Thursday, July 30, 2020

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


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


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

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


(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.


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


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

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

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

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

“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.


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

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


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


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.


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

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


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'


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.

Attorney General, Five Tribes release Agreement in Principle for Criminal, Civil Jurisdiction

Attorney General and Five Tribes Release Agreement in Principle for Criminal, Civil Jurisdiction

OKLAHOMA CITY (July 16th) – Attorney General Mike Hunter and tribal leaders collaborating after the McGirt v. Oklahoma decision today released an agreement in principle for proposed federal legislation that will clarify respective state and tribal jurisdiction in both criminal and civil matters.

To read the agreement, click here.

The attorney general released the following statement on the progress being made.

OKGOP Chairman: OK Dem Chair's comments on Stitt's COVID diagnosis "purely political attack"


OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, July 16, 2020 – While appreciative of the concern shared by the chairwoman of the Oklahoma Democratic Party concerning Governor Kevin Stitt testing positive for COVID-19, the chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party said today that Alicia Andrews’ comments unfortunately extend to a purely political attack on the state’s chief executive and his leadership on the COVID issue.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

House Democratic Leader demands Gov. Stitt implement statewide mask mandate

Democratic Leader Demands Governor Implement Statewide Mask Policy

OKLAHOMA CITY -- House Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman, today released the following statement after Arkansas and more than half of the states in the United States have issued a statewide mask policy.

“Governor Stitt continues to declare his support for Oklahoma’s economy, while he does nothing to protect it or our citizens,” Virgin said. “His rhetoric says he wants to avoid another shutdown, but his policy continues to move us closer and closer in that direction.

Norman police officers leaving force after defunding by mayor and city council

MASS EXODUS: More Norman Police Officers to Resign or Retire by Month’s End

  • 7 Officers Plan to Depart by End of July (in two weeks)
  • Resignations Come as 9 Officers’ Positions Are Already Scheduled to Be Cut
  • PLUS: 7 More Officers Consider Leaving, Have Begun Interviewing & Testing at Other Cities
  • Total of 25 Departures Would Be Nearly Three Times the Annual Average Turnover Rate 

Norman, OK (July 15th) — Seven Norman police officers are reportedly on their way out the door in two weeks, with seven more considering following, thanks to the recent Defunding of Police pushed by Mayor Breea Clark and the Norman City Council.

Reports of officers deciding to resign or retire come today as nine positions are already on the chopping block via the Mayor’s proposal. Officers preparing to depart were reported last week by KFOR TV. However, more departures have been confirmed today by the Fraternal Order of Police.

The total of now 25 officers’ positions would be nearly three times more than the annual average of departures. Norman police department reports that it usually has only about 10 departures per year normally.

“This is a real-life public safety concern for the entire community of Norman,” said Russell Smith, founder of Unite Norman, the organization whose goal is to recall the radical Mayor and the most radical members of the City Council. “As predicted, the reverberations of the Mayor’s and the City Council’s efforts to Defund the Police are already having a detrimental effect. This is the beginning of a mass exodus of frontline first responders who feel they are no longer backed by the city they serve. We must unite Norman around the support of critical frontline officers, or face the peril that more departures will bring.”

Fewer officers and defunding will likely mean longer response times for families, homeowners, and business owners in Norman, as well as less training for officers in the field.

For more information about Unite Norman, visit

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

BREAKING: Kanye West files for President on Oklahoma ballot

Rapper, designer, and entertainment mogul Kanye West officially filed as an Independent president candidate with the Oklahoma State Election Board today.

You can view a PDF of his Statement of Candidacy here.

West tweeted on July 4th that he was going to run for President, something he had casually mentioned a few times over the past decade but that few people took seriously.

Even after his tweet, few indications emerged that he was taking concrete steps to begin a presidential run. His Oklahoma filing today, which cost $35,000, seems to be the first definitive move toward an independent candidacy for the White House.

Kanye has some Oklahoma ties, actually. According to this article at, "His mother, Donda West — “Donda’s Place” is written in all-caps at the top of his statement of candidacy — was born and raised in Oklahoma City, where West’s grandfather Portwood Williams Sr. was a civil-rights activist."

Kanye had a rather high profile and seemingly sincere and deep conversion to evangelical Christianity last fall, which has changed the direction of his music and personal life.

Column: The Truth About COVID-19 -- Better than you think

The Truth About COVID-19: Better than you think
By Spencer Cadavero

As the media turns its attention back to COVID-19, there is a renewed push to shut down the economy. Some states have even begun to scale back reopening plans for their economies; others continue to delay opening. It is essential to look past their catastrophizing and focus on the facts of COVID-19.

One fact to consider: while testing has risen 23 percent, the rate of positive results has only risen 1.3 percentage points to 6.2 percent. Even as alarmists point to the rise in cases, they admit that the boost in testing has played a role in the rise in the total number of known cases. Therefore, the total number of positive cases is not of much use, as it only paints a partial picture.

The rate of increase in total positive cases is a more meaningful measure, and it has barely increased. Even more important is who is getting infected. The data show that recent cases are primarily younger people. But that’s a good thing; these are precisely the people that are key to building herd immunity, which is the only long-term solution for fighting COVID-19 and is inevitable anyway.

David Hill endorses Terry Neese in 5th District runoff

Hill: “Terry Neese is a pro-life, pro-gun, conservative, and she has our full support as she fights to beat Kendra Horn and deliver President Trump’s agenda.”

Oklahoma City, OK – David Hill, successful businessman and former Republican candidate for Oklahoma’s 5th congressional district, has endorsed Terry Neese for Congress ahead of the August 25th runoff election. Hill placed third in the recent primary election on June 30th, receiving 19 percent of the vote.

“After a hard-fought primary campaign, my wife Shannon and I have decided to endorse Terry Neese for Congress,” said David Hill. “Oklahomans cannot afford more taxes, open borders, or the socialist agenda being peddled by left-wing Democrats. We need to defeat liberal Kendra Horn, fire Nancy Pelosi, and flip the House Red this Fall. Terry Neese is a pro-life, pro-gun, conservative, and she has our full support as she fights to beat Kendra Horn and deliver President Trump’s agenda.”

State Rep. Jason Lowe calls on Governor Stitt to mandate masks as cases rise

Rep. Jason Lowe at a recent community event
Lowe Calls on Governor Stitt to Mandate Masks as Cases Rise

OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Jason Lowe, D-OKC, released the following statement urging Governor Kevin Stitt to follow in the steps of governors from 25 states and mandate masks be worn in public spaces and private businesses. This comes after Oklahoma hit a record high of 993 new COVID-19 cases, the state’s first daily report over 900.

“As a COVID-19 survivor, seeing the rapid rise in cases is alarming. Oklahomans must know that the pandemic is far from over and that we still must do what we can to protect ourselves and our community.” Lowe also applauds the leadership of the Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Norman mayors for taking the first steps to enact a mask mandate in public spaces and private businesses and believes the state should take charge as well.

Gov. Stitt announces selection of new Secretary of the Land Office


OKLAHOMA CITY (July 14, 2020)— Governor Kevin Stitt announced today that the Commissioners of the Land Office (CLO) have named Elliot Chambers Secretary of the Land Office. As Secretary, Chambers is responsible for managing the state school land trust assets established at statehood.

“I am excited to announce the Commission’s selection of Elliot Chambers as the Secretary of the Land Office,” said Gov. Stitt. “Elliot is a qualified leader with a proven track record in corporate finance and management and a strong understanding of the energy sector. His experience will be of great benefit to the CLO as we continue to move our state forward.”

“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead the CLO under Governor Stitt’s vision to become a Top Ten state,” said Chambers. “I look forward to serving the people of Oklahoma and managing the critical assets of the state for the benefit of our public-school system.”

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

State Rep. Mark McBride Named OEA Legislator of the Year

McBride Named OEA Legislator of the Year

OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Mark McBride, R-Moore, on Thursday was recognized by the Oklahoma Education Association (OEA) with the Outstanding Legislator Award for 2020.

The organization, which represents teachers in working with state and local government agencies as well as with lawmakers and the governor, said it selected McBride because of his outstanding support of public education and public educators.

“I’m appreciative to be recognized for my legislative work to ensure Oklahoma public school students have the very best education possible,” McBride said. “During this time of uncertainty and change, it is more important than ever that all education stakeholders come together to work for what is best for Oklahoma students. Making sure students have access to highly qualified teachers and up-to-date classroom materials and resources improves their academic success and prepares them to be productive members of society.”

“We may have disagreements at times over our approaches,” McBride said, “but at the end of the day if students receive the best education possible, it is worth it.”

Mark McBride serves District 53 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which includes parts of Moore in Cleveland County.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Music Monday: Capriol Suite

This week's Music Monday is Capriol Suite by early 20th-century English composer Peter Warlock. The Suite has six movements, reminiscent of Renaissance dances.


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

Citizen Group launches Recall of Norman Council and Mayor

Citizen Group Launches Recall of Council and Mayor

In an unprecedented show of civic solidarity, Unite Norman today initiated recall proceedings for the office of mayor and every city councilor eligible for recall.    This submission comes on the heels of a meeting of more than 700 residents who braved over 90-degree temperature on Wednesday to receive volunteer training for signature gathering and learn more about the effort.

“When this city council succumbed to an angry mob at three o’clock in the morning and decided to undo months of budget discussions, we all said enough is enough. This is no way to run our city.  We care too much about Norman and our law enforcement officers to let Norman be run this way,” said Chris Dragg one of the unpaid citizens organizing the effort.

“We really want a council that focuses on Norman, not the hot national news issue of the day, said Russell Smith, another longtime Norman resident helping the campaign.  “Unite Norman is about making certain our leadership puts Norman first instead of promoting personal ideologies and bringing Washington D.C. style politics to Norman.  We are better than that,” Russell Smith continued. 

1889 Institute publishes COVID-19 facts and statistics for the general public

1889 Institute provides easy-to-read information on a single webpage.

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (July 13, 2020) – The 1889 Institute has published a new webpage on its website explicitly about Covid-19 ( Its purpose is to provide the best current information for dealing with the pandemic to the general public and policy makers. It also tracks official new daily positive tests and daily deaths, showing trends in the data.

“It seems like new information, some of it reported out of proper context or highly speculative, is being reported by authorities and researchers every day. Information provided by the Centers for Disease Control is oriented toward health professionals. We wanted to provide good information that is easily digestible,” said Byron Schlomach, 1889 Institute Director.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Oklahoma State Department of Health Launches Color-Coded COVID-19 Alert System

Oklahoma State Department of Health Launches Color-Coded COVID-19 Alert System

OKLAHOMA CITY (July 9, 2020) – The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) today launched a new COVID-19 alert system that offers the public and local elected officials a clear method to recognize and communicate the current COVID-19 risk level in each county and to guide health behaviors.

The Oklahoma COVID-19 Alert System is a four-tiered risk measurement tool with corresponding color categories that identify the current COVID-19 risk level by county.

“This new COVID-19 alert system marries OSDH’s robust data reporting with additional public health steps that should be considered county by county to confront elevated risks of community spread,” said Interim Health Commissioner Lance Frye, M.D. “The color-coded system is an easy way for business owners, local leaders, and the public to know at a glance when extra precautions should be taken.”

Thursday, July 09, 2020

OCPA Fellow: To achieve criminal justice reform, everyone needs to chill

To achieve criminal justice reform, everyone needs to chill
by Ryan Haynie, Criminal Justice Reform Fellow at Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs

Ideas like proportionality and nuance are rapidly declining among the most vocal and those wielding the most power in our culture. In late May, a large group marched in the streets of Oklahoma City in protest of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The protest eventually devolved into rioting and destruction of property.

The extent to which the destructive behavior can be associated with the original protest has been hotly debated and won’t be addressed here. The damage included everything from graffiti to a destroyed police vehicle. In short, things got out of hand. Some innocent people, including the taxpayers of Oklahoma City, suffered harm.

In response, David Prater, District Attorney for Oklahoma County, charged three individuals with multiple felonies including terrorism. Oklahoma’s terrorism statute was enacted in 2002 as a response to the 9-11 attacks. To charge these individuals with a crime intended for Al Qaeda and Timothy McVeigh defies reason.

Oklahoma, state's largest tribes release joint statement on landmark SCOTUS decision

State, Muscogee (Creek), Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Seminole Nations Release Joint Statement in Response to SCOTUS Decision in McGirt Case

OKLAHOMA CITY – The State of Oklahoma, Muscogee (Creek), Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Seminole Nations released the following joint statement today following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the McGirt v. Oklahoma case. 

The State, the Muscogee (Creek), Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Seminole Nations have made substantial progress toward an agreement to present to Congress and the U.S. Department of Justice addressing and resolving any significant jurisdictional issues raised by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma.

Rep. Hern applauds SCOTUS decision protecting religious liberty

Hern applauds SCOTUS decision protecting religious liberty

TULSA, OK – Representative Kevin Hern (OK-01) released the following statement after this morning’s Supreme Court ruling that The Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic charity, cannot be forced by the government under the Affordable Care Act to provide free contraception to their employees in violation of their religious beliefs.

“This is a decisive win for first amendment freedoms,” said Rep. Hern. “Our Founders sought to establish a government that does not infringe on the religious beliefs and liberties of its people. With this decision from the Supreme Court today, we upheld the idea that no American can be forced by the government to violate their religious beliefs.

Muskogee GOP announces Lincoln-Reagan Dinner, set for August 13th

The Muskogee County Republican Party is holding their annual Lincoln-Reagan Dinner on August 13th, featuring a Q&A with local elected officials.

Tickets for the fundraising dinner are $40 if RSVP'd by August 1st, or else $50 at the door. Sponsorship levels are available, as are candidate display tables.

Click here for the RSVP form.

Monday, July 06, 2020

Group of state lawmakers supports law enforcement, speaks against cancel culture and 'woke' agenda

From State Rep. Tom Gann's office this afternoon:

Group of Lawmakers Supports Law Enforcement

OKLAHOMA CITY – A group of Oklahoma lawmakers last week issued the following statements in support of Oklahoma law enforcement officers.

Because of widespread support, additional members have requested to be on this list. Their names are listed below.

"In the past few weeks, our law enforcement professionals have come under incessant attack. We want these law enforcement professionals to know that we have their backs. As Oklahoma's policy leaders, we are coming together as a team, collectively locking arms and standing in defense of those who defend the citizens of Oklahoma.

"All Oklahomans must know that we will never bend a knee to a mob, nor will we ever comply with demands to defund those who protect the rule of law and the citizens of Oklahoma."

Lucas helps introduce bill to help meat and poultry processors meet demand

Lucas, Peterson Introduce RAMP-UP Act Helping Meat & Poultry Processors Access Inspection to Meet Demand

Cheyenne, OK – Today, Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (MN-07) introduced the Requiring Assistance to Meat Processors for Upgrading Plants (RAMP-UP) Act.

The RAMP-UP Act would establish a program to make facility upgrades and planning grants to existing meat and poultry processors to help them move to Federal Inspection and be able to sell their products across state lines. The legislation would also require the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to work with states and report on ways to improve the existing Cooperative Interstate Shipment program.

“Right now, America’s meat producers and processors are facing unprecedented market challenges. At a time when producers are experiencing increased demand for high-quality meat, meat processors across the United States are racing to increase their capacity to meet the demands of consumers and producers,” said Congressman Lucas. “The RAMP-UP Act gives processors the tools to become federally inspected facilities, which widens their customer base while maintaining strong inspection standards. I’m proud to join my friend and Agriculture Committee Chairman, Congressman Collin Peterson in expanding the opportunities for not only Oklahoma’s processing facilities but meat processors across the United States.”

“We have seen the importance of having meat and poultry processors of all sizes in Minnesota and across the country over the past few months,” said Chairman Peterson. “The RAMP-UP Act will provide grants to help these rural small businesses meet that demand, wherever their customers live.”

Music Monday: Freelance Fireworks Hall of Fame

This week's Music Monday is the theme song for all amateur pyrotechnicians around Independence Day, the hilarious Freelance Fireworks Hall of Fame by internet comedy duo Rhett & Link.


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