Saturday, January 16, 2021

Stitt activates OK National Guard to assist OHP with State Capitol security


GOVERNOR STITT ACTIVATES OKLAHOMA NATIONAL GUARD AT STATE CAPITOL 

OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan. 15, 2021) – Governor Kevin Stitt announced today that out of an abundance of caution he is activating over 75 members of the Oklahoma National Guard (OKNG) to assist local law enforcement should any protests at the State Capitol, or other locations, turn violent. 

"I support the right for Oklahomans to peacefully demonstrate, but we will not tolerate violence or damage to property," said Gov. Stitt. "At the request of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, the National Guard has been authorized to provide support as needed. These hardworking Oklahomans are our friends and neighbors who step up in times of need. Any violence and damage to property goes against the Oklahoma Standard and is a distraction designed to keep us from uniting together."  

Members of the guard will be activated from Saturday, Jan. 16 to Thursday, Jan. 21. No specific, credible threats have been identified in Oklahoma, but increased safety measures are being taken in a proactive response to intelligence shared by federal law enforcement regarding state capitol buildings across the country. 

OCPA column: Paying for "ghost" students


Paying for “ghost” students
By Jonathan Small

Status-quo defenders insist waste, fraud and mismanagement in state government is overhyped. Then how do they explain Oklahoma schools being paid to educate more than 55,000 “ghost students”?

Ghost-student funding has been in place for years, but COVID-19 has put it on steroids.

Oklahoma law distributes state funding based on several factors, one of which is “the highest weighted average daily membership for the school district of the two (2) preceding school years.

Put in plain English, that means a school can be paid for students who attended two years ago but are no longer there. Thus, even amidst a significant enrollment decline, districts receive huge sums for “teaching” nonexistent “ghost” students.

This funding farce is now too big to ignore. Due to COVID-19 and several districts’ refusal to provide full-time, in-person instruction, there has been a mass exodus to alternatives, including credible online providers such as Epic, other districts, private schools, and homeschooling.

Newly released enrollment figures show Oklahoma schools can now claim more than 55,000 ghost students this year via use of old enrollment numbers. If ghost students were confined to a single school district, it would be larger than any brick-and-mortar district in Oklahoma—by far.

Friday, January 15, 2021

50 State House GOP members support return to in-person learning


House Republican Caucus Members Support Return to In-Person Learning

OKLAHOMA CITY – Members of the House Republican Caucus today issued a statement in support of Gov. Kevin Stitt’s call for students to return to in-person learning in schools amid updated safety protocols.

“The majority of Oklahoma parents and guardians have chosen in-person learning as the best option for their child, and many have told us they want their children back in school. A recent medical study showed that 99.96% of 90,000 students and staff studied did not catch COVID-19 at school, and there were zero cases of child-to-adult within-school transmission. This shows us that we can safely return students and educators to in-person learning with proper safety protocols in place with extremely minimal risk. Governor Stitt’s decision is the right, safe thing to do for our children, their families and our state educators.”

The governor on Tuesday announced that Oklahoma schools following safety protocols, including mask-wearing and social distancing, will be permitted to forgo the mandatory two-week quarantine period for potential COVID-19 exposures. 

The change is the result of requests from parents, teachers, and school leaders and enactment of the new guidelines is left to the discretion of each school district. 

Oklahoma Commissioner of Health Dr. Lance Frye also pointed out that other states such as Missouri, Utah and Ohio have put similar quarantine policies into place and haven’t seen large outbreaks occur in schools.

The governor said that refusing to offer in-person school is jeopardizing students’ education ad teachers’ careers, which in turn affects the entire state.

As part of the governor’s new policy, schools should continue to require quarantines for exposed students in situations where masking and distancing protocols were not followed. Additionally, the updated quarantine guidance does not apply if the exposure occurs during after-school activities, including sports. Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 must continue to isolate regardless where they contracted the virus or were wearing a mask. 

The state is prioritizing vaccinations for teachers who are 65 and older this week and next and will open vaccinations up to all teachers as soon as vaccine availability allows. The state will also double the amount of rapid antigen tests provided to schools to encourage frequent testing to catch any positive cases early.  

Frye also said schools have proven to be one of the safest places for most students. He said, data also shows—and the CDC recommends—that getting students safely back to in-person learning is critical for their educational success, mental health and social development.

Issuing the above statement from the House Republican Caucus are:
  • State Rep. Rhonda Baker, R-Yukon
  • State Rep. Steve Bashore, R-Miami
  • State Rep. Jeff Boatman, R-Tulsa
  • State Rep. Brad Boles, R-Marlow
  • State Rep. Ty Burns, R-Pawnee
  • State Rep. Chad Caldwell, R-Enid
  • State Rep. Sherrie Conley, R-Newcastle
  • State Rep. Rusty Cornwell, R-Vinita
  • State Rep. Denise Crosswhite Hader, R-Piedmont
  • State Rep. Bob Ed Culver, R-Tahlequah
  • State Rep. Sheila Dills, R-Tulsa
  • State Rep. Mike Dobrinski, R-Okeene
  • State Rep. Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City
  • State Rep. Scott Fetgatter, R-Okmulgee
  • State Rep. Tom Gann, R-Inola
  • State Rep. David Hardin, R-Stilwell
  • State Rep. Toni Hasenbeck, R-Elgin
  • State Rep. Kyle Hilbert, R-Bristow
  • State Rep. Justin Humphrey, R-Lane
  • State Rep. Gerrid Kendrix, R-Altus
  • State Rep. Dell Kerbs, R-Shawnee
  • State Rep. Mark Lawson, R-Sapulpa
  • State Rep. Mark Lepak, R-Claremore
  • State Rep. Dick Lowe, R-Amber
  • State Rep. Ryan Martinez, R-Edmond
  • State Rep. Stan May, R-Broken Arrow
  • State Rep. Mark McBride, R-Moore
  • Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka
  • State Rep. Kevin McDugle, R-Broken Arrow
  • State Rep. Nicole Miller, R-Edmond
  • State Rep. Garry Mize, R-Guthrie
  • State Rep. Carl Newton, R-Cherokee
  • Speaker Pro Tempore Terry O’Donnell, R-Catoosa
  • State Rep. Kenton Patzkowsky, R-Balko
  • State Rep. John Pfeiffer, R-Orlando
  • State Rep. Randy Randleman, R-Eufaula
  • State Rep. Dustin Roberts, R-Durant
  • State Rep. Cynthia Roe, R-Lindsay
  • State Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell
  • State Rep. Lonnie Sims, R-Jenks
  • State Rep. David Smith, R-Arpelar
  • State Rep. Jay Steagall, R-Yukon
  • State Rep. Danny Sterling, R-Tecumseh
  • State Rep. Tammy Townley, R-Ardmore
  • State Rep. Mark Vancuren, R-Owasso
  • State Rep. Kevin Wallace, R-Wellston
  • State Rep. Josh West, R-Grove
  • State Rep. Kevin West, R-Moore
  • State Rep. Rick West, R-Heavener
  • State Rep. Tammy West, R-Oklahoma City

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Stitt extends COVID State of Emergency via executive order

GOVERNOR STITT ISSUES EXECUTIVE ORDER TO EXTEND STATE OF EMERGENCY  

OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan.13, 2021)– Governor Kevin Stitt today issued Ninth Amended Executive Order 2020-20, extending the State of Emergency related to COVID-19 that has been in place since March 15, 2020. 

The amended EO removes the requirement for bars and restaurants to close in person service at 11 p.m., a provision originally issued under Seventh Amended Executive Order 2020-20. The requirement for bars and restaurants to space groups six feet apart or separate tables with properly sanitized glass or plexiglass remains in the renewed executive order.  

All five Oklahoma Congressmembers vote against Trump's second impeachment


All five of Oklahoma's U.S. Representatives voted against the second impeachment of President Donald Trump yesterday, which passed the lower chamber by a vote of 232-197, with 10 Republicans joining the Democrats in approving the article.

I posted Congresswoman Bice's statement yesterday. Here are comments from the other four Oklahoma congressmen:

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Bice opposes "rushed" impeachment, decries political expediency and effort to divide rather than heal


Bice Statement on Impeachment Vote

Washington, DC - Representative Stephanie Bice (OK-05) released the following statement regarding today's vote to impeach President Trump.

“Today’s rushed vote is one for political expediency that will only impede efforts to heal the nation, and therefore I will not be voting to impeach President Trump. I will not vote to further divide this nation at a time when we should be focused on helping the American people and unifying the country.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Sen. Bergstrom files Oklahoma Home-Based Business Fairness Act


State Sen. Micheal Bergstrom introduces the Oklahoma Home-Based Business Fairness Act

OKLAHOMA CITY –  In an effort to promote the creation of small businesses across the state, Sen. Micheal Bergstrom, R-Adair, filed the Oklahoma Home-Based Business Fairness Act on Thursday.

Senate Bill 316 would ensure that no municipality could prohibit a home-based business to apply, register or obtain a permit, license, variance or other type of prior approval from the municipality to operate the business.

Under the measure, municipalities would be allowed to establish reasonable regulations for a home-based business if the regulations are tailored to protect public health and safety, ensure the business activity is compatible with residential use of the property, complies with state and federal law and paying applicable taxes.

Municipalities may not require a home-based business to rezone the property for commercial use or install fire sprinklers in a residential dwelling with more than two units.

“Despite the difficult times we have been facing, the American Dream is alive and well in our country, but we must do all we can to ensure burdensome regulations are not discouraging the entrepreneurial spirit of our citizens,” Bergstrom said.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

1889 Institute: Eliminate social distancing, focus resources to protect the vulnerable


Eliminate social distancing and focus resources to protect the vulnerable
By Brad Galbraith

In the military, reliable intelligence is a critical component of reducing risk in engagement. Knowledge reduces risk and minimizes casualties and collateral damage. Similarly, in the fight against COVID-19, governments must continually gather information and respond with greater agility as new knowledge necessitates a policy change.

Upon the outbreak of COVID-19, little was known about it. Symptomatically, it was challenging to confirm one had the disease given the expanding list of symptoms. Despite what little information existed, numerous state and local governments began imposing extreme measures to “flatten the curve.” Meanwhile, bona fide experts prepared for the worst while acknowledging a significant lack of knowledge.

However, over the last several months, our knowledge about the coronavirus has grown. Initial policies, arising from swift action, must now yield to better strategies founded on reliable science and which are responsive to new knowledge. For example, we now know that universal lockdowns have significant repercussions on our economic, mental, and physical health. We also know of one crucial attribute of COVID-19 – it has an asymmetric fatality rate. That is, the virus is particularly dangerous for the aged and individuals with specific pre-existing adverse health conditions while the risk to life is almost nonexistent for the young.

Saturday, January 09, 2021

Sen. Burns files bill to protect religious freedom and prohibit gov't closure of churches

Sen. George Burns introduces legislation modifying the Oklahoma Religious Freedom Act

State Sen. George Burns, R-Pollard, has filed a measure that would modify the Oklahoma Religious Freedom Act to ensure government entities cannot close churches, religious institutions or houses of worship.

The measure is a response to the closure of churches and houses of worship across the nation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Senate Bill 216 would add that the closure of a religious institution, or the declaration of a religious institution as “non-essential,” would be deemed a substantial burden on the free exercise of religion. The measure also states that a government entity cannot restrict access to religious facilities or gatherings as long as the institution is not engaged in illegal activities.

“Many churches across the nation were forced to close their doors due to government overreach during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Burns said. “Fortunately, my church carried on in a safe manner.

“During a health emergency, it’s absolutely important to take precautions and do all we can to ensure we keep ourselves and others safe, but it’s ridiculous to think that the government could close churches by labeling them as ‘non-essential,’ while other businesses, such as casinos, may remain open. This is a direct attack on our freedom of religion.”

While churches in Oklahoma were not forced to completely close last spring, many shut their doors after social gatherings of 10 or more people were prohibited, making it nearly impossible to hold in-person worship. Fifteen states across the nation have exempted religious gatherings from their COVID-19 restrictions.

If signed into law, the measure would become effective on Nov. 1.

Small: Kamala-proofing Oklahoma's children


Kamala Proofing Oklahoma’s Children
By Jonathan Small

If Oklahoma wants to stop the socialist and anti-American offensive being waged by politicians like Kamala Harris and Nancy Pelosi, Oklahomans must act to “Kamala Proof” what is being taught to Oklahoma kids.

Consider the dangerous rules adopted by the Democrat leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives. Under those rules, House legislation will no longer refer to a father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, nephew, niece, husband, wife, etc. Instead, legislation will use phrases such as parent, child, sibling, parent-in-law, and child-in-law.

The new House rules even ban the use of the words “himself or herself” and instead mandate that “themself” will be used instead.

Democrats don’t want to “risk” referring to someone as male who wants to be referred to as female, regardless of biological reality. In fact, U.S. House Democrats and some Oklahoma Democrats are trying to force boys and men in girls’ bathrooms and males in girls’ sports.

To her credit, Oklahoma Congressman Stephanie Bice, a mother of two girls who represents Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District, saw right through the scheme and voted against this insane rule.

1889 Institute: Gov't permission to be a plumber is unjustified


GOVERNMENT PERMISSION TO BE A PLUMBER IS UNJUSTIFIED
Do Oklahoma toilets flush better than London toilets where plumber licensing does not exist?

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (January 7, 2021) – The 1889 Institute has published “Plumber Licensing in Oklahoma,” the latest in its Licensing Directory series of reviews of licensed occupations in the state. As with every other review of licensed occupations, the conclusion reached is that there is no sound reason to license plumbing as an occupation, keeping in mind that licensing is the most onerous of labor regulations short of outright banning an occupation.

“It’s interesting to note that Great Britain does not require licensing of plumbers,” said Tyler Williamson, the study’s author and Research Associate at the 1889 Institute. “In fact, plumbers in Great Britain use a system of private certification to signal to consumers of their services that they know what they’re doing,” said Williamson.

The 1889 Institute has proposed a policy and has published a model bill that would encourage private certification whereby organizations meeting certain consumer-protection criteria could register with the state and receive criminal fraud law protection from anyone falsely claiming a credential. Consumers would benefit from the resulting competition.

Friday, January 08, 2021

Oklahoma Dems call for Sen. Lankford, OK's 5 Congressmen to resign

Yeah, this sounds like it will go about as far as any demand the Oklahoma Democratic Party has made in the past few years.


Oklahoma Senator, Representatives Must Resign

Oklahoma City—January 7, 2021—In the aftermath of the mob riot at the US Capitol yesterday, the Oklahoma Democratic Party is calling out the traitorous actions of Oklahoma’s Washington delegation.

“While we are thankful that our Republican Senators and Congressional Representatives are safe, we recognize that their public stance and comments helped fuel the flames of insurrection,” said Alicia Andrews, Oklahoma Democratic Party Chair.

“They contend that their open encouragement of the unconstitutional effort to stop the Electoral College recount has nothing to do with a violent and deadly insurrectionist attack on the U.S. Capitol is absurd,” she continued.

Op-Ed: Come to Abolition Day and be the voice for the unborn

Come to Abolition Day and be the voice for the unborn
by Carisa Roberson (Ada, OK)

On February 9, Abolition Day 2021 will commence in front of the state capitol in Oklahoma City. We are sure to see that the movement to abolish abortion in Oklahoma is bigger than ever, but why? This is because the abolition movement is not only about stopping the torturous murder of innocent children, but, also, unto granting these Americans their God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The abolition movement gained much ground in 2020 and proved that many throughout our state desire to see abortion made illegal though not all would use the term “abolitionist”. 

In the 2020 Primary Election, 15 abolitionists vied for legislative seats across our state and acquired more than 19,000 votes from Oklahoma voters. As one of those abolitionist candidates, I spoke with many Oklahomans who wholeheartedly desired to see abortion made illegal. Most of these people had not heard the word “abolitionist” in terms of abortion, but they truly were abolitionists. Further, many were often perplexed as to why Oklahoma lawmakers could not simply make abortion illegal- a frustration shared by those who call themselves abolitionists, as well as those who do not. The truth is our state lawmakers can make abortion illegal in Oklahoma, but have yet to find the political will to do so. A large presence at this year’s Abolition Day will send a clear message to our state lawmakers that the people want abortion made illegal. 

In the midst of the current Constitutional revival in America, it only makes sense that this most egregious, unconstitutional practice of legalized abortion comes to an end. To the aborted child, what good is an American flag waving in the sun? That child will never experience the warmth of the sun nor the life and liberty that the American flag so symbolizes. Oklahoma, let us be a voice for these babies. Abolition Day 2021 is not only for the long-time abolitionists, but for all Oklahomans who believe that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is meant for all Americans, even those not yet born.

Lankford addresses Wednesday's events, rumors, legal and historical context, challenges, and more

U.S. Senator James Lankford sent out the following in a special edition of his periodical newsletter, specifically dealing with the events of Wednesday. It's very lengthy, but informative.

In it, he addresses what occurred during the Joint Session and later on the Senate floor, when proceedings were interrupted by rioters. He then has detailed sections addressing rumor clarification, historical election context, the Constitutional and legal background, current election challenges, and how we can solve the problems in the future. I encourage you to read it in full, even if you find yourself in disagreement with him on the issues.
 

Dear Oklahoma friends and neighbors:

I am aware this is a long letter, but it is a serious issue that requires a serious response. 

January 6, 2021, was a terrible day for our country and for our democracy. Americans do not all agree, but we settle issues through elections, legislation, and conversation. Ronald Reagan once said, “Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.” Obviously that did not happen January 6. At 1pm eastern, the Joint Session of Congress started normally. Within a few minutes, a small group of Senators and House members, including me, challenged the election of Arizona to start a two-hour debate in each chamber on election integrity. 

About 30 minutes into the debate in the Senate, I stepped up to speak. I gave some background on how an election challenge has happened to the last three Republican presidents and how previous Democratic Senators have challenged electors in 1969 and 2005. I stated my desire to get all the facts out about any election problems in the country for the sake of transparency and building trust for people who do not believe this year’s election was fair. As I started to transition my speech into specific election irregularities and my call for a 10-day commission to audit the election results, Secret Service ran into the chamber and removed the Vice President from the presiding desk, then the presiding officer gaveled the Senate into a recess and a floor staff member came to me and told me that protesters were in the building.

None of us had any idea what was going on outside the Senate chamber. But within a few minutes, the protests had turned very violent around the Senate, and security was forced to move all Senators and staff out of the Capitol for our safety. For the next five hours, they kept all of us secure in a separate building while Capitol police worked to clear the Capitol building after rioters trashed multiple offices, broke windows, and occupied the Capitol. Those painful images will forever be burned into my mind. 

I am very grateful for the Capitol police, Secret Service, area law enforcement, and National Guard who all played a part in securing the Capitol during such a tumultuous time. They were professional but clearly overwhelmed at the size and determination of those coming to occupy the Capitol. Violence and terror are not acceptable ways of handling disagreements. In fact, they completely undermine any peaceful conversation to get answers and enact reforms. Doing the right thing is important, but it must be done in the right way. 

Oklahoma Senate re-elects Greg Treat as leader, sets rules for 58th Legislature


Oklahoma Senate re-elects Greg Treat as leader, sets rules for 58th Legislature

OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan. 5, 2021) – The Oklahoma Senate on Tuesday unanimously re-elected Senator Greg Treat as president pro tempore and adopted rules for the coming 58th Legislature.

This will be the third session for Treat to serve as pro tem, the Senate’s top leadership position. The Oklahoma City Republican’s nomination was made by Senate Majority Floor Leader Kim David, R-Porter, and was seconded by Senate Minority Leader Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City.

Treat was re-elected in November to his final four-year term in the Senate. He and his wife Maressa have three children: Mason, Cooper and Olivia. He represents District 47 in the Senate, which includes northwest Oklahoma City and portions of Edmond, Deer Creek, and Bethany.

The Senate met Tuesday for Organizational Day, a constitutional requirement of the Legislature to meet before the start of each two-year session. The Senate also approved rules for the 58th Legislature and committee memberships.

“I am honored that once again my Democratic and Republican colleagues in the Senate have put their faith in me as their leader. I also am very thankful for the love and support of my wife Maressa and our children: Mason, Cooper and Olivia. Without them, I would not be able to serve,” Treat said.

“As pro tem, I pledge to lead the entire Senate with honesty, humility and courage. By working together, we can achieve more positive outcomes for our state. Our state faces a difficult situation as we look to recover and rebound from the health and economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The Oklahoma Senate and its members and staff are ready to rise to the challenge and I look forward to leading the chamber as we work together to make Oklahoma an even better place for our families, friends and neighbors,” Treat said.

Treat also announced the leadership team for Senate Republicans, the chamber’s Majority Party. They include:
  • Senator Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, president pro tempore
  • Senator Kim David, R-Porter, majority floor leader
  • Senator Roger Thompson, R-Okemah, Appropriations Committee chair
  • Senator Dave Rader, R-Tulsa, Majority Caucus chair
  • Senator Greg McCortney, R-Ada, Majority Caucus vice chair
  • Senator Frank Simpson, R-Springer, assistant majority floor leader
  • Senator James Leewright, R-Bristow, assistant majority floor leader
  • Senator Rob Standridge, R-Norman, majority whip
  • Senator Marty Quinn, R-Claremore, assistant majority whip
  • Senator Julie Daniels, R-Bartlesville, assistant majority whip
  • Senator Casey Murdock, R-Felt, assistant majority whip
  • Senator Darcy Jech, R-Kingfisher, Rural Caucus chair
Treat previously announced his appointments of Senate committee chairs and vice chairs as well as Republican committee assignments. Those appointments were formalized Tuesday. Click here for a complete list of committee chairs and Republican committee assignments.

The First Session of the 58th Legislature convenes Monday, Feb. 1. The deadline for bills to be filed is Jan. 21.

Thursday, January 07, 2021

Oklahoma's congressional delegation comment on US Capitol riot

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[Photo source]

Here are statements from all members of Oklahoma's congressional delegation, with the exception of Sen. Inhofe, regarding the vandalism and rioting that took place at (and inside) the U.S. Capitol in the aftermath of a rally held on the National Mall by President Trump and his campaign:

Oklahoma Democrats fail in effort to remove gender language from House Rules


Oklahoma Democrats seek removal of gender language
by Ray Carter - Director, Center for Independent Journalism

(January 5, 2021) Democratic members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives called for elimination of gender-specific language in the House’s operating rules during that chamber’s organizational meeting on Tuesday.

Rep. Mauree Turner, D-Oklahoma City, authored the gender-language amendment to House Resolution 1001, saying it is part of an effort to make Oklahoma “an equitable” and “truly representative” state.

Turner’s amendment called for “removing all gender-based pronouns or gender-based references wherever those references appear in the House Rules and replacing or substituting those references with gender-neutral language.”

Turner is the first Muslim elected to the Oklahoma Legislature and self-describes as “gender non-conforming.”

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Lankford: We deserve confidence in the election results

 


Oklahomans and the Nation Deserve Confidence in the Election Results
By U.S. Senator James Lankford

(Jan. 6th, 2021) If you randomly catch any 10 Oklahomans on the street today and ask them if there was at least some voter fraud in the November election, my suspicion is a majority of them would say yes. In the last two months, my office has received thousands of calls and questions from Oklahomans in every corner of the state about the 2020 presidential election. I’ve also had conversations with people at the grocery store, gas station, through text messages, and on personal phone calls. Some Oklahomans say Biden obviously won, like it or not, accept it. Some say, clearly Trump won, and the election was stolen. But a majority of the people who have contacted me just want to know what happened and how we fix this for the future. I would hope that everyone agrees we should ask, “How does this not happen again?”

I am disappointed when some people say to me, “We always have dead people who vote or double voting, no big deal.” If we know there is a problem, let’s fix it. Some states have ignored problems in their voting systems for too long, and now we are reaping the consequences. President Trump spoke often about voting problems in 2016 and 2020, especially with mail-in voting. Some states took action to strengthen their voting verification, but some actually loosened their voting requirements without increasing security. There is no question that there were some problems across the country with signature verifications, people receiving multiple ballots in the mail, different rules in some states for mail-in ballots than in-person ballots, double voting, last-minute election rule changes, ballot harvesting, delayed receipt of ballots, inconsistent curing of ballots, and a lack of meaningful access to the polls or counting processes for partisan poll watchers. Even after many of these questions have been reviewed by state leaders and courts, questions still persist. 

We need to rebuild trust in our elections.  

On Saturday, I joined 10 of my colleagues to demand the establishment of an electoral commission of five Senators, five Representatives, and five Justices of the US Supreme Court to study the election and make recommendations. This is loosely modeled after the electoral commission of 1877 when electors from four states were in dispute because of possible voter fraud. The commission would begin immediately and would have 10 days to investigate the claims of voting irregularities and potential fraud and provide their findings to the states before the constitutionally required inauguration on January 20. The commission would not choose the president that is against the Constitution.

In our system, states choose the President through electors, so states would receive the findings of the commission and make their own decision. It’s a tight timetable, and it’s not a perfect solution. But we cannot ignore the millions of people who want the facts to come out and want resolution for this election. 

Rep. Bice: I will vote to challenge electoral votes for fair and secure election process


Bice Statement on Electoral College Vote

"Today, I will be voting to challenge the electoral votes of certain states to ensure the security of our nation’s election process. Unfortunately, some states did not follow their own state election laws, jeopardizing their citizens’ confidence in our election process. In my home state of Oklahoma, we conducted a fair and transparent election that should be a model for states across the nation. All Americans deserve to have the same level of confidence that Oklahomans have in our state’s electoral system."

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

INHOFE: Challenging electoral certification would violate my Constitutional oath


Just issued:

Inhofe Statement on Electoral College Count Tomorrow

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) made the following statement ahead of Wednesday’s Joint Session of Congress:

“On Sunday, I was sworn in for my fifth full term in the United States Senate. While being sworn, I took an oath to ‘support and defend’ the Constitution and to ‘bear true faith and allegiance to the same.’ It is an oath I take very seriously, and in my 34 years in federal office, I have not and will not violate my oath.

“When talking about my work in the Senate, I often reference the Constitution – it’s the guide for my legislative priorities: defending America and infrastructure. Just as the Constitution is clear about what should be Congress’ top priorities, it is also clear that the power to govern our Presidential elections, including certification and recounts, is explicitly delegated to the states in Article II, Section I. Furthermore, any questions about the electoral process or validity of results may only be constitutionally adjudicated in the courts.

Gov. Stitt appoints Jess Kane to Wildlife Conservation Commission

GOVERNOR STITT APPOINTS JESS KANE TO OKLAHOMA WILDLIFE CONSERVATION COMMISSION

OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan 4. 2020) - Governor Kevin Stitt announced today the appointment of Jess Kane to the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission. Kane will fill the District 1 seat currently held by Robert S. Hughes II, whose appointment expires on July 1, 2021. If confirmed by the Senate, Kane will serve an eight-year term beginning July 2, 2021. 

"Jess Kane is an experienced attorney and rancher from rural Oklahoma who understands the importance of our land and wildlife," said Gov. Stitt. "I look forward to him bringing his strong agriculture perspective to the Commission to help foster wildlife conservation effortsacross our state." 

"The joy of observing and hunting game is one of the greatest dividends of successful farm and ranch management," said Kane. "In an industry not known for prodigious profits, this return is of high value to farmers and ranchers. I hope to add this perspective to the Oklahoma Wildlife Conversation Commission and will be honored to help preserve Oklahoma’s long heritage of wildlife conservation." 

Jess Kane has practiced law with the firm Robinett, King, Elias, Buhlinger, Brown & Kane with offices in Bartlesville and Pawhuska since 2009 and was named a partner in that firm in 2015. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of the South (Sewanee, TN), a Certificate of Ranch Management from the Texas Christian University Ranch Management Program, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Oklahoma, College of Law.

A 5th generation rancher, having grown up on his family’s diversified cow/calf, stocker and grain farming operation headquartered in Bartlesville, Kane is a partner with his brother, Richard, in Clover Leaf Cattle Co., LLC, a stocker enterprise with operations on owned and leased land in Washington and Rogers Counties in Oklahoma and Kiowa County, Kansas. Additionally, Jess and his wife Ashley are partners in a cow herd based in Tillman County, Oklahoma.

OK Legislative Black Caucus opposes Electoral College objection by Lankford, others

Black Caucus Opposes Electoral Objection by Lankford, Others

OKLAHOMA CITY (January 5th, 2021) -- The Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus strongly opposes objections to the certification of the Electoral College count by at least 13 Republican senators, including Oklahoma Senator James Lankford,  140 Republican members of the US Congress, including Oklahoma’s  Reps. Kevin Hern and Markwayne Mullin.

“All fair votes of the people should count and not be overthrown,” said State Rep. Regina Goodwin, chair of the Oklahoma Black Caucus. “Democracy should not be destroyed. President-elect Biden and Vice-President-elect Harris won. Despicable lies do not prove otherwise.”

Two months since and numerous lawsuits later, there has been no evidence presented that would change the outcome of the November election.

“Why aren’t these same Republicans investigating President Trump’s intentional interference with the fair performance of duties of Georgia state election officials?” Goodwin asked. “We have state and federal laws against the false finding of votes and the flagrant flipping of elections as demanded by President Trump.”

Saturday, January 02, 2021

Sen. Murdock compares OK to NM, finds restrictive mandates don't always work

Sen. Casey Murdock says restrictive COVID-19 mandates don't always work

Sen. Casey Murdock says he agrees with Gov. Kevin Stitt that sweeping statewide restrictions are not the most effective strategy to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Murdock, R-Felt, said after looking at New Mexico, a state that has mandated masks statewide and has imposed more severe business restrictions, he found its approach hasn’t resulted in saving more lives or jobs compared to Oklahoma. 

“I live just about 12 miles from New Mexico, and from time to time I have business to do there in Clayton. I’ve talked to people there who are frustrated about the statewide mask mandate and their business restrictions, which have gone farther than Oklahoma’s,” Murdock said. “But what’s really interesting is that when you take a look at their outcomes compared to ours, I think it shows their approach really isn’t the fix some people think it is.”

Murdock says there are a lot of similarities between the two states. Energy, farming and ranching are important to both economies. Oklahoma has more people—according to the 2019 population estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau, Oklahoma had 3.9 million people, compared to just over 2 million for New Mexico. 

When you look at the per capita figures, as of Dec. 30, Oklahoma has had 7,172 positive cases per 100,000 people, compared to 6,671 in New Mexico. But Oklahoma had 61 deaths per capita, while New Mexico had 115. 

Congressman Hern: Here's why I will object to electoral college vote count

1st District Congressman Kevin Hern announced today that he will join many of his fellow Republican congressmen in objecting to the electoral college vote when it is formally tallied in a joint-session of Congress on January 6th. Below is his statement on why he will do so:


Today, I write to announce my intent to join efforts on January 6 to object to the counting of electoral college votes in those states failing to follow their own election laws and procedures in the administration of the presidential election. I also call on my colleagues in Congress to not only fully investigate election improprieties, but to also study and debate measures that can be implemented to protect elections in the future. 

Since November, I have been contacted by countless constituents expressing their concerns with the security and administration of this year’s presidential election. I believe this issue strikes at the very heart of our national identity, because the success and longevity of our Republic relies on the fundamental idea of free and fair elections. 

15 GOP State Senators ask congressional delegation to challenge Electoral College vote

I missed this press release, but the following letter was sent out the same day that 24 State House members did the same thing, on December 22nd.


Senators join Bullard in urging Congress to fight illegal voting action in four states

OKLAHOMA CITY (December 22nd, 2020) – Sen. David Bullard, R-Durant, and 14 other senators sent a letter on Tuesday urging Congress to fight illegal ballots in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The letter to Oklahoma’s congressional delegation asks them to voice their objections, bring arguments and evidence against the votes cast in those states where voting laws were illegally and unconstitutionally changed by executive fiat, or by judicial edict.

“Americans deserve an election process that is fair and transparent. This year’s general election was far from it with voting laws being illegally changed in multiple states at the last minute and ballots being cast with no proof of identity or other necessary qualifications to guarantee they were from legitimate voting citizens,” Bullard said. “I want to thank my Senate colleagues for joining me in this stand for our nation, our Constitution and the preservation of our republican form of government. We can’t let those who put power above what is right and honorable control this sacred process. We demand that Congress step in and fight for a recount of the ballots in these four states to ensure accuracy and fairness.”

Members who signed the letter included:
  • Sen. Mark Allen, R-Spiro
  • Sen. Micheal Bergstrom, R-Adair
  • Sen. David Bullard, R-Durant
  • Sen. George Burns, R-Pollard
  • Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow
  • Sen. Chuck Hall, R-Perry
  • Sen. Warren Hamilton, R-McCurtain
  • Sen. Shane Jett, R-Shawnee
  • Sen. James Leewright, R-Bristow
  • Sen. Casey Murdock, R-Felt
  • Sen. Roland Pederson, R-Burlington
  • Sen. Cody Rogers, R-Tulsa
  • Sen. Rob Standridge, R-Norman
  • Sen. Blake Stephens, R-Tahlequah
  • Sen. Darrell Weaver, R-Moore
To view the letter, click here.

Friday, January 01, 2021

Governor Stitt selects Jason Reese as new general counsel

GOVERNOR KEVIN STITT ANNOUNCES NEW GENERAL COUNSEL 

OKLAHOMA CITY (Dec. 31, 2020) – Governor Kevin Stitt announced today the selection of Jason Reese as his new general counsel following current general counsel Mark Burget's decision to return to Search Ministries after fulfilling a two-year commitment to the governor.  

“Over the past two years, Mark Burget's wise counsel and legal expertise has helped guide our office through historic challenges facing the State, and I am thankful for his dedicated service to our team," said Gov. Stitt. "As Mark transitions out of the office, I look forward to welcoming Jason Reese as my new general counsel. Jason is a longtime litigator and former Oklahoma House of Representatives attorney with more than 15 years of experience, so he’ll bring a robust understanding of law and policy to the office. He will serve my administration well as we continue to work toward becoming a Top Ten state.”   

Here's what you need to know for 2021


 2020 is blessedly gone, and 2021 is here. 

Here's the deal. God made you. God made everything. Just as this social media website/app had a designer, the building you are in had an architect, the vehicle you drive had a builder, this entire universe - infinitely more complex - had a Creator. He orchestrated the atoms and molecules that make up everything.

As Creator, He has the right and prerogative for placing laws and rules for His creation to follow. You, and I, and every human being, have fallen short of those laws. 

The Ten Commandments sum up God's Law. We have broken every single one. We have lied. We have stolen. We have had inappropriate sexual thoughts (Jesus called this adultery of the heart). We have been angry without just cause (Jesus called this murder of the heart). We have coveted. We have blasphemed. We are all guilty.

Punishment for offenses increase as the party against which the crime was perpetrated increase in stature. Disobedience to parents require one level of correction/punishment. Crimes against a human government require a higher degree of punishment. Crimes against an infinite God require a greater punishment, namely an infinite punishment. 

Heaven is real, but so is Hell. Hell is a real place, where the full righteous wrath of God Almighty is unendingly poured out on those who rebelled against the most loving and gracious Being in the Universe. You have sinned against God and earned for yourself Hell. I sinned against God and earned for myself Hell.

But, Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Trinity, God in flesh, came to earth and fulfilled God's Law on our behalf and paid our punishment with His sacrificial death, wiping away our sin-debt, our criminal fine, and giving us His righteousness. 

We must, by faith, believe and repent. Believe that Jesus is who He said He was, that He died for us and rose again, and repent - turn away from our sin in disgust that we would offend God in such ways, and dedicate our lives to following Him, not in order to earn salvation but in recognition that we cannot save ourselves and in response and gratefulness to the kindness shown to us by God in providing a way of forgiveness.

This salvation is a free (and permanent, ever-lasting) gift of God, and is fully of Him. We contribute nothing to it except the sin that made it necessary. We can do nothing to earn it or maintain it. No amount of good deeds or prayers or pilgrimages or sacraments is sufficient -- only Christ is.

I cannot convince you of the Gospel. Only God can. My responsibility is to share it with you. 

You must determine whether you will believe it to be true or not.

But know this: if all this is true, you will one day stand before your Maker and be held to account for the works you did and did not do during your life. And, you will be held to account for how you respond(ed) to the free offer of the Gospel that was presented to you, for better or for worse. 

If 2020 teaches anything, it is that life is short, and Man is not guaranteed tomorrow. Eternity is forever. God offers salvation freely to those who will believe. Receive it while you have opportunity to do so and do not tarry.