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Wednesday, February 28, 2007 

Sen. Gumm Seeking Leadership Post

Tulsa World: Gumm said he has been encouraged by a number of people to look at the job, a position he said involves enormous responsibility. He called the post daunting, adding that whoever is selected must put his or her heart and soul into it. He said the job is one of service and not power. "I have approached members about committing to me," said Gumm, who would need to secure 13 votes. Read more...

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Posted at 2/28/2007 01:03:00 PM |

Houses Approves "Celebrate Freedom Week" Over Opposition from 18 House Democrats

House Republican leaders expressed disappointment in 18 of their Democrat colleagues who opposed a measure on Tuesday to designate a special week celebrating America's freedom in Oklahoma schools. House Bill 1874 by Rep. Dennis Johnson (R-Duncan) would designate "Celebrate Freedom Week" for Oklahoma schools the same week that Veteran's Day is marked in November. The week would be used to instruct students in the importance of the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the Bill of Rights and other foundingdocuments and historical American figures. "This bill is one way to expand our children's knowledge about our nation's basic foundations," said Rep. Johnson. "Some things should absolutely be taught in school, and the core principles of our nation's freedom must be emphasized so they can be passed on to future generations." The bill passed by a vote of 80 to 18 on the House floor Tuesday. It now goes to the state Senate for consideration. "People-Who-Enjoy-Eating-M&M's Week' sounds good too," said Rep. McCarter (D-Marlow), in comments against the bill. Those voting against the measure included: Rep. John Auffet (D-Stilwell); Rep. Scott BigHorse (D-Pawhuska), Rep. Ed Cannaday (D-Porum), Rep. Wallace Collins (D-Norman), Rep. James Covey (D-Custer City), Rep. Darrel Gilbert (D-Tulsa), Rep. Larry Glenn (D-Miami), Rep.Chuck Hoskin (D-Vinita), Rep. Ryan Kiesel (D-Seminole), Rep. Al Lindley (D-Oklahoma City), Rep. Ray McCarter (D-Marlow), Rep. Ryan McMullen (D-Burns Flat), Rep. Jerry McPeak (D-Warner), Rep. Richard Morrissette (D-Oklahoma City), Rep. Bill Nations (D-Norman), Rep. Mike Shelton (D-Oklahoma City), Rep. Ben Sherrer (D-Chouteau), Rep. Dale Turner(D-Holdenville).

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Posted at 2/28/2007 12:50:00 PM |

Inhofe Honored With Taxpayers’ Friend Award

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) today received the “Taxpayers’ Friend Award” from the National Taxpayers Union (NTU) for his continued efforts to protect and support the taxpayers of Oklahoma and the nation. Sen. Inhofe was ranked 4th among senators and was the highest ranked member of the Oklahoma congressional delegation for the year 2006 for his commitment to reducing federal spending, taxes, and debt. Sen. Inhofe was one of only 61 members in both the House and the Senate to receive the NTU’s "Taxpayers’ Friend” award this year.
“I wish to thank the National Taxpayers Union for this award,” Inhofe said. “No other group in America needs more support and representation than the American taxpayer, and the National Taxpayers Union continues to provide an invaluable service. I look forward to continuing to work for lower taxes, a strong economy, and keeping the federal budget out of the family budget.”
John Berthoud, President of the National Taxpayers Union, stated, "While many Members of Congress talk about reducing the size of government, Senator Inhofe backed up those words with votes. His pro-taxpayer score is one of the best in the entire Senate, and proves that he is a consistent and effective ally in the battle to restore fiscal responsibility to Washington.


Posted at 2/28/2007 12:38:00 PM |

Legislation Protecting Student-Age Victims of Sexual Violence Headed to

HB 1051 Part of House GOP "Safe Families Platform" A key portion of the House Republican Safe Families Platform passed out of committee today and is now headed to the House floor. House Bill 1051, by House Speaker Lance Cargill, prevents student-aged sex offenders from attending the same school as their victims. The measure was approved by the House Education Committee.
"No victim of a violent crime, particularly a child, should have to face their attacker on a daily basis," said Cargill (R-Harrah). "Often, the student victim will change schools or in some cases, the entire family will move so that their child will not have to endure this. This bill will put the burden of starting over in a different school on the attacker."
Cargill introduced a similar measure last year after being contacted by a female student from his district who was raped by a classmate. Her attacker was allowed to return to the same school. However, Cargill's 2006 bill died in the State Senate. The "Safe Families Platform" is part of the 2007 House Republican "Year of Ideas Agenda".

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Posted at 2/28/2007 12:20:00 PM |
Tuesday, February 27, 2007 

Reading, Writing, 'Rithmetic

ODP Chair Lisa Pryor wrote yesterday on OKBluenotes that if you can read her post on HB 1935, the "Honesty in Funding Education Act," you should "thank a teacher." It is ironic to us that a day later, one of the most poorly written pieces we've ever seen on the site was submitted on behalf of Black History Month. In between the run on sentences, poor punctuation, and words that simply don't belong in context to the sentences, try and interpret this:
"A Dream Lost"
"A little- known chapter of African-American history in Oklahoma as told to Ronald E. Childs. If anyone truly believes that Columbine High School massacre or the on the Federal building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, was the most tragic bombing ever to take place on United States soil as the media has been widely reporting, they're wrong plain and simple. That's because an even deadlier bomb occurred in the same state to forget that it ever happened..."
We praised them last week for waiting 14 days to race bait and pander to African American Oklahomans during Black History Month. We guess they wanted to get one more race baiting post on the site before the end of the month.

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Posted at 2/27/2007 11:29:00 AM |

HYPOCRISY WATCH: Prater Calls Parts of Sex Offender Law "Almost Unenforceable"

"A hundred registered sex offenders live closer to schools than the law allows. Lane does nothing, despite repeated complaints from police." - From 2006 Prater campaign commercial, "Ask a Police Officer" OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater says language in the state's current sex-offender law make parts of it "almost unenforceable." Prater says the law -- which prohibits sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school, park or day-care center -- requires prosecutors to prove that an offender knowingly moved into a restricted area. That's something he says is "incredibly difficult" and it has kept Oklahoma County prosecutors from charging anyone under that section of the law.

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Posted at 2/27/2007 11:12:00 AM |

Has State GOP Lost Its Mojo?

From Okiefunk: The state GOP, despite its majority in the Oklahoma House and rising fortunes in the Senate, continues to misfire by supporting needless ideological legislation and engaging in petty, sometimes secret, bipartisan politics. The questions are these: Where are the big plans from Republicans to help move the state forward and help its residents? Where is all the promised reform of good ol’ boy politics, the actions of what its mouthpiece, The Daily Oklahoman, always refers to as the “usual suspects? Has the conservative juggernaut here lost its mojo? Here’s what sticks out about the GOP in the 2007 legislature so far. Read more...

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Posted at 2/27/2007 11:11:00 AM |

Former Mexican President Speaks at OU

NORMAN, Okla.(AP) Former Mexican President Vicente Fox urges the respect of human and labor rights and says constructing a wall between the two nations is a waste of time and money. Fox's comments came today as he addressed an academic convocation at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. Fox served as Mexico's president from 2000 to 2006. He touted his country's economic improvement in recent years, but said much work remains to be done to provide more educational opportunities for its citizens. He drew loud applause from the mostly students in the audience when he called for a greater United Nations presence in Iraq and urged the United States to exit the country. O-U President David Boren praised Fox for breaking seven decades of one-party rule in Mexico and for bringing stability to the country's economy.

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Posted at 2/27/2007 09:21:00 AM |

Judge Says Edmondson Doesn't Have to Give Deposition

TULSA, Okla. (AP) A federal magistrate sides with Attorney General Drew Edmondson's argument that he shouldn't be deposed for his lawsuit against poultry companies. Judge Sam Joyner also ruled, however, that Edmondson's office should answer questions from poultry companies about evidence that is to be used in the case. Joyner says since Edmondson is representing the state of Oklahoma in the lawsuit, the state is the true party, not the attorney general. Simmons Foods is one of 13 poultry companies being sued over poultry waste use in the Illinois River watershed. It and other companies believe Edmondson should be considered a witness because he said the amount of phosphorous dumped on the ground in the watershed annually is equivalent to the waste of more than 10 (m) million people. Joyner agreed with the poultry companies' argument that Edmondson's office had given evasive or incomplete answers to a series of pretrial requests for information. Edmondson's office has 30 days to further answer questions from one company regarding the evidence.

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Posted at 2/27/2007 09:15:00 AM |

Bill Banning Elected Officials from Appearing in PSAs Clears Committee

Legislation preventing elected officials from using appearances in public service announcements (PSAs) as free campaign TV time passed a committee vote Monday. House Bill 1451, by Rep. Rob Johnson, would ban elected officials from appearing in PSAs during election years in which they are up for re-election. The measure passed a vote of the House Rules Committee Monday and now moves to the House floor.
"This practice essentially allows incumbents to have free campaign commercials," said Johnson (R-Kingfisher). "Basically, if an elected official has a buddy who's putting together a PSA, the official can appear in it, reaching hundreds, if not thousands of people at no charge to his or her campaign. It borders on being unethical, and certainly gives incumbents an unfair advantage. Rarely can a challenger afford such an opportunity. "Public service announcements certainly serve a valuable purpose, and this bill is in no way an attack against them," Johnson added. "We just want to remove this unfair advantage for sitting elected officials."
If passed by the Legislature and signed into law, HB 1451 would be in effect for the 2008 elections, in which at least all 101 of Oklahoma's House seats and 24 of the state's Senate seats will be up for grabs.

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Posted at 2/27/2007 08:34:00 AM |
Monday, February 26, 2007 

House Bill 1804 Scheduled for Hearing in House Judiciary Committee

House GOP will advance "most meaningful immigration reform in the nation" House Republicans leaders said today they will advance the nation's most meaningful immigration reform law this week when a House committee takes up House Bill 1804, an omnibus reform measure.
"Our immigration reform effort is about upholding Oklahoma's rule of law and respecting immigrants who come to our country legally," said Speaker Lance Cargill (R-Harrah). "We must do more to make sure that Oklahoma's social safety net is not strained to the breaking point by illegal immigration."
Rep. Randy Terrill, author of House Bill 1804, the Oklahoma Taxpayer & Citizen Protection Act of 2007, said the measure is scheduled to be heard by the full House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 4:30 p.m. in room 412-C at the State Capitol. The measure is a key part of the House GOP's Safe Families platform in the Year of Ideas Agenda. Terrill said that on Feb. 28, in addition to the bill's presentation in committee, representatives from the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) will also demonstrate a key element of House Bill 1804, the federal status verification system, called the Basic Pilot Program. The demonstration will take place at 9 a.m. in room 512A at the State Capitol. Basic Pilot uses federal databases to determine work eligibility. Oklahoma would be among the first in the nation to enroll in the program, and employers would be required to use the database system to confirm employees' legal status.
"Our federal government hasn't stopped illegal immigration, so it's up to states to lead the way," said Terrill (R-Moore). "This is about respect for our nation's laws and our state's laws. If you have one broken window in a neighborhood and do nothing to repair it, you'll soon have a neighborhood full of broken windows. That's the situation we have with illegal immigration. As a nation we have looked the other way and ignored the problem for too long."
The Washington, D.C.-based Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) calls House Bill 1804 the most meaningful immigration reform bill in the nation. The IRLI says that, if enacted, HB 1804 will be the most significant single step that any state has taken in this area.
"This is an excellent piece of legislation that carefully balances critical enforcement obligations with respect for the dignity and privileges of U.S. citizens and legal alien residents," said Michael Hethmon, general counsel for the IRLI. "House Bill 1804 gives workers, law abiding businesses, and the taxpayers who fund Oklahoma public services the protection they need against unfair competition."

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Posted at 2/26/2007 02:20:00 PM |

Democratic Party Infighting Now Comes to Oklahoma

Democratic Party infighting took center stage on the national stage last week. Presidential aspirant Sen. Hillary Clinton called for Sen. Barak Obama to apologize for disparaging remarks made by an Obama contributor towards the Senator and her husband. The over-reaction by the Clinton campaign was coupled with a report that Sen. Joseph Lieberman is considering changing parties due to his party's position on the war. Now it seems that same intraparty squabling is occuring withing the ODP as well. In another "can't see the forest for the trees" piece, The Tulsa World reports that Attorney General Drew Edmondson claims Claremore Sen. Sean Burrage had a "conflict of interest" when he voted last week for a bill declaring that animal waste is not hazardous. Sen. Burrage's law firm has had Tyson Foods as a current and former client. The attorney general is correct in his assertion of a conflict of interest, but his action of throwing a fellow democrat under the bus on behalf of the poultry suit; and the World still ignoring alleged charges of corruption and harrassment within the attorney general's office, only produces more questions of conflicts of interests between the World and the attorney general. Chairman Pryor used the Utilitarian philosophy for damage control in an aptly named post today called, "The Greater Good" on the ODP blog:
"Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson has repeatedly taken the position that his job is to protect the citizens and resources of our great state --- his position is a personal conviction and is inherent in his constitutional oath of office. I am very pleased that his walk matches his talk and that he continues to pursue every option available to protect our water resources for the greater good of the people of Oklahoma. Let's make sure that anyone who personally benefits from or directly represents the poultry producers does the right thing and abstains from this vote on the floor...."

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Posted at 2/26/2007 12:29:00 PM |
Friday, February 23, 2007 

Richardson Receives Endorsement From Insignificant Democratic Activists co-owner Calvin Reese (Right) pictured with "psuedo political consultant" Ron Black last summer. From McCarville Report Online:

"Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson gained the support of three prominent Democratic bloggers and activists in Oklahoma today... "Calvin Rees, Tim Reese and Jane Luttrell of lined up behind Richardson Friday. “Richardson is right for Oklahoma” said Calvin."

"Tim Reese, of the blog said, “Richardson should be very popular in Oklahoma. His experience as Secretary of Energy gives him insight into stimulating domestic production of oil and gas which makes us less dependent on foreign oil.”

With the Reese Bros. endorsement of Bill Richardson - who is aiming to become our first Hispanic president - Richardson won't have to worry about racist, stereotypical caricatures of himself appearing on their website anytime soon.

Any guesses on how quick Richardson's people are going to flee from this unsolicited endorsement once we send this post to them?

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Posted at 2/23/2007 05:00:00 PM |

An Open letter to Gov. Henry From Co-President Pro Tempore

Dear Governor Henry, In light of your public frustrations over losing a bill that was part of your agenda, I wanted to take the time to send you a copy of a recent article I wrote. I hope it will be a framework for constructive dialog and a productive, successful session. You see, I don’t define “bipartisanship” as just agreeing to see everything your way and voting for a measure because you think it is the right thing to do. I don’t believe bipartisanship is compromise, as some people would suggest, especially if it means compromising my own principles just to get agreement. I do believe bipartisanship means to collaborate (to work jointly with others in an intellectual endeavor). I feel like you and I began such an effort when you invited me to your office to get my assistance on this measure and two others that had been sent to the Rules Committee. In an effort to work in good faith, I agreed to reassign one of those bills to another committee. Senator Morgan reassigned the other two. Two of the three measures made it out of committee with bipartisan support and are headed to the floor for consideration by the full Senate. I certainly understand your frustration. When you served as a member of the majority in the Senate, those of us in the minority watched most of Governor Keating’s agenda items die in committee. In fact, every one of us in the minority had to live with our own bills being killed in your committee and others. I learned as a member of the minority that you have to let those things go. It taught me to not take it personally, but rather to work to get the issue done in other ways – often in a Democrat authored bill. As a regular victim of your veto pen, I have had to relearn this lesson many times. This taught me not to worry about getting the credit, but rather to focus on the policy over politics. I didn’t see Governor Keating complain when you and members of your party killed his agenda items. Instead, he worked hard to find common ground, as he would walk up to the fourth floor to meet with legislators to reach a solution together. As I pledged to you when we met recently in your office, I am committed to just such a process. Senator Morgan and I have worked hard to keep an atmosphere of civility in these first three weeks as we deal with a most unusual and delicate situation in the Senate. So far it has worked very well. We have encouraged our members to avoid unnecessary partisan rhetoric and to try to make our power-sharing agreement work. The Senate works differently under these circumstances. You have repeatedly and publicly criticized some of the new procedures we have implemented, such as placing bills that can’t get bipartisan agreement in the Rules Committee and the calling of committee caucuses to avoid rash decisions that could lead to conflict if members have questions about the new procedures. I hope you will begin to understand that even though you haven’t heard of these measures being done in the past, they were developed in a bipartisan manner to get the work of the people done. Senator Morgan and I both recognized the difficulty of this task and that it would likely result in fewer bills becoming law. That is why we are trying to focus on the things we can agree on and not the issues that will divide us. I hope you will join us in this process. Sincerely, Glenn Coffee, Co-President Pro Tempore

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Posted at 2/23/2007 04:55:00 PM |

HYPOCRISY WATCH: Tulsa World Questions Cargill on Fundraising?

Paper still has head in the sand when it comes to real scandals We almost made it through the week without the need for issuing a "Hypocrisy Watch." Mick Hinton of the Tulsa World, has written the talking points memo for Oklahoma Democrats' today, under the guise of "objective journalism." The piece reports that Speaker Cargill is "summon[ing] key lobbyists" to "special meetings" outside the capitol for fundraising activities. Now usually when one thinks of a summons, you think of a court of a law and a judge mandating you appear. Was this a deliberate choice of words Mick? We've copied every quote from a lobbyist in the piece. You'll notice a familiar, recurring theme in every comment. Remember, this is every lobbyists quoted in the piece, so we're not purposely omitting positive quotes:

"Lobbyist Bobby Stem confirmed that he met with the speaker on Tuesday at an office outside the Capitol." "It was the friendliest fundraising meeting I've ever had, and you can quote me on that," said Stem, a prominent lobbyist during Democratic administrations." (What would you expect from a Democratic lobbyist?) "Stem said there was no strong-arming for contributions, although he said it was "very pro-active" with money raising emphasized in several ways." "One lobbyist said he felt uncomfortable going to the "un-neutral" site, while another said it was "cheesy." Both spoke on the condition that they not be identified." "After leaving the office, lobbyist Jim Walker acknowledged that he had just talked with the speaker, but said "it is no different than what used to occur at the Capitol, from time to time."

"But others said they felt compelled to comply with the speaker's wishes. They said that has been the case in the past, but the methods were different this time around."

Hey Mick, how about investigating the attorney general and the poultygate scandal going on "five minutes from the Capitol?" What about the Chairman of your newspaper contributing money to the AG while his paper is endorsing him. We'll re-use the analogy we made earlier this week regarding your paper's lazy reporting. This piece was akin to a reporter covering the Superbowl and only writing about Prince's new shoes! What about the fact that it was held in plain view away from the Capitol? What about the angle that it illustrates the reforms Cargill is looking to initiate?

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Posted at 2/23/2007 04:41:00 PM |

Speaker Pro Tempore Issues Terse Statement Against Fellow Member

Oklahoma House Speaker Pro Tempore Gus Blackwell (R-Goodwell) issued the following statement Thursday regarding actions on the House floor by Rep. "Lucky" Lamons (D-Tulsa) during the debate on House Bill 2100. Lamons tried unsuccessfully to amend the bill to merge the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics with the Department of Public Safety. "Like any lawmaker from either party, Representative Lamons is required to follow the rules of floor debate. It's against the rules to debate something that isn't under consideration. Representative Lamons was warned three times that he was violating the rules, but he ignored the warnings every time. "Representative Lamons has a history of flaunting the rules. He apparently thinks the rules don't apply to him, unlike the other 100 members of the House. This is just another example of Representative Lamons disrupting regular order when he is unable to manipulate the process to his advantage. "Representative Lamons tried to amend the bill twice. Both his amendments failed. In fact, for the last 20 years, this amendment has failed consistently, both under Democrat and Republican leadership. Instead of abiding by the wishes of the majority, he continued to try and promote his own amendment in debate. But the rules require he debate the bill before the members. It's my job to uphold the rules of the House." HB 2100 would create a commission to "identify and eliminate waste, duplication, and inefficiency in state agencies." The powerful ten member commission would consist of four members of the House; four members of the Senate; one person from the private sector appointed by the Governor; and one person from the private sector appointed by the Lieutenant Governor. The members will be charged with reviewing the policies and procedures of all state agencies once every twelve years. They'll seek public input through hearings and will make recommendations on each agency to the full Legislature. The commission will have the power to abolish agencies if the legislature doesn't vote to continue them.

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Posted at 2/23/2007 03:40:00 PM |
Thursday, February 22, 2007 

Edmondson Accepts Contributions from Tulsa World Chairman in '06; Also Receives Paper's Endorsement

Click picture too enlarge
Attorney General Drew Edmondson is apparently very popular with Oklahoma's lazy media. Our continuing investigation into the media's appalling silence in the "poultrygate" scandal has turned up another interesting development. World publishing Chairman Richard E. Lorton donated $2,000 to the Edmondson re-election effort last year. Coincidentally, Edmondson also won the World's endorsement. The AG's republican opponent James Dunn was outraised and outspent almost three to one in the race and was soundly defeated in a landslide. (61% -39%) Again we ask the question: Why would Mr. Lorton and KSWO executives feel so compelled to jeopardize their respective organizations' journalistic integrity by supporting financially a political campaign that was in no danger of being defeated? You would think credible news organizations would keep an arms length distance from a candidate running for re-election, especially a candidate currently involved in a controversial lawsuit! Are there any real Oklahoma journalists out there? Outside of the stories reporting on Edmondson performing his official duties, we would be curious to know the Lexis/Nexis search results of Edmondson's and James Dunn's mentions in the Tulsa World last year. Please send in confidence to our tipline.

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Posted at 2/22/2007 07:51:00 PM |

Lawmakers & Operatives Spin Death of Governor’s Pre-K Program for 3-Year-Olds

Gov. Brad Henry’s controversial plan to create a state-funded pre-kindergarten program for three-year-olds is dead for the next two years following a tie vote in the Oklahoma Senate Appropriations Committee. The bill, SB 518, died on an 8 to 8 vote Wednesday. Under the Senate’s new power-sharing agreement, a bill receiving a tie vote on “final action” in a committee is dead for the next two years. Senate Co-President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee said the bill’s defeat does not signal the end of bipartisanship in the evenly divided Senate. It is just an example of a policy difference between the two parties on a specific proposal. “I am proud of the eight members of the Appropriations Committee who took this brave stand and said our state should not commit to this expansion of government at a time when we are facing a tight budget,” stated Coffee, R-Oklahoma City. “But Senate Republicans continue to look forward to working with Gov. Henry on areas where we can find common ground, like fixing the Teacher Retirement System.” Coffee said there is also significant division among early childhood education advocates about whether Henry’s plan is an effective one. Democrats obviously had different views on the defeat of the bill. Governor Henry said The vote amounted to "pure politics". "Republicans caucused right before this bill, whipped everybody into shape and came back and voted lockstep against the bill.” Treasurer Scott Meacham said that scientific research on the benefits of enhancing brain development during the early childhood years is unanimous. "Most development occurs before age 3, then slows by age 5, Meacham said. "Making an investment during the formative years can pay big dividends on down the road, when students are learning academic skills," he said. "I would urge you to put aside your partisan rhetoric,” said Sen. Susan Paddack, D-Ada, the bill's author. ODP Chair Lisa Pryor wrote in her morning rant" this morning: "Yesterday all eight GOP members of the Senate Appropriations Committee voted against Oklahoma's families and three-year olds." We love bi-partisanship. RELATED: OKLAHOMA City (AP) A bill to expand the number of Oklahoma children that qualify for Medicaid benefits passes the Senate Rules Committee today.

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Posted at 2/22/2007 09:40:00 AM |

Victim's Group Holding Rally to Launch Campaign to Inform Citizens of Changes Needed in Mental Health Laws in Oklahoma - Public Safety at Stake

United Victims group concerned over Title 43A Legislation in Oklahoma that governs how the criminally insane are released back into the community. Daniel Hawke Fears may be released due to a loophole in the law. The group asks Governor Brad Henry for an emergency session of the Legislature. Sallisaw, OK (PRWEB) February 22, 2007 -- United Victims group is asking Governor Brad Henry to create an emergency session of the Legislature to amend Title 43A Legislation that allows the criminally insane to re-enter the community. A rally slated for March 10, 2007 at the Sequoyah County Fairgrounds will inform the community of Sallisaw about the issues and move toward a community based effort to pressure lawmakers for a change in the statute. Daniel Hawke Fears was convicted in September 23, 2004 for the killing of two women, Patsy Wells and Reba Spangler and shooting several others during a shooting spree covering 20 miles of U.S. 64 from Sallisaw to Roland Oklahoma. A Sequoyah County jury convicted Fears to two terms of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole; nine terms of life imprisonment; and 120 years. On July 7, 2006, by unpublished Opinion the Court reversed and remanded the case to the District Court of Sequoyah County for entry of a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity. United Victims group urges lawmakers to also adopt a policy that prevents insane persons who commit heinous crimes to be under security for the remainder of their lives. Roger Nix, United Victims Coordinator and son of Patsy Wells stated "it is too dangerous to experiment with the community when dealing with someone who has demonstrated his capability of killing innocent people." Dr. Lee Coleman, M.D. in his book "The Reign of Error: Psychiatry, Authority, and Law" states, "First, psychiatrists do not have the tools that society thinks they have. They have no special way of predicting who will commit a criminal act or of determining when a criminal is cured of antisocial tendencies. They have no tests to determine a person's innermost thoughts, even though the courts assume they do." United Victims Rally "Keep Sallisaw Safe" is scheduled for March 10, 2007 at the Sequoyah County Fairgrounds Community Building, corner of Redwood Street and Shurley Avenue at 10:00am.

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Posted at 2/22/2007 09:23:00 AM |
Wednesday, February 21, 2007 

OK Legislators' Blog Updated


House Bill Making County Offices Nonpartisan Clears Panel

Legislation that would make county offices in Oklahoma nonpartisan passed a vote of the House Elections and Redistricting Subcommittee on Wednesday. House Bill 1452, by Rep. Rob Johnson, would allow all registered voters, regardless of party affiliation, to cast a ballot in their local county elections. "There are two key reasons why Oklahoma needs this change," said Johnson (R-Kingfisher). "First, when you consider county government's responsibilities, partisan politics shouldn't play much of a role. County government deals more with the administration and enforcement of county services and laws. These aren't partisan issues. "Second, partisan county elections, by their very nature, often prevent a large portion of the population from voting on county officers. If all the candidates for a particular county office are of the same political party, the race is decided in the primary, and any voter who's not a member of that party is effectively disenfranchised. This happens regularly in rural counties." Pointing to the office of sheriff as an example, Johnson said, "Whether you're a Democrat or Republican shouldn't affect your job as sheriff. The sheriff's duty is to enforce the laws already on the books. A sheriff's party affiliation should be immaterial to whether or not they can do the job. "We have nonpartisan judicial elections because judges should be unbiased and not partisan, and because all citizens should have a say in the process" Johnson added. "County officials should be the same way. It just makes sense."

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Posted at 2/21/2007 12:53:00 PM |

House Committee Advances Ethics Reforms

Speaker Cargill authors eight-point plan in HB 2110 (Audio) House lawmakers Wednesday advanced a comprehensive ethics reform measure containing strong provisions cracking down on questionable campaign fundraising tactics such as "bundling" and "splitting." "Oklahomans deserve an honest and open government," said Speaker Lance Cargill (R-Harrah), author of House Bill 2110. "The reforms we're offering are fundamental changes that will benefit citizens, instead of more posturing by power players to protect incumbents. This is about making the Capitol more open and more accessible to the public than ever before." HB 2110 passed the House Elections and Redistricting Subcommittee today with unanimous bipartisan support. Cargill said HB 2110 contains an eight-point plan to strengthen the public's trust in state government: 1. Ban Political Contributions at the Capitol: "There are plenty of places to hold political fundraisers," said Cargill. "Our state Capitol isn't one of them. There was a time when lobbyists were known to disperse checks to lawmakers shortly before a critical vote. We can erase this image with this simple reform." 2. Require monthly reports of contributions: Cargill said HB 2110 will provide more frequent reports for citizens' review, so that the public won't have to wait for months for information. Cargill said that if the purpose of campaign finance reporting is to reveal who, and to what degree, someone is interested in the outcome of a race, then that information needs to be made available on a more frequent basis. 3. Require disclosure for lobbyist "bundling": Lobbyists often collect several checks from different sources and deliver these bundled checks to a candidate. These coordinated efforts can involve significant amounts of money, and the public has a right to know about them. 4. Ban Honoraria: Currently, state officials can receive an honorarium for a public appearance if it is performed in their official capacity. Cargill said state officials shouldn't receive compensation outside their salary for duties related to their office. 5. Prohibit professionals from soliciting political contributions from their clients: Cargill said it is unfair for those with professional clientele to solicit contributions from those to whom they owe a duty of trust. Cargill said that attorneys, for example, shouldn't be allowed to shake down clients for contributions, many of whom may be subject to the mercy of their legal representative. 6. Require filing of contributor forms for out-of-state donors: Out-of-state political organizations routinely funnel money into Oklahoma races, and often those who are donating don't even know where the money is really going. Cargill said it is important to know the identity of donors who wish to affect politics in a state that is not their own. HB 2110 will require the filing of a contributor card -- with an express statement of intent to donate in Oklahoma -- to ensure the legitimacy of out-of-state donations. 7. End donation "splitting": Cargill said that some campaign organizations attribute partial pieces of the same contribution to different races in an attempt to get around the individual reporting requirements or contribution limits. 8. Require annual ethics training: Cargill said that HB 2110 would require each chamber of the Legislature to conduct annual ethics training for all members, employees, and lobbyists. "Through better education and preparation, we can prevent missteps and provide clear guidance for all involved with the process," he said.

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Posted at 2/21/2007 12:33:00 PM |
Tuesday, February 20, 2007 

FLASHBACK: The Means Justifies the Ends Mr. Attorney General?

Chickens, Pollution at Core of States' Dispute by Greg Allen NPR Morning Edition, June 7, 2005 · Water monitors recently found in Arkansas creeks have state officials angry over what they call the clandestine monitoring of their chicken industry. The monitors were traced back to Oklahoma's attorney general, who is threatening to sue the Arkansas chicken industry. While the discovery of the water monitors was an embarrassment, Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmonson and other officials are refusing to back off their contention that Arkansas must do more to police chicken suppliers within its borders. (Audio) LATER: How many other Oklahoma media executives or reporters have contributed to Drew Edmondson's campaigns?

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Posted at 2/20/2007 01:49:00 PM |

Tulsa World. We Apologize

Yesterday we commented on the Tulsa World congratulating themselves on their wins in the "B" category of newspapers. An alert reader notified us that the World had actually been named the state's top newspaper in the "A" category. The Community World - an insert to the the World - had the wins in the "B" category. Our reader surmises that the insert - that is not a separate newspaper - was deliberately entered to compete against smaller, independent newspapers to "hike its win count." They continue by offering enlightening comments on the Tulsa World and plagiarism, conflicts of interests, and lazy journalism: "Plagiarism--the World loves to put other news organizations' work in its pages, but won't credit the source even if it was a major investigation. Don't see that problem with real newspapers--just last night the Telegraph in London credited the New York Times for a key international story, even though the Times' contribution was relatively minimal. The World is a swamp of conflicts of interest, ethics violations and, most sinister, editorial crusades designed to line the pockets of the publisher's family and save them from their bad real estate investments. The Gaylord family is cleaning up its act; the Lorton family is a disgrace. Nice catch." They continue: "Ask anyone who works in emergency services how often the newspaper runs material two days after the fact, without using the updates provided by the agency, then refuses to correct the resulting errors. It is a standing joke!"

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Posted at 2/20/2007 01:45:00 PM |

Cargill, Florida Speaker Engage NSU Crowd

NSU President Larry Williams speaks with Speaker Cargill and Florida Speaker Marco Rubio Oklahoma Speaker of the House Lance Cargill and Florida Speaker Marco Rubio engaged a crowd of over 40 people Friday at the third IdeaRaiser for the 100 Ideas Initiative. Rubio, who initiated Florida’s 100 Ideas program in 2005, encouraged Oklahomans to get involved in the project. “We’re hoping you’ll come up with ideas the political process hasn’t picked up on,” Rubio said. Rubio also said that the Florida initiative found “that people felt what the government was dealing with was not what people were dealing with in their daily lives.” “As you engage people at every level, I think you’ll find that there are ideas that no one is talking about or writing about, but are still important,” he added. The topic of discussion Friday was rural healthcare in Oklahoma. Ideas presented at the event included creating a system to provide travel to patients living in rural areas who do not otherwise have a method of getting to doctor appointments, creating a statewide electronic medical database and providing more information in elementary schools about preventative health care. Those in attendance at the University Center at Northeastern State University included representatives from the NSU Oklahoma College of Optometry and the Cherokee Health Science Center. NSU President Larry Williams, his wife, Pamela, and State Rep. Mike Brown, D-Tahlequah, were also in attendance.

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Posted at 2/20/2007 01:30:00 PM |
Monday, February 19, 2007 

SHOW ME THE LOVE! '06 Media Contributions to Attorney General Skewing Current "PoultryGate" Coverage?

KSWO owner & station manager each gave contributions to Drew Edmondson in 2006 - on Valentine's Day. Lawton television station KSWO's slogan "you can count on us" is proudly displayed at the top of the station's website. An Oklahoma Political News Service investigation reveals that you may not be able to "count on" KSWO - or any other Oklahoma media outlet - for unbiased coverage concerning Attorney General Drew Edmondson and the ongoing "Poultrygate" scandal. We have been chronicling the amazing spectacle of a major scandal occurring right underneath the Oklahoma press' noses and their seemingly ambivalence towards uncovering the truth. A search of the KSWO website search engine revealed one entry for "Drew Edmondson" - a puff piece dated January 17th of Edmondson investigating complaints of price gouging after the recent ice storms. We even typed in "Poultry Lawsuit" with zero results and "Poultry" brought back Thanksgiving recipes. Recent campaign reports for the Attorney General show contributions from the station's owner Bill Drewry and the station manager Larry Patton. Mr. Patton even uses KSWO's P. O. Box as his "address for the contributor." We do note that Messrs. Drewry and Patton have every right to engage themselves in our political system through financial participation, we only question the propriety of a news organization - which is supposedly unbiased and neutral -having its management contributing to political campaigns? It begs the question; will journalists be more reluctant to report a story if they know their superiors have contributed financially to the subject of an unflattering report? The Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics says that journalists should "avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived," "remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility," and "shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office and service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic integrity." The Attorney General's two opponents needed the contribution a lot more than he did. Edmondson out raised his nearest opponent James Dunn nearly three to one and garnered almost two thirds of the vote this past November. (61.19% to 38.81%)

Tomorrow: How many other Oklahoma media executives or reporters have contributed to Drew Edmondson's campaigns?

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Posted at 2/19/2007 08:32:00 PM |

Frank Keating Endorses McCain

Senator John McCain has picked up the endorsement of former governor Frank Keating, despite McCain's "nuance" of his abortion position since his last presidential run in 2000. McCain is now claiming he is pro-life, and to prove that claim to social conservatives, he will speak at a teenage abstinence rally in South Carolina later today. Keating, who is Catholic, signed a bill in June 2001 to prevent teenagers from having an abortion unless they first received the consent of their parents. The measure also held abortion practitioners liable for "physical and emotional injuries" suffered by a minor if they do not notify or receive consent from a parent prior to performing an abortion on a girl under 18 years of age. Keating also signed a bill in May 2002 authorizing the state's "Choose Life" license plates As we wrote above, McCain's position seems to have changed decidedly since 2000: By Tina Cassidy, Globe Staff, 2/25/2000 "At one point in the campaign, McCain said he would not support the repeal of Roe v. Wade because it would force women to have ''illegal and dangerous operations.'' And during a swing through New Hampshire, he told reporters that if his teenage daughter got pregnant ''the final decision'' about whether to terminate ''would be made by [her].'' In both instances, McCain later said he misspoke." This commentary appeared in a slightly different form on, February 7, 2001: "John McCain is hawking a book of pro-abortion propaganda to his colleagues. Surprised? Don't be. He's the hero of the story. Richard North Patterson's novel Protect and Defend tells a familiar story: Mean-spirited conservatives, Republicans, and Christian Right anti-abortion fanatics in Washington, D.C., vs. the pro-choice, anti-gun, pro-campaign-reform forces of light. Senator Chad Palmer is twice a hero: once for enduring being kidnapped and held hostage by Islamic extremists, and now for supporting campaign-finance reform even though he's a Republican. Palmer used to be pro-life, until his teenage daughter was able to start turning her life around by getting a legal abortion. And now he has to vote on a controversial nominee to be chief justice of the Supreme Court. The previous one, a hateful old conservative, died of a stroke while giving the oath of office to the new Democratic president. The president names a feminist judge. During her confirmation hearings, this judge writes a decision letting a 15-year-old girl abort her hydrocephalic fetus at seven and a half months over the objections of her parents, who are tyrannical religious zealots. She is bitterly opposed by anti-abortionists with names like Mace and Harshman, as well as by a group called the "Christian Commitment." Eventually a sleazy Washington lobbyist exposes the abortion in Senator Palmer's family. His daughter, distraught, drinks a bottle of wine, gets behind the wheel on an icy night, and dies. So guess who casts the deciding vote in the Senate? And guess which way he votes? Last month, real-life Senators John McCain and Barbara Boxer jointly sent a copy of this book with a letter to every member of the Senate. This evening, McCain and Boxer are hosting a reception and book-signing party for Patterson in the United States Capitol. "

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Posted at 2/19/2007 09:09:00 AM |

You've Got to be Kidding?

Poor Elmo is probably laughing as hard as we were when we found this story on the Tulsa World's website today.
Arguably one of the most biased and lazy newspapers in America - touting its "wins" in the aptly named "B" category of newspapers - is too hillarious! Unfortunately, no mention of how the World did in the category of a major state newspaper falling asleep at the wheel during a scandal involving a powerful elected official.
More Tulsa World Wins Saturday By Staff Reports 2/19/2007
Some Tulsa World staff members were omitted from the list of winners at Saturday's annual awards of the Oklahoma Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. The Tulsa Community World was entered in Division B newspapers, which have a 7,000 to 17,999 circulation. Winners include: Minority Issues: first, Sara Plummer. Health Reporting: honorable mention, Mike Averill. Photo Story/Essay: second, Cory Young. The Tulsa World was also honored in the Public Relations category: Promotional Material: third, Stacey Roggendorff.

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Posted at 2/19/2007 09:05:00 AM |

GOP Lawmaker Renews Push for "Covenant Marriage"

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) A Republican lawmaker hopes to reduce the state's high divorce rate by allowing "covenant marriages" that make it more difficult for couple's to split up. The voluntary new form of marriage is being proposed by Representative John Wright of Broken Arrow. The bill would ban "incompatibility" as grounds for divorce and require the couple to attend marriage counseling at least 15 days before the wedding. University of Oklahoma family law professor Robert Spector says covenant marriage is not likely to reduce Oklahoma's divorce rate. Spector says making divorce more difficult will only lead to more money in attorneys' pockets. Oklahoma's divorce rate is currently about 5 divorces per one-thousand Oklahomans each year.


Posted at 2/19/2007 09:00:00 AM |

House Speaker Takes the Good With the Bad in 100 Ideas Initiative

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Keith Perry of Skiatook would like to do away with Oklahoma's toll roads. John Howk of Bartlesville would like to see a new state Constitution drawn up. Those are a couple of the ideas Oklahomans have contributed to House Speaker Lance Cargill's 100 Ideas initiative. The initiative is a public think tank that seeks citizen input to address problems Oklahoma faces in its centennial year. Patterned after a program in Florida, the initiative was launched in January by the nonprofit 100 Ideas Oklahoma, which operates on private donations. The Florida initiative was paid for by that state's Republican Party and was criticized by Democrats, who said the organization paid no attention to their ideas. At the end of the year, the 100 Ideas initiative will publish a book filled with the first 100 ideas from Idearaisers across the state. Cargill says he plans to use the book as an agenda for action.

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Posted at 2/19/2007 08:52:00 AM |

Rep. Fallin Calls Iraq Resolution "Product Of A Political Game"

Rep. Mary Fallin wrote on the Hill Newspaper's Blog that the non-binding resolution passed by Congress Friday was the "product of a political game." Fallin warned her fellow legislators that the "situation before us is deadly serious". "If we pass this resolution, we will send precisely the wrong message at precisely the wrong time to one of the most dangerous and sinister enemies we have ever faced." She concluded the post saying: "Our soldiers deserve real answers to the problems they face in Iraq, not political posturing which risks emboldening their enemies. I sincerely hope that the House of Representatives rejects this resolution and begins working in a bipartisan fashion towards a plan for victory in Iraq." UPDATE: Passing of Iraq Resolution Lacked Substantive Debate "I’d rather have seen the resolution fail. But I was pleased that there were so few Republicans that supported it. I just wish we had the opportunity on the floor to actually debate these issues. A few minutes from each person to speak isn’t enough. As a freshman, I’m very disappointed. I was elected to come to Congress to voice the concerns of my Oklahoman constituents. But we can’t speak freely because of constant suspension of House rules and closed debates."

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Posted at 2/19/2007 08:08:00 AM |
Friday, February 16, 2007 

Jones Announces Bid for GOP Chairman

Yesterday, after weeks of speculation he would mount a primary challenge against Oklahoma’s senior US Senator Jim Inhofe, former ousted state party chairman and failed Republican nominee for State Auditor Gary Jones has set sights on his old job instead: chairman of the state Republican Party. According to Jones: “[D]uring [my] first tenure as GOP State Chairman, Republican registration grew four percent statewide and Republicans picked up 12 legislative seats, numerous courthouse offices and reelected a United States Senator.” In truth, Jones did not reelect a U.S. Senator. Tom Coburn was elected for the first time. More interesting, however, Jones focuses his attention in his press release on 2010, and fails to mention Republicans’ need to re-elect Jim Inhofe in 2008, despite the possibility of a challenge by Gov. Brad Henry. “If I am elected, I intend to devote my full time and energies to building a party that elects a Governor…” Jones said, apparently dismissing the current election cycle. Could it be that his widely known and long standing feud with Senator Inhofe is already shining through? However, we noted with interest that Jones announced his qualifications by copying, nearly verbatim, from Tulsa County Republican Chairman and current frontrunner for state chairman Jerry Buchanan’s announcement letter. “Republicans have my pledge that I will work tirelessly to make certain we have the people, money and state of the art technology necessary to win,” Jones wrote in his press release. In the Buchanan announcement, “communications, fundraising, grassroots outreach, and political technology” were the key focal points of his campaign for chairman. With both Buchanan and Jones in the race, it remains unclear whether current chairman, Tom Daxon, will seek reelection after what many Republicans considered dismal statewide election results in November. OKPNS welcomes readers’ reaction to Jones’s announcement, either in the comments section found beneath each article, or through our anonymous tipline.

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Posted at 2/16/2007 03:10:00 PM |

Confirmed.....OK Press Still Clueless!

As predicted here yesterday, top state media labored to minimize the damage to Attorney General Drew Edmondson. Most did exactly what we said they would do: ignore the story altogether, as is the case with the Oklahoman. A quick scan of the paper's Internet site found no mentions of the the story. As for the Tulsa World, they missed the point of the federal hearing altogether. Reporter Curtis Killman, who "covers" the poultry issue, completely ignored the implications of the hearing, as outlined here yesterday. Killman and the World made sure that readers are not subjected to the messy little details in the Marie West lawsuit, the ticking time bomb which threatens the poultry suit. That's like a newspaper sending a reporter to the Super Bowl and getting a story about Prince's new shoes. So all in all, the Edmondson apologists had a pretty good day: ignore, obfuscate, miss the point and, most of all, refuse to tell the whole truth.

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Posted at 2/16/2007 10:39:00 AM |


It is rare that we feel compelled here at the Oklahoma Political News Service to issue two "hypocrisy watches" in the same week, but the Reese Brothers - our old friends at - have warranted this dubious honor. Those paragons of truthfulness, recently posted this on their website regarding our editor and OKPNS: "I hear that urps computer has a special feature.... if you type "T R U T H" the entire website disappears." Are you kidding me????? This is from the same clowns who post edited recordings and offer such fine, upstanding citizen journalism as this and this? Give us a break!

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Posted at 2/16/2007 09:55:00 AM |

Hobson Joins OU Faculty

The McCarville Report Online is reporting that former state Senate President Pro Tempore Cal Hobson, 61, will join the staff of the OU College of Continuing Education as director of Adult Executive Training Programs. OKPNS suggests adding "beverages" after adult in his new title and then he'll be well worth the $65,000 per year the university is paying him.

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Posted at 2/16/2007 09:50:00 AM |

Crime Victims Advocacy Group Calls on Legislature for an Impeachment Investigation of Oklahoma Criminal Court of Appeals Judges

Oklahoma Criminal Court of Appeals judges, Charles Chapel, Charles Johnson and David Lewis may have violated their Oath of Office when ruling on Fears v. State, Case No. F-2004-1279, January 26, 2007. United Victims group seeks support from the Oklahoma Legislature to launch an impeachment investigation. Sallisaw, OK (PRWEB) February 15, 2007 -- Daniel Hawke Fears was convicted in September 23, 2004 for the killing of two women, Patsy Wells and Reba Spangler and shooting several others during a shooting spree covering 20 miles of U.S. 64 from Sallisaw to Roland Oklahoma. A Sequoyah County jury convicted Fears to two terms of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole; nine terms of life imprisonment; and 120 years. On July 7, 2006, by unpublished Opinion the Court reversed and remanded the case to the District Court of Sequoyah County for entry of a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity. Attorney General, Drew Edmondson filed a Petition for Rehearing on July 19, 2006. The Oklahoma Criminal Court of Appeals issued an order staying the mandate on July 20, 2006. On January 26, 2007 the Court denied the Petition for Rehearing and ordered Fears to a mental facility in Vinita, Oklahoma. The jury in this case was denied its decision and essentially ruled incompetent. United Victims group is asking the Legislature to investigate possible Constitutional violations in the appeal of Fears v. State. under Article 8, Section 1 & 4 of the Constitution of Oklahoma. Court members may have violated their oath, consciously disregarded state law and incorrectly cited the "Oklahoma Truth in Sentencing Act" as law that was repealed July 1, 1999 without ever taking effect. See 1998 Okla. Sess. Laws, 1st Ex.Sess., ch. 2 § 23 (eff. July 1, 1999) and, 1999 Okla. Sess. Laws, 1st Ex. Sess., ch. 5 § 452 (eff. July 1, 1999) Read more...

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Posted at 2/16/2007 09:35:00 AM |

Senate, House Leaders Comment on Revised Revenue Estimates

Republican leaders of the Oklahoma House of Representatives and Senate said the Legislature must proceed very cautiously on the FY 2008 budget following Thursday’s recommendation by the Oklahoma Tax Commission that tax revenue estimates be significantly reduced compared to estimates made last December. Tax commissioners officially reduced their estimates for tax collections for the 2008 fiscal year by more than $250 million. Commissioners also sent a letter to the Office of State Finance advising that corporate income tax collections should also be reduced by about $100 million compared to the previous estimate, for a total reduction of more than $350 million. “This news validates our concerns that the governor was being rash with his spending proposals and that his budget was based on very rosy revenue projections,” stated Senate Co-President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City. “The Legislature must proceed very cautiously. We should treat the Tax Commission’s warning about reduced tax collections very seriously – especially the news that corporate income tax collections are also likely to be far less than officially projected.” Speaker of the House Lance Cargill, R-Harrah, said, “This is exactly why we’ve emphasized fiscal responsibility this year and why we have already laid the groundwork for cutting and eliminating needless government bureaucracy. We call on the governor to reconsider his bloated budget and scrap the billion dollars in new spending and debt that he has proposed. We’ve seen a wide fluctuation in revenue estimates so far. When the Democrats were in control several years ago and there were shortfalls, their answer was to raise the income tax. That won’t happen on our watch.” Related: Governor Pushes More than $1 Billion in New Spending & Debt

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Posted at 2/16/2007 09:10:00 AM |

Sen. Crutchfield Named "Star of Oklahoma"

Ardmore Senator Johnnie Crutchfield (third from the right) was honored as the "Star of Oklahoma" Wednesday at the Oklahoma State Capitol. The award was presented to Crutchfield by the Southwest Regional Executive Director's Association, an organization of sub-state planning districts in a five-state region. Pictured are (from left) Southern Oklahoma Development Authority Executive Director Wes Bowman, former State Senator Trish Weedn, Lt. Gov. Jari Askins, Crutchfield, State Rep. Terry Hyman and State Rep. Paul Roan. From news release: SODA Nominates Ardmore Senator for Southwest Regional Award (OKLAHOMA CITY) - Senate Appropriations Committee Co-Chairman Johnnie Crutchfield has been honored as the "Star of Oklahoma" by the Southwest Regional Executive Directors Association, an organization of sub-state planning districts in a five-state region. The award is given annually to the Oklahoman who does the most to support the sub-state planning districts in the state. Crutchfield, D-Ardmore, was nominated for the award by the Southern Oklahoma Development Association, SODA executive director Wes Bowman said. "Senator Crutchfield's understands the importance of the work that Oklahoma's sub-state planning districts do. His support best exemplifies the goals of our organization," Bowman said. Nominees for the award are not limited to members of the Legislature. Each sub-state planning district in the state makes a nomination for the award and the honoree is selected by the Oklahoma Association of Regional Councils. "I am humbled by this honor," Crutchfield said. "SODA and the other the sub-state planning districts play a vital role in the development of Oklahoma and I am proud of the small role I can play in helping them meet the needs of the people of our state."


Posted at 2/16/2007 09:00:00 AM |
Thursday, February 15, 2007 

EXCLUSIVE: Lazy Press Set to Sleep Through Poultry Scandal....Again!

The state's major newspapers and wire services face a quandary today. For months, the state's top press organizations have all but ignored allegations of corruption in Democrat Attorney General Drew Edmondson's office in connection with the poultry lawsuits. Today, their attempt to shield Oklahomans from the truth gets harder. The Oklahoma Political News Service reported in December that Mike Turpin attempted to kill an unflattering report by Oklahoma City television reporter Ali Myer. Meyer embarrassed Oklahoma's lazy capitol and print reporters with her monumental 10-minute piece on how the lure of riches prompted abuses of power by top officials in the attorney general's office. The capitol press corps' response to being owned by a TV reporter was to pretend it didn't happen. A report such as Myer's in almost any other state in America would have resulted in a press frenzy, and certainly investigations by authoritative figures, especially considering that Democrat political hack Mike Turpen, who stands to make millions of dollars from the poultry suits, tried but failed to kill the story. To our knowledge, not even one press organization even attempted to investigate Myer's claims, or even Turpen's outrageous attempt to muzzle a respected reporter. Even more curious was the lack of response from state Republican officials, which many seasoned political observers simply chalked up to inexperience and fear of Edmondson. Despite the fact that arguably the nation's worst press corps continues to ignore a potential scandal with national implications, the poultry cases could begin to unravel today in Tulsa federal court. The allegations of corruption on a massive scale, (and some other actions by AG officials so unbelievably grotesque that decorum does not allow us to present the information here) did not escape the attention of the lawyers representing the Arkansas poultry companies. They want Edmondson back under oath so that they may pursue the myriad of misdeeds that Myer's report exposed. So while the state's major media sees, hears and speaks no evil on today, OKPNS readers can get a preview of the fireworks. Click here to see the pleadings that Edmondson and his allies in the media don't want you to know about. Especially note how that they couldn't buy West's cooperation, and how the AG attempted to get West to destroy public documents, which is what happens when a public official knows the press won't lift a finger to expose him. Click here to read Tyson's Motion to Compel. Excerpt: One of the conditions that the Attorney General attached to his settlement offer was that Ms. West "would have to take confidential documents and have them destroyed."

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Posted at 2/15/2007 07:55:00 AM |
Wednesday, February 14, 2007 

Cheap & Patronizing

Chairman Pryor has apparently given wide discretion to the new interns when it comes to posting on the official ODP blog, OK Blue Notes. In a seres of "Black History" posts this month, the blog has celebrated the history, accomplishments, and contributions of African Americans to this country. We give them credit for celebrating our history and also waiting 14 days into the month to pander and race bait with a patronizing picture and post on slavery. Chairman Pryor, we wonder when the below slave ship picture was taken, since the slave trade in the United States was outlawed in 1808, and the first photographic image was created in 1820? According to Wikipedia: Through the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 (also known as the Freedom Ordinance) under the Continental Congress, slavery was prohibited in the territories north of the Ohio River. In the East, though, slavery was not abolished until later. The importation of slaves into the United States was banned on January 1, 1808; but not the internal slave trade, or involvement in the international slave trade externally. The first photograph was an image produced in the 1820s by the French inventor Nicéphore Niépce on a polished pewter plate covered with a petroleum derivative called bitumen of Judea. Produced with a camera, the image required an eight-hour exposure in bright sunshine. Niépce then began experimenting with silver compounds based on a Johann Heinrich Schultz discovery in 1724 that a silver and chalk mixture darkens when exposed to light. Chairman Pryor, you may want to devote more time to supervising the new interns instead of trying to score points on the radio to later post on the ODP blog. From OK Blue Notes: Least we forget.... 'The absence of a permanent memorial to commemorate the lives of the millions of lives lost to the slave trade needs to be addressed' –The Most Revd Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York. 2007 Bicentenary It is 200 years since Parliament passed the Act to abolish the slave trade in the British Empire – the start of a long road to abolition. The slave trade was a profoundly inhuman enterprise and the bicentenary provides us with an opportunity to express our sorrow that it happened. It also enables us to remember those who suffered and who campaigned for abolition, and to re-double our efforts to address the legacy of the slave trade and to tackle injustice in the world today. 2007 Bicentenary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act: Calendar of Events.

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Posted at 2/14/2007 03:37:00 PM |

HYPOCRISY WATCH: Bad Gorilla… Bad, Bad Gorilla

This editorial was submitted to us from a reader this morning. OKPNS encourages our readers to submit tips, suggestions, and editorials. On Monday, everyone's favorite Sooner Simian (Black has long called himself the “Bad Gorilla” of Oklahoma politics, just to clarify for any new readers who might be wondering about all the ape-speak) published in his daily rant a missive titled “It’s not personal, it’s just business.” Stephen King has spun less ridiculous tales than some of the lines I found in this blog, and so, having a little extra time on my hands, I decided to respond. Why? Because it’s my way of reminding Black we care. BAD, BAD GORILLA: “As a pseudo-political consultant, one of my most glaring weaknesses is that I tend to be pretty loyal and those loyalties transcend mere partisan politics, but cuts to the very essence of who I am as a person.” TRUTH: No one’s arguing that Black’s a pseudo-consultant (okay, forgive me for swinging at that one… but I had to), but isn’t Ron Black calling himself loyal a bit like the Titanic continuing to call itself unsinkable? The Denise Bode lead-flack lost his race, moved to Cornett for a week, and then spent the rest of the campaign undermining Cornett and his team, whom he’d gotten a look at from the inside. And as for transcending partisan politics, maybe that part is true, considering that he worked for one Republican (Denise Bode) and one Democrat (David Prater) last election cycle. BAD, BAD GORILLA: “For many people, politics is deeply personal because their whole existence is dependent upon the political process and it is within the political realm where they eat, sleep, drink, and draw a paycheck.” TRUTH: Gonna hafta disagree with you here, Ron. What you see as personal is perhaps more a competitive spirit. What you didn’t like about the Bode campaign was losing, and perhaps it wasn’t the others who were taking it personally. Perhaps it was you. And Denise. And maybe Kevin Calvey. Everyone else pretty much just moved on. As for drawing a paycheck, it’s called “having a job” Ron. BAD, BAD GORILLA: “One candidate in the last election cycle awakened to find their opponent's yard signs all over their front yard - imagine that for a moment.” TRUTH: This story gets better every time you tell it. Post the picture you have on your website. It was two signs! It was a third campaign that put them there. Imagine instead one candidate having his commitment to family values called into question by Denise Bode? Or another candidate being accused of ordering a church to be torn down? And the most you can complain about is a candidate suffered the horror of a couple yard signs in her yard? Put the hash-pipe down, Ron, you’ve had your fill. BAD, BAD GORILLA: “I call myself a "pseudo-consultant" because I still have a soul and I consult with candidates I like, I know, and I believe would be great for the job they desire.” TRUTH: David Prater did an excellent job defending cop-killers, did he? Thanks for helping put a Democrat in office Ron. BAD, BAD GORILLA: “I know that what I am about to share with you may seem arrogant but I give you my word that it is not. You see, I have been approached by a significant number of potential candidates for public office and a few political action committees to work with them on campaigns. Thus far, I have agreed to work with only one - Jerry Foshee and his campaign for Senate District 45 in 2008. There are one or two others I am considering right now, but I have turned down and walked away from a ton of cash because frankly, I want to be able to wake up in the morning, look at my family and know that I haven't yet sold my soul.” TRUTH: Ah, who knows? To each his own, and to some soulless consultant that “ton of cash” Ron just couldn’t manage to accept. BAD, BAD GORILLA: “I refuse to work with anyone whose idea of winning includes unwarranted attacks on their opposition that have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the office their opponent seeks.” TRUTH: When you attacked Mary Fallin for alleged (and unproven) personal indiscretions, what did that have to do with the office she was seeking? When you attacked Mick Cornett on a local library book issue, what did that have to do with Congress? Is this a new standard you’re setting, Ron? BAD, BAD GORILLA: “Perhaps we will learn from our past and dare not make the same mistakes - particularly those of us who call ourselves Republicans.” TRUTH: Lesson One, according to a friend at the State Republican Party: stop helping elect Democrats. Learn that, and perhaps you can get a promotion from “pseudo-consultant” to full-fledged consultant. And then, one day, we’ll call you the “Good Gorilla of Oklahoma Politics.” Dare to dream, Ron. Dare to dream.

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Posted at 2/14/2007 10:55:00 AM |

Jones Vs Bode in 2010?

From the tip line: Gary Jones will run for US Senate in 2010 when Coburn doesn't run for re-election. Last week, Coburn announced he would rather give up his seat in the Senate, than seek re-election to a body that would pass as law the new ethics rules the Senate in fact passed. If they do indeed become law, which they likely will, this is why Jones is no longer saying he's challenging Inhofe next year. However Denise Bode will almost surely run if Coburn gives up his seat. Jones vs. Bode. And who else? Assume at least one or two others would enter a primary that would make last year's OK-05 primary look tame by comparison.

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Posted at 2/14/2007 10:50:00 AM |

Murphey Legislative Update (2/14/2007)

From our Oklahoma Legislators' Blog:
By State Representative Jason Murphey One of the important issues the House will consider this year is immigration reform. A number of reform proposals have been put forth, ranging from making state government responsible for immigration enforcement to holding businesses responsible for due diligence in hiring practices. One of the most controversial immigration reform proposals is contained in HB 1423, introduced by freshman Representative George Faught. This proposal would make English the official language of the State of Oklahoma and would require that all state business be conducted in English. The bill passed out of committee on a 9-7 vote and can now go before the full House. I support the proposal and intend to vote for it on the House floor. A second important immigration reform proposal was put forward by freshman State Representative Mark McCullough. McCullough's HB 1413 would empower a task force to enforce immigration laws at the state level. The proposal is important because of inaction by the federal government on the matter. McCullough believes the proposal would help force the federal government to act. Unfortunately, the bill did not make it through the committee process. However, it is still possible that this important language will be included in other immigration reform legislation. Read more...

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Posted at 2/14/2007 10:10:00 AM |

Fighting for a "Back to School" Sales Tax Holiday

From our Oklahoma Legislators' Blog: By Senator Jay Paul Gumm One of my top legislative priorities, as it has been over the past few years, is to enact Oklahoma’s version of the “Back to School” sales tax holiday. For years, Texas shoppers – and those Oklahomans who cross the border – enjoy tax-free shopping during the first weekend in August on clothing and shoes costing less than $100 per item. Millions of dollars in economic activity and sales tax revenue are lost from Oklahoma every year as thousands of our residents cross the border for the sales tax exemption. In addition to the revenue loss our cities, counties and the state endures, Oklahoma’s retailers are at a huge competitive disadvantage that weekend. Even more heartbreaking, those Oklahoma families who cannot afford to make a trip are stuck paying the full sales tax on back to school clothes. There is no compelling reason to oppose an Oklahoma “Back to School” sales tax holiday. Read more...

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Posted at 2/14/2007 10:07:00 AM |

Governor Pushes More than $1 Billion in New Spending & Debt

Henry Spending like a Drunken Sailor? After further examination of the governor's executive budget, House appropriations chairman Rep. Chris Benge said Tuesday that the fine print reveals worrying details that could leave taxpayers on the hook for a billion dollars in new spending and debt. Benge said the governor is pushing to expand state government using surplus money instead of paying for existing needs. It's our job to ask tough questions, and this does not seem to be a realistic budget, said Benge (R-Tulsa). I'm troubled by the governor's push for new spending while racking up unnecessary long-term debt as a fix for spending commitments." Benge said that in December, the governor publicly cautioned lawmakers to be careful about overextending the state with new spending and new programs. "We would respectfully ask the governor to follow his own advice, Benge said. However, it appears the governor is attempting to point us in a direction that will lead to financial hardship." After looking through the governor's executive budget, Benge said he found that while the governor proposes more than half a billion dollars in new spending and $663 million in bonds, he offers no additional tax relief for the state's citizens. Notably, Benge said the governor appears to be trying to make up for the lottery's $40 million shortfall by proposing long-term bond issues. For example, the governor's proposed $18.8 million in bonds for common education ad valorem reimbursement creates 20 to 30 years of debt for one year of school operational costs. Benge has questioned some state revenue growth estimates for the 2008 fiscal year. For example, gross production collections are currently $74 million below estimates for the 2007 fiscal year, yet increases have been projected for FY 2008. There has also been a projected increase of 134 percent for corporate income taxes for FY 2008, which Benge said goes against a number of established trends. The governor also proposes a 34.1 percent increase in funding for the lieutenant governor, though he told journalists this weekend he felt the office was a waste of taxpayer dollars.

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Posted at 2/14/2007 09:30:00 AM |

Inhofe Bill Requires Parental Consent for Head Start Physical Exams

U.S. Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) yesterday praised the inclusion of his legislation requiring parental consent for non-emergency intrusive physical examinations in the Head Start Reauthorization Act of 2007 (S.556). Sen. Inhofe has introduced his legislation (S.174) to amend the Head Start Act in the 108th, 109th, and 110th Congresses. “Young children attending Head Start programs should not be subjected to these intrusive physical exams without prior knowledge and consent of their parents,” Inhofe said. “As a father and a grandfather, I believe it is vital for parents to be informed about what is happening to their children in the classroom. I am pleased that after my continued efforts there will finally be definitive language in federal law prohibiting these exams without parental consent.” Senator Inhofe first introduced this legislation when several constituents raised concerns about their children receiving intrusive exams without their consent. While the Department of Health and Human Services administered general exam guidelines to agencies, the U.S. Code is not clear about prohibiting them without parental consent, thus leading to the problem the parents encountered. Below is an excerpt from the Tulsa case that motivated Sen. Inhofe to sponsor this legislation: Dubbs v Head Start Inc. In this civil rights action, parents of eight pre-school children enrolled in the Head Start program in Tulsa, Oklahoma, complain that their children were subjected to intrusive physical examinations, including genital examinations and blood tests, on school premises without parental notice or consent. They claim that the Head Start agency, defendant Tulsa Community Action Project, falsely represented to medical personnel that consent forms had been obtained for each of the children and insisted on examinations even for children with up-to-date physicals supplied by their own doctors. They claim that these examinations violated their rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and under state law. On November 5, 1998, Peggy Terry, a registered nurse and a CAP employee, entered a classroom of pre-school children participating in the Head Start program at Roosevelt Elementary in Tulsa. She announced that the children were to be taken to a another classroom in the building for physical examinations. One parent, Misti Dubbs, who was employed as an aide in the Head Start program, protested that CAP had not obtained consent for the examinations and that many of the families had already turned in physical examination reports from their own doctors. When nurse Terry insisted on examinations for all the children, Mrs. Dubbs approached a KD supervisor who in turn consulted the supervisor of employees at KD's Roosevelt site. Neither of these supervisors intervened. CAP had previously told the County Health Department that CAP would obtain the requisite consent from parents prior to the medical examinations. Relying on that representation, the Health Department conveyed this information to nurses Strayhorn and Baker. On November 5, Strayhorn and Baker arrived at Roosevelt before the appointed time for the exams and queried the CAP Head Start representative, Peggy Terry, about whether the children's parents had completed consent forms. Strayhorn and Baker looked for consent forms in the students' file folders and found none. The nurses raised concerns about the absence of consent forms with nurse Terry, but Terry assured them that CAP had previously obtained consent and that the proper forms were on file. Strayhorn and Baker relied on that information and proceeded with the exams. The central question in this case is whether CAP and the other defendants had a reasonable basis for believing that the parents had consented to the examinations. In a series of orders, the district court disposed of all claims against all defendants, either on dismissal for failure to state a claim on which relief may be granted or on summary judgment. The district court then ordered the plaintiffs to pay the costs of the litigation. Read the full opinion.

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Posted at 2/14/2007 08:33:00 AM |
Tuesday, February 13, 2007 

Bill to Protect Grieving Families of War Casualties Advances

A bill that would put a larger protective barrier around grieving families of war casualties received a unanimous vote today in a Senate committee. Senate Bill 756 would increase the distance protesters at funerals must be from ceremonies and cemeteries; the measure also would triple the time before and after the ceremony when protests would be allowed. The measure was approved without opposition by the Senate Judiciary Committee and next will be considered by the full Senate. The bill, by Senator Jay Paul Gumm, would strengthen a law already on the books banning protesters at the funerals of those soldiers killed in the line of duty. The original law was enacted as a response to a radical fringe group from Topeka, Kan. that travels the country protesting military funerals. The group’s protest at the funeral of a fallen soldier in Gumm’s district, and the public outcry over that protest, led Gumm to introduce the bill. “My constituents were outraged that this group would invade the privacy of this soldier’s family,” the lawmakers said. “It is time for us to ‘push the envelope’ on restrictions on this group, and anyone who would intrude during the hardest time in a family’s life.” Gumm’s bill would increase the time period from one to three hours before and after a funeral when a protest could occur. The bill also would increase the buffer zone between protesters and funerals from 500 feet to 1,000 feet. “I am deeply grateful to the Judiciary Committee for their overwhelming support and look forward to consideration by the full Senate,” Gumm concluded. “This bill will send the message to the entire nation that here in Oklahoma we respect our soldiers, their families and their tremendous sacrifice.”

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Posted at 2/13/2007 03:51:00 PM |

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