Friday, April 23, 2021

These House members voted to give Hollywood $20 MILLION of your tax dollars


Doesn't it make you feel good knowing that the Oklahoma House of Representatives decided that it's a great idea to up their annual gift to Hollywood from $8,000,000.00 to $20,000,000.00? That's what a bipartisan supermajority of 78 representatives decided to do earlier this week.

House lawmakers voted to provide up to $20 million in annual subsidies to film productions after a legislator declared it a “magical” bill that will produce $17 for every $1 in subsidies issued—despite prior analysis showing the incentive program actually returns just 13 cents per dollar distributed.

Senate Bill 608, by state Rep. Scott Fetgatter, was amended in the House to provide $20 million in annual subsidies for entertainment productions. That’s less than the $50 million previously proposed by Fetgatter but a dramatic increase from the $8 million in film subsidies provided by current law.

“This is a magical piece of legislation that will create jobs for blue-collar workers all across the state of Oklahoma,” said Fetgatter, R-Okmulgee.

He claimed the legislation would produce enormous economic returns.

“For every dollar we spend, there are $17 dollars spent back,” Fetgatter said.

He said if the state provided $50 million in annual film subsidies, it would generate $1.3 billion over five years.

However, the $17 return cited by Fetgatter was 12,976% greater than the 13-cent return a prior analysis showed has been generated by the Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate Program.

Consultants hired by Oklahoma Incentive Evaluation Commission have previously said film subsidies are not economically beneficial and urged lawmakers to eliminate Oklahoma’s film tax credit. [Read more here]

As I mentioned at the top, the bill passed the House by a vote of 78 to 11, with 12 not voting. I put together a graphic showing who voted how. Legislators who are blacked out voted against this foolishness, while those who are grayed out missed the vote (whether on purpose, laziness, or legitimate absence). Members who are unobscured cast votes in favor of giving more of your money to Hollywood fat cats. You can click on the images to view larger, and click here for the link to their respective legislative pages.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

OCPA: $50 million for Hollywood is fiscal and social folly


OCPA: $50 million for Hollywood is fiscal and social folly

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 20, 2021)— Jonathan Small, president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA), today called on lawmakers to reject legislation that would provide up to $50 million annually in state subsidies to film productions at the same time many Hollywood officials are attacking other states for passing pro-life and election-security laws.

“This session, many lawmakers have balked at expanding Oklahoma’s successful tax-credit scholarship program for low- and middle-income children, but now appear ready to dump millions more down the burn barrel that is our state’s film-subsidy program,” Small said. “To make matters worse, state lawmakers appear poised to not only take tens of millions away from hard-working Oklahoma families, but they will also give those millions to Hollywood elites who are actively lobbying against pro-life and election-security measures and other laws supported by most Oklahomans. This isn’t just bad policy, it’s a slap in the face to Oklahomans.”

An amendment filed to Senate Bill 608 creates the “Filmed In Oklahoma Act of 2021.” The legislation would provide up to $50 million in annual rebate payments to film productions shot, at least in part, in Oklahoma, a dramatic increase compared to the $8 million in annual subsidies provided by the existing program.

The legislation has been filed as filmmakers are trying to influence Georgia policymakers by threatening to yank productions out of that state.

In 2019, after the enactment of a Georgia law banning abortion after a heartbeat can be detected from an unborn child, numerous officials in the entertainment industry threatened to pull projects out of Georgia in retaliation, including officials with Netflix and Disney.

Gov. Stitt signs bill capping copay cost of insulin


Governor Signs Bill Capping Copay Cost of Insulin for Oklahomans with Diabetes

OKLAHOMA CITY – Legislation helping Oklahomans with diabetes better afford insulin has become law after being signed by Gov. Kevin Stitt on Tuesday, April 20.

House Bill 1019 caps the copay for a 30-day supply of insulin to $30 and $90 for a 90-day supply for each covered prescription. Copays are currently based on individual insurance plans. HB 1019 gives authority to the Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner to enforce the price cap.

Bill author Rep. Rande Worthen, R-Lawton, thanked the governor for his support.

“Since introducing House Bill 1019, I’ve heard from many Oklahomans across the state who can hardly afford to pay the rising cost of insulin while also juggling their other bills,” Worthen said. “This bill will save lives by making insulin affordable for those who need it. Nobody should be forced to choose between paying their rent and paying for their life-saving medication.”

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Legislature releases proposed redistricting plan

The State House and State Senate released their proposed redistricting plan today. Details and links are below. There are some interesting decisions that were made, including the moving of some districts (such as SD18 from eastern Oklahoma to the OKC area). Take a gander at your area for changes (interactive map; you have to fiddle with the layers to view the Senate map as the House is default).

Press releases from both the House and Senate are below:


House Announces Redistricting Plan

The Oklahoma House of Representatives today announced its legislative redistricting plan.

By law, the Legislature must redraw its legislative district boundaries to reflect changes in population every ten years.

“These districts are based on unprecedented public input gathered through the most town halls ever held, several committee meetings involving every House district, and public map submissions,” said Rep. Ryan Martinez, R-Edmond, chair of the House Redistricting Committee. “By putting the public in the driver’s seat, the House was able to produce a very strong map providing fair and proper representation for all Oklahomans for another ten years.”

House, Senate pass competing bills to challenge unconstitutional federal actions

Drama in the Oklahoma legislature as both chambers pass competing versions of related ideas while bashing the other for perceived issues with their measures (for what it's worth, I side with the House on this). NonDoc has a decent write-up on the kerfluffle here.

So, here are three press releases on the issue. First we'll see the Senate side, then the House side, then OCPA hopping in on the Senate's behalf. Be sure to read the whole thing, as House Speaker McCall really puts a zinger in on Senate President Treat. šŸ”„

Senate advances Pro Tem Treat’s bill to fight federal overreach

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 20th) – The Oklahoma Senate advanced a measure from Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat to protect Oklahoma from federal overreach.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

"Second Amendment Sanctuary State Act" passes Oklahoma House, heads to Governor


Bill Creating the "Second Amendment Sanctuary State Act" Passes Oklahoma House

OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill creating the “Second Amendment Sanctuary State Act” passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 631, authored by Rep. Sean Roberts, R-Hominy, states that any federal, state, county or municipal act, law, executive order, administrative order, court order, rule, policy or regulation ordering the buy-back, confiscation or surrender of firearms, firearm accessories or ammunition from law-abiding citizens of this state shall be considered an infringement on the rights of citizens to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States and Article II, Section 26 of the Constitution of Oklahoma.

"Save Women's Sports Act" passed by Oklahoma House


"Save Women's Sports Act" Passed by Oklahoma House

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 19th, 2021) – The “Save Women’s Sports Act” was today approved by the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Rep. Toni Hasenbeck, R-Elgin, serves as the House author of the measure which would require certain athletic teams to be designated based on an athletes’ biological sex.

“Senate Bill 2 is legislation that protects opportunities for women and girls in athletics by ensuring they are not forced to compete against biological men playing on women’s sports teams,” said Hasenbeck. “Sports are a fantastic opportunity for our young people to learn the value of hard work and what it means to be part of a team, as well as keep them physically fit. However, the bodies of biological men have a competitive advantage over the bodies of biological women. Science tells us that males are generally bigger, faster, and stronger than females. They have larger hearts and lungs, denser bones, and stronger muscles. This allows them to jump higher, run faster and lift more weights, even after several years under the effects of hormone therapy. Similarly gifted and trained males will always have physical advantages over females—that’s the reason we have women’s sports.”

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Senate approves bill giving protections to drivers trying to escape riots


Senate approves bill giving protections to drivers trying to escape riots

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 14th) – The full Senate has approved legislation by Sen. Rob Standridge, R-Norman, and Rep. Kevin West, R-Moore, to give legal protections to drivers trying to escape from riots.  House Bill 1674 was approved by the full Senate on Wednesday and would give civil and criminal liability protection to drivers who may unintentionally cause injury or death while fleeing a riot and imposes penalties for those who unlawfully obstruct streets or highways, blocking vehicles.

“We actually saw this happen here in Oklahoma last year when a Tulsa family was surrounded by rioters. Through no fault of their own, they were caught in a dangerous situation, and fearing for their lives, they were attempting to get away,” Standridge said.  “The prosecutor declined to file charges, but that may not always be the case.  This bill will protect innocent people trapped by a rioting mob.” 

State House passes bill aimed at preventing public meeting disruptions


House Passes Bill Aimed at Curbing Public Meeting Disruptions

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 15th) – Yesterday the Oklahoma House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 403, a bill that will extend current statutes regarding the disruption of state meetings to cover school boards, county and municipal governments.

SB 403 was authored by Rep. Robert Manger, R-Oklahoma City, in the House and Sen. Brenda Stanley, R-Midwest City, in the Senate.

“We have rules of decorum that govern how business is handled in the Capitol, and I believe that same decorum should apply to other political subdivisions,” Manger said. “There are plenty of avenues for voices to be expressed on the issues without having to disruptively protest during a meeting.”

The bill will make it unlawful to disrupt or interfere with the business of any political subdivision.

OCPA column: OU gets warning on free speech


OU gets warning on free speech
By Jonathan Small

It’s hard to say what’s worse—that the University of Oklahoma is accused of trying to force staff and students to endorse positions they do not support, or that college leaders thought they could keep those efforts a secret.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), whose mission is to “defend and sustain the individual rights of students and faculty members at America’s colleges and universities,” recently focused its attention on OU’s mandatory diversity training.

FIRE notes that such training is not, in and of itself, an infringement on free-speech rights. But schools cross the line when they compel students or staff to endorse specific viewpoints.

FIRE says OU appears to have done just that, writing that OU’s training modules “go further, requiring students and faculty to answer questions in a manner that expresses agreement with the university’s viewpoints on thorny and difficult issues. Viewpoints with which students and faculty may not actually agree.”

Friday, April 16, 2021

Drive Oklahoma mobile app navigates users to more real-time travel information


Drive Oklahoma 
mobile app navigates users to more real-time travel information

The Drive Oklahoma mobile travel app and its companion website now offer motorists an upgraded travel experience with the addition of several enhanced navigation tools and options to better check traffic on interstates, U.S. and state highways as well as Oklahoma turnpikes before venturing out.

Through a partnership of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, the Drive Oklahoma mobile app and www.oktraffic.org provide several travel services such as real-time speed data, live traffic camera views of many Tulsa and Oklahoma City metro locations, Digital Message Sign information by location, real-time weather radar information and more. The updated versions of the app and website also offer a tutorial of the new features.

“Both ODOT and OTA are committed to improving motorists’ experience on our highways and turnpikes. Upgrading the Drive Oklahoma mobile app and the website puts more modern and user-friendly tools in drivers’ toolkits to help them achieve a safer trip each and every time they head out,” said Terri Angier, Oklahoma Transportation spokeswoman. “We encourage motorists to use these additional mobile app features to plan their routes before getting behind the wheel or ask their passengers to navigate for them.”

The mobile app debuted new branding, the name Drive Oklahoma and added real-time turnpike speed data in 2020. Now, just ahead of summer travel, additional upgrades include:

Oklahoma Legislative Dems vote against bill to remove dead people from voter rolls


Dead-voter bill passes over Democratic opposition
by Ray Carter (Director, Center for Independent Journalism)

[April 14, 2021]  Legislation that requires swift removal of dead individuals from voter rolls has passed the Oklahoma Senate over the united opposition of Senate Democrats.

House Bill 1752, by Rep. Denise Crosswhite Hader and Sen. Dave Rader, requires county election boards to remove the names of deceased individuals from voter rolls within 30 days of notification.

“What this bill is trying to do is close an open-ended process,” said Rader, R-Tulsa.

Under current law he said the process for removal “could be carried on forever,” although he said some county election boards promptly remove the names of deceased individuals.

Crosswhite Hader made a similar point when she presented the bill on the House floor in March, saying the legislation simply provides a deadline for action that election boards can easily meet.

“Many times these county election boards are actually doing it even faster than 30 days,” said Crosswhite Hader, R-Piedmont. “I’ve heard even as quickly as a week.”

Even so, the bill faced opposition in both chambers.

In the Senate, HB 1752 passed on a vote of 38-8. All Democrats present voted against the bill’s passage.

That largely continued a trend begun in the Oklahoma House of Representatives where HB 1752 previously passed on a vote of 81-15. All opponents in that chamber were also Democrats, although four House Democrats did join Republicans in support.

House passes bill to extend apprenticeship programs to 16 year old students

Apprenticeship Bill Passes House

OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill that extends high school apprenticeship programs to include sophomores that are at least 16 years old passed unanimously in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 619 by Rep. Kevin West, R-Moore, and Sen. David Bullard, R-Durant, passed with a vote of 94-0. The bill was amended in the House, so it now moves back to the Senate for final passage.

“This bill is near and dear to my heart, as I work in the trades and see the need for such early training of our future workforce,” West said. “This opens the door to our students to the possibilities of great career opportunities in the trades. It will help us develop a stronger and more skilled workforce to attract greater business development and more jobs into the Oklahoma economy.”

Powerful Video: Open Your Church


The Canadian church is undergoing persecution for obeying the clear command of Scripture to assemble the saints for divinely-designated corporate worship. Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church in Edmondton, Alberta, spent over a month in prison for daring to hold worship services and preach at his church. Other pastors and churches have been fined and threatened with imprisonment.

One of those other churches is Trinity Bible Chapel in Windsor, Ontario. From Protestia.com:

Pastor Jacob Reaume has been fined thousands of dollars and faces jail time. The six elders have all been fined thousands. The church has 26 charges before the court and faces 30 million dollars in fines. They had a service in January that cost them $83,000 – fines and court costs which are not able to be waived, removed, or appealed.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

More Health Department woes: Attorney General suing to get money back from bad orders

In the panic of the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the State of Oklahoma seems to have made a series of bad purchase decisions, two of which have resulted in the Attorney General being forced to sue to get the state's money back.

Back in January, AG Mike Hunter filed a petition in district court for over $1.8 million over a personal protective equipment order that a company never delivered to the Oklahoma Department of Health. The Attorney General's press release notes that said company "was formed on March 23, the same day the first purchase order was made by the Department of Health." That should have set off alarm bells, but we are talking the Oklahoma Department of Health: they don't have a good financial track record.

The latest lawsuit is in regard to an order of nearly $900,000 for 40 ventilators in April 2020, of which only two were delivered by June. The order was canceled in October, but a portion of the original order was finally delivered in December. What a mess.


Attorney General Hunter Sues Distribution Company for Not Delivering Ventilators

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 13th) – Attorney General Mike Hunter has filed a lawsuit against A&K Distributors for failing to deliver an order of ventilators to the Oklahoma State Department of Health at the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic.

In the lawsuit, the state claims the Oklahoma State Department of Health paid over $890,000 for 40 ventilators last April. The company had only delivered two ventilators by June 2020. 

Despite canceling the order in October, the company had 21 ventilators delivered in December. The Oklahoma State Department of Health returned the wrongfully delivered ventilators but has not received a refund.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

State Rep. Sheila Dills hammers NCAA for opposing bill to protect women's sports


Dills Comments on NCAA Statements

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Sheila Dills, R-Tulsa, today commented on statements from the NCAA that they will pull championship events from locations where transgender biologically male athletes are not allowed to participate in girl’s or women’s sports. The news came after passage of Senate Bill 2, the Save Women’s Sports Act, in a House committee last week. The act requires public school or college athletic teams to be designated based on biological sex. Dills is a coauthor of the bill.

We all want to promote business and economic development opportunities in our state and our local communities, and we certainly love athletics. But we cannot sacrifice our Oklahoma values, which include fairness in sport and the protection of opportunities for women and girls in Oklahoma, for the sake of dollars or even the popularity of such events.

Title IX, federal civil rights law, specifically protects women and girls based on the intent of the definition of biological sex. A small section of the population wants to cloud that intent.  

1889 Institute: End Oklahoma's corporate welfare for Hollywood

Hollywood hates Oklahoma's culture, people, values, and politics. Take one look at Georgia and see what reward there is for doling out years of corporate welfare to the woke leftists. It doesn't end well.


1889 INSTITUTE: END THE FILM ENHANCEMENT REBATE
Oklahoma offers one of the most generous film production subsidies in the nation.

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (April 7, 2021) – The 1889 Institute has published “Corporate Welfare Directory: Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate,” which makes it clear that the state’s tax rebate program for filmmaking is a corporate welfare scheme. Dressed up as something to help Oklahoma’s image and to create jobs, the 35 percent rebate applies to projects with production budgets as low as $50,000 and as little as $25,000 in qualifying expenses.

“With qualifying production budgets as small as this, it’s obvious that the Film Enhancement Rebate Program is more about throwing a sop to an industry than it is about making Oklahomans more prosperous,” said Tyler Williamson, the study’s author and 1889 Institute Research Associate. “One wonders if Oklahoma’s tax system is being manipulated just so our elected officials have a chance to meet movie stars,” he said.

In an earlier publication, the 1889 Institute devised a series of yes/no questions for determining if a particular policy could be considered corporate welfare. “The film rebate checks off every box,” said Williamson. “A recent Incentive Evaluation Commission report that supports the film rebate, reversing that commission’s earlier judgment changes nothing. The film rebate is a net cost and effectively a subsidy to a California-based, and very wealthy, industry,” Williamson 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, “Corporate Welfare Directory: Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate” and other reports can be found on the nonprofit’s website at www.1889institute.org

AFP-OK applauds Governor, Legislature for new law to reduce red tape

Yeah, I know, I'm not a graphic designer...

Americans for Prosperity-Oklahoma Commends Governor Stitt For Signing Bill to Reduce Burdensome Red Tape

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK -- Today, Americans for Prosperity-Oklahoma commended Governor Kevin Stitt for signing into law S.B. 913, a transformative bill that will provide for a more expedited review of state regulations and give the Legislature additional oversight of agency rules. AFP-OK continues to work closely with Governor Stitt to reduce regulations and foster a culture of a “customer-focused” state government

AFP-OK State Director John Tidwell issued the following statement:

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Gov. Stitt signs major regulatory reform bill creating Joint Committee on Administrative Rules


GOVERNOR STITT SIGNS GROUNDBREAKING REGULATORY REFORM INTO LAW
SB 913 streamlines rule making process to cut red tape, reduce burdensome regulations for Oklahomans

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 12, 2021)— Governor Kevin Stitt signed groundbreaking regulatory reform into law today, building on the Break the Tape initiative and fulfilling another priority of the People’s Agenda. Senate Bill 913 will create the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules
to review agencies’ rules throughout the year and streamlines the rule repeal process to help get unnecessary and costly regulations off the books quicker.

“I am thrilled to sign this reform into law and am grateful for the shared commitment in the Legislature and across all level of government to cut red tape and reduce burdensome regulations for Oklahomans,” said Governor Stitt. “SB 913 builds on our Break the Tape initiative and is another step forward to foster Oklahoma’s pro-business environment as we strive toward becoming a Top Ten state.”

Monday, April 12, 2021

OCPA column: If state can’t reward education success, don’t punish it


If state can’t reward success, don’t punish it
By Jonathan Small

In the free market, those who provide the best products or services are usually rewarded with greater pay or profit. But in government, the opposite often occurs.

Those who want Oklahoma’s educational outcomes to improve must change that dynamic. Fortunately, the State Board of Education has taken an important step towards achieving that goal.

Charter schools are public schools that operate under a legal agreement with a sponsor. If the charter school fails to live up to the terms of its agreement, it can be shut down. Charter enrollment is also the result of student families’ proactive choice, while traditional school enrollment is a passive process in which students are assigned based on geography. In exchange, the charter is granted certain flexibility in how it operates.

The public-school charter system has worked as hoped. Poor performers have closed, but the best schools have become islands of success. Review the state’s A-F report cards for schools in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, and you’ll notice a trend. Nearly all A and B schools are charter schools. Nearly all F schools are traditional public schools. One of Oklahoma’s charter schools is even ranked among the best schools in the United States.

Yet those public charter schools are serving the same basic demographic groups as their lower-performing traditional counterparts.

Thursday, April 08, 2021

Anti-Science Dems slam Pro-Science GOP for bill protecting women's sports

First of all, notice how the alphabet soup of sexual deviancy continues to grow? LGBT... LGBTQ... LGBTQ+... LGBTQ2S+... eventually it will literally be an alphabet long. It must be a wearisome task updating doctrinal language of the new religion of wokeness (or, as Erick Erickson calls it, Woke-O Haram).

Second, the "Party of Science" sure hates science as it relates to human biology. The first victims in the secular drive for sexual deviancy are always women and children.

Third, as should be obvious, I don't post every press release that I receive and I don't agree with every press release that I post. The ones I publish are worthy of publication for public distribution or public ridicule (the latter in this case).

The modern Democratic Party has embraced pure lunacy.

Democrats Respond to Anti-Trans Legislation

OKLAHOMA CITY -- House Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman, and State Rep. Mauree Turner, D-OKC, released the following statements today in response to Senate Bill 2, which prohibits anyone of the male sex from playing on athletic teams designated for females, women, or girls. The bill is specifically aimed at Oklahoma’s transgender student population. 

Monday, April 05, 2021

OCPA column: McGirt decision is nightmare for crime victims, upheaval for state


McGirt
replaced shared destiny with mass upheaval
By Jonathan Small

In 2016, Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby stressed to members of Congress that there “are no reservations in Oklahoma. People from many backgrounds are neighbors who live, work, play and worship together.” Anoatubby said this created “a sense that we all share in a common destiny in our communities.”

Today, “common destiny” has been shattered by the U.S. Supreme Court’s McGirt decision, which held the Creek Nation’s reservation was never disestablished. Instead, crime victims of all races are seeing claims of tribal sovereignty translate into justice denied.

The McGirt decision dealt directly with crimes committee on Creek land, but is expected to also apply to Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee and Seminole land. As a result, numerous criminals are having convictions tossed, including murders, rapists, and child abusers.

Sunday, April 04, 2021

Americans for Prosperity applauds monumental steps in educational opportunity


Americans for Prosperity Applauds Monumental Steps in Educational Opportunity

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (Mar 31, 2021) —Americans for Prosperity-Oklahoma (AFP-OK) today released a statement applauding the historic steps taken by the Legislature to ensure more students and their families can receive an education that fits their unique needs.

Another provision aims to make Oklahoma the most military family-friendly education system in the U.S. by allowing the children of active duty military the opportunity to enroll in any school district that meets their needs.

Earlier this month, the grassroots group launched a media blitz to thank House members for their leadership in passing these pivotal reforms and encouraged others their colleagues to swiftly pass these priority bills before the end of the 2021 legislative session. The campaign included targeted direct mail and digital advertisements in districts of key policymakers. Following today’s votes, AFP-OK will continue their thank you efforts and drop additional mail and digital advertisements for key members of the Senate who showed principled leadership on these issues.

VIEW DIRECT MAIL HERE (pdf)

AFP-OK State Director John Tidwell issued the following statement:

“Today’s votes are truly historic reforms.  The improvements that Oklahoma students and families will realize from SB783 and HB2078 are the most important education reforms we’ve seen in a decade.

Saturday, April 03, 2021

1889 Institute: What GameStop can teach us about Good Governance


What GameStop Can Teach Us about Good Governance
by Mike Davis (1889 Institute)

The law doesn’t govern most interactions. Everyone gets in line at the grocer; that’s what we’ve always done. We rely on unwritten rules of fair play, trusting they will be observed. What happens when we rewrite those rules? Escalating rule-changing that makes everybody worse-off. The recent kerfuffle with GameStop is illustrative, and it should serve as a warning to those willing to erode governmental traditions for short term wins.

Robinhood, a website that lets users trade stocks without a per-trade fee, froze its trading of GameStop and other highly-volatile stocks. The everyman Robinhood traders were locked out, while elites still had access through traditional hedge funds. Outrage was swift, and Robinhood reversed its decision.

But these actions didn’t happen in a vacuum: GameStop was volatile because of a targeted attack– a short squeeze. Many hedge funds were short-selling GameStop and other stocks that have been hit hard by lockdowns. Short selling, in very simple terms, is a bet that the price of a stock will go down. If it does, the short-seller makes money. If it goes up, they lose money. A group of Robinhood traders bought shares of GameStop, driving up the price. Hedge funds lost billions of dollars. Traditional brokerages seemingly have a justifiable bone to pick. But do they?

Friday, April 02, 2021

Survey shows sharp divide among OKGOP delegates over electronic convention voting


The 2021 Oklahoma Republican Party State Convention will be held on Saturday, April 10th, and a new system of voting seems to be stirring up some controversy among the delegates.

For decades, voting at the State Convention has been done in person and with paper ballots. Last year changed all of that, due to the coronavirus turmoil. I have not attended a state convention in several years, so my knowledge of the particulars is based on conversations with individuals who did attend. The 2020 state convention was held virtually via Zoom, which resulted in significantly reduced participation and some technical struggles that often plague events of this size when thrown together without adequate preparation or training.

This year, the convention will be held in person -- but voting will be done through an online program. Delegates are expected to bring their own electronic device in order to participate.

Needless to say, this is a significant development in the OKGOP, and one that is going to be contested. In conversations with a fellow church member recently, I was told that several older delegates from their county won't be attending this year as they do not own smartphones or laptops, which would be required to vote with. This "technology divide" will likely hit hardest among senior citizen and rural delegates (in other words, a significant position of the usual delegate makeup).

I was forwarded the results of an email survey that was recently conducted, sent out to all registered delegates, regarding the convention's online voting system. Nearly 20% of the around 1,800 delegates responded to the survey, giving us a good sample size to consider.

Hofmeister, House Dems decry education reform measures


Birds of a feather flock together?

Hofmeister comments on passage of bills on open transfer and funding formula 

OKLAHOMA CITY (March 31, 2021) – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister made the following remarks after the House and Senate today both passed education bills regarding open transfer and the school funding formula. 

"Today marks one step forward and two steps back for public education. While Senate Bill 783 holds real promise for many families and students, House Bill 2078 unfortunately compromises any gains that would come with open transfers. 

"Children in rural Oklahoma deserve to have a high quality education and HB 2078 potentially jeopardizes that. This bill removes financial safeguards meant to protect all students from the impact of abrupt changes in the local economy. Kids will lose when schools are forced to make sudden cuts in essential services and opportunities which provide access to a well-rounded education."



Democrats Want Substance, Not Show for Oklahoma Students

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Members of the Oklahoma House Democrat Education Policy Team released the following statement today in response to the passage of Senate Bill 783 and today’s signing by the governor of both SB783 and House Bill 2078. 

School Choice advocates thank lawmakers for passing landmark education reforms


School Choice Advocates Thank Lawmakers for Passing Landmark Education Bills

OKLAHOMA CITY (March 31st)-- School choice advocates today praised the Oklahoma Legislature for advancing two landmark education bills that together empower parents and increase accountability in public schools.  

The Oklahoma House of Representatives today passed Senate Bill 783 by a vote of 65-30. SB 783 allows for true and transparent open transfers within the public school system and provides that school districts must accept transfer students unless they are at or over capacity. The bill now heads to the desk of Governor Kevin Stitt for his consideration.

Governor Stitt signs landmark education reform bills into law


GOVERNOR STITT SIGNS MOST TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION REFORM IN STATE HISTORY INTO LAW
Legislation allows for students to attend schools that best fit their needs, modernizes funding formula to match recent enrollment

OKLAHOMA CITY (March 31, 2021) – Governor Kevin Stitt signed the most transformative education reform legislation in Oklahoma history into law today in a ceremony in the Blue Room at the Capitol.

House Bill 2078 and Senate Bill 783 allow for students to attend public schools that best meet their needs and modernize the funding formula to match enrollment counts more accurately.

“This is a monumental day for education reform in Oklahoma,” said Gov. Stitt. “Education is not one-size-fits-all, and these bills allow parents and students to have the freedom to attend the best public school for them regardless of their ZIP code. Additionally, modernizing the funding formula ensures funding follows the student, not the school. These reforms are vital to getting Oklahoma to be a Top Ten state in education and I am proud of this Republican legislature for its dedication to putting students first.”

“Today is a historic day for education in Oklahoma,” said Secretary of Education Ryan Walters. “We have transformed funding for every single student in the state and empowered them to choose a school that best fits their needs. These two bills will work seamlessly together to have an immediate impact on the way we educate Oklahoma’s students and I commend our state leaders for getting this across the finish line.”

HB 2078, authored by Rep. Kyle Hilbert (R-Depew) and Sen. Zack Taylor (R-Seminole), modernizes the education funding formula by basing per-pupil funding on the most recent enrollment data. The previous system gave school districts multiple enrollment figures from which to base their funding, causing some districts to receive state funds for students who are no longer enrolled.

SB 783, authored by Sen. Adam Pugh (R-Edmond), Sen. Kim David (R-Porter) and Rep. Brad Boles (R-Marlow), amends the Education Open Transfer Act to allow students the ability to transfer to another school district at any time, provided the district has space available.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Stitt opens Governor's DC office, hires ex-Lucas aide as lobbyist to represent state


GOVERNOR STITT ANNOUNCES OPENING OF D.C. OFFICE, NAMES CHRISTINA GUNGOLL LEPORE AS DIRECTOR OF THE GOVERNOR’S WASHINGTON, D.C. OFFICE

OKLAHOMA CITY (March 26, 2021) – Today Governor Kevin Stitt named Christina Gungoll Lepore as Director of the Governor’s Washington, D.C. Office. A fourth generation Oklahoman originally from Enid, and former staffer for Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03), Christina has had a distinguished career in government affairs and public relations. 

“I am excited to have Christina in Washington to help us advance and defend key priorities for the State of Oklahoma,” said Governor Stitt. “It is critical for our success to have as many boots on the ground as possible to ensure Oklahoma is receiving its fair share, as federal dollars make up 40% of our state budget. Many other states, such as Texas, have long-standing state executive offices in our nation’s capital and it’s vital we are on a level playing field as we continue our ascent to becoming a Top Ten state.” 

“It is truly an honor to once again serve my home state of Oklahoma,” said Lepore. “I look forward to working with our outstanding Congressional delegation and all our federal partners to further enhance our strong state-federal partnership and move Oklahoma forward.”

Gov. Stitt commend State Board to upholding statute, affirm charter schools are public schools


GOVERNOR STITT STATEMENT ON STATE BOARD DECISION TO UPHOLD STATUTE, AFFIRM CHARTER SCHOOLS ARE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

OKLAHOMA CITY (March 29, 2020)— Governor Kevin Stitt released the following statement in response to the State Board of Education’s decision last week to settle a nearly 4-year-old lawsuit with the Oklahoma Charter School Association:

“I commend the State Board of Education for its lawful decision to uphold current statute and affirm that charter schools are public schools.

“This decision is the right one for Oklahoma students. The COVID pandemic has shown us that students learn in a variety of different ways and there is no one-size-fits-all school for every student. Public school students should not be punished for succeeding in a charter school setting. Further, existing statute makes clear that charter schools are eligible for local revenues.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Saturday, March 27, 2021

1889 Institute: School district funding during Covid-19 made worse by bad policy


Stress of School District Funding During Covid-19 Made Worse by Bad Policy
By Tyler Williamson, 1889 Institute

A recent article in The Oklahoman discussed the financial impact of the mid-year funding adjustment for Oklahoma school districts. School administrators bemoaned the adjustment, citing the hardships of the pandemic. This reduction should come as no surprise, however, considering how Oklahoma’s school district funding works.

State appropriated school district funding is allocated based on Weighted Average Daily Membership (WADM), a convoluted “per student” measure. WADM is then used to calculate how much funding a school district will receive from the state. Basically, the more students there are in a district, the more money the district will receive. Therefore, if a district loses students, it will receive less funding, and if a district gains students, it will receive more funding.

In 2020, Oklahoma school districts decided to shut-down in-person learning but were not adequately prepared to teach students virtually; consequently, they lost students to schools that did virtual schooling better. Over 60,000 students left traditional public schools and enrolled in various charter schools. Therefore, the traditional districts’ enrollment fell while charter school enrollment rose. As a result, based on our discussion of formula funding above, you would think that traditional school districts would lose funding and charter schools would gain.

OCPA column: federal bailout money is a bad trade


A bad trade
By Jonathan Small

What if someone offered to serve you nothing but dessert every day for a month—but in exchange you had to promise that you would forgo the opportunity to buy health food for the rest of the year? From an economic standpoint, that’s what congressional Democrats have offered Oklahoma with the latest round of federal bailout funding.

While Oklahoma government is expected to receive $2.1 billion in bailout funding, that money comes with a catch. One provision of the federal legislation prohibits states from using the money “to either directly or indirectly offset a reduction in the net tax revenue of such State or territory resulting from a change in law, regulation, or administrative interpretation during the covered period that reduces any tax (by providing for a reduction in a rate, a rebate, a deduction, a credit, or otherwise) or delays the imposition of any tax or tax increase.”

Put simply, congressional Democrats tried to strip states of their power over state taxes. They offer states a financial sugar high so long as we promise not to do anything that would improve our economic health long term.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

State House Committee passes bill to modify agency rule approval process


O’Donnell Wins Committee Passage of Bill to Modify Agency Rule Approval Process

OKLAHOMA CITY – House Speaker Pro Tempore Terry O’Donnell, R-Catoosa, on Tuesday passed a bill in the House Administrative Rules Committee that he said will ensure agency rules go through a more transparent and thorough process before being approved or repealed.

Senate Bill 913, by O’Donnell and Sen. Julie Daniels, R-Bartlesville, would create the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) to review and recommend to the Legislature approval or repeal of agency rules.

“State agencies promulgate rules that once approved by the state Legislature have the full effect of law,” O’Donnell said. “The problem is, we currently have one House committee dedicated to overseeing rules from almost 200 agencies, boards and commissions during the crush of the four-month legislative session. This measure would establish a committee that would meet throughout the year to review these rules to see which might need to be removed or amended. This would lead to much greater transparency and greater input into the rule-making process.”

GOP Fever: Oklahoma's 2021 Voter Registration Map



I'm a bit behind due to recent craziness with work, but here we go with the latest installment of my long-running Voter Registration Maps series. These statistics are from the annual January 15th report from the State Election Board. (For nostalgia purposes, Democrats can look at my first map and see how much of Oklahoma was still blue and dark-blue in 2013)

Since last January, the GOP has taken the lead in sixteen counties: Adair County (5.43% GOP lead), Craig County (5.55% lead), Jefferson County (8.31% lead), Kiowa County (11.14% lead), LeFlore County (10.36% lead), Love County (1.06% lead), McCurtain County (1.23% lead), Marshall County (16.17% lead), Okfuskee County (0.81% lead), Okmulgee County (0.86% lead), Ottawa County (9.3% lead), Pittsburg County (2.18% lead), Pontotoc County (6.52% lead), Seminole County (4.87% lead), Sequoyah County (5.24% lead), and Tillman County (9.31% lead). 

Democrats hold the plurality or majority in just 15 counties: Atoka County (2.79% Democrat lead), Caddo County (0.11% lead), Cherokee County (9.55% lead), Choctaw County (3.63% lead), Coal County (35.6% lead), Greer County (1.36% lead), Harmon County (7.85% lead), Haskell County (3.69% lead), Hughes County (5.79% lead), Johnston County (0.21% lead), Latimer County (13.32% lead), McIntosh County (11.2% lead), Murray County (1.05% lead), Muskogee County (4.65% lead), and Pushmataha County (10.29% lead).

In January 2020, Democrats held majority status in 14 counties. As of January 15th of 2021, that had shrunk to just two: Coal (62.86%) and Latimer (51.81%).

Major County has the widest gap, with 78.39% Republicans and 12.45% Democrats.

Comanche County has the highest percentage of registered Independent voters at 20.48%, while Jackson County has the highest percentage of registered Libertarians at 0.897%. 

Over the next several days, we'll take a look at some more statistics and maps. For now, enjoy Oklahoma's rising GOP fever.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Gov. Stitt appoints Tricia Everest as Secretary of Public Safety


GOVERNOR STITT APPOINTS TRICIA EVEREST AS SECRETARY OF PUBLIC SAFETY|
Everest to be fifth woman serving in Stitt Cabinet

OKLAHOMA CITY (March 22, 2021)— Governor Kevin Stitt today announced he has appointed attorney, nonprofit founder and philanthropist Tricia Everest as Secretary of Public Safety. Upon Senate confirmation, Everest will oversee over 55 agencies including the Department of Public Safety, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, the Pardon and Parole Board, and the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security.

“Tricia is a proven leader who has done a tremendous job over the last few years building successful relationships with law enforcement and delivering meaningful criminal justice reform for Oklahoma,” said Gov. Stitt. “I am confident Tricia’s wealth of experience and heartfelt passion for serving the state will translate into success in this role.”

“It is an honor to be appointed to serve in Governor Stitt’s Cabinet as Secretary of Public Safety,” said Everest. “As a native Oklahoman, I am deeply committed to the success of our state, especially when it comes to protecting our citizens and our communities, and I am ready to get to work to carry out Governor Stitt’s vision for a safe and just Oklahoma.”

Saturday, March 20, 2021

1889 Institute: COVID shows why gov't collective bargaining should be illegal


COVID-19 Illuminates Why Collective Bargaining with Government Employees Should Be Illegal
By Byron Schlomach

By one recent ranking of the fifty states and the District of Columbia, Oklahoma’s public schools are 48th in quality. Texas is big, diverse, and has immigration issues; nevertheless, it ranks 30th, ahead of Missouri (32nd), and Arkansas (39th), but behind Oklahoma’s other neighbors Kansas (27th) and Colorado (17th).

Demographics, culture, and other issues outside schools’ direct control play some part in the rankings. Still, our schools were not doing what they needed to do even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Things have only gotten worse. Since Oklahoma’s schools closed in March 2020, Oklahoma’s public schools have become intellectual wastelands. Unready to conduct classes online last spring, most of Oklahoma’s schools – at least the large districts – simply punted the rest of the school year. Things are only marginally better this year.

Yet, schools have not been a source of COVID-19 spread. Sweden and other European countries have demonstrated this fact, and a study from the United States shows COVID-19 spreading at a minuscule rate in schools, with just 0.04% of students being infected at school. There was apparently no transmission from students to adults in the schools.

Friday, March 19, 2021

Small: Critical race theory’s harms widespread


Critical race theory’s harms widespread
By Jonathan Small

What do PepĆ© Le Pew and a high-school student in Las Vegas have in common? Both are targets of adherents of Marxist-derived “critical race theory” and its offshoots—and many Oklahomans could soon join them.

PepĆ© Le Pew drew attention when a New York Times columnist, soon joined by other critics, complained the cartoon skunk “normalizes” rape culture. That the female cat in the cartoons is always fearfully, frantically trying to escape PepĆ©’s embrace is proof, they say.

Yet anyone who has seen the cartoons knows that’s not what’s occurring. The cat is desperately trying to flee—first and foremost—because PepĆ© is a literal skunk. His foul odor can be physically viewed wafting through the air as a dark cloud. All who cross his path run fleeing, man and beast alike.

The joke is that a guy who thinks he is irresistible to women actively repels them. That’s not condoning rape. It’s making fun of boorish men. While the laws of that time may not have dealt with sexual harassment as forcefully as today’s statutes, PepĆ© Le Pew cartoons show such men were not viewed as role models in the past but were instead objects of ridicule.

How does this tie to a student in Las Vegas? Keep reading.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Attorneys General ask Treasury Secretary Yellen to clarify stimulus language infringing on states' rights


Attorney General Hunter Asks Treasury Secretary Yellen to Clarify Position on Federal Control of State Finances 

OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General Mike Hunter today sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen asking her to clarify whether the last-minute provision added to the latest coronavirus stimulus package strips state legislatures of their authority to provide further economic relief to their citizens by reducing state tax rates, or risk paying back federal aid.

The letter, signed by 21 attorneys general, says if the intent was to deny states the ability to cut taxes in any manner whatsoever, the act would likely constitute the greatest attempted invasion of state sovereignty by Congress in the history of the Republic.

The troublesome language in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 prohibits states receiving a portion of the $1.9 trillion relief package from cutting taxes until 2024. If a state fails to comply, that state’s government would be required to repay the Department of the Treasury the amount equal to the tax cut.

Attorney General Hunter said the Treasury Department has given little guidance on what the language means, and that it could discourage actions by states intended to help citizens.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

State House passes resolutions asserting state sovereignty, challenging federal overreach

Resolutions Asserting State Sovereignty Adopted by Oklahoma House of Representatives

OKLAHOMA CITY – House Resolutions 1009 and 1010 sponsored by Rep. Jay Steagall, R-Yukon, were adopted in the Oklahoma House of Representatives today. The two resolutions assert Oklahoma’s state sovereignty in the face of multiple attempts by the federal government to usurp states’ rights. In particular, the resolutions are meant to combat H.R. 1, the “For the People Act of 2021” and H.R. 8, the “Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021.”

HR 1009 reasserts state sovereignty and the state’s authoritative powers as prescribed in the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and declares H.R. 1 to lie beyond the enumerated authorities delegated to the United States Congress in Article I, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution.

“H.R. 1, known as the For the People Act of 2021, is an attempt by the federal government to usurp our state’s election processes. More specifically, in Division A, Title I of H.R. 1, Congress seeks to commandeer the voter registration processes of the several states,” said Steagall. “Additionally, H.R. 1 directs the states to utilize third-party entities to manage the states’ congressional redistricting efforts – a work that is prescribed to this state legislature by the Oklahoma Constitution. This blatant federal overreach cannot be left unchecked.”

HR 1010 reasserts state sovereignty and the people’s reserved powers as prescribed in the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and declares H.R. 8 to lie beyond the enumerated authorities delegated by the people to the federal government.

“The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021, or H.R. 8, is a clear violation of the limitations placed on the federal government prescribed in the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution,” said Steagall. “The provisions of H.R. 8 contradict our constituents’ innumerable unalienable rights including their Fourth Amendment Right to be secure in their persons and effects, as well as their Fifth Amendment right to due process of law.”

HR 1009 and HR 1010 will be distributed to the President of the United States, President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives and each member of the Oklahoma Congressional Delegation.

Jim Bridenstine endorses Sen. James Lankford's 2022 reelection bid


LANKFORD ENDORSED BY JIM BRIDENSTINE 
Former NASA Administrator and Oklahoma Congressman backs United States Senator in 2022 re-election bid

(Oklahoma City) – Former NASA Administrator and Oklahoma Congressman Jim Bridenstine announced today his endorsement of U.S. Senator James Lankford when he is up for reelection next year.

Jim Bridenstine issued the following statement today:

"James Lankford is exactly what Oklahoma needs in a Senator. His exceptional intellect is only matched by his diligence and high integrity. When I was in Congress and at NASA, I could always count on James to be true to his convictions. He does what is right and makes his positions transparent. Oklahoma and America are well served by James. Our state strongly benefits from the proven conservative leadership of James Lankford in the United States Senate. He has my wholehearted support and endorsement."

Jim Bridenstine, Former NASA Administrator and Congressman
March 16, 2021

Monday, March 15, 2021

OCPA column: Prioritizing free speech for teachers


Prioritizing free speech for teachers
By Jonathan Small

How important is the right of free speech to you? To some, but fortunately not all, lawmakers, it’s not even worth a piece of paper and an email.

The nation’s two major teachers’ unions—the National Education Association and the American Federation for Teachers—both support many far-left political causes and candidates, including abortion on demand. As a result, the dues paid by members of those unions ultimately support those political causes.

Yet many teachers—including thousands in Oklahoma—do not support left-wing political causes. And the U.S. Supreme Court, in its 2018 decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, ruled that employees cannot be forced to participate.

Partly in response to that ruling, Sen. Julie Daniels has filed Senate Bill 634, which would require schools to get annual reauthorization for union-dues withholding from employees. The bill requires that schools provide teachers with a form to sign each year that notes employees “have a First Amendment right, as recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court, to refrain from joining and paying dues or making political contributions to a professional employee organization” and that they cannot be discriminated against it they choose not to join a union.

See where Oklahoma's $3.65B COVID-19 relief funds are going


The recently passed $1.9 trillion in new COVID-19 stimulus/relief funds are beginning to be distributed this week. In addition to direct payments to individuals, a substantial amount of money, some $360 billion, is going to state and local governments. Here's some information on that from reporter Jamie Dupree.

According to this spreadsheet link from the House Oversight Committee, approximately $3.65 billion will be coming to Oklahoma. Of that, $2.174 billion will go to the state, $541M will go to cities and towns, $767M will go to counties, and another $167M will go to state-led capital projects.

I'm going to try to embed the particulars below, taken from the above-linked spreadsheet. First up, the cities and towns with their allocated dollars (in millions):

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Legislation to modernize Oklahoma’s cosmetology laws passes House


Legislation to Modernize Oklahoma’s Cosmetology Laws Passes House

OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill that seeks to take away some of the red tape for Oklahoma’s barber and cosmetology professionals passed the House today with bipartisan support. 

House Bill 1807, authored by Rep. Forrest Bennett, D-OKC, modifies the current Oklahoma Cosmetology and Barbering Act to make the regulations around the industry easier to understand and the licensing process easier for Oklahomans entering the profession.

“This bill makes Oklahoma the best place to get your education if you want to get into the cosmetology or barbering industries,” Bennett said. “These reforms make it easier to get certified in what you want to do while not sacrificing instruction time.”

The idea behind this legislation is to lower the barrier of entry for an industry that, more than many others, allows a person to grow their own business and be their own boss. 

Omnibus gun rights measure passes Oklahoma House

Omnibus Firearms Bill Passes the House

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday evening which modifies the provisions for the carrying and possession of firearms in certain circumstances. The measure also cleans up and clarifies language from Oklahoma’s 2019 Constitutional Carry Law.

House Bill 2645, authored by Rep. Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City, and presented on the floor by Rep. Kevin West, R-Moore, allows for the transport of firearms on public roadways if an individual is eligible to carry a firearm, clarifies laws regarding where and when firearms can be carried, allows for the carrying of firearms by municipal employees and changes the law regarding the carrying of firearms in establishments that serve alcohol.

“The passage of Oklahoma’s Constitutional Carry Law in 2019 was a great victory for the Second Amendment rights of Oklahomans,” said Echols. “This bill cleans up some of the language from the 2019 legislation, clarifies a few provisions that needed to be more fleshed out and makes changes necessary to ensure the Second Amendment rights of Oklahomans are not unnecessarily infringed upon.”

The measure provides that it is lawful for a person carrying a weapon to be in a designated bar area of a restaurant as long as the person is not consuming beer or alcoholic beverages and as long as the owner of the establishment allows the carrying of firearms on the premise. It modifies the penalty for violations relating to carrying a firearm into an establishment or consuming beer or alcoholic beverages while carrying by making the penalty a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $250.

“The House has made protecting Second Amendment rights a priority,” said West. “The language clarifications in this bill help citizens more clearly understand when and where they can carry, and the changes to current law help further secure the constitutional rights of Oklahoma gun owners.”

HB 2645 passed by a vote of 78-19 and is now eligible to be heard by the Senate.

Senate passes bill to align school board elections with regular primary and general election dates

It's about time this happened:


Senate approves bill aimed at increasing voter participation in school board elections

OKLAHOMA CITY – Low turnout is far too common in local school board elections, but that trend would change thanks to a bill approved Wednesday by the Oklahoma Senate.

Senate Bill 962, from Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, would align school board election dates with the dates of primary and general election dates for county, state and federal offices.

Treat said low turnout in school board elections is due to those elections happening outside of the traditional election season dates.

House passes bill allowing school boards to authorizing school personnel to carry firearms


Bill Authorizing School Personnel to Carry Firearms Passes House

OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill allowing boards of education to adopt policies authorizing school personnel to carry firearms on school campuses passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives Tuesday evening.  

House Bill 2588, sponsored by Rep. Sean Roberts, R-Hominy, would authorize the carrying of a handgun onto school property by school personnel if the person possesses a valid handgun license and meets other requirements authorized by the board of education of the district.

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

1889 Institute: False Alarm -- Climate Change is not going to kill us all


False Alarm: Climate Change is not Going to Kill Us All
By Spencer Cadavaro

In recent years, apocalyptic predictions of climate change have been popular. As politicians and activists push their preferred policies to supposedly prevent climate change, their claims of what will happen if we do not adopt them grow more severe. One politician claimed, "The world is going to end in 12 years if we don't address climate change." I remember hearing similar predictions while growing up in the early 2000s about the ozone layer and polar ice caps. But their fearmongering overstates the dangers posed by a changing climate, and their solutions are unlikely to fix the problem. Indeed, their solutions will likely cause even more problems, especially for states where fossil fuels are a staple of their economy.

One of the more radical proposals to fight climate change involves making the United States carbon neutral by a specific year, such as 2030 or 2050. To do this, activists want to transition to an electrical grid that runs on renewable energy sources. Such a process would be expensive, costing nearly $6 trillion. Beyond the dollar cost, such an act would require massive amounts of land. According to an analysis by the Brookings Institute, wind and solar generation need ten times as much land to produce a similar amount of energy as coal or natural gas. We simply do not have the land necessary to make this happen.

House passes bill to require passing citizenship test as graduation requirement, Dems oppose

Believe it or not, but I actually am sympathetic to the argument the House Dems make in their press release response to the passage of this bill. Read on:


O’Donnell Bill To Require Citizenship Test for Students Passes House

OKLAHOMA CITY – House Speaker Pro Tempore Terry O’Donnell, R-Catoosa, on Monday won passage of a bill in the House that would help students become more engaged citizens.

House Bill 2030 would require high school students to pass the civics portion of the United States’ naturalization test in order to graduate beginning in the 2022-23 school year.

“Unfortunately, too many of our students graduate high school without basic knowledge of how our nation was founded or how our system of government works,” O’Donnell said. “This legislation would help correct that, leading to a more engaged and informed electorate in the future.”

O’Donnell explained this is the same test required of anyone desiring to become a citizen of the United States. Fourteen other states have adopted similar legislation.

HB 2030 would require subject matter standards for history, social studies, and U.S. Government courses in Oklahoma public schools to include the study of important historical documents, including the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, Emancipation Proclamation, and Federalist Papers. Subject matter standards for U.S. Government also must include simulations of the democratic process and lessons on the structure and relationship between national, state, county and local governments.

O’Donnell said he too many students graduate without being able to answer basic questions such as how many branches of government exist in the United States or what actually is protected under the First Amendment to the Constitution. He said students would only have to achieve a bare minimum of a score of 60 in order to pass the test before graduation.

“That is not too high of a bar for young adults who will become part of our work force and our communities, and who will be future voters and perhaps even members of our government bodies,” O’Donnell said.

An amendment to the bill would exempt students that have an individualized education plan (IEP).

HB 2030 passed the House with a vote of 80-18. It now advances to the state Senate where it is authored by Sen. Adam Pugh, R-Edmond.  


House Democrats Oppose More Testing for High Schoolers

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Members of the House Democratic Caucus released the following statements today in opposition to House Bill 2030, which requires Oklahoma public school students to take a citizenship test before graduation.

"I’m not concerned about making Oklahoma students take the US Citizenship test,” said Rep. Andy Fugate, D-Del City. “But, the concerns expressed about people in Portland, Seattle, and Washington D.C. won’t be solved by making Oklahoma students take a test.

“Oklahomans deserve better than political posturing in the guise of pandering to patriotism.”

“I like the idea of our students taking the US Naturalization test as an assignment as a part of a unit when the content is delivered, traditionally in the 8th grade,” said Rep. Melissa Provenzano, D-Tulsa. “I can’t support making it a graduation requirement which only creates more unnecessary mandatory testing for our children. Oklahoma parents have spoken loud and clear- our kids have testing fatigue. Testing isn’t the only way to assess a child’s mastery of a subject.

“This bill is ill-conceived, loosely designed, and poorly executed. It will not turn out well for Oklahoma children if we adopt loose testing protocols, security, and implementation.”

“As a former 8th-grade public school history teacher, I can attest that teachers already cover in-depth what the U.S. Naturalization Test assesses,” said Rep. Jacob Rosecrants, D-Norman. “Further, as a believer in the importance of  hands-on kinesthetic learning, I know that children learn better by doing rather than by prepping for a one-time test, and if we really want our students to learn about civics on a deeper level, we should invest in civics curriculum that truly engages our children.”

“It is not our business to legislate standards, especially when we already have a civics curriculum,” said Rep. John Waldron, D-Tulsa. “Imposing test requirements that override the work of Oklahoma educators will not solve the problems we face. Students and teachers don’t need another mandate. They need a government that works for them. ”