Sunday, October 25, 2020

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

 ODOT reminds candidates to obey the law and keep campaign signs away from highways

As the Nov. 3 general election approaches, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation reminds political candidates and volunteers to stay safe, save taxpayer money and keep Oklahoma’s highways and interstates free of unsightly, damaging and costly litter by keeping campaign signs out of highway rights-of-way.

Placing campaign signs to help promote candidates may be a regular occurrence, but the areas along highways or on bridges remain off-limits. State law strictly prohibits such signs from being placed in state rights-of-way because of safety concerns. Not only can illegally placed signs block drivers’ views at intersections, medians or ramps, but the 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 nearby fence. In cities and towns, the right-of-way can extend past the curb to include the grass and sidewalk area along a highway.

“We ask all candidates and their supporters to respect the law and protect our motorists and workers by not placing campaign signs on state highway rights-of-way and bridges,” ODOT Maintenance Engineer Taylor Henderson said.

The best strategy for safe, 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 remove them, which can be time-consuming, hazardous and dangerous work close to oncoming traffic. Removal of litter, including illegal signs, also delays highway mowing since the signs and metal posts could damage state equipment.

Each year, nearly $6 million in taxpayer dollars are 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 annually removing litter.

The department reminds candidates to obey the law and keep campaign signs off Oklahoma bridges and highway rights-of-way.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Oklahoma delegation introduces bill to rename Owasso Post Office after fallen Air Nat'l Guardsman

Oklahoma delegation introduces legislation renaming Owasso Post Office after late Sgt. Marshal Roberts

TULSA, OK (October 20th) – Representative Kevin Hern (OK-01) introduced legislation on Friday to rename the U.S. Post Office located at 1233 North Cedar Street in Owasso, Okla., after fallen Air National Guardsman, Sergeant Marshal Roberts.

Sgt. Roberts, from Owasso, gave his life in service to our country while deployed in Iraq in March 2020.

The entire Oklahoma delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives joined Rep. Hern as original co-sponsors of the bill.

“Sergeant Marshal Roberts served his country with integrity and gave his all in the line of duty this spring,” said Congressman Hern. “His legacy has inspired so many; renaming the Owasso Post Office ensures his legacy will live on for our community to see every day. Oklahomans have incredible respect for those who serve our country. We will never forget Sgt. Roberts and his sacrifice.”

OCPA column: Leaders in all fields raise alarm on McGirt decision


Leaders in all fields raise alarm on McGirt decision
By Jonathan Small

Numerous leaders in many fields are raising the alarm about the repercussions of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma, which declared the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s reservation was never disestablished.

Those critiques highlight why Oklahoma and tribal governments must agree to a uniform set of rules and regulations for all citizens, no matter where they live or their heritage. To do otherwise will not only produce chaos but also drive jobs and opportunity out of the state.

While McGirt dealt with only one tribe and one issue (criminal prosecution), it is expected to extend to five tribes with territories covering 40 percent of Oklahoma that are home to 1.8 million citizens, most of them non-Indian, and affect issues including taxes and regulation.

In a letter to the state’s congressional delegation, the Oklahoma Farm Bureau notes that, because of McGirt, non-tribal citizens potentially face new taxes if they own property in reservation territory. And businesses in affected areas, including farms and ranches, may face new tribal zoning or environmental regulations added on top of existing state and local ordinances.

Seminole chief responds to AG Hunter's proposal for state-tribal relations



Seminole Nation Chief releases statement regarding Attorney General Mike Hunter’s proposed path forward for Oklahoma and the Five Tribes 
 
Wewoka, Okla. (Oct. 22, 2020) - Seminole Nation Chief Greg P. Chilcoat issued the following statement today in response to Attorney General Mike Hunter’s October 21 proposal in the aftermath of McGirt.
 
“While the Seminole Nation appreciates the sentiment of consensus building and intergovernmental cooperation upon which we believe Attorney General Mike Hunter’s proposal was premised, we oppose the recommendation for Congressional authorization of state-tribal criminal jurisdiction compacts. By way of example, the Seminole Nation, like all the Five Tribes, already has a state-tribal agreement on criminal justice in the area of policing through cross-deputization. These intergovernmental agreements demonstrate the effectiveness of existing state-tribal government-to-government cooperation and coordination, absent Congressional action.

Governor Stitt extends state of emergency declaration



GOVERNOR STITT ISSUES AMENDED EXECUTIVE ORDER, EXTENDS STATE OF EMERGENCY

OKLAHOMA CITY (Oct. 23, 2020)- Governor Kevin Stitt today issued Sixth Amended Executive Order 2020-20, extending the state of emergency related to COVID-19 that has been in place since March 15, 2020. 

The amended EO removes the previous extension of all occupational licenses and gives licensees 60 days to pay or renew any licenses extended by prior Orders. The EO also updates hospital and testing reporting requirements and modifies the days on which the Oklahoma State Department of Health is required to provide a summary of information to the Governor from "daily" to "each weekday." 

Friday, October 23, 2020

Stitt won't appeal court ruling regarding automatic renewal of tribal gaming compacts

GOVERNOR STITT RELEASES STATEMENT REGARDING U.S. DISTRICT COURT RULING ON GAMING COMPACTS

OKLAHOMA CITY (Oct. 23, 2020) – Governor Kevin Stitt announced today he will not appeal the U.S. District Court ruling issued July 28 regarding the State-Tribal Gaming Compacts.

Gov. Stitt issued the following statement about his decision:

“The U.S. District Court has ruled the Model Tribal Gaming Compacts automatically renewed for another 15 years. While I have chosen not to appeal this decision, I believe that the people of Oklahoma will demand a fair deal that benefits all 4 million Oklahomans.

Our state is facing unprecedented uncertainty as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma. Therefore, it is essential for state and tribal leaders to join together to resolve the challenges this ruling presents for Oklahomans and their businesses.

OK Commission on Cooperative Sovereignty presents reports to Gov. Stitt


OKLAHOMA COMMISSION ON COOPERATIVE SOVEREIGNTY PRESENTS REPORT TO GOVERNOR STITT

OKLAHOMA CITY (Oct. 22, 2020)— The Oklahoma Commission on Cooperative Sovereignty today presented its recommendations for the State and the U.S. Congress in response to the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma.
 
“The questions caused by the McGirt decision have put our state at a crossroads,” said Gov. Stitt. “But where some see a major challenge for our state, I see an opportunity. We can work together and secure our future as One Oklahoma, maintaining our diversity and sharing the vision of becoming a Top Ten state.”

Formed by Governor Kevin Stitt under Executive Order 2020-24 to explore the effects of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling, the advisory Commission recommended five principles to ensure consistency and stability for both the State of Oklahoma and Oklahoma’s Tribal Nations.

AG Hunter recommends Feds allow state-tribal compacts on criminal matters

Attorney General Hunter Recommends Federal Legislation for Optional State-Tribal Compacting on Criminal Matters

OKLAHOMA CITY (October 21st) – Attorney General Mike Hunter today sent a letter to federal, state and Native American tribal leaders suggesting a path forward to allow for compacting on criminal matters, which would require federal legislation.

If legislation is passed, the compacts would allow the tribes the option to consent to shared state jurisdiction on criminal matters.

Attorney General Hunter said allowing this type of compacting authority can only come from federal legislation.

“Federal prosecutors are doing all they can to keep up with the cases that are being handed to them, but their resources are being stretched,” Attorney General Hunter said. “All the while, the state’s courts, prosecutors and corrections system are ready and willing to help. However, Congress must act to give the state and the tribes the authority to enter into these agreements. We already have the authority to compact on other important issues, such as child welfare, water rights and gaming, all of which were authorized by federal legislation. We now need that same type of legislation for an equally important issue: ensuring the safety and security of Oklahomans.

1889 Institute: Opportunity for teachers and education improvement proposed


OPPORTUNITY FOR TEACHERS AND EDUCATION IMPROVEMENT PROPOSED
Free teachers to act as true education practitioners.

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (October 21, 2020) – The 1889 Institute has published “Professional Teacher Charter Schools: Proposal with Model Legislation,” which explains an entirely new vision for the critical role teachers play in public education, putting those who are willing to take the wheel firmly in the driver’s seat within schools. Teachers would act as fully authoritative practitioners, essentially owning their own education practices, just as doctors, lawyers, CPAs, and other professionals always have. With clear lines of authority and administration that serves practitioners instead of the other way around, the authors argue that the education system can be improved.

“We are extremely excited about how this idea could serve to improve options for school children and their parents as well as for teachers,” said Mike Davis, 1889’s Research Fellow and coauthor of the report.

“When you really think about it, the incentives in our socialized education system are so poor that it’s obvious it works as well as it does mostly because of the goodwill and hard work of teachers,” said Byron Schlomach, 1889’s Director and coauthor of the report. “This proposal would create a system for better harnessing the goodwill and work ethic of teachers, recognizing them as being every bit as capable as doctors, lawyers, and plumbers of owning their own practices,” he said.

OKGOP Chair: Democrat candidates must release stance on Energy industry following Biden's shocking statement



REPUBLICAN CHAIRMAN SAYS DEMOCRAT LEGISLATIVE CANDIDATES MUST RELEASE STANCE ON OIL & GAS INDUSTRY
 
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, October 23, 2020 – With an estimated 90,000 Oklahoma jobs directly tied to the oil and natural gas industry, Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman David McLain said today Oklahoma voters deserve to know if Democrat candidates seeking election or reelection to the Oklahoma State Legislature support Oklahoma’s leading economic driver.

“In light of Joe Biden’s shocking statement at the end of last evening’s presidential debate that he would ‘transition away from oil in the U.S.’, it is vitally important that Oklahoma voters know if Democrat candidates for the Oklahoma Legislature share their presidential nominee’s irresponsible stance,” McLain said.

Wondering about those judges on the ballot? Help is on the way!



Every two years, Oklahoma voters go to the polls and find judges and justices on their ballots, having heard next to nothing about them hitherto in the election cycle. Making a last-minute decision on an unknown voting issue is definitely not the optimal situation. 

Don't worry, you're not alone. It sneaks up on everybody.

Finding information on the justices and judges on the retention ballot can be a difficult task. Trust me, basic information such as their ages can be anywhere from difficult to find to completely unknown to Google.

In the next few days, I plan to publish an article with as much information as I was able to locate, and that is helpful to your consideration.

To ensure that you get this important voting information, be sure to subscribe to the Muskogee Politico email updates. Once I have finished and published my judicial retention voter guide, you will receive a special edition of the newsletter placing that article in your inbox. 

With how the tech-giants' algorithms work, if you rely on reading Muskogee Politico articles on Facebook or Twitter, you may not ever even see them (a fate met by many conservative publications across the nation). Email subscription is a solid way to be notified of new posts and articles.

If you haven't already subscribed, you can do so below. And don't worry - you won't be flooded with emails. I usually average around once a week (sometimes less, sometimes more).

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Thursday, October 22, 2020

Protestia: Closing Churches for COVID-19 is Democrat Voter Suppression


Wake Up: Closing Churches For COVID-19 is Democrat Voter Suppression

October 15th, 2020 --  Some dirty tricks are being pulled on the American electorate this election cycle. Mail-in ballots for Trump are being fished out of dumpsters. Voting machines are going off-line at curious times. Funny business abounds. But as Americans are finally fighting back against our churches being closed by Democrat officials on religious grounds, few are fighting it on political grounds.

Simply put, closing churches or limiting their attendance prior to an election is Democrat voter suppression.

Evangelical Protestants favor Donald Trump at 78%. Non-evangelical Protestants (mainline denominations) favor Donald Trump 52% to 43%, still a sizeable advantage. As almost everyone knows, faithful church-goers will support Donald Trump over any baby-butchering Democratic candidate pit against him.

Democrats know this, and they are working hard to shift the evangelical vote. Almost daily, a new PAC is created by leftist evangelicals (or Democrats posing as evangelicals) trying to convince Christians that Joe Biden is a more ethical choice than Donald Trump. Almost daily a new newspaper ad or op-ed is purchased by Dark Money donors to claim this-evangelical or that one is voting for Biden because their conscience dictates it.

State House Judiciary Committee holds interim study on Restorative Justice programs


Tammy West Studies Restorative Justice

OKLAHOMA CITY (October 20th) – State Rep. Tammy West, R-Oklahoma City, the chair of the Majority Caucus in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, today held an interim study examining the issue of restorative justice as an alternative to traditional criminal justice models for non-violent offenders.

The study was held before the House Judiciary Committee.

“I wanted to take a closer look at restorative justice programs and how they are working in other states and how they might be a viable alternative here in Oklahoma as part of our overall reform of the criminal justice system,” West said.

Jason Hicks, a prosecutor with Oklahoma’s Sixth Prosecutorial District, explained how he got interested in restorative justice as an alternative form of justice in Oklahoma.

Hicks said there are too many people inside our prisons on low-level, non-violent charges. Restorative justice keeps people safe but deals with these offenders in a different way. What caught his attention was the program was victim-centered. He said it is so important for victims to have a voice in anything that is done. Another plus was the low recidivism rates for offenders who went through the program. It also is community-driven, which is something missing from traditional criminal justice programs.

He said the program restores the victim and the community while educating the offender.

Jeff Reisig, the district attorney for Yolo County, CA, and Nicole Kirklady, director of Neighborhood Court in Yolo County, spoke about the success of their program.

Reisig said he’s a traditional DA serving a mix of rural and urban cities, much like most of Oklahoma. He said his mission is to seek justice and do justice, but he found that often in the traditional court system it worked too much like a turnstile, giving victims very little say in the punishment of their offender. This program is completely voluntary for both the offender and the victim, and it gives victims a say in a punishment they feel is appropriate. He said victims are compensated for their crimes and they work to make sure the victim is made whole. It also gives community volunteers an opportunity to have input into the process. It’s also important to note, Reisig said, that the offender by the end of the program is restored to the community where they can become an active participant again, which he said adds to the success of the program.

He said this has reduced incarceration and recidivism rates in his county. He said another important component is that this is DA-driven and not something forced upon the DAs. He also said his department has been able to make this work on a shoestring budget.

Reisig explained the program does not take sex offenders, DUI offenders or perpetrators of certain other crimes. He did say, however, that many of the people that formerly were on the other side of the picket line from prosecutors, the police and the courts have now become their best community partners.

Carrie Slaton-Hodges, commissioner of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuses Services, said this type of program could help Oklahoma in several ways. It would give offenders an opportunity to take responsibility for their actions and to listen to the side of victims and the community about how their crime impacted them, which is incredibly important in changing behavior. She said this also could help stop offenders earlier in their trajectory before crimes move from misdemeanors to felonies. In addition, it gives communities the opportunity to see where changes might be needed to help stop some offenses. For instance, were crimes committed because of a lack of access to food, transportation or other services?  

Jari Askins, director of the Oklahoma Administrative Office of the Courts, and Phil Johnson with the Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) Program, explained how the ADR program currently works in Oklahoma and how that program might be used to support a restorative justice model here in the state.

Kathryn Brewer with the Oklahoma District Attorneys Council spoke about potential legislation that could help create a restorative justice program in Oklahoma. She said there are easy statutory fixes that could make a pilot program available as soon as next Nov. 1 as long as funding can be identified. She said the program would be a win-win for everyone.

Tammy West serves District 84 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which includes part of Oklahoma County.

Anti-Domestic Violence Group “Appalled” at Pro-805 group’s Use of Rapper in Social Media

“APPALLING” — S.Q. 805 Uses Drake in Facebook Meme to Talk about Prior “Non-Violent” Convictions 

…But Media Reports Show Drake Settled Suit over Alleged Rape that Resulted in Pregnancy; and Member of His Entourage Sentenced to 6 Months in Jail for Assaulting a Woman during Domestic Violence

Oklahoma Domestic Violence Victims’ Group “APPALLED” at Insensitivity, Ignorance of Yes on 805’s Facebook Post

Oklahoma City (October 21st) — Proponents of State Question 805 are using a Facebook meme of the rapper Drake in their continued quest to convince Oklahoma voters that they ought to extend first-offense privileges to repeat criminal offenders.

They could not have picked a worse role model.

Oklahomans United Against 805 reveals today a long list of offenses that have been reported for the rapper and his security entourage — including assaults against women, domestic violence, physical assaults against wait staff, physical intimidation and more.

Rolling Stone Magazine reported that a female acquaintance of Drake accused him of raping her and that a pregnancy resulted from the rape. According to The Independent, Drake settled out of court with the woman in a $350,000 out-of-court settlement: (link)

But that isn’t the first time Drake or his team have had a brush with violence.

Unemployment continues decline in Oklahoma, 9th lowest in nation

OKLAHOMA SEPTEMBER UNEMPLOYMENT RATE CONTINUES TO DECLINE, REMAINS IN TOP TEN

OKLAHOMA CITY (Oct. 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 5.3% in September, ranking ninth lowest in the country.  

The September rate is an improvement from August’s 5.7% mark and below the national unemployment rate, which declined to 7.9%.  

“Oklahoma continues to be months ahead of other states in our recovery from COVID-19,” said Governor Kevin Stitt. “This data shows how important it is to continue to protect our most vulnerable while also minimizing the other harmful effects of the pandemic. We remain committed to strengthening our state's vibrant economy and job opportunities as Oklahomans continue to go back to work." 

In September, statewide seasonally adjusted employment increased by 51,724 persons (+3.0%), while unemployment decreased by 4,909 persons (-4.7%) from the previous month. 

“Governor Stitt’s priorities of protecting the health and lives of Oklahomans while mitigating the impact of COVID-19 to our economy continue to pay dividends,” said OESC Executive Director Shelley Zumwalt. “Our state has leveraged federal CARES Act funds to support our businesses in innovative ways and Oklahomans continue returning to work to support their families. OESC will continue to provide support and reemployment services to those who have lost their jobs and are looking for their next career.”   

Oklahoma currently has one of the lowest unemployment rates in comparison to surrounding states, including Texas, Arkansas and Kansas.   

Surrounding States Unemployment Rates for September 2020 (National Rank):  

Arkansas: 7.3% (T-30) 
Colorado: 6.4% (T-22) 
Kansas: 5.9% (13) 
Missouri: 4.9% (6) 
New Mexico: 9.4% (44) 
Texas: 8.3% (39)  

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Governor Stitt: vote for safety by voting No on SQ 805

Governor Kevin Stitt sent the following statement to supporters yesterday, urging them to vote against State Question 805.

As an Oklahoman, you’ve probably heard a lot about State Question 805. I’m urging you to vote no on SQ 805.

As you know, since the beginning of my campaign for Governor, I have been an advocate for smart criminal justice reform, one that gives non-violent offenders a true opportunity at a second chance and reform that modernizes our criminal code.

Friends, SQ 805 is not criminal justice reform. It is a veiled effort by big out-of-state donors to change our State Constitution and handcuff Oklahomans’ ability to overhaul the criminal code.

Proponents of this bill are floating false narratives around the state about Oklahoma crime and incarceration. Here are some of the real facts:

House Ed Committee to hear Auditor on Epic Charter audit this afternoon (livestream link)

House Education Committees to Hear Auditor Presentation on Epic Charter Schools 

OKLAHOMA CITY – The House Common Education Committee and Appropriations & Budget Subcommittee for Education, chaired by State Reps. Rhonda Baker, R-Yukon, and Mark McBride, R-Moore, will hold a joint meeting Wednesday, Oct. 21, to hear from State Auditor and Inspector Cindy Byrd and Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister regarding Part 1 of Byrd’s audit of Epic Charter Schools.

Byrd’s 120-page audit, which was requested by Gov. Kevin Stitt, outlines concerns with how Epic Charter Schools has handled cost accounting and student enrollment figures.

Because of ongoing construction at the state Capitol, the meeting will be held at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center Gandy Auditorium, 940 NE 13 St. in Nicholson Tower, Suite 5900. The meeting begins at 1:30 p.m.

The meeting will be livestreamed at https://www.okhouse.gov/Video/Default.aspx

State Election Board alerts voters about false polling place text message

Election Officials Alert Voters About False Polling Place Text Message

(Oklahoma City, October 19th) – Oklahoma State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax issued a voter alert today, warning voters about a text message that was received by a voter last Friday, that falsely claimed the voter’s polling place had changed. The complaint has been referred by election officials to law enforcement.

The text message falsely advised the voter that her polling place had changed, then asked the voter to reply to the text to confirm her name. It then provided a phone number to call to be removed from the notification list. The phone number provided in the text message is reportedly for a male escort service.

“Disinformation about the voting process is a real threat. Voters should be very cautious about phone calls, emails, social media posts and text messages containing false information about elections – and report suspicious communications to election officials immediately,” Ziriax said.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Citizens' group announces 3 new petitions to reform Norman city government


3 NEW PETITIONS FILED: Unite Norman Announces Reform Package to Improve City Government

NORMAN (October 20th) – Unite Norman, the grassroots group aiming to restore accountability and return city government to the people, announced today a sweeping package of reforms for creating more accountability and transparency for the people of Norman. It will also put forth a proposal to increase professionalism with regard to the way city council conducts its business.

This afternoon, Unite Norman unveiled a reform package that includes: 

OCPA column: Explaining Epic Charter’s appeal


Explaining Epic Charter’s appeal
By Jonathan Small

Ask the average citizen what they know about Epic Charter Schools, an online public K-12 school, and you’ll typically hear two responses. First, the school’s critics are vocal, fierce and determined to shut down Epic and second, the school is increasingly popular among parents.

Some will consider those two facts incompatible. Why would parents flock to a school that is constantly under fire from bureaucrats and teacher unions who regularly remind us they know better than the rest of us? The answer is simple. Because parents believe that Epic provides a better educational product than many local brick-and-mortar schools, particularly in the state’s urban centers. If Epic’s back-end business functions have been questioned by a flawed state audit that encouraged Epic to make inaccurate calculations, that’s of little concern to parents focused on the welfare of their child.

One parent of an Epic student, addressing members of the Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board, put it bluntly: “A lot of the parents that are inside Epic think that brick-and-mortar schools are mad because they’ve had too many kids pulled from them and they’re losing too much money and they’re trying to get Epic shut down.”

Oklahoma Pro-Life group: vote NO on State Question 805

Oklahoma Pro-Life group: Vote NO on State Question 805
Measure Would Grant Leniency to Serial Abortion-Law Violators

(October 15th, 2020 -- Oklahomans for Life) We urge your strong opposition to State Question 805 because of its effect on abortion in Oklahoma. State Question 805 is a proposed constitutional amendment which is on the November 3rd General Election ballot.

State Question 805 prohibits increased sentences (sentence “enhancements”) for repeat offenders who continue to commit “non-violent” felonies, thus limiting the time habitual criminals spend behind bars. Under State Question 805, abortion is classified as “non-violent.”

Even under the U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, there are circumstances under which states can protect the lives of unborn children, and Oklahoma’s legislature has done so. Our state has passed laws prohibiting certain types of particularly heinous abortions – for example, partial-birth abortions – the commission of which are felonies.

Partial-birth abortion is a procedure in which the abortionist pulls a living baby feet-first out of the womb and into the birth canal, except for the head. The abortionist punctures the base of the baby’s skull with a surgical instrument, then inserts a tube into the wound and removes the baby's brain with a powerful suction machine. This causes the skull to collapse, after which the abortionist completes the delivery of the now-dead baby. Committing this heinous act in Oklahoma is a felony. Incredibly, under State Question 805, this is classified a “non-violent” felony. 

Two other pro-life laws, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, would be similarly impacted by State Question 805. These are precisely the types of crimes for which State Question 805 would bestow on abortion criminals a “get-out-of-jail” card.

Oklahoma has had a particularly sordid history with abortion-industry practitioners. In the years since Roe v. Wade, media reports have chronicled two different instances in which Oklahoma-City-area abortionists have killed their wives. One of the abortionists was convicted of murder. [see link]

The other abortionist was convicted of manslaughter in his wife’s death. [see link]

According to court records, another abortion-mill operator, this one at an infamous Tulsa facility, was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder. The intended target of the murder-for-hire plot was his partner in the abortion mill. [see link]

Press reports indicate that yet another notorious abortionist was shut down for exploiting women and committing fraud, in some cases telling women they were pregnant when he knew they were not, and then selling them abortion-inducing drugs. Imagine the anguish of going through life believing you had aborted your baby – when, in fact, you had not actually been pregnant – just so a greedy shyster could exploit a woman’s panic in order to get a big fee. [see link].

It is against this appalling and despicable backdrop that State Question 805 would treat abortion criminals as “first-time offenders” – even if, for example, they committed partial-birth abortions repeatedly as a business model – imposing on them only the same light fine or penalty each time. Compounding the injustice, State Question 805 is a constitutional change, which means the legislature could never go back and add partial-birth abortion to the list of “violent” crimes eligible for enhanced sentences for repeat offenders.  

For these reasons, we urge you to vote No on State Question 805.

Thank you.

Tony Lauinger
State Chairman, Oklahomans for Life

Monday, October 19, 2020

OK Health Dep't issues Halloween guidance, recommendations on safe festivities


State Department of Health issues Halloween guidance, releases recommendations on safe festivities
State and local health departments encourage families and communities to stay safe

OKLAHOMA CITY (Oct. 13, 2020) – The Oklahoma State Department of Health released today its guidance for people planning for Halloween and other fall festivities this holiday season as some traditional celebrations do not allow for proper social distancing amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There are a multitude of ways people can safely enjoy the holiday season this year, and connect with loved ones without putting anyone in unnecessary risk,” said Dr. Lance Frye, Oklahoma Commissioner of Health.  “Celebrate, but celebrate wisely, and continue following the three W’s: wear a mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance.”

Celebrating virtually or with members of your own household poses low risk for spread and is encouraged. If you have COVID-19 – or think you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 – you should not participate in in-person Halloween or fall festivities and should not give out candy to trick-or-treaters.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

1889 Institute: Covid-19 response casts doubts on value of local control

Covid-19 Response Casts Doubts on the Value of Local Control
By Mike Davis

Is local control better than state control? Conservatives tend to prefer state control over national government; isn’t local control a logical progression?

Recent responses to Covid-19 offer a counterargument. While Oklahoma mostly refrained from onerous restrictions, the same isn’t true of her cities. Norman’s city council was so abusive they faced recall campaigns. Edmond responded quickly to a surge, swiftly passing a mask mandate that would start a mere 4 weeks later. Oklahoma City and Tulsa have closed schools to the children they are entrusted to educate. Except that Oklahoma City’s schools were only mostly closed. These are the acts of local governments run amuck.

If local government doesn’t always do what’s right, and state government can't even be counted on to consistently do what’s wrong, what are the advantages of local control? If your rights are trampled, does it matter how big the government doing the trampling is? It isn’t any easier to beat a city in court: all levels of government enjoy the presumption that their actions are “right,” or at least “not wrong enough for the courts to step in.”

Saturday, October 17, 2020

70+ Sheriffs oppose SQ 805, urge citizens to vote 'No'

Photo posted to Twitter by Angelica Brown of OKC FOX 25.
OSA press release says over 70 sheriffs are represented by this view.


Oklahoma Sheriffs and the Oklahoma Sheriffs Association urge
citizens to vote “NO” on SQ #805

As sworn defenders of the public, Sheriffs across Oklahoma understand the importance of defeating State Question 805. If passed, SQ805 will create a culture that crime is okay in Oklahoma by reducing penalties for career criminals.  With SQ805, habitual offenders of serious crimes will spend less time in prison, and put them back on the streets where they can continue committing crimes like home burglaries, child trafficking, soliciting sex from minors using technology, animal cruelty and domestic violence; just to name a few.

While proponents of 805 claim it only applies to non-violent offences, many horrible crimes against people and animals are classified as non-violent, creating a pass for the perpetrators of these heinous crimes, because each crime has the same sentence range as a first time offense.

Proponents FALSELY claim SQ805 will only address repeat felons who commit drug, property or non-violent crimes.  However many of the repeat career criminals who will benefit commit destructive crimes that harm families, businesses, and communities all across Oklahoma. 

Stitt appoints three agency heads to permanent positions

GOVERNOR STITT APPOINTS THREE STATE AGENCY LEADERS TO PERMANENT POSITIONS

OKLAHOMA CITY (Oct. 15, 2020) — Governor Kevin Stitt announced today the appointment of Carrie Slatton-Hodges as Commissioner of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Dr. Lance Frye as State Commissioner of Health and Rachel Holt as Executive Director of the Office of Juvenile Affairs.

Slatton-Hodges, Frye and Holt will continue serving in interim capacities pending Senate confirmation in the 2021 legislative session.

“These leaders have provided strong visions and steady leadership for our state agencies and the people they serve while operating in their current roles,” said Gov. Stitt. “I am proud of the work they have collectively accomplished throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and I look forward to seeing how they will continue to move the needle in the health and care of our people as we work to become Top 10 in these critical categories.”

Tulsa Beacon: Don’t retain Judge Jane Wiseman



Don’t retain Judge Jane Wiseman

Judge Jane Wiseman, who is on the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals, will be on the November 3 ballot for a retention vote.

In Oklahoma, voters can retain or dismiss judges on the Oklahoma Supreme Court of Criminal Appeals and the Court of Civil Appeals. Those are the three appellate courts in the state. (District court judges are not subject to retention votes but people can file and run against them). All judicial retention votes and races are nonpartisan.

Since the judicial reforms in the 1960s, Oklahoma has not dismissed a judge during a retention vote.

That’s an amazing statistic.

Why do judges always seem to get two-thirds yes and one-third no in statewide retention elections?

There are several reasons. One is that the vast majority of voters know nothing of the judges who will be on the ballot. So people tend to vote yes on all of the judges or no on all of the judges. No one – especially the liberal news media – delves into the records of the judges up for retention. It’s almost impossible to find information about them on the Internet.

And most of all, no one seems to care if bad judges get confirmed every six years.

Six years ago in October of 2014, Wiseman conducted the first legalized homosexual marriage in Oklahoma. The U.S. Supreme Court decided to make law by forcing states to permit men to marry men and women to marry women.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

1889 Institute: Auditor Byrd abuses office, demonstrates she doesn't understand charter schools

Cindy Byrd Abuses Office Demonstrating She Doesn’t Understand Charter Schools
By Byron Schlomach, Ph.D.

Epic Charter Schools, with 60,000 students, has gotten too big and successful for the public school establishment to ignore. Unfortunately, State Auditor Cindy Byrd has joined in a witch hunt by ignoring the philosophy behind charter school laws and the purpose of state audits, issuing a hit piece masquerading as a special audit. Her excuses for not following standard audit protocols remind one of Dean Wormer’s double-secret probation in the movie, “Animal House.”

There are three basic ideas behind charter school laws. First, public schools are more costly and less productive than they could be because they are monopolies. Second, parents facing relatively easy educational choices would choose to the benefit of their children. And third, charter schools must compete for students. This competition regulates charters far better than any government agency could, and because they compete, charter schools need less regulation that public schools.

Unfortunately, policymakers constantly try to shoehorn charter schools into the public education system, Cindy Byrd being a prime example. Charter schools are private contractors with whom the state has uniquely contracted to provide education. It’s unique that parents, not bureaucrats, independently determine the school attended. The nature of education makes the deliverables ill-defined, which means payments to charter schools, as well as to traditional public schools, are only contingent on enrollment. But, with charter schools, parents can instantly move their children other schools as they wish.

Monday, October 12, 2020

OCPA column: Time for fairness, certainty, unity


Time for fairness, certainty, unity
By Jonathan Small

Imagine that you and your neighbor work at the same business, in the same town, for the same income, yet you are subject to different taxes and regulations than your neighbor. Unfortunately, that’s the reality that potentially faces Oklahomans in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent McGirt decision, which declared the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s reservation was never formally disestablished.

While the ruling dealt only with criminal jurisdiction and Creek land, the logic of the ruling is expected to apply to four other tribes whose territories include most of Eastern Oklahoma, and opens the door for those tribes to exert new powers in areas such as taxation and regulation.

For example, there is reason to think non-Indians could soon be subject to taxation from both the state and a tribe if they live on what is now considered a reservation, but that a Cherokee living in Tulsa (now part of the Creek reservation) may be exempted from state and local taxes. In the same way, businesses owned by tribal members may be exempted from state and local taxes paid by competitors even when both businesses operate in the same community.

The ripple effect will ultimately impact all Oklahomans. Officials at the Oklahoma Tax Commission have predicted, conservatively, that state tax collections will decline by hundreds of millions because of new exemptions created by McGirt. Yet the state will still be expected to fund things like roads, schools and public safety in the reservation areas, despite the fact that many individuals in those areas will be paying far less to support those government functions.

Stitt taps former Senate Pro Tem Bingman as Sec'y of State and Native American Affairs


GOVERNOR STITT NAMES BRIAN BINGMAN AS NEW SECRETARY OF STATE AND NATIVE AMERICAN AFFAIRS
Secretary of Budget Mike Mazzei announces resignation to return to private sector

OKLAHOMA CITY (October 12, 2020) – Governor Kevin Stitt announced today he has named Chief Policy Advisor Brian Bingman as Secretary of State and Native American Affairs.

Bingman, former President Pro Tempore of the Oklahoma Senate, joined the Stitt Administration in August as the governor’s lead negotiator on legislative policy and will continue those duties as Secretary of State.

“Senator Bingman is a natural choice to be our next Secretary of State,” said Gov. Stitt. “It has been clear since he joined our team that he is respected by our colleagues in the Legislature and Oklahomans across the state. His wisdom, calm demeanor and understanding of the legislative process will continue to benefit our state in his new role.”

Bingman represented House District 30 from 2004 to 2006 before representing Senate District 12 from 2006 to 2016. He also served as President Pro Tempore of the Oklahoma Senate from 2011 to 2016 and Mayor of Sapulpa from 1992 to 2004. 

He was the first Republican in state history to serve three terms as Pro Tempore of the Senate. Under his leadership, landmark workers’ compensation and lawsuit reform became law, and he authored and pushed for a reduction in Oklahoma’s income tax rate.

“I am honored to be named as Secretary of State and Native American Affairs,” said Bingman. “I have had great conversations building relationships with our colleagues in the Legislature and look forward to continuing to partner with them to accomplish our shared desire of making Oklahoma a Top Ten state.”

Gov. Stitt also announced he has accepted the resignation of Secretary of Budget Mike Mazzei, effective October 23.

As Secretary of Budget, Mazzei’s primary responsibilities included coordinating the Governor’s Executive Budget Book, improving the state’s financial operations and negotiating the state budget with the Oklahoma Legislature. This spring, Mazzei added a role as one of the leaders of the CARES FORWARD team, ensuring efficient and effective distribution of the $1.26 billion in COVID-19 federal relief dollars to cities, counties, state agencies and economic relief grant recipients across Oklahoma.

“I have enjoyed serving in Governor Stitt’s administration to help make Oklahoma a Top Ten state,” said Mazzei. “I’m incredibly grateful for all the hard work and collaboration with the team of highly talented cabinet secretaries, budget staff, and agency financial officers to transform the financial operations of the state and provide more accountability and transparency. After an extraordinary season of time-consuming work, this is the right moment for me to step back and return to my financial planning company.”

Mazzei has spent a total of 14 years in state government. He was elected to represent Senate District 25 in 2004 and served the maximum of 12 years before reaching his term limit in 2016. During his time in the Senate, Mazzei served in leadership roles as Senate Finance Committee Chairman and Assistant Majority Floor Leader.

“The State of Oklahoma is a better place because of Secretary Mazzei’s service,” said Gov. Stitt. “Through 12 years in the Senate and two years as a cabinet secretary, he has fought for fiscal responsibility and prudent use of taxpayer dollars.”

John Budd, Oklahoma’s chief operating officer and Secretary of Agency Accountability echoed the governor’s sentiments.

“I have worked side-by-side with Mike Mazzei for the last two years,” said Budd. “His commitment to service to Oklahoma is unsurpassed. I am grateful for his thought partnership and I am comforted to know that I can call on him for help any time I need it.”

Friday, October 09, 2020

OKGOP Chairman blasts Presidential Debate Commission over 'virtual' decision

 

REPUBLICAN CHAIRMAN DENOUNCES DEBATE COMMISSION DECISION 

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, October 8, 2020 – The chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party said today he applauds Texas Republican Party Chairman Allen West in denouncing the Commission on Presidential Debates’ (CPD) attempt to manipulate the next Presidential debate by making it digital and remote.

“Chairman West is absolutely correct, and I commend him for speaking out,” said David McLain. “The decision of the Commission on Presidential Debates to make the second debate between President Trump and Joe Biden a virtual affair is wrong. The fact that the Commission is using the President’s contracting of, and medical clearance from COVID-19 as the reason to change the format from live to virtual, is ridiculous. The fact is the debate can be staged safely just as the Vice-Presidential debate was. I support the President’s decision not to participate in the manipulated shell game the CPD is playing. The American people deserve to hear from both candidates live, in the same room, in the same city in front of a live town hall audience, as the debate was scheduled to be. Unfortunately, it appears the CPD prefers to play politics with the format by using President Trump as a pawn.”


Here is the announcement from the Commission on Presidential Debates:

CPD ANNOUNCES SECOND PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE WILL BE VIRTUAL

Washington, D.C. (October 8, 2020) – In order to protect the health and safety of all involved with the second presidential debate, scheduled for October 15, 2020, The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) announced the following today:

The second presidential debate will take the form of a town meeting, in which the candidates would participate from separate remote locations. The town meeting participants and the moderator, Steve Scully, Senior Executive Producer & Political Editor, C-SPAN Networks, will be located at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County in Miami, Florida. The White House Pool will provide coverage of the second presidential debate.

Stitt announces extension for schools to claim funding for virtual options

GOVERNOR KEVIN STITT ANNOUNCES EXTENSION FOR OKLAHOMA PUBLIC SCHOOLS TO CLAIM FUNDING FOR VIRTUAL COURSE OPTIONS

OKLAHOMA CITY (Oct. 7, 2020) — One week after the program’s initial deadline, Governor Kevin Stitt announced an extension for all Oklahoma school districts to claim funding for virtual learning resources through Learn Anywhere Oklahoma. 

While more than 250 school districts have claimed funding through the program, roughly one third of all districts across the state still do not have an established virtual learning platform. The deadline to register has been extended to Oct. 30.  

The Oklahoma Supplemental Online Course Program will be proactively reaching out to districts to assist in connecting all schools to virtual resources that will assist in delivering education during the COVID-19 pandemic and help provide greater access to quality learning opportunities.  

“Our top priority is to ensure all Oklahoma students have access to a quality education,” said Gov. Stitt. “Learn Anywhere Oklahoma provides school districts with a tool belt of options for delivering virtual education to individual students or entire classrooms, allowing students to remain engaged in their districts during this historic pandemic.” 

“We are extending the deadline to Oct. 30 out of a desire to ensure all districts are informed of this affordable, robust resource,” said Secretary of Education Ryan Walters. “Once a district opts in, the district will be given credits it can put towards Learn Anywhere Oklahoma’s K-12th grade courses beginning immediately and available through 2022.” 

The new deadline set by Gov. Stitt allows districts to sign up for Learn Anywhere Oklahoma until October 30, 2020, thereby claiming funding that can be utilized for up to two school years. All districts are encouraged to participate, even if they have a current virtual learning plan in place.  

Support is standing by to assist school districts with enrollment at learnanywhereok.org. For more information about Learn Anywhere OK, visit the website or contact 405-645-7750 with questions. Learn Anywhere OK is administered by the Oklahoma Supplemental Online Course Program.  

Thursday, October 08, 2020

OCPA leaders announce support for State Question 805

Conservative leaders support SQ 805

OKLAHOMA CITY (October 6, 2020) -- Jonathan Small, President of Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs; Trent England, David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow at Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, and Ryan Haynie, Criminal Justice Reform Fellow for Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, issued the following statement today in support of State Question 805: 

One of America’s most popular conservative pundits is known for his catchphrase, “Facts don’t care about your feelings.” While people may feel differently about the policy of SQ 805, here are the facts.

Oklahoma has one of the highest incarceration rates in the country. We have the highest incarceration rate for women. Yet Oklahoma crime rates are not so extreme--neither in the very worst nor the very best among the states.

Oklahoma puts people in prison for much longer sentences than the national average. This includes sentences that are 70% longer for property crimes and 79% longer for drug crimes. Sentencing enhancements, which SQ 805 will curtail for nonviolent offenders, increase sentence lengths by 36% based on a study conducted by OCPA.

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Bice tops Horn's single-quarter fundraising record, leads in new CD5 poll


In some great news for the OKGOP, 5th District nominee Stephanie Bice outraised incumbent Democratic Congresswoman Kendra Horn in the last quarter, and a new poll has Bice leading Horn in the GOP effort to retake the 5th District.

A survey released by the firm Pat McFerron and Cole Hargrave Snodgrass & Associates has Bice at 49% and Horn at 45%. Of interest, President Trump leads the Presidential ballot in CD5 with 49%, Biden at 43%, Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen at 3%, and independent Kanye West at 1%. You can read more details on the poll here.

Monday, October 05, 2020

Music Monday: The Harmonious Blacksmith

This week's Music Monday is Air and variations, the final movement from Suite No. 5 in E major, HWV 430, also called "The Harmonious Blacksmith", by the great classical composer George Frideric Handel.

Enjoy!

See below for all previous Music Monday posts. Do you have a song you'd like to suggest for a future Music Monday? Email me at JamisonFaught@MuskogeePolitico.com.

Wide-ranging reaction to Epic Charter Schools audit


Epic Charter Schools has been the subject of a recent audit as ordered by Governor Stitt. Last week, State Auditor Cindy Byrd released the first part of the audit at a press conference in Oklahoma City.

In this post, you can read reactions from:

  • Epic Charter Schools
  • Governor Stitt and State Superintendent Hofmeister
  • House Democrats
  • The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs

Sunday, October 04, 2020

1889 Institute: Destroying Others’ Property Is Violence, Period


Destroying Others’ Property Is Violence, Period
by Byron Schlomach, 1889 Institute

With riots characterized at times as “mostly peaceful protests,” it’s clear many in the press do not consider property destruction to be violent. Nevertheless, a large proportion of the “peaceful” participants, in obvious acts of aggression and hostility, have vandalized and stolen property. In fact, property destruction and theft are legitimately violently defended against, not because these acts only feel threatening, but because they are actually violent acts.

It’s common to hear individuals who use or threaten force in defense of their property condemned. After all, if no one is physically harmed, or even actually threatened, how can someone damaging inanimate objects possibly be considered violence, and how can defending objects with violence possibly be justified?

Most would agree that enslaving someone, even for a short time, is an act of violence. Slavery is a right or entitlement of one person to the fruits of another’s labor without recompense. It requires threatening certain harm if the slave tries to escape or fails to obey in order to get the slave’s compliance. The slaver does not ask the slave’s permission. Few would argue that an individual threatened with slavery, even if it were to last only months, has no right to defend himself with lethal force.

Saturday, October 03, 2020

OCPA column: Medicaid expansion passed -- now we must pay for it


Medicaid expansion passed; now we must pay for it
By Jonathan Small

The June passage of Medicaid expansion means up to 628,000 able-bodied Oklahomans could be added to the medical-welfare program. And that creates a new challenge for state policymakers: How can they pay for expansion, particularly at a time of economic challenge?

One of the best solutions is for voters to approve a pending state question that could cover roughly $50 million in expansion costs by redirecting a portion of the state’s tobacco-settlement funding to Medicaid. But that will cover only a portion of expansion costs.

That’s because the true state cost of expansion is likely much higher than the laughable $164 million annual estimate supporters touted. At typical Medicaid costs, the true expense could run up to $374 million per year if all eligible citizens enroll.

Proof that Medicaid-expansion proponents lowballed their cost estimates came within weeks of the ballot measure’s passage. By August, a top legislative budget leader announced cost estimates had already surged from $164 million to $246 million—so $50 million is only a down payment.

Friday, October 02, 2020

Stitt: 77k new rapid point-of-care COVID tests being distributed in OK


GOVERNOR STITT ANNOUNCES CUTTING-EDGE RAPID POINT-OF-CARE COVID-19 TESTS BEING DISTRIBUTED TO OKLAHOMA 
Abbott BinaxNOW tests to be deployed to K-12 schools, health care workers, vulnerable populations 

OKLAHOMA CITY (Oct. 1, 2020) – Governor Kevin Stitt today announced Oklahoma has received an initial allocation of roughly 77,000 Abbott Laboratories BinaxNOW rapid point-of-care COVID-19 tests. 

The Oklahoma State Department of Health will prioritize the distribution of these tests and equipment to K-12 schools, high-risk health care workers and other vulnerable populations. More specific details will be available in the coming days. 

“Distributing rapid point-of-care tests across our state will be incredibly valuable to keep our schools open for in-person instruction while protecting Oklahomans from this virus,” said Gov. Stitt. “These tests will also help us keep our frontline healthcare workers and their families safe as they continue their important mission of caring for the sick and our most vulnerable.” 

Group calls pro-SQ805 ads "disengenuous", says ads hide criminals' long rap sheets

“DISINGENUOUS:” Proponents of State Question 805 Are Hiding “Long Rap Sheets” of the Criminals in Their Ad

Criminals featured in Ad actually have much longer criminal records than suggested — perpetrators have been charged with serial theft, stolen vehicle, weapons charge, obstructing an officer, drug possession, assault and battery, and more.

“These are far from first-time offenders,” says former Governor Frank Keating

Oklahoma City (No 805, October 1, 2020) — Proponents of State Question 805 launched their Ad just a few days ago, suggesting that the criminals featured in it just needed a little more leniency for their offenses.

However, a FACT CHECK now reveals that the individuals featured in the ad actually have a long trail of crimes behind them that tells quite a different story.

Mary:
9 felonies total

A criminal character who is portrayed in their initial ad is a person whom proponents say is an older woman arrested for just “writing a few bad checks.” But in fact, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections database proves that where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

The character in the ad appears to be based on Mary L. Phillips, who didn’t just “write a few bad checks” — rather, she has at least 14 counts of bogus check-writing, forgery, possession of a controlled substance (drugs), larceny, and more. She has 9 felonies:


“Bruce”

7 felonies total

The 805 ad also highlights a veteran named “Bruce” — whom the proponents of S.Q. 805 portray as a guy who after leaving the military was just a little down on his luck. However, Bruce was given many chances even after committing theft, possession of drugs, and stealing a vehicle, He was given every opportunity including drug court in lieu of prison — but eventually he even went AWOL from that. He has 7 felonies total.

“Barry”
8 felonies total

Another individual that proponents of 805 like to discuss is “Barry” — who proponents suggest was facing incarceration for simply “stealing a lawnmower” — but he, too, has a long rap sheet. “Barry,” who has also used an alias, has at least 8 prior offenses in 3 different jurisdictions and has committed serial theft, stolen a vehicle, was in possession of a controlled substance (drugs), obstructed an officer, had a weapons charge, and more. After he failed drug court, he was placed on an ankle monitor to return to society; while still on his ankle monitor, he committed assault and battery. His Department of Corrections rap sheet actually looks like this:


“Proponents of S.Q. 805 talk about second chances, however this was ‘Barry’s’ ninth chance. If 805 becomes law, and ‘Barry’ commits his 10th felony, he’ll be out in a matter of days because neither the judge nor jury will be permitted to take into account his history as a repeat offender,” said Muskogee County District Attorney Orvil Loge.  “When the system is working harder to keep a criminal out of prison than the criminal himself is, there is clearly a problem.”

“Sonya”
9 total felonies

The Yes on S.Q. 805 also features a “single mother” who was simply “shoplifting.” But a closer look at her record shows that she was actually a serial shoplifter with multiple violations of larceny/theft, in addition to forgery and at least five (5) occasions of possession of drugs — with at least one occasion of possession of drugs with the intent to distribute (drug dealing). With 9 total felonies, her rap sheet looks like this:

Conclusion 

“These criminals are far from first-time offenders, and for proponents of State Question 805 to suggest otherwise is disingenuous,” said former Governor Frank Keating, supporter of Oklahomans United against 805, former prosecutor and former U.S. Attorney. Keating also oversaw the nation’s top law enforcement agencies such as the Secret Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.  “S.Q. 805 would reward repeat offenders, encouraging them to continue committing crimes including check forgery, possession of drugs, domestic violence in the presence of a child, child trafficking, solicitation of a child using online technology, and more. Oklahomans deserve better than this.”

Voter registration surges in Oklahoma ahead of October 9th deadline

 

Oklahoma Sees 116K Net Increase in Voter Registrations in 2020; Deadline to Register for General Election is Oct. 9

(Oklahoma City) – Voter registration rolls in Oklahoma are surging ahead of the October 9 voter registration deadline, according to new statistics released today by the Oklahoma State Election Board.

Voter registration statistics for the month ending September 30 show a net increase of more than 116,000 registered voters since January 15 – including a net increase of more than 34,000 registered voters in the past month.

Highlights of the Oklahoma’s September 30 voter registration statistics include:

President Trump, First Lady test positive for COVID-19

Breaking news this morning:

Prayers for a speedy recovery for both of them.

Fair and Williams publish voters guide on judges, justices, and State Questions


Conservative activists Steve Fair and Georgia Williams, both from southwestern Oklahoma, have published a brief voters guide for over 25 years, discussing the various state questions, judges, and justices on Oklahoma's statewide ballot. Here is the link to their full 2020 guide, along with a brief summary.

State Questions
  • State Question 805: Against
  • State Question 814: Support

Oklahoma Supreme Court
  • Justice M. John Kane IV: Retain
  • Justice Tom Colbert: Do Not Retain
  • Justice Richard Darby: Retain

Court of Criminal Appeals
  • Judge Rob Hudson: Retain
  • Judge Gary Lumpkin: Do Not Retain

Court of Civil Appeals
  • Judge Jane Wiseman: Do Not Retain
  • Judge Deborah Barnes: Do Not Retain
  • Judge Keith Rapp: Do Not Retain

Be sure to read their full guide here for more information on why they encourage Oklahomans to vote this way.

Thursday, October 01, 2020

1889 Institute publishes guide to preventing corporate welfare

THINK TANK PUBLISHES GUIDE TO PREVENTING CORPORATE WELFARE
Oklahoma is Top-Ten in handing out corporate welfare.

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (September 30, 2020) – The 1889 Institute has published “Policymaker’s Guide to Evaluating Corporate Welfare,” which attempts to guide policymakers in how to avoid supporting corporate welfare schemes. It does this by urging policymakers to ask critical questions about proposed “jobs” and “economic development” programs that might sound good when lobbyists are making their best sales pitches but are actually economically counterproductive.

Authored by the Institute’s Research Associates, Spencer Cadavero and Tyler Williamson, as well as 1889 Institute Director, Byron Schlomach, the study offers solutions to the corporate welfare problem as well as criticism. It recommends that more time and effort be devoted to perfecting the state’s tax system as a better way to compete with other states. It condemns incentives for retail and distribution centers, given that these automatically locate where people are. And finally, it advocates an interstate compact where states contractually promise not to compete on the basis of direct subsidies and special tax benefits.

State Health Department: flu vaccine available starting today

Flu Vaccine Available Starting Oct. 1

OKLAHOMA CITY (Sept. 30, 2020) – Local county health departments and other health care providers in Oklahoma will begin offering seasonal flu vaccinations on Thursday, Oct. 1. Almost everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every year. It is an effective way to prevent flu illness and another great tool for mitigating the impacts of COVID-19.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a flu vaccine by the end of October, before flu begins spreading in the community. The flu vaccine can keep a person from getting the flu and make the illness less severe if a person gets it. 

CDC has worked with vaccine manufacturers to have extra flu vaccine available this flu season, and Oklahoma will distribute 400,000 flu vaccine doses to ensure availability of an affordable or free flu shot this year.