Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Nathan Dahm announces US Senate bid, challenging incumbent Lankford

State Senator Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow) announced today that he is launching a campaign for U.S. Senate, challenging incumbent Republican James Lankford.

He is holding a kick-off event this afternoon at 3:30pm in Broken Arrow.

Here is Dahm's announcement post on social media.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

House interim study considers how to best utilize space port at Burns Flat

Committee Considers Avenues to Utilize Burns Flat

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Tammy Townley, R-Ardmore, hosted an interim study Friday morning before the House Government Modernization Committee to consider avenues to help Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority (OSIDA) reach its full potential as a competitive industrial authority.

The Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority (OSIDA) is a development authority created in 1999 to operate a 2,700 spaceport near Burns Flat. The Oklahoma Air & Space Port and Aerospace Industrial Park at Clinton-Sherman Airport (CSM) features the fourth largest all-weather runway in North America at 13,503 feet long, an adjacent 5,193-foot runway and facilities that include an air traffic control tower, six large hangars and 96 acres of pavement for parking and storage.

“I really think that we’ve got a jewel out there,” Townley said while describing her first visit to Burns Flat. “Why are we not doing something with this?”

Oklahoma State Director of Aeronautics Grayson Ardies spoke on the value of the state’s airport system. He said the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission works to ensure a thriving aviation and aerospace industry and grow Oklahoma’s aviation and aerospace workforce, an important part of which is the preservation and improvement of the state’s 108 public airports.

Steve Fendley, president for the unmanned systems division of Kratos Defense and Security Solutions, said Kratos opened a facility in Oklahoma because of the existing aerospace hub within the state, as well as the state incentives, supportive community and affordable cost of living.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Perspective: Here's Why the Budget Bill is Bad for Oklahoma

Budget Bill is Bad for Oklahoma
By Adam Maxey 

I can’t give you the exact reason why so many in the Beltway have a vendetta against our way of life in the heartland, but I can unequivocally say that the freedom and opportunity offered in the Sooner State is worth fighting for. Among many portions of the forthcoming $3.5 trillion federal budget bill, two pieces stand out to me as a slap in the face to Oklahoma. 

A carbon border tax is just a ruse, a la regional haze, when the U.S. EPA attempted to impose their top-down energy preferences on Oklahoma for imperceptible visibility improvements. It’s an attempt to tax American companies to such an extent that they make drastic changes to their global supply chains. That the coastal elites have the audacity to believe they can force other countries to comply with their environmental wishes by destroying U.S. business is mind-boggling. Shuffling supply chains to this extent will put U.S. companies at a severe disadvantage against global competition through massive uncertainty and increased costs. This is a recipe for lost jobs and further increases in the price of goods and services we use every day. 

Second, the proposed “methane reduction fee” is a direct attack on one of Oklahoma’s top exports: natural gas. The technologies that Oklahomans have pioneered to power the U.S. Shale Revolution and create our own energy independence. According to the U.S. Department of Energy “a world without hydraulic fracturing, in 2025, the U.S. economy would have 7.7 million fewer jobs, $1.1 trillion less in gross domestic product (GDP), and $950 billion less in labor income.” This is a natural gas tax, by terming this a fee, Democrats in Congress are hiding behind semantics in order to rush these bad ideas into law.  This all begs the question, why does the Biden Administration want Americans to lose their jobs or earn less money at the jobs they are lucky enough to keep?

Mazzei ends State Treasurer bid following employer conflict

Thus ends one of the shortest statewide campaigns in recent years:

Former State Senator Mike Mazzei Withdraws from the Oklahoma State Treasurers Race
Reversal from Raymond James on allowing Mazzei to run forces Mazzei to withdraw. 

TULSA, OKLAHOMA – It is with much regret that I must withdraw from the race. I know there are so many big issues facing our state and country that need a fiscal conservative solution,” said Mike Mazzei “That was why I was running, to push our state to new heights.” 

“I was running on the optimism and incredibly bright future of our state.  I know that in Oklahoma, we lead the nation as fiscal conservatives, promoting traditional family values, and economic growth and development.  While I am disappointed, I know that I will continue to work on each of those issues whether I am in an elected office or not.   I believe in our state and I believe in each individual and their future.     

Gov. Stitt calls special legislative session to address redistricting issues


OKLAHOMA CITY (Sept. 24, 2021) – Governor Kevin Stitt has called for a special session of the 58th Oklahoma to convene on Nov. 15 to address redistricting issues caused by the delayed release of 2020 census data by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The special session has been called solely for the following purposes:

Small: no reason to hand over policy to leftist medical lobbyists

No reason to defer to “expertise” of medical associations
By Jonathan Small

One of the great myths of politics is that the policy stances of medical associations reflect the views of most doctors. But that claim is being dispelled more and more as medical associations continue to take political stances far afield from the mainstream of society.

For example, the American Medical Association has debated removing sex from birth certificates, saying there is “no clear standard for defining sex designation” and that designating sex on birth certificates “as male or female suggests that sex is simple and binary.”

The AMA has also adopted a “strategic plan” to embed “racial justice and equity at the core of our AMA strategy” by “consistently using lenses of racial, gender, LGBTQ+, disability, class and social justices.” That plan also decries “the myth of meritocracy, and other malignant narratives.”

In 2019, the AMA’s House of Delegates only narrowly rejected a measure to drop the organization’s longstanding opposition to a government-run health-care system.

1889 Institute: Oklahoma’s tax system can be improved

Oklahoma’s tax system can be improved.

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (July 15, 2021) – The 1889 Institute has published “The Why and How of Sound Tax Policy,” an exploration into the principles that should be followed in formulating tax policy. The study’s author, Luke Tucker, who is a PhD candidate in Philosophy at the University of Oklahoma, as well as 1889 Institute intern, looked across the ideological spectrum, and found an amazing amount of consensus among economists on this issue. He found that there are only four basic principles that should be followed in formulating tax policy:

- Neutrality – keep taxes from fundamentally changing economic calculations 

- Transparency – make it so people know what they are paying in taxes

- Simplicity – make it easy to comply with tax law

- Predictability – make it so it is easy to know what one will owe in taxes.

“Luke brought a fresh set of eyes to this issue, taking nothing for granted and assuming nothing in advance,” said Byron Schlomach, director of the 1889 Institute and himself a PhD economist. “Luke did an excellent job of looking deeper and explaining why these principles matter.”

Thursday, September 23, 2021

State Sen. Murdock to file legislation to ease ag sales tax exemption renewal

Murdock to file legislation after findings of ag sales tax exemption interim study

On the heels of an interim study dedicated to examining Oklahoma’s agricultural sales tax exemption, Sen. Casey Murdock said he’s preparing to file a measure ahead of the next legislative session to make it easier for farmers and ranchers to renew their sales tax exemption card.

“When the Oklahoma Tax Commission (OTC) began requiring a Schedule F for agriculturalists to qualify for their sales tax exemption, we passed Senate Bill 422 to add additional documentation farmers and ranchers could provide to OTC in lieu of the Schedule F,” Murdock said. “After working with the tax commission, I’ve found these changes are working – there’s no backlog of producers getting their card, and denials are typically because the applicant hasn’t correctly filled out the form. However, we also learned the vast majority of the 110,000 ag sales tax exemption cards issued each year are renewals, so now we need a way to make the renewal process easier and more convenient.”

Murdock said his proposal will include an additional option on the agricultural sales tax exemption application that will allow the farmer or rancher to check a box if the application is a renewal, as well as confirm there’s no change to the agricultural operation from the prior year. If there’s no change, the renewal will be automatic.

Lankford: Someone remind Biden he works for Americans, not the other way around

Someone Remind Joe Biden He Works For Americans, Not The Other Way Around
By Senator James Lankford (R-OK)

Oklahomans don’t like the government telling them what to do. No matter what it is.

I’ve talked to countless Oklahomans who were as shocked as I was when Joe Biden said in a recent speech that he had “lost patience” with the American people and demanded that Americans get a COVID- 19 shot. China and Russia lay down demands on their citizens. In America, we have personal responsibility and freedom. The President can advise and encourage, but not demand.  

President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed oversaw the development and distribution of three COVID-19 vaccines in record time. As of today, more than 179 million Americans, including everyone in my family, have made the choice to receive the full COVID-19 vaccine regimen. It may be the only issue where President Trump and President Biden agree. They both recommend the vaccine. But, President Biden has pushed well beyond a recommendation, now he wants to create a mandate.

We don’t live in a country where our leaders can ignore the facts, the science, and the will of the people and require their way or the highway. It’s not how a government of, by, and for the people works, and it will not work in Oklahoma. Our nation will also see more economic chaos because millions of workers will change jobs rather than take the vaccine. President Biden should not push people to leave their career because of his preference for the vaccine. Give people options and let them choose, that is America.  

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

State Sen. Nathan Dahm to make "huge campaign announcement" on Tuesday

State Senator Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow) is pushing into the news by teasing a "huge campaign announcement" set for a rally on this coming Tuesday. The veteran legislator is in the middle of his final term, having been reelected without opposition in 2020. 

Dahm has been rumored to be considering an attempt at a higher office for several years, having placed fourth in a close (and crowded) field in the 2018 1st Congressional District primary. His name has been floated for a variety of offices, not the least of which is U.S. Senate. Incumbent U.S. Senator James Lankford is on the ballot in 2022, having already drawn a challenger in Jackson Lahmeyer, whose primary hype seems to be an endorsement by former Trump administration member General Michael Flynn and other QAnon friendly jokers characters.

Well known as the most conservative sitting member of the State Senate, Dahm is also a flagrant self-promoter and headline chaser, having filed some legislation (here, here, here, plus others that I declined to post) that I, quite frankly, found to be legislative clickbait, more meme than meaningful, and groveling attention-grabbers.

Anyway, here's the press release from Dahm:

Nathan Dahm, Oklahoma State Senator, is making a special campaign announcement on Tuesday, September 28th

Oklahoma Congressmen vote against spending bill and debt limit suspension

Oh look, the U.S. House just voted to spend gobs of money and suspend the debt limit.

In other words, it's a day that ends in 'y'.

While I do appreciate that our Republican delegation voted against this particular measure, their stern words about excessive spending and drowning debt fall a bit flat given that the GOP under both of the last Republican presidents (Trump and Bush) spent money like it grew on trees. Republicans in power: spend-spend-spend! Republicans out of power: fiscal responsibility!

Lucas Statement on Continuing Resolution & Suspending the Debt Limit

Washington, DC (Sept. 21st) – Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) released the following statement today after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5305- the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act, a continuing resolution that includes a measure to suspend the nation’s debt limit through December 2022.

“Last election cycle, Democrats won control of the House, the Senate, and the White House. Since then, instead of working through regular order in a bipartisan, meaningful manner with Republicans, Democrats have chosen the ‘go it alone’ approach and have laid out a reckless tax and spending plan that will fall on the backs of America’s working families and businesses- Congressional Democrats proudly did this once before and are unabashed about spending an additional $3.5 trillion. It should come as no surprise that Republicans would support a clean continuing resolution that includes appropriate disaster relief and necessary Afghan aid but not the irresponsible measure that encourages Congressional Democrats to continue their spending spree.
“Let’s be clear, the last suspension of the debt limit this past August accounted for all the spending that had occurred up to that date. This isn’t about Congress’ past spending, this is about our future spending. Since Democrats have decided to govern alone, they should be ready lift the debt limit alone.

“With only nine days before federal government funding runs out, I hope my colleagues drop their political posturing and join House and Senate Republicans in our efforts to ensure that we keep critical programs funded and operational.”

Hern votes against Continuing Resolution, urges return to budget process

WASHINGTON, DC (Sept. 21st) – Representative Kevin Hern (OK-01) released the following statement after voting against HR 5305, the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act, a continuing resolution to fund the federal government and suspend the federal debt limit.

“Once again, the Democrat majority has put the federal government on autopilot,” said Rep. Hern. “What are we doing here? Our constituents did not send us here to do the same thing over and over and over again. We must interrupt this never-ending cycle of apathetic governance and do the hard work of passing a budget. The text of the continuing resolution we voted on tonight was not public as of this morning, we received the text with just hours to read it before the vote. The deadline is next week, we didn’t have to rush this to the floor tonight.”

Cole Votes Against Suspending the Debt Limit

Washington, D.C. (Sept. 21st) – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) issued the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5305. This measure includes a continuing resolution to fund the government at current (fiscal year 2021) levels through December 3, 2021, with additional items attached, including a provision that would suspend the debt limit until the end of 2022. Cole voted against the legislation.

“As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I certainly recognize the importance of keeping the government open and operating. However, I could not support the short-term funding measure brought to the House floor by Democrats this week due to the irresponsible inclusion of a provision to suspend the debt limit until the end of next year,” said Cole. “Such action would effectively deliver a blank check enabling President Biden and Democrats to plow further ahead on their monstrous spending spree on radical, socialist-style priorities and programs.

“Since taking control of the White House and the Senate, Democrats have shown no desire to restore fiscal sanity and revealed every intention to tax and spend unlike any other time in American history. Indeed, enacting legislation to suspend the debt limit, conveniently until after the midterm elections next year, would only pave the way for more big-government spending that has already led to higher taxes on businesses and the taxation of inflation on the American people.

“Considering that Democrats control the legislative and executive branches, if they want to continue to push their misguided, out-of-control spending, it should be up to them to figure out how to pay for it themselves. But in the meantime, Democrats will certainly not receive any help from Republicans in their quest to bankrupt future generations.

"Funding the government is one of the most fundamental roles of Congress, and I am disappointed that Democrats have chosen to add controversial items to a measure to prevent a shutdown. Once Democrats come to their senses, I look forward to voting for a measure to responsibly keep the government open and to address pressing matters, of importance to both parties, such as disaster relief, aid for Afghan refugees and support for Israel.”

Cole also made remarks on the House floor while managing debate on the rule providing for consideration of H.R. 5305. Video is available here.

Congressman Markwayne Mullin:

Lankford joins effort to prohibit Dishonorable Discharge for unvaxxed soldiers

Lankford, Marshall, Cruz, Tuberville Want to Prohibit Dishonorable Discharge for Unvaccinated Service members

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford, joined Senators Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-KS), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) in introducing the COVID-19 Vaccine Dishonorable Discharge Prevention Act to prohibit the Department of Defense (DOD) from giving service members a dishonorable discharge for choosing not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The House Armed Services Committee recently passed similar language led by Rep. Mark Green (R-TN) in an amendment to the FY2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This legislation comes on the heels of President Biden mandating millions of Americans—including service members—to get vaccinated and the DOD issuing guidance stating that soldiers who refuse the vaccine will face “administrative or non-judicial punishment [under UCMJ] – to include relief of duties or discharge.”

Yesterday, Lankford demanded Biden reverse his policy on vaccine mandates and asked specific questions on protections for employees who request religious and medical accommodations as well as on the impact of employees with natural immunity. Lankford is calling on the Department of Defense to not force service members to choose between their sincerely held religious beliefs and serving in our nation’s military when it comes to getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Oklahoma Optometrists plan free vision exams on Giving Sight Day (Oct. 2nd)

Oklahoma Optometrists Offer Complimentary Vision Exams on
Giving Sight Day: October 2, 2021

The Oklahoma Association of Optometric Physicians and its participating members will be hosting the second annual Giving Sight Day on Saturday, October 2. Giving Sight Day is designed for families and individuals in-need to receive complimentary vision care at participating clinics. 

“Clear vision and healthy eyes are gifts that all Oklahomans should enjoy,” said OAOP President Dr. Randi Day. “That’s why we are committed to providing complimentary services to those who would be otherwise unable to access optometric care. This is a great way for optometric physicians to give back to the communities and the people that we love.

The first ever “Giving Sight Day” in 2020 saw OAOP members performing over 350 free eye exams and donating $32,400 of frames and lenses to patients.

Participating optometric physicians and clinics are listed below. Some clinics require appointments and some are first-come, first-serve. Clinics participating on days other than Oct. 2 are highlighted. The public is encouraged to call the clinic of their choice in advance to inquire as to Giving Sight Day operating hours, reservations and other protocols.

Additional participants are added regularly to this website: https://oklahoma.aoa.org/patients-and-public/giving-sight-day

Giving Sight Day Participants (as of Friday, 9/16)

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.