Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Bill to raise minimum age for tobacco products passes Senate committee

Senate Committee approves McCortney legislation to raise minimum age on tobacco

The Senate’s Health and Human Services Committee voted Monday in favor of legislation increasing the age to buy or use tobacco products from 18 to 21.  Senator Greg McCortney, chair of the committee, is the author of Senate Bill 1423.

In December, President Donald Trump signed the Tobacco-Free Youth Act into law, prohibiting the sale of cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21.  McCortney, R-Ada, said SB 1423 brings Oklahoma into line with that federal change.

“Even though the federal law has changed, we still needed to follow through in the Legislature, because enforcement takes place at the state and local level,” McCortney said.  “This change will help avoid confusion or ambiguity and ensure clarity for the public, businesses, state agencies and law enforcement.”

Currently, state law sets a minimum age of 18 for tobacco sales and use.  Under SB 1423, the minimum age would be raised to 21 for purchasing or using tobacco products, and it would be illegal to sell or give tobacco products to anyone younger than 21.

McCortney said the change would also help improve Oklahoma’s health outcomes.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 90 percent of adult cigarette smokers report they first tried smoking before the age of 18.

“Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable disease disability and death in this country.  Raising the age limit for tobacco products has long been promoted as a way of reducing tobacco use, so this change will help us with our goal to improve public health in our state,” McCortney said.

SB 1423 will next be considered by the full Senate.

6 new counties become Second Amendment Sanctuaries, bringing total to 19

Logan County Sheriff Damon Devereaux started a movement among county sheriffs in Oklahoma last week when he declared his county to be a Second Amendment Sanctuary County. This has been a rapidly developing news story, as new counties are added with each passing day.

Since Friday, 6 new declarations were issued by county sheriffs, bringing the total of Second Amendment Sanctuary Counties up to 19. They are as follows, with links to their statements:
  1. Logan County
  2. Stephens County
  3. Canadian County
  4. Haskell County
  5. Bryan County
  6. Pittsburg County
  7. LeFlore County
  8. Cimarron County
  9. Coal County
  10. Cotton County
  11. Kiowa County
  12. Pushmataha County
  13. Latimer County
  14. Atoka County
  15. McCurtain County
  16. Major County
  17. Johnston County
  18. Ottawa County
  19. Choctaw County
There will almost assuredly be more to join the list during this week. Additionally, I expect multiple county commisson boards to hear, or have already voted on, resolutions that support their sheriffs in this endeavor. When I get news about new counties or support resolutions by county commission boards or District Attorneys, I'll add them to the list.

Senate Committee passes bill to ban smoking/vaping of marijuana in public places

Bill prohibiting the smoking/vaping of marijuana in public places moves to full Senate

The Senate Health and Human Services approved Senate Bill 1296 to add marijuana to the list of products that cannot be smoked or vaped in public places.  Sen. Lonnie Paxton authored the bill to address the growing number of citizens utilizing medicinal marijuana around stores, restaurants and other public places.

“While marijuana is legal in Oklahoma for those with a medical card, users still need to be vigilant when partaking in or around public places like restaurants, parks, schools and other areas where tobacco smoking is currently prohibited.  This is especially true given those nearby can possibly experience an unwanted contact high making it even more important to clarify where marijuana can be smoked or vaped in public,” Paxton said.  “This bill will add any form of marijuana to the list of products already prohibited from being smoked in public.”

SB 1296 provides for locations designated in the Smoking in Public Places and Indoor Workplaces Act to prohibit tobacco smoking or vaping, marijuana smoking or vaping, or other lawful products which are consumed or used in a smoked or vaporized manner.

The bill will next go before the full Senate.

State Senate committee approves 'Homemade Food Freedom Act'

Stock photo: pexels.com
Senate committee approves Homemade Food Freedom Act

Social media has allowed at-home food business owners to reach larger numbers of potential customers, but Oklahoma’s strict regulations have kept many from growing and succeeding.  Sen. Adam Pugh, R-Edmond, wants to remove unnecessary regulations for these small business owners with his Senate Bill 1714, the Homemade Food Freedom Act, which passed unanimously Monday out of the Senate Agriculture and Wildlife Committee.

“Our economy moves quickly.  What worked for businesses ten to twenty years ago doesn’t work today.  Oklahoma must grow and change with the trends or our small business owners will suffer,” Pugh said. “One way we can help is by lifting the restrictions that are hurting those who sell food out of their homes. My mom started with a home bakery, and it was a major jump to go from running her kitchen to a retail location. Just because a business is thriving doesn’t necessarily mean the owner is ready for a retail location. This bill will allow them to decide when they feel comfortable moving from their home to a store.”

SB 1714 removes the arbitrary $20,000 annual gross sales limit placed on formerly known home food establishments. It also requires that ingredients be labeled and state that the product was made in a home kitchen.

“If signed into law, this bill will help our farmers, ranchers, small food business owners and others be able to bring their fresh nutritious food to the marketplace,” Pugh said.  “Oklahoma provides food for people around the world, but we have some of the most restrictive laws when it comes to providing it for our citizens. This will allow them to share their culinary talents and passion for homemade food with fresh ingredients with more people.”

SB 1714 regulates products and classifies them as either potentially hazardous or non-potentially hazardous food. The sale of non-potentially and potentially hazardous food is exempted from licensing requirements promulgated by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry. The measure requires potentially hazardous food to be affixed with a specific label. Homemade products may not contain any meat. The Department would still be allowed to investigate any reported foodborne illness.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Music Monday: Wayfaring Stranger

This week's Music Monday is Wayfaring Stranger, by the Hayde Bluegrass Orchestra. This unique musical group is from Norway, and plays a style that is a "mix between Anglo-Saxon folk, American Appalachian old time music and Norwegian Folklore."

See below for all previous Music Monday posts. Do you have a song you'd like to suggest for a future Music Monday? Email me at JamisonFaught@MuskogeePolitico.com.

February 3rd, 2020: My City Was Gone (Rush Limbaugh theme song)
January 27th, 2020: My Next Thirty Years
January 20th, 2020: Music for the Royal Fireworks
January 13th, 2020: Overture from The Cowboys
January 6th, 2020: I Am Resolved
December 23rd, 2019: Angels We Have Heard On High
December 16th, 2019: I Wonder As I Wander
December 9th, 2019: O Come, All Ye Faithful
December 2nd, 2019: I Saw Three Ships
November 25th, 2019: Count Your Blessings
November 18th, 2019: Poor Wayfaring Stranger
November 11th, 2019: Over There
November 4th, 2019: Great Speckled Bird
October 28th, 2019: A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
October 14th, 2019: Batman Theme
September 30th, 2019: These Are My People (Johnny Cash)
September 23rd, 2019: Pictures at an Exhibition (Great Gate of Kiev)
September 16th, 2019: The Streets of Laredo (Piano Puzzler)
September 9th, 2019: I'm Ready To Go
August 26th, 2019: It Is Not Death To Die
August 5th, 2019: 10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)
July 29th, 2019: Let It Be Said Of Us
July 15th, 2019: Bach's "Little" Fugue in G Minor
July 8th, 2019: The Majesty and Glory of Your Name
July 1st, 2019: Medley of Sousa Marches
June 24th, 2019: Seventy-Six Trombones
June 17th, 2019: I Want To Be That Man
June 3rd, 2019: "Les Toreadors" from 'Carmen'
May 20th, 2019: Lonesome Road
May 13th, 2019: Mr. Mom
April 29th, 2019: Have Faith in God (Muskogee's hymn)
April 15th, 2019: The Government Can
March 25th, 2019: Transcendental Étude No. 4, "Mazeppa"
March 18th, 2019: St. Patrick's Day in the Morning
March 11th, 2019: What Wondrous Love is This
March 4th, 2019: Scandinavian Waltz
February 18th, 2019: Adagio for Strings
February 11th, 2019: 'Romance' from 'The Gadfly'
February 4th, 2019: Columbia, Gem of the Ocean
January 7th, 2019: Loch Lomond
December 31st, 2018: Auld Lang Syne
December 24th, 2018: Remember O, thou Man
December 17th, 2018: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
December 10th, 2018: Carol of the Bells (medley)
December 3rd, 2018: God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
November 26th, 2018: Happy Birthday
November 19th, 2018: My Heart is Filled with Thankfulness
November 12th, 2018: Hymn to the Fallen
October 29th, 2018: A Mighty Fortress is Our God
October 22nd, 2018: Hymn to Red October
October 15th, 2018:  Indian Reservation ("Cherokee People")
October 8th, 2018: Wagner's 'Columbus Overture'
October 1st, 2018: Danny Boy
September 24th, 2018: Dvorak's 'From The New World' Symphony, 4th Movement
September 17th, 2018: Deep River
September 10th, 2018: Muleskinner Blues
September 3rd, 2018: Boomer Sooner
August 20th, 2018: Psalm 23
August 13th, 2018: Ashokan Farewell
August 6, 2018: How the West Was Won
July 23rd, 2018: I Just Can't Wait to Be King
July 16th, 2018: 'Jupiter' from 'The Planets'
July 9th, 2018: Hail to the Spirit of Liberty
July 2nd, 2018: Turn The Tide
June 25th, 2018: Good Guys Win
June 18th, 2018: Watching You
June 11th, 2018: Adoration
June 4th, 2018: March from 'A Moorside Suite'
May 28th, 2018: Taps
May 21st, 2018: Listz's La Campanella
May 14th, 2018: Handful of Weeds
May 7th, 2018: Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
April 30th, 2018: Polonaise in A-flat major, Op. 53 ("Heroic")
April 23rd, 2018: Blow Ye The Trumpet
April 16th, 2018: Asturias (Leyenda)
April 9th, 2018: Old Mountain Dew
April 2nd, 2018: His Life For Mine
March 19th, 2018: See, the Conqu'ring Hero Comes!
March 12th, 2018: Choctaw Nation
March 5th, 2018: Hark, I Hear The Harps Eternal
February 19th, 2018: The Olympic Spirit
February 12th, 2018: Olympic Fanfare and Theme
January 29th, 2018: Hail to the Chief
January 23rd, 2018: Waltz in A-Flat Major, Op. 39 No. 15
January 15th, 2018: Bleed The Same
January 8th, 2018: Saint-Saëns' Symphony No.3 'Organ' (Maestoso)
December 25th, 2017: God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
December 18th, 2017: I Saw Three Ships (The Piano Guys)
December 11th, 2017:Who Is He In Yonder Stall
December 4th, 2017: Carol of the Bells (Mannheim Steamroller)
November 27th, 2017: Joy to the World!
November 20th, 2017: We Gather Together
November 13th, 2017: Mansions of the Lord
November 6th, 2017: Träumerei
October 30th: A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
October 23rd, 2017: In Christ Alone
October 16th, 2017: When I'm Knee Deep In Bluegrass
October 9th, 2017: I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb
October 2nd, 2017: Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major (Brahms)
September 25th, 2017: Beethoven's Sonata No. 8 in C minor ('Pathétique')
September 11th, 2017: Have You Forgotten?
September 4th, 2017: Bach's Double Violin Concerto
August 28th, 2017: Noah Found Grace In The Eyes Of The Lord
August 21st, 2017: The Heavens Are Telling The Glory of God
August 14th, 2017: Beethoven's 5th Symphony
August 7th, 2017: 'Lift High The Name Of Jesus' medley
July 31st, 2017: Fanfare for the Common Man
July 24th, 2017: Variations on 'Happy Birthday'
July 10th, 2017: Summer (Presto) from Vivaldi's Four Seasons
July 3rd, 2017: Freelance Fireworks Hall of Fame
June 26th, 2017: Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
June 19th, 2017: A Christian Home
June 12th, 2017: Ol' Man River
June 5th, 2017: Choctaw Cowboy
May 29th, 2017: Armed Forces Salute
May 22nd, 2017: Double Bass Concerto No.2 in B minor
May 15th, 2017: Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 in D major
May 8th, 2017: The Army Goes Rolling Along
April 17th, 2017: He Is Alive
April 10th, 2017: Surely He Hath Borne/And With His Stripes/All We Like Sheep
April 3rd, 2017: Here Comes Carolina
March 27th, 2017: 'Spring' from Vivaldi's 'Four Seasons'
March 20th, 2017: Symphony No. 5 ("Reformation") Finale
March 13th, 2017: The Pigeon on the Gate
March 6th, 2017: Finlandia
February 27th, 2017: When I Can Read My Title Clear
February 20th, 2017: William Tell Overture - Finale
February 13th, 2017: 'Romance' from 'The Gadfly'
February 6th, 2017: White Winter Hymnal
January 30th, 2017: Hail, Columbia
January 23rd, 2017: Hail to the Chief
January 16th, 2017: Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy
January 2nd, 2017: Auld Lang Syne
December 26th, 2016: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
December 19th, 2016: I Wonder as I Wander
December 12th, 2016: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
December 5th, 2016: A Christmas Festival
November 28th, 2016: God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
November 21st: Beethoven's 'Hymn of Thanksgiving'
November 14th: Hymn to the Fallen
November 7th: This World Is Not My Home
October 31st, 2016: A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
October 24th, 2016: 'Mars', from 'The Planets'
October 17th, 2016: My Shepherd Will Supply My Need
October 10th, 2016: Spain
October 3rd, 2016: International Harvester
September 26th, 2016: 'The Imperial March' from Star Wars
September 19th, 2016: Awake the Trumpet's Lofty Sound
September 12th, 2016: Before the Throne of God Above
September 5th, 2016: The Hunt
August 29th, 2016: Liberty
August 22nd, 2016: Summon the Heroes
August 15th, 2016: Bugler's Dream
August 8th, 2016: Olympic Fanfare and Theme
August 1st, 2016: 'Prelude' and 'Parade of the Charioteers' from Ben-Hur
July 25th, 2016: How The West Was Won
July 18th, 2016: Six Studies in English Folk Song
July 11th, 2016: From Everlasting To Everlasting
July 4th, 2016: The Stars and Stripes Forever
June 27th, 2016: Rule, Britannia!
June 20st, 2016: Bugler's Holiday
June 13th, 2016: Ride of the Valkyries
June 6th, 2016: Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54, Allegro Vivace
May 30th, 2016: Armed Forces Salute
May 23rd, 2016: Paid in Full (Through Jesus, Amen)
May 16th, 2016: Overture from 'Carmen'
May 9th, 2016: L'Arlesienne Suite No. 1 - Prelude
May 2nd, 2016: My God Is a Rock
April 25th, 2016: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor
April 18th, 2016: Paganini's Caprice No. 24 in A Minor
April 11th, 2016: Fantasia on a 17th Century Tune
April 4th, 2016: Hark The Sound/I'm a Tarheel Born
March 28th, 2016: Rustle of Spring
March 21st, 2016: 'Ode to Joy' sung by a 10,000-voice choir
March 14th, 2016: Hard Times Come Again No More
March 7th, 2016: 'The Suite' from Downton Abbey
February 29th, 2016: Moonlight Sonata
February 22nd, 2016: Liebestraum No. 3
February 15th, 2016: Help Is On The Way
February 8th, 2016: God of Grace and God of Glory
February 1st, 2016: 'My Story'
January 25th, 2016: Israeli Concertino
January 18th, 2016: What Grace is Mine
January 11th, 2016: "Meditation" from Thaïs
January 4th, 2016: Praeludium and Allegro
December 28th, 2015: Appalachian Carol
December 21st, 2015: God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
December 14th, 2015: O Holy Night
December 7th, 2015: Christmas Fantasy
November 23rd, 2015: Simple Gifts
November 16th, 2015: Preacher Tell Me Like It Is
November 9th, 2015: Armed Forces Salute
November 2nd, 2015: Amazing Grace
October 26th, 2015: The Harmonious Blacksmith
October 19th, 2015: Liberty Fanfare
October 12th, 2015: The Majesty and Glory of Your Name
October 5th, 2015: Elgar's 'Enigma' Finale
September 28th, 2015: Stayed on Jesus
September 21st, 2015: Great Gate of Kiev
September 14th, 2015: Nearer, My God, To Thee

5 new counties become Second Amendment Sanctuaries, bringing total to 13

Logan County Sheriff Damon Devereaux started a movement among county sheriffs in Oklahoma on Wednesday when he declared his county to be a Second Amendment Sanctuary County. Since then, a dozen more sheriffs have followed suit, being supported so far by at least one District Attorney and one board of county commissions.

Five new sheriffs published their declarations of Sanctuary status since Friday, bringing the total to thirteen. They are as follows:

  1. Logan County
  2. Stephens County
  3. Canadian County
  4. Haskell County
  5. Bryan County
  6. Pittsburg County
  7. LeFlore County
  8. Cimarron County
  9. Coal County
  10. Cotton County
  11. Kiowa County
  12. Pushmataha County
  13. Latimer County
There will almost assuredly be more to join the list today. Multiple county commisson boards will be hearing resolutions today that support their sheriffs in this endeavor.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

1889 Institute: Measure gov't success by effectiveness and efficiency, not effort

Measure Government Success by Effectiveness and Efficiency, not Effort
By Mike Davis

If Oklahoma wants to be a top 10 state, we must clearly define that goal. We should measure those things that make a state a good place to live. A state might pride itself on being first in the nation in hummingbirds per capita, but who cares? It is also important to focus on things government can actually control. The Yosemite and the Grand Canyon make their home states attractive, but the governments of those states have nothing to do with the appeal. The methods used must also be appropriate to the ends sought. Even being the state with the healthiest people in the country would be unattractive if it were accomplished through a rigid be-healthy-or-be-jailed regime.

Oklahoma should strive to maximize economic opportunity, create a neutral playing ground that does not favor entrenched interests, and spend efficiently for essential services. Every program should have a clearly defined outcome, and programs that fail to meet their goals should be eliminated or restructured. For instance, in education, there is a misguided focus on per-student funding; what matters is student outcomes. Performance on national standardized tests that measure student knowledge would show how effective our schools are.

Government should measure its effectiveness, not its effort. Any time anyone touts or laments the total money allocated to a program, it is a red flag that they are focusing too much on effort. Of course, funding levels matter to a certain extent. Programs can’t exist without a sufficient budget, but money inputs cannot determine whether a program is going in the right direction. Pouring money into a failing program without addressing the structural problems is like pouring water into a full glass: it’s nothing but waste. Better to divert it elsewhere, or save it.

That is not to say that cost is not an important part of measuring success. If one program costs $12 billion, and has a 95% effectiveness rate, while a comparable program would cost only $500 million and be 94% effective, the legislature should seriously consider the latter. Efficiency measures that show the cost per unit of effectiveness are among the best tools for legislatures to evaluate whether to create or continue a program.

Instead of inputs alone, policymakers should focus on the outcomes of their programs. How much do students know when they leave our schools? Is the tax climate one that will encourage new businesses to open and move to Oklahoma?

Perhaps the legislature should attach measurable goals to their bills. This would help evaluate whether the laws are effective. As a bonus, it would create transparency as to the true intent of the bill.

Mike Davis is a Research Fellow at 1889 Institute.

Cimarron, LeFlore counties join Second Amendment Sanctuary status

Two more county sheriffs have added their jurisdictions to the wave of counties declaring themselves as Second Amendment Sanctuaries in Oklahoma. Joining Logan, Stephens, Canadian, Bryan, Haskell, and Pittsburg counties are Cimarron and LeFlore. In all, eight county sheriffs and one District Attorney, and one County Commission board have publicly made this pledge since Wednesday.

From Cimarron County Sheriff Leon Apple:
Interim LeFlore County Sheriff Donnie Edwards also got in on the action yesterday, posting the following statement on the LeFlore County Sheriff's Office social media:

Friday, February 14, 2020

DA supports Haskell County Sheriff's Second Amendment Sanctuary declaration

Well, this week has certainly been an active one regarding Second Amendment issues in Oklahoma.

First, on Wednesday, Logan County Sheriff Damon Devereaux declared Logan County to be a Second Amendment Sanctuary County, vowing to uphold the Second Amendment and refusing to enforce any act or order that infringes upon it. Anti-gun State Rep. Jason Lowe (D-OKC), who led the effort to repeal Constitutional Carry, decried the move.

Then, yesterday, Stephens County Sheriff Wayne McKinney followed suit, adding his county as the second Sanctuary County in Oklahoma.

The floodgates opened today. Canadian County joined. Bryan County joined. Haskell County joined. Pittsburg County joined. Others will be doing likewise in the coming days, I'm sure.

Adding to the list is Chuck Sullivan, District Attorney for Haskell and Pittsburg counties. He lent his support in the following letter sent to Haskell County Sheriff Tim Turner:

Second Amendment Sanctuary County: Pittsburg becomes sixth to join

Pittsburg County Sheriff Chris Morris has joined the Second Amendment Sanctuary County movement, which has swept Oklahoma this week.

County Sheriffs that have declared Sanctuary status:
Sheriff Morris posted the following statement this morning: