Thursday, May 31, 2007
Lawyers Not Ready for Reform
Andrew Spiropoulos is a professor of law and director of the Center for the Study of State Constitutional Law at Oklahoma City University. He also is an adjunct scholar at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs. Andrew Spiropoulos Guest viewpoint Like many in my profession, I dreamed of being a lawyer from a young age, inspired by both the Atticus Finches of fiction and the Abraham Lincolns of real life. I have never lost my love for the law and the pride I have in the noblest practitioners of it. Yet despite my love for the law and for genuine lawyers I am bitterly disappointed by the recent actions of some in my profession. When the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs asked me four years ago to help study and develop recommendations for the reform of our state’s civil justice system, I naively believed that most of the leaders of the profession here in Oklahoma sincerely would participate in the effort to make our system better. Granted, I never expected that the plaintiffs’ bar would consider the issue with an open mind, especially the bottom-feeders who would be most hurt by reforms discouraging meritless and profiteering litigation. I did, however, expect those whose personal financial interests were not directly hurt by sensible reform to sincerely grapple with remedying the accumulated flaws of our system. My expectations were, of course, utterly unrealistic. The profession here in Oklahoma has shown little or no interest in reforming itself. Read more...Posted at 5/31/2007 02:33:00 PM |
OKPNS Legislators' Blog
By Rep. Joe Dorman The legislative session ended this past Friday and now it's time to sort through the piles that have stacked up. I had two bills go to the Governor and I'm still waiting for his signature on the bill dealing with firefighter training and funding, along with the creation of a controlled burn indemnity fund established through the Conservation Districts. I do not expect any problems from this bill since I never heard of any efforts to work against it. Every organized fire association, the conservation districts and the agricultural associations were all in support of this bill. Read more...
By Rep. Jason Murphey The House of Representatives recently passed major legislation amending the ethics rules that govern the fundraising conduct of the campaigns of Oklahoma politicians. These reforms include a new limitation on lobbyists' influence over elected officials. These ethics reforms were contained in House Bill 2210, sponsored by Lance Cargill, Speaker of the House. Ethics reform is an issue about which I feel strongly. As an observer and participant in the political process, I have seen first hand how some ethics abuses are perpetrated. As a State Representative, I have also noticed how much influence lobbyists have over the legislative process. When I sought election to this office, I campaigned on a platform of ethics reform.Posted at 5/31/2007 12:04:00 PM |
Ivan the Terrible, or Terrible Reporting?
Posted at 5/31/2007 11:38:00 AM |Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Total Body Makeovers (Politics Style)
From The Daily Byte with James Davenport: It is amazing how quickly some political candidates forget their own history as elected officials. Now that they are interested in a new (usually higher office) they want you to forget their previous positions, too. It is an amazing Total Body Makeover, Politics Style! As soon as they announce, they drop inconvenient positions, equivocate on unpopular stances, and generally try to shed any problematic policies they have previously held. In some cases, it is very similar to dressing up a corpse. Maybe you are a career politician and trial attorney who has had strong ties to local police and fire fighters unions. Never mind that, just reinvent yourself into a citizen legislator who supports lawsuit reform and is a long-time supporter of our community’s first responders. Do not ask questions about the past, just listen to what I am telling you now. Read more...
Labels: Decision '08Posted at 5/30/2007 11:31:00 AM |
Coburn Mulling Presidential Bid?
Sen. Tom Coburn is mulling an entry into the Republican presidential primary, according to sources inside and outside the Senate. Coburn, a senator from Oklahoma, is believed to be receiving encouragement from a small group of wealthy businessmen and philanthropists in the Oklahoma-Kansas-Texas region of the country. He's all about faith, lower taxes, and staying the course in Iraq,' says an adviser outside of the Senate who has been speaking to Coburn. Coburn had been mulling a run earlier this year, but with what appeared to be a crowded field, including two sitting Senators (John McCain and Sam Brownback), along with another seriously looking (Chuck Hagel), Coburn appeared to pull back. 'He's not bound to any timetable or any fundraising imperative,' says a longtime adviser to Coburn, who has spoken with him. 'What's important for him is that there is no other true, Reagan conservative in the race, and he thinks he can fill that void.' Coburn is believed to have the backing of several low-profile members of the so called 'Swift Boaters,' men who financed the ads that doomed the presidential aspirations of Sen. John Kerry.Posted at 5/30/2007 11:05:00 AM |
The Politico: Thompson Plans to Enter Presidential Race
From The Politico: Fred Dalton Thompson is planning to enter the presidential race over the Fourth of July holiday, announcing that week that he has already raised several million dollars and is being backed by insiders from the past three Republican administrations,Thompson advisers told The Politico. Helping Thompson in Oklahoma are Corporation Commissioner Jeff Cloud and former Republican State Chairman Steve Edwards of Tulsa. Read more...Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Labels: Decision '08Posted at 5/30/2007 09:19:00 AM |
Turmoil Strikes Oklahoma Democratic Party...
From McCarville Report Online:
The Oklahoma Democratic Party appears to be in turmoil today, with the forced resignations of three staff members and some potential major donors said to be reluctant to help fund the administration of new Chairman Ivan Holmes.
Word of the turmoil comes a few weeks after Holmes won the chairmanship in a surprise over Norman attorney Ben Odom, the outgoing vice chairman, in what one party source described as a victory for the "radical fringe element" of the party. Read more...
Labels: ODPPosted at 5/29/2007 03:02:00 PM |
Sen. Rice Scheduled to Address Drug Policy Forum of Oklahoma
Sen. Rice will speak on the new program "Smart on Crime—Treating Those with Drug and Alcohol Problems." The Drug Policy Forum of Oklahoma serves the public with information and expert opinion about legal and illegal drugs and the issues surrounding them. All views are welcome and will be respected. The DPFOK website is www.dpfok.org For all information call (405)714-1236 or email Howzkeepa@hotmail.com. Pot luck refreshments will be served. All are welcome free of charge.
Labels: OK LegislaturePosted at 5/29/2007 12:05:00 PM |
Idea of the Week
From the "100 ideas" newsletter: "Stuart Jolly of Edmond thinks that we should reduce the number of school districts to one per county. That way, as Stuart puts it, "we can pay every teacher what they deserve and put more money in the classrooms where it should be and not in the administration."
Labels: 100 Ideas InitiativePosted at 5/29/2007 11:03:00 AM |
Speaker Cargill Legislative Briefing
Videographer John Angier II of Okie Campaigns, provides us video highlights of Speaker Cargill's press briefing held at the Capitol last Friday. Cargill praised the 2007 legislative session's accomplishments of passing a fiscally conservative budget, tax relief, and immigration reform. Posted at 5/29/2007 08:49:00 AM |Monday, May 28, 2007
FEC Cites Istook 2004 Campaign
From The McCarville Report Online: Former Republican Congressman Ernest Istook improperly spent nearly $7,000 in campaign funds on personal items, including a trip to the 2004 Sugar Bowl, according to a Federal Election Commission audit of Istook's 2004 reelection campaign. The FEC audit, which was provided by Istook to The Oklahoman, uncovered numerous other financial violations, the newspaper reported. Read more...Friday, May 25, 2007
Labels: Ernest IstookPosted at 5/28/2007 07:37:00 AM |
From the Tip Line: "Poor Poor Foshee"
Check out his site - "There will be no way that I allow my family, my friends, and my character be attacked like they have in the past." [Are] we sure this is not Ron writing for Denise Bode - when has he been attacked? Here is another clip - "Prediction: My opponents and/or their supporters WILL go negative on me because they have no other choice. My record for this District stands on its own merit and they have no alternative. As a matter of record, they have already begun to go negative." NEGATIVE? Who has gone negative, this is such a joke and for him to look like a victim. Always seems funny to me [that] those that don't want things to get negative are those that have something to hide.Posted at 5/25/2007 05:47:00 PM |
OCPA Grades Legislative Session
Istook on Funding the Troops
Political Reporter for Norman Transcript Blogging
From the Red Dirt Political Report: How the anti-tax crowd is killing a city... By M. Scott Carter If you travel far enough on Oklahoma City’s Northwest Expressway, past the restaurants, the banks, and the struggling strip malls, you’ll eventually wind up in Warr Acres. Warr Acres — a short hop away from Bethany — is a nice, sleepy little community. It’s a good place to raise a family. And, it really doesn’t take long to get there, either. Oh, you’ll know you’ve arrived when you see those stupid signs informing you about how you’ve entered Oklahoma’s version of low-tax Nirvana. These signs — large ones — sit along side the road and proudly inform drivers they are now in the hamlet which offers the area’s lowest sales tax rate, and how, if you dare to travel out of this glorious little community, you’ll be faced with, God forbid, higher taxes. Of course, there’s a little more to the story. Read more...
Labels: OK MediaPosted at 5/25/2007 11:38:00 AM |
Day 63 & Counting...
"Most of us in this chamber are here because our constituents sent us here. They placed their trust in us, and in return we must pledge to them a government of complete openness and transparency." Gov. Brad Henry - 2007 State of the State Address "Henry spokesman Paul Sund says the location of first family outings are kept secret to avoid interruptions from people who want to talk or perhaps have dinner with the governor. Sund says the governor's office will reveal the location when the governor returns..." (AP) March 23, 2007 RELATED: Gov. Henry & Family Vacationing at Trial Lawyer's Vacation Home?Posted at 5/25/2007 09:12:00 AM |
Democratic Activists Angry With Gumm & Hamilton
Democratic activists are angry with two of their legislators this week over the abortion issue. We reported Wednesday that demonstrators held signs in front of Rep. Rebecca Hamilton's fundraiser Tuesday evening, calling for her censorship and accusing her of "Sleeping with the Enemy". Sen. Jay Paul Gumm raised the ire of the party faithful with his post on our Legislators' blog titled: A "Poison" in the Body Politic. In the controversial post, Sen. Gumm writes:Thursday, May 24, 2007
Abortion was the other issue on which my position of conscience caused great anger, and to some degree disproves any suggestion that I make votes based partisan politics. I supported, and then helped resurrect, a bill that would prevent abortions from being performed with taxpayer resources. That position caused activists in the Democratic Party to become very angry at me, even attempting to reprimand me at the state Democratic Convention. That effort failed because cooler heads prevailed. Again, however, what was missing was a reasoned discussion of the issue.The following comment is representative of the sentiments expressed by many of those who left comments on the post and on demookie.com.
Jack Boyte said... Senator Gumm, I was part of the group that voted for the censure resolution at the state convention. It was NOT about womens reproductive rights. It was about the WAY you and Rep. Hamilton went about reviving SB 139 with language from SB 714. Forty out of forty-four members of the House Democratic caucus asked her not to 'revive the bill'...and she did anyway. Many feel you encouraged and supported this tactic even though the overwhelming majority of House Democrats opposed the procedure. I certainly respect your opinion on all issues and commend you for your service. But I feel this specific political maneuvering deserves the condemnation it received.Posted at 5/25/2007 08:20:00 AM |
Naifeh Getting In While the Getting Out Is Good?
The rumors regarding former Edmond Mayor Saundra Naifeh's interest in the corporate commissioner seat continue to build. According to our sources, we've learned that Naifeh has been consulting with several prominent GOP women leaders in Edmond as a sounding board on her chances. Naifeh, who had what most consider to be a very successful run as Mayor, also had her share of controversy, including a television report of her scolding citizens regarding zoning issues and she made national news when she personally distributed thousands of fliers against underage drinking which inadvertently contained the phone number for a sex talk line. But despite her public missteps, she appears to be interested, and would make a formidable candidate Naifeh has also been the director of the optometry trade association, one of the state's more powerful lobby groups. Under her tenure, optometrists gained surgical privileges, which has brought catcalls from national medical groups. But she has successfully outmaneuvered the medical groups' lobbyists at every turn. However, some signs of change in that battle are looming. Her interest may have been prodded by signs that tougher days may be ahead for the optometrist juggernaut. Recently, a C-4 trade organization, Quality Healthcare for Citizens, unleashed a massive education effort that has unsettled entrenched optometry supporters. That campaign is ignoring the legislative stalemate, and taking their case directly to stakeholders. "The people running the C-4 are pros who don't take prisoners and they don't care about legislative games. Why stick around? This campaign signals a enormous shift in tactics, and this county commissioner opening provides the perfect opportunity to get out a winner," one source tells OKPNS.
Labels: Saundra NaifehPosted at 5/24/2007 04:30:00 PM |
Foshee Campaign Stalled?
Foshee - "The Voice of the People" - is apparently having trouble getting his fledgling campaign out of neutral and to the people. Sources tell OKPNS that Foshee's campaign is having early trouble raising money and booking speaking engagements for the candidate. A rumored still low campaign treasury, coupled with employing over priced consultants, may indicate why Foshee's campaign website hasn't been updated in weeks and is currently terribly disfigured and disjointed. (Website corrected as of 4:30 CST.) Sources also tell OKPNS that Foshee's recent offer to buy dinner for the Frontier Country Women's group - if he could speak to them for an hour - was politely turned down publicly. An anonymous state party official told us privately that they were not going to be a campaign tool for an "ambulance chaser's campaign piece." Another insider told us facetiously, "When did he [Foshee] become a Republican? The Oklahoma Political News will continue to investigate.Posted at 5/24/2007 02:14:00 PM |
"HillRaisers" Schedule Clinton Support Meeting
We wonder which accent will Senator Clinton bring to Oklahoma the next time she visits? Tulsa For Hillary [HillRaisers] When:Thursday, May 24, 2007 at 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM Where:Tulsa County Democratic Party HQ 3930 E. 31st Street Tulsa, OK 74135 General Area: between Harvard and Yale, on south side of E 31st Description:Third grassroots meeting of those in and near Tulsa that support Hillary Clinton and those wanting to learn more about her and her campaign for US President in 2008.Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Labels: Decision '08Posted at 5/24/2007 08:24:00 AM |
House Votes to Secure Fire Funding By Rep. Joe Dorman Legislation that prevents the diversion of state money intended for firefighting service training is one vote away from the governor's desk. House Bill 1520, creates the "Firefighter Training Revolving Fund." The bill directs funding for firefighting programs through Oklahoma State University Fire Service Training, funneling the cash primarily through the State Fire Marshal Commission. The commission would be required to ensure the money is used for training programs as lawmakers intend. Read more... Murphey Legislative Update By Rep. jason Murphey This week I was provided with a copy of the latest version of the proposed state budget also known as Senate Bill 334. This bill will contain the majority of the budget agreement recently reached between legislative leaders and the Governor. The 45 page bill proposes to spend over 6.9 billion of our tax dollars as part of the fiscal year 2008 state budget. This budget will expand the size of state government base appropriations by $377 million dollars, or about 5.7% more than last year's bas appropriation of 6.5 billion dollars. If you have read budget related news stories or caught the sound bytes on television, you may find this statement confusing. Read More... A "Poison" in the Body Politic By Senator Jay Paul Gumm Hello again, everybody! A few weeks ago, I wrote of a “poison” being injected into the body politic.This poison is spreading, and, if left unchecked, this venom could threaten the ability of elected officials to find real solutions to the challenges we face. Threats, fear and intimidation are beginning to take the place of reasoned discussion, honest debate and good-faith efforts to find common ground on important issues.My positions on a pair of important though divisive issues have attracted anger from both extremes of the political spectrum. The two issues are the difficult and complex issues of tort reform and abortion. Read more... Posted at 5/23/2007 05:21:00 PM |
Coburn Blocks Honors for "Junk Science" Author
By Michael Roston A Republican Senator known for his criticism of various environmental causes is single-handedly holding up two bills in the US Senate that would honor the life of Rachel Carson, author of the well-known book Silent Spring, RAW STORY has learned. The bills were introduced by a bipartisan group of Senators from Carson's home-states of Pennsylvania and Maryland on the occasion of the centennial of her birthday on May 27. "This week, Dr. Coburn blocked two bills intended to honor Rachel Carson on the 100th anniversary of her birth (one bill to name a post office after her in PA, and a resolution honoring her)," said a press release at Senator Tom Coburn's (R-OK) website. Coburn said through a spokesman that Carson was undeserving of honor from Congress because she had promoted 'junk science.' "Dr. Coburn believes the tremendous harm Carson’s junk science claims about DDT did to the developing world overshadow her other contributions," said spokesman John Hart in an e-mail to RAW STORY. "Millions of people in the developing world, particularly children under five, died because governments bought into Carson’s junk science claims about DDT. To put it in language the Left understands, her 'intelligence' was wrong and it had deadly consequences." One of the resolutions Coburn is blocking with a parliamentary 'hold' seeks to mark the 100th birthday of Carson, who died in 1964. Read more...
Labels: Sen. Tom CoburnPosted at 5/23/2007 05:12:00 PM |
Compromise Lawsuit Reform Proposal Submitted to Henry
Legislative leaders in the Oklahoma Senate and House of Representatives have submitted a compromise lawsuit reform proposal to Gov. Brad Henry in an effort to reach an agreement before the Legislature adjourns for the year. The proposal was developed by physicians and business groups, and addresses the governor’s concerns about Senate Bill 507 as outlined in a recent memo from the governor’s chief negotiator, State Treasurer Scott Meacham. Henry has been under fire in Oklahoman and nationally for his veto of Senate Bill 507, a bipartisan lawsuit reform bill passed by the Legislature last month. “The need for lawsuit reform is one of the most critical issues facing our state, so in the spirit of bipartisan cooperation we have agreed to accept the compromise proposal submitted by the medical and business communities. We encourage the governor to accept this proposal so we can take a major step toward stamping out lawsuit abuse in Oklahoma,” stated Senate Co-President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City. “The ball is now in the governor’s court.” “Time is growing very short in the session's final days, but we're hopeful the governor will accept this important compromise," said Speaker Lance Cargill, R-Harrah. "This bill represents a true compromise, but also achieves reform. Oklahoma desperately needs lawsuit reform if our state is going to move forward.”Posted at 5/23/2007 05:04:00 PM |
MoveOn Tulsa Response to Iraq Compromise
For Immediate Release Later today, we’re going to deliver a message with a backbone on it to Rep. John Sullivan’s Tulsa office as part of a rapid response to the Congress’ weak compromise on the Iraq supplemental bill. Here’s my statement on the bill and on the event: Representative Sullivan needs to vote against the Iraq supplemental bill. The bill has no real timelines or real accountability for the Bush administration. A vote for this bill is a vote to continue President Bush's failed Iraq policy. It’s time for Congress to show some backbone and reject this blank check for endless war. We’re delivering a backbone to Rep. Sullivan to remind him that folks here in Tulsa are expecting strong leadership, not weak compromises. In an email this morning, MoveOn encouraged all 3.2 million of its members to urge Congress to vote no. In part, the email reads: "Every single Democrat must vote against this bill. This is a key test vote on whether your representative is serious about ending the war." The email was sent by MoveOn's Nita Chaudhary. Please let me know if you have any questions or want any further comments. Mike Workman MoveOn Tulsa MoveOn Regional Coordinator for OK-AR
Labels: Iraq WarPosted at 5/23/2007 04:34:00 PM |
Demonstraters Picket Hamilton's Fundraiser
OKPNS reported to you yesterday about the demonstration planned at Rep. Rebecca Hamilton's fundraiser. As you can see, the demonstraters showed up carrying signs with love quotes like: "Censor Rebecca Hamilton Hamilton" and "Sleeping with the Enemy". All that aside, we wonder how the fundraiser went?Posted at 5/23/2007 03:16:00 PM |Tuesday, May 22, 2007
A New Pitchman -- and a New Pitch
As NRCC Chief, Cole Has Plan to Win Back House in 2008 By Juliet Eilperin and Michael Grunwald Washington Post Staff Writers One day back when Republicans controlled Congress, Reps. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) and Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) found themselves talking politics, something both men tend to do when they happen to be awake. Cole, who has worked behind the scenes for just about every prominent Republican politician in Oklahoma as well as the national party, suggested that House Democrats would need a political pro to win back the majority in 2006, and he predicted they'd choose Emanuel to chair their campaign committee. Emanuel, who was once President Clinton's top political adviser, said he doubted it; he'd clashed too many times with party leaders. "You don't have to like George Patton to know you need George Patton," Cole replied. Cole was right, and Emanuel ultimately led the Democrats back to the majority. That's why Republicans wanted their own Patton -- their own Rahm -- to take back the House in 2008. And that's why they've elected Cole to chair the National Republican Congressional Committee, where he once served as executive director. "A guy with that kind of résumé, we'd be paying millions of dollars for him as a consultant," said Rep. Candice S. Miller (Mich.), the head of recruiting for the NRCC. It's true; Cole has run the Republican National Committee, the Oklahoma GOP and a lucrative consulting business. He has also been a state senator, congressional staff member and Oklahoma's secretary of state. He loves to read cross tabs, and he's a consummate insider. "His Rolodex," says former aide John Woods, "is like all of MySpace plus all of Facebook." Read more...Posted at 5/22/2007 02:53:00 PM |
With Gas Prices Over $3, New Strategies are Welcome
U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas has come up with some interesting ideas concerning alternative energy and rural America. He has introduced a bill — his eight-point Rural America Energy Bill — that seeks to expand the use of energy sources that can be utilized in rural areas, such as wind energy and cellulosic ethanol. It also would help farmers participate in energy development, through small wind tax credits and dedicated funding for renewable energy projects. With gas prices over $3 a gallon you won’t find many people who say we shouldn’t do something. Read more... Posted at 5/22/2007 02:43:00 PM |
Tip Line: Demonstration planned Tonight at Rebecca Hamilton's Fundraiser
The Oklahoma Political News Service received the following email today: Join the demonstration at Rebecca Hamilton's fundraiser Tuesday evening The official invitation reads: Join Mike Lawter, Dr. Jim Muse amd Former Speaker of the House Steve Lewis In Honoring one of our best Democrats Representative Rebecca Hamilton.
May 22, 2007 Lawter Law Offices 3313 N Classen Blvd Oklahoma City, OK 7311 Reception from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m." The outrages are: 1. Steve Lewis is Planned Parenthood's lobbyist, 2. Rebecca mightily angered her House Democratic Caucus members by conspiring with Republicans and giving them her bill to bring back SB-714 through her bill SB -139 (She was the House author). She forced her colleagues to vote AGAIN on anti-choice bills (8 of them rolled into SB-139) which they had already voted on before. IF YOU CAN JOIN US, PLEASE LET ME KNOW ASAP. BE THERE BY 6:15 AT THE LATEST IF AT ALL POSSIBLE. I'M MAKING APPROPRIATE SIGNS OR BRING YOUR OWN. THERE'S LOTS OF SPACE AROUND 3313 N. CLASSEN BLVD WHERE WE CAN STAND. I'LL GET A PERMIT FIRST THING TOMORROW MORNING. THERE COMES A TIME WHEN ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!Posted at 5/22/2007 02:10:00 PM |
Loveless for State Senate Kickoff
WHEN - Thursday, May 24th, 2007 6pm to 8 pm WHERE - Loveless Campaign HQ 4400 SW 21st Street Oklahoma City, OK Questions? 405-692-7617 www.kyleloveless.comPosted at 5/22/2007 01:54:00 PM |
Presidential Hopefuls Raise Over $800k in Oklahoma in 1st Qtr
Sen. Barak Obama is getting a warm reception - and plenty of money - from the Democratic faithful in Oklahoma. Obama raised just over $300,000 from Okies last quarter, his nearest Democratic rival, John "I feel Pretty" Edwards, raised just under $220,000. The leading fundraiser for Republicans in the state was Rudy Guiliani, with a little over $140,000. His nearest competitor Mitt Romney lags far behind with just $13,000 raised. Click here to see which city and zip codes gave the most money to the candidates.
Labels: Decision '08Posted at 5/22/2007 01:03:00 PM |
Reneau Hired by Choctaws?
The Oklahoma Political News Service is investigating a report that former State Labor Commissioner Brenda Reneau, has been hired by the Choctaw Tribe. OKPNS will continue to investigate and bring you the details.
Labels: Brenda ReneauPosted at 5/22/2007 12:50:00 PM |
Idea of the Week
From the "100 Ideas" Newsletter: "One of Oklahoma's high school students believes our state should emphasize our passion and uniqueness by officially adding an exclamation point after our state's name "Oklahoma". The author of this idea agrees with former Governor, and 100 Ideas Co-Chair, George Nigh that Rodgers and Hammerstein had it right about our great state."
Labels: 100 Ideas InitiativePosted at 5/22/2007 12:45:00 PM |
Former State Senator Not Running for Oklahoma County Commissioner
News OK reported yesterday, that former State Senator Dave Herbert, would not be a candidate for the soon to be vacated District 1 seat. Herbert claims he wants to continue working as a lobbyist for county government statewide. Try again Senator. An OKPNS tipster has alerted us that there is a current sexual harrassment complaint filed against you in the County. Is this the real reason?Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Labels: Dave HerbertPosted at 5/22/2007 12:16:00 PM |
City Council Member Plans to Run for Open County Seat
By Stefanie Brickman Hoping to extend what she calls Jim Roth’s pro-business agenda for county government, Oklahoma City council member Ann Simank, Ward 6, is planning to run for his soon-to-be-open county commissioner’s seat. Gov. Brad Henry announced on May 14 Roth will serve as the state’s next corporation commissioner. Read more...Posted at 5/16/2007 04:08:00 PM |
More Kumbaya, Touchy Feely BS From ODP
"We hope to spread knowledge and create a greater since of tolerance" - ODP Chair Lisa Pryor Chairman Pryor is still apparently not supervising or proof reading the interns work on the Blue Note Blog. The word is sense not since by they way. The above quote - with misspelled word and all - is taken from a post highlighting an "interdenominational faith service" the ODP is sponsoring this Sunday. Here's an excerpt: "It will bring together readings from the New Testament and the Koran, as well as Hebrew scripture and Buddhist prayer and meditation. There will also be live music and a reading from a Dr. Martin Luther King sermon." Just as we wrote awhile back, the Dems are the real masters of wedge politics, and this is just another prime example. We're sure the good 'ol boys in Little Dixie are thrilled about their party embracing Buddhist prayers and Koran readings!Posted at 5/16/2007 12:16:00 PM |
Speaker Cargill & Rep. Terrill on Passage of HB 1804
Video also includes clips from national broadcasts on passage of HB 1804 Posted at 5/16/2007 10:28:00 AM |Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Governor, Legislative Leaders Announce State Budget Agreement
Oklahoma City – One day after the enactment of a bipartisan tax relief package, legislative leaders and the governor on Tuesday announced the outlines of a $7.1 billion state budget agreement that speeds up tax cuts for working Oklahomans, boosts teacher pay and includes important funds for critical state services such as public safety and state prisons. “This budget agreement is the result of hard work and bipartisan cooperation, and I thank legislative leaders of both parties for finding consensus on important issues. It hasn’t always been an easy process, but lawmakers ultimately came together to do significant things for Oklahoma, such as strengthening higher education, establishing a state bioenergy center and increasing teacher pay. This bipartisan budget addresses a number of other priorities, as well as ensuring tax relief. In all, it marks a win-win for Oklahoma,” stated Governor Brad Henry “We said very early on that the hallmark of this legislative session would be fiscal restraint and restored accountability from government. This is the first time ever in the history of our state that a Legislature cut government spending when there was the opportunity to spend more,” said Speaker Lance Cargill, R-Harrah. “We delivered a responsible state budget that makes record investments in core services while putting in place reforms that make clear we expect in return quality performance and results. At the same time, we have achieved real tax relief for Oklahoma’s working families – the very people whose productivity has helped fuel our economic growth. Important reforms include taking a first step toward a merit-based pay system for Oklahoma teachers and motivating our OHLAP scholars to earn better grades while in college. And for the first time, we will take a major step toward fixing our state’s prison problem by conducting a top-to-bottom review of the Department of Corrections.” “This budget agreement focuses on protecting middle class families and provides a fiscally-responsible framework for Oklahoma’s future by opening the door to educational opportunities for the next generation. It includes important funding to keep tuition increases to a minimum at our colleges and universities and establishes a permanent funding source to ensure the long-term stability of the Oklahoma’s Promise Scholarship Program,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan, D-Stillwater. “This fiscally-responsible agreement builds on the bipartisan budget and tax relief plan passed by the Legislature earlier this session, and represents a common sense compromise that Oklahomans can all be proud of – especially the tax cuts for working families and the long-term fix for the Teacher Retirement System,” stated Senate Co-President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City. “The Senate’s power-sharing agreement has resulted in a spirit of cooperation in the Legislature’s upper chamber, and this bipartisanship is evident in today’s agreement. The stage is now set for an orderly and on-time adjournment of the 2007 legislative session.”Posted at 5/15/2007 10:23:00 PM |
Queer Eye for the Regulator Guy
Oklahoma Republicans were beat to the punch once again by Democrat Governor Brad Henry with his selection of Jim Roth to the Corporation Commission. Republicans scarcely raised an eyebrow at the controversial appointment of the openly gay liberal democrat. Roth was clearly the favorite of Chesapeake Energy Corporation, and that fact has several business groups clearly worried. The "coal" lobby, which will be battling natural gas companies such as Chesapeake in the years to come over who will fuel new power plants, are big losers. But the big loser could be AT&T, who held a strangle hold on the commission for several years. It is believed Roth will side from Day 1 with AT&T-hating commissioner Bob Anthony. While it was easy to see this one coming, Oklahoma Republicans and some business groups once again were thumped by a group of politicians who will never be confused with expert public relations operatives.Posted at 5/15/2007 09:07:00 PM |
Open Door Policy
By Rep. Joe Dorman The session is winding down to the conclusion as the Constitutional deadline of the last Friday in May approaches. I still have two pieces of legislation that I've been working through the system and they both look like they will make it through the process to the Governor. One bill deals with fire protections. This creates a controlled burn fund to allow for an insurance policy if a controlled burn on private property gets out of control and allows for assistance in creating a burn plan. This bill also incorporates the language from my previous legislation to assist our rural fire departments. The other is a bill I assisted Senator Barrington with that will allow for right turns to be made from the shoulders on highways. This will allow those in the rural areas to essentially use the shoulder as a turn lane as a person approaches a turn they need to make to not back up traffic. Though I've seen these successes, I have also seen some disappointments. We were working on language with several of the Ag groups to amend a previously-passed bill that would allow persons to retrieve their pet off private property should it get away. This was a highly-controversial bill that passed and we thought there was a good compromise with some new language, but the Senate author on this bill refused to hear the language. This effectively killed this idea for the rest of the year. If a pet should get away, you now have to contact the landowner before retrieving the pet or suffer the chance of prosecution for trespassing. This sounds like common sense, but so does running down a dog or cat that ran off by getting spooked. It's a shame that these things can't get resolved where everyone is in agreement. Read more...Posted at 5/15/2007 08:50:00 PM |
Jailbirds On New State Coin?
This letter was recently sent to the editor of Newsok.com I was disappointed by the design of Oklahoma's commemorative quarter that features the state bird and wildflower. My submission was much more appropriate. It contained the images of Gene Stipe, David Walters and Judge Donald D. Thompson with the caption: "Celebrating 100 Years of Corruption in All Three Branches of State Government. Instead of one lousy bird on the back of the coin, we could have had three jailbirds.Posted at 5/15/2007 12:37:00 PM |
Working To End Taxpayer Funded Abortions
By Rep. Jason Murphey This week the Oklahoma House of Representatives took action to again send to the Senate and the Governor an important pro-life measure. Senate Bill 139 (SB 139), authored by Oklahoma City Democrat Rebecca Hamilton, would stop the use of taxpayer money from funding almost all abortions. SB 139 is very similar to Senate Bill 714, which passed both the House and the Senate earlier in the session but was later vetoed by the Governor. The Senate has twice attempted to override the Governor's veto of Senate Bill 714, but both attempts fell just one vote short of the two-thirds majority needed. Because the Senate could not override the veto, the bill was bottled up in the Senate and the House did not get to vote on the override attempt. SB 139 offered an opportunity for those of us in the House to again press the issue that taxpayer resources should not be used for abortions. It is important for us to take action, not just because it is the right thing to do, but because of the groundswell of public support for this policy. I have received more calls in support of Senate Bill 714 than any other bill this year. It is clear that people do not want their tax dollars used to destroy life and they are demanding the government take action. Read more...Posted at 5/15/2007 12:32:00 PM |
Joint Statement From Speaker Lance Cargill & Sen. Coffee
Speaker Lance Cargill & Senate Co-President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee issued the following joint statement Monday evening after the governor signed into law Senate Bill 861, a package of tax relief for working families including childcare credits for stay-at-home parents, a back-to-school sales tax holiday, acceleration of income tax cuts and elimination of the franchise tax on most small businesses. SPEAKER LANCE CARGILL (R-Oklahoma City): “This is a positive step forward in achieving a final budget agreement. Today’s enactment of tax relief is a victory for working families across Oklahoma. Tax relief has been a cornerstone issue for us, and we’re glad we can once again deliver for the people who work for a living in this state.” SENATE CO-PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE GLENN COFFEE (R-Oklahoma City): “This tax relief package allows families to keep more of their own money. We’ve made significant progress in achieving a final budget agreement, and enactment of this tax relief package goes a long way toward moving Oklahoma forward.”Posted at 5/15/2007 12:23:00 PM |
Senator McCain Coming to Tulsa
U.S. Senator and Presidential candidate John McCain (R-AZ) will be in Tulsa May 21st for a luncheon fundraising event. Press here for the invitation.
Labels: Decision '08Posted at 5/15/2007 12:18:00 PM |
Anti PC Quote of the Day
Our blatantly anti political correctness quote of the day comes from Oklahoma Opinions: "The openly gay county commissioner has been selected by Henry to fill the seat vacated by Bode. I guess Henry felt it would be sexist to have three men there."
Labels: Jim RothPosted at 5/15/2007 12:04:00 PM |
Only In Oklahoma: Adair County Sheriff Serving the People......In Iraq!
From Bubbaworld.net: If you have business with Adair County Sheriff Charles Hartshorne do not bother going by his office or even calling on the phone, as his staff will tell you the sheriff is not in. And they would be telling you the truth, for Sheriff Hartshorne is not in his office. He is not in the courthouse. He is not in the town of Stilwell, the county seat. He is not even in Adair County. All of which makes sense, as he is also not in the state of Oklahoma or the United States for that matter. It turns out that Adair County Sheriff Charles Hartshorne is in Iraq, working for a private company that trains Iraqi civilians to become law enforcement officers. Recently Sheriff Hartshorne, in a published letter to the "Adair County citizens" said: I will still be your working sheriff. Let me assure you I am not deserting you or my office. No matter where I am, I am always in contact with and overseeing the daily operations of my office. A published report by the Muskogee Phoenix revealed that Undersheriff Tim McCollum said he speaks with Hartshorne via telephone about every two days. That same report indicated that Commissioner Sam Chandler said the last time he was aware of Sheriff Hartshorne being in the county was on April 1st. Read more...Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Labels: Iraq WarPosted at 5/15/2007 11:45:00 AM |
Congressman Cole Comments On McCain Accepting Lobbyist Money From Firms Who Represent Tribes
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who led the Senate Indian Affairs Committee investigation into the Jack Abramoff scandal, has sworn off taking tribal money in his presidential campaign but continues to accept donations from lobbyists whose firms represent tribal clients. McCain spokesman Danny Diaz said the senator believes that tribes can spend their money in other ways. He added that McCain implemented the ban on tribal money when he became chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee in the midst of the Abramoff scandal, before the panel began probing the tens of millions of dollars the tribes paid the former lobbyist. Diaz, however, would not explain why McCain would not extend that policy to lobbyists representing tribes. Other members, such as Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), who chairs the National Republican Congressional Committee and is the only registered member of an Indian tribe in Congress, say they believe that tribes should not be punished for the Abramoff scandal and should be free to be as active in the political process as possible — including in the political fundraising arena. Cole said he respects McCain’s decision not to accept money from tribes, stressing that any member is free to establish his or her own policy about fundraising. But Cole argues that the Abramoff scandal is a lobbying scandal, not an Indian scandal. “I don’t know one tribe that was found to have done anything wrong — in fact, they were the victims,” Cole said last month in an interview. “But what Abramoff and others were doing was clearly criminal. Tribes have the right to participate in the system because if they are not looking out for their interests, nobody else will.” Read more...Posted at 5/08/2007 02:01:00 PM |
The Opinion Track
From Tailgate Politics: SoonerSurvey, from the folks at CHS, are reporting that Governor Henery's approval rating is "down" into the 70s, while his strongly approve (the important number for a man spending political capital) is around 36 (thanks to the McCarville Report for this one). The approval rating for President Bush is at 47% in the Sooner State -- a small rebound from the December 2006 number from SurveyUSA. Read more...Posted at 5/08/2007 01:29:00 PM |
Politicians Benefiting Off Of The Taxpayers
By Rep. Jason Murphey In the upcoming three weeks, the House will begin hearing conference committee reports. In this process, legislation goes up for a final vote. Historically, the process has been subject to much abuse as last minute legislation and appropriations quickly pass with little opportunity for scrutiny. I have spent time analyzing this process and specifically how legislators have personally benefited from directing money through last minute appropriation bills. An example of this abuse recently hit close to home. Read more...Posted at 5/08/2007 01:09:00 PM |
Henry Should Stop Vetoes, Get Involved in Legislation
Gov. Brad Henry has been particularly wieldy with his veto pen this session. First, he vetoed a budget that a bi-partisan Legislature came up with. His main beef was some of his favorite projects weren’t included in the budget, and he wasn’t included in the process. Legislative leaders had left open the door for those projects to be funded, but said they didn’t hold the same priority as the ones they came up with. Then, the governor vetoed sweeping tort reform legislation that would have put Oklahoma on the map as one of the best states to practice medicine and do business. Now, it appears he may veto an immigration reform bill that is very popular with public at large. This from a governor who at the beginning of the session said he thought a real sense of bi-partisan progress would occur, particularly with the structure of the half-and-half Senate. We’re not really sure what the governor is trying to prove by his vetoes of the first two bills. Read more...Posted at 5/08/2007 12:59:00 PM |
ODP Candidate Forum Tonight
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 8, 2007 CONTACT: Mike Workman, 918-743-8165 h/o ODP Candidate Forum Speaking Event/Panel Organized by: DFA Tulsa http://dfalink.com/tulsa ODP Candidate Forum. All candidates for 2007-09 Oklahoma Democratic Party [ODP] offices invited... candidate status below: CHAIR Ben Odom, Norman [confirmed] Dr. Ivan Holmes, OKC [confirmed] VICE-CHAIR State Rep. Anastasia Pittman, OKC [sending rep.] Kitti Asberry, OKC [sending representative] Debbie Hogue-Downing, OKC [confirmed] SECRETARY Walter W. Jenny, Jr., Edmond [confirmed] TREASURER Linda Gray Murphy, OKC [confirmed] Jana Harkins, OKC [sending representative] Elections will occur at the state convention of the Oklahoma Democratic Party [ODP] in Oklahoma City, OK, on Saturday, May 19, 2007. Event Date: Tuesday, May 8, 2007 Event Time: 6:00 - 8:00 PM Rudisill Regional Library, Auditorium 1520 N. Hartford, Tulsa, OK 74106 Handicapped Accessible: Y Venue Phone Number: 918-596-7280Monday, May 07, 2007
Labels: ODPPosted at 5/08/2007 12:46:00 PM |
Tell Tulsa What You Think!
From the meeciteewurkor blog: Listening to KFAQ this morning, I was greatly disturbed (and disgusted) that the Tulsa World would run story after story which are obviously geared toward the “Pro-illegal immigration” crowd. I called in to KFAQ and Gwen and Chris graciously allowed me to vent the anger I was feeling towards the Tulsa World and the obvious slanted prose they put out in what they call the daily paper. If you heard those words, then you know that you have an opportunity to tell the Tulsa World, Tulsa, and Governor Brad Henry what you think about illegal immigration and the House Bill currently on Brad Henry’s desk which he needs to sign. Read more...Posted at 5/07/2007 03:41:00 PM |
Quick, Hide the Women & Children; OKGOP Allegedly Engages in Political Parody
The so called Oklahoma Independent Media Center researchers seem to have too much times on their hands. How else to explain them having their panties in a bunch over the alleged scandal of the OKPGOP using a photo shopped picture of Speaker Nancy Pelosi on their website recently. OIMC says on their website:"We are a grassroots, community-based collective striving to provide universal access to news media without corporate filtering. This is a progressive outlet committed to amplifying the voices of everyday people and especially those working for justice and equality in Oklahoma and around the world." Isn't progressive code word for liberal Democrat? Read below an excerpt from their "expose": The front page of the Oklahoma Republican Party's web site presents an image of the Speaker of the House, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, which they accurately refer to as "disturbing". But the disturbing aspect of the image is its relationship to reality and its use on the website of a supposedly reputable organization of mature adults to disparage its subject in a not-so-subtle fashion. The image is clearly digitally distorted ("Photoshopped")in order to present the Speaker as old, haggard and ugly, with heavily rouged cheeks, sloppy lipstick and lines, bulges and veins that do not actually exist on the Speaker's face. First, If you want to investigate real political bias in the Oklahoma media, here's a link for you. Second, we're not so sure the photo has been altered. The pictures were clearly taken at different times. Speaker Pelosi has been in public life a long time, maybe the first picture is more recent.Posted at 5/07/2007 01:36:00 PM |
Republicans Energized for 2008
Message from Chairman Jones This past Saturday over three hundred Oklahoma Republicans gathered to attend the third annual Stephen’s County Fish Fry in Duncan. The “Fish Fry,” along with the Comanche County GOP Annual BBQ, have grown to become “can’t miss” GOP events, and they are great examples of the changing political landscape in Oklahoma. Since statehood, SW Oklahoma has been considered by most political experts as Democrat Country. Not any more. With the elections of Senators Don Barrington, Ron Justice, Michael Schulz and Anthony Sykes, along with Don Armes, Ann Coody, T.W. Shannon and Dennis Johnson who joined Susan Winchester in the House, Republicans became the majority party for the first time in Oklahoma’s history. With faithful activists like Steve Fair, our 4th District GOP Chairman, SW Oklahoma is sending a message that Republicans are energized and ready for 2008. The Republican Party has a message that resonates all across this state, which was evident as I interacted with the hundreds of GOP activists in Duncan this past weekend. It was also clear that Republicans in SW Oklahoma know how to throw a party. I would encourage anyone to pick up a copy of the opening video Steve Fair put together for this year’s Fish Fry. If you know Steve, you will understand. So as we prepare for the 2008 elections, let us remember that being a Republican and getting Republicans elected is rewarding…but it can also be a whole lot of fun.Posted at 5/07/2007 01:25:00 PM |
Real Wedge Politics
Read more...Posted at 5/07/2007 12:01:00 PM |Friday, May 04, 2007
Why Is This Man Smiling?
The controversy is quietly starting to build as Oklahoma County Commissioner Jim Roth is aggressively, and some say recklessly, launching what can only be described as a campaign designed to convince Gov. Brad Henry to appoint him to the Corporation Commission seat soon to be vacated by Denise Bode. "It's not just about his open homosexuality," an insider familiar with the process says, "but rather about his qualifications. If he's campaigning to give cover to a governor who appears to be moving rapidly to the left on the political spectrum, he's going to be inviting shots not just at his lifestyle, but rather his competence." According to reports, Roth has met privately with several corporations who have a huge stake in proceedings at the commission, and he's even met with Commissioner Bob Anthony. "The guy's gotten real good press thus far for his Oklahoma County gig, but let's face it, who cares about the county stuff. That's basically no press coverage at all. He's trying to go from the Class B ball to the majors, and he's already making mistakes," the insider reports. Already, some of his supporters have been contacting other important players in the business community to attempt damage control. "As the perceived front-runner, people are starting to examine the reality, not the carefully crafted image, of Jim Roth, and that has caused some major discomfort for some. Spin control is already underway. Whoever is handling this guy has miscalculated and put his guy in a very vulnerable position." Henry has been silent on the issue, but his recent rash of vetoes on issues pushed by conservatives has fueled speculation that the governor is positioning himself for a national appointment should a Democrat win the White House in 2008. "His pro-abortion, pro-plaintiff lawyer vetoes are more in line with the national Democratic party, and appointing an openly gay politician would position him as the type of ultra-liberal that would be very attractive to Hillary Clinton or Barry Obama. If that is Henry's motive, this decision will be about being homosexual, not about what's good for Oklahoma." Reports about Roth as the favorite for the corporation commission job have some Republicans salivating. "I'll bet that the governor gets a call from Gary Jones urging him to appoint Roth: if Roth is appointed, the Repubs will kill this guy when he runs for re-election. Jones has McMahan and Edmondson busy with their scandals, and this would be icing on the cake. It could set back Democrats for years if this blows up: Roth is no Jackie Robinson, and Henry is no Branch Rickey. So right now, it looks like nothing more than a political nod to the gay community for pure political purposes to me," the insider says. The Oklahoma Political News Service will continue to investigate.Posted at 5/04/2007 08:47:00 AM |Thursday, May 03, 2007
Sen. Coburn Calls for Rifle Competition
Senator Coburn sent a letter last month to the Army asking them to hold an open competition to select the best rifle for our soldiers. Can you imagine the uproar from the gun nuts when they get wind of this? Here's an excerpt: "I am certain that we can all agree that America’s soldiers should have the best technology in their hands. There is nothing more important to a soldier than their rifle, and there is simply no excuse for not providing our soldiers the best weapon – not just a weapon that is “good enough.” Unfortunately, considering the long standing reliability and lethality problems with the M-16 design, of which the M4 is based, I am afraid that our troops in combat might not have the best weapon." Read the full letter here.
Labels: Sen. Tom CoburnPosted at 5/03/2007 03:32:00 PM |
Boren Votes Against Veto Override
By James Beaty Senior Editor U.S. District 2 Rep. Dan Boren, D-Muskogee, joined Republicans and a handful of other Democrats in voting against an attempt to override President George W. Bush’s veto of legislation setting timetables for U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq. The House voted 222-203 to override Bush’s veto — 62 votes short of the two-thirds majority needed. Boren had previously voted against Bush’s plan for a troop surge in Iraq — but he had also later voted against the original Democratic war funding bill which set the timetables for troop withdrawals from the war-torn nation. Referring to his vote on Wednesday against overriding the veto, Boren said “This doesn’t mean I support what the president’s doing. “We can’t micromanage the war from Congress,” Boren said. Read more...
Labels: Rep. Dan BorenPosted at 5/03/2007 03:19:00 PM |
George Will: GOP Looks to Reclaim House in 2008
By George F. Will Tom Cole earned a Ph.D. in British history from the University of Oklahoma, intending to become a college professor, but he came to his senses and to a zest for politics and now, in just his third term in the House of Representatives, he is chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. As such, he is charged with recruiting the candidates and honing the tactics that will transform Speaker Nancy Pelosi back to House minority leader. "We are looking," says Cole, speaking unminced words about the Republican Party, "like a beaten down stock." Nevertheless, he is sanguine regarding 2008: "The positioning is good for us" because "we don't have to conquer new territory, we have to reclaim old territory." That is, 61 Democrats represent districts that George W. Bush carried in 2004. A 16-seat gain in 2008 would restore Republican control to the House. Read more...Posted at 5/03/2007 03:02:00 PM |
ACT Scores for Oklahomans Decline, Trail National Average
> Remember this Henry campaign ad from last fall touting his education achievements? OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) The average A-C-T scores made by Oklahoma high school students is falling and remains below the national average. The Southern Regional Education Board says the average score on the college entrance exam in Oklahoma fell from 20-point-six in 1997 to 20-point-five last year. The national average was 21 in 2006. When compared by race the average score for white students in Oklahoma was unchanged at 21-point-two while the average for blacks fell to 17 and the average score by Hispanics fell to 18-point-three. While the scores fell the number of Oklahoma students taking the test rose from 69 percent to 72 percent.
Labels: Brad HenryPosted at 5/03/2007 02:47:00 PM |
Oklahoma County commissioner Says He's Returned Questioned Donations
“The public will once again realize that Drew Edmondson used the Office of Attorney General, at taxpayers’ expense, to punish a political opponent.” -Brent Rinehart But you give the money back?????? OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Oklahoma County Commissioner Brent Rinehart says he's returned campaign donations that led to felony charges against him and his campaign manager. Rinehart and former state Representative Tim Pope are charged with perjury, conspiracy and money laundering for allegedly funneling of illegal campaign contributions to Rinehart's 2004 race for county commissioner. Rinehart says state Ethics Commission Director Marilyn Hughes recommended he return the funds. Hughes declined comment.Posted at 5/03/2007 02:03:00 PM |Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Rinehart Responds to Sun Editorial
From The Sunday Sun: I must respond to the editorial commentary that appeared in your paper on April 15, 2007, to correct some inaccurate statements and explain what I have accomplished in office for the benefit of the citizens living in my district in Eastern Oklahoma County. First, there was no ‘indictment’ as has been reported because no grand jury of 12 honest citizens would issue one. The attorney general himself filed an ‘Information’ alleging campaign finance violations of which I am innocent. The politically motivated charges and Drew Edmondson’s “presumption of guilt” has resulted in a Bar complaint against him. Edmondson’s allegations, which you cited in your editorial as “straw donors,” do not concern straw donors at all. Rather, the allegations concern a single in-kind contribution for a mailing to my campaign for $3,980 from a political action committee that was fully and accurately reported in my campaign finance reports filed with the State Ethics Commission. This kind of contribution is entirely legal and proper for 101 state representatives, 48 senators, all of our congressional delegation and every other elected official in the state and countless candidates that received similar PAC contributions and reported them as I did. However, I repaid these funds over a year ago to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. Your confusion about ‘straw donors’ comes from another case in the news, unrelated to me, in which Gene Stipe and Steve Phipps are accused of using fifteen people as ‘straw donors,’ or donors who use someone else’s money to illegally contribute to a campaign, to contribute tens of thousands of dollars in illegal campaign donations to Gov. Brad Henry, U.S. Representative Dan Boren, State Auditor Jeff McMahan, among others, all Democrats. Even the attorney general received Stipe/Phipps donations and just this month repaid thousands of dollars in illegal contributions from his own campaign coffers. Read more...Posted at 5/01/2007 12:38:00 PM |
State Chamber "Disappointed" in Henry's Veto
State Chamber's statement on Henry's lawsuit reform veto: Oklahoma’s business community is extremely disappointed in Governor Henry’s veto of lawsuit reform. "Even though small business owners and large Oklahoma corporate citizens came together in their effort to communicate the importance of his signing of the lawsuit reform elements he himself called for, the plain fact is that he chose to listen to his trial lawyer friends,” said Mike Seney, senior vice president of operations for The State Chamber. “This is not the last lawsuit reform bill that will be put on the governor’s desk. We hope that he will eventually realize the frustration Oklahomans have with our current system." President & CEO of The State Chamber Richard P. Rush commended the other hundreds of business volunteers and leaders that have worked so hard for this chance to protect our community from self-serving attorneys who have learned to manipulate the system to their own advantage. "Each Oklahoma consumer lost the ability to see lower prices due to the Governor’s actions," Rush said.
Labels: Law Suit ReformPosted at 5/01/2007 12:14:00 PM |
Jerry Foshee: "Voice of the People"
District 45 Senate candidate Jerry Foshee calls himself the "voice of the people" on his campaign website. Foshee is expected to make his candidacy official later this month. According to campaign reports, "the voice of the people" isn't necessarily getting the financial support of the people. Foshee raised $5,250 in the first quarter – 5,000 of which came from the FOP PAC – a PAC his law firm represented while he was city councilman. Out of his 14k+ total raised last quarter, $9,000 was a loan to himself. Foshee also says on his site that a "couple very well known political figures and activists will be taking roles in his campaign, individuals from Cleveland and Canadian Counties." Campaign reports also show "political consultant" Ron black is being paid $3,500-$3,900 a month.Posted at 5/01/2007 11:36:00 AM |
CAP Study Shows Public Investment Best Way to Stimulate State Economy
Community Action Project urges using proven fiscal tools over tax cuts to grow Oklahoma’s economy Economic research shows that policymakers who want to grow Oklahoma’s economy should invest more in education, health and infrastructure rather than cut taxes, according to an issue brief released today by Community Action Project (CAP). The issue brief according to CAP, is based on a thorough review of economic research, historical data and comparative studies with other states and nations. The brief considers a broad array of fiscal policy tools available to state policymakers for growing Oklahoma’s economy. It finds that public investment in education, health and infrastructure are the most effective ways to spur economic growth. Such investments stimulate the economy by lowering business costs and raising labor productivity. “This brief clearly demonstrates that we can encourage stable, long-term economic growth in the state by investing in the priorities needed to support Oklahoma’s families, businesses and communities,” said David Blatt, Director of Public Policy for CAP, a Tulsa-area anti-poverty agency. “Investing in public services helps those who run businesses that depend on a skilled workforce and functioning infrastructure. By helping to decrease significant business costs and improve the environment for revenue generation, Oklahoma policymakers can encourage business investment and entrepreneurial growth, significantly impacting Oklahoma’s economic growth rate.” In contrast, the study finds that tax cuts are an extremely inefficient fiscal tool for achieving economic growth. In one study cited by the brief, researchers found that 96% of the revenue given up by a typical tax cut is wasted money, going to firms whose investment decisions were not affected by taxes. “Research has found that public services, especially those dealing with education and infrastructure, are key determinants to business location and investment decisions,” said Jim Alexander, a policy analyst at CAP and the brief’s author. “Likewise, policy that improves the health and the opportunity for greater educational attainment of all Oklahomans creates a more productive, better-skilled workforce that attracts businesses and high- skilled workers.”Posted at 5/01/2007 11:25:00 AM |
Business Leaders Say Governor's Veto of Lawsuit Reform Likely to Harm
National and state business leaders are calling Governor Henry's furtive weekend veto of a comprehensive lawsuit reform measure a killer for Oklahoma's economic climate. "This is a mistake on his (Henry's) part that will have serious consequences for the state's business climate," stated the National Association of Manufacturers on its "ShopFloor.org" blog this weekend. The NAM posted the comments Saturday after Henry vetoed Senate Bill 507, an omnibus lawsuit reform measure that contained nearly all of the provisions the governor himself has repeatedly claimed to favor. Though it's difficult to assign a specific dollar number, economic experts say the veto is likely to have far-reaching harmful implications for Oklahoma. "Certainly states that neglect tort reform will fall behind states that enact lawsuit reform," said Rex Pjesky, Ph.D., an assistant professor of economics at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah. "Lawsuit reform is important because it sends the message that Oklahoma is open for business. The tort reform bill would have helped everyone know that we want them to come to Oklahoma to create jobs, raise their families, and join us in prosperity." The governor claimed in his veto message that, "SB 507 did little to help innocent business owners who rack up costs fighting a frivolous complaint that is ultimately thrown out of court." According to the Pacific Research Institute, a think tank in favor of lawsuit reform, Oklahoma ranks among the 15 worst states overall in terms of a poor lawsuit reform environment. Oklahoma is ranked 38th for problems ranging from lawsuit threats to monetary losses from harmful verdicts. To make matters worse, surrounding states like Colorado, Kansas and Texas have all passed strong lawsuit reform measures and rank among the top 10 states with the best lawsuit reform laws - while Missouri,Arkansas and Louisiana each rank far ahead of Oklahoma in terms of reform efforts. One respected Oklahoma legal scholar who has worked on lawsuit reform efforts agrees that the governor's veto is bad news for the state. In a recent post on the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs' "Under the Dome" blog, Oklahoma City University constitutional scholar and law professor Andrew Spiropoulos noted that, "Our leading lawyers ... ought to prefer the common good to their litigation success. We deserve better, but we won't get it, unless we are willing to demand it from our officials and ourselves."Posted at 5/01/2007 10:58:00 AM |