oklahomans across the political spectrum understand that empowering the government to take a person's property or money with very little, if any, actual cause is an affront to our fundamental rights and freedoms."

Senator Loveless believes the burden now lies solely on the legislature to fix a broken system.

"This is not a law enforcement issue, this is an issue where government is wrong to take people's property without proving anything in court," Sen. Loveless says.  "Oklahomans of all walks of life, metro area to the smallest town, blue or red, left or right, regardless of where they come from Oklahomans want serious forfeiture reform."

Senator Loveless has requested an interim study on Civil Asset Forfeiture.  A date for that hearing has not yet been scheduled.

The poll surveyed 398 Oklahoma voters from July 20-25th and has a margin of error of 4.91%. The questions and results are posted at www.SoonerPoll.com.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Music Monday: Summon the Heroes

With yesterday's conclusion of the 2016 Summer Olympics, we'll finish our Olympic Music Monday theme with Summon The Heroes by the great composer John Williams.

Enjoy!



Click to go below the page break to see all previous Music Monday posts. Do you have a song you'd like to submit for a future Music Monday? Email me at JamisonFaught@MuskogeePolitico.com.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Charlie Meadows' runoff election picks


"Charlie's Picks" for the August 23rd runoff

The following picks represent the opinions of the OCPAC leadership team.  We have noted which candidates were specifically endorsed and funded by OCPAC based on their conservative principles and policies.

Oklahoma Senate

District 13 (Garvin, Pottawatomie, Seminole) – JET MCCOY has name recognition from his rodeo adventures and would be favored to win.  OCPAC did not interview or endorse, but Greg McCortney is one of the public educrat candidates.

District 19 (Alfalfa, Garfield, Kay) – DR. ROSS VANHOOSER – Charlie met with Dr. Vanhooser and believes he would provide a conservative counterbalance to the liberal Dr. Yen in the Senate.

District 23 (Canadian, Kingfisher) – MATT STACY – OCPAC did not endorse either of the candidates, but Matt is for education choice.  His opponent, backed by educrats and every current, past, and future office-holder in the district, looks like and smells like a good-ol’ boy.  Matt is the candidate talking about principles, freedom, and smaller government.

District 25 (Tulsa) – JOE NEWHOUSE – OCPAC endorsed Joe, and his opponent is a recently registered Republican who is pro-abortion.

District 31 (Comanche, Cotton, Stephens) – YOUR CHOICE – Both candidates are running on platforms to protect the monopoly of public education.

District 39 (Tulsa) – AMANDA TEEGARDEN – OCPAC endorsed Amanda, one of the most conservative, principled candidates we have ever met.

District 41 (Oklahoma) - PAUL BLAIR – OCPAC endorsed Paul.  He will fight to protect life, liberty, and property.  He will be a true leader and game-changer in the Senate.  He was also endorsed by Dr. Tom Coburn.

Oklahoma House of Representatives

District 8 (Mayes, Rogers, Wagoner) – YOUR CHOICE – OCPAC did not interview or endorse in this race.  Both candidates are established businessmen who do not need the job.  Their websites sound good on the issues and do not raise any red flags.

District 60 (Caddo, Canadian) – YOUR CHOICE – OCPAC interviewed both of these candidates and found them solid on most issues.  Chad Slane was polished and well spoken, and Rhonda Baker was recruited by Rep. Dan Fisher; therefore, we did not endorse in the race.  However, we discovered one difference between the two:  Rhonda Baker supports Education Savings Accounts, while Chad was opposed to funding school choice.

District 67 (Tulsa) – SCOTT MCEACHIN – OCPAC and Tom Coburn have endorsed Scott.  It is worth noting that Scott is an intelligent and ardent supporter of states’ rights.

District 85 (Oklahoma) – MATT JACKSON – Matt is a life-long Republican activist and conservative.

County Offices.  We do not usually involve ourselves in local elections, but these particular races are noteworthy:

Cleveland County Court Clerk – MIKE REYNOLDS

Logan County Sheriff – JIM BAUMAN – Jim is a constitutional sheriff in the likeness of Sheriff Richard Mack.  He has attended multiple continuing education conferences with Mack.  Bauman is an ardent supporter of the right to defend one’s self with arms.  In fact, we have heard that Bauman’s opponent once tried to ban guns at a public concert where the law allowed citizens to carry, and Sheriff Bauman had to intervene against the out-of-line police chief who now wants his job.

Oklahoma County Court Clerk – RICK WARREN – Rick is the sitting clerk and has done a fine job.  He is an independent businessman who is not after a political career; he is a true public servant.

Oklahoma County Clerk – DAVID B. HOOTEN – The sitting clerk, Caudill, is essentially a Democrat and has been caught lying about endorsements.  It is time for a change in Oklahoma County.


{{ Blog note -- I will be out-of-pocket for a few days, so posting will be light or non-existent. Be sure to check out the blogs on the blogrolls on the right sidebar for more news and opinion.   -JF }}

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Tom Coburn endorses Paul Blair in SD41 runoff


Dr. Tom Coburn Endorses Edmond's Paul Blair for State Senate

(August 16, 2016)    Former U.S. Senator, Dr. Tom Coburn, is wholeheartedly endorsing Paul Blair for State Senate in next week's GOP primary runoff election.  Dr. Coburn praises Republican Paul Blair as the best man to represent Edmond's Senate District 41.

    "I've known Paul Blair for 12 years.  I know he is a committed Christian," says Sen. Coburn.  "He is a devoted family man, a patriot, and a man of principle who won't sell out to special interests.  That's why I'm endorsing Paul Blair for State Senate."

    Although Dr. Tom Coburn retired from the United States Senate two years ago, he remains one of Oklahoma's most influential politicians, and is revered in the GOP as the gold standard of integrity.

    "Paul Blair is a patriot and a man of principle who won't sell out to special interests which is exactly why they are attacking him now," Sen. Coburn says.  "Paul Blair can't be bought, he won't compromise, and forsake the values we hold dear in Oklahoma.  Our state is facing serious challenges and we need the experience and strong leadership Paul Blair can bring to the table."

    After weeks of unfounded political smears, Paul Blair says he is both proud and appreciative to see Oklahoma's finest Republicans stand by his side.

    "There may be no higher honor as a Republican candidate in Oklahoma than to get the endorsement of Dr. Tom Coburn," says Blair.  "Everyone respects Dr. Coburn as the elder statesman of Oklahoma's Republican Party and for good reason.  Dr. Tom was always principled, steadfast, and had the courage to act on his convictions, even when it wasn't politically easy.  I am humbled to know Tom Coburn believes I will lead with the same values and resolution he has."

    Sen. Coburn joins a long roster of Oklahoma leaders endorsing Paul Blair, including U.S. Congressmen Steve Russell and Jim Bridenstine and State Representatives Lewis Moore, Kevin Calvey and Jason Murphey.

    Paul Blair is a lifelong Edmond resident, successful business owner and Pastor of Fairview Baptist Church.  For details on his plans for Oklahoma visit www.PaulBlairForOK.com.

    The GOP primary runoff election is Tuesday, August 23rd.  The general election will be November 8, 2016.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Two third-party candidates sue to access Oklahoma ballot

L: Green Party nominee Jill Stein  ||  R: American Delta Party & Reform Party nominee Roque De La Fuente

US presidential hopefuls sue for access to Oklahoma ballot

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) —Two U.S. presidential hopefuls and some of their supporters in Oklahoma are suing the state, arguing its ballot-access laws unconstitutionally discriminate against third-party and independent candidates for president.

The lawsuit was filed last week in federal court on behalf of Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein of Massachusetts and independent presidential candidate Roque "Rocky" De La Fuente of Florida. Three Oklahoma residents and Stein supporters also are listed as plaintiffs in the suit.

In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Oklahoma City, Tulsa attorney James Linger seeks an injunction to stop the Oklahoma Election Board from enforcing its ballot-access laws. An Election Board spokesman declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Read more from The Journal Record (subscription required) and KGOU.

Music Monday: Bugler's Dream

Continuing the Olympic theme, this week's Music Monday is Bugler's Dream by composer Leo Arnaud.

Enjoy!



Click to go below the page break to see all previous Music Monday posts. Do you have a song you'd like to submit for a future Music Monday? Email me at JamisonFaught@MuskogeePolitico.com.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Fallin, Doerflinger still working on special session proposals


by Sean Murphy, AP

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Gov. Mary Fallin's top budget negotiator said Friday he is working to develop several proposals for a teacher pay raise, including some plans that would not use a $140 million surplus that was left over at the end of the fiscal year.

Fallin's Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger said he's looking at several options for a teacher pay raise at or above $5,000 a year. Doerflinger said some of those proposals will use all or some of the $140.8 million surplus, but others will use none of it.

"If we agreed with the Legislature on a teacher pay package not using the $140 million, that money could then be redirected in special session to the agencies that need it the most," Doerflinger said. "Under that scenario, you could see agencies like (the departments of Human Services) and Corrections and others with big needs get more funds returned than they would under the pro rata distribution.

"The ideal scenario is to address teacher pay and critical agencies needs simultaneously, but that's obviously dependent on agreement with the Legislature."

The state ended up with a $140.8 million surplus after mid-year cuts were ordered to state agency budgets amid dwindling tax collections. It turned out those cuts were deeper than necessary.

Fallin has suggested lawmakers return for a special session before November's election to consider a teacher pay hike as an alternative to a proposed one-cent sales tax on the ballot that will fund a $5,000 teacher pay raise and additional funding for state colleges, universities and career-technology system. But no agreement has been reached with Republican legislative leaders, and most lawmakers have suggested the surplus revenue be returned to state agencies.

Among the possible revenue sources Fallin encouraged lawmakers to consider this session were a tax on cigarettes and the expansion of the state sales tax to certain services and products that are currently exempt.

Both House Speaker Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview, and Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, said this week most of their members favor returning the money to agencies, but both left the door open to the idea of a special session.

"If we can come up with a plan that would make sense, we might have more serious discussion about a special session," Bingman said.

Hickman said his members want to approve a teacher pay plan, but couldn't reach an agreement on how such a proposal would be funded. He said any plan funded with a tax increase would need a three-fourths vote, which would require the support of Democrats. Approving any tax increase also would be difficult for Republicans, especially before an election.

"I can't imagine we haven't already looked at every angle (for a teacher pay raise)," Hickman said. "But if they come up with an angle we haven't considered, we'll be happy to look at it.

"Right now the governor doesn't have a plan on the table, so returning those dollars proportionally to the agencies is really the only option at this point."