Sunday, January 23, 2022

State Senate Pro Tem files landmark education measure, school choice groups praise

State Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat has filed a major education reform measure, Senate Bill 1647 (the Oklahoma Empowerment Act). Below his press release I'm including comments from supporting groups and organizations.

As a homeschool graduate and homeschool parent, I am quite hesitant when it comes to even "friendly" efforts to provide some sort of funds for homeschool students. Oklahoma is the most free state in the union when it comes to home education freedoms, and as such those of us in the homeschool community have jealously guarded against the government nose coming under the tent. 

I'll be curious to see just how this measure would apply to homeschoolers. From first appearances, I would be greatly concerned about government education regulators finally getting their grubby paws on the liberties that home education has enjoyed here in Oklahoma.


Pro Tem Treat bill empowers all parents to pursue best educational opportunity for their student

OKLAHOMA CITY – All parents of Oklahoma students would be empowered to pursue the best educational setting that fits the individual needs of their child under legislation filed by Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat.

“Every child deserves the chance for a quality education that fits their unique needs, regardless of their zip code. We’ve already empowered the parents of children with disabilities with this opportunity through the very successful Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship program. It’s time we give all parents and all student in Oklahoma that same opportunity for success,” said Treat, R-Oklahoma City.

Treat said Senate Bill 1647, also known as the Oklahoma Empowerment Act, creates Oklahoma Empowerment Accounts which allow parents to use their child’s state education dollars to pursue a variety of educational opportunities, all to secure the best education possible for their children.

“A quality education is essential to each child’s success, and the overall success and growth of our state. No child should be trapped in a failing school or a school that cannot meet their unique educational needs simply because of where his or her home is located. Oklahoma Empowerment Accounts will bring generational change to families across Oklahoma by giving all parents the freedom to do what’s best for their child,” Treat said.


OCPA applauds Oklahoma Empowerment Account legislation

OKLAHOMA CITY (January 21, 2022)— Larry Parman, chairman of the board of trustees for the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, issued the following statement today in response to Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat filing Senate Bill 1647, which creates Oklahoma Empowerment Accounts (OEAs). Under Treat’s OEA bill, parents can use taxpayer funds to choose any education option, including private schools, that best serve their child’s needs.

“For Oklahoma to become a state of true opportunity for all, we must provide a quality education to every child. But that can only happen when parents are able to choose from a range of options based on their child’s unique needs. In contrast, the one-size-fits-all approach of the current education system in Oklahoma leaves too many children behind. Those of us on the OCPA board are civic leaders, business owners, and most of all parents and grandparents. We know there is no issue more important to families and Oklahoma’s future progress than improving our state’s education outcomes. By fighting to maximize educational opportunity for all Oklahoma families, Senate Pro Tempore Greg Treat has taken a bold stand for families that deserves applause from all Oklahomans.”

The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs is a free-market think tank that works to advance principles and policies that support free enterprise, limited government, individual initiative and personal responsibility.


ChoiceMatters, Parent Voice Oklahoma, Praise Legislation Creating “Oklahoma Empowerment Accounts”
Proposal Gives Parents Control Over Their Education Tax Dollars

OKLAHOMA CITY – ChoiceMatters, an Oklahoma non-profit dedicated to increasing education options for parents, today praised Oklahoma State Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat for filing SB 1647, the Oklahoma Empowerment Act. The bill proposes giving parents control over a portion of their children’s education tax dollars, in the form of Oklahoma Empowerment Accounts. The accounts would be eligible to fund private school tuition or to supplement home schooling with approved technology expenses, enrichment materials or other educational services.  

“The biggest barrier to education freedom is income,” said ChoiceMatters Executive Director Robert Ruiz. “High income parents can choose the school that is right for their children, either by moving to the zip codes with the best public schools, by sending their children to private school, or by supplementing their children’s education with tutoring and other resources. We believe that parents of every income level in every zip code should be able to make these same choices and offer their children these same opportunities.

“Pro Tem Treat has put forward a bold vision to give every Oklahoma parent the freedom and the ability to find the best education possible for their children,” continued Ruiz. “We encourage his colleagues in both the Senate and the House to stand with parents and support this proposal.”

Jennifer Johnson, a Skiatook mother who helped start Parent Voice Oklahoma, an advocacy organization supporting efforts that include parent empowerment, school choice and educational freedom, also praised the proposed legislation.

“Parents have realized that the balance of power in public education has tilted towards unelected bureaucrats and top-down control,” said Johnson. “Putting parents in charge of their own education tax dollars puts them back in the driver’s seat where they belong. This is the ultimate form of local control and parent empowerment. Thank you, Senator Treat, for giving parents a voice in our kids' education.



AFC-Oklahoma Issues Statement in Support of Oklahoma Empowerment Accounts

OKLAHOMA CITY – American Federation for Children-Oklahoma Senior Advisor Jennifer Carter today released the following statement in support of the Oklahoma Empowerment Act (SB 1647), filed today by Senate Pro Tempore Greg Treat. The bill gives every parent a portion of their education tax dollars, in the form of “Empowerment Accounts,” to support K-12 education needs. 

“The COVID-era has made it obvious that our system of public education is not responsive to parental needs or input, even on matters as important as school closures, virtual learning, and curricula. All across the country, parents are fighting back and demanding more control over how their kids are being taught, who is teaching them, and what they are learning. 

“The creation of Oklahoma Empowerment Accounts will ensure that all parents have real options for their children when it comes to education. That, in turn, will force schools to listen to parents and to ensure they are meeting the needs of the families they are supposed to serve, rather than simply ignoring them at the behest of unions and special interests. Our thanks go out to Pro Tem Treat for his support of parental rights and education freedom. We are excited to help make his bold vision a new reality for Oklahoma parents and families.” – Jennifer Carter, senior advisor, AFC-Oklahoma

Lankford, Rubio call for 2022 Winter Olympics to be moved out of China over human rights abuses


Lankford, Rubio Call on Olympic Committee to Relocate 2022 Winter Games

WASHINGTON, DC – Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced a resolution calling on the International Olympic Committee to relocate the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games in response to China’s refusal to acknowledge and stop their egregious human rights abuses. These abuses include genocide, forced labor, and crimes against humanity as a direct attempt to forcibly “assimilate,” or eventually eliminate, vulnerable ethnic and religious groups such as the Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region of northwest China.

“When our athletes are being instructed to leave their cellphones in the United States before heading to China, and we still do not know the wellbeing of tennis star Peng Shaui, we have a responsibility to question why the Olympic Committee is allowing China to host the 2022 Winter Olympic games,” said Lankford. “What’s more embarrassing is that we’re allowing the Chinese Communist Party to profit off of the games when it is responsible for genocide and crimes against humanity. Our athletes have trained, worked, and dedicated their lives to representing our nation. American Olympic athletes should not be punished or put in harm’s way while competing in this historic event. I’m calling on the Olympic Committee to relocate the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games to another host country.”

State Rep. Townley files bill to name the Holy Bible as Oklahoma's State Book


Bill Would Designate the Holy Bible as Oklahoma's State Book

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Tammy Townley, R-Ardmore, has filed House Bill 3890 to name the Holy Bible as Oklahoma's official state book.

"We are people of great faith," Townley said. "The Holy Bible is an integral part of numerous faiths and is deeply important to many Oklahomans. Even when we don't always agree with each other, we always know that we have a foundation higher than politics that we can rely on to remain unshakeable when times are tough."

Townley is a former owner of a Christian Bible bookstore.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Gov. Stitt applauds SCOTUS decision to address McGirt fallout


GOVERNOR STITT APPLAUDS SUPREME COURT DECISION TO ADDRESS MCGIRT FALLOUT 

OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan. 21, 2022) — Governor Kevin Stitt released the following statement after the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the state’s case to address the fallout of McGirt and allow Oklahoma to retain criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians in eastern Oklahoma:

“I am encouraged that the Supreme Court has decided to address whether a state has authority to prosecute non-Indians who commit crimes against Indians in Indian Country. The fallout of the McGirt decision has been destructive. Criminals have used this decision to commit crimes without punishment. Victims of crime, especially Native victims, have suffered by being forced to relive their worst nightmare in a second trial or having justice elude them completely. 

“The reality is that the McGirt decision has hamstrung law enforcement in half of the state. Oklahoma is a law and order state, and I was elected to protect all four million Oklahomans, regardless of their race or heritage. I will not stop fighting to ensure we have one set of rules to guarantee justice and equal protection under the law for all citizens.”

BACKGROUND ON OKLAHOMA’S PETITION FOR CERTIORARI:

On September 17, the State of Oklahoma filed a petition for certiorari in the case of child abuser Victor Manuel Castro-Huerta, asking the Court to reconsider the McGirt decision or to permit the State to prosecute criminals like Castro-Huerta, who is a non-Indian that victimized an Indian.

The criminal at issue in this case, Castro-Huerta, was convicted in state court and sentenced to 35 years imprisonment, but the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals threw out that conviction because of its interpretation of the McGirt decision.

In 2015, Castro-Huerta so severely neglected his five-year-old stepdaughter, who has cerebral palsy and is legally blind, that she was rushed to the emergency room. She was admitted in critical condition, dehydrated, emaciated, and covered in lice and excrement, and she weighed only nineteen pounds. Investigators who visited Castro-Huerta’s home later discovered that her crib was filled with bedbugs and cockroaches and contained a single, dry sippy cup, the top of which was chewed through.

Castro-Huerta later admitted to officers that, while he knew his step-daughter required five bottles of baby formula a day, he had provided her between only twelve and eighteen bottles the previous month. Castro-Huerta is not a Native American, but his step-daughter victim is a member of a tribe headquartered in North Carolina.

Friday, January 21, 2022

State Rep. Eric Roberts files trio of voter security measures


Rep. Eric Roberts Files Trio of Voting Bills

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Eric Roberts, R-Oklahoma City, has filed three bills designed to make absentee ballot requests more secure and to facilitate earlier identification of voters who have moved or are now deceased. 

"Oklahomans want an election process that is secure, reliable and efficient," Roberts said. "I am proud to spearhead this legislation in the House."

House Bill 3364 requires online absentee ballot requests include identification in addition to a voter's name and birth date. Identification may include their driver's license number, state identification number or the last four of their Social Security number. Under the bill, voters who registered prior to the requirement for additional identification information may submit a paper absentee ballot request or reregister to vote with the additional identification.

Roberts also filed House Bill 3365 and House Bill 3366 to facilitate earlier identification of voters who have moved or are now deceased.

State Reps file bill to exempt vets from taxes on retirement benefits

McDugle, Townley, Manger File Bill to Exempt Veterans from Taxes on Retirement Benefits

OKLAHOMA CITY – Reps. Kevin McDugle, R-Broken Arrow, Tammy Townley, R-Ardmore, and Robert Manger, R-Oklahoma City, have filed legislation to grant Oklahoma veterans a full tax exemption on retirement benefits they receive as a result of their service.

House Bill 3693 would maintain the current exemption through Dec. 31, 2022. Under the legislation, veterans would receive a 100% tax exemption on their retirement benefits, beginning Jan. 1, 2023.

Currently, veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces receive tax exemptions for up to 75% or $10,000 of the retirement benefits they receive from any component of the U.S. Armed Forces.

"As someone who proudly served in our nation's armed forces, I understand just how much this bill could help my brothers and sisters-in-arms," McDugle said. "We need to take every opportunity we can to give back to those who have given so much for our country."

Thursday, January 20, 2022

State Rep files bill for statewide vote on abolishing the death penalty


Turner Files Bill to Give Power to People on Death Penalty

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Mauree Turner, D-OKC, has filed legislation for the 2022 Legislative Session that would create a state question on whether the death penalty should exist in Oklahoma.

While Oklahomans have previously supported the death penalty in ballot initiatives, the inhumane conditions of death row, botched executions, and exposure of the racism and error rate in guilty verdicts have given many reasons to grapple with what it means for a small number of state actors to have the power to decide who lives and who dies an often torturous death, especially in the face of exclusionary evidence. 

“What I am hearing from my district, and people around the state, is an urgent need to end state-enacted murder in the name of a criminal legal system that seeks to kill people with impunity,” Turner said. “We have seen a growing movement, in the last year especially, of people calling for Oklahoma to abolish the death penalty. And I want to give people a chance to express that on the ballot.”

A national poll of police chiefs by the Death Penalty Information Center showed that the nation’s police chiefs rank the death penalty last for effective crime reduction. 

“The officers do not believe the death penalty acts as a deterrent to murder, and they rate it as one of most inefficient uses of taxpayer dollars in fighting crime,” the Death Penalty Information Center report read. “Criminologists concur that the death penalty does not effectively reduce the number of murders.”

FBI statistics, which show states with the death penalty have a higher murder rate than those without capital punishment, support these expert opinions. Oklahoma’s murder rate is the 11th highest in the nation, according to the most recent CDC data. 

Turner opposes capital punishment and knows that Oklahomans have a broad range of views and experiences, which is why [she]* want[s] to give the people another opportunity to use their voice. 

State Rep. Russ files bill to give Counties more say in Marijuana Applications


Russ Files Bill to Give Counties More Say in Marijuana Applications

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell, has filed legislation for the upcoming session that will give county voters the say over who is licensed to grow marijuana within their counties.

House Bill 2989 would require applications to grow marijuana to be filed by June 30 each year in the county where the grow facility is to be located. County Commissioners would then set a date for a vote to be held every other year for applications to be approved or denied. If denied, an applicant would not be able to reapply for five years within that county. If growers operate in multiple counties, they would have to apply and be approved by voters in each county where they do business.

"Many of our rural voters did not approve the state question that resulted in the legalization of medical marijuana in our state," Russ said. "Yet they are saddled with the ill consequences. And they are facing the possibility that petitioners will place a question on a future state ballot to legalize recreational marijuana."

Since Oklahomans approved medical marijuana in 2018 with very loose regulations the number of licensed cannabis growers in the state has ballooned to more than 7,000. This far exceeds the number of licenses issued in other states such as Colorado, California or Oregon. It has taxed rural water supplies and electricity usage as well as local law enforcement, county tax assessors and others, Russ said.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Annual report from State Election Board shows increase in voter registration


Annual Report Released by State Election Board Shows Increase in Voter Registration

(Oklahoma City) – The Oklahoma State Election Board released its annual voter registration report today showing 2,218,374 Oklahomans are registered to vote. Oklahoma’s official voter registration statistics are counted every year on January 15.

According to Oklahoma State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax, the largest number of Oklahoma's voters are Republicans, who make up 50.6% of registered voters. Dem

Hefner announces endorsements from multiple conservative groups in OKC mayoral race


MULTIPLE CONSERVATIVE GROUPS ENDORSE CAROL HEFNER FOR OKC MAYOR

Oklahoma City, OK-- Today, community leader and candidate for Mayor of Oklahoma City Carol Hefner announced she has been endorsed by multiple Conservative groups and organizations, including Oklahomans For Health & Parental Rights, the Oklahoma Second Amendment Association, the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee (OCPAC), Veterans of Foreign Wars Oklahoma County, Ignite Liberty, and the Oklahoma County GOP.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Cody Maynard announces candidacy for House District 21, opening campaign HQ in Durant


Republican Cody Maynard Announces Candidacy for State Representative, District 21

DURANT, OK – With the final lines of districts drawn, Conservative Republican Cody Maynard, a CPA, announces that his campaign is underway to serve Oklahomans in the State House of Representatives, District 21, which will cover parts of Bryan and Marshall counties. After a strong fundraising quarter, his team is slated to open his campaign headquarters on January 22nd on First Street in Durant. 

“I am running to represent District 21 because my wife, Crystal, and I want to ensure that Oklahoma remains a beacon of freedom and a place to see dreams realized for generations to come. Serving as a legislator is an opportunity to ensure that Oklahoma is a state embodying pro-family policies, including but not limited to: protecting the pre-born, honoring the sanctity of life, advocating for parental and guardian rights, and promoting policies that reduce poverty and champion excellence in education.”

Meet the candidate running for U.S. Senate in Oklahoma and Kansas -- at the same time


The 2022 campaign for U.S. Senate here in Oklahoma figures to be a lively one, featuring a well-known incumbent, two upstart challengers (one fringe newbie, the other a multiterm conservative legislator), and... someone who's giving it a shot in two states "hoping to get into office in at least one of them!"

No joke.

Meet Joan Farr, candidate for United States Senate in the states of Oklahoma and Kansas.

She's certainly got a colorful campaign pitch, detailed on her website. Here are some highlights from her website:

Monday, January 17, 2022

Small: Time for Joy Hofmeister's job review


Time for a politician’s job review
By Jonathan Small

Just like workers in the private sector undergo routine job reviews, it’s important citizens take time to review the records of officeholders.

Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister is now beginning her eighth and final year in that office, so it’s worth considering what results she has generated. It’s a record few citizens would give a passing grade.

Since student learning is the most basic metric for a state head of schools, we should begin there. And what state tests show is steep decline. Statewide in all districts and grades, fewer students are performing at grade level or better. Many are doing much, much worse. Those scoring “below basic,” the category for children more than a year behind in a subject, comprised 40 percent of all students statewide in 2021. Just 30 percent were in that category in spring 2019.

That decline can’t be blamed on funding. During Hofmeister’s tenure, state school spending has increased 25 percent, rising from about $2.4 billion in her first year in office to roughly $3 billion this year. Schools districts actually carried over $1 billion this year, an increase of more than 50 percent in savings compared to five years prior.

Lankford, Scott, colleagues want to stop Congress from overspending when inflation soars

Okay, first of all, I think the last three words ("when inflation soars") should be left out of their chosen headline and effort.

Republicans absolutely looooove to talk about government overspending -- when they're out of power. I've lost count of the times they failed to remember that when they controlled the purse strings.

Anyway, maybe one day they'll get that right.


Lankford, Scott, Colleagues Want to Stop Congress from Overspending When Inflation Soars

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) joined Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and John Thune (R-SD), and eight of their colleagues to introduce the Inflation Prevention Act (IPA) to help combat inflationary spending. Due to record government spending over the last two years, many Americans face rapidly rising costs of consumer goods. This bill would bar legislation estimated to increase inflation until the year-over-year inflation rate drops below 4.5 percent. Lankford, Scott, and Thune are joined on the bill by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Rick Scott (R-FL), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Todd Young (R-IN), Marco Rubio (R-FL), John Hoeven (R-ND), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), and Steve Daines (R-MT).

“It’s clear that Democrats’ reckless spending approach to the pandemic has created the inflation crisis Oklahomans now face, especially after inflation hit a devastating seven percent in December,” said Lankford. “I have warned about the impact of out-of-control spending on our economy for years. Our proposal protects against federal over spending that makes inflation worse, helps make sure future emergency spending only moves forward when absolutely needed, and reins it in when the federal pork barrel buffet starts to roll toward inflation.”

“American families cannot continue to endure the burden of skyrocketing costs of everyday goods brought on by reckless spending in Washington,” said Tim Scott. “A sound financial future requires wise financial action now.”

“Our country is facing the highest level of inflation in nearly 40 years, and South Dakotans are paying more for food, utilities, and gas,” said Thune. “I’m proud to join Sen. Scott in the fight to stop the Democrats’ reckless tax-and-spending spree, which would significantly worsen the already damaging inflation crisis.”

Oklahoma joins multistate coalition fight to end Facebook's monopoly


Oklahoma Joins Multistate Coalition in Continuing Fight to End Facebook's Illegal Monopoly

OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor today joined a bipartisan coalition of 48 attorneys general from around the nation in continuing to fight to end Facebook’s illegal efforts to stifle competition and protect its monopoly power. Today, the coalition — led by New York Attorney General Letitia James — filed an appeal brief arguing that the district court’s ruling dismissing the states’ case was in error. The coalition argues that the court was wrong to dismiss their case as time-barred, and made additional legal and factual errors. Over the last decade, Facebook, now known as Meta, illegally acquired competitors in a predatory manner and cut or conditioned services to smaller threats — depriving users of the benefits of competition and reducing privacy protections and services along the way — all in an effort to boost its bottom line through increased advertising revenue.

“We are asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to allow this lawsuit to proceed to hold Facebook accountable for its anticompetitive conduct and to ensure that Oklahomans have a choice in the marketplace,” said Attorney General John O’Connor.

In December 2020, the coalition filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to stop Facebook’s anticompetitive conduct. The company filed a motion to dismiss, which was granted by the court last summer. Today’s appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit asks the court to allow the coalition of attorneys general to move forward with their suit.

Friday, January 14, 2022

State leaders react to SCOTUS blocking vaccine mandate for private businesses


Following the U.S. Supreme Court's blocking of the Biden vaccine mandate for businesses of 100 or more employees, many Oklahoma elected officials have weighed in with their reactions. 

Below are press release from Attorney General John O'Connor, Governor Kevin Stitt, U.S. Senator James Lankford, U.S. Representatives Kevin Hern and Frank Lucas, State Senate President Greg Treat, and State Rep. Sean Roberts:

Gov. Stitt endorses Kish for Mayor of Norman


GOVERNOR STITT ENDORSES DR. NICOLE KISH for MAYOR of NORMAN 

Norman — Governor Kevin Stitt has endorsed Dr. Nicole Kish for Mayor of Norman.

In a statement, Governor Stitt said:

“Dr. Nicole Kish is the right candidate for this unique time in history to lead Norman as its next mayor. Dr. Kish is a political outsider that will bring her successful business record to prioritize resources towards keeping our communities safe and thriving. I am proud my parents raised me in the Norman community and in Norman public schools. This city needs bold, common-sense leadership to help capitalize on the momentum the rest of Oklahoma is experiencing with booming economic growth, and Dr. Kish has the grit and will to make it happen. She is passionate about protecting freedom, supporting our public safety professionals, and making Norman the most competitive city for new jobs. Help me elect Dr. Kish on February 8.”

Dr. Kish is a co-founder of Unite Norman, the grassroots organization who recalled city council members last year for their defunding of police. She is a Small Business Owner and Doctor who has practiced in Norman for 22 years, serving 100,000 patients. She is also a Veteran of the Oklahoma Air National Guard during 9/11.

Dahm files bill to revitalize State Guard


Sen. Dahm files bill revitalizing state militia

OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, filed Senate Bill 1251 on Wednesday to revitalize the Oklahoma militia and provide greater protection for the citizens of Oklahoma.

“The Second Amendment states that a well-regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state,” Dahm said. “As the feds continue to fail in almost every regard, it is becoming more and more apparent that we as a state must provide for our own security.”

The bill states local guard units can be voluntarily funded and supplied, and that individuals may be required to use privately owned semi-automatic weapons if mustered into service.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Burns files 'Every Mother Matters Act' aimed at promoting alternatives to abortion


Sen. Burns files Every Mother Matters Act; measure aimed at giving moms alternatives to abortion

OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. George Burns has filed Senate Bill 1167, the “Every Mother Matters Act,” also known as EMMA. The legislation is aimed at ensuring that any woman seeking an abortion is given access to resources and programs she may not realize are available.  Burns, R-Pollard, said the goal is to give women the support they need to choose life, instead of abortion.

According to the Abortion Surveillance in Oklahoma Report published by the Oklahoma State Department of Health in August 2020, between 2002 and 2020, there were 99,543 abortions performed in Oklahoma, an average of 5,239 a year. During that period, the abortion rate was higher among women between the ages of 20 and 29.  Black women, women with less education, and those who were unmarried had higher rates of abortions compared to other women of child-bearing age.

“Many women facing unexpected pregnancies turn to abortion because they feel like they have no choice.  We want to make sure they have an opportunity to connect with medical, financial and other resources that they may not know about,” Burns said.  “This legislation will do that as well as provide screening to identify those who’ve been victims of crime so that, with the woman’s consent, a report can be made to the appropriate law enforcement agency.”

Roberts to file state question to strengthen gun rights in state constitution


 Roberts to File House Joint Resolution Requesting Constitutional Amendment

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Sean Roberts, R-Hominy, has announced today that he plans to file a House Joint Resolution that would direct the Secretary of State to refer to the people for their approval or rejection a proposed amendment to Section 26, Article II of the Oklahoma Constitution. This section of the State Constitution deals with the right to bear arms.

"This section of the State Constitution has never been updated, and it is long past time we took a look at some of the language," Roberts said. "It is imperative that we reinforce the right to bear arms outlined in our constitution in order to protect that right from state court rulings that have tried to weaken it."

Specifically, the resolution would add to the constitution specific arms that are protected and that the fundamental right to bear arms "shall not be infringed." It will also prohibit registration or special taxation upon the keeping of firearms including the acquisition, ownership, possession or transfer of arms, ammunition or the components of arms or ammunition.

Bob Jack announces campaign for Tulsa County Commissioner


Successful Tulsa Business Leader Announces for Tulsa County Commissioner

Prepared and successful Tulsa businessman, Bob Jack, announced today he will run for Tulsa County Commission – Area 3 as a Republican.

“We always say we need to run government like a business, but we rarely send a businessperson to do the job,” said Jack. “I’ve run prosperous businesses and managed organizations for more than 50 years with steadfast integrity. It’s what I do best.”

Jack, retired from his role as a fulltime construction executive, remains active as a construction agent for developers in Tulsa County. During his 50 years in the construction industry, he worked for Manhattan Construction as the senior vice president overseeing its Tulsa division for 4 years prior to retirement and had been with the company for over 10 years. Other experience includes managing Oil Capital Electric in various roles for 23 years, later serving as the company President until 2003.

“I’ve served as a leader for hundreds of people in my career and headed $300 million organizations. I know how to negotiate deals, compromise within reason, manage a budget and lead in the real world,” said Jack.

“I know how to establish relationships and work in cooperation with those who may not share my points of view, but I will always stand firm on my principles. I will never compromise my conservative values and stand against government mandate.”

“My background in the private sector will serve me well as a County Commissioner.”

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

State Rep. Sean Roberts to file legislation modifying Medical Marijuana laws


Roberts to File Legislation Modifying Medical Marijuana Laws

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Sean Roberts, R-Hominy, has announced today that he plans to file legislation modifying the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana and Patient Protection Act and the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Waste Management Act.

"When medical marijuana was legalized in Oklahoma, it basically created a 'Wild West' situation as we did not have enough legal structure in place to address all future issues that could arise," Roberts said. "As the years have passed, we have a better understanding of what we are doing right and what we need to fix. These changes that I am proposing will stop the many illegal operations in our state run by foreign actors, such as criminal Chinese enterprises or cartels, who participate in human trafficking and are smuggling their illegal narcotics out of Oklahoma to other states. We have a duty to Oklahomans, and our surrounding states, to rein in this situation before it gets even more out of hand."

OCPA: three New Year's resolutions for policymakers


New Year’s resolutions for policymakers
By Jonathan Small

With a new year comes new year’s resolutions. While the average citizen may focus on diet and exercise, state policymakers should emphasize growth—growing our economy and increasing opportunity.

To that end, OCPA has embraced the following goals this year, and we are encouraged by lawmakers openness to the following goals.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Dahm files bills to send funds and Nat'l Guard to help secure the border

Sen. Dahm files bills for Oklahoma to send funds and National Guard to help secure the border

OKLAHOMA CITY – As lawbreaking foreigners continue to pour across the open southern border, Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, filed two bills to help secure the border. 

“As the feds continue to leave the border wide open, either due to utter incompetence or done intentionally to cause disruption in our nation, it has become obvious we as the states will have to pick up where the feds have failed,” Dahm said. “With these bills, Oklahoma will be able to help secure the border and stop the massive influx of human trafficking, illicit activities, and illegal immigrants.”

Senate Bill 1228 would send CARES funds received by the state of Oklahoma to border states to help them build the wall along the southern border. 

“The federal government is spending billions of dollars to secure the borders of other countries while intentionally leaving our border wide open,” Dahm said. “The border states are willing to do the job being neglected by this rogue regime but they need additional resources from other states.”

Senate Bill 1231 would empower the governor to send Oklahoma National Guard members to border states in order to help them secure their portion of the southern border. 

“Several states have already sent their law enforcement personnel to help secure the border,” Dahm said. “This will clarify existing law to ensure the governor has additional authority to send members of the National Guard to those border states that need the support.”

State Auditor releases audit for Town of Bennington, finds serious violations

 

State Auditor Cindy Byrd Releases Audit for Town of Bennington

(Monday, January 10, 2022) State Auditor & Inspector Cindy Byrd has released her investigative audit of the Town of Bennington in Bryan County. After a thorough review of the town’s financial records, Byrd discovered multiple violations of standard accounting procedures and significant misappropriation of taxpayer dollars.

Among the most serious incidents of misappropriation are more than $100,000 in unpaid payroll taxes, unauthorized payments to several town employees, and a police chief who signed over the title of a town vehicle but the money was never deposited in the town’s bank account. Police Chief Kristopher Robinson also received $877 in free utility payments and was provided a tax-free residency that was not reported to the I.R.S.

“I use the word ‘misappropriation’ because it’s up to a judge and a jury to decide if this was embezzlement,” said Cindy Byrd. “This was a small-scale audit but what we uncovered is both important and revealing.  This audit shows taxpayers a prime example of what happens when an oversight board abandons its responsibilities. Their negligence set the stage that allowed employees to take advantage of other people’s trust and shortchange the taxpayers.”

State Rep files bill to add in-person Sports Betting to gaming compacts

Because if there's just one thing Oklahoma needs more of, it's gambling. 🙄


Luttrell Files Sports Betting Bill

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Ken Luttrell, R-Ponca City, announced today that he has filed House Bill 3008, a bill that would add in-person sports betting to the Oklahoma state-tribal gaming compact.

"I have had conversations with our gaming tribes during the interim to gauge their interest on this topic," Luttrell said. "I feel the time is right for Oklahoma to partner with the tribes and ensure a level, competitive gaming playing field with the surrounding states."

According to Luttrell, there are currently 30 states with legal sports betting and another 15 considering it in 2022. He said that Arkansas has legalized it in their casinos and Kansas is currently working on an agreement of their own.

"Illegal sports betting occurs throughout Oklahoma, and figures I obtained from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) show 11 offenses recently with tens of thousands of dollars seized," Luttrell added. "This reflects only a fraction of what actually occurs in our state. The Oxford Economics Group estimates that legal sports betting would generate $240 million in revenue for Oklahoma and create over 3000 direct and indirect jobs. This legislation just makes sense."

Monday, January 10, 2022

AG O'Connor celebrates Supreme Court limitation of 'McGirt'


State of Oklahoma Celebrates Supreme Court Limitation of McGirt

OKLAHOMA CITY - “McGirt is not retroactive. This is a major victory for the State of Oklahoma,” said Attorney General John O’Connor. 

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals unanimously made that decision in Parish v. Oklahoma. Today, the United States Supreme Court refused to consider an appeal of that decision by Parish

Clifton Parish was convicted of second-degree murder in the 2010 beating and shooting death of Robert Strickland in Hugo, Oklahoma. Parish sought to have the United States Supreme Court throw out his conviction, arguing that McGirt is retroactive.

His conviction is one of many convictions that will now stand, with the Supreme Court’s decision announced today.

“This is an important victory for the safety of victims, families of victims, and the people of Oklahoma,” said Attorney General O’Connor. “Victims and their families will not be required to relive their tragic experiences by testifying in new trials, or worse, seeing the perpetrators out in society."

“We are hopeful that this is the first step in having the McGirt decision overturned or clarified and limited. Even without retroactive application, McGirt has opened prison doors and let violent criminals go free," said General O'Connor. 

Music Monday: Rescue the Perishing


It's been a while since I did one of these, but there's no time like the present to revive an old staple! This Music Monday post is a reader's submission: the Christian hymn Rescue the Perishing by Fanny Crosby.

From Greg:
I grew up listening to this as a child at Boulevard Christian Church [in Muskogee], then located at the corner of East Side Boulevard and Okmulgee.

In the summer of 1980 at the age of 27, I was in Bangalore, India, doing mission work. I was single and had spent most the last 5-6 years travelling and was battling depression. I went into a church, St. John's Anglican Church, and was sitting in a pew, praying and meditating. I picked up a hymnal and it fell open to Rescue the Perishing. The 3rd stanza jumped out at me:

Down in the human heart,
Crushed by the tempter,
Feelings lie buried that grace can restore;
Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness,
Chords that were broken will vibrate once more. [Refrain]


That verse lifted my spirits and remains dear to me some 41 years later.
Thanks for requesting this great old hymn, Greg! Here it is, as sung at Southwest Baptist Church in Oklahoma City:


Enjoy!

See below for all previous Music Monday posts. Do you have a song you'd like to suggest for a future Music Monday? Email me at JamisonFaught@MuskogeePolitico.com.

Saturday, January 08, 2022

State Rep. Sean Roberts to file Texas-style bill allowing abortion lawsuits

Roberts to File Bill Allowing Abortion Lawsuits

OKLAHOMA CITY (January 7th) – Rep. Sean Roberts, R-Hominy, has announced today that he plans to file legislation that would allow any individual in Oklahoma to sue doctors who perform an abortion after conception. The legislation is similar to a portion of Texas' Senate Bill 8 which went into effect on Sep. 8.

"The pro-life citizens of Oklahoma should have the ability to help hold these doctors accountable," Roberts said. "Individual citizens are an extremely important part of making sure that we are protecting the lives of the unborn. This legislation puts principle into action and I am going to fight extremely hard to get it passed during the upcoming session."

The bill would allow any individual in Oklahoma to sue doctors who perform an abortion after conception that is not for triage to save the mother's life. Plaintiffs would be able to seek up to $10,000 in damages in a civil court against abortion providers as well as anyone who "aids and abets" an illegal abortion.

OSDH working to secure monoclonal, oral COVID-19 treatment resources amid recent surge


OSDH team working clock to secure additional COVID-19 treatment resources amid recent surge

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is committed to protecting the health and safety of all Oklahomans and continues to advocate for them by accessing all available resources throughout this pandemic and most recent surge.

We know that monoclonal antibodies and antiviral oral treatments are currently in limited supply across the state and nation. The OSDH team has been working diligently with federal partners to secure more of these treatments for those who are at high-risk for severe COVID-19. Late yesterday, Oklahoma was approved to receive additional 1,000 doses each of Regen-Cov and BAM/ETE monoclonal treatments. OSDH will continue requesting COVID related treatments until we have a sufficient supply.

With the surge in cases, we know testing is a vital tool. In response, OSDH has increased access for testing, including expanded hours, some weekend hours and additional clinics across the state, as well as utilizing mobile units. 

Friday, January 07, 2022

Sen. Burns files bill designating use of King James Bible for elective courses, school libraries

This should have been Senate Bill 1611, by the way, instead of 1161.

I'll be honest. While I appreciate the sentiment, and absolutely agree that our founding fathers were tremendously influenced (dare I say, inspsired) by the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, I'm not confident that they would be properly exposited and taught in the same public school system that is advancing critical race theory, molecules-to-man evolution, sexual perversion, and a host of other ungodly teachings.


Sen. Burns files bill designating use of King James Bible for elective courses, school libraries

OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. George Burns has introduced legislation for schools offering elective courses on Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament to utilize the source that influenced the work of America’s Founding Fathers—the King James Bible.  He’s filed Senate Bill 1161 to ensure that version is used for the courses and is available in school libraries. 

“Our Founding Fathers relied heavily upon the scriptures in the formation of our country, and the Bible they used was the King James Bible, which makes it an important historical document,” said Burns, R-Pollard.  “It influenced the writing of the major documents that created this country, including the Constitution.  It’s historically accurate to use that version, and it is in the public domain, which is also important.”

Sen. Dahm files bill allowing sheriffs to arrest feds who confiscate guns, form posses to protect their county


Sen. Dahm files bill allowing sheriffs to arrest feds who confiscate guns, form posses to protect their county

OKLAHOMA CITY – In response to the growing concerns over federal violations of constitutionally-protected rights, Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, filed a trio of bills to strengthen the power of county sheriffs. Senate Bill 1199 would prohibit federal officers from carrying out any gun confiscation measures in Oklahoma. Senate Bill 1200 would require federal agents to notify the sheriff before operating in their county. Senate Bill 1201 would allow sheriffs to form posses to defend their county in times of emergency, disaster or from federal overreach.

“The Second Amendment clearly says the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” Dahm said. “It is becoming ever more evident that the current administration holds almost no regard for the Constitution or our rights. We must be proactive in protecting the people of Oklahoma against any attempts at infringements from the feds.”

SB 1199 would expand the Second Amendment Sanctuary Act passed last year by allowing a mechanism for sheriffs to arrest federal officers attempting gun confiscation.

“I’ve heard from numerous sheriffs and constituents across this state who are concerned at the consistent ignoring of our Constitution happening by this rogue regime” Dahm said. “The Second Amendment was never solely about hunting unless you’re referring to hunting tyrants. It was about the people being able to protect themselves against a government that would seek to disarm them.”

SB 658, dubbed the “Second Amendment Sanctuary Act” was signed into law in 2021. Numerous legislators filed various bills on the topic with a final toned down version ultimately passing both the Senate and House and then signed by Governor Stitt.

“The original version of SB 658 had stronger teeth to enforce the law,” Dahm said. “Unfortunately we have those in the State Senate who prefer to operate like Chuck Schumer and think we need to bow to whatever the feds dictate. We can no longer allow those who are more concerned with federal funds dictating watered down versions of bills by excluding actual mechanisms to defend the rights of the people.”

SB 1200 would require that any federal agents or officers receive permission from the county sheriff before operating in their county.

“The county sheriff is the highest elected law enforcement officer in the county. And it’s become evident we can’t have unelected bureaucrats or agents of the rogue regime in D.C. operating in our state without accountability.” Dahm said. “This bill will bring accountability by an Oklahoman who is elected by the people of Oklahoma, not someone over a thousand miles away.”

SB 1201 would further empower sheriffs by expanding their ability to call on the people of Oklahoma for additional support by forming a posse.

Thursday, January 06, 2022

New gun range and firearms training facility now open just north of Muskogee


The Muskogee area is home to a new gun range and training facility, owned and operated by local firearms experts Link and Susan Mock. Glenndale Grace Firearms & Training is located on the east side of US Highway 69 just north of Muskogee, between the Muskogee Turnpike and the Arkansas River (map).

Current hours for the month of January are Tuesday through Friday from 2:00 pm till dark and Saturday from 9:00 am till dark. The on-site store will not be completely stocked for a while but they do currently have some ammunition and odds and ends. February hours will be 10am to dark, Tuesday through Saturday.

The owners of GGFirearms, Link and Susan Mock, are both NRA certified Pistol, Shotgun, and Rifle instructors and certified Chief Range Safety Officers. They hold the "Distinguished Expert" designation from the NRA in Defensive Pistol I and II, and in Basic Pistol Shooting. They are experienced instructors of various firearm courses and are certified gunsmiths currently adding to their credentials through continuing education. ​Link has more than 20-years experience in law enforcement, and is bringing his expertise to the range; additionally, Susan has 28-years experience as a professional educator and is bringing her expertise to the range as well.

Wednesday, January 05, 2022

State Health Dep't extends COVID testing hours; lab shows omicron topping delta for circulating variants


OSDH extends COVID-19 testing hours at local health departments
Extended hours, including weekends, available

OKLAHOMA CITY – With COVID-19 testing in higher demand and increased cases over the last week, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is extending COVID-19 testing hours at local county health departments, and will offer weekend availability at select locations. Additionally, mobile units will be deployed to various locations throughout the state.  

Testing locations and hours can be found by visiting oklahoma.gov/covid19/testing-sites or county health department Facebook pages. Oklahomans can also call their local county health department or 2-1-1 for hours and locations.  

“While at-home testing is convenient, and rapid testing provides an immediate result, it is important to remember PCR tests provide the most accurate results, allow for variant sequencing and the ability to contact trace,” stated Jolianne Stone, Oklahoma state epidemiologist. “PCR test results are typically available within 24-48 hours and are highly encouraged for accurate testing.” 

PCR test results are reported to OSDH, automatically entering the result into the OSDHCI self-service case investigation system. This system allows Oklahomans to do their own contact tracing through an automated process. Public health workers are still available to assist as needed. 

“Like other states, Oklahoma is seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases, however many other respiratory illnesses are occurring as well,” stated Keith Reed, interim commissioner of health. “We highly encourage anyone who is feeling ill to stay home from work, school and other activities and schedule a COVID-19 test or appointment with their physician. Staying home while awaiting your appointment, results and for your symptoms to clear is important for your health and will help prevent the spread of illness.” 

COVID-19 variants in Oklahoma mix of omicron and delta
Surveillance shows 57% omicron and 43% delta 

OKLAHOMA CITY –Variant sequencing at the OSDH Public Health (PHL) lab of most recent specimens from over the holidays shows a mix of omicron (57%) and delta (43%). This surveillance data is important to providers and the public to understand what is going on in the state.  

“Our team continues to monitor cases and hospitalizations to provide critical data that allows Oklahomans to make the best decisions for themselves,” stated Keith Reed, interim commissioner of health. “Coinciding with our increased case count and what other states are seeing, current data shows omicron is increasing in Oklahoma, and we anticipate that will continue.” 

Variant sequencing continues to be conducted on all positive COVID-19 tests provided to the PHL. This full sequencing process can take up to four days for completion. 

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) protects and improves public health through its system of local health services and strategies focused on preventing disease. OSDH provides technical support and guidance to 68 county health departments in Oklahoma, as well as guidance and consultation to the two independent city-county health departments in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Learn more at Oklahoma.gov/health

Canadian County Sheriff endorses Carol Hefner for OKC Mayor

CANADIAN COUNTY SHERIFF CHRIS WEST ENDORSES CAROL HEFNER FOR OKC MAYOR

Oklahoma City, OK-- Today, community leader and candidate for Mayor of Oklahoma City Carol Hefner announced she has been endorsed by Canadian County Sheriff Chris West. West is a fifth-generation Oklahoman and lifelong resident of Canadian County. He served in the United States Marine Corps and later served twenty-eight years with the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety.

See Sheriff West's full endorsement video here:

Honored to be endorsed by one of the most respected men in law enforcement, Sheriff Chris West.

Posted by Carol Hefner for Oklahoma City Mayor on Monday, January 3, 2022

Carol Hefner had this to say:

Tuesday, January 04, 2022

Baptist pastors release film on how Pro-Life movement is keeping abortion legal in OK

A Storm Comes Rolling Down the Plain: The Movement to Abolish Abortion Without Compromise in Oklahoma

Powerful New Documentary Reveals How the Pro-Life Movement Keeps Abortion Legal in Oklahoma

Oklahoma City, OK -- A Storm Comes Rolling Down the Plain tells the providential story of the church rising to bring the gospel into conflict with the horrors of abortion in Oklahoma. It presents the church of King Jesus as she proclaims the gospel as the ultimate antidote to modern day child sacrifice.

In contrast, it shows how the super-majority of Republican pro-life politicians have fought to kill bills that would abolish abortion immediately, without exception or compromise.  The storm in Oklahoma is building as the Church repents and rises up to work to end what the pro-life movement has only sought to regulate for the last 48 years.  

Lankford responds to Schumer's Senate Rules threat


Lankford Responds to Schumer's Senate Rules Threat

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) issued the following statement on Senator Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) threat to override Senate rules to bend to his progressive legislative agenda:

“Schumer’s threat to change the rules of the Senate unless he gets his way is not just a temper tantrum; it is a threat to our Republic. For over two centuries, the Senate is the one place in our government where minority opinions have a voice, unless Senator Schumer gets his way. In 2017, 32 Senate Democrats signed a letter saying that the filibuster should not change—27 of those Democrats are still in the Senate. Now that they are in power, they want to do whatever it takes to pass their progressive legislative agenda by changing the historic rules of our Republic.

Monday, January 03, 2022

National School Boards Association compared parents to terrorists; 17 states have left, but not Oklahoma


AS OTHERS EXIT, OSSBA MAINTAINS NSBA TIES

A majority of state school boards associations have publicly distanced themselves from the National School Boards Association (NSBA) after the national group compared parents to terrorists, and 17 state associations have withdrawn from the NSBA.

But the Oklahoma State School Boards Association (OSSBA) is not among them, and the organization continues its policy of public silence regarding the controversy even as state lawmakers may be poised to require parental approval for schools funds to go, directly or indirectly, to the NSBA.

In a public letter issued to the Biden administration on Sept. 29, NSBA officials declared that opponents of Critical Race Theory and mask mandates represented “an immediate threat” that included “threats of violence and acts of intimidation,” and said “the classification of these heinous actions could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”

“NSBA believes immediate assistance is required to protect our students, school board members, and educators who are susceptible to acts of violence affecting interstate commerce because of threats to their districts, families, and personal safety,” the letter stated. “As our school boards continue coronavirus recovery operations within their respective districts, they are also persevering against other challenges that could impede this progress in a number of communities. Coupled with attacks against school board members and educators for approving policies for masks to protect the health and safety of students and school employees, many public school officials are also facing physical threats because of propaganda purporting the false inclusion of critical race theory within classroom instruction and curricula.”

The NSBA letter specifically cited only a handful of examples of alleged extremism nationwide. Most fell far short of terrorism and often amounted to little more than verbal disruption.

The NSBA letter said such incidents justified investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Secret Service and its National Threat Assessment Center.

Shortly thereafter, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a memorandum announcing that he was ordering the FBI to meet with state and local officials to develop “strategies for addressing threats against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.”

The fallout from the incident has been nationwide as numerous state school boards associations have fled from any association with the NSBA.

Parents Defending Education has maintained a list of state school boards associations that have denounced the NSBA’s actions. That list has grown to include 27 states that have distanced themselves from the NSBA’s letter: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Seventeen state associations have further demonstrated their displeasure by withdrawing from the NSBA. That group includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Saturday, January 01, 2022

State Rep. Steagall files bill to recognize Sheriffs as Chief Law Enforcement Officer of Counties


Steagall Files Legislation Recognizing County Sheriffs as Chief Law Enforcement Officer of Counties

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Jay Steagall, R-Yukon, Chair of the Oklahoma House States Rights Committee, has filed legislation for the upcoming session that would identify county sheriffs as the constitutionally-recognized chief law enforcement officer of their respective counties.

Currently, there is no statute in place that designates a chief law enforcement officer of a county, and Steagall says this legislation is important to make sure that lack of recognition does not cause issues in the future.

"The office of your county sheriff is charged with numerous duties including supporting the justice of the county, keeping the peace and protecting our lives and property," Steagall said. "However, there is no greater duty that a Sheriff has taken an oath to discharge than that of supporting and defending both our state and national constitutions. Sheriffs are responsible directly to the people in their elective capacity, which is unlike any other law enforcement position in our Union."

Canadian County Sheriff Chris West, President of the Oklahoma Sheriffs' Association and Secretary of the National Sheriffs' Association, worked with Steagall to introduce the legislation.

"It is a tremendous honor to work with Rep. Steagall on this very important piece of legislation," West said. "I have been fortunate to have worked with many outstanding federal, state, county and municipal law enforcement agents throughout my career in different capacities and on multiple types of cases. However, unlike all other police executives, sheriffs are elected by and answer directly to their constituents. The securing of the constitutionally-recognized and protected freedom, liberty and rights of those they represent is of an utmost priority to our sheriffs, which makes recognizing their position as the county's chief law enforcement officer vitally important for our citizens."

Steagall said that this legislation is also important due to a continued effort by the federal government to reach into the day-to-day issues of states and municipalities.

Gov. Stitt comments on $9.1B estimate for next state budget


GOVERNOR STITT ISSUES STATEMENT ON OKLAHOMA STATE BOARD OF EQUILIZATION CERTIFICATION

OKLAHOMA CITY (Dec. 27, 2021) — Governor Kevin Stitt issued the following statement today after the Oklahoma State Board of Equalization certified an estimate indicating lawmakers will have $9.1 billion in certified and authorized funds for the 2023 fiscal budget year, which begins July 1, 2022.

“This past fiscal year, Oklahoma’s economy has bounced back in a big way and continues to improve,” said Gov. Stitt “State revenues are climbing while we are cutting taxes for every Oklahoman. I am committed to investing in our future by adding to what is already the largest state savings account in history, and ensure we remain fiscally responsible with Oklahomans' tax dollars."

During the meeting, Gov. Stitt brought attention to $1.1 billion in one time carryover and special cash held over from the FY-2021 budget.