Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Governor Stitt announces cabinet transitions


OKLAHOMA CITY (June 29, 2020) – Governor Kevin Stitt today announced he has appointed Kevin Corbett as Secretary of Health and Mental Health and Elizabeth Pollard as Secretary of Science and Innovation as former Secretaries Jerome Loughridge and Dr. Kayse Shrum are returning to their full-time careers.

“We are fortunate to have the ability to promote talented people like Secretary Kevin Corbett and Secretary Elizabeth Pollard to ensure a seamless transition,” said Gov. Stitt. “They both have made significant impacts on our state in just a few months, and I am excited to work with them as we continue our momentum toward becoming a Top Ten state.”

Oklahoma Primary Election Day information

Today is the Oklahoma Primary Election, and voters all across the state are now heading to the polls to vote in numerous partisan and nonpartisan races. Here is some information that may be helpful to your plans today.

If you don't know where to vote, or want to see your sample ballot, use this helpful link from the Oklahoma State Election Board to find out. All voters will be eligible to cast ballots on State Question 802 as well as any nonpartisan races in their precinct. Additionally, Republicans, Democrats, and Libertarians will be voting in their respective primaries, while Independents are allowed to vote in the Democratic primary.

My picks for the Republican primary ballot, state question, and Muskogee municipal races can be found here. Michael Bates of BatesLine.com and the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee have additional recommendations and picks that I generally agree with. You can also view survey responses at iVoter Guide (put out by the American Family Association and the Family Research Council), the Oklahoma 2nd Amendment Association, Oklahomans for Life, and Free The States (abortion abolition group).

Voting will be open from 7am to 7pm, with live results on ok.gov/elections shortly thereafter.

Evil triumphs when good men do nothing. Do something for your state and country. If self-proclaimed Christians would vote what they profess, this state and nation would be in a lot better shape. Duty is ours; consequences are God's.

Don't forget to vote today.

Monday, June 29, 2020

State Election Board Offers Tips, Reminders for Oklahoma Voters

State Election Board Offers Tips, Reminders for Oklahoma Voters

(Oklahoma City) – With social distancing and safety protocols in place ahead of the statewide primary on Tuesday, the State Election Board offers these tips and reminders for Oklahoma voters before they head to the polls June 30.


Polls are open statewide from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day. Lines at the polls are typically longest before work, during the lunch hour, and after work.


The State Election Board worked with OU Health Sciences Center to develop safety protocols for all of Oklahoma’s 2,000 polling places and 77 county election boards. Poll workers at every location have been supplied with personal protective equipment (PPE) including hand sanitizer, gloves, masks, and disinfectant.

Voters are asked to be patient and follow signage and procedures. While it is not required, the State Election Board strongly recommends that voters wear a mask to protect themselves and those around them.

Find more on COVID-19 and the 2020 elections at https://www.ok.gov/elections/Voter_Info/Covid-19_and_2020_Elections.html.


Study the candidates and issues before going to the polls. View your sample ballot using the State Election Board’s OK Voter Portal at www.elections.ok.gov. You can also use the portal to find your polling place and track the status of your absentee ballot. Due to the COVID-19 emergency, some polling places may have changed. Voters are strongly encouraged to verify their voting location before heading to the polls.


Oklahoma has closed primaries; however, recognized parties may open their primaries to Independent voters. For the 2020 and 2021 election years, the Democratic Party has elected to open its primaries to Independents. The Republican and Libertarian parties have chosen to keep their primaries closed.

If you are an Independent voter and would like to vote a Democratic ballot, please be sure to let the poll worker know when you check in.


Oklahoma law requires every voter who votes in person to show proof of identity before receiving a ballot.

There are three ways for voters to prove their identity under the law (only one proof of identity is required):

  1. Show a valid photo ID issued by the federal, state, or tribal government; or
  2. Show the free voter identification card issued to every voter by their County Election Board; or
  3. Sign an affidavit and vote a provisional ballot. (If the information on the affidavit matches official voter registration records, the ballot will be counted after Election Day.)

State and county election officials are always your trusted sources for information. Visit the State Election Board website to learn more about elections in Oklahoma at www.elections.ok.gov.

Arkansas State Rep: learn from our mistake, reject Medicaid expansion (SQ 802)

More from OCPA on State Question 802:

On May 13, 2020, Arkansas State Representative Josh Miller wrote a letter to Oklahoma leaders urging them to reject Medicaid expansion.

The letter read:
"Dear Leader David, Speaker McCall, Leader Echols, and other Republican Members of the Oklahoma Legislature,

In light of Oklahoma's consideration of Medicaid expansion, I write to briefly share Arkansas' experience. I will be candid—and hope to convey my sense of urgency. I cannot stress enough my primary takeaway from Arkansas' Medicaid program in recent years: expanding Medicaid to able-bodied adults is a raw deal. Let me explain.

Those who supported Medicaid expansion made lots of promises: increased federal funding to support our state budget, greater access to care for the needy, and relief for rural hospitals. But Arkansas is in a worse position today than before because these grand promises were built on the broken foundation of ObamaCare.

Instead, enrollment and costs shattered projections. Waste and fraud is more difficult to detect. Some of our rural hospitals are still struggling and a few have even closed. Greater costs are being shifted to the remaining Arkansans who pay higher private insurance premiums. More Arkansans are trapped in welfare dependency. And the truly needy—like those with physical and developmental disabilities who require home-based care—face long waiting lists and reduced services while able-bodied, working-age adults move to the front of the line.

In short, expansion was a big mistake for Arkansas.

In times of uncertainty like the COVID-19 pandemic, knowledge is power. And I know the experiences of neighbors, who have had to learn from their mistakes, can provide the most useful knowledge. Arkansas and Oklahoma share more than a border. Our cultures, economies, and enduring public policy challenges have much in common. If you want to avoid the mistakes of our state, I urge you to reject Medicaid expansion.


Josh Miller
AR State Representative Dist. 66"
Now, I urge all Oklahomans to heed Rep. Miller's advice—reject Medicaid so that Oklahoma can avoid the woes that our neighbor has endured.


Jonathan Small
President, Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs

Oklahomans For Life: Bice misrepresents pro-life record, no endorsement in CD5 primary

No endorsement in 5th Congressional District Republican Primary by Oklahomans For Life
Misrepresentation by Stephanie Bice Campaign

(June 18th) We have received a number of inquiries from residents of the 5th Congressional District about the use of the name and logo of Oklahomans For Life in the 5th District Republican Primary. Use of our name and logo in this race has been done without our knowledge or consent.

We have learned that residents of the 5th Congressional District have received several mailings in recent days implying, or stating outright, that one of the candidates in the Republican Primary has been endorsed by Oklahomans For Life. The mailings have been sent by, or on behalf of, the campaign of Stephanie Bice.

Oklahomans For Life has not endorsed anyone in the 5th Congressional District Republican Primary. Any claim to the contrary is incorrect.

The most recent mail piece says Stephanie Bice has been “Endorsed & Rated 100% Pro-Life by Oklahomans For Life, Inc.” Neither half of that assertion is accurate.

Oklahomans For Life has not endorsed Stephanie Bice in this, or any other race. Regarding the claim that she has been “Rated 100% Pro-Life by Oklahomans For Life,” there have been 14 pro-life bills for which we have advocated during the six years Stephanie Bice has been in the legislature. She has voted for 12 of the 14 bills. (The bills are on our website under “Votes.”)

There are several other candidates in the 5th Congressional District Republican Primary who are strongly pro-life, including David Hill, Janet Barresi, Michael Ballard, and Terry Neese. For one of the candidates, or her surrogates, to falsely claim the endorsement of Oklahomans For Life is an unacceptable misrepresentation – misleading to the voters of the district, unjust to the other candidates, and a disservice to the unborn child.

Tony Lauinger
State Chairman, Oklahomans For Life

Oklahoma legislature Candidate-Survey responses are posted on our Oklahomans For Life website, www.OkForLife.org. Please click here for Candidate Surveys. Click here for Votes on pro-life bills in the legislature. Oklahoma’s Primary Election is tomorrow.

No endorsement has been made in the 5th District Republican Primary by Oklahomans For Life or National Right to Life. Several strongly pro-life candidates are competing for the Republican nomination. Those who have answered National Right to Life's Congressional Candidate Questionnaire with all pro-life answers are David Hill, Janet Barresi, Michael Ballard, Miles Rahimi, Terry Neese, and Stephanie Bice. The incumbent is radical pro-abortion Democrat Kendra Horn.

In addition to 37 detailed questions about legislation, the Candidate Questionnaire of National Right to Life asks this question: “Under what circumstances, if any, do you believe abortion should be legal?” The 5th Congressional District candidates’ answers to this question are as follows:

David Hill: “I am pro-life without exception.”
Janet Barresi: “Only to prevent the death of the mother (the NRL position).”
Michael Ballard: “Only to prevent the death of the mother (the NRL position).”
Miles Rahimi: “Only to prevent the death of the mother (the NRL position).”
Terry Neese: “To prevent the death of the mother, or in cases of rape reported to a law enforcement agency, or incest against a minor reported to a child abuse agency.”

Stephanie Bice: “To prevent the death of the mother, or in cases of rape reported to a law enforcement agency, or incest against a minor reported to a child abuse agency.” 

2020 Primary Election: Tips and Picks

Tomorrow is the Oklahoma Primary Election, and voters all across the state are now heading to the polls to decide nominees in many different races. Here is some information that may be helpful with your voting plans.

If you don't know where to vote, or want to see your sample ballot, use this helpful link from the Oklahoma State Election Board to find out.

Here are a few of my voting picks. Work and family activities prevented me from getting into more detail on many of these races, but here are some basic thoughts.

  • Corporation Commissioner: Todd Hiett. Hiett seems to have been a solid commissioner, and his challenger is 85 and a perennial candidate.
  • United States Senate: J.J. Stitt. This is a protest vote, as I don't think Inhofe -- who will be 86 two weeks after the general election -- should have run for re-election.
  • U.S. House, District 2: Joseph Silk. Silk is a conservative stalwart, and the most dedicated defender of the unborn that the Oklahoma legislature has ever seen. He would make a fantastic congressman. As I've pointed out before many times before, Markwayne Mullin is a remorseless pledge-breaker, and I will not reward that dishonesty and lack of integrity with a vote.
  • U.S. House, District 4: James Taylor. Incumbent Tom Cole is the most liberal Oklahoma Republican in Congress, and should have been ousted long ago.
  • U.S. House, District 5: David Hill. Hill seems to be the most conservative in a crowded field. He was the only candidate to say “I am pro-life without exception” in the National Right To Life candidate questionaire; the others had some sort of exception or excuse to support abortions in certain cases.
  • State Senate District 7: Warren Hamilton. Hamilton seems to be a fiery conservative, dedicated to the cause of abolishing abortion in Oklahoma. Incumbent Larry Boggs has been more conservative than most of the rest of the State Senate, but I feel that Hamilton would be a more eloquent and rock-solid member.
  • State House District 3: Rick West. Rick was one of a handful of conservative champions in the 2017-2018 legislative sessions and special sessions before opting to not run for reelection in 2018. He would be a fantastic addition to the Legislature.
  • State House District 11: Wendi Stearman. I've heard great things about this homeschool mom running against one of the most liberal legislative Republicans.
  • State House District 14: George Faught. I'm biased, of course, but here's what Charlie Meadows of OCPAC wrote about my dad: "Faught’s leadership is needed for insight into who are the fake conservatives. He knows who the snakes are at the Capitol and what rocks they slither under." The incumbent and his allies are running a nasty and slanderous campaign and should never be rewarded with elected office.
  • State House District 61: Kenny Bob Tapp. If you want a hard-working conservative representing the Panhandle, KBT is your man.
  • State House District 69: Angela Strohm. Strohm's husband was also a member of the conservative core in past terms. She would carry on that representation well.
  • State Question 802: Vote NO. Oklahoma can't afford this disastrous measure. You can read a host of reasons at the many posts and viewpoints I've published on this.
  • Muskogee County Sheriff: Michael Mahan. I appreciated his responses to my candidate forum, and respected Second Amendment individuals in the area support him.
  • Muskogee Mayor: Marlon Coleman. I appreciate his positive campaign and his seeming ability to overcome differences and unite folks from a broad coalition. His opponent has surrounded himself with unsavory characters and run nasty campaigns both this round and two years ago.
  • Muskogee City Proposition: I voted yes. I prefer a strong-mayor form of government to the council-manager form we currently use. That said, this isn't a huge issue for me. Read arguments from the Yes side here, and the No side here.

You can also find recommendations and picks that I generally agree with from Michael Bates of BatesLine.com, and the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee. You can also view survey responses at iVoter Guide (put out by the American Family Association and the Family Research Council), the Oklahoma 2nd Amendment Association, Oklahomans for Life, and Free The States (abortion abolition group).

Former Gov. Keating: "SQ 802 is bad for Oklahoma"

Former OK governor says ‘Vote No’ on SQ 802
By Former Gov. Frank Keating

Dramatic improvement in Oklahoma citizens’ health. Rural hospitals transformed from near collapse to thriving hubs of medical innovation. Literally a billion dollars raining from the sky.

Those are just a handful of the promises made or implied by supporters of State Question 802, which would expand Oklahoma’s Medicaid program to include many able-bodied adults as part of Obamacare.

You’re probably thinking, “That sounds too good to be true.”

You’re right.

Here’s the truth about State Question 802. It’s been tried in other states—and failed.

The reality of SQ 802 is far different than the pie-in-the-sky claims made by its supporters.

First, it won’t improve health outcomes. States with citizen demographics that are similar to Oklahoma—like Arkansas, Kentucky, and Louisiana—have all expanded Medicaid, yet still rank alongside Oklahoma (or worse) in health outcomes.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Neese releases list of endorsements by current and former OKC-area elected officials


Oklahoma City, OK (June 23rd) -- Terry Neese, Republican candidate for Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District, today released a list of eighteen current and former elected officials who have endorsed her campaign ahead of the Primary Election on June 30th.

Terry Neese said: “I am honored to have the support of eighteen incredible public servants who recognize the importance of nominating a trusted conservative and proven job creator who has what it takes to beat Kendra Horn and help Republicans win back control of Congress in November. I am running for Congress to help President Trump deliver his America-first agenda that will secure our borders, rebuild our economy, and protect conservative values from being destroyed by Nancy Pelosi and liberal coastal elites -- and I will get the job done for Oklahomans.”

Small: “No” vote on SQ802 is a wise decision

“No” vote on SQ802 is a wise decision
By Jonathan Small

Soon, Oklahomans will consider State Question 802, which would increase welfare by expanding Oklahoma’s Medicaid program to cover able-bodied adults. Believing the arguments of SQ802’s supporters requires ignoring mountains of evidence.

Isn’t Medicaid expansion funded by “free” federal money? Nope. The federal government is broke and has a trillion-dollar deficit. Plus, State taxes are required as well. In Oklahoma, Medicaid expansion will cost state taxpayers up to $374 million annually.

House Dems call on Governor to implement 5-level virus alert system

Democrats Call on Governor to Implement Oklahoma Virus Awareness Program

OKLAHOMA CITY (June 24th) -- House Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman, today called on Gov. Kevin Stitt to implement a system to better prepare Oklahoma for pandemics including COVID-19.

The Oklahoma Virus Awareness Program, similar to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Terrorism Advisory System, would use levels to make recommendations for actions based on data and not politics.

“Too many decisions during this pandemic have been made based on what is best for politics,” Leader Virgin said. “This system would help the process become a bit more transparent and more easily understood by relying on specific data thresholds instead of cherry-picked data that promotes one side’s political talking points.”

House Democrats did present an example chart of the program, however, the goal is for the actual thresholds and recommendations to be created by public health experts.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

1889 Institute: Think Carefully before Voting on SQ 802

Think Carefully before Voting on SQ 802

A vote “Yes” on State Question 802 would expand Medicaid to able-bodied adults above the poverty line. A vote “No” would keep taxpayers buying health care mainly for poor children and pregnant mothers.

State Question 802 is not that simple. Terms of Medicaid expansion would be set in our constitution, sidestepping our legislature, which is supposed to adjust to existing circumstances, taking that flexibility away. Consequently, funding for public education, roads, parks, prisons, courts, and other purposes, not constitutionally protected, will one day see deep cuts during an inevitable economic downturn, to fund Medicaid.

Commercials for SQ 802 lead us to believe that Medicaid expansion is a pure windfall. They never say it requires $100 million of our money, for which there is no source. If necessary, the money comes from the rest of the state’s budget, whose biggest funding item is public education.

Poor people don’t fund commercials. It’s big hospitals, with their million-dollar salaried CEOs. Low-income individuals are getting the basic health care services they need, and hospitals are making money. Otherwise, new hospitals and hospital expansion construction projects would not be constant. When health care industry spokespeople claim financial hardship due to poor people not paying bills, it’s a lie. Even using grossly inflated prices to exaggerate losses from charity and unpaid bills, these are minor expenses for the big hospitals.

Medicaid expansion is about making very wealthy people in healthcare richer. At some point, we’ll steal from our schools to pay big-city hospital administrators so they can buy a better model of Mercedes or another vacation home that’s not in Oklahoma.

But what about the rural hospitals? At a hearing in the state capitol some nurses testified about how their rural hospital was made financially sound. They stopped operating wastefully like big-city hospitals and stopped providing services better suited to big hospitals.

Most of healthcare’s almost 20 percent of GDP is a pure transfer from everybody else to wealthy health care providers through grossly over-priced services in an industry where competition mostly does not exist because patients don’t pay their own bills.

But, health care is a right. We all need it, for good health, for dignity, and for life itself. You can make the same argument about food and housing, and indeed, these are often provided by government. But the problem with saying any one person has a “right” to something another person must produce is that you are also saying you have a right to another person’s labor. Paying them with taxpayer money only means you have a right to taxpayers’ labor, without recompense.

There’s a word for when a person has a “right” to another person’s labor without recompense – it’s “slavery.” Keep that in mind while casting your vote on SQ 802 on June 30.

Byron Schlomach is 1889 Institute Director and can be contacted at bschlomach@1889institute.org.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

OCPA column: Police chiefs warn of dangers of government unions

Police chiefs warn of dangers of government unions
By Jonathan Small

It’s long been understood that unions make government workers unresponsive to public needs. This applies to police as much as any other worker. A University of Chicago study found that between 1996 and 2015, newly unionized law enforcement agencies saw a 27 percent increase in misconduct complaints.

People in Camden, New Jersey, took actions to promote accountability and address police union problems. In 2012, Camden, New Jersey, dissolved its police department and replaced it with an entirely new one.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

State legislators Attack Beef Problems

Legislators Attack Beef Problems

OKLAHOMA CITY (June 18th) – An Oklahoma beef task force designed to analyze problems in marketing and processing beef has been organized by State Rep. Justin Humphrey, R-Lane, and State Sen. David Bullard, R-Durant.

The two legislators have invited independent ranchers, meat buyers, meat processors, livestock auction owners and meat inspectors to convene and identify financial obstacles and structured solutions that will provide a process for long-term financial gain for Oklahoma farmers and ranchers.

 “Four major meat packers, Tyson Foods, Cargill, JBS (Brazilian owned) and National Beef are controlling about 87 percent of beef processing and sales,” Humphrey said. “They have considerable control over what ranchers are paid for cattle and what consumers pay for meat. The beef price is very low for ranchers and extremely high for consumers while meat packers are making millions of dollars. This is not acceptable.”

Perspective: 'No' campaign on why Muskogee should reject strong-mayor form of government

On June 30th, voters in Muskogee will be deciding on a City Proposition that would change the form of government from the current "council-manager" system to a "strong-mayor" system. I reached out to both sides of this issue and asked them to submit an op-ed. You can view the 'Yes' side's argument here. Below is an op-ed from former Muskogee mayor John Tyler Hammons on behalf of the 'No' campaign:

Why You Should Vote No on the Proposition to Revoke Muskogee’s City Charter
By John Tyler Hammons, Attorney 

The topic of structuring local governments isn’t all that fancy, but the voters of Muskogee will soon vote on a proposition to effectively rip up Muskogee’s constitution, our City Charter. A vote yes on the proposition removes the power of Muskogee’s people and gives it to the state.

Here’s why I urge my fellow citizens to vote no on the proposition.

Cities such as Chicago, New York City, and Baltimore – three cities that have adopted a “strong-mayor” form of government, see radically high crime rates due to poor leadership. The only way to replace the poor leadership is through an expensive election process which costs taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. A strong mayor form of government is most common among cities with populations exceeding  500,000 citizens.

Unfortunately, those mayors are also wanting to defund the police as we’ve seen in eecent news, and when they have no check and balance from the people, they run away with their radical Policies to defund police, fire, & rescue.

Currently – Muskogee’s government is a “council-manager” form of government. This form of government means we, the citizens of Muskogee, can immediately fire a bad city manager at the next council meeting If the manager is not meeting the expectations or fulfilling his or her duties.

In a strong mayor form of government, we, the citizens of Muskogee, would not be able to fire a bad manager – instead, it would rest in the hands of a Mayor – one person, with political ties, that influences every decision a City Manager would make.

According to Title 11 of the Oklahoma Statutes Citationized, if Muskogee switched to a strong-mayor form of government, we would be effectively abolishing the police, fire, & rescue agreements with our local servicemen and women. We would also be removing ward voting and we would be giving the Governor veto power over our city charter if he or she did not “like” what was in it. That’s just wrong on so many levels.

A government closest to its people, most connected to its people, is the best possible form of government.

We elect our leaders to hire an efficient and responsible manager with our tax dollars, and if they don’t run the city properly, we fire them at the next meeting. A government that is ruled by one person, as the “Vote Yes” campaign is proposing, one without a check and balance, is a dictatorship.

Muskogee changed from that style of leadership in 1920 for a reason. I will be voting no on June 30th for this proposition and respectfully encourage the people of Muskogee to visit www.savemuskogee.com to learn more information about this proposition.


John Tyler Hammons

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Perspective: 'Yes' campaign on why Muskogee should move to strong-mayor form of government

On June 30th, voters in Muskogee will be deciding on a City Proposition that would change the form of government from the current "council-manager" system to a "strong-mayor" system. I reached out to both sides of this issue and asked them to submit an op-ed. You can read the 'No' side's argument here. Below is the Yes campaign:

Our Muskogee Municipal Government is currently operated by a City Manager, and the position of Mayor is simply a “figurehead” position. The City Manager is not elected by the Voters and has no term limits, but is responsible for running our City. Many growing Cities across the State and Nation have moved away from this outdated form of Government. On Tuesday, June 30th Muskogee voters will have the opportunity to eliminate the position of City Manager, and allow the elected Mayor to run the City.

We elect a President to run our Country, a Governor to run our State, and County Commissioners to run our County. Why shouldn’t we elect a Mayor to run our City? Earlier this year, Tracy Cole filed a petition to fix this. More than 800 Muskogee citizens agreed, and signed the petition.

Voting YES, will give the voters more of a voice and bring accountability back to the Voters.

Here are a few benefits to voting Yes:

Currently, the City Manager (who is not elected by Voters) is responsible for Street Repairs. If the proposition on June 30th is approved by the Voters, the Mayor will be responsible for Street Repairs. The Mayor is elected by the Voters and must be responsive to the Voters, whereas the City Manager is not.

Many growing Cities have changed their form of Government to be better equipped to attract new businesses. New industrial businesses looking to move to Muskogee and make a significant investment here by building a facility and hiring employees want to negotiate with a Mayor who has the authority to make decision for the City, not an unelected City Manager.

Currently our City Manager’s salary and benefit package costs taxpayers approximately $150,000 per year. Additionally, the Assistant City Manager’s salary and benefit package costs taxpayers approximately $100,000 per year. By eliminating the position of City Manager and Assistant City Manager, the taxpayers of Muskogee will save approximately $250,000 per year. These funds could be given back to taxpayers or invested in Streets.

If Voters want to see Muskogee change and grow, we hope they will join us in Voting YES on Tuesday, June 30th.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Only on MuskogeePolitico: Muskogee County Sheriff Candidate Forum

Back on June 4th, I asked MuskogeePolitico.com readers to submit questions for the three Republican candidates running for Muskogee County Sheriff. I received numerous responses with great questions. After compiling these into seven questions, I reached out to the candidates and asked them to submit their responses.

Allow me to present to you the first MuskogeePolitico.com Candidate Video Forum. Candidates Michael Mahan and Jeff Smith graciously participated (Andy Simmons was unable to meet the deadline due to a death in the family).

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Stitt and Health Care Authority CEO seek reform to Medicaid program


OKLAHOMA CITY (June 18, 2020)— In order to improve Oklahoma’s health outcomes, increase access to health care and foster a more accountable system, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) will seek proposals from qualified managed care organizations to facilitate health care services to eligible and enrolled members of Oklahoma’s Medicaid program, commonly known as SoonerCare. The managed care organizations' contracts will require them to share the financial risk associated with providing care to members. The request for proposals is expected to be released this fall.

“I am committed to making Oklahoma a Top Ten state in health outcomes, and engaging providers through a managed care organization will help us achieve our goal of ensuring Oklahomans receive improved access and quality care,” Governor Kevin Stitt said. “While we do expect cost savings to follow the improved health outcomes, the state will continue to be laser-focused on helping Oklahomans.”

Saturday, June 20, 2020

1889 Institute: Legislature fouls out on another occupational license

Why is Oklahoma one of only four states licensing Recreational Therapists?

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (June 17, 2020) – The 1889 Institute has published “Recreation Therapy Licensure in Oklahoma,” which asks why the Oklahoma’s legislature would feel compelled to license so benign of an occupation as recreation therapy. Recreational therapists promote mental and physical health and overall welfare of patients by helping them enjoy a hobby. Specialists may use games, crafts, animals, music or other fun leisure activities to advance this goal.

“Recreation therapy is a serious endeavor,” said Luke Tucker, an intern at the 1889 Institute and graduate assistant in pursuit of a Ph.D. in Philosophy. “Nevertheless, recreational therapists do not diagnose, prescribe, or even handle needles. How was the Oklahoma legislature persuaded to pass this law?” he asked.

Friday, June 19, 2020

AG Hunter wants of privacy issues surrounding COVID contact tracing apps, sends letter to tech giants

Attorney General Hunter Warns of Privacy Issues Surrounding Contact Tracing Apps, Sends Letter to Apple, Google Asking Companies to Help Protect Consumers

OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General Hunter is warning Oklahomans that downloading certain contact tracing applications to their cellphones or computers could compromise their personally identifiable information, including sensitive health information.

In an effort to alert Apple and Google to these concerns Attorney General Hunter joined a bi-partisan coalition of 38 other state attorneys general in sending a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, asking the companies to take steps to help protect consumers from this threat.

Attorney General Hunter said although there is proposed federal legislation to address the privacy concerns, there is currently no national standard for how the apps should work.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Gov. Stitt announces first round of CARES Act funds delivered to cities, counties


OKLAHOMA CITY (June 17, 2020) – Governor Kevin Stitt was joined today by city and county leaders to announce the State has begun fulfilling reimbursement requests for CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds, fulfilling 30 percent of city and county requests in the first 7 days of receiving applications.

From June 1 to June 10, the State received a total of $7.5 million in reimbursement applications from more than 60 cities and counties for operation expenses related to the presence of COVID-19.

“Help is on the way to Oklahoma’s cities and counties whose services have been impacted by the presence of COVID-19,” said Gov. Stitt. “We are grateful for Oklahoma’s Congressional delegation who made these critical funds available. It has made government more agile for adapting its workforce and services, to include purchasing critical personal protective equipment and enhancing sanitation of public areas or communal facilities. The State has built a robust platform to get these funds out the door efficiently and quickly while also providing thorough oversight, and we expect to see the number of reimbursement applications to at least double in July.”

Governor Stitt was joined for the announcement by Edmond Mayor Dan O’Neil, Lawton Mayor Stan Booker, McAlester Mayor John Browne, Woodward City Council Member Roscoe Hill, Pittsburg County Commissioner Charlie Rogers, Comanche County Commissioner Alvin Cargill and Payne County Commissioner Chris Reding.

“We greatly appreciate the State and Governor Stitt’s leadership for making this reimbursement process efficient and expedient as time is of the essence for Payne County,” said Payne County Commissioner Chris Reding. “We have prioritized resources towards our county jail and for enhancing our disinfection efforts of public areas, and we expect to continue pursuing these critical funds to bolster our efforts in the coming months.”

“When COVID-19 entered the State, the City of McAlester quickly moved to a telework status and adjusted the delivering of public services. The Governor’s leadership on COVID-19 and the expediency in delivering these critical federal funds has been essential in our success to date,” said McAlester Mayor John Browne. “The city will continue to leverage reimbursement opportunities where necessary to enhance public health and safety in hopes we can keep this novel virus at bay from impacting our region.”

“The State has been a tremendous partner in addressing COVID-19 in Comanche County, from assisting us with PPE and testing in our prison to helping us minimizing community spread,” said Comanche County Commissioner Alvin Cargill. “The partnership has remained consistent and strong in the State’s efforts to now distribute federal funds to alleviate the financial strain from our county government adapting to a new normal with the presence of COVID-19.”

At the time of the announcement, 21 cities and counties will receive their requested reimbursement amount totaling $2.1 million. Expenses were reimbursed for personal protective equipment, public safety measures, disinfection of public areas, COVID-dedicated payroll expenses, telework capability improvements, maintain prisons and jails, and more. An excel sheet of reimbursements is available by clicking here.

The State’s will begin receiving reimbursement applications from cities and counties again from July 1 to July 10. More than 100 cities and counties have executed an agreement with the State in order to file for future reimbursement needs related to COVID-19. If a city or county has not yet registered with the State to apply for these funds, a designated public employee or elected official can submit their contact information here to begin the process: governor.ok.gov/crfgrants.

Per federal law, CARES FORWARD will process COVID-19 related reimbursements from cities, counties and State agencies until the end of January 2021. Cities and counties will be able to submit reimbursement applications during the first 10 days of every month, with the remainder of the month reserved for the State to review and validate applications as well as process payments.

While reimbursements are administered by the State, the federal funds are available due to the CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) passed by Congress and signed by President Donald J. Trump in late March. This federal stimulus delivered $1.2 billion to the State of Oklahoma to support COVID-19 response, to include expansion of testing and tracing, purchasing of personal protective equipment (PPE), and improvement of infrastructure or operations for delivering public services impacted by the presence of the novel virus.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Trump campaign announces 50 top surrogates for mega-MAGA rally in Tulsa


President Trump’s re-election campaign announced that Trump 2020 Senior Advisor Lara Trump, Trump 2020 Campaign Manager Brad Parscale, and National Chair of Trump Victory Finance Committee and Trump 2020 Senior Advisor Kimberly Guilfoyle will lead a group of over 50 surrogates to campaign on behalf of President Trump in Oklahoma on Saturday, June 20, 2020 at the Make America Great Again Rally.

"The enthusiasm behind President Trump's re-election campaign is unmatched, and our surrogates are fired up and ready to spread President Trump's America First agenda across the Sooner State," said Brad Parscale, Trump 2020 Campaign Manager. "With more than one million requests to attend Saturday's rally, it remains clear that the American people are ready to defeat Biden's socialist agenda and re-elect President Trump."

Jesus hates Social Justice

"Jesus hates Social Justice."

To some, that's a provocative statement. Oklahoma combat veteran and political/cultural commentator Jarrin Jackson makes the argument that it's a 100% Biblical certainty in a recent video.

Watch here:

He's absolutely right.

The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel was drafted in 2018 by prominent evangelical pastors and leaders, including John MacArthur, Voddie Baucham, Phil Johnson, Tom Ascol, Darrell Harrison, Tom Buck, James White, Paul Washer, and others. The signers made the following introduction to the document, also called the Dallas Statement:
In view of questionable sociological, psychological, and political theories presently permeating our culture and making inroads into Christ's church, we wish to clarify certain key Christian doctrines and ethical principles prescribed in God’s Word. Clarity on these issues will fortify believers and churches to withstand an onslaught of dangerous and false teachings that threaten the gospel, misrepresent Scripture, and lead people away from the grace of God in Jesus Christ.

Specifically, we are deeply concerned that values borrowed from secular culture are currently undermining Scripture in the areas of race and ethnicity, manhood and womanhood, and human sexuality. The Bible’s teaching on each of these subjects is being challenged under the broad and somewhat nebulous rubric of concern for “social justice.” If the doctrines of God’s Word are not uncompromisingly reasserted and defended at these points, there is every reason to anticipate that these dangerous ideas and corrupted moral values will spread their influence into other realms of biblical doctrines and principles.

We submit these affirmations and denials for public consideration, not with any pretense of ecclesiastical authority, but with an urgency that is mixed with deep joy and sincere sorrow. The rapidity with which these deadly ideas have spread from the culture at large into churches and Christian organizations—including some that are evangelical and Reformed—necessitates the issuing of this statement now.

In the process of considering these matters we have been reminded of the essentials of the faith once for all handed down to the saints, and we are re-committed to contend for it. We have a great Lord and Savior, and it is a privilege to defend his gospel, regardless of cost or consequences. Nevertheless, while we rejoice in that privilege, we grieve that in doing so we know we are taking a stand against the positions of some teachers whom we have long regarded as faithful and trustworthy spiritual guides. It is our earnest prayer that our brothers and sisters will stand firm on the gospel and avoid being blown to and fro by every cultural trend that seeks to move the Church of Christ off course. We must remain steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.

The Apostle Paul’s warning to the Colossians is greatly needed today: “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8). The document that follows is an attempt to heed that apostolic command. We invite others who share our concerns and convictions to unite with us in reasserting our unwavering commitment to the teachings of God’s Word articulated in this statement. Therefore, for the glory of God among his Church and throughout society, we offer the following affirmations and denials.
The Statement has fourteen articles of affirmations and denials, which you can read here (also in PDF here).

State Superintendent announces free online tool for schools to mitigate learning loss

Hofmeister invests in online tool to mitigate learning loss at no costs to schools

OKLAHOMA CITY (June 16, 2020) – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister announced today that an online tool is being offered to all Oklahoma school districts for free to help students catch up after potential learning loss because of COVID-19. Exact Path creates a personalized learning plan that aligns with the Oklahoma Academic Standards and features intuitive training for teachers.

The Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) is using a portion of the agency's Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds to provide the digital platform at no costs to districts. The ESSER funds are part of the federal Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. 

“As they plan for next school year, teachers are confronting a twofold learning loss – the familiar ‘summer slide’ and losses resulting from school closures due to the coronavirus pandemic,” said Hofmeister. “Exact Path will help teachers address learning gaps for each student on an individual basis.”

The online tool from Edmentum combines adaptive diagnostics with individualized instruction and learning paths for kindergarten through 12th-grade students. Once Exact Path determines a student’s level of knowledge, a personalized pathway is created to ensure the student reaches academic growth goals in English language arts, math and reading.

Jamie Candee, chief executive officer of Edmentum, said the company has worked for decades to support teaching and learning programs in Oklahoma. 

“It’s an honor to partner alongside the exceptional educational leadership at the Oklahoma State Department of Education to provide individualized learning tools for every student across the state,” she said. “As schools and districts navigate through traditional, distance and blended learning options that put student and educator safety first, we're focused on ensuring Oklahoma educators can efficiently mitigate learning gaps and accelerate growth for all, no matter which learning model they choose.”

Exact Path may be used in any learning environment, whether in the classroom, a blended learning scenario or during distance learning. Almost 60 Oklahoma districts already use Exact Path, including Bartlesville Public Schools.

“We originally intended to use Exact Path to help students fill in learning gaps, but we’ve discovered that it also works really well for students who are ahead of the curriculum,” said Jason Langham, executive director of secondary schools and special services for Bartlesville Public Schools. 

A district may begin implementation as soon as it decides to opt in, Hofmeister said.

“We hope educators will consider using Exact Path this summer to get a jump start on reclaiming lost ground,” she said. “It will provide an invaluable return to learning before schools open their doors in the fall.”

In addition, OSDE has also partnered with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) to reach students with Exact Path. OKDHS will work with qualifying childcare providers through technology grants to implement Exact Path in facilities throughout the remaining months of summer and into the school year, ensuring that students don't fall behind in spite of the pandemic. 

“Partnering with OSDE on this initiative is a great example of teamwork on the state level that benefits Oklahoma children,” said OKDHS Director Justin Brown. “But what’s even more important is that kids continue to get the education they deserve, even when they are away from school due to unexpected circumstances. This platform will help lift up our state's children and give them an opportunity to thrive.”

Technology grant applications are available at ourOKDHS.org.

Exact Path is available to districts at no cost beginning now through June 2021. To learn more about Exact Path, visit edmentum.com/products/exact-path. Schools and districts can sign up for the 2020-21 school year by visiting info.edmentum.com/Oklahoma.html.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Health Commissioner issues guidance for Trump's mega-MAGA rally in Tulsa

Health Commissioner Issues Guidance on Weekend's Large-Scale Events, Gatherings

Oklahoma City, Okla. (June 16, 2020) – The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) Commissioner Lance Frye, MD, released the following statement ahead of events in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday:

“We appreciate the President and his team of advisors for preparing temperature checks, face coverings, and hand sanitizers for Saturday’s event, and we encourage the public to closely follow all public health guidance and procedures established for the event in order to protect yourself and loved ones.

“As outlined by the CDC, individuals looking to attend Saturday’s event, or any other large-scale gathering, will face an increased risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 and becoming a transmitter of this novel virus. In preparation for participating in large-scale events, we encourage the following public health measures to be taken to minimize risks: 

  • Plan in advance and seek out testing at one of the State’s 80 free testing centers across the State, or with your healthcare provider, and limit interactions with others prior to attending. Once the event has concluded, please minimize social interactions and consider being tested again in the days following. 
  • While attending the event, wear a cloth face covering, frequently use hand sanitizer with 60% rubbing alcohol, do not touch your face, and do your best to keep six feet of physical distance from others. 
  • Be considerate of volunteers who are administering temperature checks. If you are notified of having an elevated temperature, 100.4 degrees or above, please seek out options to participate through a live stream or a recording.
  • If you are a part of a vulnerable population group, to include being of the age 65 and older, or are immunocompromised, please stay home and seek out alternative options to enjoy the event through live streaming or a recording.

“Thanks to actions taken over the past few months, Oklahoma is in a strong position to address this virus until there is a vaccine or cure. We have led the nation in data transparency, and we continue to modernize our reporting tools in order to best equip individuals, business leaders, and elected officials with information to guide their decisions to protect public health while also reopening Oklahoma’s economy and navigating the new normalcy with the presence of COVID-19. 

“The Oklahoma State Department of Health has tripled its contact tracing team, created strike force teams across 11 regions to support and contain identified hot spot areas, and established free, accessible COVID-19 testing centers across the State. Our hospital surge plan continues to be activated, with all hospitals expanding bed capacity by 40% and TeleHealth devices deployed into rural communities to increase coordination among specialized medical experts.

“Our continued success on minimizing the impact of COVID-19 will come from confidence with the public to engage in the Health Department’s efforts and CDC guidance. It is an earned trust and dedicated partnership the State takes very seriously.”

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance is available here.

Monday, June 15, 2020

ODOT reminds candidates that campaign signs don’t belong along highways

ODOT reminds candidates that campaign signs don’t belong along highways

As the 2020 election season shifts into high gear approaching the summer, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation is reminding political candidates and volunteers to not jeopardize safety and to do their part in saving taxpayer money and keeping Oklahoma’s highways and interstates free of unsightly litter.

Placing yard signs to help promote candidates may be a long-standing tradition in Oklahoma politics, but the areas along highways or on bridges are off-limits. State law actually prohibits such signs from being placed in state rights-of-way due to safety concerns. In addition to potentially blocking drivers’ views at intersections or ramps, illegal sign placement endangers volunteers who try to post them along high-speed roadways or on bridges. Generally, the public right-of-way includes the area of grass between a highway and the nearest fence.

The best strategy for safe and legal politicking is for candidates to place signs on private property with the landowner’s permission. Inside city limits, candidates should check local ordinances for questions regarding municipal streets and rights-of-way. However, even within city limits, signs are prohibited on state-maintained highways, overpasses and bridges.

When signs are illegally placed, ODOT crews spend time away from other highway maintenance operations to pull them out of the ground, which can be time-consuming and hazardous. Removal of litter, including illegal signs, also delays highway mowing since the signs and posts could potentially damage state equipment.

Each year, nearly $6 million is spent by the department to pick up trash along Oklahoma highways, including illegally placed signs. This money comes out of ODOT’s maintenance budget, the same source of funds for patching potholes, repairing guardrail, mowing and clearing snow and ice. This expense is in addition to the untold amounts of time and money volunteer groups and local governments spend removing litter.

Candidates are reminded that it is illegal (69 O.S. § 1208 (b)) to place signs inside state rights-of-way, which includes the area along highways or on bridges. In this photo from 2018, ODOT maintenance workers pause mowing operations to remove a large campaign sign from along the highway.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Reps. Hardin, Townley worry new State Park fees will lead to decreased tourism

Hardin, Townley Worry Park Fees Will Lead to Decreased Tourism

OKLAHOMA CITY (June 12th) – State Reps. Tommy Hardin, R-Madill, and Tammy Townley, R-Ardmore, today expressed their frustration following the recent announcement by the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department that state-owned parks would now begin charging parking fees.

“I was extremely disappointed and downright insulted by the answers I received today from Director Winchester on park fees,” Hardin said, “I believe the fees should be put on hold until Tourism corrects the reservation fraud going on and local representation has the opportunity to voice their concerns. Apparently people are making large profits on reservations they make and then resell. The fraud and the proposed fees are taking away the ability of local people to enjoy their state parks.”

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Small: Government and government unions killed George Floyd

Government & government unions killed George Floyd
By Jonathan Small

The death of George Floyd has been much discussed, yet some aspects of this incident have not received sufficient attention.

For example, news reports indicate Floyd was among the millions left unemployed by government-ordered shutdown of “non-essential” businesses—an act of government overreach. When he was killed, Floyd was being arrested for passing a fake $20 bill. If it were not for government action that deprived Floyd of his job and income, his alleged crime may have never been conceived. Instead, he could have continued to work and provide for himself and his family.

That’s just one way big government killed George Floyd. Another is the role played by government employee unions and their political supporters.

The Minneapolis police officer who effectively choked Floyd to death by kneeling on Floyd’s neck had a history of complaints. But thanks to government unions who funnel money to politicians and then “negotiate” with those same politicians, the police officer had little reason to fear loss of his job.

Government robbed Floyd of his income, may have incentivized his alleged non-violent crime, and then emboldened some on the Minneapolis police force to abuse their power.

Government and government unions killed George Floyd.

Care Providers Oklahoma Statement on Reopening of Long-term Care Facilities

Care Providers Oklahoma Statement on Reopening of Long-term Care Facilities

OKLAHOMA CITY – Care Providers Oklahoma President and CEO Steven Buck today released the following statement in regards to Governor Kevin Stitt’s executive order allowing for visitation to long-term care facilities to resume in a phased approach effective June 15:

“Throughout this pandemic, Governor Stitt and his administration have communicated with the skilled nursing profession that their desire is to resume visitation as soon as it is safe. Our operators and staff share that desire because restrictions on visitation directly impact quality-of-life for our residents and their loved ones.

“At the same time, we expect this process to unfold cautiously and with an emphasis on safety. Visitors to skilled nursing facilities should expect to see facilities enforcing new measures that impact when visitations can occur, limits to physical contact and proximity to residents, and other safety precautions. We appreciate the patience and understanding of our residents and their families thus far and ask for their continued cooperation in the days, weeks, and months ahead. Ongoing collaboration, including working closely with our colleagues in public health, is necessary to protect the safety of our residents, staff and broader communities.

Governor Stitt announces phased return of nursing home visitation

Visits allowed to resume June 15 in accordance with guidelines

OKLAHOMA CITY (June 12, 2020) – Governor Kevin Stitt today issued Amended Executive Order 2020-20, which allows for visitation to long-term care facilities to resume in a phased approach effective June 15.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health has released guidance to ensure the safety of Oklahomans who may be more vulnerable to COVID-19 exposure while also considering the quality of life and dignity of the residents of long-term care facilities. The OSDH guidance was created based on best practices from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state trade associations.

“It is important we take a measured and responsible approach to allowing visitors to our nursing homes and long-term care facilities, just as we did with the rest of our state,” said Gov. Stitt. “This guidance will allow us to continue to protect the health and lives of Oklahomans while allowing them to safely resume valuable interactions with their loved ones.”

The guidance contains three phases based on the prevalence of COVID-19 in each facility and its surrounding community, PPE availability, staffing levels and local hospital capacity.

1889 Institute: This is Too Serious for Nonsense Like Defund the Police

Dangerously Silly: This is Too Serious for Nonsense Like Defund the Police
By Mike Davis

I would like to invite Minnesotans, especially those from Minneapolis, to Oklahoma. But you’d better come fast. Once your police force is dismantled how long will it be before your city resembles a dystopian hellscape? And make no mistake, while some using the “defund” slogan want to reduce and redistribute police budgets, others are calling for a total abolition of police forces.

Oklahoma is far from perfect. Our police, like our citizens, are imperfect. But we will not renounce the rule of law. We recognize that where major reform is needed, it does not justify permanently disbanding the police. Lawlessness and anarchy are never the answers.

If a police department is irredeemably corrupt, start from scratch. “Reboot the police” could create a new entity with new leadership that would guarantee police accountability. This is a reasonable starting point to fix broken institutions. “Defund the police” is so patently absurd that it invites people to ignore deadly realities. Serious problems deserve serious people proposing serious solutions. There are many such solutions, and some were gaining traction, but the groups behind them have been pressured to apologize that their justifiably radical proposals were not extreme enough. This will lead many to dismiss the entire cause of police reform.

Radical changes are not only justified, they are moral imperatives. Let’s fix qualified immunity, so that people harmed by police can find justice in civil courts. Let’s decouple the politicians who oversee police from union control, so that bad cops can be routinely fired and prosecuted. Let’s make sure it doesn't take nationwide protests for justice to reach bad actors with badges. Let’s make de-escalation mandatory, so that using force becomes a rarity, and deadly force is truly a last resort. Why did we ever allow things to become so broken?

As bad as things are, the “cure” of anarchy is worse than our current disease. If the police are permanently disbanded, cities will be left to outlaws. Food will become scarce as grocers and restauranteurs look for a safer place to do business. Upstanding citizens will flee. The only people who can afford to take police dissolution seriously are criminals and those who can afford to hire private security.

What do “defunders” hope to achieve? Lasting positive change will not come from dissolving police. Give people reasons to listen and act, not excuses to disengage. If the serious people with the serious proposals are afraid to contradict the zealots, their good ideas will never be heard over the noise. The nation's attention is currently fixed on the racial and police problems facing the country. Don’t waste the opportunity for real reform by pitching a ridiculous utopia that can never safely exist. When absurdities are cheered and chanted, debated and defended, it gives those who could be persuaded by serious proposals an excuse to turn their attention elsewhere, ensuring that nothing gets done. The situation is too dire to tolerate such dangerously silly distractions.

Mike Davis is an Attorney and a Research Fellow at the 1889 Institute.

Friday, June 12, 2020

BREAKING: Trump's mega-MAGA Tulsa rally moved back one day to June 20th

Breaking news: the date for President Trump's campaign rally in Tulsa has been moved from Friday, June 19th, to Saturday, June 20th:

Governor Kevin Stitt issued the following statement regarding President Trump changing the date of his Tulsa campaign rally to June 20:

Research Institute for Economic Development releases 2020 legislative score


OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, June 12, 2020 – The Research Institute for Economic Development (RIED), a non-partisan organization and producer of the annual RIED Report, a grading system of Oklahoma legislators’ votes on key economic development and business issues, announced today its 2020 RIED Report. The scores were awarded to lawmakers who served during the second regular session of the 57th Oklahoma Legislature. 

Under the RIED evaluation system, legislators earn points when they support job creation and economic development issues or vote against legislation that is harmful to job creation and economic development.  A score of 70 and above represents a passing grade while 69 and below represents a failing grade. Ten measures were utilized to compile the 2020 RIED Report.

Rep. Nichols announces initiative to increase transparency, accountability for policing

Nichols Announces March for Reform Initiative
Legislation Would Increase Transparency, Accountability for Policing

OKLAHOMA CITY -- State Rep. Monroe Nichols (D-Tulsa) today unveiled an initiative to increase transparency and accountability of policing practices in Oklahoma communities.

The March for Reforms Initiative offers legislative solutions to problems regarding a lack of independent investigations, citizen oversight, and critical incident accountability. The legislative solutions include the creation of the Office of Independent Monitor within the State Attorney General’s Office, and the creations of the Oklahoma State Law Enforcement Standards and Training Taskforce.

“My father was a police officer, my uncle is a current police officer, this package is not an attack on law enforcement,” Nichols said. “I hope that these reforms will instead serve as a check on the profession, just like we have checks and balances at the capitol. These are critical steps that I believe will enhance officer and citizen safety. As we move through the interim, my goal is to spend time with law enforcement and citizens to work on these reforms. There is no reason the community and law enforcement can’t come together to get this done.”