Friday, August 07, 2020

OSDH extends Cares Act grant deadline for nursing homes


OSDH Extends Cares Act Grant Deadline for Nursing Homes

Oklahoma City, Okla. (August 4, 2020) - The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) announced today a one-month extension for long-term care facilities and nursing homes to apply for a CARES Act grant from the State to mitigate the presence of COVID-19 in facilities.

Oklahoma’s long-term care and nursing home facilities can apply for grant funding from the State to cover the expense of infection disease support, PPE supplies, and mitigation expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The deadline for this grant program is now August 31, 2020, and applications are available online.

“Governor Stitt and OSDH prioritized these critical CARES Act funds to continue to help Oklahoma’s nursing homes and long-term care facilities operate safely while keeping residents connected with their loved ones during the pandemic,” said Interim Health Commissioner Lance Frye, MD. “The grant process is simple and straightforward, and we urge facilities to get their applications in before August 31 in order to be eligible.”

Thursday, August 06, 2020

Rick Santorum Endorses Stephanie Bice for Congress


Senator Rick Santorum Endorses Stephanie Bice for Congress

OKLAHOMA CITY (Aug. 6, 2020) - Stephanie Bice, conservative Republican candidate for Congress in Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District, earned the endorsement of former Presidential Candidate and Pennsylvania United States Senator Rick Santorum.

“I’m honored to receive the support and endorsement of Senator Santorum,” Bice said. “He is one of our nation's strongest voices for American families. He’s led the way on policies that put American workers first, including prioritizing US manufacturing. Sen. Santorum has fought to address the challenges confronting American workers and I am grateful for his support.”

Santorum, who won Oklahoma’s 2012 presidential primary, said Bice would represent Oklahoma’s conservative values in Congress.

OKC Council candidate on crime: "how is stealing things making Americans unsafe"?

Oklahoma City's city council election isn't until February 9th, 2021, but candidates are already lining up to run. Incumbent Ward 1 councilman James Greiner announced back in January that he would not be seeking reelection. Below is a tweet by Megan Scott, a left-wing candidate who plans to run for the seat:


Scott's tweet was a reply to a screenshot of a now-deleted post from the OKC Police Department asking for information regarding theft of "thousands of dollars of Trump merchandise from a vehicle" in Oklahoma City.

Gov. Stitt announces details regarding 'Learn Anywhere OK' initiative


GOVERNOR STITT ANNOUNCES DETAILS REGARDING ‘LEARN ANYWHERE OK’
Initiative will provide statewide access to digital content and advanced coursework 

OKLAHOMA CITY (Aug. 4, 2020)—Gov. Kevin Stitt announced more details today regarding “Learn Anywhere Oklahoma,” a new initiative that will use the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund to provide statewide access to digital content for both core classes and advanced coursework to students in kindergarten through grade 12.

The governor has designated $12 million for the online content with oversight from virtual teachers of record. The Oklahoma Supplemental Online Course Program (OSOCP) will purchase the content from education publisher Edmentum and ensure it is both rigorous and aligns with state standards.

“This initiative will help address academic needs during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Gov. Stitt. “While we must take the necessary precautions to slow the spread of the virus and keep our vulnerable populations safe, we must also prioritize our students’ learning. Learn Anywhere OK accomplishes both goals. It will allow schools to safely serve families with at-risk members, and should an outbreak occur, it can be used to continue remote learning.”

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

$15M in COVID funds designated to launch 30 Community HOPE Centers to serve vulnerable children



Governor and First Lady Stitt, Secretary Brown announce CARES Act Investment, targeting 30 Community HOPE Centers by year end
$15 million in Coronavirus Relief Funds to be dedicated to serving Oklahoma children and families

OKLAHOMA CITY (Aug. 3, 2020) – Governor Kevin Stitt and First Lady Sarah Stitt, along with Secretary of Human Services and Early Childhood Initiatives Justin Brown, today announced the launch of 30 Community HOPE Centers to be stood up by the end of 2020 that will serve approximately 4,200 children and their adult caregivers. Gov. Stitt and the CARES Forward Team have approved an initial $15 million in CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) to support this statewide effort.

“The First Lady and I have put a stake in the ground to address and reverse the effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences in our state,” said Gov. Stitt. “This important, transformative work will develop pathways for children and families to overcome this difficult time. Strengthening Oklahoma’s families has generational impacts and will help us continue our forward momentum toward Top Ten status.”

OSDH Office of Child Abuse Prevention Seeks Input from Public


OSDH Office of Child Abuse Prevention Seeks Input from Public

Oklahoma City, Okla. (August 4, 2020) – The Oklahoma State Department of Health’s Office of Child Abuse Prevention (OCAP) is seeking input from private and public agencies, organizations, private citizens and consumers to monitor and enhance development of an effective statewide comprehensive child abuse prevention plan.

OCAP requests input from individuals who can provide feedback by completing a brief, five- to seven-minute online survey that is available in both English and Spanish.

“This is an opportunity for individuals in Oklahoma communities to share information on community resources that exist and those that are needed. We want to know what you think works best to protect children in your community and across the state,” said Sherie Trice, CBCAP grant coordinator with the OSDH. “We’ve also included a new section on challenges and strengths gleaned during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Survey responses will help inform the ongoing development of the Oklahoma State Plan for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. Information will be gathered statewide to ascertain current services and gaps, identify geographical areas with greatest need, pinpoint supports that are most valued, while further assessing family needs and how those needs can be addressed.

OCAP asks the public to please share this information and survey link with others so they can provide input on child abuse and prevention activities and programs in their area.

For questions or more information about the Oklahoma State Plan for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, contact the Oklahoma State Department of Health, Family Support and Prevention Office by phone, (405) 271-7611 or by email, SherieT@health.ok.gov. The deadline for submitting input via the online questionnaire is Friday, September 11.

Unite Norman: Ringleader of protestors for Defund the Police vote ran Mayor’s campaign


THE PLOT THICKENS: “Concerned Norman Resident” Who Testified to Defund the Police Is Actually Mayor Clark’s Campaign Manager 
Plus: Al-Michael’s own Bio states he is a resident of Oklahoma City 

NORMAN — The man who spoke with media as a “concerned Norman resident” the night of the Norman mayor’s and city council’s action to defund the police turns out to be neither an ordinary citizen, nor a resident of Norman.

In a post unearthed today, Al-Michael lists himself on Facebook as Mayor Breea Clark’s Campaign Manager in a post on her Inauguration Day. Yet — neither he nor the mayor disclosed his role on the mayor’s political campaign when he served as the ringleader of a shouting mob inside city council chambers on the night of the vote, June 16 and 17.


In a televised interview following the vote, Mayor Clark admitted to KOCO 5 that agitated protestors had had an impact on her and the council — yet she never once mentioned that the ringleader of those protests inside chambers was her own campaign manager.

During official business surrounding the vote, she didn’t point out this conflict of interest, either.

According to public records, Al-Michael’s name shows up on the campaign committee for Breea Clark as being paid $1,250 for “political consulting services.” Yet not once during the hearings did the Mayor disclose that she had a fiduciary relationship with him.


Additionally, Al-Michael portrayed himself inside city chambers & to the Media as a concerned Norman resident — even though ALL of his online bios and even his own Facebook page states he resides in Oklahoma City. (For example, “Taz Al-Michael,” as he is also referred to in other publications, is according to his own bio, also a “community organizer based out of Oklahoma City.” Source: NewLeadersCouncil.org His own Facebook account also says he lives in Oklahoma City: https://www.facebook.com/tas608) Seems like both the Media, and the people of Norman got skunked.

“Why was it never disclosed that Mayor Clark’s own Campaign Manager and Political Consultant was testifying to defunding the police, and leading the protestors inside chambers that night?,” asks Russell Smith, co-founder of Unite Norman. “Is it possible this was all one big set-up? At a minimum, shouldn’t it have been disclosed that the Mayor’s own Political Consultant with whom she had a financial relationship was inside City Hall trying to affect the outcome of the result for the people of Norman?”

“This young man’s own bio states that he is an actor,” said Sassan Moghadam, co-founder of Unite Norman. “It sounds like this was quite a charade — with the Mayor playing the leading role and the city council members playing cast of characters that night.”

CD5 Runoff: Neese lays into Bice for tax-hike voting record


Over in the 5th Congressional District, Terry Neese (who placed first in the primary with 36.48%) is starting to hammer on Stephanie Bice (25.41% in the primary). Here's her latest press release, highlighting Bice's record on supporting the largest tax in state history (HB 1010XX in 2018):

GET TO KNOW THE REAL STEPHANIE BICE: A TAX-RAISING CONSERVATIVE FRAUD
After voting for the largest tax increase in state history, Bice is the last person Oklahomans can trust to stop the Democrats’ socialist agenda in Congress

Oklahoma City, OK -- Career politician Stephanie Bice is far from the so-called “conservative” she portrays to voters on the campaign trail - and her liberal record on taxes proves it. Since Bice will continue to lie to voters in a desperate attempt to advance her political career, it’s time for voters to get to know the real Stephanie Bice.

THE FAKE STEPHANIE BICE: Claims to be the only candidate who could stop Joe Biden’s economic proposal that calls for tax hikes and policies that would not help our recovering economy.

THE REAL STEPHANIE BICE: In the state senate, Bice voted for a $474 million revenue package - the largest tax increase in Oklahoma history.

Cong. Mullin endorses Jackson in SD5 runoff


CONGRESSMAN MULLIN ENDORSES JACKSON FOR SENATE

(August 3, 2020) Oklahoma Congressman Markwayne Mullin is endorsing Justin Jackson in his primary runoff campaign for Senate District 5.  Mullin is now calling on all Republicans in the district to get to the polls on August 25th.

    "Justin Jackson is a genuine conservative Republican, a businessman with a proven record of reinvesting his time, energy, and effort into our region from schools to protecting resources," Congressman Mullin says.  "He will defend God, gun rights, and our way of life.  I'm looking forward to Justin Jackson joining the team as we all work hard to make Southeast Oklahoma, and all of District 5, greater together!"

    Justin Jackson is a rancher, outdoorsman, successful businessman, and a lifelong Oklahoman.  He believes Mullin's support could be a big factor in this race.

    "Markwayne Mullin is a conservative champion and I'm honored to have his endorsement," says Jackson.  "He is a fighter in every sense of the word, never backing to the radical left who want to destroy this country, and that's the spirit I will bring to the State Capitol.  The people of Southeast Oklahoma are hard-working, God-fearing, and family-oriented.  I want to take the values we cherish in SD-5 and bring them to the Capitol where those values are desperately needed."

    The Senate District 5 GOP runoff is scheduled for August 25, 2020.  The general election is scheduled for November 3, 2020.

    For more information on the race, get daily updates on the Jackson for State Senate Facebook page.

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Hern files bill to protect First Amendment activities from unequal enforcement


Hern introduces Equal Opportunity First Amendment Act

WASHINGTON, DC – Representative Kevin Hern (OK-01) introduced the Equal Opportunity First Amendment Act to the House last week. The bill addresses disparity between decisions made to ban certain First Amendment-protected activities under State of Emergency but not others.

“Most states have seen wildly varying interpretations of social distancing guidelines over the last several months,” said Rep. Hern. “In many instances, Americans are confused and horrified as their local government allows large gatherings of people exercising their First Amendment right to protest but bans church services. In many communities, businesses and shopping malls are open but houses of worship still have a 10-person limit. These inconsistent ordinances are disproportionately harming communities of faith. If the First Amendment protects protesters, it protects worshippers as well. My bill ensures that our First Amendment rights are evenly interpreted by local governments and provides a legal course of action for individuals whose rights are violated.”

Group asks: did Norman mayor hire actor to testify before vote to defund police?

Here's the latest in the drama out of Norman, Oklahoma...

Did the Mayor Hire an Actor to Testify as a Concerned Norman Resident for the Vote to Defund the Police?
An “Actor” on the Mayor’s Payroll Was Paid $1,250 before Testifying -- Actor’s own Bio states he is a resident of Oklahoma City 

NORMAN — In a televised interview, Mayor Clark told KOCO 5 that loud agitators had been successful in swaying her and the city council inside council chambers in a dark-of-night 4a.m. vote on June 17th to strip nearly $1 million from police budgets.

According to public records, it appears now that at least one of those people who testified was an Actor — and had previously been on Mayor Clark’s payroll. Tasneem Ahmad Al-Michael is listed as an “Actor” on promotional materials from the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR).

“Taz Al-Michael,” as he is also referred to in other publications, is according to his own bio, also a “community organizer based out of Oklahoma City.” Source: NewLeadersCouncil.org


AG Hunter files brief seeking guidance on cases affected by McGirt decision


Attorney General Hunter Prepares Brief with Court of Criminal Appeals Seeking Guidance on Cases Affected by the McGirt Decision

OKLAHOMA CITY (August 3, 2020) – In response to the flood of inmates challenging their state convictions on historic tribal lands, including those lands not associated with the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Attorney General Mike Hunter today plans to file a brief with the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals that seeks guidance on these many cases affected by the U.S. Supreme Court’s McGirt ruling.

In the filing, the attorney general writes that the U.S. Supreme Court created numerous issues that could result in the release of inmates convicted of violent crimes, like Shaun Bosse, a non-Indian who is on death row for murdering a Chickasaw family—a mother and her two children—in 2010.

Bosse is challenging his conviction on the basis that his crimes took place on the undiminished boundaries of the original Chickasaw Reservation.

“My team and I plan to challenge every single appeal that attempts to overturn longstanding convictions on historic tribal land,” Attorney General Hunter said. “We are not questioning the Supreme Court’s ruling in McGirt, but instead seeking to promote public safety by saying these convicted criminals waited too long to bring their claims. Also, we are asking the court to make clear that the state still has jurisdiction to punish non-Indians who victimize tribal citizens, which would provide the maximum possible protection to tribal members. In the meantime, we are asking the Court of Criminal Appeals to provide guidance on these cases and deny any requests by inmates attempting to get released from prison.”

One question the attorney general points to in the Bosse case is whether the state has jurisdiction, concurrently with the federal government over non-Indians, like Bosse, who victimized tribal citizens.

“We take the position that the state has a right and duty to protect our Indian citizens from those who murder them like Bosse,” Attorney General Hunter said. “There can be no good that comes from tying the state’s hands when we are trying to protect Native Americans by exercising jurisdiction over non-Indians. This is no way undermines tribal sovereignty, but instead is a way for the state to work with the federal government in making sure tribal members receive police protection and justice when they are victimized.”

The attorney general is also asking the court to clarify how Indian status is to be proven, and to put the burden of proving Indian status on the defendant and that the location of the crime fell within the boundaries of a legal reservation.

Watch the attorney general’s press conference, here: https://bit.ly/31j4M1a. Read the filed document here: https://bit.ly/30rc6c6

Sunday, August 02, 2020

Hofmeister: 50k Verizon hotspots given to help bridge digital divide for students


Hofmeister announces grant award of 50,000 Verizon mobile internet connections and devices to bridge digital divide 

OKLAHOMA CITY (July 31, 2020) – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister today announced that 175 Oklahoma school districts have been awarded mobile internet access and devices through 50,000 Verizon Unlimited 4GE data plans and Jetpacks, following a competitive grant process. The Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) grants leveraged a portion of the agency’s set-aside monies from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund created by the federal Coronavirus Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to help ensure all students have connectivity to access online learning if community spread of COVID-19 requires districts to use distance or hybrid learning models.

“This pandemic has underscored the inequities of the digital divide that hinder opportunities for so many of our children,” said Hofmeister. “We know one-fourth of our students lack reliable home internet access. Many districts have used a portion of the funds allocated to them under the CARES Act to purchase a sufficient number of devices for every student to have access to technology, an effort we encouraged through incentive grants earlier this summer.

“But a device without connectivity is like a book in a pitch-dark room. We are grateful that this partnership with Verizon and OneNet will make a critical difference in ensuring many thousands of children and families will now have the opportunity for robust distance learning.”

OneNet, a division of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, provides broadband and internet services to public school districts, libraries and higher education institutions around the state. As a partner in the OSDE initiative, OneNet will provide, at no cost to districts, content filtering and technical support to facilitate the telecom connection between Verizon and the state telecom network. OneNet is assuming the $250,000 value of this support as a contribution to the OSDE initiative and the students in districts awarded the hotspots.

“Now more than ever, internet access is vital for students to fully participate in distance and online learning,” said Vonley Royal, executive director of OneNet and higher education chief information officer. “OneNet is proud to provide services to our state’s students during the pandemic.”

Districts receiving the devices, which Verizon sold to OSDE at a discounted rate, will assign and deploy them under specific requirements. For example, districts awarded hotspots must pay a nominal monthly service fee for unlimited 4G LTE data service for each awarded device for at least six months and assure that devices are assigned only to low-income students.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the need to bridge the digital divide and keep students connected to their schools, teachers and each other,” said AndrĂ©s Irlando, senior vice president and president of Public Sector and Verizon Connect at Verizon. “Verizon is working to provide connectivity, devices and other solutions to every student in the U.S. who needs them – whether they are back in the classroom full-time, learning from home or through a hybrid model.”

Verizon expects to ship hotspots to districts so that they will be available when school starts. The company will also provide technical support throughout the school year.

Districts have the opportunity to purchase additional hotspots for students not considered low income and for teachers and staff at the same cost and rate secured by OSDE for the grant.

For a list of districts and the number of hotspots they were awarded, click here.

1889 Institute: Sell Unneeded State Assets to Shore up State Pensions


Sell Unneeded State Assets to Shore up State Pensions
By Benjamin Lepak

Oklahoma’s government owns a lot of property. This includes land and buildings, but it also includes valuable assets like the state-owned electric power company, the Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA). GRDA reports nearly $1.8 billion in assets on its most recent balance sheet, with a “net position” of more than $622 million. Or the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET), which has a $1.2 billion endowment producing roughly $50 million annual investment income.

We would be better off if some of these assets were liquidated. Physical assets could be sold or leased to private entities where they would be more economically productive, pay taxes, and relieve the state of maintenance expenses.

The proceeds could be directed to long-term funding challenges like unfunded pensions and infrastructure. The needs are not small. Oklahoma faces $7.9 billion in unfunded pension obligations, totaling approximately the entire rest of the state budget.

Saturday, August 01, 2020

State Rep. Humphrey releases information on Officer-Involved deaths


Humphrey Releases Information on Officer-Involved Deaths

OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Justin Humphrey, R-Lane, recently requested information from the Office of Criminal Justice Statistics with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation on fatal officer-involved shootings (FOIS), arrest-related deaths (ARDs), and law enforcement officers killed and assaulted (LEOKA).

“I think it’s time Oklahomans have an honest conversation about policing, but one based on facts and data,” Humphrey said. “Only when the public has accurate information about law enforcement and the deaths that occurred while a person was being taken into custody or was in custody, and also the number of law enforcement officers that are killed and assaulted can we decide if changes are needed.”

He released the following compiled by the Statistical Analysis Center:

FOIS for 2015, 2017 and 2018 – the latest year available. Information for 2016 was not included because incidents were not verified through the necessary means listed in each report under the “methodology” section, according to the Office of Criminal Justice Statistics:

'Unite Norman' calls on citizens to apply for vacant council seat


Applications Now Open to Fill City Council Seat in Ward 5 Vacated by Sereta Wilson; Unite Norman Calls upon Citizens to Apply

  • Grassroots Group Calls for Applicants to Step Up, Let Their Voices Be Heard, and Make their Positions Known
  • With Overwhelming 25% Support of Ward 5 in Recall Signatures Thus Far, Unite Norman Calls for the Grassroots Organization to Have a “Seat at the Table” on the Selection Committee

NORMAN — Unite Norman — the grassroots group behind the effort to recall the mayor and city council for defunding the police and not upholding the will of the people — is encouraging citizens to apply for the City Council seat in Ward 5, after the city announced today that applications are now available to backfill the position created by Sereta Wilson’s resignation.

The group encouraged citizens to step forward to serve and to let their positions be know on how to unite Norman.

“Our grassroots effort has made it very clear that voters here want a focus on Norman, not national politics and extreme ideologies,” said Russell Smith, co-founder of Unite Norman. “We encourage applicants to publicly make their priorities known, so the people or Norman know exactly where they stand on the issues.”

OCPA column: Governor addresses real need with education plan


Governor addresses real need with education plan
By Jonathan Small

Governor Kevin Stitt’s background as a businessman is often apparent in his understanding of financial realities that traditional politicians ignore. Hence, the governor’s willingness to save, rather than spend, much of last year’s budget surplus.

But Stitt’s “Stay in School” initiative highlights another benefit of his private-sector expertise: the governor’s understanding that Oklahoma cannot afford to squander human capital.

OK 2nd Amendment Association endorses Neese in CD5 runoff


OKLAHOMA 2ND AMENDMENT ASSOCIATION & PRO-GUN CONSERVATIVE LEADERS BACK TERRY NEESE IN 5TH DISTRICT RACE

Oklahoma City, OK -- While Stephanie Bice peddles downright lies to distract voters from learning the truth about her liberal record as a career politician, Oklahoma pro-gun organizations and conservative leaders know the truth: Terry Neese is the only candidate who can be trusted to stand up for our Second Amendment rights in Congress.

On Friday, the Oklahoma 2nd Amendment Association (OK2A) - the state’s leading advocate for Second Amendment rights” - endorsed Terry Neese in the fifth district race. In a Facebook post, OK2A President Don Spencer publicized the Association's endorsement and included a graphic summarizing important factors for voters to consider ahead of the August 25th runoff.

Terry Neese said: “The Oklahoma 2nd Amendment Association knows I am the only candidate who can be trusted to help President Trump protect our right to self-defense at all costs - and I am honored to have their endorsement. The radical Left and their socialist agenda pose a direct threat to our Second Amendment rights, but Oklahomans can rest assured I will never back down and will always stand up for our pro-gun values in Congress.”

Leading conservative legislators in Oklahoma also released statements on Friday urging Republican voters to stand with Terry Neese - the only candidate who can be trusted to stand with President Trump and protect our pro-gun values in Congress.

Kevin Calvey, Oklahoma County Commissioner said: “As the author of Oklahoma’s Stand Your Ground law, I know Terry is a rock-solid supporter of our Second Amendment rights. Terry is the only candidate we can trust to stop the radical Left’s assault on our Constitutional freedoms.”

Brian Maughan, Oklahoma County Commissioner said: “Terry Neese represents the best of our conservative values and will make Oklahoma gun owners proud in Congress. She’s the leader we need in Washington to make sure we stop Nancy Pelosi’s anti-gun, unconstitutional agenda once and for all.”

Nathan Dahm, State Senator (SD-33) said: “I endorsed Terry Neese because she is 100% pro-gun, supports Constitutional Carry, and is the clear choice for conservatives who want a Second Amendment champion working alongside President Trump in Congress.”

Terry Neese is a proud gun owner, member of the NRA, and has earned an “AQ” NRA grade by the NRA - the highest possible grade for a candidate without a legislative record. For more information on Terry or her campaign, please visit NeeseForCongress.com.

Rep. Sean Roberts: reexamine tax credit if OKC Thunder disrespect flag


Rep. Sean Roberts Questions Tax Credit for OKC Thunder if Players Choose to Kneel, Disrespect Flag

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Sean Roberts (R-Hominy) today released the following statement regarding the choice of National Basketball Association (NBA) players to take a knee during the national anthem prior to the beginning of their game.

“By kneeling during the playing of the national anthem, the NBA and its players are showing disrespect to the American flag and all it stands for. This anti-patriotic act makes clear the NBA’s support of the Black Lives Matter group and its goal of defunding our nation’s police, its ties to Marxism and its efforts to destroy nuclear families.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Gov. Stitt announces $10M in funding to supply OK schools with PPE


GOVERNOR STITT, SEC. BROWN, EDUCATION STAKEHOLDERS ANNOUNCE PPE ASSISTANCE FOR OKLAHOMA SCHOOLS

OKLAHOMA CITY (July 30, 2020)— Governor Kevin Stitt announced today the State of Oklahoma is allocating $10 million in federal CARES Act funding to supply Oklahoma schools with PPE in order to open safely for in-person learning.

Joined by Secretary of Human Services and Early Childhood Initiatives Justin Brown and education stakeholders from across the state, Gov. Stitt stressed the importance of the health and safety of students and teachers while highlighting the need for schools to resume.

“Schools are an essential part of our society,” said Gov. Stitt. “It is critically important that they operate safely and effectively for all students. I am committed to providing our schools with the resources and support they need in order to welcome students back to the classroom while also prioritizing their health.”

Based on personnel data and requests from the State Department of Education, the State will be providing the following PPE to Oklahoma schools:

Hern votes for WRDA bill, includes funds for Tulsa, Arkansas River Navigation System projects


Hern votes for WRDA, includes funds for Tulsa projects

WASHINGTON, DC – Representative Kevin Hern (OK-01) released the following statement in support of HR 7575, the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which passed the House by unanimous consent this afternoon.

“There’s a lot to be happy about in the WRDA that passed today,” said Rep. Hern. “Included in the bill were funds for the Army Corps of Engineers to make upgrades on the Tulsa-West Tulsa Levee System. Last year, a flood decimated parts of Tulsa. Had the aging levees failed, the devastation would have been much worse. It’s been 12 years since the levees were rated ‘unacceptable’ and at ‘very high risk’ of failure. Updates are long overdue, but it’s great to see those funds included in this bill. Also included in the WRDA are funds to clear the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS) from silt deposits as a result of the 2019 floods and other updates and security measures for MKARNS. Our waterways are important in Oklahoma, and I’m glad to see much-needed funding allocated to Oklahoma projects with the WRDA.”

Background Information

OK Dep't of Agriculture warns about unsolicited seeds from China


Unsolicited Seeds from Foreign Countries Impacting Oklahomans

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry has received numerous reports from Oklahoman’s stating they have received unsolicited seeds from foreign countries. These seeds are sent in packages usually stating the contents are jewelry.

This act is known as agriculture smuggling. Although these items appear to be harmless, there is a potential of hidden threats in these seeds that could seriously threaten U.S. agriculture and our natural resources. Unsolicited seeds could be invasive, introduce diseases to local plants, or be harmful to livestock.

If you receive a package of these seeds that you did not order, please carefully follow the following instructions:

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

OCPA decries gaming compact ruling


Jonathan Small, president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, issued the following statement today in response to a judge’s declaration that a little-known, unelected state agency triggered auto-renewal of casino gaming compacts for another 15 years.

OCPA comment on compact ruling

The judge’s ruling demonstrates what a horrible deal previous Oklahoma politicians schemed about 15 years ago with casino operators in Oklahoma.

As things stand now, a working family in Oklahoma will pay a significantly higher state-local sales tax rate on the purchase of groceries than what the operators of the world’s largest casino share in fees on slot machine revenue. The extremely low rates imposed on casino gambling are indirectly responsible for the levying of far higher tax rates on Oklahoma’s working families to fund state government.

Oklahoma is at a crossroads. Within in a month two federal courts have issued rulings that allow two sets of rules for Oklahomans, depending on their race and where they live. Oklahoma cannot survive if one group of citizens has to follow a different set of rules than other Oklahomans, especially as it relates to taxation, regulation, public safety, the environment, the economy and commerce.

Stitt: court rulings show Oklahoma faces "a question of constitutional proportions" for future


STATEMENT FROM GOVERNOR STITT REGARDING U.S. DISTRICT COURT RULING

OKLAHOMA CITY (July 28, 2020) – Governor Kevin Stitt released the following statement after today’s ruling in U.S. District Court regarding tribal gaming in Oklahoma:

“I am deeply disappointed by the federal court’s ruling. It confirms my fears, and the fears of many fellow Oklahomans, that the State entered into a poorly negotiated deal and now we must bear the cost of this mistake. The federal court determined that the 2004 Gaming Compact autorenewed for 15 years because of an action taken by an agency’s unelected board to reissue licenses for gaming at horse racing tracks. This decision, coupled with the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on McGirt, means Oklahomans have important questions to face regarding our future. Among other things, we will need to explore the challenges of who will pay taxes and who won’t, of how we will guarantee a competitive marketplace, and of how the State will fund core public services into the next generation. In short, we face a question of constitutional proportions about what it means to be the state of Oklahoma and how we regulate and oversee all business in our state.

“When I came into office, I inherited letters from tribes saying the compacts were set to expire on January 1, 2020. In my first six months, I traveled across the state listening to tribal leaders and to leaders from many sectors of Oklahoma’s economy about these compacts. What I heard and what I learned is that only a few tribes were receiving most of the benefit from gaming; the one-size-fits-all approach to the Model Gaming Compact was clearly broken. As your Governor, I was driven by a conviction that we could look to the future and generate new, sustainable opportunities for the next generation of Oklahomans.

1889 Institute op-ed: Why I am not Pro-Business


Why I Am Not Pro-Business
By Byron Schlomach

Most who consider themselves conservative, even many with libertarian leanings, are comfortable with describing themselves as pro-business.

Not me.

Just because I’m not pro-business doesn’t mean I’m anti-business, though. I’m pro-free enterprise.

Chambers of Commerce across the nation are pro-business, especially pro-BIG business. They are established to represent their business members, with large corporations usually the most influential amongst their numbers. Chambers of Commerce almost always favor business subsidies, special tax breaks for certain businesses that small businesses don’t get, or exempt only certain businesses from regulation. They specialize in persuading gullible politicians anxious to get their faces in the news at ribbon-cutting ceremonies to favor these policies.

Oklahoma Senate leaders announce more details of Senate redistricting process


Oklahoma Senate leaders announce more details of Senate redistricting process

OKLAHOMA CITY (July 23rd) – Senate leaders Thursday announced more details of the process the Oklahoma Senate Select Committee on Redistricting will use as the Senate prepares for redistricting next year upon receipt of data from the 2020 U.S. Census.

The moves will ensure the general public’s role in the upcoming redistricting process in the Senate, said Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City.

“Redistricting will be one of the most important issues considered by the Legislature next year. The Senate has been working on redistricting for months and we are preparing for the culmination of that work by taking steps to ensure the general public’s role in the process. The Senate is committed to an open and transparent process as we conduct our constitutional duty to draw state legislative and congressional districts in Oklahoma using data from the 2020 Census,” Treat said.

Senator Lonnie Paxton, chair of the Redistricting Committee, said the public will have an important role in redistricting and that the Senate redistricting process will include:

  • Public hearings at locations across the state with the opportunity for the public to offer comments at the hearings;
  • The public submission of proposed maps of state legislative and congressional districts; and
  • Public notice given before action taken by the committee.

If needed, Paxton said the Senate redistricting committee would take steps such as providing remote participation to accommodate social distancing necessary due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He said the Senate will also make its resources available to local officials if they so choose to help them draw county commission districts, city council districts, and local school board districts.

“The Senate is committed to transparency in the redistricting process and holding public hearings and accepting maps from the public will help us achieve that goal,” Paxton said.

More details about public hearings and the process for submission of proposed maps by the public will be announced later this year, Paxton said.

Treat emphasized the important role that Census data plays in redistricting.

“Census data from the federal government will be used to draw the new district lines,” Treat said. “The best thing the public can do right now for redistricting is complete the Census.”

To complete the 2020 U.S. Census, visit https://my2020census.gov/.

Oklahoma Turnpike Authority rolling out 80mph speed limit in select zones


TURNPIKE SPEED CHANGE UPDATE:

(Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, July 28th) Rural segments of several Oklahoma turnpikes now have the green light for a higher maximum speed limit. While this won’t impact urban areas on these routes, all drivers should still keep a close eye on their speedometers as changes are made over the next several months.

OTA approved the proposal to raise posted speeds from 75 mph to 80 mph on rural segments of five turnpikes, and to establish an 80 mph maximum speed limit on the Kickapoo Turnpike, which is scheduled to open later this year. These locations total 104 miles and include:

  • Turner Turnpike from mile marker (MM) 203 to MM 216, between Bristow and Sapulpa, 13 miles
  • Muskogee Turnpike from MM 2 to MM 33, between Muskogee and Tulsa, 31 miles
  • Cherokee Turnpike from MM 3 to MM 28, 25 miles
  • Indian Nation Turnpike from MM 93 to MM 104, between SH-9 and I-40, 11 miles
  • H.E. Bailey Turnpike (Norman Spur) from MM 102 to MM 107, 5 miles
  • Kickapoo Turnpike (scheduled to open later this year) from MM 130 to MM 149, between I-40 and the Turner Turnpike, 19 miles

Existing speed limits on rural turnpikes like the Will Rogers Turnpike, main segment of the H.E. Bailey Turnpike, Cimarron Turnpike and Chickasaw Turnpike will not be changed as part of this action, based on factors considered.

With today’s approval, work can begin to manufacture and install the new 80 mph signs for each of these corridors. This process could take several months to complete. Until the new signs are in place, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol says it will be enforcing the current posted speed limit. Drivers will need to pay attention in the corridors before revving up or else they’ll risk a ticket.

Gloves off in CD5: Neese tears into Bice for misrepresenting VP's support


After a fairly tame primary, the 5th District GOP runoff is heating up, in multiple ways. Terry Neese is going after Stephanie Bice for claiming an endorsement from Vice President Mike Pence... who rather unhelpfully sent a campaign donation and letter to both candidates.


STEPHANIE BICE LIES TO VOTERS (AGAIN), PUSHES FAKE ENDORSEMENT FROM VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE

Oklahoma City, OK -- On July 23rd, Terry Neese received a letter from Vice President Mike Pence, along with a $1,500.00 campaign contribution, which thanked Terry for her support and partnership with the Trump Administration for the past three and a half years. Both the letter and campaign contribution amount was identical to what Stephanie Bice received on June 30th -- but Bice used her letter to imply an endorsement was made by Vice President Pence in the 5th District congressional race.

For the past twelve days, Stephanie Bice and top campaign surrogates have knowingly pushed this false endorsement to voters as a means to distract them from her tax-raising, dangerous record as a career politician.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

OKGOP Chairman calls out redistricting petition head on transparency hypocrisy


GOP CHAIRMAN CALLS FOR REDISTRICTING PETITIONS HEAD TO STEP DOWN FROM FIO POST, RELEASE DONORS, EXPENSES

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, July 27, 2020 – The chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party called today for Andy Moore, the executive director of Freedom of Information Oklahoma, to resign his position and immediately release the names of all donors and expenses to SQ 804 and SQ 810, the initiative petitions to change Oklahoma’s redistricting process of which Moore heads. SQ 804 was ruled invalid by the Oklahoma Supreme Court, and SQ 810 was recently withdrawn.

“The irony of Mr. Moore’s conflict of interest is beyond comprehension, and must be brought to light,” said David McLain. “On one hand, he heads an organization whose mission statement is ‘promoting open and transparent government in Oklahoma.’ On the other hand, he also has led two initiative petition campaigns which have never made public who their liberal, and likely out-of-state, donors and key supporters are. This is blatant hypocrisy, and while I seriously doubt Mr. Moore will comply, I call on him to promptly release all donors and expenses to SQ 804 and SQ 810, and resign from his position with FIO.  If he fails to do either, I request FIO’s Board of Directors immediately remove him.”

OCPA column: One-sided negotiation?


One-sided negotiation?
By Jonathan Small

Imagine a future where you face new regulations on everything from criminal justice to environmental oversight to taxation. Now imagine a policy response is being negotiated, but no one representing your interests is allowed in the room. Instead, the entire negotiation is between people on the other side of the issue and their employees.

Sounds crazy, right? Unfortunately, that appears to be occurring today as Oklahoma grapples with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that tribal reservations were not formally abolished when it comes to criminal jurisdiction (which opens the door for increased tribal authority in a wide range of areas).

To reach this point, many prominent state officials weighed in and suggested reestablishment of reservations would not be a big challenge in Oklahoma—even though the court reaching that decision would also involve vacating Jimcy McGirt’s prison sentence. McGirt was convicted of molesting, raping, and forcibly sodomizing a four-year-old girl.

Those filing a brief in McGirt’s case, in which McGirt’s attorneys argued he could not be tried in state court because he is Seminole and Creek reservation boundaries remain in place, included U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, former Gov. Brad Henry, former state Senate leader Glenn Coffee, former Oklahoma House Speaker Kris Steele, former Attorney General Mike Turpen, former state House Speaker T.W. Shannon, former U.S. Rep. Dan Boren, and others. All signed their name to a brief submitted by the Chickasaw Nation and the Choctaw Nation.

Oklahoma's COVID-19 contact tracing now includes text messages


Oklahoma Contact Tracing now Includes Text Messages

OKLAHOMA CITY (July 24, 2020) – The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) announces the expansion of its contact tracing outreach efforts to include text messaging. This functionality will help streamline the process for contact tracers as they reach out to individuals who have been in close contact with infected individuals.

“Contact tracing is an integral component of fighting COVID-19 by breaking the chain of transmission, and we are pleased to find ways to increase efficiency as we continuously develop robust contact tracing efforts across Oklahoma,” said Deputy Commissioner of Community Health Services Keith Reed.

House Speaker, Senate Pro Tem announce 2020 interim studies


Speaker Shares Approved Interim Studies

OKLAHOMA CITY (July 24th) – House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, today announced approval of more than 70 interim studies requested by lawmakers and assigned to House committees.

McCall approved 74 interim studies after receiving 92 study requests from members. Four study requests were combined with another study to examine similar topics. Additionally, four of the 74 studies have been approved as joint studies to be conducted in partnership with the Senate.

The approved studies cover a wide range of topics, including criminal justice reform, economic development and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic within the state. Having been approved, House committees may now begin scheduling studies.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Unite Norman releases videos highlighting mayor, city council members in their own radical words


WORDS: New Series of Viral Videos Highlights Mayor, City Council Members in Their Own Radical Words
  • Norman “Nuggets of Knowledge” Video Series Will Show Mayor and City Council Members Out of Touch with Norman, as Vulgar and Profane-Laced Statements Show Some Don’t Possess Temperament to Hold Public Office
  • Council member Kate Bierman says she is no longer a fan of America’s birthday, the Fourth of July, and “I don’t give a s*** what you think about me!”
  • Council Member Stephen Holman Suggested He’d Like to Turn Norman into a Sanctuary City

Norman – Unite Norman is launching a series of viral videos that show the mayor and the city council members — in their own words — are too radical for Norman.

In some cases vulgar, profanity-laced tirades also show that some members are unfit for public office.

In her own words, council member Kate Bierman states that she’s no longer a fan of the Fourth of July — a position held by far-left-wing radicals such as anarchists in places like Seattle’s CHOP/CHAZ zone; Portland, Oregon; and Washington, D.C. Source: “4 Grown-A** Women of the Apocalypse” podcast, 7/11/20  https://tinyurl.com/NotAFanofJuly4

In case you were wondering, Bierman doesn’t care what you think of her, “I don’t give a s*** what you think about me!” Source:  “4 Grown-A** Women of the Apocalypse” podcast, 5/11/20 https://tinyurl.com/IDontGiveASh

Council member Stephen Holman suggested that it’s not Norman Police Department’s job to check immigration status, thereby turning Norman into a de facto “Sanctuary City.” Source: City Council Meeting, 2/4/20 https://tinyurl.com/HolmanSanctuaryCitiesSupport

And, as we pointed out late last week, Mayor Clark is not to be outdone in the department of radical ideas as she pushes for allowing 16-year-olds to vote in municipal elections — an issue only supported by the most radical cities in the United States including Washington, D.C. and San Francisco. Source: City Council Meeting, 6/16/20 https://tinyurl.com/ClarkLet16YrOldsVote

“In their own words, the mayor and the city council members are showing that their ideas and policies are far outside the mainstream of Norman,” said Russell Smith, co-founder of Unite Norman. “This is the result of seven percent voter turnout in the last election. We must do better in the next.”

More videos are on the way. They will appear on Facebook and may appear on other Social Media platforms.

Music Monday: Down in the River to Pray

This week's Music Monday is an old American spiritual, Down in the River to Pray, played here by the University of Texas Tuba/Euphonium Studio.

Enjoy!


As a bonus, here is a performance of the same song by the Bethel College Choir... singing inside an empty grain bin in Kansas:

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.

Lucas helps introduce bipartisan PPP Small Business Forgiveness Act


Lucas, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Paycheck Protection Small Business Forgiveness Act

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) joined U.S. Representatives Fred Upton (R-MI) and Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) in introducing bipartisan legislation to expedite forgiveness for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans of $150,000 or less. The Paycheck Protection Small Business Forgiveness Act would streamline for process for certifying compliance with PPP requirements and expedite the loan forgiveness process for small businesses.

“There’s no question about it, the Paycheck Protection Program has been a lifeline for Oklahoma’s small businesses- more than 127,000 jobs in Oklahoma’s Third District. The Paycheck Protection Small Business Forgiveness Act would forgive Paycheck Protection Program loans under $150,000, helping Oklahoma’s small businesses navigate the forgiveness process,” said Congressman Lucas. “These loans represent more than 90 percent of the loans in the Third District of Oklahoma, but only about 30 percent of the total dollar value. As Congress continues to provide additional relief to those hit hardest by COVID-19, I will continue to work with my fellow colleagues to help remove the shroud of uncertainty for small businesses as we weather this health crisis.”

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

OCPA attacks OEA’s bogus math: $10M is not half of $360M


OCPA comment on OEA’s bogus math

OKLAHOMA CITY (July 21, 2020)—Jonathan Small, president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, issued the following statement today in response to the Oklahoma Education Association’s recent criticism of Gov. Kevin Stitt’s “Stay in School” initiative.

“The Oklahoma Education Association’s national parent, the National Education Association, is known for bizarre actions like working to give boys access to girls’ bathrooms and endorsing Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden. Recently the OEA added to the bizarre by trying to give the impression that public schools are receiving only half of Oklahoma’s education-related federal COVID funding. Any suggestion to that effect is patently false.

“Oklahoma received $360 million in federal funding to cover the costs of the education response to COVID-19. Of that $360 million, $160.9 million went to the state’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, which pays for COVID-related expenses at public schools, and $39.8 million went to the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund, which pays for a host of initiatives. The remainder primarily went to colleges.

Stitt forms commission to advise State following McGirt v. Oklahoma ruling


GOVERNOR STITT FORMS COMMISSION TO ADVISE STATE OF OKLAHOMA FOLLOWING U.S. SUPREME COURT RULING

OKLAHOMA CITY (July 20, 2020) – Governor Kevin Stitt today issued Executive Order 2020-24, announcing the formation of The Oklahoma Commission on Cooperative Sovereignty to address concerns and make recommendations to the State and the U.S. Congress in light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions in McGirt v. Oklahoma and Sharp v. Murphy.

“We know that there is a lot of unpredictability right now,” said Gov. Stitt. “We are committed to working with all Oklahomans, Tribal and non-Tribal, to create a practical and sustainable path forward. This commission is the first step.”

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

House Dems complain about Stitt's use of some COVID funds for private schools


Democrats Respond to Governor’s Use of Public Ed Money for Private Schools

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Members of the Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus today responded to Governor Stitt announcing his plan to give at least $10 million out of $39.9 million in the GEER funds to private schools.

The Democratic lawmakers point out that private schools have additional opportunities to generate revenue, like tuition and forgivable federal small business loans, that public schools don’t have.

Since the GEER fund was announced by the US Department of Education in March as an effort to help schools navigate the pandemic, Oklahoma Democrats and Oklahoma’s public education community have made it clear that these public funds should not go to private schools.

State Sen. Dahm endorses Neese in CD5 runoff


STATE SENATOR NATHAN DAHM (SD-33) ENDORSES TERRY NEESE FOR CONGRESS

TULSA, OK -- Terry Neese, Republican candidate for Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District, has earned the endorsement of State Senator Nathan Dahm (SD-33), who is ranked the most Conservative Senator in Oklahoma. In a statement released today, Senator Dahm called Neese the “clear choice” for conservatives who want to see President Trump’s agenda delivered -- not destroyed by radical liberals.

Gov. Stitt announces $30M education allocation plan to mitigate COVID needs


GOVERNOR STITT ANNOUNCES $30 MILLION EDUCATION ALLOCATION PLANProposal includes three initiatives that will offer quality academic options to help minimize learning gaps for students and schools across the state

 OKLAHOMA CITY (July 17, 2020) — Gov. Kevin Stitt today announced $30 million from the GEER fund will go toward funding three new education initiatives - Learn Anywhere Oklahoma, Bridge the Gap Digital Wallet and Stay in School Funds.

The Governor's Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund, authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, is an extraordinarily flexible "emergency block grant" designed to enable governors to decide how best to meet the needs of students, schools (including charter schools and non-public schools), postsecondary institutions and other education-related organizations. The U.S. Department of Education provided a total of $360 million for Oklahoma’s public education systems to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, of which $39.9 million was designated into the GEER Fund.

“These programs will allow for students and families of diverse backgrounds to access the quality resources they need in order to continue their education journey amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Gov. Stitt. “These are unprecedented times, but we can’t let our kids fall further behind academically. They are our priority, and we will do everything we can to ensure they have the tools they need to succeed in their academic endeavors.”

Unite Norman: we have more Recall signatures than votes that elected Norman mayor


Unite Norman Announces They’ve Surpassed in Signatures the Number of Votes that Elected Mayor Clark
Grassroots Effort Achieves More than 6,700 Signatures So Far — A Greater Number than the Votes that Put the Mayor in Office“Overwhelming support” from Normanites to recall the mayor, says founder

Norman (July 20th) — Unite Norman — the grassroots group behind the effort to recall the mayor and city council for defunding the police and not upholding the will of the people — announced today they are well on their way to getting the recall effort on the ballot.

The grassroots group shared that they have now garnered more than 6,700 signatures — that’s more voter support than Mayor Clark was actually elected with.

“The people of Norman are speaking overwhelmingly,” said Russell Smith, the founder of Unite Norman. “We’re only about a third of the way there, and certainly have more work to do, but we’re strongly encouraged by the overwhelming response of support from the voters.”

Rep. Hilbert, Sen. Leewright Work on Back the Blue Legislation


Hilbert, Leewright Work on Back the Blue Legislation

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Kyle Hilbert, R-Bristow, and Sen. James Leewright, R-Bristow, today announced bills backing law enforcement by making the profession more attractive to join and stay in across Oklahoma.

In recent days, eight police officers nationwide were shot over 48 hours, resulting in two officer deaths. Two weeks ago, two Tulsa police officers were shot, resulting in the death of Tulsa Police Sgt. Craig Johnson.

The casualties combined with efforts in cities in Oklahoma and nationwide to defund police and other law enforcement offices have created a toxic environment for public safety officers, something the legislators said they hope to combat.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Unite Norman condemns anti-police group for posting home addresses of Norman police


Unite Norman Condemns Actions of Norman Facebook Page Targeting Police Officers, Doxxing Officers’ Home Addresses
Grassroots Organizers Say the Practice is Uncivil, Dangerous, Many officers’ wives, small children at home while Officers are working shifts

Norman — Unite Norman — the grassroots group behind the effort to recall the mayor and city council for defunding the police and not upholding the will of the people — condemned today a Norman group’s Facebook page for doxxing — releasing — the personal home addresses of Norman Police Department officers.

The Facebook page, “Norman Police Accountability Project,” has been releasing one-by-one the personal details, names, and street addresses of officers, drawing concern from officers and their families who are now targeted.

Music Monday: I'm Glad I'm Serving a God

This week's Music Monday is the Southern Gospel song I'm Glad I'm Serving a God, sung here by the GloryBound Quartet at Heartland Baptist Bible College in Oklahoma City.

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.

June unemployment declines by half, moves Oklahoma to 5th lowest rate in nation


OKLAHOMA JUNE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE DECLINES SIGNIFICANTLY, TIED FOR FIFTH LOWEST NATIONALLY

OKLAHOMA CITY (July 20, 2020) – New figures released by the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission and the U.S. Department of Labor show Oklahoma’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined to 6.6% in June, a significant decrease from 12.6% in May. Oklahoma is tied with Maine for the fifth lowest rate in the country, a ranking which is reflected on the newly-launched Governor’s Dashboard of Metrics. The national unemployment rate for June declined to 11.1%.

“These figures confirm that Oklahoma is leading the way in our recovery from COVID-19,” said Governor Kevin Stitt. “Innovative programs like the Oklahoma Business Relief Program, the Oklahoma Manufacturing Reboot Program and others have allowed us to leverage federal CARES Act funds to support our businesses and get their employees back to work so they can support their families.”

Saturday, July 18, 2020

OCPA column: Responding to "Indian country" ruling


Responding to “Indian country” ruling
By Jonathan Small

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma has created much legal uncertainty throughout Oklahoma. Rather than have a conglomerate of state and tribal officials hash out various agreements—potentially numerous agreements—it would be far better if Congress resolved this problem.

The court’s actual ruling was narrow: Creek tribal members, on territory once set aside for the Creek tribe, can only be prosecuted by federal, not state, authorities for serious crimes. But the ruling is expected to apply to several other tribes and territory throughout eastern Oklahoma, including Tulsa. Determining if an offender should be prosecuted in federal or state court will depend on the heritage of the offender, the heritage of the victim, and the location of the crime. In situations where an offender is an enrolled member of one tribe and the victim is a member of another, things could become even more complicated.

Friday, July 17, 2020

1889 Institute: Words Must have Meaning If Civilization is to Survive


Words Must have Meaning If Civilization is to Survive
By Mike Davis

Words have meaning. This allows us to communicate with each other. Suppose you and I are having dinner. If I ask you to pass the salt, meaning the seasoning, and you have decided to redefine the word “salt” as a handheld explosive device (what I call a hand grenade), you would be very worried, and I, having asked for salt, would be surprised by your concern. If words mean whatever the speaker or listener decides in the moment, then we lose the fundamental ability to communicate.

The continued debate over what "defund" means, and especially the Supreme Court's recent decision to include gay and transgender as protected classes under federal labor discrimination law, have called to mind the Tower of Babel, recounted in Genesis 11. A group of people decided that they would build a tower to heaven. God, seeing that they would accomplish this goal if they continued to work together, confused their language and scattered them over the face of the earth. Reading the news and social media, it feels as though Americans have imposed this sentence on ourselves. Our language is being intentionally confused.

“Defund the police” has been the subject of mixed definitions. Some extremists want to abolish all police departments. Some cities have taken this suggestion seriously. Others want to divert some funding from police to social services. Others carelessly toss the same phrase around as a blanket term for police reform. It has lost all meaning. When a conservative says they oppose "defunding the police,” meaning they want to continue having police in their city, and they are told they are racist (another word with a rapidly evolving meaning) for not supporting police reform, it becomes easy to avoid the subject of salt, so as not to get a reputation for linking hand grenades.

Gov. Stitt announces 'Governor's Dashboard of Metrics'


GOVERNOR STITT ANNOUNCES GOVERNOR'S DASHBOARD OF METRICS

OKLAHOMA CITY (July 17, 2020)- Governor Kevin Stitt announced today the launch of the Governor’s Dashboard of Metrics, providing Oklahomans with an overview of the progress being made in the State's efforts to become Top Ten in critical categories.

"Oklahoma can and should be a Top Ten State," said Gov. Stitt. "In order to ensure we are effectively pursuing this vision, we have created an easy to understand scorecard that helps our state leaders and agencies monitor how we compare on the national level and make informed decisions in order to move the needle in key areas."

Seminole Nation: we weren't involved in agreement-in-principle announced by other tribes


Seminole Nation chief releases statement regarding principles of jurisdiction announcement from tribes impacted by McGirt v. Oklahoma 

Wewoka, Okla. (July 17, 2020) - Seminole Nation Chief Greg P. Chilcoat issued the following statement today after the tribes impacted by the McGirt v. Oklahoma ruling released a set of principles on jurisdiction following last week’s U.S. Supreme Court decision.

OCPA slams AG-tribal agreement on McGirt v. Oklahoma


OCPA comment on AG-tribal agreement on McGirt v. Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY (July 16, 2020)—Jonathan Small, president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, issued the following statement today in response to Attorney General Mike Hunter’s proposal for federal legislation to address challenges raised by the U.S. Supreme Court’s McGirt v. Oklahoma ruling.

“This proposed ‘agreement’ smacks of self-dealing. It essentially ‘gives’ substantial control of the civil and economic lives of approximately 2 million Oklahomans to five tribal governments in exchange for … nothing.