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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

E-Cigarettes: To Ban or Not To Ban?

After reading Larry Jackson’s post on e-cigarettes at Political Realities I was curious to know more about them, specifically the reasons why some local and state governments, including Oklahoma, have banned their use on government property. Governor Mary Fallin created a furor last month when she issued an executive order banning the use of e-cigarettes on Oklahoma state property. One look at the comments section of the article about the ban makes it clear her decision is not popular at all. At least not with those who comment on such articles. I have yet to discuss the ban with my coworkers. Full disclosure – I am a state government employee.

Despite the less-than-compelling explanation given by the Governor’s office for the ban, from what I have read of e-cigarettes I come down on the side of agreeing completely with the ban. I don’t believe there is currently enough information available on the harmfulness of the vapors. Those who […] → Keep reading