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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

Was the 17th Amendment a Mistake?

After Senate Republicans failed to pass a bill last week repealing major parts of Obamacare, including the individual mandate, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee sent an interesting tweet that has been getting a lot of attention.

Time to repeal 17th Amendment. Founders had it right-Senators chosen by state legislatures. Will work for their states and respect 10th amid

— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) July 28, 2017

In an age when a lot of people probably couldn’t even tell you who their own representatives are, I would not expect most people to know about the 17th Amendment and how it changed the way Senators are elected. To save you having to Google it, the 17th Amendment was ratified in 1913 and established the election of Senators by the people. Previously, Senators were elected by state legislatures.

To my mind, the 17th Amendment is just another nail in federalism’s coffin.

When the founders wrote the Constitution, one of their concerns […] → Keep reading

Is Marrying A Computer Coming?

If you think being allowed to marry a computer sounds ridiculous, so did same-sex marriage in the past. I never would have thought in my younger days that two men or two women would be legally allowed to get married. And not only that, failing to participate in the festivities could find you in legal hot water, sued out of business, and up to your eyeballs in debt if you’re a florist or cake maker and opt to not put your stamp of approval on such an event.

We live in strange times. And it seems the times are on the cusp of getting even stranger.

A man named Chris Sevier is suing the state of Utah for the right to marry his laptop. The Utah Attorney General’s Office tried to have the lawsuit dismissed for a number of reasons the main one being that a laptop cannot consent to marriage. But, a federal judge declined to dismiss the […] → 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

The New Progressive Bill of Rights

The rioting at UC Berkeley earlier this week is becoming an old story with those on the left using violence, vandalism, assaults, and general mayhem to demonstrate disagreement. It seems to be becoming a common occurrence with progressives putting on outrageous displays or general rioting and destruction when they don’t like something. Odd how the people who say violence never solves anything are the first ones to be violent when they don’t get their way.

If you aren’t familiar with the events precipitating this week’s progressive riot, Breitbart New contributor and Trump supporter Milo Yiannopoulos was scheduled to speak at UC Berkeley and apparently, progressives there were none too pleased. Being unable to envision any other way to voice their opposition to Yiannopoulos being allowed to speak, vandalizing their city and assaulting people is how they chose to show their displeasure. Odd that at UC Berkeley, the location for the birth of the free speech movement in the 1960s, someone’s […] → Keep reading

Trump Should Enforce Obamacare’s Individual Mandate

I was initially pleased when President Trump signed an executive order on day one of his administration, ordering executive agencies to soften enforcement of regulations and that no penalties, taxes, or fines be imposed by the IRS on anyone not in compliance with the individual mandate in Obamacare. His reasoning is that by the time April 15 arrives, the IRS would no longer have the authority to impose penalties, taxes, or fines because the individual mandate will no longer exist.

Andrew Napolitano says Trump’s executive order is “a truly revolutionary act, the likes of which I have never seen in the 45 years I have studied and monitored the government’s laws and its administration of them.”

He spelled out the reasoning very well, stating facts about Obamacare that have been known ever since 2010 when the Democrats rammed it through Congress without a single Republican supporting it.

“Trump argued that the government cannot compel commercial activity, even as part of […] → Keep reading

Hoping President Trump Proves Me Wrong

All throughout the primaries and the campaign, I was never on the Trump train. I have never believed that Donald Trump was a decent man, a true conservative or that he was the right choice to lead our nation. I have written before about why I did not support him and his candidacy, so I will not rehash all that. At this point, it is time to let it go. Donald Trump will be the 45th president of the United States.

New presidential administrations always bring change and if Donald Trump fulfills his promises I have to believe this will be a change for the better. Obama’s socialist agenda and dictatorial decisions did much damage, but America has always been resilient when recovering from disastrous leaders who damaged our nation.

I have concerns about Donald Trump, that he is not a true conservative. During the campaign, he took conservative positions on many issues and made promises that were very […] → 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

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

Is Oklahoma a ‘Backwards’ State?

Legislative sessions in Oklahoma are usually rife with contention, last-minute budget deals and unconventional bills and this year has certainly been no exception. With this year’s budget still being a huge question mark, cuts are already happening and many departments have already begun trimming staff. Medicaid, the earned income tax credit and education funding are issues making the news, along with non-budgetary items including abortions and school restrooms. Yes, restrooms.

Put it all together with a few other things and it’s apparently enough that some have labeled Oklahoma a ‘backwards’ state. A national laughingstock. An embarrassment. I have probably seen more negative articles and comments about Oklahoma and our legislature this year than any other. Articles such as the one titled “Oklahoma Continues Marching Backwards Into the 1950s With New Laws.” One column I saw shared frequently was from Ginnie Graham of the Tulsa World, who said, “Oklahoma sure had one embarrassing week.” It was pretty clear from her column […] → Keep reading