Saturday, August 17, 2019

OCPA column: Plugging their ears


Plugging their ears
by OCPA President Jonathan Small

If I were to tell you that people shout “Boomer” at OU football games and wear orange to OSU games, no one would bat an eye. Yet if I say, “Oklahomans strongly support school choice,” some policymakers will run screaming for the exits.

But polling has shown—over and over and over again—that my school-choice statement is as uncontroversial and undeniable as the existence of fan support for college football teams.

The latest proof comes from a poll conducted by Cor Strategies on behalf of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs from July 29 to Aug. 2 by Cor Strategies. It stated, “School choice gives parents the right to use the tax dollars designated for their child’s education to send their child to the public or private school which best meets their needs. Generally speaking, would you say you support or oppose the concept of school choice?”

A strong majority—58 percent—said they support school choice; just 30 percent voiced opposition. And strong supporters outnumbered strong opponents by two-to-one. Not surprisingly, support was strongest among Republicans and Independents, but there was also significant support among Democrats.

If this was just one poll, perhaps it could be dismissed. But this is the 12th Oklahoma survey in the last five years showing strong support for school choice. And the other polls were conducted by multiple pollsters for a range of clients. The consistency of Oklahomans’ responses cannot be dismissed.

While one other poll found opposition to school choice, the fact that only one poll out of 13 generated such results gives reason to doubt that one poll, not the other 12.

Also, the findings of those 12 polls are further bolstered by a poll conducted in January that found that, if money and transportation were not factors, 50 percent of Oklahomans would choose an education option for their children other than the traditional public school. That poll found 34 percent of respondents would choose a private school, 9 percent would choose a public charter school, and 7 percent would home-school their children. While it’s great that local traditional schools are doing well enough that 46 percent would still choose them, why should we ignore the wishes of a full half the population on other side?

Rather than plugging their ears and insisting that people aren’t doing the school-choice equivalent of yelling “Boomer” in the stands, policymakers need to respond to Oklahomans’ wishes and increase school-choice opportunity statewide.

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

Friday, August 16, 2019

Cherokee Chief Hoskin moves to appoint former Obama advisor, DNC staffer as Delegate to Congress


Here's some fascinating news. Newly-elected Cherokee Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr., is appointing the first-ever Cherokee Nation Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives. Who did he pick? A former advisor to President Obama and DNC staffer, and a maximum campaign donor.

In a letter to Joe Byrd, Speaker of the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council, Principal Chief Hoskin called for a special session of the tribal council to, among other things, appoint Kimberly Teehee as the Cherokee Nation's first-ever nonvoting delegate to the United States House of Representatives. The Cherokee Nation has long considered itself owed a Representative in Congress due to an 1835 treaty with the United States government, but it apparently has never attempted to seat one -- until now.

Teehee is the Vice President of Government Relations for Cherokee Nation Businesses, and Director of Government Relations for the Cherokee Nation since 2014 after being appointed by Principal Chief Bill John Baker.

Teehee has a long history of involvement in Democratic Party politics.

She served as Senior Advisor to Rep. Dale Kildee (D-MI) for "nearly twelve years" starting in 1998, and was appointed as Senior Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs in 2009 by President Barack Obama to the White House Domestic Policy Council, which coordinated domestic policy-making process in the White House and offered advice to Obama.

Going further back, Teehee worked for the Democratic National Committee as their first deputy director of Native American Outreach, and served as director of Native American outreach for President Bill Clinton's 1997 inauguration.

Teehee was a $5,000 maximum donor to Hoskin during the recent and hotly-contested election for principal chief. Hoskin won after his chief opponent was controversially disqualified by the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court two days before Election Day due to allegations made by a Hoskin campaign employee.

(click to view larger)
Other high profile financial supporters of Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr., include Oklahoma State Rep. Avery Frix (R-Muskogee) (to the tune of the maximum $5,000), Oklahoma House Minority Leader Emily Virgin (D-Norman), disgraced former Governor David Walters, and Drew Edmondson, a former Attorney General and the 2018 Democrat nominee for Governor.

It is interesting to note that in the most recent congressional election in the counties that make up the Cherokee Nation, not one went for the Democratic candidate, and the Republican Party received approximately 64% of the vote.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Tulsa GOP to hold 3rd Annual Luau, featuring LtGov Pinnell


The Republican Party of Tulsa County will be holding their 3rd Annual Luau on Friday, September 13 at the Tulsa Zoo, featuring Lt. Governor Matt Pinnell is this year's special guest. Bring the whole family out as the Annual Luau takes a turn into the Zoo for a Safari Adventure

A reception will run from 5:30pm to 6:30pm, with the BBQ Dinner beginning at 6:30pm.

Early Bird Registration by September 9th gets a Zoo PASS that allows you to come and go all day! Tickets are $50 per adult, $20 per child, or $125 for a family, and may be purchased on EventBrite.



Randy Talley announces candidacy for HD56


Randy Talley announces campaign for Oklahoma House District 56

CHICKASHA – Communications leader and business advocate Randy Talley has announced his campaign for the Oklahoma House of Representatives, seeking to represent District 56 in Southwest Oklahoma.

With 38 years in professional communications, working as a leader in community development, education and charity, Talley has accepted the challenge to run for state office.

“I am committed to building responsible, sustainable government,” Talley said. “We Oklahomans live in the most prosperous time in history, in a strong economy with great potential for growth. If we can’t get this right … if we can’t manage our success … if we can’t build a path to excellence for our children, there’s something wrong.”

First- and Second-Amendment issues are top priorities in Talley’s campaign. “The Bill of Rights is really nothing more than a catalog of individual rights,” Talley said. “Every Amendment constrains government.”

The right to life for unborn persons is another inalienable right, according to Talley. “Every person living – including those not yet born – is a creation of God. In 50 years, people will be asking, ‘given scientific progress, how is it possible that you believed abortion was a moral choice?’”

Education funding and reform are important issues in Oklahoma, says Talley, who served on a local education task force last year. “I see first-hand the burdens that our teachers face. We need solutions that set Oklahoma schools and kids on a path to success.”

Military and law enforcement deserve more respect than they get, Talley says. “We are a nation of laws, and unless we vote for anarchy, we need to support and protect our military and first responders. I promise to support all those who serve honorably and I will work strongly against sanctuary city policies in Oklahoma.”

Long active in pro-business activities, Talley helped to establish the Chickasha Chamber Civic Hall of Fame. Currently he is employed as senior vice president for communications at First National Bank & Trust Co. in Chickasha.

Talley and his family enjoy volunteering for The Salvation Army of Grady and Caddo Counties, where he serves as chairman of the advisory board. He’s a deacon at his church and is active in poverty solutions in Grady County.

“My faith in Christ informs my politics,” Talley said. “Everyone has faith; we all believe in something that frames our worldview, even if it’s the goodness of man.”

Talley worked as a journalist after earning a bachelor’s degree in news-editorial journalism from Oklahoma State University in 1983. He taught journalism and worked in communication at three universities, eventually settling in Chickasha, where he led the team in communications at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma for 27 years. In 2006, he was named Oklahoma’s Communicator of the Year.

As a former journalist, Talley argues that ‘political correctness’ harms free speech for everyone. “You can feel the tension rising. People are afraid to speak their minds on local, state and national levels for fear of being called a bigot or being banned from social media. That’s wrong. We can’t maintain a civil society if acceptable speech is defined down to unscientific and emotional nonsense. We don’t need to silence people. We need to inform them.”

Talley was raised in Anadarko, where six generations of his family have lived. “I am blessed with a great family and deep Oklahoma roots. One of our sons serves in the Air National Guard and eight other members of my extended family currently are serving in various branches of U.S. Military service.”

Talley and his wife of 30 years, Kathie, have four adult children and a daughter-in-law.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Stitt signs bill to track Federal dollars in state agencies

Sen. Dahm (left) and Rep. Hilbert (right) are joined by Dave Bond of OCPA and his son as Gov. Stitt signs SB271.

Gov. Signs Dahm, Hilbert Bill to Track Federal Dollars in State Agencies

OKLAHOMA CITY – Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill to improve government transparency in a ceremony at the State Capitol last week. Senate Bill 271 was authored by Sen. Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow) and Rep. Kyle Hilbert (R-Bristow).

The bill requires all state agencies to annually disclose and rank all federally affiliated funds, programs and priorities. Hilbert, who serves as the vice chair of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee, said any agency receiving and administering federal funds that require any level of security clearance in order to administer received funds is exempt from the disclosure requirements.

“As elected officials, we should always take into consideration transparency and accountability,” Dahm said. “Unfortunately, many agencies choose not to share all the information in order for fully-informed decisions to be made. This bill will allow us to better represent our constituents by having this information known when making budget decisions. And by having the agencies post it on their website, this financial information will be directly available to the citizens of Oklahoma as well. It’s a huge step forward for transparency in how agencies spend our money.”

“The Legislature currently does not have a clear understanding of how many federal dollars various state agencies are receiving, how they’re being used or what strings are attached to those federal dollars,” Hilbert said. “The state agencies already have this information available, and Senate Bill 271 will make this information readily accessible to state legislators while considering funding and appropriations.”

SB 271 was officially signed by Stitt on April 29 and will go into effect on Nov. 1.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

OKGOP slams Dems' Constitutional Carry repeal effort

Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman David McLain
OKLAHOMA REPUBLICAN PARTY RESPONDS TO FAR-LEFT ATTEMPT TO REPEAL SECOND AMENDMENT PROTECTIONS

(OKLAHOMA CITY, OK) - During a press conference Monday, Democrat state representative Jason Lowe announced his filing of a repeal petition to repeal House Bill 2597, commonly known as constitutional carry. He was joined by far-left activist groups including Bloomberg-funded Moms Demand Action and Young Democrats of America.

Per the rules surrounding repeal petitions in Oklahoma, the out-of-state activist groups will be required to acquire tens of thousands of signatures in the next 10 days in order to have their repeal question placed upon the 2020 ballot.

In response to Rep. Lowe's announcement, Oklahoma Republican Party chairman David McLain released the following statement:

"Our Republican-led legislature voted overwhelmingly in 2019 to protect Oklahomans' constitutional right to carry and through Governor Kevin Stitt's leadership, Oklahomans will soon be allowed to fully exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms. The Oklahoma Republican Party stands ready to defend every Oklahoman's right to bear arms and we stand firmly against the far-left agenda of Oklahoma Democrat lawmakers and out-of-state socialists."

Monday, August 12, 2019

BREAKING: OK Dems to attempt initiative to repeal Constitutional Carry


State Rep. Jason Lowe (D-OKC), supported by the Oklahoma chapter of Moms Demand Action, the president of the Young Democrats of America, and other groups, announced today that he has filed with the Secretary of State to collect signatures for an initiative petition to overturn permit-less carry (aka Constitutional Carry) legislation here in Oklahoma.

The press release announcing the move is below:

MEDIA ADVISORY: Lowe to Hold Press Conference to Announce Referendum Petition on Permit-Less Carry Legislation

WHO: Representative Jason Lowe, Joshua Harris-Till – President of Young Democrats of America, Jennifer Birch – Oklahoma Deputy Chapter Lead of Moms Demand Action, Rev. Lori Walke – OKC Faith Outreach Lead, Moms Demand Action

WHAT: Press Conference

WHEN: TODAY, August 12, at 2 p.m.

WHERE: Room 432B of the State Capitol

WHY: Today Representative Jason Lowe has filed language with the Secretary of State to repeal House Bill 2597 commonly known as Permit-less carry. He and the groups joining him believe the people of Oklahoma should decide if removing training and permits for firearms are the right decision for our state. With a very narrow window of 10 days, Representative Lowe hopes to get tens of thousands of signatures in order to place this question on the 2020 ballot.

Moms Demand Action is part of a nationwide anti-gun organization founded by the infamously anti-Second Amendment former mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg was influential in the 2018 defeat of 5th District Republican Congressman Steve Russell. Former Oklahoma governor, senator, and OU president David Boren used to be on the advisory board of the national organization ('Everytown for Gun Safety') that oversees MDA.

Joshua Harris-Till twice ran for Congress in the 2nd Congressional District. In 2014, he lost in the primary, and was the 2016 Democratic nominee, garnering just over 23% of the vote. He was elected as national president of the Young Democrats of America at their 2019 convention last month.

Lori Walke is the wife of State Rep. Collin Walke (D-OKC), one of the most liberal members of the Oklahoma Legislature.

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

CD5 GOP primary: Neese endorsed by Shawnee mayor

NEESE SECURES ENDORSEMENT OF SHAWNEE CITY MAYOR RICHARD FINLEY

Oklahoma City, OK – Terry Neese, conservative Republican candidate for Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District, has secured the endorsement of Shawnee City Mayor Richard Finley. In a statement released today, Mayor Finley urged 5th District Republicans to join him in supporting “a proven conservative and successful job creator” who will return Oklahoma values to our Congressional House District in 2020.

“Terry is a proven conservative and successful job creator who has devoted her entire life and career to helping tens of thousands of men and women succeed,” said Mayor Richard Finley. “There is no candidate in this race who is more equipped with the experience and leadership needed to take on Kendra Horn and stop the radical Left’s destructive giveaways. I am proud to give Terry my full endorsement and I urge 5th District Republicans to join me in electing a results-oriented ally of our President who will deliver for Oklahomans.”

“I am proud to have the endorsement of Mayor Finley, a fierce defender of good governance and a tremendous advocate for Shawnee taxpayers,” said Terry Neese. “Like me, Mayor Finley has seen firsthand how big-government regulations and taxes cripple job growth, hurt our economy, and leave working families struggling to make ends meet. As the Congresswoman for the 5th District, I will fight for regulatory relief, lower taxes, and pro-job policies that will help grow our nation’s economy and secure brighter futures for all Oklahomans.” 

In addition to serving as Mayor of the City of Shawnee, Richard Finley is also a retired partner of Finley & Cook and a successful Oklahoma Certified Public Accountant.

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

Saturday, August 10, 2019

OEA tweet: "teaching is a political act"

Union declares teaching is political

Just weeks after roughly 60 of its members attended a conference where participants voiced support for abortion, transgender rights, reparations for slavery, and more, the Oklahoma Education Association tweeted that teaching “is a political act.”

On July 28, a message on the OEA’s official Twitter account stated, “As teachers, we need to realize that teaching is a political act. It affects everyone, and therefore we need to advocate for good policies that invest public resources wisely in the common good. We can no longer shut up and teach.”

That text was a quote pulled from a linked “Education Week” article by Rep. John Waldron, a former teacher and Tulsa Democrat. In that article, Waldron decried an anti-abortion measure passed by Oklahoma lawmakers and criticized the decision to place $200 million into state savings. Waldron also compared “deep-red” states like Oklahoma to the Confederacy as examples of “government under single-party rule.”

Shortly after comparing proponents of slavery and modern lawmakers, Waldron wrote, “One of the reasons we have so many states run by one party is that we have learned to vilify the other side rather than listen to it.”

The OEA tweet is only the latest instance where union officials have voiced apparent support for the intermingling of teaching and politics.

In a 2016 column urging political activism, OEA president Alicia Priest declared that “everything about public education is political. The reforms, the elected school board, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the standards, your salary and benefits, the textbooks that are approved for your use—ALL politically driven decisions.”

Among the benefits of increased political activity, Priest wrote, was “the treasure of building power.”

Other union activists have been even more explicit in advocating political stances via the education system.

On Feb. 8, Priest tweeted a picture of herself and Aaron Baker, an 8th-grade history teacher in Del City. Both were attending the National Education Association Foundation Gala, and Priest noted Baker was an “OEA awardee” at the event.

That tweet was notable because Baker, who has also been a participant in the OEA’s delegate assembly, has often proclaimed that he injects politics into educational settings. Among other things, he has written that he teaches his students “that the phrase ‘law and order’ is steeped in systemic racism,” that “concentrated wealth multiplies poverty,” “that most of the time, when people kill people, they use guns,” and that “the greatest nuclear threat the world has ever seen is the United States of America.”

Baker has also written, “There are seeds of an Oklahoma Socialist revival germinating in the rich soil of progressive #oklaed.”

Some officials who have won election with OEA backing have avoided the explicit rhetoric of the union, but have often fallen in line with the union’s demands when it comes time to vote.

In a November 2018 video podcast with The Oklahoman, Sen. Cari Hicks, an Oklahoma City Democrat and former teacher who was endorsed by the OEA, downplayed the role of partisanship in policymaking.

“Education, to me, is nonpartisan,” Hicks said.

But she subsequently joined a party-line effort to block most of Gov. Kevin Stitt’s nominees to the State Board of Education. As a member of the Senate Education Committee, Hicks opposed confirmation of Carlisha Williams Bradley; William Flanagan, Jr.; Estela Hernandez and Jennifer Monies.

Hicks opposed Flanagan’s nomination after he expressed support for charter schools and virtual education and said officials could reduce administrative duplication and waste in Oklahoma schools.

Hicks announced her opposition to Hernandez and Monies before either nominee appeared before the committee. The Oklahoman reported that Hicks said she “was aided in her decision by a set of criteria put together by Democratic lawmakers focused on education,” but “declined to share the criteria.”

Stitt’s Board of Education nominees were opposed by the OEA.

Ray Carter is the director of OCPA’s Center for Independent Journalism. He has two decades of experience in journalism and communications. He previously served as senior Capitol reporter for The Journal Record, media director for the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and chief editorial writer at The Oklahoman.

2019 Conservative Index released, rating OK legislators


Legislators Rated
by Oklahoma Constitution Staff

The Oklahoma Constitution presents the 41st annual Oklahoma Conservative Index, rating our state legislators. Members of each house of the Oklahoma Legislature were rated on ten key votes. A favorable vote on these issues represents a belief in conservative principles.

After taking suggestions from conservative leaders, the staff of the Oklahoma Constitution submitted proposed bills to a vote of the membership of the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee (OCPAC) to determine the ten key votes. The legislators were rated based on their votes on bills which included such issues as protecting free speech, protecting the right to keep and bear arms, protecting life, obstructing overbearing government regulations, against subsidizing businesses, and in opposition to revisionist history.

The average score this year was 48% in the House and 61% in the Senate. The Top Conservative and Top Liberal legislators were selected by their scores on the Index. Making the Top Conservatives list were 29 lawmakers who scored 80% or more. On the Top Liberals list were 31 lawmakers scoring 20% or less.

TOP CONSERVATIVES

Four legislators, two in the House and two in the Senate, scored a perfect 100% conservative rating this year. House members scoring 100% were Tom Gann of Inola, and Jim Olsen of Roland. Senators scoring 100% were Mark Allen of Spiro, and Nathan Dahm of Broken Arrow.

The next highest score was 93%, made by Representative Kevin West of Moore. Also scoring 93% were Senators Marty Quinn of Claremore, and Gary Stanislawski of Tulsa. Scoring 90% were House members Denise Crosswhite of Yukon, Tommy Hardin of Madill, Mark Lepak of Claremore, and Sean Roberts of Hominy.

One legislator, Sen. Joe Newhouse of Broken Arrow, score 86 percent. Two House members, Chad Caldwell of Enid, and Rande Worthen of Lawton, scored 83 percent. Also scoring 83% were Senators Larry Boggs of Red Oak, Julie Daniels of Bartlesville, and Casey Murdock of Felt.

Completing the list of Top Conservatives were 13 legislators who scored 80 percent. House members scoring 80% were Rhonda Baker of Yukon, Justin Humphrey of Lane, Mike Sanders of Kingfisher, Jay Steagall of Yukon, and Zack Taylor of Seminole. Senate members scoring 80% were Michael Bergstrom of Adair, David Bullard of Durant, John Haste of Broken Arrow, John Montgomery of Lawton, Roland Pederson of Burlington, Dewayne Pemberton of Muskogee, Wayne Shaw of Grove, and Darrell Weaver of Moore.

TOP LIBERALS

A large number of legislators scored zero conservative this year, including the Minority (Democrat) Leaders in both chambers. Thirteen representatives and three senators took the liberal position on all ten bills included on this year’s Oklahoma Conservative Index. Members of the House scoring zero were Kelly Albright of Midwest City, Merleyn Bell of Norman, Forrest Bennett of Oklahoma City, Chelsey Branham of Edmond, Mickey Dollens of Oklahoma City, Monroe Nichols of Tulsa, Melissa Provenzano of Tulsa, Trish Ranson of Stillwater, Jacob Rosecrants of Norman, Shane Stone of Oklahoma City, Emily Virgin of Norman (House Minority Leader), John Waldron of Tulsa, and Collin Walke of Oklahoma City. Members of the Senate scoring zero were Kay Floyd of Oklahoma City (Senate Minority Leader), Julia Kirt of Oklahoma City, and Kevin Matthews of Tulsa.

The next lowest score was 3% made by four representatives: Denise Brewer of Tulsa, Regina Goodwin of Tulsa, Jason Lowe of Oklahoma City, and Cyndi Munson of Oklahoma City. Two other representatives, Meloyde Blancett of Tulsa and Jason Dunnington of Oklahoma City, scored 6 percent. Three members of the House scored 10 percent, including Andy Fugate of Oklahoma City, Ben Loring of Miami, and David Perryman of Chickasha. Also scoring 10% were Senators Mary Boren of Norman, Michael Brooks of Oklahoma City, Carri Hicks of Oklahoma City, and George Young of Oklahoma City. One legislator, Rep. Ajay Pittman of Oklahoma City, received a 15% score. It is worthy of note that she missed five of the ten votes and voted liberal on the other five. Completing the Top Liberals list was one legislator, Rep. John Talley of Stillwater, who scored 20 percent.


If you want to view the Index in non-PDF format, go to this link, courtesy of SoonerPolitics.

Friday, August 09, 2019

OCPA column: Stitt right to seek review of casino fees

Stitt right to seek review of casino fees
by Jonathan Small

In discussions of tax policy, the issue of “fairness” often arises. So here’s a simple question. Is it fair to impose a larger tax penalty on people for drinking water than for operating a casino? If you’re among those who think running slot machines should be taxed at the same rate, if not higher, than what people face when trying to rehydrate on a hot summer day, you should welcome Gov. Kevin Stitt’s call to renegotiate Oklahoma’s gaming compacts.

In Oklahoma, the combined state-local sales tax rate on a bottle of water averages 8.94 percent, but the state fee on casino slot machines is just 6 percent. That’s not the only comparison in which Oklahoma’s casino fees stand out.

In other states, tax rates on non-tribal casinos routinely run between 20 and 40 percent. Some will object that it’s not fair to compare tribal casinos with non-tribal operations. But even when examining only tribal casinos, it’s clear that Oklahoma’s casinos are paying a pretty low rate. Elsewhere, tribal casinos may pay fees of around 20 percent, and it’s estimated 44 percent of tribal gaming compacts nationwide include fees of 10 percent or greater.

Oklahoma’s gaming compacts, which expire at the end of this year, provide tribes with significant advantages—including virtual exclusivity or monopoly of casino revenue and operation, casino revenue-base subject to fees, and other provisions.

Put simply, tribal entities are given a near-monopoly on Las Vegas-style gambling in Oklahoma, and that has reaped them enormous financial gain. Oklahoma is now home to more than 100 casinos, a larger number than every state but Nevada and California, and billions go through those casinos. Casino gambling, as a share of Oklahoma’s GDP, has doubled since 2004, even after adjusting for inflation. Also, an unbiased analysis of the economic impact of gambling reveals that, especially in Oklahoma, gambling is first an extremely redistributive endeavor wherein billions of dollars are extracted from the normal economy.

As money pours through those casinos, the provisions limiting competition make those businesses roughly comparable to a utility with a monopoly, which puts the state in the business of determining fair prices.

Those opposed to changing gaming compacts argue the compacts continue in perpetuity unless both sides agree. That’s an interesting take since renegotiation isn’t likely to happen if a deal turns out to be lopsided in favor of one entity, and the state constitution and numerous laws restrict the ability of policymakers to forever bind future citizens.

Governor Stitt thinks it is time for the state to reassess whether the fees paid by casinos to Oklahoma government, which are supposed to go to education, are fair. As Oklahomans learn more about this issue, I think most people will agree with him.

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

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Rep. Hern's re-election rally to feature Freedom Caucus Rep. Jim Jordan

Rep. Kevin Hern is holding a re-election campaign rally on Saturday, featuring special guest Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH). Jordan is the Ranking Member of the House Oversight Committee and a co-founder of the conservative Freedom Caucus.


The rally will be held on Saturday, August 10, at 2:00 PM, and will take place at the Stoney Creek Convention Center located at 200 W. Albany Street in Broken Arrow.

~~          ~~          ~~          ~~          ~~          ~~          

Are you opinionated? Would you like to earn rewards for your opinion? Join YouGov and participate in a wide variety of surveys, from consumer behavior to nationally-publicized political polls. YouGov is an international Internet-based market research and data analytics firm that gives points and rewards in return for your opinion. Redeem the points you receive for gift cards ranging from $15 all the way up to $100.

I've been a member of YouGov for about a decade. While it can take a while to accumulate, I have been able to redeem the $100 reward several times by saving up points. In the process, I've participated in a wide range of surveys, including many political polls that get mentioned in media reports, so that's a neat aspect of it. Use this link to receive 2,000 bonus points to get you started on your experience! Shoot me an email if you have further questions.

Hern introduces bill on emergency communications during floods


Rep. Hern Introduces Bill to Address Emergency Communications During Floods

Tulsa, OK – At the end of July, Representative Kevin Hern (OK-01) sponsored his first bill as a Member of Congress. H.R. 3944 amends the Water Resources Reform and Development Act, addressing the communications shortfalls Oklahomans experienced during the flooding this past May.

“Seeing firsthand the disaster that hit our community in May, I had to do something,” said Rep. Hern. “I spoke with people in our community, met with officials from FEMA, the Army Corps of Engineers, emergency responders, and city leaders to determine what went wrong and how we could better prepare for floods like this in the future. It was clear that communication paths needed a fix. This bill will streamline communication of risk from the moment that the National Weather Service forecasts potential flooding. I hope this will help our community and other like it across the country prevent disasters like what we experienced in May from happening again.”

BACKGROUND:
This spring, Oklahoma’s First District was devastated by flooding. Unfortunately, while the Army Corps of Engineers always do well to respond in these situations, failing infrastructure and bureaucratic hurdles hamper their overall ability to provide adequate emergency communications.

Because of this, Congressman Hern is introducing this legislation to add another tool to the Army Corp’s belt. This reform will grant the Army Corps of Engineers the ability to better communicate impending disasters with our community and potentially give our constituents more time to prepare for flooding in the future. While we can’t stop these disasters from occurring, we can always be more prepared, and this bill will help us to achieve that.

This bill requires the Army Corps of Engineers to send emergency communications earlier, so constituents are better protected against disaster.

  • Currently, the U.S. Code directs the Army Corps of Engineers to only send out emergency communications when “precipitation or runoff exceeds those calculations considered as the lowest risk to life and property.”
  • This bill would adjust this requirement so that the Army Corps of Engineers would also send this emergency communication when the National Weather Service forecasts the possibility of precipitation or runoff exceeding calculations considered the lowest risk to life and property.
  • This would better help local and state governments to make more informed plans ahead of time to prepare constituents, and to help them to better preempt any dangers caused by water releases.

QUESTIONS ABOUT H.R 3944

Would this bill force the Army Corps of Engineers to make releases before flood water accumulates on the ground?
No, this bill would do nothing to change the Army Corp of Engineer’s policy of not making releases until water accumulates, as is safer due to changing forecasts.


Rather, this bill will ensure quicker emergency communications from the Army Corps to localities so that constituents would get a more advanced notice of impending floods, and so that they would be able to react accordingly.

What if the forecasts under-anticipate the amount of precipitation?
Congressman Hern understands the potential errors of forecasting. Because of this, H.R.3944 requires emergency communication from the Army Corps when the forecasts require it, and when precipitation and run-off actually exceeds those calculations considered as the lowest risk to life and property, as is currently utilized.

In having both of these events as triggers for emergency communications, Congressman Hern’s bill will also protect constituents in the off-chance that flooding is not forecasted, but still occurs.

The bill text can be found here.

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Rep. Kevin Hern launches re-election campaign


Rep. Kevin Hern launches re-election campaign

Tulsa, OK - Representative Kevin Hern announced his campaign for re-election in 2020 this morning.

"After nearly three successful years of Donald Trump's presidency, it is clear that solutions-oriented leaders are what we need in Congress," said Rep. Hern. "While Democrats have wasted their first year in the majority with chaos and internal battles, Republicans have stayed true to the values the American people sent us here to represent.”

Rep. Hern continued, “I am proud to be a leading voice for business owners, working in Congress to remove the burdensome regulations that our government imposes on small businesses. The immigration fight has lasted decades, but the crisis on our border has finally gotten Congress to pay attention and do something about it. I’ve supported several bills, some of which are now law, helping our veterans get access to the care and benefits they deserve. I'm launching my re-election today with the hopes that we will take back the majority in the House next year and spend the next several years furthering President Trump's pro-growth agenda, helping our business owners thrive, and taking care of our veterans. There’s a lot of work left to be done. I can’t wait to continue the work for Oklahoma’s First District."

          ~~                    ~~                    ~~                    ~~                    ~~          

Are you opinionated? Would you like to earn rewards for your opinion? Join YouGov and participate in a wide variety of surveys, from consumer behavior to nationally-publicized political polls. YouGov is an international Internet-based market research and data analytics firm that gives points and rewards in return for your opinion. Redeem the points you receive for gift cards ranging from $15 all the way up to $100.

I've been a member of YouGov for about a decade. While it can take a while to accumulate, I have been able to redeem the $100 reward several times by saving up points. In the process, I've participated in a wide range of surveys, including many political polls that get mentioned in media reports, so that's a neat aspect of it. Use this link to receive 2,000 bonus points to get you started on your experience! Shoot me an email if you have further questions.

Dahm, Gann celebrate signing of government transparency bill

Sen. Nathan Dahm and Rep. Tom Gann attend a ceremonial bill signing of Senate Bill 316 with Gov. Kevin Stitt in the Blue Room at the State Capitol. Pictured left to right: Carla Ray, legislative assistant to Rep. Gann, Sen. Dahm, Gov. Stitt, Rep. Gann and his wife, Debbie Gann.
Lawmakers See Bill Signed That Will Increase Gov. Transparency

OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. Nathan Dahm and Rep. Tom Gann today observed as Gov. Kevin Stitt ceremonially signed a bill that will increase transparency and accountability of the transfer of state dollars between state agencies and other entities.

Senate Bill 316 creates the Government Transparency Act of 2019, which requires state agencies to publish online the specifics of agreements with other entities when a transfer of public money will take place. The posting must be within 15 days of the agreement’s effective date. Agencies also are required to provide copies of the proposed agreements to appropriate legislative committees.

“Many of our state agencies have entered into memorandums of understanding or agreements with other state agencies, public entities, or even foreign governments,” said Sen. Dahm, R-Broken Arrow. “However, most of these are done without public input or knowledge. State government should work to be open and transparent in working for the good of our citizens. This is a huge step forward in bringing that additional transparency for our citizens to further engage and investigate the actions of government to hold them accountable.”

Gann echoed his sentiments.

“Senate Bill 316 addresses the grand jury audit finding that found the Oklahoma Department of Health had transferred money to the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust without a proper memorandum of understanding or agreement in place,” said Rep. Gann, R-Inola. “This legislation, requiring state agencies to post those agreements online, enhances transparency and accountability on what monies are being exchanged between agencies. This is the proper way to conduct government business in full view of the public.”

The law becomes effective Nov. 1.

1889 Institute: Make homebuying cheaper by repealing Abstractor licensing


1889 INSTITUTE SAYS “MAKE HOMEBUYING CHEAPER: REPEAL ABSTRACTOR LICENSING”
Title insurance in Oklahoma costs an extra $280 compared to the national average

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (August 7, 2019) – The 1889 Institute has published “Abstracting: Licensure and Regulatory Impacts in Oklahoma,” which calls for deregulating abstracting in Oklahoma, including abolishing the Abstractors Board and ending abstracting licensing. Abstracting is the practice of researching the ownership history of a piece of property, usually in preparation for its sale. Oklahoma requires complete abstracts prepared for every property sale as a condition for purchasing title insurance, which is required for mortgaged property.

The report shows that, in addition to licensing abstractors, Oklahoma imposes other costly regulations on abstracting. These include requiring every abstracting company to maintain title records, separate from the county recording office, requiring a permit to create these records, requiring a licensed attorney to review every abstract, and requiring abstract companies to obtain a certificate of authority from the Abstractors Board.

“Having examined the laws of many other states, it appears that Oklahoma has done its best to make the buying and selling of real property as onerous and costly as possible,” said Mike Davis, author of the report and Research Fellow at the Institute.

Because of the way comparison data are reported and due to differences across states, it is difficult to determine all the impacts of Oklahoma’s excessive regulation of the abstracting industry. One impact is Oklahoma’s relatively high cost of title insurance. Another is that while Oklahoma has relatively few abstracting offices, given its population, it has an excessive number of individuals working in abstracting, as shown in the report’s statistical analysis.

“Given the statistical results, it’s obvious that excessive regulation had the result likely intended,” said Davis. “Relatively few offices means there is less overall competition, but the relatively high number of personnel indicates how much busy work is required by the regulations,” he said.

Davis summed up the study, saying, “Bottom line, by repealing licensing and needless regulation in abstracting, Oklahoma home buyers could save time, trouble, and money.”

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

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

In gaming-fee standoff, Tribes flip-flop from past tax-increase position

Ray Carter with the Center for Independent Journalism makes an astute observation about the standoff between Oklahoma's Indian tribes and Governor Stitt over the renewal of gaming compacts.


Tribal stances on gaming-fee increase contrast with past tax-increase position
by Ray Carter - Director, Center for Independent Journalism

August 5th, 2019 (link) -- In 2018, officials with the Chickasaw Nation, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, and Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma were among those endorsing the “Step Up Oklahoma” plan, which ultimately resulted in legislation that sought nearly $600 million in annual tax increases, including increased taxes on Oklahoma drivers’ purchases of fuel, additional taxes on employers in the energy industry, and higher tobacco taxes.

Now, less than two years removed from that debate, those same tribal entities are opposed to Gov. Kevin Stitt’s call to renegotiate tribal gaming compacts and possibly increase the “exclusivity fee” paid by tribes, which acts as a de facto tax.

Where some see the two debates as entirely separate, others see a flagrant flip-flop.

“It goes back to that old saying: Don’t tax me, don’t tax thee, tax that fellow under the tree,” said former state Rep. Jeff Coody of Grandfield, who served in the Legislature at the time of the Step Up debate. “Everybody wants everybody to contribute except when the finger turns to them and says, ‘Okay. How about you?”

But one tribal official said the dispute is not primarily about proposed increases in exclusivity fees.

“The question of a rate increase is not what has provoked the strong opposition from Tribes across the State,” Stephen Greetham, senior counsel of the Chickasaw Nation, said in a statement. “While no Tribe believes a rate increase is justifiable, our opposition stems from Governor Stitt’s declaration of his intent to walk away from our agreement—an intergovernmental compact that includes far more than mere revenue-share rates and has served all parties well.”

In a column that ran in the Tulsa World in July, Stitt called for renegotiating the state’s gaming compacts with Oklahoma tribes. Those compacts, which expire at the end of the year, give the tribes the exclusive right to operate casinos in Oklahoma, aside from a handful of “racino” racetracks that also have slot machines. In exchange, the tribes pay the state a fee for that exclusivity. The fee tops out at 6 percent on slot machines.

In comparison, the state-local sales tax rate on a bottle of water in Oklahoma averages 8.94 percent. In other states, the tax rates on non-tribal casino operations are often between 20 and 40 percent, and several tribal gaming compacts in other states include exclusivity fees in the 20-percent range. According to one estimate, 44 percent of tribal gaming compacts nationwide involve fees of 10 percent or greater.

Stitt said Oklahoma tribes generate an estimated $4.5 billion in annual revenue from casino operations. Under the current compacts, Oklahoma state government received $138.6 million of that total through exclusivity payments in 2018, which amounts to about 3 percent of total revenue generated by casinos.

In response to Stitt’s call for renegotiating the compacts, officials with 29 tribal governments in Oklahoma signed a letter saying they believe the compacts “automatically renew” on Jan. 1, 2020, and that “rates under the present Gaming Compact should not change.”

Tribal officials argue that increased fee payments to the state may reduce tribal government spending on education, health care, and transportation projects, and that Oklahoma state government would ultimately have to increase spending in those areas to make up the difference.

“We are a sovereign tribal nation with a fiduciary responsibility to serve our citizens,” Chief Gary Batton of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma said in a statement. “However, our values compel us to go above and beyond this responsibility to serve all people in southeastern Oklahoma. The Choctaw Nation supports public schools and partners with local communities to support roads, bridges, and many other infrastructure needs, as well as serving as the backbone of rural healthcare in southeastern Oklahoma. The businesses we operate have a positive economic impact and help support the regional economy, and we reinvest our profits into Oklahomans, not shareholders. Likewise, gaming exclusivity fees are not taxes. They were negotiated between two governments, and we have demonstrated for decades that our commitment and investment in Oklahoma goes well beyond exclusivity fee payments to the State of Oklahoma. We have been committed to terms of the compact, and are a proven partner to work collaboratively with the State of Oklahoma. The gaming compact has proven to be an effective way to serve Oklahomans.”

The arguments tribal officials have put forth about their broader contributions to Oklahoma, and the potential problems that could be created by an increase in exclusivity fees, echo those put forth by officials in Oklahoma’s energy industry during prior tax-increase debates.

The American Gaming Association has estimated that casinos support 75,000 jobs in Oklahoma and have an economic impact of nearly $10 billion in the state. While those are sizable figures, they don’t exceed the numbers generated by Oklahoma’s energy sector. A 2016 report by the State Chamber of Oklahoma Research Foundation showed that nearly 150,000 Oklahomans were either wage-and-salary workers or self-employed in the oil and gas sector, and that the associated $15.6 billion in household earnings accounted for 13.2 percent of total state earnings. The report found the oil and gas industry supported an estimated $65.7 billion in total state output.

Lawmakers still raised taxes on employers in the energy sector, and did so repeatedly, in recent years.

Critics also contend the economic-development arguments put forth by casino operators are fundamentally flawed because gambling is not comparable to any other business, including those subject to “sin taxes.”

“If you order a beer or a glass of wine or even get a cigarette—while those things certainly have a lot of danger to them and I’m not defending those things—you still get a glass of wine back,” said Les Bernal, national director of Stop Predatory Gambling, which opposes state promotion of gambling. “With commercialized gambling, it’s a financial exchange. And it’s a financial exchange that’s mathematically rigged against you so that inevitably you’re going to lose all your money. Success only comes at someone else’s expense. That’s why it’s like no other commodity out there. It’s like no other business, including other vices.”

While other businesses produce something of value that has a multiplier effect in the economy, Bernal said that’s not true of gambling.

“Commercialized gambling is milking existing wealth,” Bernal said. “It’s a sterile transfer of wealth. It’s a naked money grab disguised as economic development.”

Coody also says claims of the economic benefits created by Oklahoma casinos are more shell game than reality.

“They’re not producing anything. They’re not improving anything,” Coody said. “All they’re doing is redistributing income.”

Former state Rep. Mike Turner of Edmond, who now serves as vice-chair of the Oklahoma Republican Party, says those who suggest tribes were only willing to tax others without stepping up in 2018 are wrong.

“Very few people remember that the tribes actually came to the Legislature last go around and said, “We’re willing to pay more,’” said Turner, who stressed he was speaking as a private citizen and not as a state GOP official. “People forget about that, and most people don’t know that.”

That offer was made in exchange for the Legislature legalizing roulette tables at the casinos, he said.

Coody suggests the idea that altruism was the primary motive behind that offer is naïve.

“They’re always looking to expand and the only way they’re going to agree to give anything up is when they think they’ve got more to gain from the state allowing them some type of expansion of their games,” Coody said.

Turner also said the governor’s call to renegotiate the compacts will likely go nowhere because the “plain text” of the agreements says the compacts automatically renew unless both parties want to renegotiate. So long as the tribes decline to renegotiate, he said, the compacts renew as is.

“Every attorney that I’ve talked to says, ‘Yeah, it rolls over,’” Turner said.

For Bernal, the debate over the exclusivity fee paid by Oklahoma tribes misses the big picture.

“It doesn’t matter, whatever you tax it, it’s a rip off for all citizens,” Bernal said. “And so if the tax is 6 percent or 15 percent, it’s still a loser for the people of Oklahoma. The guys that run the games, they’re still going to win, regardless. To me, it’s almost an irrelevant argument.”

Ray Carter is the director of OCPA’s Center for Independent Journalism. He has two decades of experience in journalism and communications. He previously served as senior Capitol reporter for The Journal Record, media director for the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and chief editorial writer at The Oklahoman. Articles from the Center for Independent Journalism can be found at this link.

          ~~          ~~          ~~          ~~          ~~          

Are you opinionated? Would you like to earn rewards for your opinion? Join YouGov and participate in a wide variety of surveys, from consumer behavior to nationally-publicized political polls. YouGov is an international Internet-based market research and data analytics firm that gives points and rewards in return for your opinion. Redeem the points you receive for gift cards ranging from $15 all the way up to $100.

I've been a member of YouGov for about a decade. While it can take a while to accumulate, I have been able to redeem the $100 reward several times by saving up points. In the process, I've participated in a wide range of surveys, including many political polls that get mentioned in media reports, so that's a neat aspect of it. Use this link to receive 2,000 bonus points to get you started on your experience! Shoot me an email if you have further questions.

Monday, August 05, 2019

Music Monday: 10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)

This week's Music Monday is 10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord), by Christian singer-songwriter Matt Redman (who I did not realize is English).

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.

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

Atty Gen. Hunter comments on FCC cracking down on Caller ID spoofing


Attorney General Hunter Releases Statement on FCC Commission Approving Measure to Ban Caller ID Spoofing in Text Messages and International Calls

OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General Mike Hunter today commended Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for voting to implement rules to ban caller ID spoofing in text messages and international calls.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai originally proposed the rules to the commission in July following the recommendations of a bipartisan coalition of 42 state attorneys general, including Attorney General Hunter, in May.

The new rules amend the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009 by implementing federal legislation passed in 2018 that makes spoofing from international call centers and text messages illegal. The act previously prohibited misleading caller ID spoofing from domestic callers only. It did not prohibit overseas calls and text messages.

The rules will also give the FCC the authority to bring enforcement actions against those sending the fraudulent text messages and making the falsely identified calls from overseas.

Attorney General Hunter commended the FCC and Chairman Pai for taking meaningful action to help consumers.

During our recent meeting, Chairman Pai said his top consumer protection priority was combatting unlawful robocalls and caller ID spoofing,” Attorney General Hunter said. “Thanks to his leadership and action taken by the FCC, progress is being made in our fight to combat these crimes that are causing real harm to Americans. These latest measures will close loopholes in the Truth in Caller ID Act and give law enforcement the ability to go after the criminals who are preying on consumers. My office remains dedicated to assisting our federal partners on this front to end these scams and better protect Oklahomans.”

According to the FCC, the scam involves fraudsters working in overseas call centers pretending to call from trusted organizations and using pressure tactics to deceive and defraud American consumers of money and personal information. Caller ID spoofing is used in these cases by the scammers to make their phone number appear to match the organization they are pretending to represent.

In the first six months of this year, the FCC has received more than 35,000 complaints about caller ID spoofing.

More on today’s announcement, here: https://bit.ly/2KjEe7G.

For more on steps Attorney General Hunter has taken to combat illegal robocalls, click here: https://bit.ly/2OzfEVP.

For more on what the FCC is doing to combat illegal robocalls and spoofing, click here: https://bit.ly/2UBVUDo.