Answering Ballot Questions, A Voter Guide
SQ 776, “Full Force & Effect of Death Penalty.” Vote YES. This measure would affirm in the state constitution that the death penalty is not cruel or unusual punishment. It would affirm that the death penalty remains in force even when a particular method of execution is unavailable.
SQ 777, “Right to Harm.” Vote NO. This proposed amendment to our state constitution sounds good on the surface, but it appears to have been written by Washington lobbyists on behalf of multi-national corporate agricultural interests. The measure is designed to bypass our state legislature’s authority, so that federal mandates and regulations can rule the day in farming. Ultimately, if passed, this measure would make it harder for small farmers to fight federal overreach and harder to fight the lawyers of out-of- state big corporations. Here is a thirteen-minute explanation of SQ 777, and here is our interview on the Pat Campbell Show.
SQ 779, “The Boren Tax.” Vote NO. This measure would create a new permanent state-wide sales tax. About 70% would go to government school districts, about 20% to state universities, and almost 10% to the State Dept. of Education.
Space does not permit us to fully reveal the utter depravity of this proposal. The government school system functions as an inefficient and corrupt monopoly, as we have explained in previous updates. Creating a huge, permanent, new funding source will only exacerbate the problems inherent in the system.
Practically speaking, the new tax would be a tremendous burden on the citizens of the state. If enacted, the Boren tax would increase the state education sales tax rate by about 28%! Would you stand for your income tax rate or real estate tax rate increasing by 28%? Is that reasonable? The increase would make our state less competitive with other states. According to the Tax Foundation, it would raise Oklahoma’s average statewide sales tax to the second-highest in the union. This is no way to roll out the welcome mat for prospective families and businesses.
Furthermore, the only way to get rid of this onerous tax would be to amend the state constitution again. Funding state departments should not be accomplished by four million people changing the constitution. It is the proper responsibility of the Legislature in the budgeting process as they analyze needs and attempt to provide oversight of our many departments.
SQ 780, “Smart Justice Reform Act.” Vote YES. This measure would change some drug possession crimes from a felony to a misdemeanor, and it would raise the property crime threshold to $1,000, so that if the crime involved less than $1,000 in value, it would be classified as a misdemeanor rather than a felony. These changes make common sense. There is a tremendous difference between having a misdemeanor versus a felony conviction on one’s record. If we want the penalty to match the crime, this is a reform in the right direction. Those who hurt themselves and others by abusing drugs are not beyond recovery. They may deserve some punishment and rehabilitation, but to treat them as felons is to unfairly limit many of their future options.
SQ 781, “County Community Safety Investment Fund.” Vote NO. A man came home and said to his wife, “Look at this new power drill I bought for free.” “Bought for free?” she said. “Yes. It was originally $40, but it was marked half off, so I bought it with the $20 I saved.”
SQ 781 is reminiscent of the free power drill. The state would come home with a new slush fund. Revenue for the fund would come from the cost savings of implementing SQ 780, as imagined by the “best estimate” of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services. Then the funds would be redistributed to counties for “community rehabilitative programs.” Let’s not buy another dollar-sucking socialist scheme. We can use existing public and private programs to help those with addiction problems.
SQ 790, “Repeal the Blaine Amendment.” Vote YES. Last year the Oklahoma Supreme Court ordered a monument of the Ten Commandments be removed from the capitol grounds, citing a portion of the Oklahoma Constitution which prohibits the government from using public property for the benefit of any religious institution. The purpose of the monument was to remember the historical influence of the Ten Commandments, not to support a particular religious institution. Furthermore, the monument was placed by private funds. The court’s opinion was wrong. If the court’s opinion is applied consistently, women and children on Sooner Care will not be able to receive services from a clinic or hospital affiliated with a religion, we will not be able to vote at church polling places, and we will not be able to hold school or conduct public business at churches after a tornado or fire destroys a public building.
Sen. Joseph Silk of Broken Bow and Sen. Rob Standridge of Norman authored SQ 790 so that the citizens might correct the injustice of the court. If SQ 790 passes, the state must still comply with the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which prevents government from endorsing a religion, but we will be able to replace our Ten Commandments monument and continue to benefit from the generosity of churches.
Download this Ten Commandments Flyer, and give a copy to everybody at church. Ask them to vote YES on SQ 790.
SQ 792, “Modernizing Liquor Laws.” Vote Yes. In a perfect world, we would dismantle the ABLE Commission and allow any businessperson to sell all kinds of adult beverages without state interference. This complex resolution would not accomplish that, and it contains many anti-free market aspects. The Legislature would still be regulating the adult beverage industry to a high degree. The fascist ABLE commission would remain intact. Licensing and other restrictions on ownership and sales would continue under this proposed amendment (e.g., felons could not be licensees—another reason to vote yes on SQ 780). However, if passed, Oklahoma would inch in the right direction. We would see more competition and availability of products as a result, and we would be more competitive with other states. We might even be allowed to buy local communion wine on Sundays! Vote YES.
Oklahoma Supreme Court Justices James Winchester and Donald Combs will be on the ballot. Vote NO on both! In the last few years, the Oklahoma Supreme Court has:
- Banned the Ten Commandments. Prescott v. Okla. Capitol Preservation Committee, 2015 OK 54. The U.S. Supreme Court has the Ten Commandments on its building. Previous state Supreme Courts have upheld Christian symbols like a Cross on public ground.
- Protected child rapists. Burns v. Cline, 2016 OK 99. The court struck down a law requiring tissue samples from minors getting abortions. This law would have helped attorneys prosecute rapists. Other state agencies have this authority, but the court targeted this pro-life law unjustly.
- Denied women ultrasounds. Nova Health Systems v. Pruitt. 292 P.3d 28, 2012. Seeing an ultrasound makes a mom 80% less likely to choose abortion. Babies die every day as a result of this opinion.
- Protected abortionists. Burns v. Cline, 2014 OK 90. This decision overturned the law requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at a local hospital.
- Protected sex offenders. Hendricks v. Jones ex rel. State ex rel. Okla. Dept of Corr., 2013 OK 71. The court overturned a law that deterred sex offenders from moving to Oklahoma.