Monday, November 30, 2020

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


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

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

Music Monday: O Come, All Ye Faithful

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


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

Saturday, November 28, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 27, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The following is a schedule for surge testing locations:

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1889 Institute: ban collective bargaining in government

Even Franklin Roosevelt opposed collective bargaining in government employment.

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

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

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

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

'Parent Voice Oklahoma' Launches in Wake of School Closures

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information on Parent Voice Oklahoma, go to

Monday, November 23, 2020

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

Democrats Respond to OK Republicans Attempt to Influence AZ Election

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

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

Oklahoma GOP legislators ask battleground legislatures to verify legitimacy of their elections


[November 21, 2020]  State Senator Rob Standridge (R-Norman) is leading a nationwide charge to maintain the integrity of Presidential elections in battleground states.  Republican members of the Oklahoma Senate and House have signed letters imploring State Legislatures to fulfill their Constitutional responsibility to verify the legitimacy of their elections. 

"We are asking for a fair process to make sure there is no voting fraud,” Sen. Rob Standridge says.  “The US Constitution clearly spells out the role of State Legislatures in a Presidential election.  State lawmakers are the most direct representation of the people and, if the will of the people is not reflected in a Presidential election, legislatures have an obligation to intervene and investigate on behalf of their constituents.  We are not making accusations.  We are asking for an impartial investigation to ensure their results are accurate."

Oklahoma House members, led by Rep. Jon Echols (R-Oklahoma City), sent a similar letter to the same battleground states:  Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Arizona.

Friday, November 20, 2020

OK State Department of Education hides memo warning of illegal activity

Agency hides memo warning of illegal activity
by Ray Carter -- Director, Center for Independent Journalism

The Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) has stripped its website of a memo issued by the state attorney general, which warns that the agency has acted illegally in its administration of a state program for children with special needs.

An OSDE spokesperson said the document is shielded from public view by attorney-client privilege.
The Lindsey Nicole Henry (LNH) Scholarships for Students with Disabilities program provides scholarships to students with special needs and foster children, allowing them to attend private schools. The LNH law requires that participating private schools comply with the antidiscrimination provisions of a section of federal law that bars discrimination “on the ground of race, color, or national origin.” Those are the only three categories listed.

However, under the leadership of State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister, the OSDE drafted new regulations in 2019 that expanded that list to cover nine categories, including “religion” and “sexual orientation.” The additions were made nine years after the program was created.

As a result of those additions, the State Board of Education has not approved the application of Christian Heritage Academy to serve LNH students with one board member explicitly saying a private school cannot require its staff to be “mature Christian teachers” and still participate in the LNH program under the agency’s new regulations.

School Closure Protest: Parents to Rally on Monday at State Capitol

Monday, 11/23: Parents to Rally at the Capitol to Protest School Closures
Concerned Oklahoma parents of public-school students will be rallying at the State Capitol on Monday, November 23, to demand a greater voice and role in education, especially as it relates to decisions involving school closures and virtual learning. The rally will begin on the South steps of the Capitol at 11AM and include several speakers. Parents will then meet with legislators as well as representatives from the governor’s office.
Oklahoma teachers’ unions and many education officials have been pushing for indefinite, perhaps year-long school closures and a shift to virtual learning. Many parents say they feel left out of these decisions and placed in an impossible position.

1889 Institute: Americans have right to assume risk, even in pandemic

Progress requires risk-taking, and Americans knowledgeable of risk can choose to take it.

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (November 18, 2020) – The 1889 Institute’s Research Fellow, Mike Davis, who is also an attorney, has written “America’s Legal Tradition of Allowing Risk-Taking, Even in a Pandemic,” which argues that American common law allows informed risk taking. As long as people are well-informed, they should therefore have the dignity for themselves to decide how much risk to take. In the case of the current COVID-19 pandemic, individuals in a free society like America’s should have the freedom to choose whether to wear masks and/or isolate themselves as part of social distancing.

“Masks, actually N95 respirators, are truly most effective for individuals who are at high risk from COVID-19 and have not contracted the disease. These include the aged, and others who have other health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, and obesity,” said Davis. “The young and healthy, who are at less risk from COVID-19 than the seasonal flu, should have the same freedom from masks and social distancing as we give them from flu shots. We do not force anyone to take flu shots every year,” he said.

Davis’s paper explains the long legal tradition of assumed risk. He argues that sound information surrounding COVID-19 is readily available and that people can be just as trusted to evaluate and assume risk surrounding social distancing and mask wearing as they can be with deciding whether to ride in a car.

“If nothing else, unless someone has been living under a rock, we all know about COVID-19 and that it’s dangerous. Speaking as someone who’s had the disease, if anything, the danger posed by COVID-19 for most people is exaggerated,” said Davis.

Davis’s paper concludes that many local governments in Oklahoma have over-reacted with social distancing and mask mandates that have bankrupted businesses and disrupted everybody’s lives for the sake of the very most risk-averse among us. “It’s as if those most fearful of flying forced the grounding of all aircraft,” he said.

About the 1889 Institute
The 1889 Institute is an Oklahoma think tank committed to independent, principled state policy fostering limited and responsible government, free enterprise and a robust civil society. The publication, “America’s Legal Tradition of Allowing Risk-Taking, Even in a Pandemic” and other reports can be found on the nonprofit’s website at

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

State Rep. Pfeiffer to revive bill directing law enforcement to work with ICE

Pfeiffer to Revive Legislation on ICE

OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. John Pfeiffer, R-Orlando, today said he intends to refile legislation that would require Oklahoma law enforcement to comply with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) requests.

During the 2020 legislative session, Pfeiffer authored House Bill 3195, which directed all sheriffs, jailers and deputies to comply with any request made in an immigration retainer request provided by the federal government, and would have required the person identified in the detainer to be informed they were being held pursuant to the request. Compliance would not be required if the person has provided proof of American citizenship.

State House and Senate to observe Gov. Stitt's mask policy

House will observe governor's mask policy for state government, resumes virtual work schedule

OKLAHOMA CITY – Starting Tuesday, House of Representatives space in the Capitol will have a mask policy consistent with Gov. Kevin Stitt’s executive order concerning masks for state buildings and employees.

“Because executive orders do not apply to the legislative branch, the House will observe the same mask policy the governor set for the rest of government. It’s a reasonable precaution with case counts rising in Oklahoma County and statewide,” said House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka.

In partnership with the State Department of Health, the House has been developing multiple health and safety protocols for the upcoming legislative session, which begins with Organizational Day on Jan. 5, followed by the beginning of session Feb. 1.

“The House has worked for weeks on plans to remain functional in session by putting proper precautions in place for everyone’s safety. Strong protocols that are based on the guidance of health professionals and scalable should pandemic conditions change will be announced before session,” McCall said.

Prior to the governor’s announcement Monday, the House had already planned on testing one of its contingency plans by resuming a rotating in-office and virtual work schedule for House staff. Starting Tuesday, each House department will have half its staff in the office and half working virtually on a rotating basis to ensure that should the need arise, the House will have full functionality.

“The House functioned quite well virtually, without closing, for seven weeks during the spring shelter at home period. The rotating schedule for staff is one protocol we are testing now in the event virtual work becomes necessary again next session,” McCall said. “As we did successfully in the spring, we will continue to partner closely with health professionals on all pandemic protocols.”

Since March, the House has had a testing and quarantine policy in place that has been regularly updated based on the latest guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and State Department of Health. Generally, the policy requires testing, remote work and quarantine for symptomatic employees, asymptomatic employees contacted by official state contact tracers, and asymptomatic employees who believe they had close contact with people who have tested positive.

Further plans under development for session will address legislative proceedings, room access and capacity, social distancing and personal protective equipment guidelines, virtual protocols, and other items as determined by health professionals.

“The protocols we enact should also involve everyone having realistic expectations, given the nature of this pandemic. Because strong protocols will minimize but not entirely eliminate the risk, we all must demonstrate flexibility and responsibility in order to continue conducting the people’s business safely,” McCall said.

Senate will observe Governor's mask executive order

OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, released the following statement regarding Governor Stitt's executive order concerning masks in state buildings and for state employees:

“Masks are an effective way to slow the transmission of COVID-19, and each of us should wear one when appropriate. I appreciate Governor Stitt for taking measures to protect public health. This is a serious disease. We should all take it seriously and take the necessary steps to protect our neighbors and ourselves. The Senate will observe the governor’s executive order in an effort to protect the health and safety of those who work in the Capitol and those who may visit the People’s House.”

1889 Institute: end social distancing mandates, focus on vulnerable

Form policy according to rational risk assessment, says 1889 Institute.
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (November 16, 2020) – In a paper published by the 1889 Institute, Steve Trost, Associate Director, Institute for the Study of Free Enterprise at Oklahoma State University, argues for an end to social distancing mandates amid the COVID-19 epidemic. He says that “The time has come for state and local government officials and governmental institution leaders to apply solid risk management principles to their policymaking.”
Trost’s proposal strikes a balance between liberty and safety and is similar to what the 1889 Institute has recommended since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. If adopted, this policy would aggressively shield the vulnerable. Meanwhile, most of the population, which is far less vulnerable, would interact almost normally, socially and economically. Those that need, or merely want, protection would get it. Those that would like to get back to life as usual would be free to do so. Specifically, state, local and governmental-institution policy-makers should create a framework for focused protection by taking the following actions:

Stitt issues new COVID-19 order for restaurants, state employees and agency buildings

OKLAHOMA CITY (Nov. 16, 2020)— Governor Kevin Stitt today joined Commissioner of Health Lance Frye to announce Seventh Amended Executive Order 2020-20, which increases safety measures for restaurants, bars and state employees in Oklahoma to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.   

"Throughout the entire battle against COVID-19, my first priority has been to protect the health and lives of Oklahomans," said Gov. Stitt. "Two other things are also very important to me. We’re going to keep businesses open safely and we're going to work to get all kids back in school safely by the end of Christmas Break. However, it’s going to take everyone working together to meet these goals."   
The new action items under Seventh Amended EO 2020-20 include:    

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Small: Hofmeister, State Board of Education discriminating against Christians

Anti-Christian discrimination reaches Oklahoma
By Jonathan Small

It’s no secret government officials often target traditional Christians for harassment, but Oklahomans often view that as a problem that happens in other states, not here. Sadly, that’s not true.

In 2010, lawmakers passed and the governor signed into law the Lindsey Nicole Henry (LNH) Scholarships for Students with Disabilities program. It provides state scholarships for certain students—those with special needs like autism, or foster children—to attend private schools.

A few things are required for schools to participate. The LNH law requires that participating private schools comply with the antidiscrimination provisions of a section of federal law that bars discrimination “on the ground of race, color, or national origin.”

Those are the only three categories listed. Yet, under the leadership of State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister, the OSDE drafted new regulations that added “religion” and “sexual orientation” to that list.

Friday, November 13, 2020

AG Hunter reminds State Boards, Commissions about Open Meetings exemptions expiration

Attorney General Hunter Reminds State Boards and Commissions Open Meetings Exemptions Expire Sunday

OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General Mike Hunter today, in coordination with the Oklahoma Press Association (OPA), announced the relaxed rules for open meetings created through Senate Bill 661 will expire Sunday.

Any permanent changes to the Open Meetings Act or the Open Records Act must be changed in statute and cannot be modified through an executive order by the governor.

Attorney General Hunter said beginning Sunday, boards and commissions need to begin meeting as they did before the Coronavirus pandemic.

“When this legislation was authored, no one could have predicted how long the pandemic would last,” Attorney General Hunter said. “More is now known about how we can safely meet and conduct business in accordance with proper social distancing and other safety protocols. How ever boards and commissions decide to meet, they need to do it under the Open Meetings Act pre-SB 661 beginning Sunday.”

OCPA: OK Dep't of Education must stop discriminating against Christians

OCPA: OK Dept. of Education must stop discriminating against Christians

OKLAHOMA CITY (November 11, 2020)— Jonathan Small, president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, issued the following statement today regarding apparently illegal action taken by the Oklahoma State Department of Education to restrict student opportunity and bar Christian schools from participating in the Lindsey Nicole Henry (LNH) Scholarships for Students with Disabilities program.

“By unilaterally rewriting state law, the Oklahoma State Department of Education is restricting educational opportunity for some of Oklahoma’s most vulnerable children, including students with special needs and foster children, while also engaging in anti-Christian discrimination that is likely to prompt successful lawsuits. Rather than double-down on illegal and unconstitutional discrimination, OSDE and the State Board of Education should immediately repeal their illegal and discriminatory rule that harms children, and approve the applications of Altus Christian Academy and Christian Heritage Academy, as they have approved the applications of numerous other private Christian schools over the last decade. That will not only avoid embarrassment for the state, but also ensure Oklahoma students and schools are treated with the respect they deserve.”

State House GOP picks leadership for upcoming session

House Republicans Elect Leadership for 58th Legislature
O’Donnell Named Speaker Pro-Tem-Elect; Dills Named Caucus Chair

OKLAHOMA CITY – The House Republican Caucus this week elected its leadership for the 58th Legislature. The legislative session convenes Feb. 1, 2021.

Elected by the Caucus to serve as speaker pro-tempore-elect was State Rep. Terry O’Donnell, R-Catoosa. He replaces State Rep. Harold Wright, R-Weatherford, who was term-limited this year.

“I’m grateful to have been selected to fill this leadership role in the House,” O’Donnell said. “I look forward to working closely with the caucus and the speaker’s office to advance meaningful legislation that will make Oklahoma the best place to live and do business, and to help ensure members follow House rules and appropriate decorum.”

O’Donnell has served the House as majority whip since the 56th Legislature and served as the chair of the Energy & Natural Resources Committee the past two years. He also is a member of the House Appropriations & Budget and the Judiciary Committees as well as a member of the House and Senate Joint Committee on Appropriations & Budget.

State Rep. Charles McCall, R-Atoka, is speaker-elect as no one else filed for that position. This would be his third term as speaker.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Legislators: Oklahoma’s election demonstrates accurate and timely results

Oklahoma’s Election Demonstrates Accurate and Timely Results

OKLAHOMA CITY – Members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives are encouraging their colleagues from other states to model their systems after Oklahoma election laws.

“For years Oklahoma's election system has provided Oklahoma voters with rapid and undisputed results.

Through a mix of common sense quality controls, including numbered ballot pads, election night reporting, a mix of scanning technology and traditional, verifiable paper ballots, voter identification and precinct-level officials who are appointed by both of the major political parties, Oklahoma leads the nation in election policy.

We appreciated the federal court earlier this year upholding Oklahoma’s strong election laws, particularly the reasonable absentee ballot requirements the Legislature enacted through SB 210 last session. By all accounts, the Legislature's actions proved successful and Oklahoma concluded election night with yet another fair, timely outcome that has not been disputed: This included the Congressional District 5 race, which was decided by less than 13,000 votes.

We are witnessing firsthand how weak election policies of other states impact the entire nation, including Oklahoma. As demonstrated by Oklahoma, there is no reason we should have to wait days for the outcome of any election. We call on the other states to immediately pass meaningful and common sense reforms to their election processes.

The integrity of the voting process is vital to our republic. There should be no doubt as to the results if we can secure the process at the outset. Mail-in ballots that do not require proof of identity is a recipe for fraud. We have gone through this process three times at the national level in recent years with the 2000, 2016 and now 2020 elections.

As members of the Oklahoma Legislature, we ask other state legislatures across America to demand reform and pass legislation similar to SB 210 on absentee ballot integrity and SB 1779 outlawing absentee ballot harvesting in our state.”

Legislators issuing the statement include:
  • Rep. Brad Boles, R-Marlow
  • Rep. Ty Burns, R-Morrison
  • Rep. Sherrie Conley, R-Newcastle
  • Rep. Denise Crosswhite Hader, R-Piedmont
  • Rep. Sheila Dills, R-Tulsa
  • Rep. Scott Fetgatter, R-Okmulgee
  • Rep. Tom Gann, R-Inola
  • Rep. Brian Hill, R-Mustang
  • Rep. Justin Humphrey , R-Lane
  • Rep. Ronny Johns, R-Ada
  • Rep.-elect Gerrid Kendrix, R-Altus
  • Rep. Dell Kerbs, R-Shawnee
  • Rep. Mark Lawson, R-Sapulpa
  • Rep. Mark Lepak, R-Claremore
  • Rep. Ken Luttrell, R-Ponca City
  • Rep. Robert Manger, R-Oklahoma City
  • Rep. T.J. Marti, R-Broken Arrow
  • Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka
  • Rep. Kevin McDugle, R-Broken Arrow
  • Rep. Carl Newton, R-Cherokee
  • Rep. Terry O’Donnell, R-Catoosa
  • Rep. Jim Olsen, R-Roland
  • Rep. Charles Ortega, R-Altus
  • Rep. Mike Osburn, R-Edmond
  • Rep. Kenton Patzkowsky, R-Balko
  • Rep. Cynthia Roe, R-Lindsay
  • Rep. David Smith, R-Arepelar
  • Rep. Chris Sneed, R-Fort Gibson
  • Rep. Marilyn Stark, R-Bethany
  • Rep. Jay Steagall, R-Yukon
  • Rep. Judd Strom, R-Copan
  • Rep. Tammy Townley, R-Ardmore
  • Rep. Mark Vancuren, R-Owasso
  • Rep. Kevin Wallace, R-Wellston
  • Rep. Josh West, R-Grove
  • Rep. Kevin West, R-Moore
  • Rep.-elect Rick West, R-Heavener
  • Rep. Rande Worthen, R-Lawton
  • Sen. Michael Bergstrom, R-Adair
  • Sen. David Bullard, R-Durant
  • Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Tulsa
  • Sen. Julie Daniels, R-Bartlesville
  • Sen. Brent Howard, R-Altus
  • Sen. Chris Kidd, R-Waurika
  • Sen. Dewayne Pemberton, R-Muskogee
  • Sen. Zack Taylor, R-Seminole
  • Sen. Darrell Weaver, R-Moore

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Rejected by voters, House Dems renew call for Special Session, Mask Mandate

The party that was overwhelmingly rejected by Oklahoma voters, including the elimination of their last rural seats, continues to demand that Governor Stitt and/or the Legislature issue a mask mandate for the entire state.

Virgin, House Democrats Call for Special Session, Mask Mandate

OKLAHOMA CITY -- House Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman, today called for the Oklahoma Legislature to convene a special session to extend an exemption that allows public bodies to meet virtually during the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

In addition to the call for a special session, House Democrats reiterated their call for Governor Kevin Stitt to implement a statewide mask mandate.

“In March, in the name of public safety, we passed legislation to protect Oklahoman’s lives and the ability for public bodies to function without the risk of spreading COVID,” Virgin said. “These aren’t my words. These are the words of the Republican leaders who supported this legislation.”

The legislation passed in March was Senate Bill 661. Oklahoma’s average daily cases when the legislation passed were in the 20s. Today, Oklahoma’s case numbers are more than than 2,000 per day. Likewise, COVID deaths have gone from zero in March to more than 1,400 now.  

“The COVID situation in Oklahoma has gotten worse, not better, since the Legislature saw it fit to enact this provision,” Virgin said. “To allow this accommodation to expire would be entirely irresponsible. If we all agreed that the situation was dangerous enough in March to allow public bodies to meet this way, then logic dictates we would renew this provision.”

OCPA column: Giving hope to Oklahoma’s most vulnerable

Giving hope to Oklahoma’s most vulnerable
By Jonathan Small

Hope is among life’s most precious commodities. Oklahoma lawmakers can increase the stock of that commodity and provide it to Oklahoma’s most vulnerable citizens by fully funding parental school choice for all who want it.

This year’s pandemic-created challenges have been felt by all, but not shared equally, including in education.

The closure of physical sites for in-person instruction has created hardship for families at all income levels, but the burden is greatest for those of limited means who must forgo work opportunities to watch children during the day. And the virtual learning options provided in lieu of classroom instruction have often been subpar at best.

Even parents who do not face such harsh choices want to make sure they do not endure this limited menu of education options for any reason in the future.

That’s why lawmakers should provide fully funded parental school choice options for all who want them. It’s time we gave parents greater control over their children’s education.

There are several ways to achieve that goal. The first is to expand the “digital wallet” program Gov. Kevin Stitt launched this year. That program, currently funded with federal COVID-relief funds, provides $1,500 to low-income families to spend on educational supplies.

Lawmakers can expand equality of opportunity and make the program available to all Oklahomans, putting at least $5,000 in state funds in each account and allowing families to use the money for services, including private-school tuition. That alone would open the door of education opportunity for families across the state.

Lawmakers should also provide a significant refundable tax credit for families to offset education expenses. That would be comparable to the Earned Income Tax Credit that provides cash payments to low-income Oklahomans, and it would allow more parents to cover the costs of better schools for a child.

Best of all, that would effectively increase overall education funding in Oklahoma.

Legislators should also raise the cap on Oklahoma’s scholarship tax-credit program, which has benefitted thousands of low-income children. Tax-credit scholarships have helped numerous children escape from failing schools and enter private schools that provide better academics, personal safety and (often) moral grounding.

For far too long, private schools have been mostly restricted to children in families with higher income, yet that doesn’t have to be the case. Private schools across Oklahoma are ready and eager to accept children from a wider range of socio-economic backgrounds. Some schools are already leading the way, such as Crossover Preparatory Academy in Tulsa, Little Light Christian School, Mission Academy and Positive Tomorrows in Oklahoma City, which serve low-income, children of the incarcerated, those recovering from addiction and homeless children.

For parents worried about their children’s future, Oklahoma lawmakers can offer the antidote of hope, optimism, and justified belief in a better future—if they are ready to lead on parental school choice for all who want it.

Jonathan Small serves as president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs.

Gov. Stitt asks Oklahomans to redouble efforts in combatting COVID



OKLAHOMA CITY (Nov. 7, 2020) – Governor Kevin Stitt released the following statement today regarding the COVID-19 case numbers reported by the Oklahoma State Department of Health:

“It is clear that this virus continues to spread through rural and urban communities across Oklahoma and the United States.

Throughout the history of our state, Oklahomans have taken pride in caring for our neighbors during times of trouble. Now, more than ever, I am asking each Oklahoman to do the right thing and protect their families, neighbors and those who are most vulnerable.

Keep washing your hands frequently, watch your distance from others, and wear a mask when social distancing isn’t possible or visiting indoor public places. You have heard me say these things before, but we need everyone to take these actions seriously. They work.

Watching your distance also means being careful about how long you’re in crowded places and how you gather with your friends and family. You can spread this virus to someone you love even if you aren’t showing symptoms, so please take extra care around family members who are older or have compromised immune systems.

Taking these steps together as a state will allow us to continue to keep our lives operating as close to normal as possible. Oklahomans pulled together back in April so we could safely reopen our economy, and I am asking for that same unified effort once again to slow the spread of this virus and keep Oklahomans safe.” – Governor Kevin Stitt

Watch the mask exchange that has all of Muskogee talking

If you have not heard about what happened at last night's Muskogee City Council meeting, you need to go read my post, With casket in chamber, Muskogee City Council shoots down three mask mandate proposals.

There was an exchange between Councilman Ivory Vann and Mayor Marlon Coleman that has all of Muskogee talking today. I've uploaded the closing minutes of the Council meeting below, which includes the Vann-Coleman exchange and the voting down of the second and third mask proposals. 

Watch and share:

1889 Institute: Let us work!

Let Us Work! The Futility of “Stimulus” to Counteract Foolish Covid-19 Shutdown Orders 
By Byron Schlomach

When did you last eat money? When did you last wear it? Ever shelter under it during a storm? Fact is, money is only useful for purchasing the things we need. That’s the problem with talk of more federal government “stimulus” over COVID-19. Each and every thing we eat, use, and consume must be produced. That means “stimulus” is, at best, a temporary delusion. Give people money they have not worked for, sooner or later, there’s nothing left for them to spend that money on.  

When it comes to production – the true source of ALL our prosperity –most people don’t view it as fun, so incentives critically matter. Many have chosen to take advantage of widespread confusion and overwhelming workloads in state employment agencies to quit their jobs, (fraudulently) apply for unemployment, take stimulus checks, and have a high time at everybody else’s expense. 

Once state and local governments imposed lockdowns and the federal government had no legal power to reverse these actions, it’s easy enough to see the quandary the federal government was in. No doubt, it seemed there was little to do other than attempt to spend the nation into economic stability. President Trump has made a fair point that many who were unemployed due to shutdowns had no choice in the situation. The problem is that the path to prosperity is not through spending. It’s through production. 

Adam Smith’s chief common-sense insight over 200 years ago was that a nation’s true wealth lay in its productive capacity, and that a nation’s productive capacity was best built largely through free markets, not by government diktat, tax and subsidy incentives, or through regulation. And Smith has been proven absolutely correct. Of course, people with money to spend provide an incentive for producers to produce, but not when the government hands out money to everybody for doing nothing. We are all producers; all producers are people; all people are incentivized NOT to produce when money is handed to them for nothing. It’s that simple. 

Federal stimulus payments made with money practically manufactured out of thin air is no way to ensure the nation’s prosperity. The only way to ensure prosperity is to allow people to work – to produce – and that means local and state government officials need to get out of the way and let us all do just that. Perhaps, if Covid-19 presented the kind of threat the hysterical press has proclaimed it to be, it would be different. Facts, however, belie the hysteria. And due to so many officials’ foolish responses, we are undoubtedly being made poorer for it, regardless of what a stock market pumped up by Fed money otherwise says. 

With casket in chamber, Muskogee City Council shoots down three mask mandate proposals

FOLLOW-UP: Watch the mask exchange that has all of Muskogee talking

Yes, that is a casket sitting in front of the Muskogee City Council. Read on to find out how it got there.

At the Muskogee City Council meeting Monday evening, three different proposals to mandate the wearing of masks in public buildings or areas were voted on. Each failed to receive enough votes to pass.

City Councilman Ivory Vann has pressed the council for months to pass a mask mandate, and went so far tonight as to have a casket (pictured above) placed in front of the council chamber as a prop in advance of the vote. Yes, a literal casket.

The first ordinance, proposed by Councilman Vann (coauthored by Vice Mayor Derrick Reed), can be read here, and stated the following: "All persons shall wear face coverings when entering and while inside any indoor place open to the public, or in any outdoor location where more than 50 people are gathered." There were a number of exceptions - children under the age of 10, those with health issues prohibiting the wearing of masks or face coverings, exercise, sporting or recreational activites, inside your own home or vehicle ("while other persons outside of the person’s household are not present"), schools, and a few other listings.

Vann's mask mandate further required all businesses to require their customers wear masks, under threat of fines and revocation or suspension of business licenses: "Each business located within the City of Muskogee in which members of the public are invited to enter shall require face coverings be worn in accordance with this Ordinance. Failure to do so shall be deemed a violation of this section and may subject the business to the imposition of a fine as set forth herein, or revocation or suspension of a business license in accordance with the procedures set forth in the licensing ordinance."

In addition to the threat of shutting down a business for lack of adherance by its customers, the Vann ordinance called for a $100 fine for offendering persons or businesses. Vann also submitted an amendment to his ordinance that would require law enforcement members to wear masks during any interaction with civilians.

The second ordinance was proposed by the Muskogee City-County COVID-19 Task Force, presented by District Attorney Orvil Loge. Their mask mandate was almost identical to Vann's (with the exception of the law enforcement mask clause), but focused at individuals as opposed to business, and - key point - without any enforcement or penalty mechanisms.

The third ordinance was proposed by Mayor Marlon Coleman. His mask mandate, like the Task Force recommendation, had no enforcement or penalty procedures. His was the most lenient, only calling for "retail businesses" to require masks or face coverings, as opposed to the all-encompassing nature of the other two proposals. Coleman's proposal also allowed businesses to apply for exemptions in the case of it causing an undue burden or hardship on their operations.

There was some heated discussion and debate among the council, particularly from Councilman Vann. Eight citizens spoke to the council on the matter (3 in favor and 5 against, several of which made pointed comments toward Councilman Vann over his use of the casket prop).

After discussion, Councilman Vann indicated that he would be open to re-proposing his motion without the penalty provisions, so the council voted his initial ordinance down and he remade the motion without the penalty clauses.

When it came to voting, all three measures failed. 6 votes were required for passage of Vann's ordomance, with 7 votes needed to approve the 'emergency' (basically, an expedited effective date earlier than is usual). The other two resolutions needed 5 votes for passage. Here's how the voting broke down on each of them:

  • Vann's ordinance (with penalty provisions removed)
    • Yes (3): Traci McGee, Ivory Vann, Derrick Reed
    • No (6): Tracy Hoos, Stephanie Morgan, Alex Reynolds, Evelyn Hibbs, Jaime Stout, Mayor Marlon Coleman
  • The City-County Task Force's recommendation
    • Yes (4): Tracy Hoos, Traci McGee, Ivory Vann, Derrick Reed
    • No (5): Stephanie Morgan, Alex Reynolds, Evelyn Hibbs, Jaime Stout, Mayor Marlon Coleman
  • Coleman's proposal
    • Yes (4): Tracy Hoos, Traci McGee, Derrick Reed, Mayor Marlon Coleman
    • No (5): Stephanie Morgan, Alex Reynolds, Evelyn Hibbs, Jaime Stout, Ivory Vann

Just prior to the vote on his resolution, Councilman Vann said "As long as we get something down in writing, that we have a mask mandate, I'll be happy. I'll be happy."

At one point just prior to voting on the Task Force's proposal, Councilman Vann asked about combining that measure with Mayor Coleman's. Vann asked Coleman, "Mayor, would that be alright with you?" Mayor Coleman replied, "No. Simply because what I want is to have the businesses be able to do it with the flexibility that I'm providing, versus having a mask mandate for every individual." (<--- After which every business owner and freedom-loving citizen applauded, even if they don't want a mask mandate to begin with.)

Vann became exasperated after this exchange, accusing Mayor Coleman of "politicking" and tailoring his proposal around reelection campaign (which... is two years away). Coleman, very calmly I might add, rebutted Vann's diatribe by saying that "the only one politicking up here is you. I don't call you out when you have a difference of opinion. It's your's to have. You don't know if I'm running for reelection or not. But when I do something for the citizens of Muskogee, I don't give a hot chocolate about reelection. It's for their benefit." He went on to chide Vann on the use of the casket. (This exchange is well worth the watch, beginning around the 2:16:00 mark). 

Mayor Coleman's calm, mature handling of the heated discussion led to great applause on social media, including this graphic, as well as some DoorDash orders to deliver hot chocolate to the mayor in the morning on behalf of the citizens of Muskogee:

Upon the failure of the three mask proposals, Mayor Coleman moved for the council to recess for the purpose of removing the casket-prop from the chambers before proceeding to other, normal business.

And.... Ivory Vann was the sole vote against Coleman's motion to remove the casket-prop.

Here is the video of the meeting (the mask mandate discussion starts around the 17:00 mark):

If the above video does not embed properly for you, you can go to this link for the full, 2-hour+ Facebook Live of the council meeting, or use the link below for the closing portion of the meeting:

FOLLOW-UP: Watch the mask exchange that has all of Muskogee talking


Friday, November 06, 2020

Oklahoma Legislature announces statewide redistricting meeting dates

Oklahoma House, Senate announce statewide redistricting meeting dates

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma House of Representatives and the Oklahoma Senate announced dates for a series of redistricting town hall meetings to be held across the state in the coming weeks.

At each meeting, presenters will give an overview of the legislative redistricting process and cover redistricting principles. At each meeting, the public will have the chance to comment on the redistricting of legislative districts and congressional districts. Additionally, the collaboration means the public at each meeting can share their input on House and Senate redistricting regardless of which chamber is officially hosting and leading the event.

“Collaboration between the House and Senate on these meeting locations and dates ensures we can cover more ground. It also means that regardless of whether it’s a ‘House meeting’ or ‘Senate meeting,’ the public can offer comments about the redistricting of all legislative districts and congressional districts,” said Sen. Lonnie Paxton, R-Tuttle and chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Redistricting. “We are conducting an open and transparent redistricting process in the Senate and these public meetings are a part of the plan to ensure the public’s participation in that process.”

Oklahoma State Election Board applauds smooth, historic election turnout

Statement about Oklahoma's 2020 General Election from Paul Ziriax, Secretary of the State Election Board

"I am delighted about the enthusiasm and engagement shown by Oklahoma voters in this election. We saw a surge in voter registrations, set a record for mail absentee ballots and in-person absentee "early" votes, and had heavy turnout on Election Day. Oklahoma voters set a record for the most votes ever cast for President in the history of our state. 

'Oklahomans United Against 805' celebrate victory

Oklahomans Value Public Safety, Reject Out-of-State Dollars

Oklahoma City — Oklahomans United against 805 released a statement upon the news that State Question 805 — which would have allowed repeat criminals out of prison sooner and endangered all law-abiding Oklahomans — has been defeated.

“Thank you to the voters. It proves that grassroots and Oklahomans control their own destiny. Our constitution cannot be bought by out-of-state interests.  It took an incredible team, not the least of which are our elected leaders, Governor Kevin Stitt, Lt. Governor Matt Pinnell, Attorney General Mike Hunter, and so many others.  When we started, it was an uphill battle, but these three leaders stood strong to do what was right -- not just that which appeared to be politically expedient.”
—    Former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating

"Oklahomans have shown they do not take altering our constitution lightly.  I am very proud my fellow Oklahomans have recognized this, and it is my hope that future efforts fully exhaust legislative remedies before embarking on an amendment as did the out-of-state proponents of S.Q. 805.”
—    Marc Nuttle, Attorney & Treasurer, Oklahomans United against 805

Thursday, November 05, 2020

Election Results Maps: U.S. Senate, State Questions 805 and 814

 Here is the much-anticipated 2020 general election edition of my long-running Election Results Maps series. As promised in my post on the presidential results in Oklahoma, we will be looking here at the U.S. Senate race and results from the two state questions that voter soundly rejected.

In his final election, Senator Jim Inhofe posted his second-best general election showing, behind only his 2014 matchup where he received 68% of the vote. His results largely trailed President Trump's by a few points, with Oklahoma County also being his closest with a 0.93% spread (48.33% to 47.4%). His best result came in Cimarron County with a lead of 84.71%

Next, let's look at the two state questions that were on the ballot.

Rural Oklahoma rejected State Question 805 in overwhelming fashion. This ballot measure won in Oklahoma County alone (54.21% to 45.79%, a 8.42% spread). The 'Yes' vote in Cleveland County trailed by 3.13%, Comanche by 7.2%, and Tulsa by 13.76%. All 73 other counties had a 'no' lead of at least 24%, with 20 at over 50%.

Election Results Map: Presidential Race

 Here is the much-anticipated 2020 general election edition of my long-running Election Results Maps series. I've been compiling these since 2010, which has included both the 2012 and 2016 presidential elections.

In this post, we'll take a look at the Presidential race results here in Oklahoma, and compare the 2020 presidential race to 2016. We'll examine the U.S. Senate raceand both state questions in a separate article.

First up, the big one:

As you can see, President Donald Trump carried all 77 counties, making 2020 the fifth presidential cycle in a row where the Republican nominee won every single one of Oklahoma's counties (dating back to 2004).

These figures were pretty wild. Oklahoma County was by far the closest, with a spread of just 1.21% and with Trump held to 49.25% of the vote. The next closest? Cleveland and Tulsa counties at spreads of 14.06% and 15.57%, respectively. They weren't even close. 

14 counties had Trump leads between 20% and 50%. 52 counties went red by margins between 50% and 75%, and Trump won in 8 counties by more than 75%

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

Speaker McCall comments on House Republican election gains

Speaker McCall comments on House Republican election gains

House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, issued the following statement upon unofficial election returns showing House Republicans grew their majority from 77 members in the 57th Legislature to 82 members for the 58th Legislature:

Red wave sweeps over Oklahoma: 5 Takeaways

I'll get to my election results maps in the coming days, but here are some quick notes from the election tonight here in Oklahoma:

1. Trump sweeps all 77 counties again

Trump was held just under 50% in Oklahoma County (49.25% to 48.05%), around 55% in Tulsa and Comanche counties, and between 70% and 92%(!!) in almost all of the remaining counties. Huge margins.

He beat out his 2016 showing by 0.07%, while Biden beat Clinton's 2016 result by 3.35% (largely a result of the lower third-party vote in 2020, 5.75%, compared to 2016, 2.33%).

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

Election night 'great success' for OKGOP



OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, November 3, 2020 – With victories throughout the ballot, the chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party declared the 2020 election cycle a great success.

“Tonight’s results are incredible, and a great success for the Oklahoma Republican Party,” said David McLain. “The citizens of Oklahoma proved once again the GOP is their party of choice from the huge state victories for President Donald Trump and U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe to Stephanie Bice winning the Fifth Congressional District seat to overwhelmingly reelecting Oklahoma’s other four Republican U.S. House members, Oklahoma voters delivered at the top of the ballot. Not to be outdone, Republican Corporation Commissioner Todd Hiett was easily reelected, and Republicans gained five seats in the Oklahoma House and maintained a 39-9 advantage in the Senate, including the reelection of Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat. GOP candidates were also elected and reelected in county and municipal races across Oklahoma, and SQ 805, which the Oklahoma Republican Party opposed, was soundly defeated.”

Here's how I think the Presidential race and U.S. Senate will go

Let's have a go at this. has a neat feature that allows you to customize your predictions from the presidential race down to control of the state legislatures.

Whether I'm any good at this or not, only time will tell. For the record, I did nail the 2008 GOP Iowa Caucus back in 2008 (a few months before I started this blog), but my predictions since then have been, well, hit and miss! I thought McCain was going to beat Obama, and that Clinton would beat Trump. I've been better on state races, but this part really is more for "fun" and pure guesswork. 

Here goes.

Last week, I pretty much thought Trump was a goner. I feel somewhat more optimistic now. He has to thread the needle, run the table in a host of toss-up/lean-Democratic states, but I think it's doable. I even think there's an outside chance (on this outside chance) that he could do the below map, plus win one of either Michigan, Minnesota, or Nevada.

Click the map to create your own at

Now for the U.S. Senate. I think, overall, the Republicans will lose two seats but hang on to the majority by the slimmest of margins:

Election Day: Voting Tips and Picks

Election Day: it has finally arrived. 

Voters all across the state are now heading to the polls to decide the future direction of their communities, state, and nation. This post will cover some information and recommendations that may be helpful with your voting plans. 

No candidate is perfect. Vote for the candidate that will advance the most good and prevent the most evil (that's generally the Republican). The Democratic Party platform is literally full of and a celebration of things God hates. If I don't specifically mention a race, default to giving the Republican candidate your vote.

Here are some comments of mine on a few select races:

President: Donald Trump and Mike Pence (Republican). I was a Never Trumper in 2016. I looked at Donald Trump and did not trust him. His behavior was (and still is, to a large degree) repulsive, and he clearly did not (and still does not) exhibit character that demonstrates true Biblical conversion. I did not believe that he would follow through on his pledged conservative policies, and so I cast a protest vote for a third party candidate.

I am happy to have been wrong on many of my misgivings about Trump. While I still cringe at many of his behaviors and wish that he would just behave, he has largely followed through on his 2016 campaign pledges. No president has done more to advance the cause of the unborn. His administration has championed religious liberty. His administration generally did a fantastic job on the economy. His foreign policy, especially as it relates to the Middle East and North Korea, has produced results that few could have dreamed of. His handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has been better than he's given credit for, mainly due to his tendency to trip his own progress up with stupid actions and statements.

State Election Board Offers Election Day Tips

2020 General Election is Today – State Election Board Offers Election Day Tips

(Oklahoma City) – Polls across the state open at 7 a.m. Tuesday, November 3 for Election Day voting.

The State Election Board says this is a unique election year for many reasons – the pandemic, a recent ice storm, and a surge in voter registration numbers.

State Election Board Secretary, Paul Ziriax, says Oklahoma county election boards are prepared.

“Our county election boards are facing challenges they’ve never experienced before, but they have been preparing for this election for months. We want to assure Oklahomans that every registered voter that wants to vote will be able to vote. This election will be conducted safely, fairly, and securely. We ask that voters be patient and courteous not only to other voters, but election workers as well,” Ziriax said.

The State Election Board offers these tips for successful voting in the 2020 General Election:


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

Heavy turnout is expected, so voters should plan for extra time to vote on Election Day. New COVID-19 safety protocols — including social distancing — may slow down the check-in lines and the voting process on Election Day. Additionally, in areas where municipal elections are taking place, issuing and voting these extra ballots could also add time to the voting process.

All voters in line by 7 p.m. will be allowed to vote.


Voters are reminded to check the OK Voter Portal to verify their polling place before heading out to vote. A few polling places may have changed due to the COVID-19 emergency.

The State Election Board also recommends voters view a sample ballot using the OK Voter Portal. Many voters have county and local elections in addition to state and federal elections.


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

Voters are asked to be patient and follow signage and procedures. Election officials strongly recommend that voters wear a mask or face covering to protect themselves and those around them.

Find more on COVID-19 and the 2020 elections on the State Election Board website.


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

There are three ways for voters to prove their identity under the law. (Only one proof of identity is required):
  1. Show a valid photo ID issued by the federal, state, or tribal government. If it has an expiration date, it must be AFTER the date of the election; or
  2. Show the free voter identification card issued to every voter by their County Election Board; or
  3. Sign an affidavit and vote a provisional ballot. (If the information on the affidavit matches official voter registration records, the ballot will be counted after Election Day.)

The law prohibits electioneering within 300 ft. of the ballot box. This includes wearing clothing, accessories, or having material in public view related to a candidate or issue on the ballot. No one other than authorized individuals are permitted within 50 ft. of the ballot box or inside the election enclosure.

Alleged violations should be reported to precinct officials at the time the incident is occurring.

Voters with questions should contact their County Election Board or the State Election Board at (405) 521-2391 or