Saturday, August 24, 2019

Cory Booker weighs in on effort to stop Permitless Carry in Oklahoma


U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), candidate for president in 2020, made this statement of support today for the initiative petition (SQ 803) that seeks to stop the implementation of permitless or 'Constitutional' carry in Oklahoma.

Joshua Harris-Till, President of the Young Democrats of America and a two-time candidate for Congress in Oklahoma's 2nd District, posted the video online.



HB 2597 was the first bill signed into law by Governor Stitt in February 2019, after passing the House by a vote of 70-30 and the Senate by a vote of 40-7. HB 2597 established “Constitutional Carry,” allowing the concealed or unconcealed carry of firearms by any person who is at least twenty-one years of age or at least eighteen years of age and in the military, if the person is not otherwise disqualified to purchase a firearm.

On August 12th, State Rep. Jason Lowe (D-OKC), Joshua Harris-Till (President of Young Democrats of America), the Oklahoma Chapter of Moms Demand Action, and others announced their intent to stop the measure. On August 21st, Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt (Republican, ostensibly) signed the petition.

Opponents of the Constitutional Carry measure are making a big push in the Tulsa and especially the Oklahoma City metros to garner the requisite signatures to put the implementation of the law on hold until the 2020 election.

OCPA column: Politicians wrong to bash two-job earners


Politicians wrong to bash two-job earners
By Jonathan Small

Growing up, my parents worked multiple jobs. As an adult, my wife and I have done the same. Now some prominent politicians suggest that two-job workers are a sign of economic weakness. That shows they don’t understand family budgets or the truth about the broader economy.

Part of the attack is purely political. National economic growth is a problem for Democrats wishing to win the presidency, as is the low unemployment rate. Dismissing that low rate as a product of overworked, two-job individuals is how some politicians have responded.

Yet low unemployment numbers are not the result of people working multiple jobs. The unemployment rate is calculated on an individual basis. It counts the number of people without a job who are actively looking for one. A person with multiple jobs does not lower the unemployment rate any more than someone with a single job.

Furthermore, economic data doesn’t suggest two-job individuals are common, let alone widespread. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 5 percent of the 162 million Americans who have jobs hold more than one job. And just 5 percent of that 5 percent hold two full-time jobs.

That’s why those with multiple jobs worked an average of 42.95 hours, compared to 39.7 hours among those working one job.

Only 325,000 people—0.2 percent of the workforce—work more than 70 hours a week. And many of those individuals do so by choice, and for praiseworthy reasons. I know, because I’ve lived it.

Growing up, my local public school had poor performance and wouldn’t meet my needs. So my mom chose to homeschool me, which is a full-time job in itself. But she also cleaned office buildings, and took on part-time positions as an administrative assistant. Meanwhile, my dad worked in IT—at one point, holding two full-time IT jobs at the same time—and cleaned office buildings. Growing up, I often helped them with cleaning work and had a janitorial job in high school.

When my wife and I were first married, I held a full-time job as a state budget analyst. She worked as an executive assistant. But we also cleaned homes and office buildings. I also worked as a driver for a car dealership, and my wife worked as a clerk. Why? We did those extra jobs to save money for a down payment on a home, to purchase a car, to save money for our first baby and choose better educational options for our children.

The free-market system allows people to improve their lot in life through hard work. In many cases, a person working two jobs is not a sign of the free market’s flaws, but proof of its value. Rather than “pity” those who choose to work hard, politicians should praise them—and the system that has so richly benefited those individuals.

Jonathan Small serves as president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs.

Friday, August 23, 2019

WaPo: OK's 5th District 2nd-most likely to flip in 2020


The Washington Post's political analysis blog The Fix published a list today of the "top 10 House races of 2020", and Oklahoma's 5th District lands in at number two:
10. Georgia’s 7th (Republican held but will be OPEN in 2020).
9. Illinois’ 14th (Democratic held).
8. New York’s 11th (Democratic held).
7. Pennsylvania’s 10th (Republican held).
6. Texas’s 23rd (Republican held but will be OPEN).
5. New Mexico’s 2nd (Democratic held).
4. New York’s 22nd (Democratic held).
3. South Carolina’s 1st (Democratic held).
2. Oklahoma’s 5th (Democratic held). Political analysts say Rep. Kendra Horn’s (D) win in this Oklahoma City district was the one of the biggest surprises for Democrats in all of 2018. She is just the third woman Oklahoma has sent to Congress, ever. This is another district that Trump won by double digits (13.5 points) and another case in which Republicans like their potential nominees, such as state Sen. Stephanie Bice and entrepreneur Terry Neese.
1. Utah’s 4th (Democratic held).
You can read the full article, with commentary on the other nine seats, at this link.

Neese announces opposition to anti-Constitutional Carry petition

The stir over permitless (aka Constitutional) carry continues as opponents collect signatures to place the measure on a statewide ballot in hopes of keeping the measure from going into law. The center of the effort seems to be in Oklahoma County, where prominent figures including Oklahoma City's Republican mayor are supporting the repeal petition.

Terry Neese, one of the Republican candidates seeking to flip the 5th Congressional District red again, is out with a statement indicating her opposition to the anti-Second Amendment campaign:


TERRY NEESE ANNOUNCES OPPOSITION TO ANTI-SECOND AMENDMENT PETITION

Oklahoma City, OK – Terry Neese, conservative Republican candidate for Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District, today reaffirmed her support for permitless carry and her willingness to stand against any actions taken by city, state, or federal legislators to infringe on our Second Amendment rights. Neese’s statement comes after Oklahoma City's Ward 6 Councilwoman JoBeth Hamon announced her intention to introduce a resolution that, if approved by the Council, would demonstrate its support for an initiative petition seeking to halt the implementation of H.B. 2597.

“As a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, I oppose this resolution and will not be signing the petition - nor do I support putting it up for a vote in 2020," said Terry Neese. "The Constitution gives every law-abiding American the right to bear arms and I will oppose any action - at any level of government - that seeks to infringe on the Second Amendment.”

Signed into law by Governor Kevin Stitt this year, H.B. 2597 would allow residents and nonresidents 21 years of age or older, as well as active-duty military over the age of 18, to carry a firearm without a permit.

For more information on Terry Neese or her campaign, visit NeeseForCongress.com.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Researcher offers proposals to improve Oklahoma teacher quality


Researcher offers proposals to improve Oklahoma teacher quality

OKLAHOMA CITY (August 21, 2019)—Oklahoma’s teacher-hiring woes have made national headlines and lawmakers have increased state spending by hundreds of millions of dollars in response. But the impact of that spending may be hampered by the fact that colleges of education are doing a mediocre job of preparing teachers.

A new report by the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA) calls for changes that will make “a reinvention of teacher education plausible, attractive, and sustainable for the schools” and lead to better outcomes.

“Forming Teachers: The Education School Challenge,” by Greg Forster, notes that individuals who emerge from colleges of education are often unprepared. Sixty-two percent of teachers in one report agreed with the statement, “Schools of education do not prepare their graduates to cope with classroom reality.”

Another report found there was no notable difference in the academic achievement of students taught by traditionally certified teachers and those who are uncertified, a finding with much significant for Oklahoma given the rapid increase in emergency-certified teachers.

Forster says two major causes of those problems are the “widespread presence—even dominance—of indoctrination into political radicalism in education-school curricula” and the “role education schools play in the special-interest coalition that dominates the electoral politics of education policy.”

The curricula of many colleges of education, Forster writes, include “far-left agitprop well outside the mainstream even of liberal progressivism,” and Oklahoma “is no exception.”

Forster notes that a random-day review of the Twitter feed of the University of Oklahoma’s Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education included advertisements for four events, of which two were on “environmental moral reasoning and sociomoral reasoning” and “social justice in education.”

To improve colleges of education and their ultimate product—teachers—Forster calls for adopting “public policies that reward education schools for producing teachers who are judged to be high quality by those who ought to have the authority to make that judgment.”

To that end, Forster calls for removing “unnecessary barriers to the hiring and (especially) firing of teachers” that would leave principals with the “full authority” to make those employment decisions. Forster says this would incentivize improvement in colleges of education because education schools “would not be able to attract students unless they could show that principals value their graduates.”

He also calls for transparency efforts such as testing education-school graduates “on their mastery of content knowledge in the core academic disciplines” and then “publishing the results.”

Forster concedes that enacting those policies may be “politically difficult” and “would have to happen over the long term,” but says significant change is necessary.

“Imposing a ruinous false ideology of teacher training upon the profession was not all done in a day,” Forster writes. “And fixing things takes more time than ruining them, not less.”

OCPA president Jonathan Small said Oklahoma lawmakers need to take the issue of teacher quality seriously.

“For Oklahoma taxpayers to get the maximum value out of the significant spending increases in our public-school system, we need to have the best teachers possible in every classroom,” Small said. “That won’t happen when colleges of education are allowed to shortchange teachers when it comes to training them on the realities of classroom instruction.”

Forster (Ph.D., Yale University) is the author of nine books and the co-editor of four books. He has written numerous articles in peer-reviewed academic journals.

To read the entire report, click here.

OKC Mayor Holt signs petition to repeal Constitutional Carry


OKC Mayor David Holt has signed on to the initiative petition that aims to repeal Oklahoma's pending permitless carry (aka Constitutional Carry) legislation that is set to go into effect in November.

"Many OKC residents have deep concerns about permitless carry, set to take effect 11/1," Holt said in a tweet yesterday. "Regardless of your stance, a vote settles the debate. A petition is being circulated to provide that option & I just added my name. If you want to sign it as well, Tweet @cackiness."

Oklahoma City has trended leftward politically in recent years, and leftist anti-gun activists had been calling on the moderate liberal Republican mayor to sign their petition. Moderately conservative when first elected to the State Senate, various conservative rating groups like the Oklahoma Constitution and the American Conservative Union tracked Holt trending to the center the longer he was in the Senate, and has continued trending to the left during his tenure as mayor.


Holt seems to be employing a policy of ambiguity on the topic, avoiding outright stating his position in favor or opposition to the petition's goal but signing it nonetheless, lending (at the least) tacit support for it. Much like King Saul in I Samuel 15, Holt can try the excuse that he signed the petition because "the people" asked him to.

It's similar to the "coward's strategy" oftentimes used in the legislature, where major policies are passed as state questions in order to "pass the buck" for the result to the state's voters, instead of taking the legislative responsibility on themselves. "I didn't vote for it [if it ends up being unpopular] or against it [if it ends up being popular], I just wanted 'the people' to have a say" goes the line.

Holt was first elected mayor in 2018, and won't be up for reelection until 2022.

Eagle Forum PAC endorses Terry Neese in CD5 GOP Primary


EAGLE FORUM PAC ENDORSES TERRY NEESE FOR CONGRESS

Oklahoma City, OK – Terry Neese, conservative Republican candidate for Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District has secured the endorsement of Eagle Forum PAC, a national organization that supports candidates who are committed to a conservative philosophy of limited government, national sovereignty, and traditional values.

In a release issued to the press today, Eagle Forum President Eunie Smith urged voters to support Neese in the Republican Primary Election, highlighting Neese’s ability to secure our borders, protect the sanctity of life, and defend our Constitution.
As a CEO and non-profit leader, Terry has built her career providing opportunities and advocating for policies that help women, men and families. Her extensive leadership background has enabled her to impact not only Oklahomans, but all Americans, and gain valuable insight into creating policies that foster economic growth. As a small business owner, Terry recognizes the necessity of fiscal responsibility and its direct correlation on the financial well-being of American families. In Washington, she will fight for solutions to our almost $22 trillion debt.

As a wife, mother, and grandmother, Terry will uphold pro-family policies and fight for our security. She is unapologetically pro-life and will advocate for the rights of the unborn, who are so often forgotten in Washington. Terry is also committed to securing our borders and fighting for policies that align with our Constitution.

“Terry is a woman of strong character and conservative principles. She is a dedicated leader who will fight for the best interest of all Americans in Washington, D.C.,” said Eagle Forum President Eunie Smith. “We urge your support for her in the Oklahoma primary.”

“Eagle Forum has been a leader in the pro-family movement for over 40 years and I am proud to have their support as I fight to bring conservative Oklahoma values back to Congress in 2020,” said Terry Neese. "Unlike Liberal Kendra Horn, I will never turn my back on the hard-working men and women of the 5th District. In Congress, I will fight each and every day to secure our borders, defend the unborn, and protect our Constitution at all costs."

For more information on Terry Neese or her campaign, visit NeeseForCongress.com.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

1889 Institute: end unnecessary massage therapy licensing


MASSAGE THERAPY LICENSING, PASSED IN 2016, NEVER NECESSARY
There are now nearly 20 percent fewer massage therapists in Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (August 20, 2019) – The 1889 Institute, an Oklahoma state policy think tank, has published “Massage Therapy Licensure in Oklahoma,” which calls for repealing the 3-year-old law licensing massage therapists. The public health and welfare is not enhanced by massage therapy licensing, making it clear that, like most occupational licensing, its main purpose of the law is to protect those licensed from competition.

This is the latest installment in the 1889 Institute’s Licensing Directory for Oklahoma.

“Some Oklahoma legislators were apparently convinced, in 2016, that licensing massage therapy would constitute a blow against human trafficking. All the law seems to have done is reduce the number of massage therapists in the state by about a fifth while doing nothing to impact human trafficking," said Luke Tucker, the report’s author and graduate intern at the 1889 Institute. “It was difficult to find examples of where massage caused any harm, and licensing would have made no difference in the few examples I could find,” he said.

“I don’t know how Oklahoma’s legislators, most of whom claim to be supporters of free markets, keep getting talked into passing licensing laws,” said Byron Schlomach, Director of the 1889 Institute. “We have identified a number of occupations in Oklahoma that are unjustifiably licensed, and there seems to be a lot of lip service given to doing something about it, but the biggest accomplishment so far has been to repeal hair braider licensing,” said Schlomach.

The 1889 Institute has produced several longer publications regarding occupational licensing, including “The Need to Review and Reform Occupational Licensing in Oklahoma,” “Policy Maker’s Guide to Evaluating Proposed and Existing Occupational Licensing Laws,” and “A Win-Win for Consumers and Professionals Alike: An Alternative to Occupational Licensing.”


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, “Massage Licensure in Oklahoma” and other reports on licensing can be found on the nonprofit’s website at http://www.1889institute.org/licensing.

Roberts announces candidacy for House District 83


Eric Roberts announces candidacy for House District 83

Oklahoma City, OK - Businessman Eric Roberts announces his candidacy to serve as State Representative for Oklahoma House District 83, serving neighbors in Edmond, Nichols Hills, the Village, and Oklahoma City. The seat is currently held by first-term Democrat lawmaker Chelsey Branham, who narrowly won the seat in 2018.

As an owner and operator of Colonial Center LTD for 28 years, Eric Roberts has worked diligently to bring jobs to Northwest Oklahoma City.  He stated: “As a small business owner and successful real estate developer, I know that we cannot afford to continue pursuing Rep. Branham’s priorities over the promotion of business development that would benefit all of our residents and the community-at-large. Branham’s commitment to policies that increase taxes, hurt business expansion and advance political and social ideologies at the expense of opportunities for economic growth are not reflective of voters’ expectations. With my proven record in the private sector of promoting and growing businesses, I intend to return the focus of the office to stabilizing and growing our economy, improving schools and assisting Oklahoma’s Turnaround in achieving a Top 10 state ranking in all indicators.  I welcome volunteers to be involved in the effort to take back this seat.”

A third-generation Oklahoman, Eric Roberts earned his degree at Southern Methodist University. He has been married for 25 years and has two children.

Roberts is an active member in civic organizations and his local church. He has been a member of  Rotary Club International since 1992 and serves as a board member of Ozarks Teen Challenge. Upon the appointment of former Mayor Cornett, Roberts also served on the Maps 3 Citizens’ Oversight Committee for the Oklahoma State fairgrounds.

For more information on his candidacy and to join his efforts to represent the people’s priorities, please visit www.EricRobertsHouse2020.com or “like” his campaign on Facebook @Friends of Eric Roberts.

Clean Pro becomes IICRC-Certified Firm

Some news from my work:


Clean Pro becomes IICRC-Certified Firm
National standard-setting organization recognizes commitment to excellence

Muskogee, OK – Clean Pro, a locally owned and operated cleaning and restoration company, recently became an IICRC-Certified Firm, formalizing their longstanding commitment to implementing quality industry standards and professional training.

An international nonprofit organization, the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) establishes globally recognized standards and certifications for the cleaning and restoration industries. In order to become a Certified Firm, companies must employ one or more IICRC-Certified technicians who have met strict training and education qualifications set by the IICRC, pledge to adhere to the IICRC Code of Ethics, and be current in their business insurance and licensee requirements.

Both of Clean Pro’s full-time technicians are IICRC-Certified in multiple categories. George Faught, the owner/operator, was first certified in the early 1990’s, and is currently certified in Water Damage Restoration and Fire & Smoke Restoration. Jamison Faught received his first IICRC certification in 2014, and today holds Certified Technician status in both Carpet Cleaning and Water Damage Restoration.

The professional standards of care and procedures set by the IICRC are recognized by flooring manufacturer warrantees and insurance companies who deal with the cleaning and restoration industries in order to ensure that quality care is provided for their clients. By administering a strict process of certification, the IICRC provides a means by which consumers can receive the highest quality of service from trained, knowledgeable, professional technicians.

“The importance of staying up with industry advances and providing quality service for our customers is why we have and continue to pursue certification with the IICRC,” said George Faught. “We want our customers to have the peace of mind that when we work for them, the job will be done right.”

An IICRC-Certified firm, Clean Pro is owned and operated by the George Faught family and has served the greater Muskogee area since 1987. Clean Pro provides carpet cleaning, tile cleaning, upholstery cleaning, and 24-hour emergency water damage restoration services. You can learn more about Clean Pro by visiting CleanProMuskogee.com or following them on Facebook and Instagram.