Saturday, April 30, 2022

Lankford brings government waste report to the Senate floor


Lankford Brings Government Waste Report to the Senate Floor
Lankford: “At some point this body will be serious about dealing with debt and deficit, but apparently we're not yet.” 

WASHINGTON, DC (April 27th) – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today brought this week’s release of volume 6 of his government waste report, Federal Fumbles: Ways the government dropped the ball, to those who need to hear about it most: the US Senate. Lankford spoke about specific examples of waste from the report and about his frustration that some in Congress talk about debt and some of the big decisions we face for long-term solvency of several major federal programs, but most are not willing to actually address it.

Friday, April 29, 2022

House passes bill requiring OTA studies, report on proposed Norman turnpike

Sterling Passes Legislation Requiring OTA Studies, Report on Proposed Norman Turnpike
Bill would also give Legislature authority to modify location of turnpike

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 27th) – Rep. Danny Sterling, R-Tecumseh, secured passage Wednesday of legislation requiring the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (OTA) to provide a detailed report on the planned turnpike through eastern Norman and give the Legislature authority to modify the authorization for construction or location of the turnpike.

Senate approves bill creating tax credit for adoption expenses


Senate approves bill creating tax credit for adoption expenses

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 27th) – The full Senate has given approval to a bill creating an income tax credit to help defray some of the costs associated with adoptions.  Sen. Chuck Hall, R-Perry, is the principal Senate author of House Bill 3088.  Rep. Kyle Hilbert, R-Bristow, is principal House author of the measure.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Oklahoma AG to State Rep: pass legislation to prohibit Stillwater transgender bathroom policy

For more on the controversy over Stillwater Public Schools allowing boys to use the girls' bathrooms, click this link. Here's the latest, with Oklahoma Attorney General John O'Connor responding to a letter from State Rep. Anthony Moore requesting the AG's office take action:


Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office Sends Letter to Rep. Moore to Encourage Passage of Legislation to Protect Oklahoma Students

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 27th) - Today, the Office of the Oklahoma Attorney General sent a letter to Oklahoma State Representative Anthony Moore encouraging him to pass legislation making clear that school restrooms should be designated based on biological sex for privacy and safety purposes.

Senate gives approval to measure indexing Oklahoma’s unemployment benefits


Senate gives approval to measure indexing Oklahoma’s unemployment benefits

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 27th) – Sen. Zack Taylor, R-Seminole, won passage of House Bill 1933 from the full Senate Tuesday, moving the measure closer to becoming law.  

The legislation would index Oklahoma’s unemployment benefits, effectively ending unemployment tax increases on Oklahoma businesses. This system would adjust how the state pays unemployment compensation to a tiered system based upon the number of weekly claims. This means individuals would qualify for more weeks of benefits when the economy is performing poorly, and less weeks of benefits when the economy is strong.

Governor Stitt signs bill prohibiting nonbinary birth certificates


Governor signs Bergstrom bill prohibiting nonbinary birth certificates

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 27th) – The governor signed Senate Bill 1100 on Tuesday, approving the first of its kind ban that prohibits nonbinary classifications on state birth certificates. The legislation was authored by Sen. Micheal Bergstrom, R-Adair.  

Under the bill, the biological sex designation on Oklahoma birth certificates may only be male or female, outlawing the use of “X” or any other symbol to represent a nonbinary designation.

OSU leaders duck question on 'Drag Queen Story Hour' aimed at TWO-YEAR OLDS


COLLEGE LEADERS DUCK QUESTION ON OSU ‘DRAG QUEEN STORY HOUR’

The Oklahoma State University Office of Multicultural Affairs recently announced it was hosting a “Drag Queen Story Hour” that was “geared towards ages 2-8.”

Critics said the event amounted to “ideological grooming” of children.

Do officials with oversight of state colleges believe the event was a proper use of taxpayer facilities and aligned with OSU’s mission? And if not, what action do they plan to take?

For the most part, those officials have adopted a “duck and cover” policy in response.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Sen. Jett: disturbing how the world has been asked to pretend that genitals are a “social construct”

This:
What a strange, lunatic world we live in...

Dahm files measures to protect children from sexualization and gender reassignment


Dahm files floor subs to protect children from sexualization and gender reassignment

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 26th) – Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, filed two floor substitutes to protect Oklahoma children from sexualization and unnecessary gender reassignment surgeries.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Legislature passes bill to restrict telemarketing calls

Sounds nice, and also totally unenforceable. 🤷‍♂️


Senate votes to hang up on annoying solicitation calls; sends bill to governor

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 26th) – Oklahomans could be getting fewer irritating solicitation calls thanks to legislation unanimously approved Tuesday by the Senate. House Bill 3168, by Sen. Bill Coleman, R-Ponca City, creates the Telephone Solicitation Act of 2022, which would prohibit numerous types of marketing calls and set strict parameters on when others can be made.

Revolt at OCPAC? An abrupt change of tune, apology, and invitation for State Auditor to speak

I posted previously about Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Commitee (OCPAC) President Bob Linn's odd obsession with attacking State Auditor Cindy Byrd. Today, there seems to have been an abrupt change of tune. But first, a little bit of background.

Senate sends three bills honoring Oklahoma’s military heroes to governor


Senate sends trio of bills honoring Oklahoma’s military heroes to governor

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 25th) – The Senate approved a trio of bills Monday honoring the service and sacrifice of Oklahoma’s military and their families. Senate Veterans and Military Affairs Committee chair Frank Simpson, R-Springer, authored the bills to ensure veterans are provided a proper burial and to help Oklahoma’s heroes save money in various areas.   

Hofmeister requests Attorney General opinion on Stillwater schools' bathroom policy

When you unmoor reality from objective truth, anything goes. In a truth-anchored world, this would never have become an issue, but our postmodern society, having rejected Biblical truth, continues to plunge into insanity. When that happens, inevitably, history has proven that the first to suffer are women and children.


Hofmeister seeks Attorney General opinion regarding Stillwater schools’ restroom policy

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 23, 2022) – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister has requested a formal binding opinion from the state Attorney General in the wake of questions surrounding the restroom policy at Stillwater Public Schools. That district’s school board has asked for clear legal guidance from the State of Oklahoma on whether the district may continue allowing transgender individuals to use the school restroom that corresponds to their gender identity.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Sen. Lankford releases newest government waste report

Continuing the late Dr. Tom Coburn's Wastebook legacy, U.S. Senator James Lankford is out with his sixth edition of Federal Fumbles, chronicling wasteful government spending.


Lankford Releases Government Waste Report

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today announced the sixth volume of his federal waste book, Federal Fumbles: Ways the government dropped the ball. The report highlights waste and inefficiency in the federal government and offers solutions and recommendations for long-term changes that need to begin immediately.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Small: School-board election reform will empower parents


School-board election reform will empower parents
By Jonathan Small

Recently, the Stillwater Board of Education announced it will not change course on its policy of allowing boys to use the girls’ bathrooms unless given “no choice” by state officials.

They took that stance despite countless requests to change course from Stillwater parents and the fact that the rare non-gender-conforming student can easily use a single-stall bathroom at the school. The Stillwater board stuck with recommendations from State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister’s agency and ignored both parent wishes and actual legal requirements.

For parents who wonder why local school boards—not just in Oklahoma, but nationwide—seem increasingly indifferent to the needs of student families, one answer can be found in the fact that most school-board elections are in the spring, which results in very low turnout.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Legislature passes bill limiting birth certificates to biological fact of male or female

Truth prevails.


Male, Female Birth Certificate Designation Passes House

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 21st) – Rep. Sheila Dills, R-Tulsa, today secured passage of a bill that will limit the biological sex designation on an Oklahoma birth certificate to male or female.

Senate Bill 1100 would prohibit the designation of nonbinary as an option on birth certificates issued in the state.

"People are free to believe whatever they want about their identity, but science has determined people are either biologically male or female at birth," Dills said. "We want clarity and truth on official state documents. Information should be based on established medical fact and not an ever-changing social dialogue."

TW Shannon signs Term Limits pledge

For years, Oklahoma's two U.S. Senators took diametrically opposed stances on term limits. Tom Coburn was the poster child for principled support of congressional term limits, going further than mere lip service and self-imposing them on himself. Jim Inhofe, however, much like with his vehement support of earmarks, disdained the idea of term limits.

Markwayne Mullin infamously broke his own term limits pledge, and continues to stumble and bumble as he tries to explain away why he did so (see Mullin: my term limits pledge didn't matter because "my life experience changed"). One can only assume that Luke Holland, Inhofe's hand-picked successor, has similar views on term limits (and earmarks) to his boss.

T.W. Shannon joins fellow Senate hopefuls Alex Gray and Nathan Dahm in signing the U.S. Term Limits Pledge, vowing to co-sponsor and vote for a term limits constitutional amendment.

Should be an interesting showdown in the Senate primary.


Shannon Signs Term Limits Pledge
“We must fix the broken Beltway culture of entitlement created by entrenched incumbent privilege”

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Bill to improve transparency of state contracts heads to governor


Bill to improve transparency of state contracts heads to governor

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 19th) – The Senate unanimously approved legislation Tuesday to provide more transparency of state service contracts. Sen. Bill Coleman, R-Ponca City, is the principal Senate author of House Bill 3484, which would require state agencies accepting a service contract, whether bid or no bid, to list the city, state, and country in which the services will be provided.

Legislature passes Consumer Energy Choice Act, prohibiting local restrictions on access to energy sources


Boles Bill Allowing Competitive Energy Market Passes House

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 19th) – Legislation ensuring Oklahoma consumers have access to energy of their choice has moved to the Governor's desk after passing the Oklahoma House of Representatives 77-5.

Senate Bill 1352 creates the Consumer Energy Choice Act, which prohibits cities, towns, and counties from adopting rules that limit consumer access to energy sources.

Education Secretary Walters asks State Board to hold emergency meeting over Stillwater Schools bathroom policy

Here's the latest on the ongoing saga with the Stillwater Public Schools allowing girls restrooms to be used by boys who mistakenly, unscientifically, irrationally, and unnaturally believe that they are girls.

Oklahoma Secretary of Education Ryan Walters sent the following letter to the State Board of Education, asking that they hold an emergency meeting to "to give crystal clear guidance that boys use the boy’s restroom and girls use the girl’s restroom." 

Family Research Council Action PAC endorses Lankford for reelection


FRC Action PAC Endorses James Lankford as Dedicated Pro-Family Defender

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (April 18th) – Families for James Lankford announced today the endorsement by FRC Action PAC, which supports pro-family candidates and pro-family issues in elections around the country. It was established as an extension of Family Research Council Action’s efforts to bring to public office men and women who will protect, defend, and promote the sanctity of life, natural marriage, strong families, and religious freedom.

Monday, April 18, 2022

Gann: Is OK leadership willing to ignore liberty and capitalism to “Go Green”?


Oklahoma Going Green to Land a “Big Deal”
by State Rep. Tom Gann

Leadership in the State of Oklahoma has been on a fishing expedition to land a "Big One" to propel Oklahoma into a "diverse" energy economy. This effort has resulted in a proposal to include huge taxpayer dollar giveaways, but it could implement Biden's "Green New Deal."  

After case of bird flu in wild duck, Health Dep't shares safety tips on raising backyard poultry


OSDH Shares Biosecurity Tips on Safely Raising Backyard Poultry
After First Case of Avian Influenza was Detected in a Wild Duck in Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY – Each year, as spring arrives, many people begin or continue raising backyard poultry flocks. These flocks have been gaining in popularity over the past several years and interest in them continues to grow. 

“The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) wants to remind flock owners to learn about and practice essential prevention measures to minimize the risk of disease transmission, known as biosecurity,” said LeMac’ Morris, the State’s Public Health Veterinarian. “Biosecurity practices are vital in protecting not only your own birds, but neighboring flocks as well as our nation’s commercial poultry industry, from diseases like highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).”

Parents urge Stillwater School Board to change policy allowing male students to use girl's bathrooms


MOTHERS URGE CHANGE TO STILLWATER BATHROOM POLICY

During the public-comment portion of the April 12 meeting of the Stillwater Board of Education, many parents urged the district to change its policy allowing transgender students—males who identify as female—to use the girls’ bathrooms.

Several mothers noted their own experience as adolescents, stressing that girls face significant emotional challenges during puberty that will only be made worse if they are forced to share bathroom spaces with males.

Sunday, April 17, 2022

"The Numbers Don't Lie": State Auditor to present audit facts at OK2A meeting

State Auditor Cindy Byrd has been the subject of a whisper campaign by OCPAC President Bob Linn, alleging misconduct in several audits in recent years by the State Auditor's office (namely, Epic Charter Schools and the Oklahoma State Department of Health). Cathy Costello recently weighed in on OCPAC's agitation against State Auditor Byrd, taking a sabbatical from her frequent invites to sing at OCPAC meetings over an encounter with a guest speaker who was brought in to attack Byrd.

Linn has seemingly refused to have Byrd come to OCPAC to present her defense to his attacks, but the Oklahoma Second Amendment Association is evidently willing to hear her side.

Byrd will be speaking at the OK2A meeting this Tuesday evening in Oklahoma City. Details below:


 UPDATE: here is a video recording of the meeting (should start at the pertinent section at 23:23).

OCPA column: Statesmen show up at Capitol


Statesmen show up at Capitol
By Jonathan Small

They say a statesman thinks of the next generation, not the next election. Oklahoma citizens owe a debt of gratitude to those statesmen who still serve in the Legislature and just gutted a self-dealing bill that would have enriched politicians while saddling Oklahoma taxpayers with greater debt.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Lankford, Cruz move to stop Biden ATF's anti-gun rules

Lankford, Cruz, Colleagues Move to Protect Americans’ Second Amendment Rights

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (April 14th) – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today joined Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) to announce they will introduce a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act to prohibit President Biden’s Department of Justice from implementing a new rule to expand firearm definitions.

68 GOP legislators endorse Gov. Stitt for reelection

68 Republican Legislators Endorse Gov. Kevin Stitt for Re-election

April 15, 2022 (Oklahoma City, Okla.) – As the filing period closes, 68 Republican legislators in the State House and Senate announced their endorsement today of Governor Kevin Stitt for re-election in 2022. 

First fundraising reports for U.S. Senate, CD2 candidates

Candidate filing has concluded, and at the same time the first campaign fundraising reports are available for some of the leading candidates for federal office. In this post, I'm going to briefly cover the fundraising figures for the GOP U.S. Senate and U.S. House candidates that have filed their first quarter reports.

Friday, April 15, 2022

OCPA: House Majority Leader makes false statements about pension bill


Lawmaker makes false statements about bill

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 14, 2022)— [House Majority Leader] State Rep. Josh West has made inaccurate and false claims about recent pension legislation approved by the Oklahoma House of Representatives, Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs President Jonathan Small said today.

TW Shannon reports raising $400K in first 3 weeks of Senate campaign

I'll get to the rest of the field later (13 Republicans filed for this race!), but former State House Speaker T.W. Shannon reports in the following press release that he raised almost $400k in his first few weeks of campaigning. 


Shannon Raises Nearly $400K in First Three Weeks

Oklahoma City – Former Oklahoma Speaker of the House and banking CEO T.W. Shannon today announced he raised nearly $400,000 in a three-week period following the official announcement of his Republican candidacy for the United States Senate.

Democrat State Rep. Collin Walke not seeking re-election

Another legislator opts to not seek reelection. You can keep track of candidate filings at the State Election Board website here. 5pm today is the deadline to file for office.


Walke Announces He Won’t Seek Reelection for HD 87

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 14th) – Rep. Collin Walke, D-Oklahoma City, today announced he will not seek re-election for House District 87. 

Lankford announces $800k raised in first quarter, $2.86M cash on hand

Big bucks for Sen. James Lankford's re-election campaign:


Lankford Announces First Fundraising Numbers for 2022

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (April 15th) - Families for James Lankford today released the first-quarter fundraising numbers for 2022. The total contributions were $807,466.83 with $2,866,310.86 cash on hand. Families for James Lankford has raised $5,617,662.57 this election cycle. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

U.S. Senate candidate Alex Gray announces campaign team


UNITED STATES SENATE CANDIDATE ALEX GRAY ANNOUNCES CAMPAIGN TEAM

Press release, Oklahoma City, OK (April 11th) – Today, former Trump national security official and U.S. Senate candidate Alex Gray has announced the additions of key members to his campaign team. Gray has brought on Chris Wilson of WPA Intelligence as Senior Advisor, Rory McShane of McShane LLC as General Consultant, Robert Aho of Brabendor Cox as Media Consultant, and Somerlyn Cothran as Finance Consultant.

OCPA praises Senators for rejecting scheme to boost politicians' retirement

I posted previously about the fiasco retirement bill passed by the House [Bad idea: State House votes to roll back pension reforms, return to same bad system that got into trouble]. OCPA slammed the measure late last week, saying “Oklahoma families face many real challenges today, but an insufficiently lavish retirement plan for politicians is not one of them.”

The disastrous measure was authored by State Rep. Avery Frix (R-Muskogee), who also happens to be running for Congress. Frix has a history of pandering to government unions on this issue, and this vote coincides with the launch of his campaign for Congress. 

State Sen. Marty Quinn (R-Claremore), also running for Congress, rightly opposed Frix's bill language in committee. Read more:


OCPA praises Senators for rejecting retirement scheme

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 11, 2022)—Members of the Senate took a strong stand against legislative self-dealing today by rejecting a House effort to quietly boost retirement benefits for state politicians, Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs President Jonathan Small said today.

Monday, April 11, 2022

Sec. of Education Ryan Walters urges Stillwater School Board to end current (insane) bathroom policy

Oklahoma Secretary of Education Ryan Walters issued the following statement in relation to the stewing conflict over in Stillwater (and elsewhere) over the immoral insanity of allowing bathroom access based on "gender identity" rather than biology. The letters from Walters, and one from Attorney General John O'Connor rebuking State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister's interpretation, will be posted below the press release.


SECRETARY OF EDUCATION RYAN WALTERS SENDS LETTERS TO STILLWATER SCHOOL BOARD AND ATTORNEY GENERAL JOHN O'CONNOR

Secretary Ryan Walters sent two letters ahead of the Stillwater School Board's Tuesday meeting. One letter was sent to the Stillwater School Board and urged the board to take action and end its current bathroom policy that allows students to choose the bathroom that aligns with their self-proclaimed gender identity and not biology. A second letter was sent to Attorney General John O'Connor, asking the Attorney General's office to get involved and stop the board's current bathroom policy. Attorney General O'Connor did send a letter to Superintendent Washington outlining that there is no legal precedent that permits biological males into women's restrooms based on their gender identity and vice versa. A copy of all three letters can be found below.

Hofmeister spox: public schools must allow students to use bathroom of their choice, can't restrict based on biology

HOFMEISTER: SCHOOL TRANSGENDER BATHROOM POLICIES MANDATORY
by Ray Carter, Center for Independent Journalism

A spokesperson for State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister says Oklahoma public schools must allow students to use the bathroom of their choice, based on the student’s self-professed gender identity, and cannot restrict bathroom access based on biological gender.

Bob Stoops to speak at OCPAC dinner about Football, Faith, and the founding of the NFL


Legendary OU football coach Bob Stoops will be joining former Enid pastor Wade Burleson (a current candidate in the 3rd Congressional District) the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee (OCPAC) for a "dinner and conversation about Football, Faith, and the Foundations of the National Football League". The dinner will be held on Tuesday, April 19th, in Oklahoma City. Tickets may be purchased here ($10 for general admission, $25 for admission+meal).

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Lankford, colleagues call on Fed Dep't of Ed to drop proposed rule change attacking Charter Schools

Press release from U.S. Sen. James Lankford:


Lankford, Colleagues Work to Save School Choice After Bureaucrats Threaten to Gut It

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK –Senators James Lankford (R-OK), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Tim Scott (R-SC), and 10 colleagues urged the Department of Education to reconsider the proposed rule redefining the Charter Schools Program, stripping parents of their ability to choose the best school for their child.

OCPA: OK House lawmakers vote to line their own pockets

The latest press release from OCPA:


OK House lawmakers vote to line their own pockets

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 8, 2022)—Legislation recently passed by the Oklahoma House of Representatives boosts the taxpayer-funded retirement benefits of the same lawmakers who voted for the bill, Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs President Jonathan Small said today.

“Oklahoma families face many real challenges today, but an insufficiently lavish retirement plan for politicians is not one of them,” Small said. “Oklahoma voters have reiterated, repeatedly, that they want only a part-time Legislature receiving part-time pay and benefits. It is a slap in the face to working families for some House lawmakers to now try to enrich themselves at the expense of those taxpayers.”

Saturday, April 09, 2022

Lankford, 68 GOP colleagues demand DOJ investigate deaths of Washington DC preborn babies


Lankford, Lee, Colleagues Demand DOJ Investigate Deaths of Washington DC Preborn Babies

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (August 8th) – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) joined Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) to send a letter signed by 23 Senators and 46 Representatives to Attorney General Merrick Garland, demanding the Department of Justice investigate the deaths of preborn babies whose remains have been found in Washington, DC. Images have been widely circulated of the remains that suggest some of the babies may have undergone unlawful partial-birth abortions or possibly infanticide at the Washington Surgi-Clinic. Yet, the Metropolitan Police Department of DC has made the assumption that each preborn baby died as the result of a legal abortion.

ODOT: cities, counties may highlight Route 66 with new pavement markings

ODOT: CITIES, COUNTIES MAY HIGHLIGHT ROUTE 66 WITH NEW PAVEMENT MARKINGS

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation is facilitating cities and counties along historic Route 66 to offer them a new way to spruce up their section of the historic highway ahead of the Mother Road’s 2026 centennial.

ODOT’s Traffic Division recently released pavement marking guidelines to local governments that have sections of Route 66 on state or federal highways within their jurisdiction. Several cities statewide have asked for a way to additionally highlight their section of the route and are now welcome to use this guidance to begin the process of adding pavement markings.

“I appreciate the enthusiasm of cities and towns along Route 66 who are looking for more ways to highlight their connection to this storied route. I also appreciate ODOT’s efforts in making these new pavement markings happen. These are another visual guide to help motorists know they are on track along one of the most traveled routes in our nation’s history,” said Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell. “We want those who visit the state’s more than 400 miles of the historic route to feel the connection from city to city and these pavement markings just add to that effort.”

The 21-foot by 8-foot black and white markings will be approved by the department for the historical alignment of Route 66 and will be done in partnership with cities and counties. Each entity will pay for pavement markings in their area. For safety, the markings are intended for installation on sections with a speed of 35 mph or less and they cannot be spaced any closer than one per lane per mile.

State Rep. Dills joins other legislators not seeking reelection

Over the past decade or more, politicians and bureacrats at the State Capitol have periodically griped about legislative term limits, as though term limits are decimating "institutional knowledge" and effectiveness in the Legislature. Ironically enough, though, members now rarely stick around for their full 12-year maximum service, either by personal choice or by electoral defeat.

Case in point, this is at least the fourth legislator this week who is not seeking reelection (Sen. Leewright, Rep. Bell, Sen. Taylor).

Dills Announces She Will Not Seek Reelection

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Sheila Dills, R-Tulsa, today announced she will not seek reelection for House District 69.

OCPA column: Teacher unions invest in Oklahoma Republicans?


Teacher unions invest in Oklahoma Republicans?
By Jonathan Small

As the Oklahoma legislative session progresses, it is worth noting not only what bills advance, but which bills do not—and why the latter were rejected.

As always, education is a big issue with voters, but close observers of the Oklahoma Legislature may have already noticed an unexpected pattern. While the Republican-controlled Oklahoma Senate has voted on significant education legislation, the GOP-dominated Oklahoma House of Representatives has not.

It’s worth asking why.

Friday, April 08, 2022

Congresswoman Bice Introduces 'IRS Customer Service Modernization Act'

As one of those "lucky" taxpayers caught in the IRS backlog for well over a year... I say, get it done, Congresswoman!


Bice Introduces 'IRS Customer Service Modernization Act'

Washington, D.C. (April 7th) – Today, Congresswoman Stephanie Bice (R-OK) introduced the bipartisan IRS Customer Service Modernization Act along with the support of Representatives Rogers (R-AL), Meijer (R-MI), and McCormick (D-FL). This legislation would require the Secretary of Treasury to create an action plan within 60 days of enactment to complete the following: quarterly goals and benchmarks to allow zero backlog by Dec. 31, 2023, technical upgrades to improve processing times of tax returns, strategy to improve recruitment and retention rates at the IRS, improving taxpayer in-person meeting access to the Taxpayer Advocate Service and IRS, rapid identification of math errors and immediate notification of the taxpayer, and technological improvements to the IRS website for more efficient customer service. As of Dec. 31, 2021, there were still 6 million unprocessed individual returns, and in FY21, the IRS only responded to 11% of the 282 million phone calls by a customer service representative.

ODOT awards $75M, 2-year contract to replace US-62 bridge over Arkansas River at Muskogee

Heads-up, Muskogee and Fort Gibson: travel over the Arkansas River will be a bit more crowded over the next couple years.

I'm excerpting a longer press release to focus in on the local impacts from this week's Oklahoma Transportation Commission meeting (read the full press release here):

US-62 bridges over the Arkansas River in Muskogee

ODOT launches work zone safety campaign; nearly $130 million in contracts awarded

Highlights of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission’s Monday, April 4, meeting include unveiling of a spring work zone safety awareness campaign by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, an update on federal transportation funding following recent congressional action and consideration of programming items for future traffic safety and highway signage projects. Contracts were awarded for major projects on US-62 in Muskogee County, US-259 in McCurtain County and US-69 in Atoka and Bryan counties.  

[...]

Commissioners awarded contracts for several major highway improvements in Eastern Oklahoma, including a nearly $75 million project to reconstruct the US-62 bridges over the Arkansas River in Muskogee. The twin bridges span the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System, also known as Marine Highway M-40, which supports waterborne freight traffic moving in and out of Oklahoma ports. Construction of the replacement structures will include pier protections around bridge support members in the river. 

Super PAC drops $500k into ads for Inhofe's hand-picked successor, Luke Holland

From The Frontier journalist Reese Gorman on Twitter:

Okieway, a Super PAC backing @LukeHollandOK , has started a nearly $500,000 media buy in support of Holland. The slogan: “Jim Inhofe, continued”


I hate to break it to them, but this seems to be a surefire way to set money on fire for no purpose. Holland may be a nice guy, but - nobody knows him, he's a lifelong government bureaucrat, he's in a multicandidate race with some heavy hitters, and Inhofe's arrogant way of setting him forward as the handpicked successor (along with weird comments about Holland having been the real Senator) is off-putting.

Alex Gray releases first video ad for Senate campaign


ALEX GRAY RELEASES DIGITAL LAUNCH VIDEO

Oklahoma City, OK – Former Trump national security official and U.S. Senate candidate Alex Gray released his first digital ad of the 2022 election cycle for the vacant seat made available by Inhoffe’s resignation at the end of the year, which will be filled through a special election in November. 

Gray’s full ad can be viewed here:

The full transcript is below:

State Sen. Leewright opts against reelection bid


Sen. Leewright announces he will not seek another term

OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. James Leewright, R-Bristow, announced Wednesday he would not seek another term in the Oklahoma Senate.  Leewright represents Senate District 12, which includes all of Creek County and part of Tulsa County.

“Being a member of the Oklahoma Senate has been the honor of a lifetime, but after much prayer and thoughtful consideration, I have decided not to seek re-election,” Leewright said.  “I have never viewed public office as a life-long career.  I believe we’re called on to serve our fellow citizens, then return to the private sector.  That’s what I have decided to do.”

Joel Kintsel to challenge Gov. Kevin Stitt in GOP primary

Joel Kintsel, a former Republican parliamentarian for the Oklahoma House of Representatives has announced his campaign to unseat incumbent Governor Kevin Stitt. Kintsel made news in March for claiming there was a politically-motivated computer breach at the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs that was indirectly aimed at him.


Joel Kintsel Announces for Oklahoma Governor

(April 7th) Joel Kintsel announced his candidacy for the office of Oklahoma Governor and will challenge the current governor for the Republican nomination. Kintsel is a Ronald Reagan conservative.

“Throughout my career, I have served the people of Oklahoma and I am honored today to announce my candidacy for Governor. Oklahoma is in desperate need of a governor who will obey the law, set high ethical standards and do things by the book. The Stitt Administration is rife with corruption, self-dealing and cronyism and Oklahomans deserve another choice.”

Joel grew up in Oilton, Oklahoma in Creek County and graduated from Cimarron Christian Academy. Joel earned his bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University and his law degree from the University of Oklahoma. Joel enlisted in the Oklahoma National Guard in 2001.