Wednesday, December 30, 2020

24 GOP State Reps ask Oklahoma delegation to challenge Electoral College votes in Congress

This may come as a surprise to some of my readers, and I'm sure I'll lose or upset some of you, but the following press release is nothing more than a fantasy and pandering to individuals who refuse to accept the possibility that President Donald Trump could have in fact lost the election.

The real story is that the Trump campaign itself does not believe the post-election spin that it has fed Trump supporters. If they did, then they would have put forward a legitimate legal effort led by competent individuals. They didn't, and no elected conservatives will dare say that 'the Emperor has no clothes' for fear of the political ramifications. 

There's a lot more to unpack on that story, but until I get some time to write my take down, here's what a quarter of the Oklahoma State House members are asking our congressional delegation to do next week:

Group of House Republicans Urges OK Congressional Delegation to Challenge Electoral College Votes

OKLAHOMA CITY (December 22nd) – A group of Oklahoma House Republicans today sent a letter to the members of the Oklahoma congressional delegation urging them to challenge the certification of the Electoral College votes on Jan. 6, 2021.

The 24 lawmakers contend that election law changes and violations in swing states disenfranchised the votes cast by Oklahomans.

“Every state in our Union is dependent on the others to hold free, fair and constitutional elections,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement. “When any state willfully violates our mutual contract – the U.S. Constitution – and/or their own state election laws (in order to skew the outcome of their election), the process and subsequent results shall not be dismissed or ignored. We must commit ourselves as a state to ensure our constituents’ votes are not disenfranchised, and we must hold accountable those who intend to harm us through election tampering.”

The following lawmakers signed on to this statement:

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Lucas votes for new COVID stimulus bill, supports Trump's request for $2,000 instead of $600

Lucas Votes in Favor of CASH Act, Supports President’s Request Increasing Direct Stimulus

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 9051- the Caring for Americans with Supplemental Help (CASH) Act. Lucas supported the legislation.

“The coronavirus pandemic has caused tremendous societal and economic hardships across Oklahoma and the United States. While a number of our communities have begun to recover, many Oklahomans and families are falling even further behind and are now faced with the consequences of delaying bill payments in order to purchase necessities for their families. Our recovery will depend significantly on the course of the virus in our communities, but during times of need, Congress must provide stability and a bridge for individuals and families until we are fully on the path of recovery,” said Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03). “Joining with President Trump, I’m hopeful the aid the House voted on tonight will further assist Oklahomans during this historic pandemic and economic crisis.”

The CASH Act increases the value of the economic impact payments (EIPs) proved in the end-of-year relief package so that each eligible family member receives $2,000, up from $600.

Friday, December 25, 2020

Merry CHRISTmas!

Have a very merry Christmas!

The account of the birth of Jesus Christ, from Luke 2:

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

I hope that you have a very happy and safe holiday!

Monday, December 21, 2020

Gov. Stitt, Speaker McCall comment on smaller projected budget deficit than expected


OKLAHOMA CITY (Dec. 18, 2020)- Governor Kevin Stitt today issued the following statement after the Oklahoma State Board of Equalization certified an estimate indicating lawmakers will have $8.4 billion to build a budget for the 2022 fiscal year, which begins July 1, 2021. 

“Over the course of this past fiscal year, Oklahoma’s state revenues have dropped due to the impact of the historic COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with the substantial loss of oil and gas drilling activity," said Gov. Stitt. "However, Oklahoma was one of the first states to fully re-open its economy after the onset of the pandemic to allow Oklahomans to operate their businesses and safely return to work. Thanks to this decision, and the effective deployment of the CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds to our citizens, businesses, cities and counties, the Fiscal Year 2021 predictions are coming in better than expected. By these projections, we now believe we will see less than half the revenue losses predicted in April. Moving forward, the Legislature will still have difficult decisions to make regarding the budget, but my team is committed to working alongside our legislators to ensure we remain fiscally responsible with Oklahomans’ hard earned tax dollars."  

During the meeting, Gov. Stitt gave attention to one-time cash sources of $1.03 billion as part of the spending authority estimate that will not be available in FY 2023 and does not bring the State back to its previously projected pre-pandemic levels. 

The Board of Equalization will return in February to certify a final estimate on how much revenue lawmakers will have to build a budget during the upcoming legislative session.

Speaker McCall comments on preliminary Board of Equalization projection

OKLAHOMA CITY – House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, issued the following statement on the Board of Equalization's preliminary revenue projection for the Fiscal Year 2022 appropriated state budget:

“The projection is a big relief. The budget hole is far smaller than projected this spring because Governor Kevin Stitt and Republicans prioritized keeping the economy open for businesses and families. This approach created a very workable situation for the Legislature and governor to set a budget meeting the state’s needs.

Use of existing savings, spending less than authorized, and other responsible measures helped stabilize last year’s and this year’s budgets during the peaks of the pandemic. Those actions also gave state agencies a full 18 months to prepare for what we can now see will be very workable, smaller-than-expected reductions in next year’s budget.

Oklahoma has solved far bigger budgetary challenges before and will do so again. Governor Stitt’s leadership and smart legislative budgeting have positioned Oklahoma to have an adequate state budget as it continues fighting the pandemic while mourning those lost to it. Government must stay functional to protect the public, and this initial revenue projection indicates it can do so without major issue.”

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Gov. Stitt appoints Judge Thomas Prince to Court of Civil Appeals


OKLAHOMA CITY (Dec. 18, 2020) – Governor Kevin Stitt announced today the appointment of Judge Thomas E. Prince to the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals. This is the governor’s third appointment to the Court.    

"Judge Tom Prince is a proven legal mind who has served the State of Oklahoma for over three decades," said Gov. Stitt. "Years of legal and judicial experience have prepared him for this new role, and I look forward to watching him serve the people of Oklahoma on the Court of Civil Appeals."  

"I am truly honored Governor Stitt would appoint me to the Court of Civil Appeals," Prince said. "As I have done as a District Judge, I will strive to rule according to the law in each case, to apply the law as written and to not favor any person, group or entity over another. I look forward to serving the people of the State of Oklahoma in this position."  

Prince has served as a District Judge for Oklahoma County since 2012, where he has presided over more than 95 civil and criminal jury trials. During his service as a District Judge, Prince was appointed by the Oklahoma Supreme Court to serve as the Presiding Judge for the State Multi-County Grand Jury from 2016 to 2018. He was also elected by his colleagues in Oklahoma and Canadian Counties to serve as the Vice-Presiding Judge for the Seventh Judicial Administrative District from 2016 to 2018. He was then elected to serve as the Presiding Administrative Judge for Oklahoma and Canadian Counties for the year 2019.  

OCPA: To diversify economy, get rid of the penalty on work

To diversify economy, get rid of the penalty on work
By Jonathan Small

For too long, Oklahoma has tried to diversify its economy by passing special-interest tax breaks and subsidies. That bureaucrat-planning has failed.

It doesn’t have to be this way if lawmakers embrace the policies that are reaping job growth in other states—and elimination of the state income tax, the penalty on work, is the most obvious tool for success.

The New York Post recently reported that Goldman Sachs, “known for its Democratic-leaning and virtue-signaling leadership,” is nonetheless looking to move part of its workforce from New York City “to some of the reddest states in the nation,” including no-income-tax states Texas and Florida. Nashville, located in no-income-tax Tennessee, was also cited as a potential landing spot for relocating firms.

Goldman Sachs is not an anomaly. Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Oracle are moving their headquarters from California to Texas, while E-cigarette maker Juul Labs has already moved its corporate office to that state. Elon Musk is moving to Texas and his company, electric-car maker Tesla, is building a new facility near Austin. The Austin Chamber of Commerce reports 39 companies have relocated there this year.

Companies and executives from states with some of the nation’s highest tax and regulatory burdens—think California, New York, Illinois—are moving to Texas, Florida, and Tennessee with increasing speed. Oklahoma has seen the loss of headquarters and hundreds of thousands of jobs from Phillips Petroleum, Hilti Corporation, Noble Drilling, SolarWinds, Kerr-McGee, and small businesses and family businesses too numerous to count. Oklahoma also lost out in the competition to become the location for building Tesla’s cyber-truck.

Those relocating include the decisionmakers who determine where thousands of jobs will be located.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Hern: Capitalism pulled me out of poverty, why can’t AOC admit it saved her, too?

Capitalism pulled me out of poverty, why can’t AOC admit it saved her, too?
By Representative Kevin Hern

It is well-documented that my colleague, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, worked in the service industry before running for Congress. It’s part of the reason why she gained so much traction with young people in her party. To be honest, I admire her ambition and think it should be applauded that she has found such success. It’s only possible in America.

What’s less well-known is that she is far from the first person to make that economic jump, and there are several sitting Members of Congress who come from much poorer backgrounds and worked their way to prosperity.

No one wants to talk about it because we’re conservative. We believe that capitalism is what pulled us out of poverty, and we want to maintain that system for future Americans.

The beauty of America is that anything is possible. No matter what economic class you are born into, there is opportunity to turn yourself into anything, if you are willing to work for it. There’s no limit to what you can achieve with a big idea and a strong work ethic.

There are not many people in Congress who can testify to that statement quite like I can.

For many years of my childhood, we didn’t have electricity or running water, because my mom and stepdad couldn’t afford to pay the bill. I remember coming home from elementary school not knowing if we’d have food for dinner most nights. I was mocked by classmates for my worn-out clothes. I was looked down on for receiving free lunches at school. We were constantly moving from house to house because my stepdad never made the rent.

That didn’t stop me from dreaming. In fact, it motivated me. It inspired me to work so hard that my future family would never live like that.

1889 Institute: Legislature should reverse itself and increase transparency

Oklahoma Legislature Should Reverse Itself and Increase Transparency
By Byron Schlomach

Just out this year, Hugh Jackman stars in HBO’s Bad Education, a movie about Frank Tassone, the one-time superintendent of the Roslyn, New York school district who, along with an accomplice, stole $11.2 million in district funds. It’s been called the “largest public school embezzlement in U.S. history,” but is actually the “largest public school embezzlement ever discovered in U.S. history” since there is no way to be sure that a worse theft has not occurred.

Had Pamela Gluckin, Tassone’s partner in crime, not had her son buy $83,000 in home remodeling supplies with the school’s credit card, and alert Home Depot employees not called someone, Gluckin and Tassone likely would have gotten away with their theft.

The movie’s dramatization of a student reporter digging into filed receipts and investigating suspicious (fake) vendors reflects the hard work of real-life reporters at the time. But what if concerned individuals could look at a government entity’s transactions after downloading from the internet without filing Freedom of Information Act requests, going to court for access, or digging through boxes? A Tassone or Gluckin would likely steal no more than a pittance if others could look over their shoulders so easily.

Friday, December 18, 2020

State Board of Education suspends School Report Card letter grades for '20-'21 school year

State Board of Education suspends School Report Card letter grades for 2020-21 school year

OKLAHOMA CITY (Dec. 17, 2020) – The Oklahoma State Board of Education today approved a one-year suspension of the Oklahoma School Report Card letter grades for the 2020-21 school year. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister said the move is necessary in light of the significant disruptions in instruction caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

States across the nation have been exploring the impact of COVID-19 on their respective school accountability systems since the Spring of 2020. Hofmeister said it has become clear that the abrupt end to the 2019-20 school year and tumult of the current school year made it necessary to disentangle accountability from the administering of assessments this spring. 

“The reality of 2020 impedes our ability to provide the public with information that can be used to compare school's progress year over year. We are committed to providing schools and the public with actionable, meaningful and transparent data – and that relies on credible trend data that can be used to make valid inferences about school quality and performance,” said Hofmeister.  

“Our priority is to now provide schools with as much information as we can on how students may have been impacted when compared to grade-level expectations, with an emphasis on the impact to students most at risk of falling behind academically.”  

State Sen. Warren Hamilton to file bill to Abolish Abortion in Oklahoma

Hamilton to file Abolition of Abortion in Oklahoma Act/Equal Protection and Equal Justice Act

State Sen. Warren Hamilton, R-McCurtain, announced Wednesday his intent to file the Abolition of Abortion in Oklahoma Act/Equal Protection and Equal Justice Act, which would criminalize and end all abortions in Oklahoma.

The measure would ensure equal justice and equal protection of the laws to all unborn children from the moment of fertilization and establish that an unborn child has the same God-given unalienable rights as any other human.

“All human life is sacred from the very moment of conception,” Hamilton said. “As Americans, we must stand up for those who cannot defend themselves, those not yet born, and protect their lives at all costs. Abortion is an abomination before God, and something we must stop here in Oklahoma if we expect our state to be great. We must also acknowledge the truth that God will not bless America as long as we have innocent blood on our hands.”

The bill will also state that the Constitution does not prohibit any state from using its reserved police powers to outlaw homicide and provide equal protection to all persons within its jurisdiction.

Gov. Stitt announces teachers moving up to phase two in COVID-19 vaccine plan

PreK-12 teachers now prioritized to receive vaccine as part of Gov. Stitt’s continued effort to support in-person instruction 

OKLAHOMA CITY (Dec. 17, 2020) – Governor Kevin Stitt and the Oklahoma State Department of Health announced today that PreK-12 teachers and support staff will be moved up to phase two in the state’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan. This decision was made to support teachers and encourage school districts to provide an option for safe, full-time, in-person instruction for every child in Oklahoma.  

“We know our kids are struggling without being able to attend school in person,” said Gov. Stitt. “Our teachers are so important to our children and to our state, I know they’ve battled through many challenges this year to change how they teach to try and make sure their students don’t fall through the cracks. That’s why I’m so proud to work with Commissioner Frye and the Oklahoma State Department of Health to prioritize our educators for the COVID-19 vaccine and help get our kids back in the classroom.” 

In addition to moving teachers up in priority for the vaccine, OSDH will also continue to offer schools access to testing to provide frequent monitoring for COVID-19. CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield has said schools are one of the safest places a student can be, and little evidence exists to show widespread COVID-19 spread has occurred in schools.  

Increased vaccination priority for teachers coupled with the recent decision by the CDC to reduce quarantine to 10 or seven days under certain circumstances should give schools multiple tools to fight COVID-19 in this spring semester.  

Sunday, December 13, 2020

1889 Institute: OKCPS Sup't focused on BLM chapters in every school, not academics?

Another Suburban Draw: Black Lives Matter Chapters in Every Oklahoma City School
By Byron Schlomach

“You don’t want to live in the Oklahoma City school district” was the universal advice when moving from Phoenix. OKC district schools were pitiful and to be avoided. You’d think with such a poor reputation, the last thing on the mind of the superintendent would be making sure every school has a Black Lives Matter chapter, but you’d be wrong.

During a recent OKC school board meeting, that is exactly what Superintendent Sean McDaniel said. He wants a BLM chapter in every school. OKC district leaders should be concerned about academics, student motivation, and how to hold students and educators more accountable for attaining decent educations. Instead, proposed guiding principles for the district are: Health and Safety; Learning; Social and Emotional Needs; Equity; and Flexible Learning Models.

Two guiding principles have something directly to do with education, one expressing the need for online instruction due to Covid-19. “Health and safety” is a given, but is also Covid-19 related. “Social and emotional needs” refers to the state superintendent’s emphasis on making excuses and turning the schools into social work centers. “Equity” is equity of outcomes, which is inevitably a race to the bottom.

As for Black Lives Matter, let’s be clear; the sentiment expressed in the name is not the organization. The sentiment is unarguable. Human life, regardless of race, color, or creed, matters, so absolutely, black lives matter. However, BLM was cofounded by two avowed Marxists. The official 2015 platform called for disrupting “the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure.” While police brutality and misconduct is a real issue, BLM makes claims about differential impacts that are manifestly not true.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Lawmakers Ask Governor to Refrain from Managed Health Care Plan

Lawmakers Ask Governor to Refrain from Managed Health Care Plan

OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Justin Humphrey, R-Lane, and a group of state lawmakers today sent a letter to Gov. Kevin Stitt expressing concern that should he try to attempt to use his position to try and implement a commercial managed health care plan for the state it would prove to be a disaster.

Humphrey said he and a group of 10 legislators as well as 33 health care business owners and CEOs of rural hospitals attended a meeting Nov. 30, at which there was overwhelming consensus that managed health care would be disastrous for Oklahoma. They said they feared the governor may try to direct the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to use surplus funds to implement a managed health care plan and would try to act before the legislative session begins Feb. 1. They urged him to please refrain from such an action.

“When looking at states with the best Medicaid programs – Oklahoma coming in at No. 4 – they have chosen not use the managed care framework,” the lawmakers said. “Furthermore, the states performing the worst all have commercial managed health care programs. Why would we change to a managed care program when ours has been recognized as one of the best in the nation?”

The lawmakers said they hope the governor will reconsider any current plans to implement a managed health care plan in Oklahoma and will instead work cooperatively with the state House of Representatives and the state Senate to ensure Oklahomans receive the health care management program that best meets their needs.

Gov. Stitt, Cherokee Nation agree to one-year extension of hunting and fishing compact

(L to R) Cherokee Nation Chief of Staff Todd Enlow, Deputy Chief Bryan Warner, Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., Secretary of Natural Resources Chad Harsha sign the 2021 Hunting and Fishing Licenses renewal compact with the State of Oklahoma.


OKLAHOMA CITY (Dec. 11, 2020) – Governor Kevin Stitt announced today that the State of Oklahoma has agreed to a one-year extension with the Cherokee Nation on the hunting and fishing compact that was set to expire on Dec. 31, 2020.

“I appreciate the Cherokee Nation working with my office and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation on a one-year hunting and fishing compact extension,” said Gov. Stitt. “This compact continues a partnership between the State of Oklahoma and the Cherokee Nation to capture federal funds for conservation efforts across our state while promoting hunting and fishing opportunities for citizens of the Cherokee Nation.”

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. signed the compact extension on Thursday in Tahlequah while Gov. Stitt signed Friday morning in Oklahoma City.

“Extending the Hunting and Fishing Compact is a victory for Cherokee citizens, reminding us of our inherent right to hunt and fish on our land just as our ancestors have done for countless generations,” Chief Hoskin said. “This extension provides Cherokee citizens living in Oklahoma an opportunity to hunt and fish not just within the Cherokee Nation reservation, but in all 77 counties of this state. The compact is also good for the state by providing a financial boost to wildlife service programs. I commend the state and Gov. Stitt for working to continue this important agreement.”

State’s first public transit plan delivered to Legislature; goal is mobility for all Oklahomans

Pictured, from left, are Sen. Michael Bergstrom, Rep. Avery Frix, OTA Chief Executive Officer Mark Nestlen, Rep. Carol Bush and Secretary of Transportation and ODOT Executive Director Tim Gatz.

State’s first public transit plan delivered to Legislature; goal is mobility for all Oklahomans  

The wheels are in motion on improved public transit in Oklahoma after more than one year of coordination by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and the Oklahoma Transit Association, along with transit agencies statewide to develop the state’s first transit plan. During a special ceremony on Thursday, Dec. 10, the completed Oklahoma Public Transit Policy Plan was delivered by ODOT and OTA to legislative leaders from the Oklahoma Senate and the Oklahoma House of Representatives on the steps of the state Capitol.

The comprehensive, statewide plan outlines the goals, strategies, objectives and priorities to make Oklahoma a Top Ten state for public transit by 2040. Highlights include identification of the existing gap in funding for transit based on current and future projected needs, a strategic investment schedule outlining the best use of funds for the next 20 years and an in-depth examination of transit funding options used by peer states.

“Completion of the state’s first transit plan is a milestone achievement in moving Oklahoma toward becoming a Top Ten State for all modes of transportation,” Gov. Kevin Stitt said. “Thanks to the input from transit providers and users, we now have a roadmap for modernizing transit services and ensuring mobility for all Oklahomans.”

“While ODOT has incorporated public transit in long-range planning efforts before, I’ve never seen it done to this level in my thirty years with the state,” Secretary of Transportation and ODOT Executive Director Tim Gatz said. “I’m grateful for the leadership of President Pro Tem Treat and Speaker McCall as well as the Senate and House transportation committees throughout this process of bringing everyone to the table and developing this plan.”

“Passage of HB 1365 set forth an opportunity to modernize a more efficient and effective public transit system in Oklahoma that will operate seamlessly statewide within and between rural communities and urban cities,” said OTA Chief Executive Officer Mark Nestlen. "Oklahoma’s transit system is currently near the bottom, but full implementation of this first ever statewide transit plan will elevate Oklahoma to a Top Ten state in public transit and ensure the mobility needs of all Oklahomans are met in a safe, economical and coordinated manner."

The plan focuses on currently available transit services: public bus, van and streetcar. Goals over the next 20 years are meeting critical needs by 2025, expanding service by 2030, meeting the benchmark by 2035 and reaching mobility for all by 2040.

Creation of the Oklahoma Public Transit Policy Plan by ODOT and OTA was a key piece of House Bill 1365, which was enacted in 2019 to modernize public transportation by creating the Office of Mobility and Public Transit at ODOT and reforming administration of state and federal funding for transit programs by ODOT.

The transit plan was developed through stakeholder and public input from the transit industry and users. This included numerous meetings with a steering committee of transit leaders, site visits and interviews with transit operators and participation by partner agencies, government officials and advocates. The department also hosted several regional public meetings and administered an online public survey that received more than 2,000 responses. 

The Oklahoma Public Transit Policy Plan can be viewed at

What legislative leaders are saying about the Oklahoma Public Transit Policy Plan:

“Public transit and mobility are very important not only to our metro areas, but also rural communities and tribal nations in Oklahoma,” Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, said. “Just like we’ve made major progress on our highway system thanks to long-range planning and goal-setting, this first transit plan sets the stage for improved public transportation that will benefit our economy and the health and quality-of-life of Oklahomans statewide.”  

“The transit plan gives us the ability to address long-term needs and solutions in a comprehensive way,” Sen. Rob Standridge, R-Norman said. “This collaboration will help us ensure we are identifying and maximizing resources and developing goals that will help us address critical transportation needs in both rural and urban Oklahoma for decades to come.” Standridge is chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee and sponsored House Bill 1365 in the Senate.  

“It’s important that all Oklahomans have the benefits of the mobility public transit provides,” said State Rep. Carol Bush, R-Tulsa, the principal author of HB 1365. “This not only gives people access to employment, healthcare and services but it improves our local and state economies.”

“This legislation helped us modernize our public transit policy as well as ensure better coordination between state agencies so that transportation dollars could be delivered more efficiently where they are needed,” Rep. Avery Frix, R-Muskogee, said. Frix chairs the House Transportation Committee and was a co-author of the bill.

OCPA column: Washington smear tactics in Oklahoma

Washington smear tactics in Oklahoma
By Jonathan Small

Smear tactics are nothing new in Washington, D.C., but those tactics are now being used in Oklahoma.

During U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings, critics portrayed him as a drunk and a rapist. Fortunately, lawmakers saw through those attacks and confirmed Kavanaugh.

Sadly, similar character assassination, recently carried out in Oklahoma, sidelined a qualified nominee for the State Board of Education.

This sad episode began when Gov. Kevin Stitt recently removed Kurt Bollenbach from the State Board of Education and named Melissa Crabtree of Enid as his replacement.

Bollenbach was clearly out of step with conservatives and the governor who appointed him. His removal was justified, because Bollenbach vocally supported efforts to bar Christian schools from serving children who receive scholarships through a state program. The regulations cited to justify that action were illegally adopted, as an opinion by Attorney General Mike Hunter soon made clear. It was obvious new blood was needed on the board.

In response, school-choice opponents launched a smear campaign against Crabtree. Sadly, they succeeded, and she withdrew from consideration.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Legislature to hold redistricting software demo for Lawmakers and Public

House and Senate to Hold Redistricting Software Demo for Lawmakers and Public

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma House of Representatives and Oklahoma Senate have planned a bipartisan, bicameral virtual demonstration of the redistricting software, Maptitude for Redistricting by Caliper, that both chambers will use to redraw new legislative and congressional district lines during the 2021 redistricting process.

As part of the Legislature’s transparency efforts surrounding redistricting, the public will be able to watch the virtual demonstration via livestream on the Oklahoma Senate website,

Tracy Horgan, the director of redistricting services for the Caliper Corporation, will provide a brief demonstration of the software capabilities for lawmakers at 9 a.m., Dec. 14, in Room 535 at the Capitol. Due to COVID-19 protocols, the demonstration will be conducted remotely and in-person attendance by lawmakers will be limited.

The demonstration will be recorded and archived so that lawmakers and the public can watch the software demonstration at a later date, if necessary. Following the demonstration, the House and Senate redistricting office staff will begin a three day virtual training course to learn and refine their skills with the software.

Stitt responds after Board of Education nominee withdraws after targeting by labor unions


OKLAHOMA CITY (Dec. 7, 2020) – Governor Kevin Stitt today released the following statement regarding the Oklahoma State Board of Education: 

“I spoke with Melissa Crabtree today and she requested that I rescind her appointment to the Oklahoma State Board of Education.  

I was extremely disappointed to see how many were so quick to judge her without taking the time to personally speak to her.  

Ms. Crabtree is a loving mother and wife, and her public school teaching experience and work with special needs children would have been valuable assets to our state. 

However, it’s become clear that Democrats and unions only value the voices of teachers when they are willing to fall in line with their political agendas. 

That being said, I respect her decision and will rescind her nomination. We will reopen the search process and identify a new appointee as soon as possible.” – Governor Kevin Stitt 

Crabtree also issued the following statement: 

“I am grateful to Governor Stitt for nominating me to serve on the Oklahoma State Board of Education and it is a tremendous honor to be considered. However, after careful consideration, I have determined that this is not the right opportunity for me to serve my state.” – Melissa Crabtree 

Blogger's note -- here is an example of the vitriol directed at Crabtree by some in the left-led education field:

Stitt, Health Commissioner announce additional statewide COVID-19 measures

Limited public gatherings among updated efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19

OKLAHOMA CITY (Dec. 10, 2020) — Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt and Commissioner of Health Lance Frye announced today an updated executive order to implement additional statewide COVID-19 mitigation measures.  

“I cannot thank Oklahomans enough for their tremendous personal sacrifices thus far to protect their loved ones and neighbors from COVID-19. We’re taking further steps to limit the spread of COVID-19 and bring us closer to our three goals: protecting the health and lives of Oklahomans, keeping businesses open safely and getting our kids safely back in school,” said Gov. Stitt. “Our healthcare workers, hospitals, students and teachers and small business owners need our help.” 

The measures are intended to further slow the spread of COVID-19 and relieve pressure on crowded hospitals across the state. Action steps include:  

  • Attendance at youth indoor sporting events will be limited to four spectators per participant or 50% of the building’s capacity, whichever is lower.
  • Public gatherings will be limited to 50% capacity unless the local Health Department has granted an exception.
  • The rules for bars and restaurants, first implemented under Seventh Amended EO 2020-20 will be extended. Tables must stay six feet apart, unless separated by sanitized dividers, and restaurants and bars must close by 11 p.m. except for drive thru or takeout.
  • Face masks will continue to be required for all state employees and visitors in state agency buildings. 

“We’re optimistic with the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine in Oklahoma, but it’s important to note that the vaccine is just part of slowing the spread,” said Dr. Frye. “Your actions are making a difference. Every time you choose to follow the three W’s, you are actively protecting those around you. You might even be saving a life.” 

Additionally, the governor and OSDH urged Oklahomans to continue practicing the three W’s during the upcoming holiday season and to follow CDC’s updated guidelines for quarantine. The CDC recently announced that the generally recommended 14-day quarantine period for anyone who has been exposed to COVID-19 can be shortened to 10 or seven days under certain circumstances. 

  • Quarantine can end after day 10 without testing if no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring. 
  • Quarantine can end after day seven if the individual tests negative and if no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring. 

“It’s very important that we keep up the hard work as we enter the holiday season. Follow the CDC guidelines for quarantine, practice the three W’s and celebrate virtually if at all possible,” said Dr. Frye.

The text of the executive order has not been posted on the Secretary of State's website yet, so here's some more information that was posted on Twitter by Shawn Ashley of eCapitol:

Good morning, early birds! Gov. Stitt is expanding his COVID-19 state of emergency executive order to limit the size of public gatherings and the number of spectators at indoor sporting events. The new order has not yet been filed, but Stitt said Thursday it would limit public gatherings, such as weddings, funerals and holiday parties, to 50 percent of the facility's capacity. Indoor sporting events also will be limited to 50 percent of the facility's capacity or 4 spectators per participant, whichever is lower. Churches, he said, would not be covered by the public gatherings provision, because they have limited attendance, implementing safety protocols, live streaming, and best of First Amendment concerns. Bars and restaurants will continue to be required stop indoor service at 11 pm & masks will continue to be required in state government buildings, the governor said. "The CDC has identified restaurants, bars and sporting events as areas where we need to be more careful," Stitt explained. Stitt & Commissioner of Health Dr. Lance Frye said they were "cautiously optimistic" that Oklahoma "...started to flatten the curve and our trends are moving in the right direction."

Stitt noted Thursday's seven-day rolling average of new COVID-19 cases per day stood at 3,058, only slightly higher than the 3,002 new cases per day reported November 23, just before Thanksgiving. Stitt acknowledged hospitals were nearing capacity.

"We need to do more to reduce to reduce the cases and provide some relief for our hospitals and health care workers," Frye said.

State Senate Pro Tem announces committee chairs, vice chairs

Pro Tem Treat announces committee chairs, vice chairs
Also announces GOP committee assignments

OKLAHOMA CITY – Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat on Tuesday announced his appointments of chairs and vice chairs of Senate committees. Treat also announced Republican committee assignments.

Treat said an important change to committees this session is on the Veterans and Military Affairs Committee. Treat has named as members of that committee senators who represent military facilities in the state of Oklahoma.

“In January, a new administration will take office in Washington and it will have a new philosophy on military and foreign affairs. We don’t know yet what this means for the military posts in Oklahoma but it’s important we work together at the state and federal level to protect those facilities,” said Treat, R-Oklahoma City. “I appointed members to serve on the Senate Veterans and Military Affairs Committee who represent those critically important bases and installations and know they will work closely with our federal delegation to promote Oklahoma’s strong support of the brave men and women who serve in our Armed Forces.”

Due to Capitol renovations in Senate space, some committee room numbers have changed. Room 419A is now Room 4S.7. Room 419B is now Room 4S.8. Room 419C is now 4S.9. Room 511A is now 5S.3. The meeting times and locations of Senate committees are included in the list below.

Per Senate rules, the Minority Leader will make committee assignments for the Democratic Caucus, including five appointments to the Appropriations Committee.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

State House Republicans applaud AG for joining Texas-led Election Lawsuit

House Republicans Applaud AG for Joining Election Lawsuit Efforts

OKLAHOMA CITY (December 9th) – A group of Oklahoma House Republicans today praised Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter for signing on to a brief in support of the Texas attorney general’s lawsuit to contest election results in the key battleground states of Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

The lawmakers contend, with counterparts in Texas and other states, that there is enough evidence of fraud in the Nov. 3 general election, including late changes to voter laws without legislative approval, in the states mentioned above to warrant a legal challenge.

“The integrity of our national elections is vital for the citizens of our country and for the freedoms we currently enjoy,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement. “Fraud in even one state affects the security of all others. The irregularities witnessed in these key battleground states, and the changes to voting rules usurping the legislative process, are alarming and warrant further scrutiny by the Supreme Court of the United States. We, therefore, are pleased that Attorney General Mike Hunter has chosen to act on behalf of all Oklahomans in filing suit against these states, challenging the changes made to voting rules and procedures in violation of the Electors Clause of the United States Constitution, Article II, Section 1, Clause 2.”

The following lawmakers signed on to this statement:

OK Attorney General joins brief in support of Texas lawsuit over presidential election results

Attorney General Hunter Joins Brief in Support of Texas Lawsuit

OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General Mike Hunter today signed on to a brief in support of the Texas attorney general’s lawsuit against the states of Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin, challenging the 2020 election results in those states.

In his lawsuit, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton claims these states are in violation of the Electors Clause and the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and asks the U.S. Supreme Court to require the states to hold a special election or select a new set of electors for their electoral college votes.

“I am firmly committed to election security, which is why we have already been involved in numerous lawsuits to combat eleventh hour efforts to change state voting laws in states across the country,” Attorney General Hunter said. “I regret that the U.S. Supreme Court is the only forum available to resolve the many legitimate concerns regarding state elections. That is why I am joining the amicus brief in support of the Texas case, to encourage the highest court in the land to thoughtfully consider and address the matters presented.”

In addition to Oklahoma, the brief was signed by 16 other attorneys general.

“The allegations in the Bill of Complaint raise important constitutional issues under the Electors Clause,” attorneys general write. “They also raise serious concerns relating to election integrity and public confidence in elections. These are questions of great public importance that warrant this Court’s attention. The Court should grant the Plaintiff’s Motion for Leave to File Bill of Complaint.”

Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Gov. Stitt, Choctaw Nation agree to one-year extension of hunting and fishing compact


OKLAHOMA CITY (Dec. 8, 2020) – Governor Kevin Stitt announced today that the State of Oklahoma has agreed to a one-year extension with the Choctaw Nation on the hunting and fishing compact that was set to expire on Dec. 31, 2020. 

“I appreciate the Choctaw Nation working with my office and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation on a one-year hunting and fishing compact extension,” said Gov. Stitt. “This compact continues a partnership between the State of Oklahoma and the Choctaw Nation to capture federal funds for conservation efforts across our state while promoting hunting and fishing opportunities for citizens of the Choctaw Nation.” 

Under the compact, the Choctaw Nation will purchase compact licenses for its Oklahoma residents between the ages of 16 and 64 years old. Each compact license encompasses regulatory requirements and certain rights including those of an annual Oklahoma hunting license and an annual Oklahoma fishing license.  

Hern joins bipartisan, bicameral "No Budget, No Pay" letter

Hern joins bipartisan, bicameral letter urging adoption of No Budget, No Pay in year-end omnibus

WASHINGTON, DC (December 4th) – Representative Kevin Hern (OK-01) joined a bipartisan, bicameral letter to House and Senate leadership urging inclusion of the No Budget, No Pay Act in any end-of-year budget discussions and government funding legislation.

The No Budget, No Pay Act incentivizes Members of Congress to pass a budget by withholding pay until the budget is completed.

“No Budget, No Pay is something my constituents have heard me talk about over and over for the last two years,” said Rep. Hern. “It’s a common-sense idea that if Congress doesn’t do our job, we shouldn’t get paid. In business, I don’t pay employees to sit around and do nothing – that’s a sure-fire way to get terminated. In Congress, however, there are very rarely consequences for Members who refuse to do their job. This letter has support from Senators and Representatives on both sides of the aisle; this kind of unified support is not something you see often in Congress. I hope our leadership understands the gravity of this moment and the importance of getting our country back on track with a budget.”

The letter was also signed by:

Tuesday, December 08, 2020

OCPA: Inaction on parental school choice is impossible

Inaction on parental school choice is impossible
By Jonathan Small

Oklahoma parents are demanding parental school choice and lawmakers are paying attention.

A new poll by Cole Hargrave Snodgrass & Associates (CHS) found 61% of Oklahoma voters support school choice, which was defined as “the right to use tax dollars raised for their child’s education to send their child to the school of their choice whether it is public, private, online, or charter.”

Among Republicans primary voters, support reached 74%. Support was consistent in both urban and rural areas.

That strong support is no surprise, especially considering ongoing public-school closures. Those closures are wreaking havoc and destroying opportunity. This is evident in increased failure rates in academic courses and significant learning loss.

In August, an official from Tulsa Public Schools even told the State Board of Education that district officials expected “that our least-reached students will have lost approximately a year more learning than would have otherwise been the case because of the COVID-related interruptions. So if I’m a student who might otherwise have been predicted to be two years below grade level, we’re anticipating that that student will now be approximately three years below grade level.”

Saturday, December 05, 2020

OCPA: AG protects vulnerable children, ends anti-Christian discrimination

OCPA: AG protects vulnerable children, ends anti-Christian discrimination

OKLAHOMA CITY (December 3, 2020)—Jonathan Small, president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, issued the following statement today regarding Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter’s opinion declaring that the State Department of Education exceeded its authority by adding new, burdensome regulations to the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship program--regulations that effectively barred multiple faith-based schools from serving those students:

“Today, Attorney General Hunter restored educational opportunity for some of Oklahoma’s most vulnerable children and put an end to the State Department of Education’s anti-Christian discrimination, which barred certain schools from participating in the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship program.

'Unite Norman' comments on City Council violation of Open Meetings Act

Unite Norman Issues Statement on Ruling that Norman City Council Violated the Oklahoma Open Meetings Act

Norman — Unite Norman released the following statement following a ruling that the Norman City Council violated the Oklahoma Open Meetings Act in their communications related to the June 16 meeting to defund the police:

“Unite Norman has stated since our formation that we need more transparency from the city council,” said Russell Smith, co-founder of Unite Norman. “From their dark-of-night votes to defund the police, to their unwillingness to truly hear constituents on the issues of school resource officers or equipment for officers, meeting in abesentia for months, and now limiting public comments at meetings — this city council has sent a clear message that they don’t believe they report to the people. Today changes that. This is a victory for the people.” 

State Senate redistricting committee members named

Senate leader names redistricting committee members

OKLAHOMA CITY – Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat on Thursday announced the members he has appointed to serve on the Senate Select Committee on Redistricting.

“Alongside drafting a state budget, redistricting will be the highest priority of the Legislature next session. The Oklahoma Senate will conduct an open, transparent and bipartisan redistricting process. The senators who serve on the redistricting committee have an important task and I appreciate them accepting the challenge to serve on the Senate redistricting committee,” said Treat, R-Oklahoma City.

Treat previously named Sen. Lonnie Paxton, R-Tuttle, as chair of the committee and Sen. Dave Rader, R-Tulsa, as vice-chair of the committee. Treat said Sen. Michael Brooks, D-Oklahoma City, will serve as co-vice chair of the committee.

The members of the committee are:

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Gov. Stitt declares Thursday as 'day of prayer and fasting' for those affected by COVID-19


OKLAHOMA CITY (Nov. 30, 2020) – Governor Kevin Stitt announced today he is declaring Thursday, Dec. 3 as a statewide day of prayer and fasting for all Oklahomans affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Oklahomans have always turned to prayer to guide us through trials and seasons of uncertainty, and I am asking Oklahomans of all faiths and religious backgrounds to join together with me on Thursday,” said Gov. Stitt. “I believe we must continue to ask God to heal those who are sick, comfort those who are hurting and provide renewed strength and wisdom to all who are managing the effects of COVID-19.” 

Gov. Stitt also encourages churches and other houses of worship to continue taking precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19 and to care for vulnerable members of their congregations. 

“I believe our churches and faith communities have an incredible opportunity during this season to provide hope to Oklahomans who are struggling as we close a year that has been mentally, emotionally and physically draining,” said Gov. Stitt. “It’s important that we continue to find safe ways to gather as we all do our part to protect our families, neighbors and communities from this virus.” 

To read the proclamation, click here

Monday, November 30, 2020

Gov. Stitt appoints Tim Webster as DA for Atoka, Bryan and Coal counties


OKLAHOMA CITY (Nov. 30, 2020)- Governor Kevin Stitt announced today the appointment of Tim Webster as District Attorney for District 19, which includes Atoka, Bryan and Coal Counties. Webster fills the seat of Emily Redman, who retired on October 1, 2020. By statute, Webster has been serving as acting District Attorney since then.

"Tim Webster has spent almost four decades serving the people of Atoka, Bryan and Coal Counties," said Gov. Stitt. "His experience as a litigator and prosecutor, as well as his heart for his community, makes him the best choice to serve as the next District Attorney for District 19." 

Music Monday: O Come, All Ye Faithful

This week's Music Monday is an orchestral arrangement of the Christmas carol O Come, All Ye Faithful (also known by the Latin title, Adeste Fideles). A decade or so ago, I played this wonderful arrangement with the Tulsa Bible Church orchestra.


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

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Cong. Lucas: As COVID-19 winter approaches, Oklahoma must act

As COVID-19 winter approaches, Oklahoma must act
by Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03)

Oklahoma set a record for COVID-19 hospitalizations last week, and the United States reached a grim milestone of more than 250,000 coronavirus deaths. After earlier surges in the spring and summer, the country is now in the midst of the feared fall coronavirus surge and we’re peering into the darkness that winter will bring. With more than 1,500 Oklahomans now hospitalized and new positive cases averaging more than 2,600 per day, it’s time for Oklahoma to act.

On Nov. 17 and 18, Oklahoma reported COVID-19 daily records for hospitalizations, ICU patients and deaths. On average, 20% of Oklahoma’s hospital beds are filled with those battling COVID-19; ICU bed availability has dropped to between 5% and 7%. Increases in the number of active cases come as many hospitals and their staff, especially those in rural Oklahoma, are being pushed to their limits — physically and emotionally. While it’s true that more testing reveals more cases, the number of hospitalizations gives Oklahomans an objective measure of rampant community spread of the virus.

As deaths rise this winter, Oklahoma’s leaders will need to implement steps to slow the spread of COVID. Leaders — from Congress to mayors — show no support for total lockdowns or stay-at-home orders. But science shows that there are other temporary measures available to keep our communities safe, save lives and ensure Oklahoma flattens the curve.

Small: Plenty of reasons to question state's audit of Epic Charter Schools

Reason to question state audit 
By Jonathan Small
I’m a CPA with many years’ experience in government finances and I have had the opportunity to review the recent state audit of Epic Charter Schools as well as separate responses from Epic. An objective review reveals the performance of the audit has glaring flaws.
According to state law the office of the State Auditor and Inspector (SAI) is required to review all audits of public schools. When deficiencies are found by the SAI, the office is required to notify the school board of statements of deficiencies. There’s no indication that the SAI’s previous reviews ever found any deficiencies at Epic, so the SAI’s new claims of improper financial accounting at Epic are tantamount to an admission of neglect or incompetence by SAI—if those claims are true. But it appears many claims of financial abuse are unfounded.
The audit’s problems include a de facto recommendation that Epic violate state regulations on calculation of retirement contributions of teachers, even though Epic has provided documents from the Oklahoma Teachers Retirement System that showed the school made the calculations correctly.
The audit went way beyond its scope to call for a ban on for-profit operation of charter schools, echoing the platforms of Socialist U.S. Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden, and the democrat party platform.
One SAI staffer significantly involved in the audit has previously admitted to lacking basic accounting knowledge, such as understanding the principle of “assets = liabilities plus equity.”
When Epic expanded its model into California, that state’s regulators asked for documentation that demonstrated Epic’s financial soundness. That documentation included a bank statement showing millions of dollars of cash on hand.  SAI declared that providing such information was the equivalent of using state funds as collateral—yet Epic entered into no such agreements. The funds shown on that bank statement never secured any loan whatsoever.  They only provided financial documentation at the request of California officials.
Neglecting best practices, the SAI didn’t include Epic’s full responses to the allegations in its report, nor thoroughly review calculations with Epic before release of the allegations. The failure to abide by such standard auditing procedures is another red flag.
The SAI has since taken more than seven weeks to produce workpapers from the “special audit” and provide full support for some of the audit’s most salacious claims, including that Epic and the State Department of Education misclassified millions in administrative salaries.
Put simply, the audit omits much relevant information and ignores documents that undermine its most headline-grabbing claims, and SAI officials appear to be dragging their feet in facilitating a thorough review of their work product.
That pattern of behavior gives Oklahomans reasons to doubt the audit’s veracity.
An honest review of the state audit of Epic Charter Schools raises many questions. But those questions are centered around the validity and seriousness of the audit process, not on Epic.
Jonathan Small serves as president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs.

Friday, November 27, 2020

HHS Brings Free ‘Surge’ COVID-19 Testing to Oklahoma

HHS Brings Free ‘Surge’ COVID-19 Testing to Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY (Nov. 24, 2020) – The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) announced today the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) – in a public-private partnership with eTrueNorth and state and local officials – will bring free COVID-19 testing to Oklahoma between Nov. 28 and Dec. 19.

Surge testing efforts will temporarily increase federal support in communities experiencing a major uptick in cases and hospitalizations.

“We want to thank HHS for its continued support in protecting the health and safety of all Oklahomans,” Oklahoma Health Commissioner Lance Frye, M.D. said. “Across the country, we are experiencing aggressive, rapid, and expanding community spread of COVID-19, including here in Oklahoma. We must do everything we can to flatten the curve, to sustain the health system for both COVID and non-COVID emergencies. Focused testing is key to interrupting the current surge, including the identification of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic individuals. In addition to getting tested, we strongly urge Oklahomans to wear a mask at all times in public, increase physical distancing through significant reduction in capacity in public and private indoor spaces, wash your hands frequently, and get a flu shot.”

Testing at the surge locations is free to the public and available to individuals age 5 and older. Individuals under 18 years old must have a parent or legal guardian present to consent to testing.

Testing locations are drive-thru and by appointment only. Pre-register at On-site registration will also be accommodated. An identification card is not required to get tested.

Surge testing sites use the nasal self-swab testing methodology. Test results will be received via email notification within 3-5 days.

The following is a schedule for surge testing locations:

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Gov. Stitt appoints Carol Iski as DA for Okmulgee and McIntosh counties

OKLAHOMA CITY (Nov. 24, 2020)— Governor Kevin Stitt announced today the appointment of Carol Iski as District Attorney for District 25, which includes Okmulgee and McIntosh Counties. 
"Carol Iski has spent her career making an impact within the criminal justice system in our state," said Gov. Stitt. "Iski is a proven prosecutor who has consistently advocated for justice on behalf of all Oklahomans, and I look forward to watching her continue to serve her community as District Attorney." 
Carol Iski has served as acting District Attorney (DA) for District 25 since Governor Fallin selected her in November 2018 to fill the empty seat caused by the passing of District Attorney Rob Barris. 

Cong.-elect Bice elected freshman GOP class president for 117th Congress

Congresswoman-elect Stephanie Bice Named GOP Freshman Class President for 117th Congress

OKLAHOMA CITY (Nov. 24, 2020)  - Congresswoman-elect Stephanie Bice was elected by her peers to serve as Republican Freshman Class President during last week’s House orientation in Washington, DC. 

It is believed that Bice is the first female Republican class president in the House.

Bice said she’s looking forward to encouraging open communication between members of the freshman class. 

“I came to Congress to help find solutions to some of our nation’s largest problems,” Bice said. “Working with the new representatives of the freshman class and fostering relationships among members will enable all of us to work better together to serve our constituents.” 

Bice is one of 16 Republican women elected to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, a new record. The House will have at least 28 Republican women serving in the 117th Congress, up from 15. Currently, there are 42 Republicans in the House freshman class. 

1889 Institute: ban collective bargaining in government

Even Franklin Roosevelt opposed collective bargaining in government employment.

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (November 23, 2020) – The 1889 Institute has published a new paper titled “Liberate Oklahoma from Public Sector Union Domination.” The paper argues that allowing government to collectively bargain with public employees “robs the people of their sovereignty over government,” which happens because unions can hold the public hostage by denying essential, government-monopolized services when they strike.

As demonstrated a few years ago, Oklahoma’s anti-strike law is inadequate, especially as it relates to teachers. In that case, the more subtle way that unionized public employees undermine the people’s sovereignty is in the way unions act as powerful political influences, effectively allowing government employees to hire their employers by being a key voting bloc. School boards clearly acted more as representatives of unionized employees than representatives of the people, parents, or students.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

'Parent Voice Oklahoma' launches at state capitol protest over school closures

'Parent Voice Oklahoma' Launches in Wake of School Closures

OKLAHOMA CITY – Parents from across the state today held a rally to protest school closures and a lack of parent involvement in education decisions. Now, many of those parents have organized to launch a new group: Parent Voice Oklahoma. The group exists to elevate the role of parents in regard to educational decisions at the school, district and state level.

Parent Voice Oklahoma starts with chapters in Owasso, Deer Creek, and Stillwater. Parents from Heritage Academy, a new Epic Charter School program that emphasizes bilingual learning and Hispanic culture and heritage, have also launched a chapter.

Dana Walsh, who attended today’s rally at the State Capitol, said she got involved with Parent Voice Oklahoma because she feels parents are being ignored by local school districts.

“We are tired of not being listened to,” said Walsh, an Owasso parent. “Our school boards are making decisions that impact the health and wellbeing of our kids as well as our ability as parents to work. It is clear they are listening to unions, to politicians, and to the media, but they aren’t listening to parents. Enough is enough.”

One of the initiatives being pushed by Parent Voice Oklahoma is a petition to create a recall process for school board members who fail in their duty to represent the interests of students and parents.

“I signed the petition because the bars are open in my town, the restaurants are open, but the schools are closed,” said Derek Lereviere from Deer Creek. “What does that say about our priorities? We have to put kids and families first."   

Robert Ruiz is the executive director of ChoiceMatters, an Oklahoma City-based non-profit that helps parents organize and advocate for their interests. He said that, while school closures are a catalyst for parent action, the real problem is the top-down nature of the public school system bureaucracy.

“We currently have a public school system where a few voices at the very top are making decisions about everything from curricula to personnel to school closures,” said Ruiz. “It’s very hard for parents to get inside that bubble and to impact policy. We need to turn that system on its head, so parents are the guiding force when we develop our education priorities. The system is funded with their tax dollars and exists to educate their kids. It makes no sense to exclude them from governance. That’s what Parent Voice Oklahoma is all about.”

For more information on Parent Voice Oklahoma, go to

Monday, November 23, 2020

House Dems rebuke GOP legislators for "trying to overturn another state’s election"

Democrats Respond to OK Republicans Attempt to Influence AZ Election

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus members released the following statements in response to seventy Oklahoma Republican legislators attempting to persuade the Arizona Legislature to appoint electors to vote against the state’s official vote count winner.   

“Oklahoma Republicans continue to support a Governor who hides behind the term ‘local control’ when refusing to protect Oklahomans during this pandemic,” said House Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman. “Now, proving that ‘local control’ is just a talking point to use only when it suits them, Oklahoma Republicans are trying to overturn another state’s election - a state 1,000 miles away. Meanwhile, they remain silent on the real issues facing our state and cannot be bothered to speak up about record-high COVID cases, deaths, and hospitalizations. Oklahomans deserve better.”