Friday, April 28, 2023

Oklahoma Congressmen comment on passage of bill to raise debt ceiling in exchange for spending cuts

On Wednesday, all five of Oklahoma's U.S. Representatives voted in favor of the 'Limit, Save, Grow Act', which increases the debt ceiling in exchange for spending cuts.

Read below for comments from Reps. Hern, Brecheen, Lucas, and Cole:

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Gov. Stitt vetoes 20 Senate bills in escalation of fight over tax cuts, education reform

Governor Kevin Stitt probably prepared with some stretches and knuckle-cracking before he set out on a veto spree for the ages last night.

In an escalation of the fight at the State Capitol over passing tax cuts and education reform, and in particular frustration with the Senate leadership's intransigence on these issues, the governor vetoed twenty Senate bills - writing the same veto message on all of them:

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Column: OK Supreme Court abortion ruling points to the need for judicial reform

I have often mentioned this train of thought in conversation with folks, and there have been whispers of pursuing this sort of reform in the legislature for over a decade, but... let's be honest, a liberal judiciary serves as a convenient "out" for legislators who lack the political will to accomplish needed change. Organizations and clubs that are not accountable to the voters should not be dictating the makeup of one-third of state government.

Ryan Haynie | March 24, 2023

[Last month], the Oklahoma Supreme Court dropped a bombshell opinion wherein it found the Oklahoma Constitution protects the right to terminate a pregnancy to preserve the life of the mother. In the ultimate exercise of futility, it did so despite both statutes in question providing for that very exception. Rather than providing clarity on the state of Oklahoma’s abortion laws, the Court muddied the waters by finding a right it wasn’t asked to find and didn’t need to find, injecting itself into the policymaking process, and leaving the door wide open for abortion on demand should it decide it favors that policy down the road.

The first problem with the Court’s decision is its “discovery” of a constitutional right with precious little legal analysis. Where did it find this new constitutional right? For that, the Court relied on sections 2 and 7 of Article II of the Oklahoma constitution.” Those two sections state, “All persons have the inherent right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the enjoyment of the gains of their own industry,” and “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law,” respectively. With no analysis of what those provisions mean—much less what they meant to the people who ratified the Oklahoma Constitution more than 100 years ago—the Court’s majority decided that the right to terminate a pregnancy when the life of the mother is at stake is a constitutional right because a law permitting that exception to a prohibition on abortion existed before statehood.

All of the dissents took this conclusion to task, with Chief Justice Kane noting “[o]ur Constitution is a highly detailed enumeration of rights, not a broad, sweeping statement of concepts.” Justice Kuehn wrote a particularly compelling dissent, rightly noting, “[i]t is not the job of this Court to create a right where none exists,” and “[t]here simply is no language in our due process clause which includes any right to terminate a pregnancy.” She went on to note the lack of legal explanation for the Majority’s statement that “the Oklahoma Constitution ‘creates an inherent right of a pregnant woman to terminate a pregnancy when necessary to preserve her life.’”

But there is another problem with the opinion. Let’s imagine for a minute that the right to terminate a pregnancy to save the life of the mother was a fundamental right and not just a prudential judgment call for the legislature. In that case, the Supreme Court is not the appropriate policymaking body to decide how that “right” would be enforced or regulated. That decision is left to the legislature. In fact, you may be thinking, “I thought our abortion laws already had an exception for the life of the mother.” As mentioned previously, you would be correct. The law the Supreme Court struck down provided for an exception to save the life of the mother in a medical emergency.

This “medical emergency” concept was a bridge too far for the majority. Call me crazy, but I believe a threat to the life of the mother is a medical emergency. I certainly hope the people around me believe a threat to my life is a medical emergency. Here, too, Justice Keuhn was particularly persuasive, writing, “[e]ven if I agreed with the Majority that the Oklahoma Constitution provides a limited right to termination of pregnancy to preserve the life of the mother, I could not agree with the Majority’s attempt to define that phrase . . . that task belongs to either the people or their legislative representatives.

Finally, and perhaps more importantly, the Court seems to be leaving room for a complete and unfettered right to an abortion in the future. Because while the Court refused to find one of the abortion laws unconstitutional, it deferred on the question of whether the Oklahoma Constitution has anything to say about a right to elective abortions generally. If that seems wholly unreasonable, Justice Rowe agrees. He writes, “[t]he majority claims that it makes no ruling on whether the Oklahoma Constitution provides a right to an elective termination of pregnancy, yet the majority rejects the constitutional challenge to 21 O.S. § 861, which explicitly prohibits elective abortions.”

If the above-mentioned constitutional provisions provide a right to terminate a pregnancy to save the mother’s life, then does the right to the pursuit of happiness provide a constitutional right to terminate any pregnancy for any reason? We don’t know, because the Court’s majority gave us no indication.

This kind of shoddy analysis has become par for the course with this Court. As Carrie Campbell Severino pointed out at National Review, Oklahoma’s system for picking appellate judges is “a relic of the progressive era’s distaste for democracy [that] ties the hands of governors by allocating much of the nominating power to state bar associations.” OCPA has written extensively on the need to reform our judicial selection process by eliminating the Judicial Nominating Commission and replacing it with a federal model where the executive appoints jurists with the legislature serving in an advise-and-consent role.

Last year, a bill to abolish the JNC passed the Senate but met opposition in the House of Representatives. Both chambers, which consider themselves very pro-life, may want to reconsider whether the process we currently use to select jurists is worth preserving—even if changing the status quo upsets their friends at the Oklahoma Bar Association.

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Bill requiring bonding for marijuana grows signed into law

Bill requiring bonding for marijuana grows signed into law

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 24th) – Sen. Darcy Jech, R-Kingfisher, said he appreciates the support of Gov. Kevin Stitt after Senate Bill 913 was signed into law Thursday. Jech is the author of the measure, which will hold medical marijuana grows accountable by requiring them to submit a bond along with their application covering the area where they will conduct business.

Monday, April 24, 2023

Lucas holding town hall meetings in western Oklahoma on May 4th and 5th

Congressman Lucas Announces May Town Hall Meetings in Western Oklahoma

Cheyenne, OK (April 24th) – Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) will hold town hall meetings in Dewey, Major, Alfalfa, Woodward, and Woods Counties on Thursday, May 4th and Friday, May 5th. Residents around the locations are invited to attend and share their thoughts on current events in Washington, DC and across Oklahoma.

Small: Response to MLK legislation is telling

Response to MLK legislation is telling
By Jonathan Small

Oklahoma law currently prohibits teaching children that “one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex.”

This year, lawmakers have advanced legislation to have public schools provide lessons on the “natural law and natural rights principles that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., drew from that informed his leadership of the civil rights movement.”

It’s not a coincidence that many who opposed the aforementioned anti-racism law now oppose the MLK bill with some going so far as to claim you can’t teach about King without violating the prohibition on teaching racial superiority.

One suspects King would be surprised to hear that.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Heritage Foundation awards Innovation Prize to OCPA for pro-family initiative

Heritage Foundation Announces New Innovation Prize for the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (Apr 19, 2023) — The Heritage Foundation today announced that it has selected the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs as a recipient of the Heritage Innovation Prize.

The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs will receive a $250,000 award over two years in support of its Preserve and Empower Oklahoma Families Initiative, OCPA’s strategy to reposition the nuclear family in Oklahoma as the most powerful and active force in Oklahoma culture and the public-policy making process.

State Senate approves joint resolutions calling for constitutional amendments via Article V process

Senate approves joint resolutions calling for constitutional amendments

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 21st) – Sen. Micheal Bergstrom, R-Adair, has won approval for two measures that call for amending the U.S. Constitution. Bergstrom is the Senate principal author of House Joint Resolution 1017 and HJR 1032, which were approved by the full Senate Thursday.

“Since Washington D.C. doesn’t know how to balance a budget or understand that all powers not granted by the U.S. Constitution to the federal government are reserved to the states, the Oklahoma Legislature is stepping up with resolutions to help change that,” Bergstrom said.

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Brecheen joins fellow House Freedom Caucus freshmen in hosting 'Fresh Freedom' podcast

Oklahoma 2nd District Congressman Josh Brecheen is cohosting a new podcast with fellow House Freedom Caucus freshmen Rep. Eric Burlison (MO-07), Rep. Eli Crane (AZ-02), Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (FL-13), and Rep. Andy Ogles (TN-05). 

Brecheen, Crane, Luna, and Ogles were all part of the 'Tenacious Twenty' who held together to extract transformative rules changes from Speaker Kevin McCarthy during the opening vote for House Speaker in January. This gang is going to be a core group of conservatives to watch.

Reactions roll in over Gov. Stitt's school choice compromise proposal

Governor Kevin Stitt's proposal to break the legislative impasse over school choice legislation is being met with a wide range of reactions.

Read below for statements from:

  • House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka (cautiously positive)
  • Oklahoma Farm Bureau (positive)
  • House Minority Leader Cyndi Munson, D-OKC (negative)
  • Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Edmond (somewhat negative)

SoonerPolitics compiles map of accredited and non-accredited private schools to illustrate school choice options

David Van Risseghem over at has put together some helpful maps and information that puts some perspective and context to the school choice debate raging in the state capitol right now. 

Parent's Guide to Private Schools: The Current Private Schools

(4/20/2023) With the Oklahoma legislature preparing the final text of a school choice funding formula, SoonerPolitics undertook the task of compiling a couple of interactive maps, indicating the established private schools across the state. Some of these institutions are accredited by the Oklahoma Private School Accreditation Commission (OPSAC), but several dozens are decidedly not accredited, even though some are over 125 years old.

Friday, April 21, 2023

Gov. Stitt calls for compromise, proposes plan to break education reform stalemate

Can Governor Stitt find a middle ground for House Speaker McCall and Senate Pro Tem Treat to come to? He's giving it his best shot. We'll see how it goes.


OKLAHOMA CITY (April 21, 2023) - Governor Kevin Stitt today unveiled his proposed education reform compromise, the Oklahoma Education and Parental Choice Plan, after weeks of meetings with House and Senate leadership, Speaker Charles McCall, Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat, and members of both chambers.

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Senate and House Dems tout own $800M education plan among GOP stalemate

With the House GOP and Senate GOP locking horns over their competing school choice funding plans, their Democratic colleagues are out with a press release - short on details - touting their own plan as an alternative. 

With Democrats holding a superminority in the legislature, this won't go anywhere.

Senate and House Democrats Announce $800 Million Education Plan Amid Stalemate Over Education Funding Tied to Vouchers

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 20th) – Democratic leaders in both chambers say there is a better way to fund education and it starts with collaboration.

Legislative authors lament sports betting bill failing to advance this session

After a bill that would have legalized sports betting in Oklahoma failed to advance through a State Senate committee before a crucial legislative deadline, the authors of the measure are lamenting the fact that Oklahoma is "missing out" on all that juicy tax revenue that would have resulted from passage of the bill.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Congressman Josh Brecheen announces 7 town hall meetings, reports on first 100 days

28 in-person town halls so far in his first 100 days as a Congressman? He's a man hard at work for his district! Read below for information about Brecheen's seven upcoming town hall meetings, and his report to his constituents about his activities in his first one hundred days as Congressman:

Congressman Josh Brecheen Announces May In-Person Town Halls

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Josh Brecheen will hold in-person town hall meetings on Tuesday, May 2nd and Friday, May 5th. Constituents are invited to attend and share their thoughts and ask questions on policy issues impacting Washington, D.C. and Oklahoma.

Congressman Brecheen has so far held 28 in-person town halls throughout Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District with more to be announced soon. 

Monday, April 17, 2023

Small: Means-testing education?

Means-testing education?
By Jonathan Small

Here’s a quick thought experiment. There are two proposals to fund K-12 education. With one, families would get up to $7,500 for a child’s education. In another, families would receive nearly $13,000 per child in educational services. Some lawmakers want an “income cap” on one of these programs, to limit which families can use it. Can you pick which one?

It’s not the $13,000 one—nobody is suggesting a limit there. The income cap would apply only to the $7,500 option.

Friday, April 14, 2023

Civil liberties group steps in to help preacher threatened with arrest by Bartlesville judge over social media use of Bible verses against LGBTQ, public drag shows

In Bartlesville, OK, a Christian street preacher has been silenced and threatened with arrest by activist judges for daring to - on his social media account - use the Bible to denounce same-sex marriage and public drag shows. The LGBTQ insanity seems to have gripped local law enforcement and judges in Bartlesville. For much more information, the Substack blog The V1SUT Vantage has covered this ordeal extensively.

The Rutherfor Institute, a nonprofit civil liberties organization, is taking up the case on behalf of the preacher, Rich Penkoski:

Court Threatens Street Preacher With Arrest for Using Bible Verses to Criticize Same-Sex Marriage, Denouncing Drag Show on Social Media

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (April 13, 2023) — Pushing back at attempts by the courts to silence individuals whose religious views may be perceived as intolerant or hateful, The Rutherford Institute is challenging a five-year restraining order against a street preacher who has been threatened with arrest after citing Bible verses on social media to express his moral concerns about a church that endorses same-sex marriage and raising awareness about a public drag queen performance that occurred in front of children.

State Election Board elects new officers

State Election Board Elects New Officers

(Oklahoma City) - State Election Board members met Monday, April 3 to elect a new Chairman and Vice-Chairman. Heather Mahieu Cline (Oklahoma City) was elected the Chairman of the Board and Dr. Tim Mauldin (Norman) was elected Vice-Chairman. The Board also welcomed new member Mignon Lambley (Hooker).

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Gov. Stitt restructures his cabinet; replaces Ryan Walters as Sec'y of Education

The biggest change comes in the second press release, posted further down this post, in which Gov. Stitt announces that he is replacing State Superintendent Ryan Walters as Secretary of Education - a cabinet-level position. Walters has drawn quite a bit of criticism for simultaneously holding both education-related positions - one elected statewide, the other appointed by the Governor - and "double-dipping" with two government salaries.


OKLAHOMA CITY (April 11, 2023) - Today, Governor Kevin Stitt issued the following statement after restructuring the Executive Cabinet by Executive Order-2023-08:

“I’m very excited about our new cabinet structure. We are always learning more and trying to improve how we run state government and I believe our cabinet structure should reflect our state’s changing needs.

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Bill to issue temporary disability placards to new mothers one step closer to becoming law

I've been swamped with work and other responsibilites the last two weeks, and didn't get a chance to post this press release earlier. This measure has since passed a House committee unanimously.

Full Senate approves bill to issue temporary disability placards to new mothers

OKLAHOMA CITY (March 27th) – Sen. Joe Newhouse, R-Tulsa, received unanimous approval for Senate Bill 1070 Wednesday, which allows mothers to receive a temporary disability placard to use for six months after giving birth. If signed into law, Oklahoma would become the first state to provide this assistance to new mothers.

Bill aiming to curb sex-trafficking draws pushback as Dem rep declares prostitution is alternative income stream


by Ray Carter | April 10th, 2023

An effort to increase the penalties on individuals who pay prostitutes for sex, informally referred to as “johns,” has run into unexpected resistance.

One prominent Democrat has argued prostitution is one of the “streams of incomes” chosen by individuals who find entry-level job wages insufficient, while an advocacy organization has declared the bill is effectively anti-transgender.

But the bill’s authors have both said the point of the legislation is simple.

“This bill aims to curb sex trafficking by reducing the demand for prostitution services,” said state Rep. Eric Roberts, R-Oklahoma City. “Many of those engaging in prostitution are victims of human trafficking.”

Small on school choice: Not afraid to thrive

Rev. Wade Moore at recent school choice rally

Not afraid to thrive
By Jonathan Small

Most parents want their children to not only survive but thrive. Sadly, among some school-choice opponents, that is apparently viewed as a controversial statement.

Oklahomans from across the state recently rallied at the state Capitol, urging lawmakers to pass a robust school-choice tax credit that will allow them to use their tax dollars for the education setting that best serves each individual child, including private school and homeschooling.

But one lawmaker dismissed many of them—based, it appears, on skin color.

Lucas holding town hall meetings in central Oklahoma this Wednesday and Thursday

Congressman Lucas Announces April Town Hall Meetings in Central Oklahoma

Cheyenne, OK (April 5th) – Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) will hold town hall meetings in Canadian, Kingfisher, Blaine, Garfield, and Grant Counties on Wednesday, April 12th and Thursday, April 13th. Residents around the locations are invited to attend and share their thoughts on current events in Washington, DC and across Oklahoma.

Tuesday, April 04, 2023

State Senate approves $700M education package

I'm posting this somewhat delayed due to having been swamped with work, but this was the biggest thing to come out of the legislature last week:

Senate Approves Historic Education Funding Package

OKLAHOMA CITY (March 30th) - The Oklahoma State Senate today gave passage to its historic $700 million education package. 

Senators voted overwhelmingly on both measures 40 – to – 7 on House Bill 1935 and 46 – to – 2 on House Bill 2775, approving the single largest appropriations increase to education in state history, sending it back to the House of Representatives. 

Monday, April 03, 2023

Sen. Lankford warns of Chinese-owned farmland in Oklahoma, files bill to protect agricultural land from foreign nationals

Lankford Pushes to Protect Oklahoma Farmland from Foreign Nationals

WASHINGTON, DC (March 30, 2023) – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today introduced the bipartisan Security and Oversight of International Landholdings (SOIL) Act, along with Senators Jim Risch (R-ID), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Michael Bennet (D-CO), in order to provide oversight and transparency of purchases of US agricultural land that threaten national security. On the heels of a successful rejection of allowing more marijuana growth in the state, Lankford continues to respond to concerns from Oklahomans about the multiple recent purchases of Oklahoma agricultural land by foreign entities.

Congressman Lucas announces April town hall meetings in Oklahoma Panhandle

Congressman Lucas Announces April Town Hall Meetings in Oklahoma Panhandle

Washington, DC (March 27th) – Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) will hold town hall meetings in Ellis, Harper, Cimarron, Texas, and Beaver Counties on Tuesday, April 4th and Wednesday, April 5th. Residents around the locations are invited to attend and share their thoughts on current events in Washington, DC and across Oklahoma.