Thursday, August 31, 2023

House Dems want to impeach State Superintendent Ryan Walters -- and fundraise off it

When you're a superminority party unable to do anything of consequence in the Legislature by reason of holding so few seats, what better way to try to regain relevance by drumming up attention with calls for an impeachment? Quick! Get CNN and MSNBC on the line!

And, of course, raise a quick buck off the political stunt. Gotta fundraise somehow!

State Sen. Hamilton appointed to Strategic Military Planning Commission

Hamilton appointed to Strategic Military Planning Commission

OKLAHOMA CITY – Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, appointed Sen. Warren Hamilton, R-McCurtain, to the Strategic Military Planning Commission. Hamilton, an Army veteran and West Point graduate, will serve on the nine-member commission as an ex-officio member.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Small: “Equity,” “green energy,” produce bad results

“Equity,” “green energy,” produce bad results
By Jonathan Small

Public policy advanced primarily to gain social-media applause rather than improve people’s lives can have disastrous consequences, as seen recently in Hawaii.

In Hawaii, concerns about “equity” combined with promotion of “green” energy to create conditions where a wildfire could harm thousands and (apparently) kill hundreds. There were numerous steps along the way that could have prevented this tragedy. But policymakers never took those steps because of misplaced focus.

The wildfire is believed to have been caused by power lines that sparked a blaze in tall grass. The reason those conditions existed is due, in part, to politicians’ desire to campaign as opponents of hypothetical “climate change.”

Friday, August 25, 2023

Walters, legislators condemn and call for investigation of school bomb threats

Amid turmoil regarding leadership and reform in the Tulsa Public Schools, with seemingly growing political activism in the classroom by educators and countered by belligerent rhetoric from State Superintendent Ryan Walters, some loser(s) thought it would be cool to send fake bomb threats aimed at several Tulsa-area schools.

Coinciding with circulation of a fake Ryan Walters for Governor website, I'm personally inclined to think it was someone trying to pin this on Walters and conservatives who are upset with continued revelations of 'wokeness' and partisan liberal ideology in the classroom.

Anyway, Walters condemned the bomb threats (duh) and is calling for a full investigation of the threats. House Speaker Charles McCall and State Rep. T.J. Marti (representing one of the districts that received a threat) both issues similar statements. Both legislators offered similar sentiments, including displeasure with some of the rhetoric involved on both sides of public education reform.

State Rep. Olsen: Issues with SB26X and two-tiered system of unequal justice

Issues with SB26X
By Rep. Jim Olsen

The Legislature recently voted to overturn the governor's veto of Senate Bill 26X, which effectively gives another year for the tribal compacts to be negotiated.

It would be easy to look at this issue as pretty simple. The tribes just want another year to negotiate the compacts. Just give them another year, right? What's the big deal?

Hasn't the Cherokee Nation been very generous to our area, helping with schools, bridges, roads and numerous other community projects? Absolutely yes, to the tune of tens of millions of dollars!

Doesn't it behoove us to seek collaboration with the various tribal nations for the benefit of us all? Of course it does!

However, I have found this issue to be a little more complicated than I had at first realized, as there are several legal or constitutional issues with voting for this veto override.

There is a good chance that the Oklahoma Supreme Court will declare this bill to be unconstitutional.

First, we passed it during a special session, meaning that any bill heard during the special session must be related to the topic originally referenced in the call, as required by our state constitution. The call of the special session was related to the Fiscal Year 2024 state budget.  The argument for the call being related to the compacts is that the outcome of the vote on the bill could have a fiscal impact. However, almost every bill we vote on has some sort of fiscal impact. Therefore, if fiscal impact means that it is germane, then germaneness as a requirement for a bill to be included in a call for special session loses any meaning whatsoever.  I believe addressing the compacts during a special session for the budget is a stretch at best.

Secondly, the constitution specifically designates these negotiations with tribal nations to the governor. The Legislature affirmed this in 2014 when we put into statute that the governor is responsible for conducting these negotiations.

In the immediate sense, it is possible for the Legislature to change the statute. However, there is a proper way to change existing laws, rather than simply ignoring it for the sake of another law.

If we want to change statute, we must either amend the existing statute or add the statement "notwithstanding other provisions of law," neither of which was carried out prior to the passage of SB26X.

The issue that overshadows everything else is that the Oklahoma Constitution assigns the responsibility of negotiations with the tribes to the governor, not the Legislature, the Judiciary branch or any other part of our state government.

Every two years since I joined the House in 2018, I have affirmed an oath to support and defend the U.S. Constitution and the Oklahoma Constitution. If I knowingly defy our state constitution, I have violated my oath of office, and this is something I cannot and will not do.

In addition to the direct constitutional issues, there are other issues with the compact agreements that the tribes are bringing forth.

They argue that the phrase "Indian country" should be used in these compacts. What's the problem with that? The issue is that this brings us closer to a two-tiered system of law in Oklahoma. This has been expressly advocated in some of the legal briefs from the tribes in various court cases and is expressed in the following court cases:

Alicia Stroble, a member of the Muskogee (Creek) Nation who lives in Okmulgee, argues that she is exempt from Oklahoma state taxes because she is a tribal member living in Indian Country.

Justin Hooper, a member of the Choctaw Nation, argues that he is exempt from paying a $150 speeding ticket within the City of Tulsa because he is a tribal member.

We've also seen that under the new "plate pay" system by the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, tribal members with unregistered tribal tags are not in the OTA's system and thus cannot be charged for using turnpikes. One vehicle with a Cherokee Nation tag has reportedly failed to pay $670 in tolls since May 15. Should they be exempt because of their tribal affiliation?

If things keep going in this direction, the implications of this two-tiered system would eventually be even more extensive. We must maintain equal justice in Oklahoma.

Rep. Jim Olsen represents District 2 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which includes portions of Seqouyah County.

New OSDE video expresses optimism, goals for TPS

This is something of a follow-up to a story from earlier in the week: Stitt, Walters comment on resignation of Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Gist. Today, Walters' Oklahoma State Department of Education posted a video expressing optimism and goals for TPS.

OSDE Releases New Video for Tulsa Community

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (August 25, 2023) – Today, OSDE released a new video expressing the newfound hope and optimism for the students in Tulsa Public Schools.

State Rep. Conley will not seek reelection in 2024

Rep. Conley Announces She will not Seek Reelection in 2024

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Sherrie Conley, R-Newcastle, announced Thursday she would not seek a fourth term in 2024. Conley, whose district covers parts of McClain and Cleveland counties, was first elected in 2018, and was reelected in 2020, and 2022.

“It has been the honor of my life to serve my family, friends and neighbors in House District 20,” Conley said. "I have had amazing successes and incredible challenges, which I know will allow me to continue to serve the state of Oklahoma and the communities I represent as I move into my next chapter.”

Stitt, Walters comment on resignation of Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Gist

Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Deborah Gist resigned earlier this week, amid calls for her removal by State Superintendent Ryan Walters over Tulsa's plummeting public education scores during her disastrous tenure.

Below are comments from Walters and Gov. Stitt, emphasizing their view that this could be a turning point of improvement for Tulsa Public Schools. For some excellent background on the Gist situation, read this over at BatesLine.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

OCPA column: OU gets national attention — the wrong kind

OU gets national attention—the wrong kind
By Jonathan Small

The University of Oklahoma recently made national news—for the wrong reasons.

An investigation by The Wall Street Journal found that some of the United States’ best-known public universities “have been on an unfettered spending spree” with the bill “passed” on to students—and OU was identified as one of the worst offenders.

Between 2002 and 2022, the Journal found enrollment at OU increased 15 percent, but tuition increased by 36 percent even after adjusting for inflation. And, once student fees were included, the combined rate of growth was even more dramatic.

Donald Trump defiant in sure-to-be iconic mugshot

In his first post on Twitter since being banned in 2021, former President Donald Trump posted an image of his defiant mugshot, taken today at the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta, Georgia, and released this evening by the Fulton County Sheriff's Office.

Monday, August 21, 2023

Brecheen after 60 town halls: Here's what I'm hearing from the people of the 2nd District

60 town halls (you know, the old-fashioned, real, in-person kind, not on Zoom or via conference call) in eight months? That's likely more than his predecessor did in ten years.

Congressman Brecheen is a hard worker, endeavors to keep his constituents up-to-date, and is a ferocious advocate for the Constitution and Christian values. Couldn't be happier with him as my Congressman!

Congressman Brecheen: Here’s What I Am Hearing From the People of Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District

“During my first eight months in office, I have had the privilege of hosting 60 in-person town halls throughout Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District.

From Washington and Ottawa all the way down to Bryan and McCurtain counties, it has been an honor to travel throughout the district and meet so many wonderful people.

As a former field representative for the late Senator Tom Coburn, I have always believed that in-person town halls are the best way for Members of Congress to learn and hear from their constituents.

Friday, August 18, 2023

State Rep. Martinez resigns amid fallout over felony DUI plea

Proverbs 20:1 says, "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise." True words.

State Rep. Ryan Martinez was arrested on a DUI-related offense back in October, escalated to a felony due to having a past DUI charge. As was the case with another fellow drunkard legislator, the intoxicated Martinez tried to use his "get out of jail free card" (newsflash: it isn't) and political connections to evade arrest -- to no avail. Martinex pled guilty earlier this month to the felony charge, receiving a one-year deferred sentence, $1,000 in court costs, and six months of an alcohol interlock device in his vehicle.

Statutory language prohibiting legislators from holding office with a felony conviction or plea launched a disagreement between Gov. Stitt on one side, and House Speaker Charles McCall and Attorney General Gentner Drummond on the other. I feel that Stitt is in the right on this, and McCall/Drummond are not. Martinez ended the argument by going ahead and resigning (triggering a special election). Many thanks to NonDoc for good coverage on this story over the months.

Bodycam footage of arrest

Martinez Releases Statement, Resigning Office

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Ryan Martinez, R-Edmond, today issued the following statement saying he will resign from his legislative seat effective Sept. 1, 2023.

AG Drummond calls on Congress to pass bill to protect ag industry from radical California regulations

Drummond calls on Congress to pass EATS Act

OKLAHOMA CITY (Aug. 16, 2023) — Attorney General Gentner Drummond is calling on U.S. Congressional leadership to pass the Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression (EATS) Act. The bill prevents California from burdening farmers and ranchers across the country with radical anti-agriculture regulations.

Secretary of State, former Senate Pro Tem Bingman to run for Corporation Commission, endorsed by Gov. Stitt

Buckle up: the 2024 primary is just around the corner.

Governor's Senior Policy Advisor brings unequaled
private, public-sector experience to job

Oklahoma City, Okla., August 16, 2023- Oklahoma Secretary of State Brian Bingman announced today he is filing as a candidate for Corporation Commission.

“The regulatory industry dramatically impacts our business environment and ability to recruit jobs. I need Brian Bingman because of his experience and his unquestioned integrity,” said Governor Stitt.

In response, Bingman said, “I'm honored to have the endorsement of not only Governor Stitt but so many Oklahomans who have asked me to serve in this capacity to make Oklahoma more business friendly.”

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Small: LeBron school busts narrative

LeBron school busts narrative
By Jonathan Small

For several years officials have blamed poor student outcomes in public schools on outside factors, such as poverty. Their proposed solution: “wraparound” services that largely duplicate in schools the welfare programs normally provided through a department of human services.

Well, that theory has now been put to the test—and failed.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

State Sen. Cody Rogers announces he will not seek reelection

Remember all the complaints from opponents of legislative term limits? That twelve years was too short? About that... yeah, almost nobody "terms out" in Oklahoma any more. Between incumbents losing reelection bids, resigning mid-term due to some job opportunity (or scandal), or not seeking another term, comparitively few legislators are reaching their full twelve-year tenure. Term limits has not been the reason for the tremendous amount of turnover in the legislature over the past decade or less.

Sen. Rogers announces he will not seek reelection

OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. Cody Rogers, R-Tulsa, announced Monday that he would not be seeking reelection to the Oklahoma Senate. Rogers was elected to the state’s upper chamber in 2020 and his current term is set to end in 2024.

Rogers said after much careful consideration, he has decided to pursue other options, but expressed his gratitude to his constituents for allowing him to represent them in the Senate.

Garvin County legislators ask for AG opinion on sales taxes for rural ambulance services

Roe, Garvin Push for AG Opinion on Sales Taxes for Rural Ambulance Services

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Cynthia Roe, R-Lindsay, and Sen. Jessica Garvin, R-Duncan, have requested an opinion from Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond regarding the distribution of county sales tax revenue to support private businesses providing a public service.

In April 2021, Garvin County voters approved Proposition No. 2, which would set aside a portion of sales tax toward Emergency Management Services (EMS) in certain rural areas that did not previously maintain emergency services.

Friday, August 11, 2023

Gov. Stitt offers 1-year extension for Cherokee car tag compact


OKLAHOMA CITY (August 10, 2023) - Governor Kevin Stitt sent a letter to the principal chief of the Cherokee Nation with an offer of a one-year extension on their current car tag compact set to expire on August 16, 2023. The offer contains the same material terms provided in the existing compact.

Walters calls for "immediate accountability and improvement" in failing Tulsa Public Schools

The statistics out of the Tulsa Public Schools are... atrocious doesn't even suffice. The public education system is absolutely letting these kids down. Whatever they're doing is not working. The upcoming generation of Tulsa-area adults will be reaping the results of a terrible harvest.

State Superintendent Ryan Walters is bringing attention to this issue. Now, he needs to present a concrete plan to address the crisis.

Walters Releases Video Illustrating Timeline of Leadership Failures in TPS 

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Superintendent Walters released a video, posted to, that shows a timeline of negligence by Tulsa Public Schools. 

Dr. Gist has claimed that Superintendent Walters is “manufacturing a crisis” regarding his concern about the low-quality education and failing school report cards in the Tulsa district. 

State Sen. Newhouse announces he will not seek reelection

Sen. Newhouse announces he will not seek reelection 

OKLAHOMA CITY (August 11th) – Sen. Joe Newhouse, R-Tulsa, announced Friday that he would not be seeking a third term in 2024. Newhouse, whose district covers Bixby, south Tulsa, and parts of Jenks and Glenpool, was first elected in 2016 and then ran unopposed in 2020.

Monday, August 07, 2023

Brecheen to hold 'satellite' offices throughout 2nd District August 21st-25th

Congressman Josh Brecheen Announces Satellite Office Hours

Washington, D.C. – The office of Congressman Josh Brecheen will be holding Satellite Office Hours throughout Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District later this month.

Constituents are invited to attend to meet with our Field Representatives and help inform us how Congressman Josh Brecheen’s office can best serve you.

Sunday, August 06, 2023

Small: Tulsa schools show need for better state review

Tulsa schools show need for better state review
By Jonathan Small

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters recently indicated Tulsa Public Schools could face a downgrade in its state accreditation status. That would mark the second year in a row the district has had an accreditation downgrade.

But the fact that Tulsa held the state’s top accreditation rating just a few years ago suggests the system is, if anything, too lenient. Tulsa’s academic outcomes have long been abhorrent, and district leadership found a way to make things even worse by ending in-person instruction for more than a year during COVID.

Gov. Stitt appoints Melissa Handke to serve as District Attorney for 20th District


OKLAHOMA CITY (August 3, 2023) - Today Governor Kevin Stitt announced his appointment of Melissa Handke to serve as the District Attorney for the 20th Judicial District. This district includes Carter, Johnston, Love, Marshall, and Murray counties.

Saturday, August 05, 2023

Pastor Dusty Deevers announces candidacy in Oklahoma Senate District 32 special election

The recent resignation of State Sen. John Michael Montgomery has triggered a special election in State Senate District 32. Six candidates - four Republican, two Democratic - filed for this seat in the Lawton area, which has been held by Republicans since 2018. The winner-take-all primary election will be October 10th, with the general election on December 12th.

One of the four Republicans is a man of stellar character and conservatism, Dusty Deevers.

Lt. Gov. Pinnell: Investing in Oklahoma's workforce

By Lt. Governor Matt Pinnell 

As your Lieutenant Governor, I have had the privilege of visiting with countless businesses in all 77 counties. Most of the time, I’m included in celebrations – welcoming a new company coming to town or breaking ground on an expansion. I’m grateful for the opportunity to celebrate those economic development wins, and I’m particularly excited when those happen in rural Oklahoma.  

Friday, August 04, 2023

Gov. Stitt signs "Women's Bill of Rights" executive order safeguarding women's spaces

by Ray Carter | August 1, 2023

Becoming the first governor in the nation to do so, Gov. Kevin Stitt has signed a “Women’s Bill of Rights” executive order that bars males from being allowed in female-only facilities and events in Oklahoma.

The order was issued as a growing number of men have claimed to identify as female to access everything from women’s bathrooms to women’s domestic-abuse shelters to women’s prisons.

“We are making sure that women’s spaces are safe for women,” Stitt said. “No men are going to go into women’s prisons in the state of Oklahoma. No men in women’s domestic shelters in the state of Oklahoma. No men in women’s locker rooms. No men in women’s bathrooms. No men in women’s sports.”

Thursday, August 03, 2023

CUT OUR TAXES: Record state tax collections exceed expectations, bring Rainy Day Fund to all-time high

Another year, another record amount of money taken from the taxpayer and stuffed into the bottomless moneypit of state government. Oklahoma government is addicted to increasing spending year over year at the expense of the governed.

Having a state "savings account" is fine and dandy, but at a certain point, it's borderline criminal to take money that is not needed from the taxpayers. It's high time that Oklahoma taxpayers received some actual relief in the form of a tax cut. 


OKLAHOMA CITY (August 3, 2023) - Governor Stitt announced today the General Revenue Fund collections for fiscal year 2023 exceeded expectations and totaled $9 billion, which is approximately $1.6 billion, or 21.2%, above the estimate, and $493.7 million, or 5.8%, above prior year collections for the same period.

"Not only does this accomplishment stand as a testament to the benefit of our conservative fiscal policies, it represents the strength of our economy, the success of our businesses, and the hard work of Oklahomans," said Governor Stitt. "Oklahomans know how to spend their money better than the government, so let's leave more in their pocket. With a record $1.3 billion in the Rainy Day Fund and continued growth in our savings, there has never been a better time to cut taxes."

Reps. Brecheen, Burlison introduce "America Works" welfare reform package

Representatives Josh Brecheen, Eric Burlison Introduce “America Works” Welfare Reform Package

Washington, D.C. (July 27th) – Representatives Josh Brecheen and Eric Burlison (R-MO) introduced two bills aimed at reining in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) spending—commonly referred to as food stamps—and getting Americans back to work.

Wednesday, August 02, 2023

Brecheen, Lankford, demand answers after Planned Parenthood gets $20M in COVID relief

Congressman Josh Brecheen, Senator James Lankford Demand Answers After Planned Parenthood Receives $20 Million in COVID Relief

Washington, D.C. (August 1st, 2023) – Congressman Josh Brecheen and Senator James Lankford demanded answers from the Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery after it was discovered Planned Parenthood received $20 million in COVID relief through the Provider Relief Fund (PRF).

“It is obvious that Planned Parenthood did not need or qualify for COVID relief money when these taxpayer funds were designed to assist health care providers who were negatively affected by COVID lockdowns. Planned Parenthood should not be receiving any of our tax dollars in the first place and it would be incredibly concerning if it provided false or misleading information in order to get these funds. I am proud to join fellow Oklahoman, Senator James Lankford in demanding answers and accountability for Americans’ hard-earned taxpayer dollars,” said Congressman Josh Brecheen.

The Daily Signal’s Mary Margaret Olohan wrote an exclusive report on the letter, which you can read here.

Read the full letter here.

Lankford, Brecheen Demand Investigation into COVID Relief Going to Planned Parenthood

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (August 1st, 2023) – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) and Representative Josh Brecheen (R-OK) led their colleagues in the Senate and House in a letter to Inspector General (IG) for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Christi Grimm regarding more than $20 million in Provider Relief Funds (PRF) issued to Planned Parenthood under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The Members ask the IG to review the funds to “determine whether the organization provided false or misleading information to obtain access to PRF funds.”

The Members wrote in their letter, “Congress intentionally designed the CARES Act so that no federal funding appropriated through the bill could be used on abortion… This organization did not possess a financial need for funds distributed through the PRF, nor should taxpayer dollars be given toward the provision of abortions. We request that you review the applications submitted by Planned Parenthood to determine whether the organization provided false or misleading information to obtain access to PRF funds. If it is discovered that Planned Parenthood intentionally falsified information on its applications, we ask that you submit a criminal or civil referral to the US Department of Justice.”

The following Senators joined Lankford, Brecheen, and their House colleagues in sending the letter: Jim Risch (R-ID), Tim Scott (R-SC), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), JD Vance (R-OH), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Marco Rubio (R-FL).

Lankford remains a strong voice standing up for life in the US Senate and has consistently pushed back against Americans’ dollars going to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. During the pandemic, Lankford joined Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) and Republican members of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) to demand information from Small Business Administration Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman regarding Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans that were illegally obtained and received by Planned Parenthood affiliates across the United States.

Lankford recently introduced a bicameral bill to clarify that HHS cannot discriminate against Title X grantees, including states, for their stance on protecting life. On the one-year anniversary of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Lankford spoke on the Senate floor to ask the simple question: when does life begin? Lankford also wrote an opinion piece for National Review to encourage pro-life Americans to keep up the work to make abortion not just illegal, but unthinkable.

You can read the full letter HERE.

Tuesday, August 01, 2023

Small: Separate systems for turnpike tolls

Separate systems for turnpike tolls
By Jonathan Small

Is it too much to expect that everyone who drives on an Oklahoma toll road should be expected to pay? Sadly, that is not occurring today.

Due to flaws in existing state-tribal compacts, and a willful lack of enforcement mechanisms, individuals driving with tribal car tags are often able to evade payment of turnpike tolls.

Because information on tribal tags, such as the home address of the car owner, is not always provided to the state, many individuals with tribal tags now simply drive down state toll roads without paying. The millions gifted to those unregistered tags is then shifted onto the fees paid by all other, non-Indian drivers.