Saturday, February 27, 2021

Stitt, 21 other Governors oppose biased funding allocation in new stimulus bill


GOVERNOR STITT, 21 OTHER GOVERNORS OPPOSE BIASED FUND ALLOCATION IN STIMULUS PACKAGE
Oklahoma one of 33 states expected to lose funding under House proposal approved this morning

OKLAHOMA CITY (Feb. 27, 2021) – Governor Kevin Stitt is one of 22 governors who have released a joint statement opposing the new standard in President Joe Biden’s stimulus bill for how federal funds would be allocated to states:

“Unlike all previous federal funding packages, the new stimulus proposal allocates aid based on a state’s unemployed population rather than its actual population, which punishes states that took a measured approach to the pandemic and entered the crisis with healthy state budgets and strong economies.

"A state’s ability to keep businesses open and people employed should not be a penalizing factor when distributing funds. If Congress is going to provide aid to states, it should be on an equitable population basis.”

Governors who joined the statement include Kay Ivey (R-AL), Mike Dunleavy (R-AK), Doug Ducey (R-AZ), Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Brian Kemp (R-GA), Brad Little (R-ID), Eric Holcomb (R-IN), Kim Reynolds (R-IA), Laura Kelly (D-KS), Tate Reeves (R-MS), Mike Parson (R-MO), Greg Gianforte (R-MT), Pete Ricketts (R-NE), Chris Sununu (R-NH), Doug Burgum (R-ND), Mike DeWine (R-OH), Kevin Stitt (R-OK), Henry McMaster (R-SC), Kristi Noem (R-SD), Bill Lee (R-TN), Spencer Cox (R-UT) and Mark Gordon (R-WY).

Thursday, February 18, 2021

In need of water damage restoration? Clean Pro can help!


EASTERN OKLAHOMA WATER DAMAGE RESTORATION SERVICES
Call NOW to get on our waiting list!

We hope you are staying safe and warm during this arctic freeze. This post is to remind you that if you happen to experience burst pipes and water damage call Clean Pro immediately at 918-686-0222. We have received numerous calls already and are operating multiple jobs as we speak. We are expecting an increase in the amount of customers needing our help as the weather warms up and the thaw reveals more damage to plumbing.

We will get to you, but our conversations with area plumbers and restoration firms shows that everyone is currently overwhelmed with work and backed up.

We will get to everyone on our list, but it may take time to work through the backlog. We are currently calling in "the cavalry", so to speak, and will be able to handle more work in the very near future. That's why it's so important to call now in order to get on the list.

Clean Pro is an IICRC-Certified firm with trained technicians who are equipped to take care of your water loss. We have over 33 years of experience helping our customers get through disasters such as flooding and water damage. Clean Pro has enough structural drying equipment to handle just about any size of water loss and are ready to help you when you have the need.

Remember, you - not the insurance company - get to decide who does work for you. Give us a call at 918-686-0222, or send us an email at Info@CleanProMuskogee.com.

Shop local, support small business! 

-- The Faught Family
Serving eastern Oklahoma since 1987

P.S. Pass this along to your family, friends, and church. We can take care of just about any size of residential or commercial job, and have done work for dozens of area churches and nonprofits



Tuesday, February 16, 2021

1889 Institute: A pPlan to put Teachers in charge, give Parents choices, and benefit Children


A Plan to Put Teachers in Charge, Give Parents Choices, and Benefit Children
By Mike Davis

Our education model is puzzling when compared to other industries. But it’s been this way so long it’s difficult to imagine anything else. We group children by age, not by knowledge or ability. We send them to schools based on address, not teaching methodology. Parents have very little say over which school their children can attend. And teachers are answerable to more and more people who lack the qualifications to teach, which is the sole mission of the public schools.

Teachers have always answered to the principal, which does track with other professions. The managing partner of a law firm has ultimate authority too. The principal is usually a former teacher, but he no longer spends his days in the classroom. For him, a successful day is one free of dealing with troublemakers. Rather than maintaining proper discipline he can simply shuffle them back to class. But the senior partner defers to an experienced attorney in matters of case strategy. He hasn’t been in settlement conferences, and hasn’t read the judge’s disposition in case management conferences. How often do teachers get the same consideration?

Beyond this disconnect, a teacher might answer to librarians, counselors, and technology staff. A lawyer would never be answerable to administrative staff. As schools trend towards social programs, the focus on education wanes. So too does the teacher’s status. They used to be the reason schools existed; now they are cogs in the social-work machine.

1889 has proposed a solution to put teachers in the driver seat, and give parents meaningful options for educating their children. The Professional Teacher Charter Act allows experienced teachers to open their own school, funded on the same basis as other charters. Parents will be free to choose the school that best fits their child.

The freedom inherent in the plan will allow Oklahoma to become a laboratory of pedagogy. Schools will be able to test and improve their teaching methods. Parents will be free to choose a school that they believe works best for their child. Not every child learns the same way, and what works for nine students might not work as well for a tenth.

“More funding to the classroom” is the mantra and excuse for nearly every demand for increased public education funding. But the single most important classroom expense is the teacher. Yet the system puts the teacher at the very bottom of the decision-making ladder.

1889’s model flips the ladder and puts teachers in charge of schools and then empowers parents to choose the school that is best for their child. Ultimately, this can only benefit Oklahoma’s schoolchildren.

Mike Davis is a Research Fellow at 1889 Institute. He can be reached at mdavis@1889institute.org.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Speaker McCall appoints State and Federal Redistricting Committee


House State and Federal Redistricting Committee appointed

OKLAHOMA CITY – The House State and Federal Redistricting Committee was appointed Friday to continue the House’s public-focused redistricting process throughout the 2021 legislative session.

House Speaker Charles McCall appointed the 29-member bipartisan committee to establish the formal policies and protocols for House redistricting. After the delivery of final U.S. Census data, the committee will advance legislation containing new districts to the full House for consideration.

“The unprecedented public involvement and outreach completed to date will continue to be the basis of House redistricting going forward,” said McCall, R-Atoka.

The standing committee will base its work on public input gathered by the House’s eight regional redistricting subcommittees, which conducted dozens of town halls across the state to hear from citizens about the composition of districts for the next decade. In a historic move, every House member was appointed to a regional subcommittee to ensure total representation of the full state in the redistricting process.

The State and Federal Redistricting Committee will hold its first meeting next week to adopt policies, protocols and a public map submission process.

Governor Stitt: State providing comprehensive, coordinated response to winter storm

Photo credit: KOCO's Michael Armstrong via Twitter

STATE OF OKLAHOMA CONTINUES COMPREHENSIVE, COORDINATED RESPONSE TO WINTER STORM

OKLAHOMA CITY (Feb. 14, 2021) – The State of Oklahoma continues to provide a comprehensive, coordinated response to the ongoing winter storm which has brought heavy snow, strong winds and prolonged, historically cold temperatures.

Governor Kevin Stitt and state officials are encouraging all Oklahomans to continue to stay off the roads as conditions deteriorate and to conserve energy where possible due to historic demand levels.

“State and local crews are working around-the-clock to clear the roads as quickly as possible,” said Gov. Stitt. “Please stay home if you can to allow them to work more effectively and consider lowering your thermostat to 68 degrees or cooler and avoid using large appliances like your washer and dryer. Oklahomans take pride in helping their neighbors and we can make a big difference by taking a few small steps together.”

To further help conserve energy, Gov. Stitt has asked state agencies not providing essential public-facing services to work from home through Wednesday wherever possible.

Oklahoma Natural Gas has provided additional tips for Oklahomans to deal with the extreme cold here: https://www.oklahomanaturalgas.com/customer-awareness/severe-cold.

Gov. Stitt issued Executive Order 2021-06 on Friday, declaring a State of Emergency across all 77 Oklahoma counties and clearing the way for state and local agencies to provide mutual aid in accordance with the State Emergency Operations Plan.

OCPA: Are parents getting what they pay for with college?


Are parents getting what they pay for with college?
By Jonathan Small

Whether parents are truly getting their money’s worth when paying for a child’s college tuition is a growing question not just in other states, but Oklahoma as well.

That’s because an increasing share of tuition money today funds things that have little to do with academics and preparing for a career, and much to do with political indoctrination.

Consider the University of Oklahoma, which has mandated diversity training for all students. Thanks to that training, OU students now know that chanting “Boomer Sooner” is racially problematic. They’ve been informed that supporting equality and treating all people the same are bad things. (I kid you not.) They’ve even been told the lives of all black citizens are comparable to house fires. Nothing shows your racial awareness like stereotyping all people by race, I guess.

Not to be outdone, Oklahoma City Community College recently removed a longstanding depiction of the 1889 Oklahoma Land Run. Why? Because it supposedly offended American Indians, who were often displaced by those settlers. Fair enough. What if the campus also had a monument recognizing the history of American Indians in Oklahoma? It seems that was never considered. Better to erase the past than grapple with it.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Oklahoma Congressional delegation thanks OK National Guard for U.S. Capitol service

Photo by Sgt. Anthony Jones, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team

Oklahoma Congressional Delegation Thanks National Guard for U.S. Capitol Service

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Stephanie Bice (OK-05), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, together with U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Representative Kevin Hern (OK-01), Representative Markwayne Mullin (OK-02), Representative Frank Lucas (OK-03), Representative Tom Cole (OK-04), and Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), wrote a letter to the Oklahoma National Guard this week, thanking them for their exemplary service at the U.S. Capitol last month.

Bice and several Oklahoma Congressional members met with the troops while they were in town guarding the U.S. Capitol during inauguration. Oklahoma National Guard Members spent a week guarding the nation’s capitol.

“It was an honor to have the Oklahoma National Guard in Washington to ensure the safety and security of all who work within the Capitol complex. The sacrifices of these men and women are truly appreciated and will not be forgotten,” Bice said.

Tax credit bill for rural physicians passes House committee


O’Donnell Tax Credit Bill for Rural Physicians Passes Committee

OKLAHOMA CITY – House Speaker Pro Tempore Terry O’Donnell, R-Catoosa, on Tuesday secured unanimous committee passage of a bill that would provide income tax credits for doctors practicing in rural areas of the state.

House Bill 2089 is authored by House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka and Speaker Pro Tempore O’Donnell. The bill would grant up to a $25,000 tax credit for income from compensation directly related to the practice of medicine or osteopathic medicine by a qualifying physician.

“The lifestyle of rural physicians doesn’t always appeal to young students getting out of medical school these days,” O’Donnell told members of the House Rules Committee. “This tax credit would help us incentivize doctors to go into practice in our state’s rural communities, an effort to bolster rural health care.”

“This measure will help us build the ranks of rural doctors to serve residents who choose to live in our state’s smaller communities,” said Speaker McCall. “These residents are as deserving of access to a family physician, obstetricians and or other health care specialists as people who live in more populous areas.”

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Stitt signs first bill of 2021 legislative session, reinstating virtual public meetings exemptions


GOVERNOR STITT SIGNS FIRST BILL OF 2021 LEGISLATIVE SESSION
Senate Bill 1031 reinstates temporary modifications to allow for virtual public meetings

OKLAHOMA CITY (Feb. 10, 2021) – Governor Kevin Stitt today signed Senate Bill 1031 into law, his first bill of the 2021 legislative session, reinstating temporary modifications to the Open Meeting Act allowing for virtual public meetings.

“I want to thank Pro Tem Treat, Speaker McCall and the Legislature for getting this across the finish line to my desk,” said Gov. Stitt. “We’ve all heard from constituents, state agencies, local school boards and other public bodies requesting this, and I’m pleased we were able to deliver so quickly.”

SB 1031, authored by Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat (R-Oklahoma City) and House Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols (R-Oklahoma City), reinstates the same exemptions to the Open Meeting Act that were signed into law in 2020 with some minor changes, including requiring public bodies to post documents or materials online that are provided to participants of the meeting.

Opt-in data privacy legislation passes State House committee


Opt-In Data Privacy Legislation Passes Committee

OKLAHOMA CITY – Bipartisan legislation to address concerns over data privacy and data manipulation unanimously passed out of the House Technology Committee today with a vote of 6 to 0. 

The Oklahoma Computer Data Privacy Act, House Bill 1602, requires internet technology companies to obtain explicit permission to collect and sell personal data. 

The legislation has bipartisan support and is co-authored by more than 40 representatives and senators. The legislation’s primary authors, Reps. Josh West and Collin Walke, see the bill as an opportunity to claw back privacy rights from companies that continue to abuse them. 

Tuesday, February 09, 2021

Gov. Stitt signs executive order challenging Biden Admin's attack on energy production

(L to R) Sen. Zack Taylor, R-Seminole, Senate Energy Committee Vice Chair; Secretary of Energy and Environment Ken Wagner; Sen. Mark Allen, R-Spiro, Senate Energy Committee Chair; Gov. Kevin Stitt; Rep. Brad Boles, R-Marlow, House Energy & Natural Resources Committee Chair; Rep. Anthony Moore, R-Clinton, House Energy & Natural Resources Committee Vice Chair

GOVERNOR STITT SIGNS EXECUTIVE ORDER TO PROTECT OKLAHOMA ENERGY FROM FEDERAL OVERREACH

OKLAHOMA CITY (Feb. 8, 2021) – Governor Kevin Stitt signed an executive order today to protect Oklahoma’s oil and gas industry from a Washington power grab.

Executive Order 2021-03 highlights Oklahoma’s role as an global leader in energy production as well as the state’s successful “all of the above” strategy that has reduced carbon dioxide emissions to levels below the national average while producing the most affordable energy in the United States.

The order also criticizes the Biden Administration’s attack on energy producing states like Oklahoma, specifically citing the federal overreach and dismissal of Oklahoma’s constitutional ability to properly determine how to best develop its own natural resources.

“Energy production is the backbone of Oklahoma’s economy,” said Gov. Stitt. “My executive order sends a clear message to the Biden Administration that threatening to destroy Oklahoma jobs and our constitutional ability to develop our oil and gas is unacceptable. We will not be passive in responding to systematic attacks on Oklahoma values.”

LIVE: Abolition Day rally at Oklahoma State Capitol


Supporters of the movement to abolish abortion in Oklahoma are gathering today for the third annual Abolition Day rally at the Oklahoma State Capitol, calling on state leaders to bring about the immediate end of the abortion holocaust in Oklahoma by abolishing this wicked form of child murder. The event starts at 9:30am this morning.

Watch the livestream below:



You can also watch it on Facebook Live:

Sunday, February 07, 2021

Small: Time to focus on Medicaid outcomes


Time to focus on Medicaid outcomes
By Jonathan Small

Opponents of Gov. Kevin Stitt’s call to use private contractors to oversee managed care in Medicaid say the existing system works well and doesn’t need to be fixed because the program rapidly pays providers.

But Medicaid doesn’t exist to provide cash flow to medical providers. It exists to provide health care to citizens on the welfare program and improve their outcomes. By that metric, Oklahoma’s Medicaid program fares poorly. The state’s health outcomes rank among the nation’s worst.

Managed care could improve medical outcomes and reduce the rapid growth in Medicaid expenses, which is especially necessary now that more than 600,000 able-bodied adults may be added to Oklahoma’s program due to expansion.

The leader of the state’s college system notes that rising Medicaid costs have already diverted millions away from education. That problem will only grow worse with time unless Medicaid is brought under some level of control. Without managed care, Medicaid costs will continue to skyrocket and require offsetting cuts to things like school funding and public safety and/or tax increases on working families.

Saturday, February 06, 2021

Rep. Dick Lowe authors bill to increase driver testing exam locations


Rep. Dick Lowe Authors Bill to Increase Driver Testing Exam Locations

OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill that will increase the number of authorized driver testing exam locations has been presented in the House of Representatives.

Rep. Dick Lowe, R-Amber, is the author of House Bill 2465, which would allow certain locations, approved by the Department of Public Safety (DPS), to be proctors for the written examination for applicants for Class A, B, C or D licenses and for endorsements.  

“Over the last year we have seen an almost unbelievable increase in wait times for individuals trying to take their driver exams,” Lowe said. “These wait times are a burden for those seeking to take the test, parents of new drivers, our tag agencies and DPS. My bill seeks to relieve some of the backlog we are currently seeing and ensure that we don’t find ourselves in this situation again.”

Bill barring forced closure of Places of Worship passes State House committee


Bill Prohibiting Forced Closure of Places of Worship Passes Committee

OKLAHOMA CITY – In its inaugural meeting Wednesday morning, the House States Rights Committee approved legislation to protect religious freedom and the constitutional right to worship.

Rep. Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City, authored House Bill 2648, or the Oklahoma Religious Freedom Act, which dictates that anything closing places of worship would be considered a substantial burden on people’s freedom of religion.

He said he filed the bill after witnessing how many religious organizations were unable to meet for several weeks due to government restrictions on the size of gatherings or emergency orders that did not deem places of worship as essential.

Oklahoma to receive $8.9M in multi-state settlement with drug company over opioid crisis


Oklahoma Reaches Multi-Million Dollar Settlement with McKinsey & Company for Role in Opioid Epidemic

OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General Mike Hunter today announced the state of Oklahoma will receive $8.9 million as part of a 47-state, $573 million settlement with consulting firm McKinsey & Company for the company’s role in the nation’s opioid epidemic.

The settlement resolves investigations by state attorneys general into McKinsey for advising opioid companies on how to promote and devise unconscionable marketing strategies for the highly addictive drugs to increase opioid sales.

The money Oklahoma receives will go to the state treasury account created to receive opioid settlement money. According to the agreement, the money must be used by the state to abate the opioid epidemic.

Attorney General Hunter said McKinsey’s actions played a significant role in the opioid epidemic.

State Senate approves renewal of Open Meeting Act exemptions


Senate OK’s renewal of Open Meeting Act exemptions

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved legislation renewing exemptions to the Open Meeting Act put in place last year during the coronavirus pandemic.

Senate Bill 1031 by Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat reinstates the same exemptions to the Open Meeting Act that were signed into law in 2020 with some minor changes.

Among the changes from the 2020 exemptions are:

Friday, February 05, 2021

1889 Institute: Guide to governments regulation of land use


BASIC GUIDE TO GOVERNMENTS REGULATION OF LAND USE PUBLISHED
The 1889 Institute counts the ways government impacts property rights.

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (February 3, 2021) – The 1889 Institute has published “Land and Prosperity: A Primer on Land Use Law and Policy,” which describes the many ways state and local governments regulate the use and disposition of private property. The publication first discusses the need to establish order among individuals whose actions impact others, then describes the benefits of private property, and then describes the many ways government interferes, justifiably or not, with property owners’ decisions in how property is used and developed.

“The study is a description of the many ways government inserts itself into the decisions property owners make about the use of their property,” said 1889’s Land Use Fellow, Brad Galbraith, the study’s author and relatively recent addition to the 1889 Institute’s staff. “It’s important to fully understand how government impacts prosperity through its influence on property rights, under which the rights to life and liberty are subsumed,” he said.

The new study makes few value judgments or arguments regarding the various types of land use regulation on government’s part, whether the subject is the common law of nuisance or zoning, or comprehensive planning.

Wednesday, February 03, 2021

Pastor Sam Ketcher: Join us on Abolition Day like lives depend on it because, in fact, they do


The Church At Ease With Abortion
Join us on "Abolition Day" like lives depend on it because, in fact, they do
by Pastor Sam Ketcher

  Strange really, the things that must be said. Think about it. What type of animalistic society do we live in where we must beg mothers not to murder their offspring? Like an alternate universe where up is down, and down is up? Where dark is light, and evil is good? How can a church be at ease in Zion, when a Doctor down the street meticulously dismembers small children? Does not their blood cry from the ground? How is it that a church that is commanded to be the salt of the earth would rather chase after dopamine than work tireless to save a life in the womb from being injected with saline? It is like the Twilight Zone 2.0 where political platforms feel more like M√ľnchhausen and we the People become complicit. Like a bad case of Stockholm syndrome, we convince ourselves that our captors are benevolent and that a tiny human is just a clump of cells. 

  Some churches have become like Hanoi Jane fawning over the instruments of death in the name of love and compassion.  Some churches are a modern-day Tokyo Rose who seeks to demoralize any who dare cross the gate to say, "Babies are murdered here." Some churches are just contemporary nobleman who abstain from the fight because their only concerns are land, deeds, and titles. Waving their banners citing the great commission, they live like the great omission. Professing to be good Samaritans while in reality they have become Hellenized by a culture of death and child sacrifice. Which type of church are you apart of?

  If King Solomon were to stand before you and say bring me a sword to divide the living child in two would you be the woman who says let the child live or the woman who says let the child die?  Can you truly say you love your neighbor while holding the coats of those who slaughter the unborn? Can you truly say to the Lord you have cared for the least of these while you did nothing in the midst of a holocaust? 

Dahm files resolution to follow OK Constitution's mandate for statewide vote on new constitutional convention


Sen. Nathan Dahm files resolution calling for a state constitutional convention

It’s been 114 years since Oklahoma’s state constitution has been adopted, and State Sen. Nathan Dahm says it’s time the document is carefully reviewed.  

The Broken Arrow Republican filed Senate Joint Resolution 26 to allow Oklahoma citizens to decide if a Constitutional Convention to rewrite or revise the state constitution is needed.

“As we begin a new session and hear Governor Stitt’s vision to lead our state to becoming Top 10, we must remember the opportunity we have to set the stage for the success of future generations,” Dahm said. “SJR 26 would call for a state Constitutional Convention allowing us to alter, modify or replace our current constitution with a document to protect the rights and promote the freedoms and liberties of future generations.”

The state constitution mandates that a proposal to hold a Constitutional Convention should be submitted to a vote of the people at least once every 20 years. The last time such a proposal was submitted was 51 years ago in 1970.

Stitt administration releases Annual Accomplishments Report


STITT ADMINISTRATION RELEASES ANNUAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS REPORT

OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan. 31, 2021) – Governor Kevin Stitt released today the 2020 Stitt Administration Annual Accomplishments Report. The comprehensive report focuses on the Stitt administration’s response to the historic COVID-19 pandemic, support for Oklahoma schools and teachers, economic growth and a continued focus on improving transparency, accountability and efficiency in state government.

“While 2020 looked a lot different from our first year in office, we have seen some great accomplishments across state government,” Governor Stitt wrote in a letter to Oklahomans included in the report. “The proactive and ongoing efforts to provide critical services during a historic pandemic have been possible thanks to our committed state employees who have worked day and night to support their fellow Oklahomans. 2020 tested the resiliency of our state and our people, but at the root of it all, we’ve endured. We remain focused on the promise of tomorrow and the promise of becoming a Top Ten state.”

Cherokee, Sequoyah join 35 other 'Second Amendment Sanctuary' counties

Last week, two sheriffs declared their counties to be Second Amendment Sanctuaries, bringing the statewide total to 37 counties since February of 2020.

The sanctuary county movement was one of the big stories of 2020 before COVID-19 took over the stage. Between February 12th and March 2nd, twenty-six county sheriffs had made such declarations. They were supported by resolutions or statements by at least four county commission boards and one district attorney.

Cherokee County Sheriff Jason Chennault issued the following open letter on January 25th:

Tuesday, February 02, 2021

OKGOP Chair says party platform supports abortion abolition bill SB495, calls for passage


With the Oklahoma Senate Health and Human Services Committee set to hear Senate Bill 495 tomorrow, the chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party wants legislators to know that the state GOP platform supports the abolition of abortion, and calls on committee members to pass SB 495 to the Senate floor:

Pandemic precaution protocols for 2021 legislative session announced


Pandemic precaution protocols for 2021 session announced

OKLAHOMA CITY (January 29th) – Pandemic precaution protocols for the 2021 legislative session were announced Friday.

To protect against the spread of the COVID-19 while preserving legislative functionality and public access, the Senate and House of Representatives will each:

  • Continue livestreaming all proceedings online.
  • Reduce committee room and legislative chamber gallery capacity to accommodate social distancing while strictly enforcing capacity limits, with committee seating first reserved for committee members and staff followed by the public.
  • Establish committee overflow spaces throughout the building where committee proceedings will be broadcast in areas conducive to social distancing.
  • Allow forms of remote voting upon approval of additional legislative rules once session begins.
  • Continue the mask policy of masks should be worn where social distancing is not possible.
  • Provide regular testing of members and staff.
  • Prohibit public gatherings in legislative chambers, committee rooms and hallways.
  • Limit floor appearances by the public.
  • Continue regular and extensive cleaning, keep doors open where possible, increase availability of hand sanitizer, and display additional protocol and precaution signage throughout legislative space.
  • Utilize a socially-distanced seating chart for joint sessions.

In addition, the Oklahoma State Department of Health made COVID-19 vaccinations available to all legislators earlier this month as part of its planned second tier of vaccinations. By early in session, a large majority of the Legislature will have been vaccinated in the interest of continuity of government.

The protocols will be regularly evaluated and are subject to change during session.

The 48-member Senate will allow remote voting for committee and proxy voting for floor votes.

“These protocols allow the Legislature to function without interruption while maintaining safety and access for members, staff and the citizens we serve,” said Senate Majority Floor Leader Kim David, R-Porter. “Shutting down the Legislature or public access to it were not options, so we developed a comprehensive, bicameral approach that is reasonable and allows the people’s business to safely continue.”

The 101-member House will allow remote voting for committee votes. Floor votes can occur from desks on the fourth floor or from a designated members-only area in the fifth floor chamber gallery in order to reduce the number of members on the floor for social distancing flexibility. Plexiglass dividers have been installed on desks in the House chamber, where two members sit at each desk as opposed to one member at each desk in the Senate.

“Functionality, safety and transparency are all accounted for in these protocols,” said House Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City. “These are the same types of practical precautions legislative bodies and organizations of all kinds are using worldwide. It won’t be typical, but it is the right thing to do until the pandemic subsides enough to resume normal operations.”

The protocols were developed by legislator working groups led by David in the Senate and Echols in the House. The groups consulted with public health professionals and reviewed protocols at other legislative bodies to set the policies, which were recommended to and approved by Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, in the Senate and House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, in the House.

“I appreciate the work of my Democratic and Republican Senate colleagues, as well as Senate staff, for their work on pandemic preparations,” Treat said. “The threat from COVID-19 is real and should be taken seriously by all Oklahomans. With these protocols, we are taking steps to protect the health and safety of those who work in the Capitol and those who may visit. With that said, I still encourage those who do not need to be at the Capitol to remotely follow the work of the Legislature.”

Senate protocols can be viewed here.

“We are taking the pandemic seriously. These are significant, responsible changes that I applaud my colleagues for developing,” McCall said. “If you need to be at the Capitol, you can be here safely. If you do not need to be at the Capitol, you can still view all proceedings online and contact your legislators anytime.”

House protocols can be viewed here.

ACTION ALERT: Senate making early move to kill Abortion Abolition bill tomorrow?

They're at it again. It looks like the Oklahoma State Senate might be taking an early move to kill Senate Bill 495, the Equal Protection and Equal Justice Act that abolishes abortion in Oklahoma.

In an ironic move, this will be taking place on the annual 'Rose Day', an annual pro-life rally at the Capitol (being held virtually this year, because Rose Day is virtually worthless in accomplishing anything to actually end abortion of COVID-19). SB 495 challenges the status quo (of regulating abortion rather than ending it), and thus limp-wristed and weak legislative leaders seem to believe that it must be crushed before the Abolition Day rally on Tuesday the 9th.

Rather than doing half-measures, self-proclaimed pro-life legislators ought to take the consistent stand of conviction and abolish the wicked and barbaric practice of abortion, which murders upwards of 5,000 Oklahoma babies every year. The only measure in the legislature that does this is SB 495.

Don't pass the buck. Don't put the ball in someone else's court. Don't pass a do-nothing bill and tell us it did something. Act on the principles that you campaign on every two or four years, and actually fight the fight that's worth having, the one to abolish abortion. That is what our Christian, pro-life, conservative, and Republican legislators should be doing. Instead, it seems that they are once again headed down the path of failing to follow through.

Here's an emergency briefing from Free The States, an organization that is leading the charge to abolish abortion:


Call and email the members of the State Senate Health and Human Services Committee TODAY, asking them to PASS Senate Bill 495 and abolish abortion in Oklahoma. 


I'll update this post with contact information shortly.

UPDATE

Here are the members of the HHS Committee, with links to their contact information:

Chairman Greg McCortney (R-Ada): 405-521-5541 and mccortney@oksenate.gov
Vice Chairman Paul Rosino (R-OKC): 405-521-5618 and paul.rosino@oksenate.gov
Julie Daniels (R-Bartlesville): 405-521-5634 and julie.daniels@oksenate.gov
John Haste (R-Broken Arrow): 405-521-5602 and john.haste@oksenate.gov
Carri Hicks (D-OKC): 405-521-5543 and carri.hicks@oksenate.gov
George Young (D-OKC): 405-521-5531 and george.young@oksenate.gov
Frank Simpson (R-Springer): 405-521-5607 and frank.simpson@oksenate.gov
Rob Standridge (R-Norman): 405-521-5535 and rob.standridge@oksenate.gov
Adam Pugh (R-Edmond): 405-521-5622 and adam.pugh@oksenate.gov
Jo Anna Dossett (D-Tulsa): 405-521-5624 and joanna.dossett@oksenate.gov
Jessica Garvin (R-Duncan): 405-521-5522 and jessica.garvin@oksenate.gov

1889 Institute: Is Education the primary mission of public schools anymore?


Is Education the Primary Mission of Public Schools?
By Tyler Williamson

Did you know the state of Oklahoma is experiencing not one, but two pandemics? Back in July, according to the Oklahoma City School District, the state was experiencing the “dual pandemics of COVID-19 and Systemic Racism.” Instead of preparing teachers for the realities of the fall semester, the district decided to spend valuable time and resources to ensure their teachers learned how to “practice alternative ways of relating to…[their]students.”

To date, the fall semester has been a roller coaster ride with only marginal amounts of student learning. Faced with the reality that if any real learning standards were enforced, many students would be held back a grade, teachers are asked to reduce their grading standards and give participation grades.

But, is education even a primary goal of public schools anymore? Evidence from the Oklahoma City School District says no, but this isn’t just a local phenomenon. A July 23rd feature article in the New York Times by Sarah Darville, the managing editor at Chalkbeat (a non-profit news outlet focused on education), discussed the difficulty of reopening schools. She spent the bulk of the article discussing three things that make the decision difficult: child care, meal programs, and mental health counseling. Where is education?

Monday, February 01, 2021

House Dems: Stitt's State of the State address was "divisive" and "revisionist history"

Earlier today, Governor Stitt gave his State of the State address, and I posted reactions from GOP leaders. Here is the other side of the aisle, as expected, decrying everything Stitt said:


House Democratic Caucus Responds to State of the State Address

OKLAHOMA CITY -- House Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman, released the following statement in response to Gov. Kevin Stitt’s State of the State Address: 

“We heard a rosy picture painted by the Governor today, but the reality is that his actions, or more often, his failure to act, have cost Oklahomans financially, emotionally, and physically. 

“At times during the past year, instead of focusing on our state’s pandemic response and at times our surging COVID case numbers and hospitalizations, Gov. Stitt has been distracted by national politics and political patronage.

Stitt delivers State of the State address, GOP legislative leaders react


Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt gave his third State of the State address to the Oklahoma Legislature earlier today. You can watch it in full below:

Following his speech, legislative leaders published their comments and reactions. First up, House and Senate Republicans. I will post the Democratic reaction in a follow-up article.

Group of State Reps call on Attorney General Hunter to investigate Robinhood stock trading app


Reps. Logan Phillips, Trey Caldwell Call on Attorney General Hunter to Investigate Robinhood Stock Trading App

OKLAHOMA CITY (January 29th) – Reps. Logan Phillips, R-Mounds, and Trey Caldwell, R-Lawton, today called on Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter to open an immediate investigation into the recent actions of the stock trading and investing app, Robinhood. Yesterday, in response to a large online group of retail investors targeting specific securities, Robinhood restricted trading of the stocks for a full trading day.

“The trading restrictions implemented by Robinhood are a clear example of market manipulation designed to protect big banks and hedge funds,” said Phillips. “The app claims to want to ‘democratize finance,’ but their actions over the past 48 hours have served to silence individual investors, including thousands of Oklahomans. I am calling on Attorney General Hunter to open an immediate investigation into the actions taken by Robinhood.”

The stocks restricted from purchase on Thursday included AMC; Bed, Bath and Beyond; Gamestop; Nokia; BlackBerry; Express; Koss and Naked Brand Group. The purchase of these stocks, which had been shorted by Wall Street investment firms, was encouraged on the popular Reddit page “r/wallstreetbets.” Due to the increase in purchase of these stocks among retail investors, the investment firms lost billions on their return, and Robinhood blocked the purchase of the stocks. Limited purchase power was restored as of Friday morning, and Robinhood cited “market volatility” as their reasoning for the restriction