Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Small: Blind trust in prosecutors unwise

Blind trust in prosecutors unwise
By OCPA President Jonathan Small

In general, Oklahomans trust law enforcement and prosecutors, but have a healthy distrust of politicians. Unfortunately, that means they should also be somewhat skeptical of prosecutions and investigations—because politicians often have a hand in them.

Monday, September 26, 2022

US House GOP unveils 'Commitment to America' platform

House Republicans Unveil Commitment to America

Cheyenne, OK (September 23rd) – Today, Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) released the following statement after House Republicans introduced the Commitment to America, a policy platform to create An Economy That's Strong, A Nation That's Safe, A Future That's Built on Freedom, and A Government That's Accountable:

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Oklahoma Optometrists plan free eye exams on Giving Sight Day, Oct. 1st

Oklahomans In Need Can Receive Complimentary Vision Exams on Giving Sight Day (10/1/22)

OKLAHOMA CITY – Participating optometric physicians across the state of Oklahoma will be giving complimentary eye exams to those in need as part of the Oklahoma Association of Optometric Physician’s (OAOP) third annual Giving Sight Day. 

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Rep. Phillips, Sen. Paxton praise pandemic stimulus projects focusing on broadband access

Phillips, Paxton Praise Joint Committee Focus on Broadband

OKLAHOMA CITY (Sept. 22nd) – Rep. Logan Phillips, R-Mounds, on Thursday praised the Oklahoma House and Senate Joint Committee on Pandemic Relief Funding for their focus on addressing broadband issues through projects they advanced. The projects advanced during the joint committee's meeting on Tuesday will now be considered when the Legislature reconvenes it's special session to appropriate American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars.

AG O'Connor, OK Press Assoc. hosting Open Records/Meetings seminars across state

Attorney General O’Connor, Oklahoma Press Association to Host Open Records Seminars Across the State

OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor is partnering with the Oklahoma Press Association to host open records and open meetings seminars in five locations across the state beginning Sept. 26.

“These seminars are a great way for public officials to stay up to date on the state’s open record laws,” Attorney General O’Connor said. “I encourage everyone who serves the public to attend and participate in these meetings.”

Friday, September 23, 2022

House Dems react to committee approval of pandemic stimulus projects

Democrats React to ARPA Allocations

OKLAHOMA CITY (Sept. 20th) – House Democrats sitting on the Oklahoma Legislature’s American Rescue Plan Act Committee released the following statements today after several projects were approved.

President Joe Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the latest federal stimulus bill to aid public health and economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, on March 11, 2021. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures website, the plan included $350 billion in emergency funding for state, local, territorial and tribal governments, known as the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds.

Gov. Stitt launches new campaign ad touting pro-freedom pandemic policies

Good to see Governor Stitt's campaign getting on the airwaves given how much Hofmeister and the Dems have been hammering him. The most recent poll showed a close race, but Stitt should be able to widen the gap once his campaign really gets rolling.

Ad features the staunch difference between red- and blue-state leaders during the 2020 pandemic, positive outcomes from Stitt’s pro-freedom policies

September 22, 2022 (Oklahoma City, Okla.) – The Stitt for Governor 2022 campaign launched today a new statewide television advertisement titled, “Greater Things,” which highlights Governor Stitt’s leadership to keep Oklahoma’s economy and schools safely open during the 2020 pandemic. As most of the nation shuttered for prolonged periods under liberal big government mandates, Governor Stitt led Oklahoma to a safe and prosperous recovery.

“Stitt kept kids safely in schools and our businesses open– and just look how it’s helping all across Oklahoma: Children learning, small businesses growing,” says the narrator.

While Governor Stitt’s opponent was advocating for mask mandates and shutting down essential services such as in-person learning, Governor Stitt deployed resources with Top Ten outcomes to keep Oklahoma’s economy open and children safely in schools. 

With Governor Stitt at the helm, the State of Oklahoma: 

  • Was one of the first States to deploy drive-thru COVID testing statewide by establishing lab partnerships with Oklahoma’s university institutions. (Washington Post)
  • Deployed $40 million to hospitals to build permanent infrastructure in early spring to expand bed and critical care capacity. (Oklahoma Watch)
  • Regularly procured and deployed PPE during a global supply chain crisis to keep schools, hospitals, and first responders supplied with protective gear. 
  • Established and deployed the Bounce Back grant program that helped small, local businesses keep their doors open. (Journal Record)
  • Established and funded a rental-assistance grant program to help Oklahoma families keep stay in their homes while navigating the economic disruption. (KOCO
  • Was one of the earliest states to deploy CARES Act funding directly to municipalities, a total of $250 million, to support their local response efforts. 

The narrator continues, “with Kevin Stitt as Governor, we’re poised for even greater things.”

Governor Stitt’s COVID policies helped 100,000 Oklahomans get back to work and resulted in the 3rd lowest unemployment rate in the nation. Today, Oklahoma continues to experience its lowest unemployment rate in State history and its greatest workforce participation rate in state history. 

Thursday, September 22, 2022

State House to reconvene special session on September 28th

They'll be picking up special session to determine how to spend the 1.87 billion dollars in Federal largesse that Oklahoma was given under Biden's COVID stimulus plan, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). You can read the previously advanced stimulus projects that they'll be considering as the full House at this link.

House to reconvene special session Sept. 28 to 30

OKLAHOMA CITY (Sept. 21) – The House of Representatives will reconvene the Second Extraordinary Session of the 58th Legislature from Sept. 28 to 30 for consideration of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and other funding advanced by the Joint Committee on Pandemic Relief Funding.

House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, said the session will finalize 18 months of collaborative work on ARPA funding. Bills containing the proposals will begin being filed soon.

Joint committee advances dozens of ARPA proposals to Legislature

Joint committee advances dozens of ARPA proposals to Legislature

OKLAHOMA CITY (Sept. 20th) – The Joint Committee on Pandemic Relief Funding on Tuesday advanced a comprehensive slate of projects to the full Legislature for consideration in an upcoming special session.

The committee's approvals, combined with previously approved projects, resulted in recommendation of over 60 projects totaling nearly all of Oklahoma state government's $1.87 billion share of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Small: Power grab in Washington could harm Oklahoma

Power grab in Washington could harm Oklahoma
By Jonathan Small

Proposals to penalize “big business” often work to instead hammer small businesses and harm job creation in states like Oklahoma. A new federal effort to break up certain large tech companies falls into that category.

Never enough: Hofmeister calls for $5K teacher pay raise

In a transparently political pander while running for Governor, now-Democrat State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister wants to hike teacher pay again by another $5,000, three years after significant pay increases were passed by the legislature. 

It's never going to be enough, despite the terrible results produced by Oklahoma's failing public education system. Her press release is below:

Hofmeister includes teacher pay raise in state education budget request

OKLAHOMA CITY (Sept. 19, 2022) – A $5,000 teacher pay raise is included in the annual budget request the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) will present to the state board of education at its next meeting on Thursday, Sept. 22.

“We’ve significantly raised teacher pay in recent years, but so did our neighboring states with whom we are competing. This investment is vital to our ability to build a sustainable teacher workforce, necessary for providing the high-quality education Oklahoma students need and deserve,” said Joy Hofmeister, State Superintendent of Public Instruction. “In the midst of an unprecedented and worsening teacher shortage, it is imperative we look for long-term solutions to show that Oklahoma values and respects its teachers.”

There are currently 52,850 certified teachers in Oklahoma. It will require approximately $310 million to fully fund the teacher pay raise.

Oklahoma teachers last received an official pay raise in 2018 ($6,100), and an additional salary increase averaging $1,220 passed in 2019.

Oklahoma currently ranks fourth in the region for teacher pay with an average annual salary of $54,096, trailing New Mexico ($54,256), Texas ($57,090) and Colorado ($57,706). New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has recently signed legislation that will boost teacher salaries by an additional $10,000. 

Friday, September 16, 2022

Task force recommends expanding SoonerCare maternity and postpartum services

Read below for press releases from Governor Stitt and Senate leadership supporting a recommendation to expand SoonerCare maternity and postpartum services:


Thursday, September 15, 2022

OSDH celebrates 20% drop in infant mortality rate

Oklahoma’s Infant Mortality Rate Drops Nearly 20 Percent Since Statewide Program Launch

OKLAHOMA CITY – September is Infant Mortality Awareness Month. Since the launch of a statewide program in 2007, Oklahoma’s infant mortality rate (IMR) has decreased by nearly 20 percent according to statistics from the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

The IMR was 8.2 per 1,000 live births in 2005-2007, but dropped to 6.6 in 2019-2021.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

SoonerPoll: GOP trouble? Stitt leads Hofmeister by 1, Walters trails by 5

SoonerPoll is out with two new surveys that seem to indicate some brewing trouble for GOP candidates in the two most competitive and high-profile statewide races this fall - those of Governor and State Superintendent.

Small: ESG targets Oklahoma economy, jobs

The new leftist “environmental, social, and governance” (ESG) obsession is beginning to infiltrate and impact an awful lot of the American economy. Working in the cleaning and restoration field, I've begun to notice it creeping into industry surveys and publications, sometimes obscurely, sometimes overtly. Read on for a column by OCPA President Jonathan Small on ESG and Oklahoma's economy:

ESG targets Oklahoma economy, jobs
By Jonathan Small

During a recent state legislative hearing, Brook Simmons, president of the Petroleum Alliance of Oklahoma, gave policymakers a reality check. He pointed out that oil-and-gas companies produce far more jobs in Oklahoma than do “green” industries. And oil-and-gas jobs are also much better paying.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Lankford, Inhofe move to protect Oklahoma ag land from foreign purchases

Lankford, Inhofe Move to Protect Oklahoma Ag Land from Foreign Purchases

WASHINGTON, DC – Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Jim Inhofe (R-OK) today introduced the Security and Oversight of International Landholdings (SOIL) Act in order to provide oversight and transparency of purchases of US agricultural land that threaten national security. Lankford continues to respond to concerns from Oklahomans about the multiple recent purchases of Oklahoma agricultural land by foreign entities.

Stitt issues executive order to deliver drought relief for farmers and ranchers


OKLAHOMA CITY (September 12, 2022) — Today, Governor Kevin Stitt issued an executive order to deliver drought relief to farmers in western Oklahoma, and other parts of the state hit hard by the current drought conditions.

Wednesday, September 07, 2022

Oklahoma not an outlier on teacher shortage

by Ray Carter, Center for Independent Journalism (original link)

(August 31st) Reports of a teacher shortage in Oklahoma have often intimated the problem is one largely driven by Oklahoma-specific factors.

But the head of the state’s college system suggests that is not the case and that all states are seeing a reduction in the number of teachers.

Tuesday, September 06, 2022

Sen. Kirt seeks public input on state taxes through September forums

Sen. Kirt seeks public input on state taxes through September forums

OKLAHOMA CITY - Sen. Julia Kirt will host a series of public forums in September to let Oklahomans hear from tax and economic experts about Oklahoma’s tax system as well as allow citizens to share their ideas, concerns, and questions on the issue.

Thursday: Tulsa 9.12 Project speaker on how Dark Money is making it hard to elect conservatives in OK

From the Tulsa 9.12 Project:

The Corruption Belt: How Dark Money Is Making It Hard for Oklahomans to Elect Conservatives

Were you inundated with political campaign mailers leading up to the June and August primary elections? Did the plethora of push cards explode in your mailbox prior to the primary runoffs? Have you noticed trends and similarities in literature coming from supposedly different campaign organizations?

If you answered YES to any or ALL of these questions, then you need to be at Tulsa 9.12 Project on Thursday, September 8th when Jenni White will unveil and explain just how deep the corruption goes and how dark the money is that funds it. Like a detective following the clues with Scooby Doo, Jenni will reveal who is behind these dastardly and malicious campaign attacks.

Saturday, September 03, 2022

Small: Remember the lessons of state shortfall years

Remember the lessons of state shortfall years
By Jonathan Small

Most business owners and families understand the importance of spending less than you bring in, and of socking away the remainder in savings, to prepare for unexpected financial challenges.

Unfortunately, such thinking is rare in government, which explains why Oklahoma government was in such bad shape only a handful of years ago. Sadly, some groups appear dedicated to ignoring the lessons of the recent past.

The head of the Oklahoma Education Association (OEA), the largest government union in Oklahoma, along with other tax-consumer advocates, is now calling on the state to spend down the record savings achieved during Gov. Kevin Stitt’s first term.

Special session: 9 pandemic stimulus projects sent to full Legislature

The below projects, along with previously approved ones, would total approximately $510M of the $1.8B in federal pandemic stimulus funding allocated to the State of Oklahoma.

Joint committee sends nine ARPA projects to full Legislature

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Joint Committee on Pandemic Relief Funding on Tuesday advanced the second slate of projects for consideration in the Legislature's upcoming special session on American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding.

Friday, September 02, 2022

AG O'Connor releases guidance for law enforcement on new abortion laws

Attorney General O’Connor Releases Guidance for Law Enforcement After Newest Abortion Law Takes Effect

OKLAHOMA CITY (August 31st) – Today, Attorney General John O’Connor criticized the ongoing campaign by the abortion industry and others to confuse and mislead the public about abortion laws, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent historic overturning of Roe v. Wade in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. He also released a guidance document for law enforcement after the State’s most recent abortion law became effective.