Monday, December 06, 2021

State Rep files bill to lower vehicle transfer, trade-in taxes

Bashore Bill Would Lower Vehicle Transfer, Trade-in Taxes

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Steve Bashore, R-Miami, has filed legislation for 2022 that would reconfigure how the base excise tax is determined when a vehicle is transferred and would allow a trade-in deduction allowance on the purchase price of a vehicle.  

"Letting individuals to keep the money they've earned allows them to make their own decisions about how this income is best spent," Bashore said. "It's proven that lowering taxes and allowing this flexibility stimulates the economy."

Bashore said House Bill 2986 would bring Oklahoma in line with how regional states, such as Kansas, Texas and Arkansas, calculate excise tax – based on the net cost of a vehicle rather than the gross cost. It also would lower the taxation amount that Oklahomans currently face when trading vehicles. The measure is estimated to save taxpayers about $47.3 million in associated motor vehicle excise tax from the deduction of the trade-in allowance.

Sunday, December 05, 2021

OK Dems go with "open" primary for 2022, Libertarians and GOP opt out

Political Parties Notify Election Board Secretary About “Open” Primaries

(Oklahoma City) – Every odd-numbered year, recognized political parties in Oklahoma are required to notify the Secretary of the State Election Board whether or not the party will allow registered Independents to vote in its primary elections.

State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax announced today that he has been notified by the Oklahoma Democratic Party that it will allow Independents to vote in its primaries in 2022 and 2023.

The Oklahoma Libertarian Party notified Secretary Ziriax that it will close its primaries to Independent voters. The Oklahoma Republican Party did not send a notification to the Secretary, which by law means that Independents cannot vote in Republican primaries.

“This means, there is no change for unaffiliated voters in 2022. As was the case in 2020 and 2021, Independent voters may vote in Democratic Party primaries, but not in Republican or Libertarian primaries,” Ziriax said.

Saturday, December 04, 2021

Oklahoma suing Biden admin over Nat'l Guard vax mandate

Stitt: “It is unconscionable that Biden is choosing to play politics with military paychecks.”

OKLAHOMA CITY (Dec. 2, 2021) – Governor Kevin Stitt released the following statement regarding a federal lawsuit filed today to prohibit the Biden administration from punishing members of the Oklahoma National Guard for not being vaccinated against COVID-19 while in Title 32 status:

“The U.S. Constitution, the Oklahoma Constitution, and U.S. Code Title 32 are all clear: as governor, I am the Commander-in-Chief of the Oklahoma National Guard.

“Therefore, unless mobilized by the President of the United States under U.S. Code Title10, I retain the authority for all training and governance of the Oklahoma National Guard – including determining if and how training guidelines issued by the president will be implemented.

“This week, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin declared his intention to proceed with unconstitutional punishment that individually targets Oklahoma National Guard soldiers and airmen, including withholding their pay.

“It is unconscionable that President Biden and his administration are choosing to play politics with military paychecks, especially amid the highest inflation rate in 30 years and so close to the holiday season.

“Threatening the pay of National Guard members is manifestly unlawful and unfair, as unvaccinated active-duty personnel do not have their pay withheld.

“Further, it is hypocritical that Secretary Austin addresses the importance of medical readiness in his letter but fails to mention that unlike active-duty personnel, National Guard members are not provided health care and must purchase it themselves. If medical readiness is truly that high of a priority to the Department of Defense, it should provide health care for all National Guard Soldiers and Airmen like it does for active duty service members.

“I will continue fighting to protect Oklahoma against this alarming pattern of unconstitutional federal overreach coming from the Biden administration.”

Attorney General O'Connor Sues Over COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Military and Federal Employees

OKLAHOMA CITY - Today, the State of Oklahoma filed a lawsuit against the Biden Administration to stop its mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirement for federal employees and the National Guard.  The Office of the Oklahoma Attorney General has asked a federal court to grant a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and/or preliminary injunction followed by a permanent injunction, preventing the Biden Administration from enforcing the vaccine mandate.

Additionally, the lawsuit asks the Court to block the Biden Administration from withholding federal funding from the Oklahoma National Guard or its Guard members.  Finally, our office asks the Court to declare the mandate unconstitutional on multiple grounds.

“Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate ensures that many Oklahoma National Guard members will simply quit instead of getting a vaccine, a situation that will irreparably harm Oklahomans’ safety and security,” said Attorney General John O’Connor.  “These patriots, along with many federal employees, who serve their country and their state are now at risk of being terminated because they do not wish to take the vaccine.”

OCPA column: A modern day Marie Antoinette

A modern day Marie Antoinette
By Jonathan Small

According to legend, Marie Antoinette, the last queen of France, responded to reports of people lacking bread by saying, “Let them eat cake.” If Antoinette were with us today, she would not only avoid the guillotine but might very well be a top member of the Biden administration. With her attitude and understanding, she would fit right in. No presidential administration in recent memory has proven so inept and out-of-touch.

For example, the grandiosely titled American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), a blowout-spending bill advanced under the supposed auspices of COVID relief, has done little besides fuel inflation that reduces families’ buying power and quality of life.

The Biden administration’s response to inflation has been less-than-impressive. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg suggested Americans should purchase electric cars so they “never have to worry about gas prices again.”

You read that right. He suggested you buy an electric vehicle (reported average Kelly Blue Book price of $55,676) rather than a new compact car ($25,240) or a new sports car ($44,981) … to “save” money.

The administration’s other idea is to spend trillions more by passing its “Build Back Better” plan. At a time runaway spending is fueling the highest inflation in decades, the Biden administration’s solution is to spend even more and expect different results.

Friday, December 03, 2021

State House GOP calls for special session on overreaching federal vaccine mandates

House Republicans support special session on overreaching federal vaccine mandates

OKLAHOMA CITY – House Republicans support convening a special session to pass legislation addressing federal vaccine mandates facing court injunctions due to major constitutional concerns.

"President Biden's unconstitutional vaccine mandates are already under court injunctions secured by House Bill 1236 legal challenges," said House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka. "The injunctions are positive developments, but they are not permanent protections for Oklahomans being forced to choose between their freedom or their jobs. Just as House Republicans led to enact House Bill 1236, we stand ready at any time to fight overreaching federal vaccine mandates via legislation in a special session. House Republicans support securing freedom for Oklahomans immediately."

Through a lawsuit filed using the authority and funding granted by House Bill 1236 – coauthored by nearly all House Republicans – Attorney General John O'Connor secured a nationwide injunction Tuesday against attempted federal vaccine mandates for healthcare workers.

Thursday, December 02, 2021

Lankford calls for vote to prohibit National Guard pay cuts or discharge over vaccination status

Lankford Stands with National Guard, Opposes Pay Cuts Over Vaccine Mandates

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today stood firmly with the Oklahoma National Guard and Guard members around the nation and called for a vote on the Senate floor to offer his amendment to the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would prohibit the Department of Defense from discharging or withholding pay or benefits from members of the National Guard because of their COVID–19 vaccination status.

Members and leaders of the Oklahoma National Guard have reached out to Lankford’s office to express their grave concerns as earlier this week Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin released a memorandum to warn unvaccinated National Guard members that they will not be paid or allowed to participate in training, and deployments if they don’t receive a COVID-19 vaccine. While the Defense Secretary can establish readiness requirements, he lacks the constitutional or statutory authority to enforce this type of requirement on Soldiers and Airmen within a state when the National Guard are not federally “activated” or deployed in defense of the nation. That power and authority regarding the Oklahoma National Guard is reserved to Governor Stitt at this time. Lankford’s amendment ensures Congress clearly maintains that important distinction with regard to the COVID-19 vaccination status.

Lankford has been vocal about President Biden’s Executive Order. Lankford introduced the COVID-19 Vaccine Dishonorable Discharge Prevention Act with Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-KS) to prohibit the Department of Defense from giving service members a dishonorable discharge for choosing not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Lankford sent a letter to President Biden outlining his concerns with the vaccine mandates and has stood firmly with Oklahoma service members, health care workers, federal employees, and private-sector workers who have chosen so far not to be vaccinated. Lankford called out President Biden and Department of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin for not responding to a letter he sent in September calling on Austin to protect service members from being forced to choose between their sincerely held religious beliefs and serving in our nation’s military or National Guard.


State Reps. Cornwell, Bashore on Closure of Vinita VA Clinic

Cornwell, Bashore on Closure of Vinita VA Clinic

OKLAHOMA CITY – Reps. Rusty Cornwell, R-Vinita, and Steve Bashore, R-Miami, today released the following statement in response to news that the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs is seeking to close the Veterans Affairs clinic in Vinita.

"I am deeply disappointed by the sudden news that the Veterans Affairs clinic in Vinita will be closing," Cornwell said. "I've seen firsthand what a burden it was to travel so far for healthcare services. My grandfather was a veteran who had to travel several hours to visit a VA clinic, and he didn't visit as often as he probably needed to because it was so far away from his family and work responsibilities. And now, sadly, even more veterans will have to go through the exact same difficulties. My heart hurts that this is happening to the men and women who have given so much to our country and at the process by which this choice was made."

Cornwell continued: "The unexpected decision was announced without consulting my office or community leaders, despite the huge role the VA clinic plays in the Vinita community and the much-needed services it provides to our many veterans. I ask that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reconsider this closure and I hope to hear details soon regarding how and why this decision was reached."

"For many of the veterans from House District 7, the Vinita Veterans Affairs clinic is the closest facility to meet their healthcare needs," Bashore. "I don't want to see them have to make a longer drive to receive services. I, too, look forward to hearing from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on how they intend to best meet the needs of our local population. I thank our veterans for their service to our nation and our fellow citizens, and I want to ensure their needs are met in the best possible manner."

Bullard files bill to require publishing of school district professional development materials online

Bullard files bill to require publishing of school district
professional development materials online

OKLAHOMA CITY – In order to improve transparency in Oklahoma schools and help parents better understand the education their children will receive in a district, Sen. David Bullard, R-Durant, has filed Senate Bill 1125. The measure will require school districts to annually publish their professional development materials on their public website.

“Parents have the right to know about the ongoing training of their local teachers as well as what curriculums districts are asking educators to teach. Taxpayers fund our education system, so this information should be readily available to improve accountability and transparency in Oklahoma schools,” Bullard said. “My fellow teachers do not deserve to be forced into training that is inappropriate or violates their conscience, and yet it happens every year in Oklahoma. What training a teacher receives will find its way into the classroom, so it’s imperative that the professional development materials be shared publicly.”   

Under the measure, districts may post links to the professional development materials or resources, titles of materials or resources to be used, or the actual materials or resources.

OK Senate Pro Tem Treat encouraged by court win against Biden vax mandates

Senate leader encouraged by Oklahoma’s court win against Biden vaccine mandates

OKLAHOMA CITY – Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, on Wednesday said he is encouraged by Oklahoma’s recent court victory in challenging the Biden administration’s vaccine mandates.

Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor’s and 11 other state attorneys general in November challenged the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for health care workers. On Tuesday, a federal court granted an injunction putting a hold on the vaccine mandate for health care workers.

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Carol Hefner announces candidacy for OKC Mayor


Oklahoma City, OK-- Today, longtime community leader Carol Hefner announced her candidacy to be the next Mayor of Oklahoma City.

"We need a bold leader in the Mayor's office, someone who won't bow to BLM protestors or the Biden administration like our current Mayor. President Biden has a negative 50 point approval rating in Oklahoma, yet our current Mayor has become one of Biden's biggest cheerleaders, endorsing Biden's agenda," Hefner said.

The campaign released this video with its launch:

Leaders from across the Oklahoma City community have already announced their immediate endorsement of Hefner.