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State Question 640 a Target for Tax & Spend Liberals

Since its passage in 1992, tax & spenders in the Oklahoma legislature have been continually frustrated by the restrictions placed on them by State Question 640 and this year’s special session of the legislature is highlighting that disdain. After the largest tax increase in a century failed to receive the required three-fourths vote for passage, proponents of House Bill 1054X were quick to complain about the three-fourths requirement placed on the legislature by State Question 640.

House Speaker Charles McCall (R-Atoka) called SQ640 a “high hurdle.” Yes, and it was intended to be such.

While the House members were on the floor debating HB 1054X I heard one representative actually complain about the three-fourths requirement, saying that it would only be fair if a three-fourths vote was also required to lower taxes. I wish I’d noted which one of our elected sages had the chutzpah to actually say that on the floor of the House.

I noted a column about […] → Keep reading

The Oklahoma Legislature May Need You to Start Smoking

A question from David Van Risseghem on his Facebook page got me thinking. He asked, “Hey? Is the impending special session being called to help folks quit smoking? Or just to get more money?”

Very quick background for those who don’t know – During the last Oklahoma legislative session a bill was passed enacting a $1.50 per pack ‘cessation fee.’ Senate Bill 845, the Smoking Cessation and Prevention Act of 2017, was designed to bring in about $215 million into the state coffers. Earlier this week the state Supreme Court ruled the bill violates the Oklahoma Constitution for various reasons that are completely correct but not relevant to the discussion here.

Now the question is what to do about the $215 million in taxes (note – taxes, not ‘fees’) that the stat will not be receiving, but was included by the legislature in the 2017-2018 budget appropriations. Conventional wisdom seems to be that the governor will call for a special […] → Keep reading

Have I Traveled to a Parallel Universe?

In every movie and television episode I can think of where the protagonist somehow travels to a parallel universe, one of the chief differences is that those who are good and bad have swapped roles. I’m outing myself as a Trekkie here, but the most notable example I can think of is the original Star Trek series episode, Mirror, Mirror, in which Captain Kirk and others accidentally swap universes with their counterparts. Kirk suddenly finds that the Federation is a conquering empire and his ship, the Enterprise, is a battleship sent on a mission of domination and murder.

I haven’t yet worked out the science of it how it happened but I think I may have been transported to a parallel universe.

For weeks now the news from the Oklahoma state capitol building has been proposal after proposal to increase ‘revenues’ by various methods. Let’s pause for a moment here and dispel the euphemism, ‘revenues,’ and call it by its […] → Keep reading

Oklahoma the Worst State for Women

Five years ago this week, I wrote a post called Oklahoma – Second Worst in which I noted the now-defunct website iVillage.com ranking Oklahoma as the “second worst” state for women. The reason? A lack of abortion providers in our state.

“Choice is extremely limited in Oklahoma, where 96 percent of counties have no abortion provider and there are only six such doctors in the entire state. Health insurance companies are banned from covering the procedures (except in cases of rape, incest or threat to the mother’s life.) Women seeking an abortion have to wait 24 hours after undergoing a sonogram where they will be offered a chance to view the fetus and are required to listen to a description of the image on the screen. The state legislature is working to limit choice even further. The state Senate recently passed a personhood bill that gives legal personhood rights to embryos from the moment of fertilization. The bill is awaiting […] → Keep reading

OK County Sheriff – Just Say No to Mike Christian

Of the seven people running for Oklahoma County Sheriff, it’s hard to imagine that any of them could have a worse record than Mike Christian. If you live in Oklahoma County I’m sure you’ve been receiving his almost daily mailers touting the Purple Heart award he received as an OHP trooper. As if that makes him qualified to be our sheriff. But there are a lot of things in Mike Christian’s background that will never be on his mailers because they show dishonesty, unethical behavior and just plain shadiness.

Here’s what he doesn’t want you to know.

NewsOK – The Republican candidate for Oklahoma County sheriff was disciplined while a state trooper for misconduct involving a female police cadet and for lying during an internal affairs investigation, a notice of the action shows.

Mike Christian also was disciplined for bringing beers to cadets at the Oklahoma Police Corps academy in Ada.

Christian was found to have violated the patrol’s rules […] → Keep reading

OK State Rep. Carol Bush Shows Her Pro-Abortion Colors

Yesterday at the Oklahoma State Capitol was Rose Day, an annual day when hundreds gather at the capitol building to express their belief in the sanctity of human life by meeting with representatives and senators and presenting them with red roses. How ironic that on the same day, the House Public Health Committee voted to reject a bill that would have banned abortions that are based on a diagnosis of a genetic disorder or Down syndrome.

A summary of the bill, HB1549, from the Oklahoma legislature website:

The introduced measure prohibits the performance of an abortion solely because the unborn child has been diagnosed with either Down Syndrome or a genetic abnormality or has the potential for a genetic abnormality. A physician or person who knowingly violates the measure will be held liable, have their medical license suspended or revoked, and be fined not less than fifty thousand dollars. A woman upon whom an abortion is performed in violation of […] → Keep reading

Oklahoma State Senator David Holt Proposes $59 Million In New Sales Taxes

Last year I wrote a post about a payday loan bill that Senator David Holt submitted and later pulled in which I agreed with him about the concepts of the free market and that government should not be in the business of saving people from their own bad decisions. Senator Holt sent me a message on Twitter thanking me for my remarks and saying he appreciates someone willing to state limited government principles. He also said that “Someday I’ll do something you don’t like.”

We’re there.

Yesterday, Senator Holt took to Facebook to announce his proposed bills that would give Oklahoma teachers a $10,000 pay raise. Senate Bill 316 would provide the raise and Holt introduced twelve separate measures to provide the funding. One of these measures, Senate Bill 331, increases taxes. To be fair to Senator Holt, SB331 is not an increase in tax rates but a removal of sales tax exemptions. But the net result is Oklahomans will […] → Keep reading

Obama Commutes Sentences for Drug Traffickers

On Thursday this week, the White House issued a press release saying that President Obama granted commutation to 72 federal inmates, a follow-up to the 98 commutations he granted last week. For his presidency, this is a total of 955 individuals, including 324 life sentences.

Part of the press release takes a shot at mandatory minimum sentences and calls for Congress to enact “broader reforms needed to ensure our federal sentencing system operates more fairly and effectively in the service of public safety.”

Hogwash.

Obama has now commuted the sentence for more federal prisoners than all other presidents since World War II combined. Reportedly, all of the prisoners were convicted of nonviolent drug offenses but some also were convicted for nonviolent weapons offenses.

White House counsel Neil Eggleston said in the press release, “The President is committed to reinvigorating the clemency authority, demonstrating that our nation is a nation of second chances, where mistakes from the past will not deprive […] → Keep reading

Oklahoma State Questions

Here is a summary of the State Questions on the Oklahoma ballot and my brief take on each.

BALLOT TITLE FOR STATE QUESTION NO. 776

This measure adds a new section to the Oklahoma Constitution, Section 9A of Article 2. The new Section deals with the death penalty. The Section establishes State constitutional mandates relating to the death penalty and methods of execution. Under these constitutional requirements:

The Legislature is expressly empowered to designate any method of execution not prohibited by the United States Constitution. Death sentences shall not be reduced because a method of execution is ruled to be invalid. When an execution method is declared invalid, the death penalty imposed shall remain in force until it can be carried out using any valid execution method, and The imposition of a death penalty under Oklahoma law —as distinguished from a method of execution—shall not be deemed to be or constitute the infliction of cruel or unusual punishment […] → Keep reading

The Modern Lynch Mob

Mention the word ‘lynch’ and you’ll invoke thoughts of historical events of days gone by, blacks being hung from trees by racist mobs, the Ku Klux Klan, or some western movie you saw with the local sheriff standing in front of the jail with a shotgun, holding off the murderous mob of citizens who are intent on stringing up a prisoner. Lynching has not been confined to the United States, but i is certainly been more prevalent in our country than in others. Lynching as most people think of it has all but disappeared, but it has been replaced with a new form of lynching that can be done with a keyboard.

Over the past couple of days, I have seen numerous articles, columns, posts, editorials, tweets, etc about the shooting of Terance Crutcher by a Tulsa police officer. If you’re not familiar with the shooting, this article by ABC News is fairly detailed and an unbiased description of the […] → Keep reading