Wednesday, July 31, 2019

McCall, Wallace comment on first meeting of LOFT Oversight Committee

STATEMENT: Speaker McCall on First Meeting of LOFT Oversight Committee

OKLAHOMA CITY – “When I was elected as Speaker back in 2016, it was clear the agency budget hearing process was not as efficient and transparent as it should be, and that lawmakers did not have enough time to fully vet budget requests or analyze how effectively agency programs were serving Oklahomans. Since that time, we have strived to make the entire budgeting process more efficient and accountable to the Legislature, which is charged with stewarding the taxpayer dollars we use to run government. LOFT is another important piece of that multifaceted approach – along with recent efforts to rebalance state boards and commissions and efforts to audit state agencies on an annual rolling basis – aimed at instilling accountability, transparency and efficiency into our government. Not only will LOFT track appropriated dollars and analyze agency programs, but it will also provide lawmakers information prior to agency budget request hearings that will allow us to make better informed decisions. I am very appreciative of Senate Pro Tempore Greg Treat and his willingness to address this issue in a way that will make our process much more productive.”

Wallace Comments on First LOFT Meeting

OKLAHOMA CITY – House Appropriations and Budget Chair State Rep. Kevin Wallace (R-Wellston) today commented on the first meeting of the Legislative Office of Fiscal Transparency (LOFT) Oversight Committee. Wallace was appointed co-chair of the committee by House Speaker Charles McCall. Sen. Roger Thompson, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, is also co-chair.

“We had a very productive first meeting,” Wallace said. “Now that we have all committee members in place, we were able to do a deep dive on the statute and our responsibilities as a committee. We were able to assign members to working groups and start to work on establishing a calendar by which we want to have certain action items accomplished.”

The LOFT office and the committee were established with the passage and signing into law of Senate Bill 1 this year. The overall goal of the office is to increase transparency and accountability of the expenditure of taxpayer dollars by state agencies. The 14-member bipartisan and bicameral committee is charged with overseeing and guiding the operations of the office.

Wallace said one of the working groups established in today’s meeting will examine the requirements of the LOFT executive director, so the committee can begin a search for that individual. A director will need to be in place before the beginning of the legislative session, he said.

A second working group will establish the rules for LOFT, which will have to be approved by the Legislature during the next legislative session. The committee also set the date for its next meeting, Aug. 20.

Wallace said members hope to have proposed rules soon. They plan to utilize preliminary LOFT information beginning next session and even more detailed information every legislative session after that.

“This office is necessary for conducting the business of state government,” Wallace said. “The public deserves to know how their tax payer dollars are spent and the benefits of each program and service they pay for as administered by state agencies. This nonpartisan office will help us better track such spending and the necessity of items detailed in agency budget requests each year. Lawmakers are hopeful we can find any waste and improve the efficiency of state government to benefit our citizens.”

Wallace said elected lawmakers are tasked with appropriating funding to state agencies to manage programs and services for Oklahoma. The sheer number of appropriated state agencies combined with the number of new lawmakers each year because of term limits predicates the need for additional help in tracking the intricacies of agency budgets and their yearly requests for state funding.

He said LOFT staff will be able to regularly:

  • gather information related to proposed agency budgets;
  • evaluate the extent to which each agency fulfills its statutory responsibilities;
  • determine the amount of revenue available to the agency from various sources;
  • compare current budget information to prior agency requests; and
  • conduct an investigation of any agency as needed to fulfill its responsibilities.
  • The office also is authorized to conduct performance evaluations, independent comprehensive performance audits and will provide up-to-date information and analysis on state spending and the performance of state programs and service to the House and Senate to aid in the yearly appropriations process.
Aside from Co-Chairs Wallace and Thompson, other committee members are:
  • Rep. Kyle Hilbert, R-Bristow
  • Rep. Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City
  • Rep. Mike Osburn, R-Edmond
  • Rep. Jeff Boatman, R-Tulsa
  • Rep. Cyndi Munson, D-Oklahoma City
  • Rep. Meloyde Blancett, D-Tulsa
  • Sen. Kim David, R-Porter
  • Sen. Dewayne Pemberton, R-Muskogee
  • Sen. Frank Simpson, R-Springer
  • Sen. Chuck Hall, R-Guthrie
  • Sen. Michael Brooks, D-Oklahoma City
  • Sen. Julia Kirt, D-Oklahoma City.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Music Monday: Let It Be Said Of Us

This week's Music Monday is Let It Be Said Of Us, by Christian songwriter Steve Fry.


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

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

Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma names 2019-20 officers, directors

Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma Names 2019-2020 Officers, Directors

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, July 29, 2019 – The Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma (IIAO), the state’s largest insurance and property casualty agents’ association, today announced its 2019-2020 officers and board members.  The individuals were formally confirmed earlier this month.

“I could not be more excited to work with this outstanding lineup of independent insurance professionals, “said Denise Johnson, IIAO President & Chief Executive Officer. “They each represent our industry with the utmost professionalism, and are also leaders in their communities. Our members will be the beneficiaries of their leadership, just as their customers have been for many years.”

IIAO Officers:
Director-at-Large: Kathy Resser, VIP Insurance, Edmond
Director-at-Large: Vaughn Graham, Jr., CIC, Rich & Cartmill, Inc., Tulsa
Director-at-Large: Scott Cornelius, ECI Agency, Piedmont
MGA Liaison: Carol Partridge, CIC, ACSR, CISR, Standard Lines Services, Bartlesville
Company Liaison: Mark Gruber, CompSource Mutual, Oklahoma City
Young Agents Liaison: Jake Bramlett, The Bramlett Agency, Ardmore

IIAO Directors:
Chair: Jeff Burton, CIRM, CIC, CPCU, INSURICA, Oklahoma City
Chair-Elect: Chris Mosley, CIC, Mosley Agency, Inc., Chickasha
Treasurer: Stewart Berrong, CIC, CRM, Ed Berrong Agency, Weatherford
Secretary: Jerrad Coots, Burrows Agency, Claremore
State Director: Gerald Keeton, Cole, Paine & Carlin, Oklahoma City
Immediate Past Chair: Chris Floyd, CRM, CIC, Brown & Brown Insurance Professionals, Pryor

IIAO has close to 500 member agencies located in all 77 counties, representing over 150 communities across Oklahoma and employing approximately 10,000 Oklahomans.   IIAO members do not work for insurance companies.  They are independent business owners who provide approximately 80% of the commercial insurance and 35% of personal lines in Oklahoma.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

OCPA column: Who you gonna call?

OCPA column: Who you gonna call?
by Jonathan Small

When the movie “Ghostbusters” premiered in the 1980s, it was just a comedy. But if it’s remade (again) in 2019, the setting may be in Oklahoma’s public school system. That’s because there’s reason to think many districts are receiving funding for “ghost” students who do not attend those schools.

This issue gained attention when it was recently alleged an online charter school has received funding for “ghost” students, but that problem extends statewide.

Here’s why: Oklahoma law distributes state aid based on several factors, and one factor is a district’s average daily membership (ADM). State law allows districts to use the highest weighted ADM of the two preceding school years. As a result, if a district has 400 students one year, 380 the next, and 360 the following year, that district may be funded as though it still has 400 students when it has just 360.

It’s even possible for a student to be counted in multiple districts at the same time if a child moves from a district with declining enrollment to one with surging enrollment.

Just because this is currently legal doesn’t make it a good idea. Given the financial challenges constantly highlighted at schools, why would we expend money paying districts to educate children who are not at those schools?

By the way, “ghost” funding doesn’t occur just at one type of school. While some rural districts may benefit, so can Oklahoma’s largest districts—Oklahoma City and Tulsa—which have also experienced declining enrollment. In the urban centers, families have had good reason to move out, so why would state lawmakers leave in place a system that financially rewards districts like Oklahoma City for poor performance that drives students away?

Pinning down the number of “ghost” students being double-counted or still reflected in district ADMs after moving out of state is no easy task, but there are some hints. According to the Oklahoma Department of Education, the high-year ADM for all schools combined in the 2019 state budget year was 711,560. That compares to a reported total enrollment of 698,586 as of the most recent count, which occurred on Oct. 1, 2018.

That’s a difference of almost 13,000 students. Now, not all those 13,000 are “ghost” students. But if even half of them are, that would easily translate into tens of millions of dollars that have been misallocated for educating non-existent students.

States like Indiana and Arizona have stopped using backward-looking student counts that result in ghost-student funding and instead rely on current-year head counts. There’s no reason Oklahoma can’t do the same.

Conservatives and liberals disagree on education policy and spending priorities, but surely we can all agree that paying to “educate imaginary students” should not even be on the list.

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

Friday, July 26, 2019

Stitt to launch Top Ten cabinet tour on Wednesday


Oklahoma City, Okla. (July 24, 2019) – Governor Kevin Stitt announced today the launch of the Top Ten cabinet tour where the governor’s cabinet will hold four public meetings in the closing months of 2019, with more to come in future years.

At the Top Ten cabinet tour, the governor and cabinet members will discuss progress being made in the Stitt administration, followed by a listening session for Oklahomans to share with the governor and his cabinet about issues they want to see state government address.

The first Top Ten cabinet event will take place on July 31 at the High Plains Technology Center in Woodward, Oklahoma. Doors will open at 11:00 a.m., and the program will begin promptly at 11:30 a.m. with a presentation from Governor Stitt and select members of the cabinet, followed by a reception where Oklahomans can speak one-on-one with the governor or members of the cabinet.

“My administration is committed to working with the people of Oklahoma to deliver a Top Ten state, which is why we are taking our cabinet meeting on the road to share about our progress and to listen to citizens,” said Governor Kevin Stitt. “As part of the public meeting, we will share about our progress in delivering government accountability, recruiting new jobs to diversify our economy, and generating innovative solutions to address access to healthcare and a quality public education. We will also spend time hearing from you, touring your community, and meeting with local leaders as we work together to ensure success for all 4 million Oklahomans.”

  • WHAT: Governor Kevin Stitt’s Top Ten Cabinet Tour
  • WHEN: Wednesday, July 31 – Doors open at 11:00 a.m., public meeting begins at 11:30 a.m. and concludes at 1:00 p.m.
  • WHERE: High Plains Technology Center, 3921 34th Street, Woodward, OK 73801

Admission is free and open to the public, but RSVP is kindly requested to help properly prepare the auditorium. To RSVP, visit:

Cookies and beverages will be provided at the reception by the Woodward Industries Foundation.

Members of the Governor’s Cabinet include: Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell, Secretary of Tourism and Branding; Steve Buck, Secretary of Human Services and Early Childhood; Lisa Billy, Secretary of Native American Affairs; Tim Gatz, Secretary of Transportation; John Budd, Secretary of Agency Accountability; David Ostrowe, Secretary of Digital Transformation and Administration; Sean Kouplen, Secretary of Commerce; Ken Wagner, Secretary of Energy and Environment; Blayne Arthur, Secretary of Agriculture; Mike Mazzei, Secretary of Budget; Michael Rogers, Secretary of State and Education; Chip Keating, Secretary of Public Safety; Jerome Loughridge, Secretary of Health and Mental Health; Kayse Shrum, Secretary of Science and Innovation; and Ben Robinson, Secretary of Military and Veterans Affairs.

Following the conclusion of the public meeting, Governor Stitt and cabinet members will be participating in several site visits in the community, to include the WS Key Correctional Center, CF Industries Fertilizer Plant Tour, the Woodward Arts Center and more.

Rep. Hern and Sen. Inhofe introduce asylum relief bill


WASHINGTON, DC – This afternoon, Representative Kevin Hern (OK-01) introduced the Asylum Abuse Reduction Act in the House of Representatives. A companion bill was introduced in the Senate by Senator Jim Inhofe.

Both Sen. Inhofe and Rep. Hern have visited the Southern border to see firsthand the state of the crisis that Customs and Border Patrol are dealing with. The uptick in asylum applicants is causing a backlog at the border and in our immigration courts.

“I’ve seen for myself the backlog at our Southern border,” said Rep. Hern. “Our border agents are over-worked, and the immigration courts are weighed down with too many cases to possibly keep up with the new arrivals. The Asylum Abuse Reduction Act will provide relief and get us back on the path to order. I’m proud to be the sponsor of this bill and introduce it to the House today, I look forward to earning the support of my colleagues for this legislation and hope to see it pass the House soon.”

“The asylum process should be for those who truly need it—not individuals using it after they are caught illegally crossing the border in an attempt to avoid deportation,” Sen. Inhofe said. “That’s why I’m reintroducing my Asylum Abuse Reduction Act. By reforming our asylum process, we can minimize false asylum claims, ease the backlog on our immigration courts and end ‘catch and release’—all while improving the process for those who truly need it. The border is in a serious crisis. President Trump gets that—he really does—and he is changing it. I am proud of the administration’s continued work to build the wall, increase support for ICE and Customs and Border Protection agents and eliminate sanctuary cities. With the addition of the Asylum Abuse Reduction Act, we can make real reform to our broken immigration system and secure the southern border.”

The Asylum Abuse Reduction Act aims to reduce the amount of people abusing the asylum process by requiring migrants to declare asylum at an embassy or consulate in Mexico or Canada before entering the United States. Migrants who cross the border illegally and claim asylum at ports of entry rarely show up for the legal proceedings to complete the asylum process, disappearing into our country. This new requirement will prevent migrants seeking asylum from entering our country before the asylum process.

The bill also creates a criminal bench warrant for immigrants that have failed to show up for immigration court. As of now, when an illegal immigrant does not show up for their asylum hearing, their information is not entered into police databases. With this bill, that will be amended. If an immigrant who did not attend their court date is stopped for an unrelated offense, like speeding, there will be a warrant in the system for violating immigration law.

This legislation creates a pilot program for detention alternatives. The Flores decision says that we can’t detain illegal immigrants with children or families for more than 20 days. With the backlog in immigration court, most families are released before their hearing day and consequently never show up to court. Under the Asylum Abuse Reduction Act, pilot programs will be authorized, allowing families to be released to a qualified organization that contracts with the federal government to ensure migrants comply with immigration proceedings.

The last pillar of the Asylum Abuse Reduction Act is to codify President Trump’s Third Country Asylum Rule. This rule prohibits migrants from claiming asylum unless he or she has applied for protection from persecution or torture in at least one country outside the migrant’s country of citizenship and was denied asylum by that country. There is an exception for migrants that are victims of human trafficking.

Previous administrations have operated under a policy of “catch and release,” where many illegal immigrants caught crossing the border illegally are given citations for appearing in court, but then released into the United States. Recent data from Department of Justice makes it clear: 44% of immigrants accused of illegal border crossings simply never appear for their court proceedings.

The asylum process has also been abused in the past, with immigrants entering the country after declaring asylum, but never completing the process by attending court dates or necessary interview with immigration officials, thereby never receiving proper documentation. We’ve also experienced a dramatic increase in the number of individuals claiming asylum.

1889 Institute: Time to stop licensing Polygraph Examiners

23 states do not license polygraph examiners

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (July 24, 2019) – The 1889 Institute, an Oklahoma state policy think tank, has published “Polygraph Examiner Licensure in Oklahoma,” which calls for allowing the Oklahoma Polygraph Examiners Board to expire on its sunset date of July 1, 2020. The public health and welfare is not enhanced by polygraph examiner licensing, making it clear that, like most occupational licensing, its main purpose is to protect those licensed from competition.

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

“Polygraph examiner licensing in Oklahoma requires a college degree, but the degree does not have to be related to the job at all,” said Luke Tucker, author of the report and currently a graduate intern at the 1889 Institute. “What’s more,” he said, “while polygraph examining could be learned through an apprenticeship, state law requires applicants to complete an accredited polygraph program, with the nearest option in San Antonio.”

It’s not as if polygraph examining is actually much of a science. Federal law prohibits polygraphs from being used in hiring decisions. This is partly because, as the U.S. Supreme Court has put it, polygraph testing’s accuracy rate is “little better than could be obtained by the toss of a coin.”

“Polygraph examiner licensing is just one more way Oklahoma’s legislature has unjustifiably erected impediments to opportunity,” said Byron Schlomach, Director of the 1889 Institute. “We have so far identified a number of occupations in Oklahoma that are similarly unjustifiably licensed, including funeral directors and embalmers, electrologists, cosmetology/barbering, pedorthists, social workers, locksmiths, and massage therapists,” he said.

Schlomach pointed out that even with the creation of an Occupational Licensing Advisory Commission, there has been little action from the legislature to rein in occupational licensing.

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

About the 1889 Institute
The 1889 Institute is an Oklahoma think tank committed to independent, principled state policy fostering limited and responsible government, free enterprise and a robust civil society. The publication, “Polygraph Examiner Licensure in Oklahoma” and other reports on licensing can be found on the nonprofit’s website at

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

OK County Commish Maughan responds to calls to suspend ICE cooperation

Some in the Oklahoma County area are agitating for the removal of two Immigration and Custom & Enforcement (ICE) agents stationed at the Oklahoma County jail in cooperation with the county sheriff's office.

July 23, 2019

I am deeply concerned with calls made yesterday at the Jail Trust meeting to suspend the cooperative arrangement between the Sheriff’s Office and the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

ICE performs essential functions in both of its enforcement areas, immigration and customs. Among other duties, it seeks to identify and prevent the entry of potential terrorists or criminals and to block importation of drugs. ICE agents at the jail have assisted in identifying and successfully prosecuting individuals for serious crimes committed in Oklahoma County, including major felonies that endangered the lives and property of Oklahomans. It is simply irresponsible to suggest that local law enforcement give up that relationship.

The ICE agents working with the Sheriff’s Office are not there to nab jaywalkers for immigration violations. They are a valuable adjunct to local law enforcement in assuring the public safety. Where they initiate deportation action, it is linked to crimes committed here by illegal immigrants. Do these protestors really think it makes sense to allow burglars, robbers and others who pose a danger to our community to remain here with impunity?

I am also concerned with the ongoing effort by some on the extreme political left to demonize ICE and with their calls for its abolition, which would result in an irresponsible and costly open borders policy. ICE agents are charged with enforcing federal laws. Like those of us in local government who have taken an oath to apply all laws equally, they have little discretion in this matter. Those who object to current immigration laws should petition Congress to change them, not lobby for the suspension of enforcement. Nor should they attack the character and motivations of federal law enforcement officers who are working under great pressure and difficult circumstances.

Every nation has rules and laws governing immigration; without such laws it is no longer a nation. America has always welcomed legal immigrants and shown compassion for those who entered outside legal channels. Suggestions that we are operating “concentration camps” and attacks on officials who are forced to cope with a massive flood of illegal immigrants are simply childish and irresponsible. It is equally irresponsible to suggest that Oklahoma County should ignore federal law. I would urge the Jail Trust to reject this call to end cooperation between local and federal law enforcement agencies.

Carly Fiorina endorses Terry Neese in 5th District GOP primary


Oklahoma City, OK – Terry Neese, conservative Republican candidate for Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District seat, has earned an endorsement from Carly Fiorina, a conservative thought leader, former Hewlett-Packard CEO, 2016 Republican presidential candidate, and vice presidential running mate of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz. In a statement today, Fiorina lauded Neese as the only conservative in the race who can be trusted to defend conservative values and help create more economic opportunities for all.

“As a successful CEO and non-profit leader, Terry Neese is uniquely qualified to represent the voters of the 5th District and I am proud to offer her my full endorsement,” said Carly Fiorina. “Terry has led a career devoted to supporting free-market principles, creating good-paying jobs, and empowering women and men from all backgrounds to achieve economic success. At a time when Washington has become increasingly dysfunctional, we need a successful businesswoman and leader to fight for Oklahoma values and a smaller, more accountable federal government.”

“I am humbled to have earned the support of Carly Fiorina, a like-minded conservative, fierce Pro-Life advocate, and proven business leader,” said Terry Neese. “Like Carly, I recognize the need to get government out of the way of its citizens so we can unleash our nation’s true economic potential and secure brighter futures for all.”

Oklahomans paying to educate ‘ghost students’ in numerous districts

Oklahomans paying to educate ‘ghost students’ in numerous districts
by Ray Carter, Director, Center for Independent Journalism
When news broke that the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation had filed a search warrant accusing Epic Charter Schools of receiving state funding for “ghost students” who did not attend school through the online provider and, in one case, had even left the state the prior year, it understandably drew concern from all quarters.

But as that investigation proceeds, it has indirectly highlighted a less well-known fact: Many traditional public schools, all across Oklahoma, are receiving funding to educate similar “ghost students” who no longer attend those schools. And, for those schools, the payments are not only legal, but the result of deliberate design.

Oklahoma law requires that state school funding be distributed based on several factors, including “the highest weighted average daily membership for the school district of the two (2) preceding school years.”

The use of the highest average daily membership (ADM) figure from prior years guarantees that many schools, particularly those with declining enrollment, receive continued funding for students who have transferred to other districts, graduated, or even moved out of state.

“Those are ‘ghost students’ that they are getting paid for,” said Sen. Gary Stanislawski, a Tulsa Republican who chairs the Senate Education Committee, “and they will fight, fight to the death, to maintain those.”

“There are definitely districts across the state that are being paid for students that are no longer there,” said Rep. Chad Caldwell, an Enid Republican who served on a task force that examined the state’s school-funding formula.

Byron Schlomach, director of the 1889 Institute, an education and research organization, has also examined Oklahoma’s school-funding formula.

Given that some families move multiple times in a year, and may change school districts with each move, is it possible one child may be counted as part of the ADM figure at more than one school at the same time?

“Oh yeah,” Schlomach said. “Easily.”

And because Oklahoma’s school-funding formula provides “weights” based on a student’s grade-level and demographics, the financial gain to schools when some students leave can be even higher than what occurs when other students move.

For example, in a paper he wrote about Oklahoma’s school-funding formula, Schlomach noted, “On a grade-level basis under Oklahoma’s system, a fourth, fifth, or sixth grader is counted as a single student. Students at every other grade level are counted as slightly more than a single student.”

As a result, if a student in the first grade moves out of a district, the financial benefit of the retained “ghost” funding for that student is greater to the district than what would occur if a fourth grader moved away.

Meanwhile, the student who moved to another district may be counted in the new district’s average daily membership while simultaneously being counted in the ADM for the child’s prior district.

Other states that have employed similar funding systems have shifted to using current-year student counts due in part to the ghost-student problem.

In a summary of education reform measures enacted at that time in Indiana, the 2012 edition of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s “Report Card on Education” noted Indiana lawmakers had ended the use of a student-count system similar to that now used in Oklahoma.

“Previous statute had compensated districts with declining enrollments by funding ‘ghost students’ for up to three years after they had transferred out of that district,” the report noted of Indiana’s efforts. “Going forward, the state will fund schools based upon the current student count.”

In 2009, Indiana’s state superintendent of public instruction estimated that Indiana taxpayers had sent $94 million to schools to support more than 16,000 students who weren’t enrolled in those districts.

When legislation advanced to use a current-year student count for funding, Indiana’s Legislative Services Agency concluded that 200 districts in that state were overfunded due to the ghost-student system, while 143 had been underfunded and would receive financial benefit from using current-year counts. Another 15 districts were expected to see no change in funding.

Matthew Ladner, an author of the 2012 American Legislative Exchange Council report, now works as the senior research strategist for the Arizona Chamber Foundation. He notes Arizona faced similar ghost-student problems due to its funding formula.

In Arizona, public charter schools were funded based on current-year student counts, but traditional public schools were funded based on the prior year’s student numbers. When students left a traditional public school for a public charter school, Ladner said it resulted in “more and more kids that we were double-funding for a year.”

“A kid would leave a district to go to a charter school, which happens frequently, and the district would still be getting funded for them, and the state would fund them in their new charter school this year,” Ladner said.

A report from the Goldwater Institute estimated Arizona was paying $125 million annually to educate more than 13,000 ghost students.

Oklahoma officials have already attempted to prevent funding of ghost students in one area—online schools, where funding is already based on current-year population counts. According to a presentation given by Department of Education officials several years ago, “the weighted average daily membership for the first year of operation and each year thereafter of a full-time virtual charter school shall be determined by multiplying the actual enrollment of students as of August 1 by 1.333” [emphasis in original].

As a result, when a student transfers from a traditional public school to a virtual charter school in Oklahoma, the child can be counted in the population of both schools and the prior school still receives funding to educate the departed student.

If a current-count system works for online schools in Oklahoma and all schools in other states, why are all Oklahoma schools not funded based on current student populations? The answer, officials say, is simple: politics.

“Every time you do something, there’s winners and there’s losers,” said former state Rep. Dennis Casey, R-Morrison. “And so, as politicians, I don’t know if they really want to do anything, because they’ll look at it and go, ‘Well, that affects my district.’ Or they’ll say, ‘I’m all for this. This helps my district.’ And so we get nothing done.”

Casey is a former school administrator who served as vice chair of the House Appropriations & Budget Committee during his legislative tenure and also served on a funding-formula task force. While he said the formula needs adjustments, he warned that enacting even modest change is politically daunting.

Casey noted the state holds some appropriation funds back for districts that experience growth beyond expectations. Those funds are released in the middle of the school year based on student figures provided after the start of the school year.

As a result, even officials at districts that are technically shortchanged by the school-funding formula are content to leave it in place, despite funding of ghost students elsewhere.

“You kind of have the best of both worlds,” Casey said. “You get the money because you grew, and you’ve got the money even though you’ve gotten smaller.”

Caldwell, who noted the “education establishment is pretty change-averse,” is also skeptical that lawmakers will end the funding of ghost students, noting the attitude of school administrators who served alongside him on the funding-formula task force.

“For the superintendents that were there, the basic message was, ‘We know it needs to be tweaked and fixed, but we’ve also figured out how to work under the current system, so don’t change it,’” Caldwell said.

Stanislawski said legislation has been filed “many times” to eliminate the use of backward-looking head counts that result in the funding of ghost students at Oklahoma schools, but “with no success.”

“It’s a legal way to rob other school districts, and yet they all don’t mind playing that game and being robbed,” Stanislawski said. “And it’s a farce.”

He said one measure to address the issue cleared the Senate this year and could receive a hearing in the House in the 2020 session.

The argument for basing school funding on prior-year population figures is that districts hire staff and make other purchases in advance of a school year, so if enrollment is significantly lower than expected, it can create financial problems unless funding reductions are implemented slowly over several years.

But Schlomach thinks it is a mistake to automatically provide excess funding to those schools.

“You ought to make these districts actually make the case for why they ought to get relatively more funding while they’re losing enrollment,” Schlomach said.

Ladner said similar objections were raised in Arizona.

“There’s always some case that the districts will make for keeping things this way,” Ladner said. “I think, in the end, it was like, alright guys, look: If we’re going to draw up a list of funding priorities, where does ‘funding ghost students’ fall on the priority list? So they made the change.”

Stanislawski, who supported legislation this year that increased financial transparency requirements for online schools like Epic, hopes lawmakers will finally address the ghost-student problem next year, especially given the publicity it is now receiving.

“It’s not equitable for all students across the state,” Stanislawski said. “The funding formula needs to be modernized.”

Oklahoma Senate 2019 interim studies approved

Oklahoma Senate 2019 interim studies approved

OKLAHOMA CITY – Education, health care and mental health services, criminal justice policies, and retirement issues are among the topics approved for interim studies in the Oklahoma Senate.

The Senate President Pro Tempore’s Office on Tuesday released the list of 72 interim studies.

The members of the Oklahoma Senate use interim studies to take a more in-depth look at and hear from subject-matter experts about potential legislation and policies on a variety of topics. Interim studies are assigned to the Senate committee with jurisdiction over the subject matter contained within the request. Committee chairs are responsible for scheduling meetings for interim studies. All interim studies must be completed by November 8. Meeting notices will be posted on the Senate website (

*indicates a joint request with a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives

Agriculture and Wildlife Committee

  • Senator Mary Boren, D-Norman, a study on farm-to-table reforms.
  • Senator Kevin Matthews, D-Tulsa, a study of urban agriculture.

Appropriations Committee

  • Senator Allison Ikley-Freeman, D-Tulsa, a study of disaster response funding protocols.
  • Senator John Michael Montgomery, R-Lawton, and Senator Julia Kirt, D-Oklahoma City, a study on innovating state capital asset management.
  • Senator Dave Rader, R-Tulsa, a study on digital service.
  • Senator Paul Scott, R-Duncan, a study on funding systems providing storm-shelter space.
  • Senator Ron Sharp, R-Shawnee, a study of how charter schools are funded and the real cost per student.*

Business, Commerce and Tourism Committee

  • Senator Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, a study on blockchain, virtual currencies, and potential implementation in Oklahoma.
  • Senator Brent Howard, R-Altus, a study on streamlining small business start-ups and entrepreneur growth.*
  • Senator Matthews, a study on reducing poverty by increasing home ownership and entrepreneurship opportunities.
  • Senator Casey Murdock, R-Felt, a study comparing Oklahoma pawn shop financing with other states.
  • Senator Scott, a study of requirements for obtaining a barbering license.
  • Senator Scott and Senator Howard, a study on stopping “robo calls”.
  • Senator Rob Standridge, R-Norman, a study on how the state and subdivisions put Oklahoma first.
  • Senator Standridge, a study of consolidation of workforce innovation boards.

Education Committee

  • Senator Boren, a study on textbook adoption and funding reforms.*
  • Senator David Bullard, R-Durant, a study on how best to use excess revenue from the Commissioners of the Land Office for schools.
  • Senator Carri Hicks, D-Oklahoma City, a study of professional development requirements for school districts.
  • Senator Ikley-Freeman, a study of school policies on seclusion and restraint.
  • Senator Kirt, a study on access to arts education.
  • Senator Scott, a study of amending the Reading Sufficiency Act.
  • Senator Scott, a study of summer feeding programs for youth.
  • Senator Sharp, a study on oversight responsibilities of charter school sponsors.*
  • Senator Standridge, a study on Teacher and Leader Effectiveness (TLE).
  • Senator Standridge, a study on the impact of cyberbullying on children and ways to combat it.
  • Senator Gary Stanislawski, R-Tulsa, a study on House Bill 1017 school mandates.
  • Senator Stanislawski, a study on the common education building equalization fund.
  • Senator Stanislawski, a study on personalized learning.

Energy Committee

  • Senator Boren, a study on solar energy in schools.*

Finance Committee

  • Senator Boren, a study on affordable housing initiatives.
  • Senator Tom Dugger, R-Stillwater, a study on Oklahoma Green Cards.
  • Senator Matthews, a study on accessing community reinvestment act funds.
  • Senator Montgomery, a study on conditional cash transfers, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and development.
  • Senator Montgomery, a study on student loan debt and its impact on the state economy.
  • Senator Montgomery, a study of consumer debt.
  • Senator Montgomery, a study on debt affordability and areas of potential investment.
  • Senator Paul Rosino, R-Oklahoma City, a study on the aerospace equipment resource program.

General Government Committee

  • Senator Joe Newhouse, R-Broken Arrow, a study of municipal regulation of aesthetic design elements in residential construction.*
  • Senator Standridge, a study on hospital districts.

Health and Human Services Committee

  • Senator John Haste, R-Broken Arrow, a study of the Safe Babies Court Team program.
  • Senator Hicks, a study of the cost of prescriptive medications.
  • Senator Ikley-Freeman, a study on youth access to mental health programs
  • Senator Ikley-Freeman, a study on child care deserts.
  • Senator Greg McCortney, R-Ada, a study on raising the smoking age to 21.
  • Senator McCortney, a study on medication assisted treatment for addiction.
  • Senator Adam Pugh, R-Edmond, a study of requirements for assisted living/memory care units.
  • Senator Scott, a study of Department of Human Services practices for investigating daycare facilities.
  • Senator Scott, a study of the Family First Prevention Services Act.
  • Senator Frank Simpson, R-Springer, a study on solutions to the opioid epidemic.
  • Senator Simpson, a study of state services for children with Type 1 diabetes.
  • Senator Standridge, a study of the Developmental Disabilities Services Division wait list.
  • Senator Standridge, a study on improving Oklahoma health by pharmacy practice.

Judiciary Committee

  • Senator Julie Daniels, R-Bartlesville, and Senator Howard, a study of the Oklahoma Trust Act.
  • Senator Sharp, a study on limited liability corporations.
  • Senator Darrell Weaver, R-Moore, a study on recovering evidence from abandoned vehicles.

Public Safety Committee

  • Senator Bullard, a study on transportation of mental health patients.
  • Senator Daniels, a study of fines and fees in the criminal justice system.
  • Senator Hicks, a study of current seatbelt laws.
  • Senator Darcy Jech, R-Kingfisher, a study on cellular and electronic devices in Oklahoma prisons.
  • Senator Mary Quinn, R-Claremore, a study on driver's license testing.
  • Senator Wayne Shaw, R-Grove, a study of the felony larceny threshold.
  • Senator Weaver, a study of workplace violence on medical professionals.

Retirement and Insurance Committee

  • Senator Montgomery, a study on retirement security.
  • Senator Lonnie Paxton, R-Tuttle, a study on pension law reform.
  • Senator Rosino, a study of insurance coverage of Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Strep (PANDAS) and Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS).

Rules Committee

  • Senator Montgomery, a study of Article 10 of the Oklahoma Constitution.
  • Senator Scott, a study on the 2020 Census.
  • Senator Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, a study on county home rule.
  • Senator George Young, D-Oklahoma City, a study on community impact studies.

Transportation Committee

  • Senator Micheal Bergstrom, R-Adair, a study on advanced transportation technology readiness.
  • Senator Bergstrom, a study of state and federal requirements for commercial driver’s license training and testing.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Heritage: With Budget Deal, Trump’s Fiscal Legacy No Different Than Obama, Bush

WASHINGTON — Tonight, Secretary Mnuchin and Speaker Pelosi released the final details of their backroom deal to bust through 2011 Budget Control Act caps and raise the debt ceiling. Paul Winfree, director of the Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies, released the following:
In a rare moment of fiscal discipline, Congress’ passage of the Budget Control Act (BCA) in 2011 placed caps on discretionary spending. Since its passage, Congress has routinely violated the spending caps with no regard for the consequences. This latest deal effectively renders the BCA dead. 

On top of the new spending, the deal suspends the debt limit for the next two years, piling on as much as $2 trillion more in debt. Hitting the debt limit ought to be a wake-up call for lawmakers to confront our nation’s unsustainable spending. Instead, many in Washington will celebrate the increased spending from BCA’s demise. But anyone concerned about the nation’s fiscal health should be alarmed. 

This deal comes less than four years after President Trump campaigned to balance the budget by cutting spending and after his administration produced three budgets to move toward fiscal sustainability. Few forces would threaten the president’s pro-growth agenda more than $22 trillion in debt fueled by unchecked government spending. If President Trump takes this deal—the worst in a decade—his fiscal legacy will be no different than the Obama and Bush administrations that he has criticized.

2019 Republican District Ratings for Oklahoma Legislature

Here's the 2019 update to my Republican District Ratings, the 2017 version of which can be viewed here.

This rating system is to determine how "Republican" each state house and state senate district is. The formula is comprised of three elements: federal-level (most recent Republican presidential nominee's in-district vote percentage), state-level (most recent Republican gubernatorial nominee's in-district vote percentage), and local-level (in-district voter registration).

If a district might be rated 50.0, that does not mean the Democrat rating would also be 50.0, as I didn't split the remaining portion up between Democrat, Libertarian and Independent. This system simply rates on how Republican a district is. Perhaps another way of putting it is this: a generic Republican candidate should be able to get no less than the RDR in his district.

Have a look at each full list. Given the massive turnover in the 2018 election, I marked which members are freshmen (i.e. elected in 2018). I also added in a new feature, the upward or downward movement of each district compared to my first rating in 2016.

I'll post the related 2019 Conservative Performance Index soon, likely in the next month or so, where we'll examine each legislator's conservative score (an average of two different conservative rating systems) and compare it to their district's Republican rating.

Up first, State House:

Northwest Oklahoma has the top three Republican districts; HD61 maintained top-status with a rating of 72.4, with HD58 (71.4) and HD59 (70.9) in second and third. There's a four-point gap to fourth place, where HD41 comes in with a rating of 66.9. Broken Arrow's HD80 comes in fifth at 66.5, which is a drop of 3.1 since my first ratings were released in 2016.

The five least Republican districts are HD73 in north Tulsa (10.2), HD99 (16.3) and HD97 (22.6) and HD88 (26.0) in Oklahoma City, and HD44 (28.0) in Norman.

The average rating for all House seats is down 0.2 points to 52.0 (2016 average was 51.9). For Republican-held seats, the average held flat at 56.7, the same as in 2016, while Democrat-held seats fell 3.3 points to an average of 37.1 (2016 was 40.4).

The five most-Republican seats held by Democrats are HD7 (51.5) in the northeast, HD79 (50.3) in Tulsa, HD83 (48.0) and HD85 (46.6) in OKC, and HD46 (46.5) in Norman..

The five least-Republican seats held by Republicans are HD62 (39.8) in Lawton, HD13 in Muskogee and McIntosh counties, HD64 (40.7) in Lawton, HD95 (44.4) in Midwest City, and HD14 (46.0) in Muskogee and Cherokee counties.

Average change since 2016 for urban House districts:
  • OKC metro, GOP-held: -3.52
  • OKC metro, Dem-held: -4.7
  • OKC metro, combined: -4.07
  • Tulsa metro, GOP-held: -2.74
  • Tulsa metro, Dem-held: -3.92
  • Tulsa metro, combined: -3.09
  • Other urban (Lawton/Stillwater/Enid): -2.4
  • All urban, GOP-held: -3.15
  • All urban, Dem-held: -4.47
  • All urban, combined: -3.58
Average change since 2016 for rural House districts:
  • Rural, GOP-held: +4.32
  • Rural, Dem-held: +2.9
  • Rural, combined: +4.23

Now, let's look at the State Senate:

The most Republican district is again in far northwest Oklahoma and the Panhandle - SD27 at a rating of 72.8. Next are SD19 (65.9) in the Enid area, SD20 (63.7) in the Guthrie and Pawnee area, SD23 (63.6) on the west side of the OKC metro, and SD25 (63.6) in south Tulsa.

The five least Republican districts are SD11 in  north Tulsa (26.3), SD48 (27.3) and SD46 (35.8) in Oklahoma City, SD16 (41.2) in Cleveland County, and SD9 (42.7) in Muskogee and Cherokee counties.

The average rating for all Senate seats is up 0.6 points to 54.1. For Republican-held seats, it's up 1.1 points to 56.6, while for Democrat-held seats it's up 1.7 points to 43.5.

The five most Republican seats held by Democrats are SD34 in Owasso at 58.7, SD37 in Tulsa (57.5), SD44 (50.2) and SD30 (49.6) and SD40 (44.7) - all in OKC.

The five least Republican seats held by Republicans are SD9 (42.7), Midwest City's SD42 (47.0), Lawton's SD32 (47.5), two rural southeast districts, SD8 (47.5) and SD7 (48.7).

Average change since 2016 for urban Senate districts:
  • OKC metro, GOP-held: -3.41
  • OKC metro, Dem-held: +1.37
  • OKC metro, combined: -1.36
  • Tulsa metro, GOP-held: -3.32
  • Tulsa metro, Dem-held: +4.0
  • Tulsa metro, combined: -1.23
  • All urban, GOP-held: -3.38
  • All urban, Dem-held: +2.03
  • All urban, combined: -1.32
Average change since 2016 for rural Senate districts:
  • Rural, GOP-held: +4.91
  • Rural, Dem-held: [none]
  • Rural, combined: +4.91

If you'd like to see maps to show where all the different districts are, go here for State House maps and here for State Senate maps.


I've added two more sheets: one showing all House and Senate districts together for comparison, and the other sorted by the percentage changes each district had since the 2016 rating.

Here's the House and Senate combined, to show the RDR for all 149 districts:

This one is is sorted by the percentage changes each district had since 2016:

Monday, July 22, 2019

And then there were two: rural Dem legislator won’t seek reelection

One of the last remaining rural Democratic state legislators is bowing out of the Legislature, announcing today that he will not seek reelection.

State Rep. David Perryman was the only rural Democrat west of I-35 (or US 69, for that matter) the only rural Democrat south of I-40, and one of just three Democrat legislators outside of the Tulsa/OKC metros or the city of Stillwater.

His official press release is below:

Perryman Announces He Won’t Seek Reelection

OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma House Minority Floor Leader David Perryman (D-Chickasha) has announced that he does not plan to seek a fifth term as House District 56’s state representative.

Perryman was elected to the Oklahoma House in 2012 and has served as Minority Floor Leader since 2016. Prior to serving as the floor leader for the Democrats, Perryman served one term as secretary of the caucus and has served on a number of House committees, including Agriculture, Banking, Pensions, County and Municipal Government as well as Judiciary and a number of Appropriation and Budget subcommittees.

“After much consideration, I have decided not to seek reelection in 2020,” Perryman said. “I am so thankful for my wife, Jo, and my children who have supported me during my terms in the legislature and who have covered so many personal obligations that have allowed me to faithfully and diligently serve the people of District 56.”

Known for his grasp of parliamentary procedure, Perryman has been one of the most respected representatives in the Oklahoma House.

“David has been a great resource for not only our caucus but the entire body,” Minority Leader Emily Virgin (D-Norman) said. “He has dedicated himself to understanding how the House works so that he can best serve his constituents and the state of Oklahoma. By doing so, he has made himself an invaluable leader in our caucus.”

Perryman has used his time as floor leader to mentor caucus freshmen on the nuances of legislative procedure. In addition to day-to-day duties of a floor leader, Perryman’s caucus presentations include in-depth analysis of legislative language and how to advance the purpose and message of the minority party and still comply with the House Rules that are imposed by the majority party.

“David’s service in the legislature has been a great inspiration to me,” said freshman legislator Rep. John Waldron (D-Tulsa). “He is a true son of Oklahoma.”

“David will leave a huge hole in the legislature,” said Rep. Trish Ranson (D-Stillwater). “He will be missed.”

“David is a gifted and very capable leader,” said Rep. Andy Fugate (D-Midwest City). I am glad that I was able to serve a term with him and have him ‘teach me the ropes’.”

“Leader Perryman is a tireless worker who will be impossible to replace,” said Rep. Shane Stone (D-OKC). “He is to be thanked for all that he has done for our caucus. I was already going to miss him, but now I know the rest of the caucus will too.”

Perryman’s service has focused on public education, rural economic development, rural infrastructure and the quality of life in rural Oklahoma. He has tirelessly devoted his service to the youth of the district in an attempt to give students the same opportunities that were available to him growing up.

“Sometimes it is an elementary teacher or a principal or an agriculture instructor that help open doors to leadership opportunities for young Oklahomans,” Perryman said. I see that as a part of my role as a State Legislator and believe that I have been successful in assisting to prepare tomorrow’s leaders today.

“I am very appreciative of both former Minority Leader Scott Inman and current Minority Leader Emily Virgin for allowing me to serve as their Floor Leader through both the 56th and 57th Oklahoma Legislatures. There have been wins and losses and I believe that many of our accomplishments, including restoring revenue for increased funding for education, will reverberate for years to come.

“Politics is all about timing,” Perryman said. “I see more youth and vigor and ability in our caucus than I have in a long time, and because of that optimism, I feel like it is time for me to move over and find a different way to apply myself. I look forward to continuing to mentor for the rest of my current term and am anxious to see how members of our caucus can effect positive change over the coming years and I plan to help them do so anyway that I can.”

Although Perryman is leaving the caucus early, he still plans to be involved in his community, resume his full-time law practice in Chickasha and to continue to advocate for Oklahoma families across our state.

“It has been a true honor to serve the people of District 56 for the past seven years, particularly since the district is where my great grandparents settled in 1902 and has been home to six generations of my family,” Perryman said.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

LOFT oversight committee to hold first meeting July 30

LOFT oversight committee to hold first meeting July 30

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Legislative Office of Fiscal Transparency (LOFT) oversight committee will meet for the first time later this month at the Oklahoma Capitol.

LOFT is legislative office created this year in a bill by House Speaker Charles McCall and Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat. LOFT will provide the public and policymakers with independent, objective research and data on state spending and program evaluation and performance.

The Speaker and President Pro Tempore appointed a bipartisan group of legislators to serve on the committee that will oversee and guide the work of LOFT. The oversight committee will meet at 3:30 pm Tuesday, July 30, in Room 419-C at the Oklahoma Capitol.

“LOFT will be a game-changer because it will enhance and expand transparency and accountability in state spending by providing independent, objective data on state spending and program performance,” said Treat, R-Oklahoma City. “I’m confident the oversight committee will do a great job guiding LOFT. I’m excited to see the progress made in the coming weeks as LOFT begins to take shape.”

“I am excited for the LOFT Committee to meet and begin the process of getting implemented,” said McCall, R-Atoka. “LOFT is a much-needed resource for the Legislature that, frankly, should have been created long ago. We have members that are ready to roll their sleeves up and solve problems, but it is difficult to do without timely and accurate information about agency spending and programs. LOFT will provide the House and Senate the information and analysis we need to make good, informed decisions on behalf of Oklahoma’s citizens.”

Treat appointed Senator Roger Thompson, R-Okemah and Senate Appropriations Committee chair, to serve as the co-chair of the oversight committee, while McCall named Representative Kevin Wallace to serve as co-chair.

“LOFT is a tremendous concept that will serve the Legislature and the public by increasing transparency and accountability in the expenditure of our tax dollars. We’ve already been at work behind the scenes and I’m looking forward to our first oversight committee meeting. We’re going to hit the ground running and set LOFT up for great success moving forward,” Thompson said.

“It is the Legislature’s job to ensure agencies are spending taxpayer dollars wisely and without waste, and LOFT will help us do that more effectively,” said House Appropriations and Budget Committee Chairman Kevin Wallace, R-Wellston. “LOFT will ensure that lawmakers from both chambers are working off the same information, and it will get that information to us prior to agency budget requests so we are making decisions based off of what we know rather than just trusting what agency leaders tell us. I believe LOFT will drastically improve our budgeting process and help us work more efficiently for our citizens.”

LOFT Oversight Committee members:

  • Kevin Wallace, co-chair
  • Kyle Hilbert, R-Bristow
  • Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City
  • Mike Osburn, R-Edmond
  • Jeff Boatman, R-Tulsa
  • Cyndi Munson, D-Oklahoma City
  • Meloyde Blancett, D-Tulsa
  • Senator Roger Thompson, co-chair
  • Senator Kim David, R-Porter
  • Senator Dewayne Pemberton, R-Muskogee
  • Senator Frank Simpson, R-Springer
  • Senator Chuck Hall, R-Guthrie
  • Senator Michael Brooks, D-Oklahoma City
  • Senator Julia Kirt, D-Oklahoma City.