Thursday, August 13, 2020

Bice endorsed by prominent OK Ag leaders

Oklahoma Agriculture Leaders Endorse Stephanie Bice for Congress

OKLAHOMA CITY (Aug. 11, 2020) – Stephanie Bice, Republican candidate for Congress in Oklahoma’s 5th district, is proud to announce the endorsement of leaders from across Oklahoma’s farm and ranch community.

“My colleagues and I are proud to endorse Stephanie Bice to be the next Congresswoman for the fifth district. We’re disgusted by the attacks against Stephanie in this race from Never-Trumper group Club for Growth,” said Mike Schultz, farmer and former President Pro Tempore of the Oklahoma State Senate.

“This same organization lobbied hard against farmers and ranchers to defeat the Farm Bill. They’re no friend to the farming and ranching community in our state and we can’t let them buy this race for Stephanie’s opponent.”

Oklahoma bridges now ranked in Top 10 nationally

Gov. Kevin Stitt and Secretary of Transportation Tim Gatz, left, announced Thursday that Oklahoma has moved into the Top 10 in nationwide good bridge conditions. Oklahoma now ranks ninth in the nation after more than 15 years of targeted efforts to decrease the number of structurally deficient bridges on the state highway system.
Oklahoma bridges go from worst to best
State nabs Top 10 national ranking for good conditions

Oklahoma highway bridge conditions are making the grade by moving from among the worst in the nation to the head of the class, achieving Top 10 status for the first time by ranking ninth, according to the latest data from the Federal Highway Administration.

The state was as low as 49th place in 2004 in national bridge condition rankings due to the number of structurally deficient bridges on the state highway system.

“Top Ten isn’t just a slogan — it is the vision that helps form and guide our road map to improving state government and changing the future of all 4 million Oklahomans for the better,” Gov. Kevin Stitt said. “Transportation is the backbone of the economy, and this designation shows Oklahoma is a new national leader in highway bridge infrastructure thanks to the dedication of ODOT employees and an unprecedented investment in our bridges by the Legislature.”

Cabinet secretaries, legislators follow Stitt in donating convalescent plasma to fight COVID-19


OKLAHOMA CITY (August 11, 2020) – Governor Kevin Stitt announced today that cabinet secretaries and state legislators who have recovered from COVID-19 have answered his call for convalescent plasma donations and will be making donations at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at Oklahoma Blood Institute, 901 N. Lincoln Blvd., Oklahoma City, OK 73104.

Scheduled donors include:

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Lucas helps introduce bill to give universities tools to protect COVID research from cyberattacks

Barr and Lucas Introduce Legislation to Give Universities Tools to Protect COVID-19 Research from Cyberattacks

Cheyenne, OK – Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) and House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK) introduced a bill today that will help universities and research institutions protect COVID-19 research from cyberattacks by China and Russia.

The bill will give universities and research institutions access to cybersecurity guidance developed specifically for their needs. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) currently sets cybersecurity standards and guidelines for federal agencies and provides voluntary best practices for private industry. This bill directs NIST to produce specific guidance, based on the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, to universities and other institutions conducting research on COVID-19.

Rep. Barr is a member of the China Task Force, which is working to counter emerging threats from the Chinese Communist Party. “Congress must act to safeguard critical scientific Coronavirus research being conducted at universities nationwide," said Barr. “My bill would have the Director of National Institute of Standards and Technology put forth guidance to preserve COVID-19 research and greatly reduce the threat of cyberattacks. This includes providing best practices and guidelines that will protect our national security.”

Stitt donates convalescent plasma, issues call to Oklahoma's COVID conquerors


OKLAHOMA CITY (August 11, 2020) – Governor Kevin Stitt is issuing a call to Oklahomans who have recovered from COVID-19 to join him in donating convalescent plasma to help more patients recover.

Gov. Stitt recently made a plasma donation at the Oklahoma Blood Institute donor center in Enid.

Shane Jett files lawsuit after being fired following opposition to Shawnee mask mandate

Senate Candidate Jett Comments on Lawsuit Against Chairman of Citizen Potawatomi Nation: 
Lawsuit was filed in response to Jett’s firing due to his opposition to COVID19 mask mandate. 

On August 10, Shane Jett, candidate for state senate district 17, filed an emergency injunction in the District Court of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation against John “Rocky” Barrett in his official capacity as Chairman of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation for illegally trying to fire Jett for exercising his constitutional rights of free speech.

In response to the filing Jett said,

“Last month, I attended a meeting of the Shawnee City Commission to express my opposition to a proposed mask ordinance for the City of Shawnee [you can watch Jett's comments at this link, starting at the 16:00 mark].  This massive government overreach was opposed by most citizens and I wanted to be sure that their voice was heard at the meeting. Therefore, as a private citizen on my private time, I exercised my Constitutional right to free speech and spoke in opposition to the mask mandate.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

1889 Institute: qualified immunity contributes to policing problem, must be fixed

Breaking the Unjust Shield: Fix Qualified Immunity
By Spencer Cadavero

The manner of George Floyd’s death, along with any number of other examples, is proof that the United States has a policing problem. Qualified immunity, the judicial doctrine that usually prevents police officers acting in the line of duty from being held accountable in court, undoubtedly contributes to the problem.

Qualified immunity is a legal doctrine created by the Supreme Court. It protects government officials who have violated a citizen's constitutional rights unless a “clearly established” right has been violated. To show that a right was “clearly established,” the victim must point to a previously decided case involving the same “specific context” and “particular conduct” as their current case. If he fails to do so, the offending officer is granted qualified immunity. In George Floyd's case, his family would have to point to a case where a cop suffocated someone with his knee in the street, went to trial for it, and a judge said it was bad. If no case like that exists, then Floyd's family cannot recover damages.

Attendees at Haskell County GOP meeting rebuke Boggs for mistruths (plus my take)

Among the runoff elections being held on August 25th is the GOP contest in State Senate District 7 between incumbent Larry Boggs and challenger Warren Hamilton. Hamilton is campaigning as a strong conservative and an ardent abolitionist, believing that Oklahoma ought to make a stand for the unborn and stop regulating abortion and treat it as the murder of innocent human life that it truly is.

Abolition of abortion has been somewhat of a flashpoint in the SD7 race, as Sen. Boggs did not vote to hear Senate Bill 13 (the abolition bill) on the Senate floor, which was not brought up for an actual hearing because 30 Republicans and 8 Democrats voted to table while only 4 Republicans voted to hear the bill. Boggs missed the vote because he was not in the chamber at the time (allegedly having a conversation outside in the rotunda, I believe).

There was a meeting of the Haskell County Republicans on July 14th that ended in some fireworks, with Sen. Boggs coming rather... unhinged and getting into a heated argument with some abolitionist supporters of Hamilton's, to the point that Boggs had to be physically restrained.

The following cartoon pretty accurately sums up Boggs' demeanor as shown in multiple videos:

After the meeting, both sides came out with their story of what went down (including some absolute garbage from one camp, as I detail further down). Some days later, a group of Haskell County Republicans ran the following statement as an advertisement in newspapers throughout SD7, specifically not endorsing any candidate, but correcting what they deemed to be serious mistruths and efforts by one candidate about what went on that night.

I'll post my thoughts on the whole saga below this. There's some stuff that needs to be said about individuals on both ends of the kerfluffle.

Monday, August 10, 2020

OSDH expands contact tracing efforts with call center in OKC

Watch video of the call center here
OSDH Expands Contact Tracing Efforts with Call Center in Oklahoma City

OKLAHOMA CITY (Aug. 7, 2020) – The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) announced today it is expanding ongoing contact tracing efforts in Oklahoma with the launch of a new COVID-19 contact tracing and case investigation call center.

The purpose of contact tracing is to assess the known active COVID-19 cases and quickly get in touch with exposed individuals to ask that they quarantine and to schedule them to be tested.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is not showing signs of slowing down, and the vaccine is still in a testing phase. Contact tracing is a proven way to mitigate the spread of a contagious disease and help get it under control,” said Interim Health Commissioner Lance Frye, M.D. “The successful launch of this call center is a major win in Oklahoma’s battle against this novel coronavirus. The work done here is mission critical for the long-term health and safety of all Oklahomans.”

State Rep. Lowe announces coalition of leaders to help Oklahomans facing eviction

Lowe Announces Coalition of Community Leaders to Help Oklahomans Facing Eviction

OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Jason Lowe, D-Oklahoma City, today addressed the looming spike in evictions throughout the state and announced a coalition of community leaders that will be providing support to those facing eviction.

“Thousands of Oklahomans, devastated by job loss and decreased income due to COVID-19, are facing eviction next month now that the federal eviction moratorium has expired,” Lowe said. “It is imperative that the public knows their rights as tenants, as well as the community services available to them in order to prevent a homelessness crisis.”   

Lowe was joined by several community members representing organizations with resources to help Oklahomans facing evictions.

“Tulsa and Oklahoma City are Top 20 nationally for eviction rates and that was before COVID,” said Michael Figgins, the executive director of Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma. “When you add illegal lockout evictions, studies are showing that we are looking at more than 130,000 potential evictions.”

The resources available by the providers present ranged from legal representation, back rent, to occupational retraining videos.