Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Tom Coburn endorses Jim Bridenstine for reelection

(Tulsa, OK) Congressman Jim Bridenstine, who is pursuing his third and final term in Congress, recently received the endorsement of Senator Tom Coburn. Senator Coburn’s full statement:

“Jim Bridenstine is a man of his word. He faces unrelenting pressure from the political elite in Washington, yet he has never wavered in his commitment to the First District or our country. His courageous voting record is proof that he cares more about the long term health of our nation than his own political career. That kind of moral courage is rare in Washington today. I am proud of the work he does on our behalf and thankful for the sacrifices that he and his family make to serve. I wholeheartedly endorse Jim Bridenstine.”

Bridenstine commented on receiving Senator Coburn’s endorsement, “Senator Coburn is the quintessential citizen legislator. He has served our state and our country with honor and I am proud to have earned his support.”

Monday, May 30, 2016

Music Monday: Armed Forces Salute

This week's Music Monday is Armed Forces Salute, arranged by Bob Lowden. I played this awesome arrangement many Memorial Day Sundays with the Tulsa Bible Church Orchestra.


Click to go below the page break to see all previous Music Monday posts. Do you have a song you'd like to submit for a future Music Monday? Email me at JamisonFaught@MuskogeePolitico.com.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Horowitz: Fallin named co-chair of RNC Platform Committee as reward for betrayal

Liberal Mary Fallin Appointed Co-Chair of RNC Platform Committee

Here is an anecdote that perfectly exemplifies the state of play within the modern day Republican Party.

Oklahoma is easily among the most conservative states, if not THE most conservative state, in the country.  Yet, because we live under a political oligarchy, the most conservative state cannot even stop the most extreme leftist concepts, namely, that men are women too.

As soon as Obama promulgated his transgender mandate earlier this month, the Oklahoma legislature jumped into action to block the illegal edict.  The bathroom safety bill, SB 1619, was originally sponsored by the Senate pro temp and the House speaker.  Suddenly, the Chamber of (Crony) Commerce came out against the bill, and Speaker Jeffrey Hickman took his name off it.  According to local grassroots activists, Gov. Mary Fallin, who has not uttered a word in defense of state’s rights against Obama’s absurd and immoral decree, has ensured that state party leaders backed off the bill.  With just three days left until the end of the session, the bill is now stalled.  

This betrayal follows on the heels of Gov. Fallin vetoing the most sweeping pro-life bill to pass a state legislature in years.  Thanks to Fallin’s veto, Oklahoma will get its first abortion clinic next month since 1974.  Thus, we have a state where every state-wide and federally elected official is a Republican, every county voted against Obama, Republicans have a 4-1 majority in the Senate and super majority in the House, yet they can’t stand for life or for a man being a man!

In what is unlikely a coincidence, Gov. Fallin was rewarded for her perfidy by being chosen as a co-chair of the RNC Platform Committee at the convention in Cleveland!        

Could you imagine Democrats choosing a governor who had just vetoed a gay privileges bill or a gun control bill being selected to co-chair their committee drafting the party platform?  Could you imagine a Democrat governor of any sort in a deep blue state vetoing liberal legislation on critical issues at all?  Yet, in the Republican Party, bucking the party platform in a resume enhancer…enough to elevate you to drafting the party platform!  In the case of Gov. Fallin, she badly wants to be considered as Trump’s running mate.  Hence, she has tossed social issues under the bus (not that recognizing men as men and women as women is a social issue).

Therein lies the imbalance between the parties.  Our problems run much deeper than the betrayal on the federal level.  We don’t even have conservative leadership among the ranks of Republicans in the states where Democrats are completely marginalized.  Republicans control the trifecta of the legislatures and governorships in 23 states, many of them with super majorities in the legislatures, yet North Carolina is the only state that has successfully stood up against a gender-bender agenda that was considered extreme even for Democrats just a few years ago.

This is why the question of whether to vote for Trump or not misses the point.  Whatever you personally decide to do, if conservatives fail to unite behind broader strategies to either take back the Republican Party or chart the path to a third party, the two liberal parties will stifle conservative ideas in all 50 states.  

Daniel Horowitz is a Senior Editor at ConservativeReview.com.

Liberty Counsel blasts Fallin’s veto of pro-life bill

Governor Fallin’s Despicable Betrayal

OKLAHOMA CITY — [On May 20th] Governor Mary Fallin vetoed SB 1552 which would allow for the revocation of medical licenses for doctors who perform abortions after viability. The measure has an exception to save the life of the mother. The Oklahoma Senate passed the bill yesterday 33-12.

SB 1552 was authored by Sen. Nathan Dahm. Yet this legislation was initiated by a local pastor, Paul Blair, with the support and guidance of Liberty Counsel. Mat Staver met with the Attorney General, Governor Fallin and members of the House and  the Senate to discuss the proposed bill late last year. The governor approved the bill and gave her assurance she was behind it.

“As one who proclaims to be pro-life, her actions run counter to her words,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “This is a despicable betrayal of her word and of innocent children whose lives will be cut short because of her cowardly act. I encourage the Oklahoma legislators to veto the governor and Liberty Counsel stands ready to defend this bill,” said Staver.

Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Phipps: Lefties calling Oklahoma ‘backwards’ is music to my ears

Fellow Oklahoma blogger Charles Phipps of OKPolitechs wrote a great post that I had to share (read the full article here):

Is Oklahoma a ‘Backwards’ State? 

Legislative sessions in Oklahoma are usually rife with contention, last-minute budget deals and unconventional bills and this year has certainly been no exception.  With this year’s budget still being a huge question mark, cuts are already happening and many departments have already begun trimming staff.  Medicaid, the earned income tax credit  and education funding are issues making the news, along with non-budgetary items including abortions and school restrooms.  Yes, restrooms.

Put it all together with a few other things and it’s apparently enough that some have labeled Oklahoma a ‘backwards’ state.  A national laughingstock. An embarrassment.  I have probably seen more negative articles and comments about Oklahoma and our legislature this year than any other.  Articles such as the one titled “Oklahoma Continues Marching Backwards Into the 1950’s With New Laws.” One column I saw shared frequently was from Ginnie Graham of the Tulsa World, who said, “Oklahoma sure had one embarrassing week.”  It was pretty clear from her column that her politics are liberal and her disdain for the legislature reflected that.  She railed not only about the budget situation but also an abortion bill, the “Great Bathroom Debate of 2016” as she put it, and other things that aren’t related to the legislature.
“After days like these, there’s a need for contemplation, a bit of anger and a lot of action. If this isn’t the tipping point, it must be near. Oklahoma has to do better than what our elected lawmakers are giving us.”

Oklahoma has to do better.  That’s an attitude expressed by many lately.  But better in what respect?  Better at the budget?  Better at not cutting whatever pet issue the complainer cares about? Better at ignoring issues that many do care about, such as abortion and the restroom issue?

There’s no debating the fact that the state budget is in trouble this year.  With the budget shortfall being more than $1 billion, cuts are unavoidable. The question is, what gets cut? No matter what gets cut, people will complain.  Education gets cut; people complain. Social services get cut; people complain.  Staffing gets cut; people lose their jobs, including some of the people with whom I’ve worked for years.  I doubt you could find anyone connected to the budget process, from those who create it to those who are affected by it, who are happy with the current situation.

What seems to be riling people the most is that some of the legislators have the temerity to propose legislation dealing with social issues while work on the budget is proceeding.  Why, the nerve!  I wish I had a dollar for every person who has said that legislators have no right to propose any legislation until the budget is “fixed.”  What that really means is they don’t like the legislation being proposed.  This year is certainly no different.

Senator Nathan Dahm submitted SB1552, which would have made it a felony for a person to perform or induce an abortion.  Any person doing so would have faced between one and three years in the state penitentiary.  Of course, this bill was quickly labeled an outrage by those who see nothing wrong with abortion. Senator Dahm said he had hoped the bill would eventually end up at the Supreme Court and result in Roe v. Wade being overturned.  That’s not going to happen now since Governor Fallin vetoed the bill, saying some of the language was “too vague.”

Another proposal receiving scorn was Senate Concurrent Resolution 43, which takes on the so-called “bathroom issue.”  SCR43 is a direct response to the U.S. Department of Education telling schools that federal law requires them to allow students to use the restrooms and locker rooms “consistent with their gender identity” and that receipt of federal funding for schools would be in jeopardy for noncompliance.  SCR43 condemns the action by the DOE, directs the Oklahoma Attorney General to defend Oklahomans against this federal overreach and requests that Oklahoma’s representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives file articles of impeachment against President Obama and the Secretary of Education, among others.

Naturally, SCR43 was met with outrage similar to that levied against Senator Dahm’s abortion bill.  Even in a year with no budget woes, these bills would have been met with scorn and derision. In addition to SCR43, SB1619 was proposed and would allow for religious accommodations to be requested by students who don’t wish to share a bathroom or locker room with students of the opposite sex. SB1619 was passed by a joint committee and can now be considered by the full Senate.  I was surprised to see Senator David Holt comment on the floor of the Senate that he was “ashamed” that so much time had been spent on the restroom issue, rather than focusing on the budget.  Senator Holt is an advocate for budget-only sessions every other year.

The budget, abortion, bathrooms, earned income tax credit, Medicaid, education… The totality of issues and unexpected legislation during this session has served Oklahoma’s detractors well, giving them ample targets for their scorn.

Is any of it justified?  Is Oklahoma really a ‘backwards’ state?

Madison Project PAC endorses Jarrin Jackson

The Madison Project endorses Jarrin Jackson in OK-2
Monday, May 23rd, 2016

This is why we exist as a PAC-to shake up the status quo. Years ago, we committed to systematically working through each deeply red district or state to find Members of Congress whose voting record does not match up to their districts and work to replace them with a Member who will be just as conservative as their district.

This mentality is what lead us to launch the Madison Performance Index (MPI) in 2013. When we asked the simple question, “Is this Member voting in line with his or her district?” there was no simple answer. Now there is and when we looked at the make up of Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District it became apparent that the current Member, Markwayne Mullin, was nowhere near voting in line with a district that is R+20, scoring -27.5 on the MPI. He is seemingly more interested in doing the bidding of the Establishment leadership than representing his district and advancing conservatism.

Which is why today we are thrilled to get the opportunity to endorse Jarrin Jackson in his run to unseat Congressman Mullin and work towards electing a truly conservative Member is this strong Republican district.

A 5th generation Oklahoman and graduate of West Point, Jarrin is the veteran of two tours in Afghanistan, serving as a platoon and company commander. After an honorable discharge from the Army, he has turned his attention towards serving his country in another role and that is getting our country back on track. When he announced his run for Congress late last fall, Jarrin said:
“This is a time for triage and intervention, not maintenance. Our country is getting sicker, and our enemies are using our goodness against us. We need to counter that. I am conservative, but I want to be judged by performance, not labels. I offer American values, fresh ideas, and military ­grade grit.”
We couldn’t agree more and today, we are excited to support Jarrin in his run for Congress.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Gov. Fallin vetoes pro-life measure

Look like the days of Oklahoma governors vetoing pro-life bills didn't end when Brad Henry left office:

May 20, 2016

Governor Mary Fallin Vetoes Unconstitutional Anti-Abortion Bill

OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin, who has a long history of championing and signing pro-life and pro-family legislation, today vetoed a measure that would have banned abortion in the state because the bill was vague and would not withstand a criminal constitutional legal challenge.
Fallin is the most pro-life governor in the nation. She has signed 18 bills supporting pro-life values and protecting the health and lives of mothers and their unborn children.

Senate Bill 1552 would have made it a felony for physicians to perform abortions. It also contained a provision to revoke their medical licenses unless the abortion was necessary to save the life of the mother.

“The bill is so ambiguous and so vague that doctors cannot be certain what medical circumstances would be considered ‘necessary to preserve the life of the mother,’” Fallin said.

“The absence of any definition, analysis or medical standard renders this exception vague, indefinite and vulnerable to subjective interpretation and application,” she wrote in her veto message.

“While I consistently have and continue to support a re-examination of the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, this legislation cannot accomplish that re-examination,” Fallin wrote. “In fact, the most direct path to a re-examination of the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade is the appointment of a conservative, pro-life justice to the United States Supreme Court.”

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Rep. George Faught Endorses Jarrin Jackson Against Mullin

Rep. George Faught Publicly Endorses Jarrin Jackson Against Mullin
Says “The people of the 2nd District deserve honesty and integrity”

Muskogee, OK – State Representative George Faught (R-Muskogee) has released a public endorsement of Jarrin Jackson, the Republican candidate opposing Congressman Markwayne Mullin in the June 28th primary election. Faught was the runner-up in the GOP runoff election for the 2nd Congressional District seat in 2012. He is the first state-level elected official to publicly endorse against the incumbent.

“In a time when our beloved country is teetering on the precipice, it is our duty to send a true patriot to Washington, D.C., who will fight to save our Republic. Former US Army Captain Jarrin Jackson is that man. His leadership, integrity and character has been forged in the trenches of the heat of battle and we know we can trust him to take on the establishment and return our nation to the Constitutional principles that America was founded upon,” said Faught.

“Jarrin Jackson will fight for the principles that we as conservatives hold dear. He will do whatever it takes to defund Planned Parenthood and defend the Right to Life. He will work to strengthen our military and protect our veterans. He will not cave to the pressure to grow government scope and spending or succumb to the lure of power and control.”

Noting blatant inconsistencies between Mullin’s campaign promises and his record as a congressman, Rep. Faught stated that the people of the 2nd District deserve honesty and integrity in their representative.

“Jarrin’s heart to serve was proven when he enlisted in the Army following the 9/11 terrorist attacks on our country. A West Point graduate and Army Ranger with two Bronze Stars, he will continue to keep his pledge to ‘defend the Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and domestic.’ Those currently in office who ignore our Constitution are betraying this nation vote by vote. We need a battle-tested leader, a warrior who will never surrender or be intimidated – Oklahoma and America need Jarrin Jackson in Congress!”

Learn more about Jarrin Jackson and his campaign for the 2nd Congressional District at JarrinJackson.com, or on Facebook.

Rep. George Faught (R-Muskogee) is currently serving his fourth term in the Oklahoma House of Representatives and chairs the Administrative Rules Committee. He was the first Republican ever elected to House District 14, which covers eastern Muskogee and western Cherokee counties.

Republican Legislative leaders tossing around massive tax increases

The last few weeks of a legislative session tend to be the most dangerous, as far as bad legislation is concerned. That danger increases if the legislature is facing a budget shortfall, like they are right now.

House Bill 3213 was filed this week as a "shell bill" - an empty measure that serves as a vehicle to "plug" language into during the committee process. Yesterday, a committee substitute was filed, filling the empty bill with a bunch of nonsense.

Here's from the fiscal impact report prepared by House staffers:
The committee substitute for HB3213 refers to a vote of the people numerous changes to the Oklahoma sale and use tax code. If approved, the measure would increase the state sales and use tax rate from 4.5 percent to 4.9 percent and expands the list of services and property subject to sales or use tax. [emphasis mine]

The list includes:
  • water, sewage and refuse from a utility or public service company;
  • computer programming, design and analysis services;
  • repair, installation, delivery and maintenance services when provided in conjunction with the sale of tangible personal property;
  • pet grooming services;
  • landscaping services;
  • storage of furs;
  • marina services;
  • carpet and upholstery cleaning services;
  • laundry, diaper and dry cleaning services;
  • swimming pool cleaning and maintenance services;
  • exterminating and pest control services;
  • tire recapping and retreading services;
  • computer software that is electronically delivered;
  • digital products;
  • auto repair services;
  • video programming services;
  • leases and rental of aircraft;
  • overnight trailer park rental;
  • telephone answering services and welding services.

Revenue from the increased rate would be used to fund a teacher pay raise, which is authorized by a companion measure, HB3214. In the event that HB3214 is enacted into law and voters do not approve the changes proposed in HB3213, then the teacher pay raise would not be authorized.
The fiscal impact statement didn't have specific figures yet, but expanding the sales tax to cover services would be a massive tax increase on Oklahoma citizens and a further burden on small businesses and employers. Under this measure, our family carpet cleaning business (and customers) would be affected.

Another measure would have raised the fuel tax by three cents -- it failed in committee.

Another measure would have raised the cigarette tax by $1.50 -- it failed on the House floor this evening, but could possibly come back. Until the Legislature adjourns Sine Die, nothing is truly "dead" in the final weeks of the legislative session. Because enough conservative Republicans held the line, Governor Fallin went to the House floor to [unsuccessfully] try to get the Democrats to help pass the tax hike -- oh the irony... a self-proclaimed "conservative Republican" begging the Democrats to vote for a tax increase! The Democrats are holding out for the Medicaid expansion (see "ObamaCare by another name").

Another measure passed by the House requires that all vehicles registered in Oklahoma pay a $5 fee to receive new license plates next year (regardless of if you need a new one or not).

I'm sure I missed some other tax-hikes and fee-hikes, but these will do for now.

Go to OKLegislature.gov, and scroll down to the bottom right to find who your state legislator is. Contact your legislators and tell them to vote against any tax increases. You can also do it through this page from Americans for Prosperity and this page from OCPA Impact.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

OCPA Impact airs ad against proposed Medicaid expansion and tax hikes

Amid talk that the Republican-led Oklahoma legislature may approve major tax increases and a Medicaid expansionOCPA Impact is out with a television ad against the proposals. Watch below:

From the McCarville Report:
Jonathan Small, president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, explained the commercial to The McCarville Report: “Unfortunately we had to resort to that because as we speak, behind the scenes legislative leadership is trying to force the Republican caucuses to vote for about $1 billion in tax increases or structurally damaging one-time schemes….we are making sure to stay in touch with the non-leadership members of the House and non-leadership members of the Senate. There is growing sentiment, rightly so by non-term limited Republicans, that they are being set up again for having to support a really bad budget.”
Ad transcript:

Politicians in the state capitol have a spending problem. [images of David Boren, House Minority Leader Scott Inman, and Governor Mary Fallin flash on screen]
Instead of balancing the budget, they want to expand ObamaCare and increase government spending by billions.
Who's going to pay for it? You are. You, and working families across Oklahoma.
Call your state legislator today and tell them 'Enough is enough'.
No new taxes.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Coburn, Parman: Medicaid 'rebalancing' plan is Obamacare by another name

Coburn, Parman: Medicaid 'rebalancing' plan is Obamacare by another name

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority's Medicaid “rebalancing” plan is being considered by lawmakers. The plan is simply Obamacare Medicaid expansion rebranded. As conservatives concerned about fiscal responsibility, we urge lawmakers to reject it.

The rebalancing scheme is a policy that expands the scope and size of the federal government and increases dependency on government programs. It removes one more state barrier that separates us from a single-payer system in the United States. And of course it would further balloon state taxpayer spending by $1 billion (at a minimum) over the first 10 years and would increase the federal debt by $10 billion.

According to OHCA, the plan would add some 175,000 to the Medicaid rolls while promising to shift a similar number to the flawed Obamacare private market in the future (though it's quite unlikely that portion of the plan will ever happen). Yet one study suggests that half or more of those targeted for expansion are already covered by job-related health insurance.

As the Congressional Budget Office noted, this creates an incentive not to work. The 175,000 targeted by OHCA are able-bodied adults. The proposal would increase from 27 percent to 33 percent the number of Oklahomans dependent on health care entitlements in addition to Medicare.

A core element of the OHCA proposal is qualifying for Obamacare funds that would require gutting the Insure Oklahoma program by removing enrollment caps, work requirements and accountable cost sharing. This plan would simply force more Oklahomans onto the welfare rolls. Can anyone sensibly suggest that our strapped state or federal budget can afford another vast entitlement program?

Nor can OHCA provide reliable cost estimates. The numbers keep increasing, meaning our liability is open-ended and guaranteed. Not one state using a similar plan has seen a reduction in costs to the state. All have increased.

In fact the OHCA proposal is similar to an unfunded pension liability, except that the cost will have to be funded each year. Oklahoma has finally taken steps to address that pension budget hole; the state can't afford to open the spigot for yet another costly program.

Supporters argue this is not expanding Medicaid because participants would be insured by private carriers. That's somewhat disingenuous because the funding mechanism — and more important, the financial responsibility — will be that of state and federal taxpayers.

Oklahoma rejected the Obamacare exchange grant, saving the state hundreds of millions of dollars in state-based exchange cost overruns being experienced by other states. Now we're being urged to accept funds from the federal government along with their requirements to run a health care program, according to their rules.

Gov. Mary Fallin had it exactly right in her 2014 State of the State address: “We cannot plunge this nation further into debt, or place Oklahoma on a fiscally unsound path, by expanding Medicaid. Both the president's plan and alternative proposals that rely on federal dollars in the Affordable Care Act amount to the same thing: a dramatic growth in unsustainable government spending.”

Coburn, a former Republican U.S. senator from Muskogee, has served thousands of Medicaid patients as a medical doctor. Parman, an attorney, has served as secretary of state for Oklahoma and secretary of commerce.

Music Monday: Overture from 'Carmen'

This week's Music Monday is the Overture from the opera Carmen, by French composer Georges Bizet.


Click to go below the page break to see all previous Music Monday posts. Do you have a song you'd like to submit for a future Music Monday? Email me at JamisonFaught@MuskogeePolitico.com.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

2010 CD2 GOP nominee Thompson endorses Jarrin Jackson

Dr. Charles Thompson Endorses Jarrin Jackson for U.S. Congress, OK-District 2
Says Jackson will lead the next generation of conservatives

May 11, 2016 (Broken Arrow, OK) - The 2010 Republican nominee for Oklahoma's 2nd Congressional District, Dr. Charles Thompson announced his endorsement of Republican Jarrin Jackson today. Jackson is challenging incumbent congressman Markwayne Mullin in Oklahoma's second district.

“As a retired Army Major, I can tell you Jarrin's West Point education and his leadership in battle put him in a class the incumbent can't even imagine. His two Bronze Stars prove the strength of his character under fire and as a native Oklahoma he knows and lives our values.”

“Beyond his military service, Jarrin has a grasp of conservative thought that goes beyond his years. He gets it. He understands why limiting government is a good thing and why the Constitution should be the starting point for all political ideas.”

He said, “I've heard Jarrin's ideas about improving healthcare for our veterans, exercising the power of the purse, and replacing our tax code, for example. He articulates solid, conservative principles with ease. Jarrin has the intellect, leadership, and absolute conviction of our Constitution to make him the only choice to represent us in Congress.”

He said, “Jarrin is also the father of two young boys, On both his deployments to Afghanistan, he and his wife Katie learned firsthand what service to our country means; personal sacrifice and keeping faith. Our children are growing up free today because of him and others like him who serve and have served with the same selfless attitude. Not only do I recommend Jarrin to the voters of District 2, I also encourage each of you to work toward his election as you did mine. Thank you and God Bless our Great Country.”

For more information on Jarrin Jackson and his principled stands for Oklahoma and our country, please visit his campaign website: jarrinjackson.com, and Facebook at jarrinjackson1.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

OKGOP State Convention information

From OKGOP Chair Pam Pollard:

We're just a few days away from the 2016 Oklahoma Republican Convention, and time is running out to register and get your Gala tickets, all of which can be done by clicking here.

We'll have some exciting convention events including the following:

Friday (at the Skirvin)
Delegate check-in – 1:00pm-7:00pm
Breakout #1 – 1:30-2:30pm (Choose one)
     -Data! Data! Data! Real World Instructions for GOP Data Center
     -Conservative Politics and Education Policy
Breakout #2 – 2:30-3:30pm (Choose one)
     -Media and Messaging
     -Local Party Fundraising
State Committee Meeting – 4:00pm
Reception/Photo Op with Carly Fiorina – 6:00PM ($100 )
Gala with Carly Fiorina – 7:00PM (Dinner only: $150, Couples $275)

Saturday (at Moore First Baptist) 
Delegate check-in – 7:00am-9:00am (delegates not in line by 9am will not be credentialed)
Prayer Breakfast – 7:30AM: Dr. Tom Vineyard, Pastor, Windsor Hills Baptist Church will lead the Prayer Breakfast celebrating the 68th anniversary of Israel's statehood.
Convention Begins – 9:00AM
Buffet BBQ lunch – 12:30PM: Grammy Award winning singer, Jody Miller
Convention Adjourns – 5:00PM

For full details on the convention agenda, click here. Also you'll find more information about the Friday night Gala Dinner with Carly Fiorina and the Convention details the following day by clicking here.

Additionally, you will find links below for essential information regarding the proceedings at the convention.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

OCPA and FGA: Medicaid "rebalancing" bad for Oklahoma

'Rebalancing' proposal is wrong plan for Oklahoma
by Jonathan Small and Jonathan Ingram

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority has proposed to “rebalance” our state Medicaid system, supposedly to better serve the poor. Unfortunately, a closer look at the plan reveals that it's just another attempt to backdoor an unaffordable Medicaid expansion.

OHCA has provided few specifics about its plan, but we do know the basics. First, “rebalancing” would create a new health insurance entitlement for up to 628,000 able-bodied adults. OHCA says that only 175,000 would be added to the rolls, but in states that have already undergone “rebalancing,” actual new enrollment surpasses projections by an average of 91 percent. In fact, OHCA's own consultants have estimated as many as 628,000 able-bodied adults would be eligible under this plan.

A study by the Lewin Group, a prestigious health policy consulting firm, found that more than half of those new Medicaid clients under the “rebalancing” plan are already covered by private insurance plans, most of them job-related. They aren't uninsured at all.

Worse still, Oklahoma's Medicaid program already has a lengthy waiting list for truly needy children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities who have been waiting — for a decade in some cases — to receive Medicaid services. So this “rebalancing” would shift hundreds of thousands of already insured Oklahomans onto Medicaid while telling the most vulnerable to step aside.

OHCA also proposes to deliver Medicaid services to these new enrollees through commercial health plans, which is doublespeak for implementing the Affordable Care Act expansion that our policymakers have already rejected. Other states that have followed this path found that shifting Medicaid patients to the exchange cost almost twice as much as simply broadening Medicaid.

OHCA suggests a trade-off: shifting some 175,000 higher-income pregnant women and children off Medicaid and onto the exchange three years from now. But recall that all but one exchange health care provider have already pulled out of Oklahoma due to prohibitive losses. Who will underwrite this new coverage?

OHCA has an answer: You will. The proposal is vague, as all plans for tax increases tend to be, but the agency has hinted at a combination of higher tobacco taxes and taxes on health care providers, which would inevitably be passed along to patients. This new revenue would be used to increase Medicaid provider rates, which already rank the 13th highest in the country.

To hear OHCA talk, one would think the state denies health care to hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans. Yet Medicaid has already grown exponentially through the years. Twenty years ago, our state paid $315 million for Medicaid. In 2015, state taxpayers paid $2 billion to fund a program that now serves more than one out of every four Oklahomans.

In order to protect core services, and more importantly our state's most vulnerable, lawmakers should heed Gov. Mary Fallin's warning in 2014. “Both the president's (Medicaid expansion) plan and alternative proposals that rely on federal dollars in the Affordable Care Act amount to the same thing: a dramatic growth in unsustainable government spending.”

Small is president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs. Ingram is vice president of research at the Foundation for Government Accountability.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

OCPAC Endorses Jarrin Jackson for Congress

OCPAC Endorses Jarrin Jackson for U.S. Congress, OK-District 2
Spokesman says current Congressman Mullin has not kept his word

May 4, 2016 (Oklahoma City, OK) -- The Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee (OCPAC) announced its endorsement of Republican Jarrin Jackson for Congress, who is challenging incumbent Congressman Markwayne Mullin for Oklahoma’s second district. The group voted overwhelmingly in support of the decorated combat veteran, with several citing disappointment in Mullin’s vote record of growing government and increasing the national debt to unprecedented levels.

“Jarrin is a Jim Bridenstine grassroots conservative who will defend the Constitution. He won’t disappoint conservatives in District Two who are still wondering why Mullin voted for the Omnibus – a $19 trillion dollar debt disgrace,” former President of OCPAC, Charlie Meadows, said after the group interviewed Jackson.

He said, “Jarrin is a combat veteran. He knows what it means to serve others and defend our Constitution. America is starved for leadership, and his record of service shows that he is willing to sacrifice his comfort for our nation’s success. He has already proven that he will keep his word and do what he says. District Two will be well-served to elect Jarrin Jackson as a true representative of our state’s conservative, constitutional values.”

Jackson used Mullin’s record to justify his candidacy. “Markwayne Mullin consistently votes to grow government. From the Omnibus to education to Amtrak to the Ex-Im Bank, Mullin has a record of spending other people’s money to make government bigger,” said Jackson.

Jarrin Jackson, a graduate of West Point and former Army Ranger, earned 2 bronze stars in service during two combat tours in Afghanistan. A 5th generation Oklahoman from Oologah, he and his physician wife Katie raise their two boys, Lloyd and Dale, in Claremore, Oklahoma.

For more information on Jarrin Jackson and his principled stands for Oklahoma and our country, please visit his campaign website: jarrinjackson.com, and Facebook at jarrinjackson1.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Music Monday: My God Is a Rock

This week's Music Monday is My God Is a Rock, sung by The Master's Chorale from the Master's College in Santa Clarita, California.


Click here to see previous Music Monday posts. Do you have a song you'd like to submit for a future Music Monday? Email me at JamisonFaught@MuskogeePolitico.com.

Map: voter affiliation changes in March

When I asked the state election board for information on Libertarian Party registration (see my post this morning), I also asked to if they tracked how many voters switched from one party to another. They were kind enough to send me that as well, so I put that data into the graphic below:

(click image to view larger)

This was interesting to see, so in the future I'll probably try to get data that covers an entire year.

Things to note:

  • Contrary to popular belief, far more Independents switched to Republican than Republicans switched to Independent
  • Relatively few Republicans switched parties (2,342 Republicans compared to 8,882 Democrats and 4,939 Independents)
  • Former Republicans comprise about 48.25% (314) of all registered Libertarians (651 total)
  • One voter made at least two registration changes during the last 8 days of March: something/unregistered to Libertarian to Republican. Talk about busy!
  • One voter switched from Americans Elect to the GOP (AE is a recognized "political organization" as opposed to a "political party"; why there's a distinction beats me. 12 Oklahomans are registered under Americans Elect, with 5 of them here in Muskogee County).

Map: Oklahoma Libertarian Party registration by county

With the re-birth of the Oklahoma Libertarian Party, I've worked up a new voter registration map.

(click to view larger)

After the Oklahoma Libertarian Party was officially recognized on March 21st and before the March 31st voter registration cutoff for the June primary, Libertarian voters registered in 55 of Oklahoma's 77 counties. There are now 651 OLP members, or 0.033% of all registered voters in Oklahoma.

The above map illustrates the raw total of registered Libertarians by county. Ironically, Oklahoma County has the highest raw total with 183, but is 5th in percentage (0.48%), while Cherokee County has the highest percentage (0.84%), but is 5th in raw total (19).

OK House GOP picking Speaker-Designate today

The Oklahoma House Republican caucus meets today to elect the Speaker-designate for the 2017-2018 legislative term. The leading candidates are Earl Sears of Bartlesville and Charles McCall of Atoka.

Sears, aged 63, is finishing his fifth term and was first elected in 2006. He is currently the Chairman of the Appropriations & Budget Committee. Sears is a retired educator.

McCall, aged 46, is finishing his second term as a legislator, having first been elected in 2012. McCall was mayor of Atoka from 2005 until his election to the state house. He is also the CEO of AmeriState Bank in Atoka.