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The McCarville Report
Category archives for: General

Access Midstream Donates 1,800 Weather Radios To Public Schools

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Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi and the State Board of Education will thank Oklahoma City-based Access Midstream today for donating weather radios to every K-12 public school in Oklahoma.

The company last week started mailing the NOAA weather radios, complete with batteries, to schools statewide. By the time they are all distributed, Access Midstream will have sent nearly 1,800 packages.

“We know that our educators do more than teach,” said Access CEO Mike Stice. “They shelter, protect and give selflessly. We are happy to give these schools an additional tool to keep their students safe.”

Superintendent Barresi thanked Access not only for using its resources to buy the radios, but for taking the time to send one to every school.

“It’s inspiring for all of us whenever we hear about Oklahoma businesses making an extra effort to show support for our schools. Thank you to the employees of Access Midstream for this generous donation and for showing you support every one of our schools,” she said.


As Coburn Exits, The Plaudits Flow

Tom Coburn

Senator Tom Coburn said goodbye to the Senate and Washington on Tuesday and by Wednesday, he was back home in Muskogee, an ordinary citizen once again. Coburn’s last day in the Senate was remarkable: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/dec/17/tom-coburn-rankles-harry-reid-in-farewell-senate-d/


Murphey: When Faith Meets Politics

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Rep. Jason Murphey

Shortly after the conclusion of the 2012 legislative session, I wrote an article based in part on my observations of the last stressful days of that session.

In that article I explained how I have enjoyed the opportunity to see the governance process up close and from a legislator’s vantage point. I like to carefully observe and think about how processes work – and could work better – and I try to learn from the actions of the personalities involved in setting the policies that affect so many.

This includes taking note of how legislators operate under all conditions, especially the stressful conditions of the fast-paced legislative environment. I see where rhetoric meets up with reality.

Here is my observation which I shared in that 2012 article. There are plenty of legislators who wear faith on their sleeve. They use God in their campaign materials, participate and even organize public prayer events, and speak at the various church and faith-based groups which attend events at the capitol.

When I see a lawmaker publicly proclaiming their faith, I have learned to not take the proclamation at face value but to instead wait and observe that person’s actions.

Some of those same lawmakers also lose their temper when things don’t go their way; defend the dishonest legislative process status quo that allows legislators to hide their true position from their constituents; vote based on personality conflicts instead of on principle; and, retaliate against those who have slighted them. They may not hesitate to stick a finger in your face and tell you what they think when you fail to do what they want.

In short, their actions do not match their words. These politicians ignore two of the very foremost tenets of the Christian faith. They fall into the temptation to act deceitfully and fail to treat others as they would like to be treated.

This leads me to question whether these politicians really believe, or if perhaps some of them are playing politics with God’s name. I would suggest the latter to be a dangerous practice.

Before a politician campaigns on the platform of faith he must be prepared to consistently apply and follow the principles of faith in his own life.

Much like a preacher must straighten out his life before he starts preaching, a politician should do the same prior to entering the political arena on a faith-based platform. He must remain honest – not an easy task in the political environment – and treat others courteously even under the most difficult of circumstances. When a politician aggressively promotes his faith and subsequently acts in a way not consistent with its most important principles, he risks doing far more harm than good.

There is a tremendous calling for Christians to serve in government. Much of our founding values and our legal code were built on Judeo-Christian principles. These are the principles that have made our nation great and they are under attack like never before. I have observed instances where elected officials actually defend these principles and live their faith at the same time. But I have also noted they aren’t necessarily always the ones who push to the front of the line to declare that faith.

I have tremendous respect for those elected officials who proclaim their faith not through their words but through their actions: not an easy task in politics. They show the best way to demonstrate the importance of Christianity is to simply practice its principles no matter how stressful the environment, and people will notice.


Pruitt Anti-Fraud Unit Prevents $16.8 Million In Fraudulent SS Payments

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Attorney General’s Office

Attorney General Scott Pruitt announced the Workers’ Compensation, Social Security and Insurance Fraud Unit of the AG’s prevented more than $16.8 million in fraudulent federal social security benefits payments during the 2014 federal fiscal year.

The unit conducted 223 investigations this year. Out of those, 126 cases resulted in Social Security fraud charges saving more than $10 million in Social Security funds from being wrongfully disbursed along with more than $6 million in other federal assistance.

“Keeping a careful watch over taxpayer dollars is important for many reasons. First, it ensures taxpayer dollars are not wasted and are available for use on other core functions of government like public safety, education and transportation. Equally as important, though, is that preventing fraudulent benefits payments ensure resources are there to help those with legitimate claims,” Attorney General Scott Pruitt said. “Our office will continue to aggressively investigate and hold accountable those who would seek to defraud the Social Security program for their personal gain.

The Workers’ Compensation, Social Security and Insurance Fraud Unit is led by Assistant Attorney General George Burnett and investigates and prosecutes fraud on the part of claimants, doctors, attorneys and insurance companies. The unit also provides education and training about workers’ compensation fraud. To report workers’ compensation, social security or insurance fraud contact the Attorney General’s Office at (405) 521-3921 or visit the AG’s website at www.ok.gov/oag.


Cole Takes Issue With Obama Over Cuba

Congressman Tom Cole.  a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, issued the following statement after President Barack Obama announced steps to “normalize relations” between the United States and Cuba. This policy change comes after Alan Gross, an American contractor who was held captive in Cuba for five years, was released today. In light of this prisoner exchange, the Administration announced that steps ahead will include efforts to re-establish diplomatic relations and open commerce by lifting sanctions.

“I am very disappointed that the president believes he can reason with a nation ruled by a corrupt dictator,” said Cole. “Time doesn’t change the past or the intentions of the Castro regime, which is set in its Communist ways and now further emboldened to continue mistreating its own people. Unless and until that nation shows promise of embracing democratic ideals and Communism is overthrown, it is dangerous and foolish to place trust in a country that has been designated by the State Department as a sponsor of terrorist.

“Certainly, we always celebrate the safe return of one of our own. Especially before the holidays, I can only imagine the relief felt by the family of Alan Gross, who was held captive in Cuba for five years. Unfortunately, the president has once again negotiated with known enemies of America and set a dangerous precedent in the process.”


Bingman Announces Senate Committee Assignments

Senator Bingman’s Office

Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman today announced committee assignments for Republican members.

“Oklahomans have given Republicans a historic majority in the state Senate,” said Bingman, R-Sapulpa. “With 40 Senators, there is a considerable diversity of leadership and talent in the Republican caucus. I am proud to work with such a fine group of public servants as we advance an agenda to further our economic momentum.”

The State Senate’s committee Chairs, Vice Chairs and membership for the 2014-15 legislative session are:

Agriculture and Rural Development:

Eddie Fields, R-Wynona, Chair

Mark Allen, R-Spiro, Vice Chair

Joseph Silk, R-Broken Bow

Don Barrington, R-Lawton

Larry Boggs, R-Red Oak

Frank Simpson, R-Springer

Anthony Sykes, R-Moore

Ron Justice, R-Chickasha

 

Appropriations:

Clark Jolley, R-Edmond, Chair

Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, Vice Chair

All members of the Senate, both Republican and Democrat, are members of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

 

Business and Commerce:

Dan Newberry, R-Tulsa, Chair

Stephanie Bice, R-Oklahoma City, Vice Chair

Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow

Jim Halligan, R-Stillwater

Joseph Silk, R-Broken Bow

Ron Sharp, R-Shawnee

Ervin Yen, R-Oklahoma City

Roger Thompson, R-Okemah

 

Education:

John Ford, R-Bartlesville, Chair

Ron Sharp, R-Shawnee, Vice Chair

Josh Brecheen, R-Coalgate

Marty Quinn, R-Claremore

Jim Halligan, R-Stillwater

Jason Smalley, R-Stroud

Clark Jolley, R-Edmond

Wayne Shaw, R-Grove

Gary Stanislawski, R-Tulsa

Roger Thompson, R-Okemah

 

Energy:

Bryce Marlatt, R-Woodward, Chair

A.J. Griffin, R-Guthrie, Vice Chair

Brian Crain, R-Tulsa

Rick Brinkley, R-Owasso

Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City

Rob Standridge, R-Norman

Ron Justice, R-Chickasha

Clark Jolley, R-Edmond

Eddie Fields, R-Wynona

Kyle Loveless, R-Oklahoma City

Mark Allen, R-Spiro

Ralph Shortey, R-Oklahoma City

 

Finance:

Mike Mazzei, R-Tulsa, Chair

Rick Brinkley, R-Owasso, Vice Chair

John Ford, R-Bartlesville

Jim Halligan, R-Stillwater

Clark Jolley, R-Edmond

Kim David, R-Porter

Frank Simpson, R-Springer

Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow

Darcy Jech, R-Kingfisher

Ervin Yen, Oklahoma City

Marty Quinn, R-Claremore

 

General Government:

Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, Chair

Jack Fry, R-Midwest City, Vice Chair

Stephanie Bice, R-Oklahoma City

David Holt, R-Oklahoma City

Bryce Marlatt, R-Woodward

Ralph Shortey, R-Oklahoma City

Corey Brooks, R-Washington

 

Health and Human Services:

Rob Standridge, R-Norman, Chair

Ervin Yen, R-Oklahoma City, Vice Chair

Kim David, R-Porter

Brian Crain, R-Tulsa

Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City

A.J. Griffin, R-Guthrie

Kyle Loveless, R-Oklahoma City

 

Insurance:

Bill Brown, R-Broken Arrow, Chair

John Sparks, D-Norman, Vice Chair

Mike Mazzei, R-Tulsa

Darcy Jech, R-Kingfisher

Gary Stanislawski, R-Tulsa

Marty Quinn, R-Claremore

 

Judiciary:

Anthony Sykes, R-Moore, Chair

Brian Crain, R-Tulsa, Vice Chair

Corey Brooks, R-Washington

A.J. Griffin, R-Guthrie

David Holt, R-Oklahoma City

Rob Standridge, R-Norman

Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City

Roger Thompson, R-Okemah

 

Public Safety:

Don Barrington, R-Lawton, Chair

Corey Brooks, R-Washington, Vice Chair

Josh Brecheen, R-Coalgate

John Ford, R-Bartlesville

Kim David, R-Porter

Wayne Shaw, R-Grove

David Holt, R-Oklahoma City

 

Pensions:

Rick Brinkley, R-Owasso, Chair

Darcy Jech, R-Kingfisher, Vice Chair

Bill Brown, R-Broken Arrow

Mike Mazzei, R-Tulsa

Patrick Anderson, R-Enid

Dan Newberry, R-Tulsa

 

Rules:

Ron Justice, R-Chickasha, Chair

Eddie Fields, R-Wynona, Vice Chair

Rick Brinkley, R-Owasso

Clark Jolley, R-Edmond

Bryce Marlatt, R-Woodward

Frank Simpson, R-Stringer

Rob Standridge, R-Norman

Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City

Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow

Kim David, R-Porter

A.J. Griffin, R-Guthrie

 

Tourism and Wildlife:

Josh Brecheen, R-Coalgate, Chair

Larry Boggs, R-Red Oak, Vice Chair

Bill Brown, R-Broken Arrow

Eddie Fields, R-Wynona

Patrick Anderson, R-Enid

Wayne Shaw, R-Grove

Ron Justice, R-Chickasha

Ron Sharp, R-Shawnee

 

Transportation:

Gary Stanislawski, R-Tulsa, Chair

Joseph Silk, R-Broken Bow, Vice Chair

Mark Allen, R-Spiro

Don Barrington, R-Lawton

Stephanie Bice, R-Oklahoma City

Jack Fry, R-Midwest City

Kyle Loveless, R-Oklahoma City

Bryce Marlatt, R-Woodward

Dan Newberry, R-Tulsa

Jason Smalley, R-Stroud

Ralph Shortery, R-Oklahoma City

 

Veterans and Military Affairs:

Frank Simpson, R-Springer, Chair

Patrick Anderson, R-Enid, Vice Chair

Anthony Sykes, R-Moore

Jason Smalley, R-Stroud

Larry Boggs, R-Red Oak

Jack Fry, R-Midwest City

 

Appropriations Subcommittee on Education:

Jim Halligan, R-Stillwater, Chair

Jason Smalley, R-Stroud, Vice Chair

John Ford, R-Bartlesville

Gary Stanislawski, R-Tulsa

Ron Sharp, R-Shawnee

Joseph Silk, R-Broken Bow

 

Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government and Transportation:

Kyle Loveless, R-Oklahoma City, Chair

Roger Thompson, R-Okemah, Vice Chair

Mark Allen, R-Spiro

Rick Brinkley, R-Owasso

Larry Boggs, R-Red Oak

Bryce Marlatt, R-Woodward

Jack Fry, R-Midwest City

 

Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services:

Kim David, R-Porter, Chair

A.J. Griffin, R-Guthrie, Vice Chair

Frank Simpson, R-Springer

Rob Standridge, R-Norman

Ervin Yen, R-Oklahoma City

Brian Crain, R-Tulsa

 

Appropriations Subcommittee on Natural Resources:

Ron Justice, R-Chickasha, Chair

Marty Quinn, R-Claremore, Vice Chair

Eddie Fields, R-Wynona

Patrick Anderson, R-Enid

Darcy Jech, R-Kingfisher

Mike Mazzei, R-Tulsa

 

Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety and Judiciary:

Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, Chair

Ralph Shortey, R-Oklahoma City, Vice Chair

Don Barrington, R-Lawton

Anthony Sykes, R-Moore

Corey Brooks, R-Washington

Josh Brecheen, R-Coalgate

Bill Brown, R-Broken Arrow

 

Appropriations Subcommittee on Select Agencies:

David Holt, R-Oklahoma City, Chair

Wayne Shaw, R-Grove, Vice Chair

Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow

Stephanie Bice, R-Oklahoma City

Dan Newberry, R-Tulsa


The Side Of Inhofe Many Don’t Know

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There’s a side to Senator Jim Inhofe that many don’t know: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/12/16/which-u-s-senator-revealed-he-has-traveled-to-africa-more-than-100-times-to-pray-with-those-in-need/


Pruitt, Small: EPA’s Clean Power Plan Is Wrong For States

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Scott Pruitt and Jonathan Small
Writing in The Hill

Imagine a rule that raises the cost of electricity, hurts the most poor among us, cuts domestic jobs and results in a dramatic re-shaping of the American electricity system. Now imagine that this rule was never voted on by Congress.

This is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan, a rule that undercuts the states’ abilities to manage their own power grid and will raise the cost of energy dramatically.

Those hurt most by the Clean Power Plan will be the most vulnerable among us-the poor, the single mothers, the elderly and minorities. Households earning less than $10,000 per year spend an astounding 60-80 percent of income on energy costs, and those earning between $10,000 and $30,000 per year spend greater than 20 percent of their income on energy. It is no surprise that the inability to pay utility bills is a leading cause of homelessness in U.S.The EPA’s proposed rule could increase the typical household’s annual electricity and natural gas bills by $680, or 35 percent, by 2020, escalating each year thereafter as EPA regulations grow more stringent, according to a study by Energy Venture Analysis.

While cost of energy will certainly be impacted, the reliability of our states’ power grid is also threatened. When federal regulators mandate that states use more renewable energy sources, nuclear or hydro-electric power than -fossil-fuel fired power the state’s infrastructure may not be prepared for the fuel switch.

The Southwest Power Pool, a regional transmission organization that serves an eight-state region that includes Oklahoma, has warned that the rule “introduce[es] the very real possibility of rolling blackouts or cascading outages that will have significant impacts on human health, public safety and economic activity within the region.”

Oklahoma and other states have managed their retail electricity markets in such a way that has provided affordable, reliable energy to their citizens for nearly a century. States’ individual departments of environmental quality have protected the well-being of their state’s air quality and the health of their citizens. It is an insult that this administration assumes that the EPA knows better than state regulators close to home.

In the words of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Commissioner Tony Clark, “[States] will have entered a comprehensive ‘mother may I?’ relationship with the EPA that has never before existed.”

The Obama administration implemented this plan because they believe that climate change is an issue.  However, it is not certain that this rule will make a demonstrable impact on greenhouse gas emissions.  One projection estimates that by 2050, the proposed guidelines would reduce sea level rise by only 1/100th of an inch (the thickness of three sheets of paper) and reduce the average global temperature increase by less than 2/100th of a degree. EPA justifies the proposal by counting reductions (“co-benefits”) in emissions of other pollutants already regulated by EPA.

Not only do states not need the ineffective hand of the federal government determining what fuel sources it uses, but the EPA does not have legal authority granted under the Clean Air Act. States should be left to make decisions on the fuel diversity that best meets their electric generation needs. The EPA’s proposal overrides state authority by forcing states to prioritize non-fossil-fuel generation over fossil-fueled generation. This is a direct violation of states’ traditional role in making their individual energy policies.

EPA is attempting to make fundamental and irreversible changes that will jeopardize our power grid while offloading responsibility to the states that have to answer to their citizens. Oklahoma will always challenge the EPA, or any other federal agency, when it exceeds the statutory authority it is granted.

The Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office along with attorneys general in 16 other states and state think tanks like the Oklahoma Council for Public Affairs and legislators in 17 other states have voiced concerns over the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan. This proposed rule should be withdrawn, or at least stayed, until the courts have a chance to weigh in on legal challenges against these regulations.

Pruitt is the attorney general of Oklahoma. Small is the executive vice president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs.


High Court Sides With Fallin; She Can Keep Secrets

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled today that Governor Fallin can keep secret some information related to executive discussions: http://newsok.com/article/5376509


Oklahoma Policy Institute’s David Blatt: ‘Our democracy is broken’

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Oklahoma Policy Institute

Oklahoma’s most recent elections saw the lowest voter turnout in over 50 years. Less than one-third of Oklahoma’s voting age citizens participated in an election that chose the state’s governor, the entire Congressional delegation, and numerous other offices. In nearly two-thirds of state House races, the winning candidate took office without any opposition in the general election.

“It’s hard to escape the conclusion that our democracy is broken,” said David Blatt, Executive Director of Oklahoma Policy Institute. A new report from OK Policy  examines what’s behind these disturbing trends and what Oklahoma can do to reverse them.

“As recently as 2006, Oklahomans voted at or above the national average,” said Blatt, who authored the report. “If Oklahoma passed reforms to make it easier, more of us would vote, and more regular people would have a say in the future of our state.”

In surveys, the top reasons given by the registered voters who don’t make it to the polls is that they were too busy, or that an illness or disability stopped them from voting

The report identifies a range of possible reforms to improve democratic participation in Oklahoma, which include:

  • Voter Information Pamphlets - In at least 16 states, state law require that election officials publish and distribute a voter information pamphlet. that helps voters be more informed about the issues and candidates they are voting on.
  • Online Voter Registration - Online registration, already in place in 13 states,  saves money, increases the accuracy of voter lists, is easier for voters, and reduces the chances of Election Day mix-ups.
  • Extend mail-in voting – Mail-in elections, in place in three states, are less expensive and administratively simpler to operate, and eliminate a host of problems associated with voters not being able to get to the polls or not knowing where to vote. Alternately, seven states currently allow voters to opt for “permanent absentee status,” which means that they will automatically be mailed an absentee ballot for each election.
  • Ballot Access Reform – Oklahoma has the nation’s most restrictive ballot access laws. Lowering the threshold for political parties and independent Presidential candidates to get on the ballot, as well as reducing the signature threshold for initiative petitions, would give Oklahoma a fuller range of choices.
  • Open Primaries - In Oklahoma, all primary elections are restricted to registered party voters, which leaves the growing number of political independents with no voice in selecting which candidate will appear on the general election ballot. A majority of states operate some form of open primary system.
  • Instant Run-off Primaries – Oklahoma’s current primary run-off system consistently has been shown to depress voter turnout. An alternative is the instant run-off, or preferential ballot, which allows voters to more fully express their electoral preferences and encourages candidates to engage a broader range of voters.

“We can debate the best solutions, but we can’t deny that the current system is falling short,” Blatt said. “Hopefully  this research will motivate more state leaders to take the problem seriously and make reforms that help more Oklahomans to be informed and engaged citizens.”

You can download the full report at okpolicy.org/brokendemocracy.

You can watch an animated video summarizing the report at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzja2wjBExU.


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