Oklahoma Politics

Texting Ban
2:01 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Okla. House Kills Texting and Driving Ban Again

Credit Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

The Oklahoma House for the third time this session has derailed a proposal to ban texting while driving.  

The latest text ban attempt came in the form of an amendment by State Rep. Curtis McDaniel (D-Smithville) on a bill dealing with reckless driving penalties.

The amendment was tabled Tuesday with a 49-37 vote.  

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State Capitol
7:53 am
Fri April 19, 2013

Medicaid, Apologies, and Workers' Comp at the State Capitol This Week

Credit Provided

House Democrats started off the week by gathering members of their caucus and supporters of an expansion to the Medicaid insurance program. House Minority Leader Scott Inman (D-Del City) says Oklahomans have sent approximately $27 billion in taxpayer dollars to the federal government.

“We come together as a community of Oklahoma citizens today and call upon our governor and our legislative leaders to just bring some of those $27 billion back to Oklahoma to take care of those people who desperately need healthcare.”

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State Capitol
7:17 am
Fri April 12, 2013

Workers' Comp Bill Described as "Trojan Horse," "Lipstick on a Pig"

House Chamber - Oklahoma State Capitol
Credit Provided

The House Judiciary Committee this week approved workers' compensation legislation by Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman (R-Sapulpa), but didn’t get in any hurry about it.

The novel-length bill that would move the decision on how to compensate injured workers from a court-based system to an administrative one is another step closer to being law. The hearing on the bill was delayed by two weeks while the House made changes to fix some problems in the plan.

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8:10 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Oklahoma’s Crime-Funded Court System

Lead in text: 
Oklahoma doesn’t like to raise taxes, and in 1992 voters passed a state question that required massive legislative majorities to do so.
Rising costs in the justice system still have to be paid for, somehow. It’s the users of the court system, and more specifically the losers, who pay most of those fees, and many question the wisdom of that trend.
8:58 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Oklahoma House Member Says It's Not State's Job to Educate

Lead in text: 
While he says he supports the Oklahoma constitutional requirement of free public education for grades K-12, state Rep. Mike Reynolds doesn't extend his backing to higher education.
Oklahoma state Rep. Mike Reynolds (R-Oklahoma City) told fellow lawmakers last week that they have no responsibility to ensure students have access to a college education. The state's legislature has been debating a bill that would expand Oklahoma's Promise, a program that provides post-secondary education scholarships to qualified low-income students.
5:20 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Bubbles of Blue and Red Show Legislative Makeup

Lead in text: 
This is mainly fun, but Oklahoma Watch has turned members of the state Legislature into data bubbles. Look and see while the circles zip into their order.
Use the interactive graphic below to learn more about the composition of the Legislature. Each bubble represents a Senate or House member, and the bubbles are colored according to party affiliation: red for Republican, blue for Democrat. The larger the bubble, the longer the legislator has served in office.
State Capitol
5:03 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Tax Cut Tussle: House Speaker Says Reduction Can't Wait

Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon
Credit Oklahoma House

A new plan to reduce Oklahoma's top personal income tax rate has emerged in the Senate with a delay until 2015, but that change is not supported by House Speaker T.W. Shannon.

“I think that’s a fundamental step in the wrong direction,” Shannon said. “We need to provide tax relief now and not delay it another year.”

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11:00 am
Thu April 4, 2013

Tax Break for Big Corporations Could Mean Even Less Money for Oklahoma Schools

Lead in text: 
State Question 766 passed in November 2012, and eliminated the tax on intangible property: business licenses, trade secrets, company logos, things with value beyond their physical traits. Five months later, a new estimate predicts the impact could be double that, and administrators are wondering what it means for their districts.
  • Source: Npr
  • | Via: StateImpact Oklahoma
State Question 766 passed in November 2012, and eliminated the tax on intangible property: business licenses, trade secrets, company logos, things with value beyond their physical traits. Before the election, the state Tax Commission estimated 766 would mean revenue losses of around $30 million for Oklahoma public schools.
6:46 am
Wed April 3, 2013

Tea Party Leader Makes Infidelity Claims Against Senator

Lead in text: 
The fate of a bill that would stop communities from putting parts of a voluntary United Nations sustainability program called Agenda 21 into place may not make it out of a state Senate committee. Oklahoma Tea Party leader Al Gerhart is under investigation for an email he sent to Sen. Cliff Branan promising trouble if the bill failed in the senator's committee.
In a March 26 email, Sooner Tea Party founder Al Gerhart wrote about House Bill 1412, which would prohibit Oklahoma communities from having anything to do with the United Nations Agenda 21 plan. In the email, Gerhart threatened Sen.
Animal Rights
3:49 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

Gov. Fallin Restores Horse Slaughter in Oklahoma

Horses gather around another horse after its death.
Credit Dave Hoefler / Flickr (Creative Commons)

While eliminating a ban on horse processing plants in Oklahoma wasn’t on the top of the policy agenda for Gov. Mary Fallin, late Friday she signed a bill that overturns a five decade long ban on the practice.

How you view the horse and its role in American life, likely also determines where you are in the debate over allowing the processing of horsemeat in Oklahoma.

If “companion animal,” or “pet,” comes first to mind, you’re probably against the slaughter of horses. And according to a recent SoonerPoll.com public opinion survey, you also agree with the majority of Oklahomans.

But if you think of horses as “work animals,” or “tools” to help on the ranch or farm, you are probably in favor of House Bill 1999. The Senate approved the bill 32-14 this week.

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