Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Hern, Brecheen, RSC budget task force members warn Biden of upcoming budget deadline

Rep. Kevin Hern, along with fellow Oklahoma Congressman Josh Brecheen and other members of the Republican Study Committee that Hern chairs, are pushing President Biden on failing to present his budget proposal by a rapidly approaching statutory deadline:

RSC leaders press Biden on upcoming budget deadline

Sen. Burns files bill to stop federal regulations on firearm suppressors made in Oklahoma

Burns files legislation to stop federal regulations on firearm suppressors made in Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. George Burns, R-Pollard, has filed Senate Bill 720, to ensure firearm suppressors and the basic materials used to manufacture them in Oklahoma are not subject to federal laws or regulations.

AG Drummond sues Biden admin over emergency health powers delegated to WHO

Drummond sues Biden administration over emergency health powers delegated to WHO 

OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan. 30, 2023) – Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond is suing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to remove an illegal regulation from federal law that allows the World Health Organization (WHO) to exert its authority over the United States.

Monday, January 30, 2023

Sen. Coleman files bill to grant greater local control over marijuana businesses

Coleman files bill to grant greater local control over marijuana businesses

OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan. 27th) – Sen. Bill Coleman, R-Ponca City, has authored legislation to give municipalities more control over allowing marijuana grow operations within their city limits. Senate Bill 801 would allow cities and towns to modify their standard planning and zoning procedures to determine or forbid certain zones or districts for the operation of new marijuana-licensed premises, medical marijuana businesses, or any other premises where marijuana or its by-products are cultivated, grown, processed, stored, or manufactured starting Nov. 1, 2023.

OCPA column: Focus on reading & graduation standards needed

Focus on reading & graduation standards needed
By Jonathan Small

In August, Allison D. Garrett, chancellor for the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education, warned lawmakers that Oklahoma high-school graduates are largely unprepared for college in English, math, reading, and science.

Bullard bill would phase out, replace Fed funding and control over K-12 education

Bullard plan would phase out and replace federal funding and control over K-12 education

OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan. 26th) – Legislation has been filed to cut and replace financial ties and control of the federal government over common education in Oklahoma. Sen. David Bullard, R-Durant, authored Senate Bill 863 to authorize the State Department of Education to develop a ten-year plan to phase out the acceptance and use of federal funds for the support of K-12 education and project what state funds will be needed to fill the gap.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Dahm files Firearms Freedom Act to push back against ATF rule, protect 2A rights

Sen. Dahm files Firearms Freedom Act to push back against ATF rule and protect Second Amendment rights

OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, has filed legislation to protect the Second Amendment rights of Oklahomans and prevent further federal overreach.

“The feds are continually looking for ways to circumvent the Constitution and trample our fundamental rights,” Dahm said. “The arbitrary and onerous pistol-brace rule set by ATF – an agency filled with unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats – is just the latest example. We clearly cannot count on those in the swamp to protect our rights, so we must do it ourselves.”

Voter Registration Maps: GOP now leads in all but 1 county, Dems slip behind Independents in 2 counties

Here we go with the latest installment of my long-running Voter Registration Maps series. These statistics are from the annual January 15th report from the State Election Board.

In this post, I have graphics showing registration leader by county, majority/plurality by county, registration swing by county, growth by county for all parties and for Independents, and a comparison of Democrats versus Independents by county (a new addition to my map collection). Take a look, and share with your friends:

Congressman Brecheen named to Budget and Homeland Security committee

Good news for fiscal conservatives -- Brecheen is on the Budget Committee:

Congressman Josh Brecheen to Serve on House Committee on Homeland Security and Committee on the Budget

Washington, D.C. (January 23rd) – Congressman Josh Brecheen announced today his selection to serve on the House Committee on Homeland Security and the House Budget Committee for the 118th Congress.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

State Sen. Bergstrom files bill to protect firearm purchase privacy

Sen. Bergstrom files Second Amendment Financial Privacy Act

 OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. Micheal Bergstrom, R-Adair, has filed Senate Bill 814, the Oklahoma Second Amendment Financial Privacy Act, prohibiting credit card companies from sharing information about lawful firearm and ammunition purchases. His legislation would allow citizens and merchants to file lawsuits and seek damages against those who violate SB 814’s provisions. 

State Sen. Burns files trio of measures related to Oklahoma state parks

Burns files trio of measures related to Oklahoma state parks

OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. George Burns, R-Pollard, has filed three pieces of legislation related to state parks and their operations.

Gann bill would prohibit government abuse of Non-Disclosure Agreements

Gann Bill Would Prohibit Abuse of Non-Disclosure Agreements

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Tom Gann, R-Inola, this week filed a bill to prohibit the abuse of non-disclosure agreements, providing greater transparency in government.

House Bill 1378 would require businesses of any kind seeking state or local incentives to fully disclose who they are and what they do and also would prevent government officials from entering into non-disclosure agreements (NDAs).

Saturday, January 21, 2023

State Sen. Cody Rogers files bill to strengthen Parents’ Bill of Rights

Sen. Rogers files measure to amend Parents’ Bill of Rights

OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. Cody Rogers, R-Tulsa, has filed Senate Bill 131, which amends the Parents’ Bill of Rights. SB 131 authorizes parents to file a civil action against a person or governmental entity for a violation of the Parents’ Bill of Rights.

“Updating this measure furthers parents’ involvement in their child’s education and requires written consent for decisions related to physical or mental health decisions for the student,” Rogers said. “Clarifying this will ensure parents know their rights when it comes to their children’s health and can remain in control of what their child is being exposed to at school.”

OCPA column: Fiscal crisis can prompt good policy

Fiscal crisis can prompt good policy
By Jonathan Small

Oklahomans may live far removed from Washington, D.C., but that doesn’t mean the negative repercussions of bad federal policy are not felt by families in all parts of the state. Out-of-control federal spending and government overreach has fueled constant tax increase attempts, historic inflation and widespread hardship.

But one of the few upsides to the federal fiscal crisis is that is has prompted good policy responses at the state level.

Friday, January 20, 2023

Sens. Daniels and Jett file universal school choice legislation

As with the legislation from last year (Treat's SB 1647), this sounds good... but the devil can be in the details -- especially as it relates to protecting homeschooling freedoms from government interference. I'll be watching this bill and the entire school choice debate in Oklahoma with interest, and a wary eye.

Senators file education freedom bills for Oklahoma families

OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. Julie Daniels, R-Bartlesville, and Sen. Shane Jett, R-Shawnee, have filed universal school choice legislation to benefit children in all corners of the state. Daniels’ Education Freedom Act, Senate Bill 822, provides parents the option of tapping into a portion of their child’s education dollars to pay for a variety of education services, including tuition.

Legislature completes bill filing for 2023 session with record amount of legislation

As best as I can tell, the Oklahoma Legislature has set a new record for amount of legislation filed in advance of a legislative session, with 3,079 bills and resolutions submitted.

You can research filed legislation by visiting OKLegislature.gov. Here are the details from the House and Senate:

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Brecheen: Here’s how McCarthy’s concessions will transform the House of Representatives

Here’s how McCarthy’s concessions will transform the House of Representatives
by Rep. Josh Brecheen (R-Okla)

Many Americans were shocked to learn this month about the concentrated power in the House of Representatives that undermines our constitutional republic. Since 2016, the Speaker of the House has allowed zero votes on floor-offered amendments, unless they were pre-screened. Instead, members of Congress were forced to vote “yes” or “no” on legislation, often being forced to swallow wasteful, pork-ridden provisions that were buried inside bills.  

State Rep. Josh West refiles Oklahoma Computer Data Privacy Act

Rep. Josh West Refiles Data Privacy Bill

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Josh West, R-Grove has refiled legislation that would require consumer consent for all personal data collection and sharing by major technology companies operating in the state.

House Bill 1030 would create the Oklahoma Computer Data Privacy Act.

"Major technology companies track our every conversation, our spending records, our movements and so much more and then sell that information so it can be used to socially engineer us through marketing manipulation," West said. "Or worse, this information is used to perpetrate financial crimes against our citizenry and to actively spread mass disinformation."

West pointed to a National Security Commission's 700-plus page report that explains how adversaries to the United States are using Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems to enhance disinformation campaigns and cyber-attacks that identify and target American citizens. Big tech companies, meanwhile, are profiting off of the sale of such personal and private data that is meant to manipulate and coerce behavior.

The report revealed that America is ill-prepared for the next decade of technological development, and part of that is due to a lack of governmental action in regulating things like data privacy. The commission recommends legislatures pass meaningful data privacy measures to protect their constituents.

Among other things, HB1030 would require business operating in the state that collect consumers' personal information to fully disclose the information collected and how it is being used or sold in a clear and conspicuous place and allow consumers to opt in or opt out.

The law would apply to businesses with an annual gross revenue of more than $15 million or that share for commercial purposes the personal information of 50,000 or more consumers or that derive 25% or more of its annual revenue from selling consumers' personal information.

HB1030 is a revision of legislation filed the last two years by West and other lawmakers. The previous bills passed the House but failed to advance in the Senate. West said he's reached out to those who have been against the legislation and asked for any input to gain their support.

"One argument is the state could lose billions of dollars, but that is simply not true," West said. "And shouldn't we be more interested in protecting peoples' personal information than in a corporate bottom line?"

Another argument is that this is a matter for the federal government to address. West said he doesn't envision that happening any time soon.

West said Oklahoma is falling behind other states in this matter as other states have already passed similar legislation or are considering it in the interest of protecting their constituents. Three states have enacted comprehensive consumer data privacy laws. Lawmakers have introduced similar bills in eight states this year as well as numerous bills on biometric information, children’s privacy, health data privacy, data broker regulation, and automated employment decision tools.

The goal of his legislation, West said, is to acknowledge Oklahomans' Constitutional rights to privacy and establish that collection of personal data without knowledge or consent is a violation of such privacy. 

The legislative session starts Feb. 6. After that, bills will be eligible to be first and second read and must pass committee before being considered for passage on the House floor.

Josh West serves District 5 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. His districts includes parts of Delaware and Mayes counties.

Oklahoma State Election Board releases annual voter registration statistics

Looks like it's time to work on updating my Voter Registration Maps series again:

Annual Voter Registration Statistics Released –  Voter List Maintenance Conducted

(Oklahoma City) – An official voter registration report by the Oklahoma State Election Board shows 2,225,086 people are registered to vote as of January 15, 2023. The annual report comes days after the State Election Board conducted its statutorily-required voter list maintenance process, removing inactive voters and duplicate voters.

State Sen. Pugh releases $541M education reform package

With the reelection of Gov. Kevin Stitt and the election of State Superintendent Ryan Walters, it's a sure bet that education reform will be a top priority in the coming four years. State Sen. Adam Pugh is out with a $541M public education reform package that includes some old standbys (a teacher pay raise) and some intriguing new proposals (such as a multistate teacher licensure compact). NonDoc has a good article covering yesterday's press conference; Pugh's press release is below:

Sen. Adam Pugh releases education agenda
Plan includes $541 million to enhance public education

OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan. 19th) - Sen. Adam Pugh, R-Edmond, released his public education agenda Wednesday, which he believes will improve public education outcomes for Oklahoma children.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Sen. Weaver files bill to extend workers’ comp benefits to first responders with PTSD

Sen. Weaver files bill to extend workers’ comp benefits to first responders with PTSD

OKLAHOMA CITY – State Sen. Darrell Weaver has filed legislation to ensure workers’ compensation will cover post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for first responders, including law enforcement officers, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians (EMTs).

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Drummond announces new leadership team for Office of Attorney General

Of note among Drummond's hires is Trebor Worthen, a political consultant mercenary who headed up one dark money group that spent something in the neighborhood of $5M to $10M trying to defeat Gov. Kevin Stitt this past election.

Drummond announces new leadership team for Office of Attorney General

OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan. 13, 2023) –Attorney General Gentner Drummond today announced the addition of key leaders to the Oklahoma Office of Attorney General (OAG) and outlined various structural changes to the operations of the office.

Newly hired leaders include General Counsel Rob Johnson; Chief of the Criminal Division, Jimmy Harmon; Chief of the Civil Division, Stacy Morey; Solicitor General Garry Gaskins; and Chief of Staff Trebor Worthen.

State Sen. Dahm files legislation banning CRT statewide

Sen. Dahm files legislation banning CRT statewide

OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan. 16th) – Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, has filed legislation banning state agencies or departments from implementing Critical Race Theory (CRT).

“Our state government shouldn’t allow anyone to be judged by the color of their skin,” Dahm said. “We must ban the teachings of CRT in all areas of our government, not just our schools.”

Monday, January 16, 2023

OCPA column: Stitt's inauguration sets tone

Inauguration sets tone
By Jonathan Small

Gov. Kevin Stitt set the right tone for his second term in his inauguration speech, signaling a focus on good policy. Stitt’s agenda gives Oklahomans reason for optimism.

“It’s time to keep moving forward with big ideas and to get them across the finish line for today’s children as well as the next generation,” Stitt said.

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Sen. Dahm files legislation to fight destructive woke gender ideology

Sen. Dahm files legislation to fight destructive woke gender ideology

OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, has filed legislation to fight the dangerous and destructive woke gender ideology of the left.

“For years, Senate leadership has dismissed the threat that the left’s gender ideology poses to our state,” Dahm said. “However, with instances of ‘family friendly’ drag shows, drag queen story hours, and the discovery of the gender transition program at OU Medical, it’s past time we stop this craziness. The following bills will provide Senate leadership with a way to fulfill the promises made during special session and end the practice of gender destruction in our state.”

State Auditor Byrd optimistic about Drummond prosecution of Epic Charter founders


OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (January 11, 2023) Oklahoma State Auditor & Inspector Cindy Byrd today announced her support of Oklahoma Attorney General, Gentner Drummond, as he moves forward in the prosecutions against the former management at Epic Charter Schools. Based on the results of the SAI’s 2020 audit, Epic founders Ben Harris and David Chaney, and their CFO Josh Brock, now face felony charges of embezzlement and racketeering.

Stitt makes new appointments to State Board of Education, Veterans Commission

Entering his second term, Governor Kevin Stitt is shaking things up with his appointments to two state boards, including the crucial State Board of Education:


OKLAHOMA CITY (January 10, 2023) – On the first day of Governor Kevin Stitt’s second term, the following organizational changes have been made within his administration.

Attorney General Drummond outlines priorities, takes on prosecution of Epic Charter officials

New Attorney General Gentner Drummond outlines priorities upon taking office

OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan. 11, 2023) – Sworn into office Monday, new State Attorney General Gentner Drummond said he is getting to work immediately as Oklahoma’s chief legal and law enforcement officer. His top priorities include working to improve relations with Oklahoma’s Native American tribes, eliminating illegal marijuana growing operations in the state, prosecuting fraud and corruption, and ensuring governmental transparency.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Gov. Stitt appoints Dr. Deborah Shropshire to serve as Director of OKDHS


OKLAHOMA CITY (January 10, 2022) – On the first day of his second term, Governor Kevin Stitt appointed Dr. Deborah Shropshire, M.D., to serve as the Director of Human Services. Dr. Shropshire previously served as the Director of the Child Welfare Services at the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS). She will be the first woman to serve as Director of DHS in Oklahoma history.

Rep. Cole tapped to chair powerful House Rules Committee, Rep. Lucas leading Science, Space, and Tech

Oklahoma's two most senior members of the United States House of Representatives have been tapped to head up House committees. Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) will chair the powerful House Rules Committee, while Rep. Frank Lucas (OK-03) will chair the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee.

Bullard files bill prohibiting genital mutilation (aka "gender transition") of anyone under the age of 26

Bullard files bill prohibiting genital mutilation of youth under 26

OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan. 10th) - Sen. David Bullard, R-Durant, recently filed Senate Bill 129, also known as the Millstone Act, to prohibit Oklahoma doctors from providing gender transition procedures or referral services relating to such procedures to anyone under the age of 26. The bill would further authorize the state’s attorney general to enforce the act and those found guilty of violating it would be guilty of a felony and subject to license revocation.

Lankford, Bice call for transparency, communication in DOJ investigation of OKCPD

Lankford, Bice Call for Transparency, Communication in DOJ Investigation of Oklahoma City, OKC Police Department

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (Jan. 9th) – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) and Rep. Stephanie Bice (R-OK-05) sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland after the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced in November an investigation into the state of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, and the Oklahoma City Police Department (OKCPD).

Sen. Dahm files bills to improve student learning

Sen. Dahm files bills to improve student learning

OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan. 4th) – Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, has filed legislation to improve student learning in the state of Oklahoma.

“As students return to school this month, now is a perfect time to ensure they will learn factual information rather than modern wokeness,” Dahm said. “These curriculum updates will provide students with an understanding of our philosophical underpinnings, teach them to reason, and allow them to think critically in the classroom.”

Small: Statewide, parents are sending message on school choice

Statewide, parents are sending message on school choice
By Jonathan Small

I’ve recently noted that voters have sent a message on school choice by overwhelmingly electing its supporters to statewide and legislative offices. But Oklahoma parents have separately sent an equally loud message by voting with their feet and pocketbooks.

Sen. Dahm files legislation to strengthen energy sector and promote energy independence

Sen. Dahm files legislation to strengthen energy sector and promote energy independence

OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan. 9th) – Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, has filed legislation to strengthen the energy sector and promote energy independence.

“On this day in 1862, the first petroleum shipment from the U.S. to Europe arrived in England,” Dahm said. “Unfortunately, the radical left has so crippled our country with their ridiculous climate policies, that we are no longer exporting oil but are forced to import it. Their demonization of oil, natural gas, and nuclear has left our country dependent on others. These bills attempt to keep Oklahoma’s energy industry strong and independent.”

West files bill to keep County Sheriffs informed on Federal raids, arrests

Bill Would Keep County Sheriffs Informed on Federal Raids, Arrests

OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan. 3rd) – Rep. Rick West, R-Heavener, has filed legislation that would require federal agencies to inform county sheriffs before any raid or warrantless arrests are executed within their jurisdiction.

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Congressman Brecheen votes to defund Biden’s unconstitutional IRS army

Congressman Brecheen Votes to Defund Biden’s Unconstitutional IRS Army

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Josh Brecheen issued the following statement after voting in favor of the Family and Small Business Taxpayer Protection Act (H.R. 23), which is intended to stop the hiring of 87,000 new IRS agents to target the American people.

McCall announces State House committee, leadership appointments

House Committee, Leadership Appointments Made

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma House of Representatives committee leadership and Republican majority leadership appointments have been made for the 59th Oklahoma Legislature.

House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, was formally elected Tuesday by the full House to his fourth two-year term as speaker, making him the longest-serving speaker in state history. Speaker Pro Tempore Kyle Hilbert, R-Bristow, was formally elected Tuesday by the full House to his first full term as speaker pro tempore, the chamber’s second ranking officer.

New era: Ryan Walters sworn in as State Superintendent of Public Instruction

There's a new sheriff in town, and he's ready to get to work reforming Oklahoma's education system. Here's hoping he achieves the sort of transformative, positive outcomes that have evaded the last several Superintendents.

Walters sworn in as new State Superintendent of Public Instruction

OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan. 9, 2023) – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters was sworn in at the State Capitol today beginning his four-year term.

Saturday, January 07, 2023

Brecheen and 'Tenacious Twenty' extract transformative rules changes from McCarthy

It's an auspicious start to his time in Congress. Freshman Representative Josh Brecheen (OK-02) and nineteen fellow conservatives played hardball with House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy -- and extracted some truly transformative rules changes before supporting McCarthy's bid for House Speaker.

Sen. Hamilton proposes legislation to increase pay for poll workers

This is a good idea, and could, among other things, help to address the shortage of poll workers that is pretty much a constant issue for election boards across the state.

Sen. Hamilton proposes legislation to increase pay for poll workers

OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan. 6th) – Sen. Warren Hamilton, R-McCurtain, is drafting legislation for the 2023 session to increase pay for election poll workers.

Friday, January 06, 2023

Dahm files legislation to prohibit fluoride in public water supply

Sen. Dahm files legislation to prohibit fluoride in public water supply

OKLAHOMA CITY (January 5th) – Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, has filed legislation to prohibit fluoride from being added to any public water supply.

“Many countries have stopped the use of fluoride in their water due to health concerns and lack of supporting evidence for its efficacy when ingested,” Dahm said. “Finland, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, and Switzerland are just a few of the countries to do so.”

Bergstrom files bill to require remedial courses for students scoring below testing benchmarks

Bergstrom files bill to require remedial courses for students scoring below testing benchmarks

OKLAHOMA CITY (January 3rd) – Sen. Micheal Bergstrom, R-Adair, has filed Senate Bill 44 to require high schools across the state to provide remediation courses for students scoring below subject-area benchmarks on tests like the ACT or SAT.

Wednesday, January 04, 2023

Sen. Newhouse and Rep. Ford file legislation to modernize county clerk services

Sen. Newhouse and Rep. Ford file legislation to modernize county clerk services

OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. Joe Newhouse, R-Tulsa, filed legislation to allow certified copies of county land records to be signed, notarized and recorded electronically. Newhouse carried similar legislation last year that was unanimously passed in the Senate but did not receive a floor hearing in the House of Representatives.

Erickson: Here's How to Get a Speaker of the House by Noon

One political commentator that I find to be particularly insightful, though I don't always agree with him (mainly on some finer points in theology/church issues), is Erick Erickson - formerly of RedState and The Resurgent. He now has a nationally syndicated radio show and writes on his own Substack here. He's been 100% right on the McCarthy speaker race, and I wanted to pass along part of his column this morning:

Here's How to Get a Speaker of the House by Noon


Kevin McCarthy has lost three votes for Speaker of the House.

On the third vote, the opposition grew.

Who is being unreasonable now? The GOP could have a Speaker by noon today so long as it is not McCarthy.

Tuesday, January 03, 2023

Legislature meeting for this term's organizational day today

Get ready, the legislative session will be here before we know it. Later today, both the House and Senate will meet to take care of some constitutionally-required formalities, including the election of House Speaker and Senate President Pro Tempore.