Saturday, September 18, 2021

Oklahoma joins 23 states in demanding Biden drop vaccine mandate or face legal action

Attorney General O’Connor and 23 Other State Attorneys General Demand President Biden Drop Vaccine Mandate or Risk Legal Action

Washington, D.C. - Attorney General O’Connor and 23 other state attorneys general sent a letter to President Biden today, warning that litigation will follow the implementation of the proposed mandate on private sector employees to either get a COVID-19 shot, submit to weekly testing, or be fired. The coalition of AGs outlined their legal and policy concerns with the mandate, which will be carried out through an Occupational Safety and Health Act emergency temporary standard.

“Federal overreach has been a consistent problem, and President Biden has now taken it to the next level,” Attorney General O’Connor said. “Biden’s national vaccine mandates are a clear abuse of power, and if he doesn’t change course, me and my attorneys general colleagues are prepared to sue to defend the rights of Oklahomans.”

History has shown that the judicial branch is highly skeptical of the use of OSHA emergency temporary standards because of concerns about state sovereignty and the separation of powers. Further, the AGs raise concerns about the expansion of a federal regulatory agency and public perception of the order’s constitutionality.

The coalition of AGs goes beyond legal arguments to address practical policy considerations of such a sweeping order. Most concerning is the potential to drive individuals out of the workforce, particularly healthcare workers, who are most needed right now to fight the pandemic. Additionally, this mandate ignores the tens of millions of Americans with natural immunity and will drive further skepticism of vaccines.

Nikki Haley endorses Bice in congressional reelection bid

Nikki Haley Endorses Congresswoman Stephanie Bice (OK-05) in Re-election Bid

“Stephanie Bice is a proud Oklahoman who knows conservative polices work for the Sooner State,” said Ambassador Nikki Haley. “She’s a fighter for lower taxes, American energy, border security, and a strong military. I’m proud to endorse her because she’s not afraid to stand up to Pelosi’s spending spree and liberal agenda.”
Read more about Amb. Haley's endorsement of Rep. Bice in the City Sentinel

Friday, September 17, 2021

State Reps. Caldwell, Roberts comment on Department of Education audit

Reactions are starting to come in regarding Governor Stitt's requested - first ever - full audit of the State Department of Education. Click here for the (un)surprising take from Republican Republican-In-Name-Only State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister.

Rep. Chad Caldwell Comments on Education Audit

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Chad Caldwell, R-Enid, today issued the following statement after the governor and the state auditor announced an investigative audit of the Oklahoma Cost Accounting System (OCAS) at the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE). 

Caldwell and 21 other lawmakers requested the audit last November after a report from State Auditor and Inspector Cindy Byrd of EPIC Charter Schools revealed the OSDE failed to properly monitor the OCAS for compliance.  

“I appreciate Governor Stitt calling for an audit of the State Department of Education. Following on the heels of the report from the state auditor last year that identified serious shortcomings in the department’s compliance efforts, 22 legislators asked the governor to further investigate these claims. With today’s announcement, Governor Stitt has followed through on the promise he made to Oklahoma taxpayers.

Transparency? Hofmeister calls Department of Education audit an "attack"

First rattle out of the box and wannabe Democrat State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister, who has always been a liberal wolf in Republican clothing, calls Governor Stitt's Department of Education audit an "attack". 

This is a transparent attempt to avoid transparency and fiscal accountability. Below is Hofmeister's laughable press release:

Hofmeister responds to attack audit on public education

OKLAHOMA CITY (Sept. 16, 2021) – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister today made the following remarks after Gov. Kevin Stitt announced his audit request of the Oklahoma State Department of Education

“The Governor’s call for an audit is yet another attack on Oklahoma’s public education system. 

Gov. Stitt announces first ever audit of Oklahoma Department of Education

This is big.

Audit request made following historic $3.2 billion investment in Oklahoma education

OKLAHOMA CITY (Sept. 16, 2021) — Governor Kevin Stitt announced today he has submitted a request to the Oklahoma Auditor and Inspector’s Office for an audit of the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) following evidence of misuse of funds found in the audit of EPIC Charter Schools. Specifically, the request demands identification of all revenue sources flowing into OSDE through federal funds, state appropriations, taxes and fees, and to determine whether OSDE and Oklahoma school districts are complying with financial transaction reporting requirements. The first full audit of the OSDE in the agency’s history comes as over $3 billion will be invested in education in FY2022, the largest amount ever in Oklahoma history.

“I promised Oklahomans that as governor I would clean up state government to make it more transparent and accountable and I am keeping that promise,” said Governor Stitt. “As we make record investments in our public education system, students and parents deserve to know that their schools are spending our tax dollars appropriately and in accordance with the law.”

Secretary of Education Ryan Walters voiced his support for the audit request to ensure state resources are being used to provide maximum support for teachers and classrooms.

Rep. Hern plans legislative action to withhold funding for implementation of Biden's unconstitional mandate

Hern plans legislative action against Biden’s unconstitutional vaccine mandate

Tulsa, OK (September 16th) – Representative Kevin Hern (OK-01) held a press conference this afternoon after meeting with local business leaders to discuss President Biden’s recent vaccine mandate on all employers with 100+ employees.

While the President has the power to issue Executive Orders, it is up to Congress to fund them. Rep. Hern plans to take legislative action to withhold funding from the Department of Labor for the implementation of this mandate. Rep. Hern has not ruled out legal action.

You can watch the video here:

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

OK House Dem Leader: Republicans to blame for Biden Vaccine Mandate

Virgin: Republicans to Blame for Biden Vaccine Mandate

OKLAHOMA CITY (Sept. 10th) -- House Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman, released the following statement today in response to statements made by Governor Kevin Stitt after President Biden announced a national vaccine mandate yesterday evening. 

“Over the last several months, Governor Kevin Stitt and Republicans in the Legislature have remained silent on how to keep our children safe during this pandemic. 

“The governor and those same Republicans hamstrung local officials with Senate Bill 658, which stripped school boards and local governments of the ability to implement a policy that protects the lives of children.

“As Republicans in Oklahoma and across the country continue to play political games, hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans have been infected by COVID, students and teachers have gotten seriously ill, and too many Oklahomans have died.

More Oklahoma officials slam Biden's imperial COVID edict

More Oklahoma officials have come out against President Biden's imperial edict relating to COVID-19 vaccination. Below are comments from Congresswoman Stephanie Bice, Congressman Frank Lucas, and State Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat:

OCPA: Biden administration’s fiscal policy has echoes of Afghanistan

Biden administration’s fiscal policy has echoes of Afghanistan
By Jonathan Small

Amidst the ongoing chaos of U.S. withdrawal, it’s widely understood that the Biden administration’s handling of Afghanistan is a debacle that will have long term, negative consequences. Unfortunately, the administration’s approach to fiscal policy falls into the same category.

The spending package initially approved as a COVID bailout in 2020 was enormous, but some could defend it as a once-a-century emergency response. Instead, Washington politicians are now treating it as a floor for future spending, creating levels of deficit spending unimaginable just a few years ago.

The consequences of that spending are already being felt by working families in Oklahoma, and the situation will only get worse with time if it is allowed to continue.

A recent forum hosted in Oklahoma City by the Millennial Debt Foundation, which seeks to “lead a generational conversation about fiscal stewardship, the role of the federal government and America’s deficit spending crisis,” highlighted facts that all citizens should hear.

Column: Still Reason to Celebrate the 1889 Land Run

Still Reason to Celebrate the 1889 Land Run
By Tyler Williamson

In a telling example of the outrage mob, cancel culture, and the deep-seated need to get offended at everything, the 1889 Land Run has been canceled. You may remember the controversy surrounding Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC) and its decision to remove a monument depicting the 1889 Land Run. The irony is that OCCC most likely would not exist were it not for the land run, but I digress.

I don’t have any special affinity for the monument. It was merely a small slab of concrete with a depiction more myth than reality. Interim President Thomas was at least partially correct when he said the monument wasn’t historically accurate. However, in a separate statement, the Vice President of OCCC stated that they removed the monument because it “celebrated cruelty and oppression.” Granted, the administration is within their rights to remove the monument for any reason, but it is unfortunate that they chose to paint the ‘89ers, and the 1889 Land Run in general, in such a light. In doing so, the administration went so far as to substitute a different myth for reality.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Senate Finance Committee to study agricultural sales tax exemptions

Senate Finance Committee to study agricultural sales tax exemptions

The agricultural industry has a significant impact on Oklahoma’s economy, and Senate Agriculture and Wildlife Committee vice chairman Roland Pederson said it’s time to review who qualifies for agricultural sales tax exemptions in the state.

An interim study – “Finding a pathway for equitable farm tax exemptions” – will take a deep dive into this issue in the Senate Finance Committee on Monday, Sept. 13 at 10:30 a.m.

Pederson said the Oklahoma Tax Commission recently changed the process to getting an agricultural sales tax exemption card, and he’s heard from many farmers and ranchers from across the state who’ve had difficulties getting or renewing their exemption. Cards must be renewed every three years.  

“We need to conduct a fair assessment to verify legitimate farmers and ranchers when approving agricultural sales tax exemptions,” Pederson, R-Burlington, said. “While we don’t want to grant exemptions to individuals who don’t qualify and aren’t actually producers, we also don’t want to prohibit exemptions to those who are trying to make a living in ag.”

9/11: 20 years later, we still remember

Today we mark twenty years since the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001. I was eleven at the time, and this was the defining world event of my childhood.

We watched the memorial services on television this morning, much like we watched the events unfold on that fateful day. Our oldest two children, aged six and three, learned more about 9/11 this week than in previous years, and as they grow up we will tell them more as appropriate for their maturity.

It seems hardly possible that it's been twenty years. We have an entire generation of kids who have no comprehension of what life was like before September 11th, 2001.

Have You Forgotten? is a poignant song by country music artist Darryl Worley. This video contains images and video from that day -- reminders of what our nation suffered and experienced 20 years ago today.

May we never forget:

Friday, September 10, 2021

State Reps file bipartisan Data Privacy Act of 2022

Reps. Josh West, Walke File Data Privacy Act of 2022

OKLAHOMA CITY – Today, Majority Leader Rep. Josh West, R-Grove, and Rep. Collin Walke, D-Oklahoma City, filed the Oklahoma Computer Data Privacy Act of 2022. 

“The importance of data privacy legislation cannot be overstated,” West said. “In 2018, President Donald Trump created the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence. The commission’s 700-plus page report explains that not only are ‘[a]dversaries using AI systems to enhance disinformation campaigns and cyber-attacks,’ but they are also ‘harvesting data on Americans to build profiles of their beliefs, behavior, and biological makeup for tailored attempts to manipulate or coerce individuals.’ I will not sit idly by while private information like our biological makeup is pilfered by profiteering tech companies so they can get rich by selling our data and we can be exploited. I stand beside former President Trump and his commission, and that is why I am authoring this legislation in accordance with the commission’s recommendations.”

Walke said, “The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence explained that America is ill-prepared for the next decade of technological development, and part of that is due to a lack of governmental action in regulating things like data privacy. It is time that we heed the advice of security experts like the National Security Commission and pass meaningful data privacy legislation. We must be part of the solution and not the problem.”

Top Oklahoma officials blast Biden's imperial COVID edict

Yesterday, President Joe Biden went on national television to announce a massive new edict decreeing mask and vaccine mandates for federal employees and contractors, healthcare workers, educators, and businesses with over 100 employees, doubling mask fines for interstate transportation, among other things. You can read the plan here from the White House.

This is what happens when you allow the executive branch to become imperial. Over the past few decades, both the Congressional and the Judicial branches have allowed the Executive to rule by fiat, executive order, and bureaucratic regulation. This should be struck down immediately as totally unconstitutional.

Following are reactions from Governor Kevin Stitt, Attorney General John O'Connor, Congressman Kevin Hern, State House Speaker Charles McCall, and U.S. Senator James Lankford:

Saturday, September 04, 2021

Markwayne Mullin talks overseas trip, Afghan rescue effort on Fox News

Congressman Markwayne Mullin made headlines this week after going seemingly off-the-radar for a time while involved in an effort to evacuate some American citizens and allies from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. Media reports alleged that he "threatened" U.S. embassy staff in Tajikistan when they refused to assist his team, and made it sound like Mullin had charged in on a one-man Rambo mission.

This was evidently Mullin's second attempt to sponsor a flight into Afghanistan. His flight was not allowed clearance to land. "I don't know who shut us down, but I think it was 100 percent directed from the State Department," Mullin said.