Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Senate passes bill to create Legislative Office of Fiscal Transparency

Senate approves LOFT bill
Office would provide data to lawmakers, public on agency budgets and performance

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Senate on Tuesday gave approval to legislation creating the Legislative Office of Fiscal Transparency (LOFT), an office that would provide independent data to lawmakers and the public on state agency budgets and program performance.

The highlights of Senate Bill 1:

  • LOFT will conduct performance evaluations of agencies, programs, or specific divisions;
  • LOFT would have open access to all agency data and budgets;
  • LOFT would be overseen by a bipartisan committee of Senate and House members;
  • LOFT would have a nonpartisan, independent staff of highly educated professionals;
  • LOFT reports would be available to the public.

“More transparency in agency spending and program performance will increase and enhance accountability of how tax dollars are used. LOFT will increase transparency by providing lawmakers and the public with independent data on agency budgets and program performance,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma and author of SB 1.

“For too long, lawmakers have been dependent on agencies or those who benefit from state spending for spending and program performance data. That’s not the best system of accountability. The people of Oklahoma deserve and expect that their tax dollars will be used in the best and most efficient manner. LOFT will be a watchdog for the public and policy makers by providing better information to track and evaluate how tax dollars are spent.”

The Fiscal Year 2020 budget includes $1.7 million in funding for LOFT. SB 1 goes to the House for consideration, and if approved, would go to the governor’s desk.

Senate passes $8.1B state budget


Senate approves state budget
Budget includes huge investment in classrooms, teacher & state employee pay raises, and criminal justice reform funding

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Senate on Tuesday gave final approval to the state budget, which includes huge investments in public school classrooms, a teacher and state employee pay raise, as well as significant investments in criminal justice reforms all while saving $200 million.

The Fiscal Year 2020 budget bill, House Bill 2765, passed on a 37-11 vote.

“This is a tremendous budget for Oklahoma because it makes huge investments in our classrooms, gives teachers and state employees another significant pay raise, puts money toward criminal justice reforms, and saves $200 million to help in the event of an economic downturn in the future,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City. “Senate Republicans kept our commitment to invest in education by appropriating $74.4 million for our classrooms. We also addressed our priority to fund criminal justice reforms. The budget also shows fiscal restraint because we’re putting away $200 million in savings, bringing the state’s total amount of savings to $1 billion. I want to thank Senator Roger Thompson, the Senate appropriations chairman, for his hard work, skill, and leadership in crafting this budget deal. I also want to commend the senators who chaired Senate appropriations subcommittee for sharpening their pencils and helping put together a great budget.”

The budget now goes to Governor Kevin Stitt’s desk for consideration.

“Tough choices by the Legislature in recent years put our state in a much better financial position, and because of those decisions we had nearly $600 million in new funding to appropriate. This budget makes great use of those dollars by making a $157.9 million investment in public schools, which includes $74.4 million into our classrooms so local schools can hire more teachers to lower class sizes or purchase classroom supplies. Overall, this is a great budget that makes significant investments in critical services while saving $200 million to help when the inevitable economic downturn hits in the future. I want to thank the Senate appropriations subcommittee chairs who did a tremendous job in delving into the numbers to help us come up with a great budget deal,” said Senator Roger Thompson, R-Okemah.

Among the highlights of the FY’2020 budget include:

  • $200 million in savings to help Oklahoma weather a financial crisis; Oklahoma’s total savings at the end of this year will be $1 billion
  • EDUCATION
    • $157.9 million for common education:
    • $1,220 teacher pay raise on average, second-consecutive year for a teacher pay raise.
    • $5.5 million for the Reading Sufficiency Act.
    • An additional $74.4 million for classroom funding for schools to hire additional teachers to lower class sizes, hire counselors or other support staff, or purchase classroom supplies.
    • $18 million for the CareerTech system for pay raises and course additions.
    • $28 million for higher education to bolster research programs and provide a professor pay raise.
    • $7.5 million for concurrent enrollment
  • GOVERNMENT MODERNIZATION
    • $37.7 million for a state employee pay raise of up to $1,400, the second-consecutive year for a state employee pay raise. 
    • $1.7 million for the creation of the Legislative Office of Fiscal Transparency (LOFT)
    • $16.4 million for digital transformation of state government services to enhance transparency and to improve customer service.
    • $700,000 to hire more auditors for the State Auditor’s Office to conduct more audits of state agencies.
  • CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORMS
    • $20.1 million to reform the funding of District Attorney offices.
    • $10 million for “Smart on Crime” programs through the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.
    • $1.5 million for the Women in Recovery diversion program.
    • $1.7 million to expand drug courts options for nonviolent offenders.
  • HEALTH CARE
    • $62.8 million for Graduate Medical Education program to support physician training.
    • $105 million reallocation to increase provider rates for physicians, hospitals and nursing homes.
    • $29 million saved to a new preservation fund to preserve Medicaid provider rates when the federal government’s 3-year rolling average results in a rate decline.
    • $2 million to decrease Developmental Disability Services (DDSD) wait list.
    • $8 million to increase DDSD provider reimbursement rates by 4 percent.
    • $4.6 million to increase immunizations and staff county health departments throughout the state.
  • RURAL OKLAHOMA
    • $500,000 to fund a public-private partnership to maintain clean water in Northeast Oklahoma and areas with high poultry density.
    • $1.1 million for wildfire mitigation and additional resources for rural fire fighters.
    • $1.5 million to improve rural flood control dams.

Senate passes bill on public school instruction time


Senate advances bill calling for increased classroom time for students

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Senate on Monday passed a bill that provides increased classroom time for students beginning with the 2021-2022 school year.

Senate Bill 441 was one of four agenda items of Senate Republicans for the 2019 session. The bill passed the Senate on Monday by a 30-16 vote.

“More instructional time is a critical element in the formula of student success. That’s why Senate Republicans made this piece of legislation one of our four agenda items for this year’s session. When we look at education policy, everything we do should put the focus on the student. Senate Bill 441 puts student achievement squarely in focus by getting them more time in the classroom with a quality, professional educator,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City.

Senator Marty Quinn, R-Claremore, is the author of the bill.

“Everyone can agree that it’s beneficial for a student to spend more time in the classroom learning from a quality teacher. More time in the classroom should help improve student outcomes and potentially reduce the rates of college remedial enrollment. It’s also important to preserve the right of local school districts to make decisions that are best to meet their needs. Senate Bill 441 is a great piece of legislation that puts the focus on the students and lets local schools make the ultimate decision on their school calendar. This bill has been the culmination of a lot of hard work by members of the Senate and I appreciate those senators who supported this bill,” Quinn said.

The bill now goes to the House. If the House approves SB 441, the bill would go to the governor’s desk for consideration.

Key parts of SB 441:

  • For the 2019-2020 and the 2020-2021 school year, there would be no change to existing law so school districts can choose to pursue 180 days of instruction or 1,080 hours of instruction with no restrictions.
  • Beginning in 2021-2022 school year school districts will have three options:
  • 165 days of classroom time
  • 1,080 hours with a minimum of 165 days of classroom time
  • 1,080 hours with no minimum of days of classroom time if districts are able to meet the minimum guidelines for school performance and cost savings.
  • The Oklahoma State Department of Education will promulgate rules on minimum guidelines focusing on student achievement and fiscal savings to receive an exemption.
  • The Oklahoma Legislature would have to approve the State Department of Education exemption rules.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Music Monday: Lonesome Road

This week's Music Monday is Lonesome Road, a 1920's folk song sung here on the Andy Griffith Show by actor Jack Prince as the character 'Rafe Hollister' (episode Rafe Hollister Sings, which aired tonight on MeTV).

Enjoy!


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.

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

Stitt issues executive order creating criminal justice reform task force


GOVERNOR STITT ISSUES EXECUTIVE ORDER TO CREATE THE RESTORE TASK FORCE TO PREPARE CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM PROPOSALS FOR 2020

Oklahoma City, Okla. (May 20, 2019) – Governor Kevin Stitt today issued Executive Order 2019-22 to form the Criminal Justice Reentry, Supervision, Treatment and Opportunity Reform (RESTORE) Task Force.

“This task force will bring together all stakeholders to discuss the criminal code, diversion programs, victims’ rights, and our prison system. When Oklahoma comes together as one team, we can create bold change that will offer our fellow citizens a second chance while also keeping our communities and streets safe,” said Governor Kevin Stitt. “We are making great progress this Legislative session on criminal justice reform, from investing in drug courts and diversion programs to stabilizing District Attorneys' funding sources by ending their dependency on fines, fees and court costs. My administration remains committed to changing our state’s number one incarceration ranking, which is why I created the RESTORE Task Force to begin preparing reform recommendations for 2020.”

The RESTORE Task Force will submit by December 6 criminal justice reform recommendations for consideration during the 2020 Legislative session.  The Executive Order specifically calls for the task force to look at how to reduce Oklahoma’s incarceration rate, reduce the recidivism rate, and enhance and establish diversion programs.  The Task Force will work in collaboration with the Criminal Justice Reclassification Coordination Council currently preparing a report to modernize and classify the criminal code, which will set the stage for additional sentencing reform and bail bond reform.

The 15-person Task Force will be led by the Governor’s Secretary of Public Safety and include the Attorney General and a designee made by the Speaker of the House and the President Pro Temp of the Senate.

EO 2019-22 can be read by clicking here: https://www.sos.ok.gov/documents/executive/1874.pdf

OCPA column: There’s good reason for Oklahomans to like the Electoral College


There’s good reason for Oklahomans to like the Electoral College
by Jonathan Small

If you think the problem with presidential elections is that too much importance is put on the opinions of people in places like Oklahoma, and not enough weight placed on the views of people in San Francisco, then liberal activists have a deal for you: the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPV).

Under the Electoral College established in the U.S. Constitution to determine the winner of presidential elections, each state has as many electoral votes as it has senators and representatives. The Constitution allows state legislatures to figure out how to select the electors who cast electoral votes. In Oklahoma and 47 other states, electors are chosen by statewide elections. In Maine and Nebraska, one is elected from each house district and the remaining two are elected statewide.

Under this system, if you run up margins in a handful of high-population states, but fare much worse across the rest of the country, you can “win” more raw votes nationwide but lose the Electoral College.

That’s what happened to Hillary Clinton. She received an outright majority in just 13 states, yet received nearly 2.9 million more votes nationally than did Donald Trump while losing the Electoral College. But Clinton won California by 4.2 million votes, which accounts for the entirety of her popular vote “win.”

Should doing well in one very liberal state negate the votes of citizens everywhere else? Some liberal activists think so and are pushing the NPV compact, which would require states to give their electoral votes to whoever receives the most votes nationally, regardless of state election results. Thus, the plan would nullify the Electoral College without changing the Constitution.

The Electoral College protects Middle America by containing elections at the state level and promoting geographic balance. And there are many problems with the NPV. Eliminating or nullifying the Electoral College would encourage splinter parties and spoiler candidates. It would reward states for having weak election laws, and create new opportunities for big-city vote fraud to influence presidential elections. (In 2017, the Election Integrity Project of Judicial Watch analyzed U.S. Census Bureau data. The results indicated 462 counties nationwide had voter registration rates that exceeded 100 percent of the adult population.) Most important for Oklahomans, it would shift political power toward the biggest cities and the population-dense coasts.

We can be thankful the U.S. Constitution sets a higher bar to win the presidency than just a raw vote plurality. The danger of regional politics and the benefits of decentralized elections are both real. The Framers of the Constitution designed a system that makes it hard for a party to win the White House based on support from just one region.

In other words, when Hillary Clinton lost, the system worked, and Oklahomans have good reason to defend it.

Jonathan Small serves as president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (www.ocpathink.org).

Friday, May 17, 2019

Drama: Walkingstick thrown out by Cherokee Nation Election Commission

Drama continues to build in the wild Cherokee Principle Chief election:


DAVID WALKINGSTICK STATEMENT FOLLOWING ELECTION COMMISSION DECISION TO DISQUALIFY CANDIDACY

Friday evening, the Cherokee Nation Election Commission voted to disqualify David Walkingstick as a candidate for Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation as a result of a complaint filed by an employee of the Chuck Hoskin Jr. campaign. The complaint alleged that the actions of an independent expenditure supporting David Walkingstick were a violation of Cherokee Nation election law. Following their decision, the Walkingstick campaign released the following statement:

"Although we are proud Cherokee citizens, we are also United States citizens with a guaranteed right to free speech protected by the U.S. Constitution. The Cherokee Nation Election Commission's ruling to remove David Walkingstick shows either a total disregard or misunderstanding of what our First Amendment protects.

The United States Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United v. FEC that U.S. citizens cannot be denied the right to raise and spend money to influence an election for a candidate. The Election Commission's disqualification of Walkingstick from the Principal Chief election is in direct conflict with this ruling that remains the law of the land. The Walkingstick campaign did not coordinate with or accept contributions from Cherokees for Change LLC, and the Election Commission has no legal right to remove a candidate from the ballot as the result of another United States citizen exercising their First Amendment right to free speech.

We fully intend to take the necessary steps to right this egregious wrong and ensure that our Cherokee citizens’ right to vote is protected on June 1st and beyond."

House Dems Education Caucus decries removal of April 1 funding deadline

House Dem Ed Caucus Members Sounds Off on Removal of April 1 Deadline

OKLAHOMA CITY – Members of the Oklahoma House Democratic  Education Caucus released the following statements in response to the House voting 72 to 20 to remove the April 1 public education funding deadline.

“Noncompliance is not a good reason to repeal a state statute,” said Rep. Kelly Albright (D-Midwest City). “This legislation feels like an attack on education advocates that continue to fight for proper education funding.”

“Oklahoma’s Legislature has one constitutional mandate: to pass a balanced budget,” said Rep. Andy Fugate (D-OKC). “That should always be our top priority ahead of ALL other business. That’s our job and our responsibility to the people of Oklahoma. If we made this Constitutional obligation a priority like we should, meeting this deadline wouldn’t be impossible, it would be easy.”

“I just voted against a measure on the floor to repeal the statutory requirement to approve an education budget by April 1 of each year,” said Rep. Melissa Provenzano (D-Tulsa). “School districts could plan better for the coming year if they knew their budget by the April 1 deadline. The requirement has only been met twice since inception. It’s possible and it’s not too much to ask. This is an optics issue, plain and simple. Nobody likes to look bad when they can’t get their job done on time. Is that the best reason to repeal this law?  We don’t think so.”

“I find it troubling that the powers that be can simply change a statute just because they don’t want to follow a statute,” said Rep. Jacob Rosecrants (D-Norman). “Providing a fully funded budget for our schools by April 1st shows that we indeed do prioritize our schools. Taking it away is a step back, not a step forward. Funding education should always be our number one priority.”

“The April 1 deadline was put in place to help Oklahoma administrators have the ability to plan ahead,” said Rep. John Waldron (D-Tulsa). “We should be striving to meet this goal every year not working to get rid of it. Our education professionals desperately need stability and consistency from the Legislature, and I am afraid that removing this deadline is a step away from both.”

House passes $8.1B State Budget



House Passes $8.1 Billion State Budget

Budget Puts $230 Million into Savings, New Money into Classrooms, Teacher Pay Raises and Healthcare

OKLAHOMA CITY – The House of Representatives passed the Fiscal Year-2020 general appropriations bill today, approving an $8.1 billion state budget that includes historic savings, pay raises for teachers and state employees and builds upon the historic investment made in common education by the Legislature last year.

The budget is a $633 million increase – or 7.8 percent – over the FY-2019 appropriated budget. The Legislature provided an additional $157.7 million for common education, which comes just one year after providing $480 million in new funding for public schools. The Legislature has now increased funding for public schools 26.25 percent during the last two years. The $157.7 million in new funding includes an average $1,220 teacher pay raise and $74 million for classrooms and increases to flex benefits.

The budget also includes $230 million in savings, with $29 million of that set aside in an FMAP Preservation fund to be available for future reductions in Oklahoma’s Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (FMAP) rate, a formula used by the federal government to determine each state’s match rate for Medicaid. Those rates fluctuate based upon each state’s per capita income levels. The remaining $201 million will stay in the state’s General Revenue Fund to be saved for future economic downturns. Combined with expected deposits in the state’s Rainy Day Fund, Oklahoma will have close to $1.2 billion in savings by the end of June.

The Legislature provided $37.7 million to give state employees a pay raise for the second consecutive year and an additional $3.3 million to higher education to fully fund concurrent enrollment options, which allows seniors the opportunity to earn college credit while still in high school. The Fiscal Year 2019 budget included $7.5 million for concurrent enrollment, meaning the Legislature has increased funding for the program by $10.8 million since last year, bringing the program’s annual budget up to $11.7 million. Higher education also received a total increase of $28 million for the second consecutive year over the previous year’s appropriation, giving them more than $56 million in new funding during the last two years.

Lawmakers provided $2 million to decrease the wait lists for the Developmental Disability Services (DDSD) wait list and $8 million to increase provider reimbursement rates by 4 percent for doctors to care for those DDSD patients. The budget also provides funding to increase Medicaid provider reimbursement rates by 5 percent for doctors and healthcare facilities and funding to create an incentive reimbursement program for nursing homes that would improve health outcomes and quality of life for patients.

The State Auditor’s Office received a $700,000 increase to hire new auditors, and lawmakers approved $1.7 million to create a legislative-level budget office to give the House and Senate more resources to review agency budgets and analyze programs and services.

The budget also fully funds the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s 8-Year Construction Work Plan to maintain and build new roads and bridges and provides an additional $30 million for the County Improvements for Roads and Bridges (CIRB) Program on top of their annual $120 million budget.

Lawmakers also provided a $3 million increase to the Rural Economic Action Plan (REAP) for economic development in rural communities, a $1 million increase for county extension offices and $19 million for the governor’s Quick Action Closing Fund, which helps attract new businesses to Oklahoma.

“House Republicans had several priorities at the start of the 2019 legislative session that we based on conversations we had with voters on the doorsteps during the summer,” said House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka. “Those priorities included another teacher pay raise on top of the historic pay raise we provided last session, more money for the classroom on top of the large investment we made to public education last session, reestablishing our county infrastructure investment plan, more resources devoted toward rooting out waste and inefficiencies in government spending and increasing our savings to be better prepared for future economic downturns. We have accomplished all of those goals with this budget agreement.

“We believe increasing teacher pay directly addresses the teacher shortage by incentivizing new teachers into the classroom and keeping the veteran teachers we already have, and we think the nearly 1,200 new teachers we have hired since the previous pay raise reinforces that belief. We have provided nearly $640 million in new funding and increased the total common education budget by more than 26 percent during the last two years. We also prioritized funding for nursing homes, state employees and corrections officers and concurrent enrollment programs for high school seniors. This budget is an investment in Oklahoma, and I am very grateful for my colleagues in the House for getting this bill across the finish line.”

“I said last year to ‘not let the perfect be the enemy of the good,’ but this year I said to ‘not let the perfect be the enemy of the great’,” said House Appropriations and Budget Chairman Kevin Wallace, R-Wellston. “The Fiscal Year 2019 budget was the best budget that I had seen since I arrived in the House, and I believe the Fiscal Year 2020 budget is substantially better. This is a great budget, and it has a little bit of everything, including new funding to meet the needs of our most vital government agencies and a historic savings of surplus funds that will put future Legislatures in a much better financial position than we arrived in.”

House Bill 2765 passed out of the House by a vote of 76-23 and now heads to the Senate for consideration.

Missing In Action: the Oklahoma Legislature and the fight for Life


Legislation on abortion has topped the national news this year. Blue states like New York and Vermont have swung heavily toward expanding infanticide (even to infants post-birth, as voiced by Virginia's governor), while some red states are changing tactics to more intense assaults on Roe v. Wade.

In the last two months, seven states have passed legislation that would dramatically restrict abortion. In recent weeks, movement on these pro-life bills has accelerated.

  • May 15th - Alabama: near-total abortion ban signed by Governor
  • May 15th - Louisiana: heartbeat bill (6-week) authored by Democrat passes House, Democrat Governor indicated he will sign if passed.
  • May 15th - Missouri: heartbeat (8-week) and trigger bill passed Senate. Final House vote expected tomorrow.
  • May 7th - Georgia: heartbeat (6-week) bill signed by Governor.
  • April 11th - Ohio: heartbeat (6-week) bill signed by Governor.
  • March 21st - Mississippi: heartbeat (6-week) bill signed by Governor.
  • March 15th - Kentucky: heartbeat (6-week) bill signed by Governor.

Where is Oklahoma in this fight?

We have a Governor on the record pledging to sign any pro-life bill sent to his desk. We have a supermajority of legislators in both houses who claim to be pro-life.

And yet, where is the fruit? The pieces are present, but why haven't they been assembled?

When it comes to significantly advancing the rights of the preborn this year, the Oklahoma Legislature is MIA - Missing In Action.

Rose Day after Rose Day, Oklahoma legislators line up for a group photo, proclaiming their allegiance to the pro-life cause, and touting their dedication (and their 100% rating) to defending Life. Yet, behind the scenes, many in leadership kowtow to corporate and media interests who despise the pro-life cause and claim that such policies would bring economic disaster to Oklahoma.

Earlier this year, a bill was filed to take a lead among the states and abolish abortion in Oklahoma. Senate President Greg Treat and Senate Health Committee Chairman Jason Smalley refused to allow the measure to even get a discussion in committee. Citing quibbles with the wording, they rejected allowing the bill to go through the legislative process whereby differences in legislation are worked out.

Then, to some fanfare, Sen. Treat revealed the "new strategy", his answer to Silk's SB13 that was not going to be allowed to be heard. The new bill, an effort to appease pro-lifers upset by the shelving of SB13, was a "trigger bill", which would only go into effect if Roe v. Wade gets overturned or Congress passes a constitutional amendment returning abortion law to the states.

But wait! There's more!

When Treat's bill hit the Senate floor, he changed it again (this time without the proclamations that accompanied the initial unveiling). Now, his SB195 sends to a vote of the people a constitutional amendment to "clarif[y that] no provision of the [Oklahoma] Constitution secures or protects a right to perform or receive an abortion". Since passing the Senate, that measure has received no action in the House, no public promptings for passage by the authoring Senate President, no attention whatsoever.

This year, legislative leadership has absolutely zero priority for advancing action on behalf of the preborn. However, they did find it important enough to pass a bill designating the ribeye as the state steak. It's a sad day when a steak takes precedence over preventing the death of thousands of babies every year. 

Oklahoma had a chance to lead the nation in advocating for Life this year. Pro-life Republicans control the House of Representatives, the Senate, and a pro-life Republican sits in the office of Governor. Even after SB13 was shelved, it was still possible for another measure of import to be proposed and advanced. If it was truly a priority for legislative leadership, they could have made it happen. Instead, pro-lifers and the pro-life cause are an afterthought, only considered when an election is on the line.

While states like Alabama, Georgia, and Missouri take the forefront in the battle for the preborn, Oklahoma's place in the ranks is empty. The lack of significant action speaks to the lack of priority.

The Oklahoma Legislature is Missing In Action in the fight for Life in 2019.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Stitt signs bill to grant American Legion tax-exempt status

Governor Signs Bill to Grant American Legion Tax-Exempt Status

OKLAHOMA CITY – Gov. Kevin Stitt on Monday [May 6th] signed a bill that will exempt the American Legion Department of Oklahoma from sales tax.

House Majority Leader Mike Sanders, R-Kingfisher, and Sen. Roger Thompson, R-Okemah, are authors of House Bill 1003. The measure previously passed unanimously in the House and Senate.

“The American Legion is our state’s largest veterans’ organization, serving in Oklahoma for 100 years,” Sanders said. “I want to thank them for all that they do on behalf of our veterans and their families as well as our youth. I’ve been working for many years to ensure the American Legion has the same tax-exempt status as other organizations with similar missions. I want to thank Senator Thompson for working to help secure passage of this bill and Governor Stitt for signing this legislation.”

Sanders made note of the American Legion’s many patriotic education programs and outreach ministries as well as their dedication to a mission of strong national security. He said he’s been working to secure passage of this tax exemption for many years, but the state’s down economy precluded such action until this year.

“I want to thank Governor Stitt and my fellow members for making this stand for Oklahoma veterans,” Thompson said. “When we say we honor and appreciate our veterans, it’s important to make sure that we’re backing up those words with actions. This modest tax benefit will help the American Legion throughout Oklahoma – an organization that continues to provide vital support and services to our veterans.”

The new law becomes effective July 1, 2019.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Stitt signs 'Fresh Start Act' to help non-violent offenders with employment


Gov. Signs Bill Making It Easier for Non-Violent Offenders to Find Higher Paying Jobs

OKLAHOMA CITY – Gov. Kevin Stitt signed into law today a bill that could help non-violent offenders with felony convictions find high-paying jobs.

House Bill 1373, by state Rep. Zack Taylor, known as “Fresh Start Act,” will allow people with felonies on their records the opportunity to still seek occupational licensing for certain professions as long as the crimes do not substantially relate to the practice of the occupation. Taylor said the bill accomplishes occupational licensure reform in conjunction with criminal justice reform.

“Our laws should encourage those non-violent offenders who have paid their debt to find work so they can be productive, provide for their families and reduce the likelihood of recidivism,” said Taylor, R-Seminole. “This bill gives those non-violent offenders hope that if they meet the qualifications for an occupational license they will have the opportunity to make a good wage and improve their lives and not be disqualified because of arbitrary language in the law.”

Current state law is vague when it comes to occupational licenses, requiring that applicants be “of good moral character or have not been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude.” House Bill 1373 requires the state entities charged with oversight of occupational licenses to explicitly list the specific criminal records that would disqualify an applicant, and the bill allows for denial of licensure only for a conviction of a crime that substantially relates to the practice of that occupation and poses a reasonable threat to public safety.

The bill becomes effective November 1.

House Dems, liberal think-tank oppose budget deal

In response to the new budget deal reached by Governor Stitt, House Speaker McCall, and Senate President Treat, the perpetually-aggrieved House Democrats lashed out in protest:


House Minority Leader Responds to Republican Budget Proposal

OKLAHOMA CITY – House Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman, released the following statement today in response to the Republican budget proposal announced by Gov. Kevin Stitt:

“This is what a budget looks like when you decide taxpayer money is better suited to sit in a bank than be invested back into state resources like our children, state employees, and middle and low wage earners. Our state agencies were brutally impacted by Republican cuts over the past decade. This budget fails to make these agencies, including the state department of education, whole.

The Republican budget will now be voted on and passed before lawmakers have a chance to go home, talk to their constituents and receive feedback from the people in their communities. I hope those constituents will ask “why?” After being in session since February, and being promised transparency from day one, why didn’t we allow constituents more time to provide feedback?

In contrast, House Democrats put out the “Brand New State” budget more than two weeks ago. We took transparency to the point of posting a line-by-line budget on www.brandnewstateok.com/budget.

House Democrats presented a budget that restores an Earned Income Tax Credit to more than 200,000 Oklahoma households. We have the only budget that expands Medicaid and increases healthcare coverage to hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans. Our budget is the only budget that invests $90 million into the state’s infrastructure. The “Brand New State” budget is the only budget that provides a $2500 pay raise to state employees so that their salaries are closer to those in the private sector. We have presented the only budget that ends the debtor prison that exists in our court system, and it is still the only budget that fully funds public education in Oklahoma.”



Oklahoma Policy Institute Executive Director David Blatt released the following statement on the budget deal announced today by state lawmakers:

Budget deal brings welcome progress but many missed opportunities

As a result of last year's revenue increases and a continuing strong economy, lawmakers had a historic opportunity to reverse a decade of cuts across core public services. This opportunity was only partly realized. In particular, increased state aid funding for schools, pay increases for correctional officers, and reduced law enforcement reliance on fines and fees will address some of the most dire funding needs for Oklahoma kids and public safety.

In other ways, this budget reflects misplaced priorities by lawmakers. Adding $200 million into the Rainy Day Fund, on top of the more than $400 million Rainy Day deposit already scheduled for the end of the year, is misguided while Oklahoma continues to leave so many urgent needs underfunded. Likewise, putting $19 million into a "Quick Action Closing Fund" with a poor track record and little accountability does not match lawmakers' promises of fiscal oversight and transparency.

Even with the state aid increase in this budget, Oklahoma's school funding formula will remain well below the per pupil funding levels of a decade ago. This budget plan does little to reverse Oklahoma's record cuts to higher education. It fails to restore the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for working Oklahoma families. For yet another year, the budget does nothing to provide cost-of-living relief for state retirees. It does not cover critical repair needs for the Department of Corrections and leaves indigent defense severely underfunded. It provides minimal help for mental health compared to the need and no new funds for many agencies that have been cut 20 to 40 percent in the past decade. At the same time, lawmakers have not addressed flaws in the new Revenue Stabilization Fund that could absorb every dollar of growth revenue next year.

Lawmakers still have time this session to restore the EITC, fix the Revenue Stabilization Fund, and make better use of this long-awaited budget growth. While any progress out of years of cuts is welcome, there are too many missed opportunities in this plan.

Gov. Stitt, legislative leadership agree to FY2020 budget deal


GOVERNOR KEVIN STITT ANNOUNCES FY 2020 BUDGET DEAL WITH HOUSE AND SENATE LEADERSHIP

 Oklahoma City, Okla. (May 15, 2019)- Governor Kevin Stitt, House Speaker Charles McCall, and Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat announced today the Fiscal Year 2020 budget deal. 

“This year’s budget is historic. Holding firm to my commitment of no new taxes, we will put away $200 million more in savings while also increasing the state’s investment in core services by more than five percent,” said Gov. Stitt. “For the first time in state history, we will increase Oklahoma’s savings account, in order to protect core services in the future, without the law forcing it. For the first time in state history, we will give Oklahoma teachers a pay raise for a second year in a row. For the first time in state history, we will fully fund the Reading Sufficiency Act while also putting an additional $74 million into the funding formula for local classroom needs. For the first time in state history, we will fully fund our roads and bridges, and we will also make the largest deposit into the Quick Action closing fund, helping Oklahoma compete for new jobs. We will move the needle in criminal justice reform by investing in drug courts and diversion programs, and we will reform District Attorneys’ funding model so they are not reliant on high fines, fees and court costs that have created a debtor’s prison. We will prioritize funding for oversight, transparency and audits as well as funding to modernize the delivery of state services, making it customer-focused and cost efficient. Congratulations to the Legislature and leadership for their hard work; I am committed to helping carry it across the finish line as the Legislature works to send this fiscally responsible budget to my desk for signature.”

“This is an amazing budget deal that makes huge investments in classroom funding, teacher pay, mental health, corrections and other critical areas all while holding back $200 million in savings,” said President Pro Temp Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City. “We can make investments in core services, while still showing fiscal restraint to prepare and save for tougher economic times. Working together, we’ve accomplished an incredible amount this session. When history looks back at this session and this budget deal, it will be recorded as one of the most significant in history. I appreciate the work of the Senate appropriations chair and subcommittee chairs for their tireless and diligent work to craft this incredible budget. I also thank Governor Stitt and Speaker McCall for their leadership and willingness to work with me to ensure all of our priorities were fulfilled in this budget. It’s a great day for Oklahoma and the investments we are making in this budget will help us achieve our goal of making Oklahoma an even better state!”

“This budget agreement moves Oklahoma forward by increasing funding for education, rural infrastructure, public safety and healthcare,” said Speaker McCall, R-Atoka. “We believe increasing teacher pay directly addresses the teacher shortage by incentivizing new teachers into the classroom and keeping the veteran teachers we already have. The Legislature has now increased the common education budget by more than 26 percent during the last two years. We are also prioritizing funding for county roads and bridges, nursing homes, concurrent enrollment programs for high school juniors and seniors and pay increases for corrections officers in our prisons and all other state employees. This budget is an investment in Oklahoma, and I am very grateful for my colleagues in the House, Senate leadership and Gov. Stitt for their hard work during budget negotiations.”

A copy of the budget deal can be found below:

Oklahoma Budget FY 2020
Highlights | May 15, 2019 

SAVINGS

  • $200 million in Oklahoma’s savings account, putting Oklahoma on the path to storing two months of expenses, more than $1 billion, to protect core services in difficult times.



EDUCATION: $203 million increase for public education across the spectrum

  • $157.7 million for common education:
    • On average $1,220 teacher pay raise. Compromise language has been agreed to that will require school districts on the funding formula, which is 97% of school teachers, to deliver an on average $1,220 pay raise. The compromise language will require school districts to report how those pay raises will be executed and sustained within districts, and the reports will be made available online for the public to view.
    • $5.5 million for the Reading Sufficiency Act, fully funding the third-grade reading initiative for the first time in state history;
  • An additional $74.3 million for local schools to use to hire additional teachers, counselors, social works or address their unique needs in their districts.
  • $18 million for career tech centers to increase compensation for employees and teachers
  • $28 million for higher education to bolster research programs and provide a salary increase for college teachers
  • Graduate Medical Education funding for of physician residency programs for Oklahoma’s teaching hospitals (see below in health care section)


AGRICULTURE AND RURAL OKLAHOMA

  • $500,000 to fund a public-private partnership to maintain clean water in Northeast Oklahoma and areas with high poultry density
  • $90,000 to hire an additional state veterinarian
  • $1.1 million for Wildfire mitigation funding and additional resources for rural fire fighters
  • $1.5 million to improve rural flood control dams


GOVERNMENT MODERNIZATION

  • $37.7 million for an additional state employee pay raise of up to $1,400. This builds upon the state employee pay raises given in FY’2019 of up to $2,000 per employee.
  • $15 million for digital transformation of state government services to enhance transparency and make customer service more efficient and effective
  • $1.7 million for the creation of the Legislative Office of Fiscal Transparency
  • $700,000 to hire more auditors and increase the State Auditor’s office capability to conduct more regular audits across state agencies


ROAD AND BRIDGES

  • Fully funding Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s 8-year plan
  • Restored $30 million in funding to CIRB supporting county roads


PUBLIC SAFETY

  • Funding prioritization for two new trooper academies, putting an estimated 80 more troopers on the roads in 2020.
  • $2 per hour pay increase for correctional officers, which is a 14% raise. This will bring correctional officer pay to the regional market average and in turn will bolster the Department’s recruitment effort to fill vacancies.
  • $1 million to reduce the backlog of untested rape kits


CRIMINAL JUSTICE

  • $20 million to reform the funding of District Attorney offices
  • $10 million for Smart on Crime programs through the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services
  • $1.5 million for the Women in Recovery diversion program
  • $1.7 million to address increasing demand for mental health services


JOBS / ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

  • $19 million for the Quick Action Closing Fund, prioritizing recruitment opportunities to grow Oklahoma
  • $1 million for additional job growth and economic development specifically in the automotive industry and in aerospace through the Department of Commerce’s Aerospace Commerce Economic Services (ACES) program
  • $1 million to assist new entrepreneurs and small business innovators through the Oklahoma Center for Advancement of Science and Technology
  • $5.3 million to modernize and expedite the Oklahoma Corporation Commissions’ permit processing for energy development


HEALTH CARE

  • $62.8 million for Graduate Medical Education program to support physician training for rural hospitals
  • $105 million reallocation to increase provider rates for physicians, hospitals and nursing homes
  • $29 million saved to a new preservation fund to preserve Medicaid provider rates when the federal government’s 3-year rolling average results in a rate decline.
  • $10 million to decrease the Developmental Disability Services wait list and increase provider rates
  • $4.6 million to increase immunizations and staff county health departments throughout the state

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Muskogee Election: Yes on Prop 1, No on Prop 2


Voters in Muskogee will be going to the polls today to vote on two propositions that would extend a half-penny sales tax for the next six years. The previous six-year sales tax was focused on meeting mandatory sewage system upgrades as ordered by the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality.

Proposition 1 is a 0.33% sales tax extension that would be dedicated to residential street maintenance and rehabilitation. These funds will be augmented by matching dollars from the City of Muskogee Foundation, bringing the annual street funding from the current $2M per year to approximately $6M per year.

I will be voting for Proposition 1.

Proposition 2 is a 0.17% sales tax extension that would be used for a wide gamut of recreational, beautification, public safety and economic development purposes.

The City is seeking to upgrade and maintain facilities like the River Country Water Park, Muskgoee Swim & Fitness, and the Love-Hatbox Complex & Hangars, plus other city-owned buildings, expand the city trails system, expand parking at the MLK Community Center, enhance the Roxy Theater. The smorgasbord of uses for this tax also includes money for the police and fire departments, as well as the 911 Center. It also would include funding "economic development" opportunities through the Port of Muskogee and the Muskogee-Davis Regional Airport.

I will be voting against Proposition 2. I feel that some of the projects listed should be handled by seeking community sponsorships (i.e. the Roxy Theater, even some of the parks projects), or utilizing existing infrastructure (Arrowhead Mall's largely empty parking lies across from the MLK Community Center). Prop 1 is important to fixing crumbling residential streets in Muskogee. Prop 2 is a shotgun blast of wish-list projects, but not vital needs.

For some other perspectives, the NAACP of Muskogee is calling on voters to reject both propositions, while Muskogee city councilor Marlon Coleman urges voters to pass both of them.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Music Monday: Mr. Mom

In honor of Mother's Day, this week's Music Monday is Mr. Mom by the country music band Lonestar. It spins a humorous tale about how we men often take our wives and mothers for granted.

Enjoy!



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.

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