Saturday, April 17, 2021

Senate approves bill giving protections to drivers trying to escape riots


Senate approves bill giving protections to drivers trying to escape riots

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 14th) – The full Senate has approved legislation by Sen. Rob Standridge, R-Norman, and Rep. Kevin West, R-Moore, to give legal protections to drivers trying to escape from riots.  House Bill 1674 was approved by the full Senate on Wednesday and would give civil and criminal liability protection to drivers who may unintentionally cause injury or death while fleeing a riot and imposes penalties for those who unlawfully obstruct streets or highways, blocking vehicles.

“We actually saw this happen here in Oklahoma last year when a Tulsa family was surrounded by rioters. Through no fault of their own, they were caught in a dangerous situation, and fearing for their lives, they were attempting to get away,” Standridge said.  “The prosecutor declined to file charges, but that may not always be the case.  This bill will protect innocent people trapped by a rioting mob.” 

State House passes bill aimed at preventing public meeting disruptions


House Passes Bill Aimed at Curbing Public Meeting Disruptions

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 15th) – Yesterday the Oklahoma House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 403, a bill that will extend current statutes regarding the disruption of state meetings to cover school boards, county and municipal governments.

SB 403 was authored by Rep. Robert Manger, R-Oklahoma City, in the House and Sen. Brenda Stanley, R-Midwest City, in the Senate.

“We have rules of decorum that govern how business is handled in the Capitol, and I believe that same decorum should apply to other political subdivisions,” Manger said. “There are plenty of avenues for voices to be expressed on the issues without having to disruptively protest during a meeting.”

The bill will make it unlawful to disrupt or interfere with the business of any political subdivision.

OCPA column: OU gets warning on free speech


OU gets warning on free speech
By Jonathan Small

It’s hard to say what’s worse—that the University of Oklahoma is accused of trying to force staff and students to endorse positions they do not support, or that college leaders thought they could keep those efforts a secret.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), whose mission is to “defend and sustain the individual rights of students and faculty members at America’s colleges and universities,” recently focused its attention on OU’s mandatory diversity training.

FIRE notes that such training is not, in and of itself, an infringement on free-speech rights. But schools cross the line when they compel students or staff to endorse specific viewpoints.

FIRE says OU appears to have done just that, writing that OU’s training modules “go further, requiring students and faculty to answer questions in a manner that expresses agreement with the university’s viewpoints on thorny and difficult issues. Viewpoints with which students and faculty may not actually agree.”

Friday, April 16, 2021

Drive Oklahoma mobile app navigates users to more real-time travel information


Drive Oklahoma 
mobile app navigates users to more real-time travel information

The Drive Oklahoma mobile travel app and its companion website now offer motorists an upgraded travel experience with the addition of several enhanced navigation tools and options to better check traffic on interstates, U.S. and state highways as well as Oklahoma turnpikes before venturing out.

Through a partnership of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, the Drive Oklahoma mobile app and www.oktraffic.org provide several travel services such as real-time speed data, live traffic camera views of many Tulsa and Oklahoma City metro locations, Digital Message Sign information by location, real-time weather radar information and more. The updated versions of the app and website also offer a tutorial of the new features.

“Both ODOT and OTA are committed to improving motorists’ experience on our highways and turnpikes. Upgrading the Drive Oklahoma mobile app and the website puts more modern and user-friendly tools in drivers’ toolkits to help them achieve a safer trip each and every time they head out,” said Terri Angier, Oklahoma Transportation spokeswoman. “We encourage motorists to use these additional mobile app features to plan their routes before getting behind the wheel or ask their passengers to navigate for them.”

The mobile app debuted new branding, the name Drive Oklahoma and added real-time turnpike speed data in 2020. Now, just ahead of summer travel, additional upgrades include:

Oklahoma Legislative Dems vote against bill to remove dead people from voter rolls


Dead-voter bill passes over Democratic opposition
by Ray Carter (Director, Center for Independent Journalism)

[April 14, 2021]  Legislation that requires swift removal of dead individuals from voter rolls has passed the Oklahoma Senate over the united opposition of Senate Democrats.

House Bill 1752, by Rep. Denise Crosswhite Hader and Sen. Dave Rader, requires county election boards to remove the names of deceased individuals from voter rolls within 30 days of notification.

“What this bill is trying to do is close an open-ended process,” said Rader, R-Tulsa.

Under current law he said the process for removal “could be carried on forever,” although he said some county election boards promptly remove the names of deceased individuals.

Crosswhite Hader made a similar point when she presented the bill on the House floor in March, saying the legislation simply provides a deadline for action that election boards can easily meet.

“Many times these county election boards are actually doing it even faster than 30 days,” said Crosswhite Hader, R-Piedmont. “I’ve heard even as quickly as a week.”

Even so, the bill faced opposition in both chambers.

In the Senate, HB 1752 passed on a vote of 38-8. All Democrats present voted against the bill’s passage.

That largely continued a trend begun in the Oklahoma House of Representatives where HB 1752 previously passed on a vote of 81-15. All opponents in that chamber were also Democrats, although four House Democrats did join Republicans in support.

House passes bill to extend apprenticeship programs to 16 year old students

Apprenticeship Bill Passes House

OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill that extends high school apprenticeship programs to include sophomores that are at least 16 years old passed unanimously in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 619 by Rep. Kevin West, R-Moore, and Sen. David Bullard, R-Durant, passed with a vote of 94-0. The bill was amended in the House, so it now moves back to the Senate for final passage.

“This bill is near and dear to my heart, as I work in the trades and see the need for such early training of our future workforce,” West said. “This opens the door to our students to the possibilities of great career opportunities in the trades. It will help us develop a stronger and more skilled workforce to attract greater business development and more jobs into the Oklahoma economy.”

Powerful Video: Open Your Church


The Canadian church is undergoing persecution for obeying the clear command of Scripture to assemble the saints for divinely-designated corporate worship. Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church in Edmondton, Alberta, spent over a month in prison for daring to hold worship services and preach at his church. Other pastors and churches have been fined and threatened with imprisonment.

One of those other churches is Trinity Bible Chapel in Windsor, Ontario. From Protestia.com:

Pastor Jacob Reaume has been fined thousands of dollars and faces jail time. The six elders have all been fined thousands. The church has 26 charges before the court and faces 30 million dollars in fines. They had a service in January that cost them $83,000 – fines and court costs which are not able to be waived, removed, or appealed.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

More Health Department woes: Attorney General suing to get money back from bad orders

In the panic of the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the State of Oklahoma seems to have made a series of bad purchase decisions, two of which have resulted in the Attorney General being forced to sue to get the state's money back.

Back in January, AG Mike Hunter filed a petition in district court for over $1.8 million over a personal protective equipment order that a company never delivered to the Oklahoma Department of Health. The Attorney General's press release notes that said company "was formed on March 23, the same day the first purchase order was made by the Department of Health." That should have set off alarm bells, but we are talking the Oklahoma Department of Health: they don't have a good financial track record.

The latest lawsuit is in regard to an order of nearly $900,000 for 40 ventilators in April 2020, of which only two were delivered by June. The order was canceled in October, but a portion of the original order was finally delivered in December. What a mess.


Attorney General Hunter Sues Distribution Company for Not Delivering Ventilators

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 13th) – Attorney General Mike Hunter has filed a lawsuit against A&K Distributors for failing to deliver an order of ventilators to the Oklahoma State Department of Health at the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic.

In the lawsuit, the state claims the Oklahoma State Department of Health paid over $890,000 for 40 ventilators last April. The company had only delivered two ventilators by June 2020. 

Despite canceling the order in October, the company had 21 ventilators delivered in December. The Oklahoma State Department of Health returned the wrongfully delivered ventilators but has not received a refund.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

State Rep. Sheila Dills hammers NCAA for opposing bill to protect women's sports


Dills Comments on NCAA Statements

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Sheila Dills, R-Tulsa, today commented on statements from the NCAA that they will pull championship events from locations where transgender biologically male athletes are not allowed to participate in girl’s or women’s sports. The news came after passage of Senate Bill 2, the Save Women’s Sports Act, in a House committee last week. The act requires public school or college athletic teams to be designated based on biological sex. Dills is a coauthor of the bill.

We all want to promote business and economic development opportunities in our state and our local communities, and we certainly love athletics. But we cannot sacrifice our Oklahoma values, which include fairness in sport and the protection of opportunities for women and girls in Oklahoma, for the sake of dollars or even the popularity of such events.

Title IX, federal civil rights law, specifically protects women and girls based on the intent of the definition of biological sex. A small section of the population wants to cloud that intent.  

1889 Institute: End Oklahoma's corporate welfare for Hollywood

Hollywood hates Oklahoma's culture, people, values, and politics. Take one look at Georgia and see what reward there is for doling out years of corporate welfare to the woke leftists. It doesn't end well.


1889 INSTITUTE: END THE FILM ENHANCEMENT REBATE
Oklahoma offers one of the most generous film production subsidies in the nation.

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (April 7, 2021) – The 1889 Institute has published “Corporate Welfare Directory: Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate,” which makes it clear that the state’s tax rebate program for filmmaking is a corporate welfare scheme. Dressed up as something to help Oklahoma’s image and to create jobs, the 35 percent rebate applies to projects with production budgets as low as $50,000 and as little as $25,000 in qualifying expenses.

“With qualifying production budgets as small as this, it’s obvious that the Film Enhancement Rebate Program is more about throwing a sop to an industry than it is about making Oklahomans more prosperous,” said Tyler Williamson, the study’s author and 1889 Institute Research Associate. “One wonders if Oklahoma’s tax system is being manipulated just so our elected officials have a chance to meet movie stars,” he said.

In an earlier publication, the 1889 Institute devised a series of yes/no questions for determining if a particular policy could be considered corporate welfare. “The film rebate checks off every box,” said Williamson. “A recent Incentive Evaluation Commission report that supports the film rebate, reversing that commission’s earlier judgment changes nothing. The film rebate is a net cost and effectively a subsidy to a California-based, and very wealthy, industry,” Williamson said.

About the 1889 Institute

The 1889 Institute is an Oklahoma think tank committed to independent, principled state policy fostering limited and responsible government, free enterprise and a robust civil society. The publication, “Corporate Welfare Directory: Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate” and other reports can be found on the nonprofit’s website at www.1889institute.org