Friday, April 30, 2021

State House passes bill prohibiting “Critical Race Theory” curriculum in public education systems

Critical Race Theory (here's a brief primer on it from Pulpit & Pen, plus some more videos and podcasts on it from Todd Friel and Wretched) is going to destroy American society unless leaders rise up and speak out against this Marxist ideology that is sweeping through the education and entertainment industries. 

Kudos to the Oklahoma Legislature for taking a stab at this issue.

In this post: press release from the authors of the measure, press release from House Democrats who are just appalled at it [insert shocked face], and supportive comments from OCPA President Jonathan Small.

Bill Prohibiting “Critical Race Theory” Curriculum Passes House

OKLAHOMA CITY – A House bill, amended in the state Senate, that will prohibit Oklahoma public schools, colleges and universities from incorporating certain messages about sex and race into any course instruction earned final passage in the House today. The bill also will prohibit requiring mandatory gender or sexual diversity training or counseling in the schools.

House Bill 1775 is authored by Rep. Kevin West, R-Moore.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Governor Stitt signs pro-life 'Heartbeat Bill'

Governor Stitt continues to tout his willingness to sign any pro-life bill that makes it to his desk. I'm more convinced than ever that the truly consistent and committed pro-life position should be to abolish abortion now and end the incremental/regulation strategy that has dominated the pro-life effort for the last five decades.

If we're willing to fight for a heartbeat bill, or requiring abortionists to be OB-GYNs, or whatever other bill fits the description of "pro-life" these days, let's [figuratively] fight for real and go for full-blown abolition.

Governor Signs Heartbeat Bill

OKLAHOMA CITY – Gov. Stitt this week signed a bill that will stop abortions from being performed once an unborn child is determined to have a detectable heartbeat.

House Bill 2441 by Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell, would allow for abortion only if a medical emergency exists that threatens the life of the mother.

“All life is precious and deserves to be safeguarded,” Russ said. “This law will decrease the number of abortions performed in our state and protect the lives of innocent unborn babies. I’m thankful to all who helped accomplish this.”

Sen. Julie Daniels, R-Bartlesville, the Senate author of the legislation, secured passage of the bill in that chamber.

"I believe life begins at conception, but with the detection of a fetal heartbeat no one can doubt that the baby in the womb is alive and must be protected.  HB 2441 will do just that,” Daniels said.  “I am grateful to the members of both chambers and to Governor Stitt for supporting this legislation.”

Minister, Paul Abner, president of the group Oklahoma Faith Leaders, was a significant advocate and voice for the faith community of Oklahoma, expressing support of this measure at the state Capitol.

"If we've learned anything during this past year, it is the value of human life. We've seen an incredible movement across the United States and the world to protect it,” Abner said. Still we continue to neglect those who have no voice - the unborn. But yesterday, Oklahoma took a huge leap toward defending the sanctity of life, as Governor Kevin Stitt signed HB 2441 into law. Thankfully, Rep. Todd Russ had the courage to introduce this legislation, commonly known as the heartbeat bill. The faith leaders whom I represent boldly supported this legislation and worked diligently to get it passed. We are incredibly grateful to all of our state legislators who helped vote this important legislation into law and stood up for life in Oklahoma.”

HB 2441 requires reasonable medical judgment to determine that a mother has a condition that so complicates her medical condition that it necessitates the abortion of her pregnancy to avert her death or serious or irreparable physical harm to her.

Todd Russ represents District 55 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which includes Roger Mills and Washita counties and parts of Beckham Greer and Kiowa counties.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Such a priority: Oklahoma now has rescue animals as the state pet

Call me a killjoy, but I would much rather our State legislators spend their time on actual legislative work rather than frivolous things like this.

Rather than naming a state pet, or some bridge, or filing joke bills to ban paper straws and get your name in the news again like some drug junkie out for another hit... how about the state legislature do some of the following:
But by all means, go ahead and waste time and effort on pointless measures like the following...

Gov. Signs Bill Naming Rescue Animals as State Pet

OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Mark McBride’s dog Cali is ready for her moment as the spokesdog for the state after the governor signed a bill designating rescue animals the state pet.

Cali, an 80-pound Catahoula mix McBride adopted from the Moore Animal Shelter, served as the inspiration for Cali’s Law, House Bill 1816.

“I’d never let a dog in my house before I got Cali,” McBride said. “Now, my wife and I have a second rescue dog, and we just love them both. We’re hoping others will join us in adopting other rescue animals, which in turn will help our municipalities reduce the cost of running their shelters or building bigger ones for lost or abandoned pets. We’re counting on this legislation helping us spread the word.”

Gov. Stitt signs bill to protect right to worship

Governor Signs OK Religious Freedom Act

OKLAHOMA CITY – On Monday, Gov. Kevin Stitt signed the Oklahoma Religious Freedom Act to protect the constitutional right to worship.

House Bill 2648 dictates that anything closing places of worship would be considered a substantial burden on people’s freedom of religion. The bill’s author, Rep. Brian Hill, R-Mustang, filed the legislation after learning that many states’ governments had forced places of worship to close throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is of the upmost importance that we ensure our God-given right to worship is protected no matter the circumstances,” Hill said. “Our country was founded upon the promise of religious freedom for all, and we must preserve that right for generations to come. My faith, like many Oklahomans, is at the core of who I am, and I’m very grateful that my colleagues in the Legislature and Governor Stitt have stood up to protect of our First Amendment right to worship.”

Saturday, April 24, 2021

1889 Institute: The Economic Fantasizing of the Green Advocates

The Economic Fantasizing of the Green Advocates
By Byron Schlomach

In a confirmation hearing for President Biden’s Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, Senator Ted Cruz complained about Biden killing the Keystone XL pipeline, eliminating 11,000 jobs. Buttigieg responded that “Biden’s climate agenda will create a net increase in jobs.” Buttigieg’s response, commonly given by climate activists when challenged on jobs, is pure, unmitigated, economic balderdash.

New technology, from steam engines to robotics, has generally freed resources to expand opportunities and increase standards of living. Green advocates presume, therefore, that any new technology will do the same. But there is a key feature of innovations that expand opportunity and jobs. They make production cheaper.

True growth-inducing innovations, like steam, the Bessemer process for producing steel, and refining and burning fossil fuels for energy are always a chance to lower costs. Consequently, they are adopted voluntarily. There is never any need for governments to force, bribe (through grants and subsidies), or tax advantage companies into adopting innovations that are truly beneficial – that is, that lower costs and produce a higher standard of living on top of more jobs for us all.

Friday, April 23, 2021

1889 Institute calls for end of aerospace engineer tax credits

Market forces should drive labor markets, not government.

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (April 21, 2021) – The 1889 Institute has published “Oklahoma’s Aerospace Industry Engineer Workforce Tax Credits,” the most recent of two installments in the Institute’s Corporate Welfare Directory. The paper makes it clear that the state’s tax rebate program for aerospace engineers is another corporate welfare scheme. Three programs effectively subsidize high-paying professional aerospace engineering jobs, providing tax breaks to companies who hire engineers or to the engineers themselves.

“What’s particularly galling about these programs is that other Oklahoma businesses and everyday taxpayers with lower incomes and less in benefits have to fill in the tax holes created by these programs,” said Byron Schlomach, director of the 1889 Institute. “In a very real sense, these programs tax the poor in order to give to the rich,” he said.

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. 🔥

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 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

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.

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

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

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

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.


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

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.