Senate Media Division
Senator Bryce Marlatt is being honored for his efforts to promote and encourage investment in the state’s oil and gas industry. Marlatt was named “Legislator of the Year” by the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association (OIPA) during the organization’s annual meeting.
Marlatt, R-Woodward, is in his second term after being reelected to his Senate District 27 seat last fall with 84.5 percent of the vote, the largest win in any legislative or congressional race in Oklahoma’s 2012 general election. He’s been Senate Majority Caucus Chair since 2011 and serves in other key positions, including Chairman of the Subcommittee on General Government and Transportation as well as Vice-Chairman of the Senate Energy Committee.
Marlatt is a member of OIPA and works for Power Rig, LLC and is co-owner in Mid-Continent Conductor Services, LLC in Woodward. His family, including wife Tatum and children Kade, Kole, Kloey and Ava Kate, make their home in Woodward.
“Oklahoma has 77 counties, and 72 of them have oil or gas production. Statewide, the energy industry is directly responsible for one in six jobs. It’s certainly a vital part of Western Oklahoma’s economy,” Marlatt said. “I have great respect for the OIPA and for the work they do on behalf of producers and service companies throughout Oklahoma. I’m honored to receive this award, and I look forward to continuing to work beside the OIPA on behalf of the energy industry.”
Founded in 1955, the OIPA is the state’s largest oil and gas advocacy group, representing more than 2,500 members in the crude oil and natural gas exploration and production industry and affiliated businesses.
“Senator Marlatt understands the importance of a vibrant energy sector,” said OIPA Vice President of Governmental Affairs Jeff Wilson. “This award reflects his constant support for Oklahoma’s oil and natural gas industry in the Legislature”
Tina Korbe Dzurisin
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs
It’s with good reason that Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon continues to garner respect and attention from thoughtful people across the country.
Among other accomplishments, Shannon sponsored House Bill 1909, which requires able-bodied individuals, ages 18 to 50, who are not raising a child, to perform at least 20 hours of work activities to receive food stamps.
Gov. Mary Fallin signed the welfare reform bill into law April 30, and the bill takes effect November 1.
The idea of “work requirements” is nothing new. In fact, the stipulations in Shannon’s bill come from the 1996 federal Welfare Reform Act, a law that is still on the books but that the Obama administration selectively enforces.
The passage of House Bill 1909, then, is less a policy innovation than it is true policy reform—the recovery of an important, enduring principle that confounds those modern politicians who can conceive of no higher compassion than that of the handout.
Work matters—not merely for what it accomplishes on its object (the product), but also for what it accomplishes within its subject (the producer).
Materialists—of which there are many types—would have us believe the effects of work are limited to what we can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch.
If that were true, then all the effects of work would be completely transferable. Whether we required welfare recipients to work would be a purely economic question: Do we as a society have the resources to provide food stamps to all those who need or want them? If we do, then we will. If we don’t, then we will require some of those who need or want food stamps—i.e., those who are able-bodied—to work. In fact, though, the effects of work are not limited to what we can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. Work, again, accomplishes something within its subject.
What that “something” is varies from subject to subject, depending on the particular person and the particular type of work. In some, work evinces a healthy pride. In others, hardiness and self-discipline. In still others, joy.
In general, though, the “something” can be summarized as a sense of earned success—and, as American Enterprise Institute president Arthur Brooks never tires of repeating, earned success is strongly correlated with happiness, just as unearned transfers of wealth are correlated with a lack of happiness.
Going on the welfare rolls increases by 16 percent the likelihood of a person saying he or she has felt inconsolably sad over the past month (even after controlling for poverty and unemployment), according to the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, cited by Brooks in a December 2012 Wall Street Journal op-ed.
Similarly, low-income married couples that receive government assistance report lower levels of marital commitment and satisfaction than low-income married couples that do not receive government assistance, according to a 2011 study from the University of Missouri.
(It’s important here to note, though, that married couples in general enjoy better health and happiness overall than the non-married: Married couples report less depression, less anxiety, and lower levels of psychological distress than those who are single, divorced, or widowed, according to the study Social Causes of Psychological Distress.)
In light of these effects, the question of whether we require welfare recipients to work acquires a moral dimension: Should we as a society deprive welfare recipients of the non-material (i.e. spiritual) effects of work?
T.W. Shannon says “no”—and that’s precisely what makes his sponsorship of H.B. 1909 so meaningful. He sponsored the bill because he has compassion for others.
“Unfortunately, some believe compassion is measured by how many people you can keep on a government aid program,” Speaker Shannon has said. “We must change the paradigm.”
Indeed—and not just for the sake of welfare recipients, but for the sake of anyone who begrudges work.
Sadly, a commitment to work is on the decline among young people, according to psychologists Jean Twenge of San Diego State University and Tim Kasser of Knox College.
Twenge and Kasser analyzed data from the Monitoring the Future survey, which has tracked the views of a representative sample of 17- and 18-year-olds since 1976.
Less than two of three millennials who graduated high school from 2005 to 2007 say they see work as a central part of life. Thirty-nine percent of millennials admit that “not wanting to work hard” might prevent them from landing a desired job.
If that’s because they’re willing to sacrifice some material goods to spend more time around the hearth and home, good; family takes primacy over career in “the good life,” as I’ve argued elsewhere. Unfortunately, the research shows that’s not the case: Most millennials still want “the stuff.”
Just 62 percent of Americans under 30 (again, millennials) are working, and, of those, half toil at part-time jobs, according to a February 2013 report from Harvard University.
That statistic indicts millennials just as much as it indicts the economy.
However desperately we try to deny it, work is a requirement of life. When embraced, mysteriously enough, it also becomes a source of the happiness for which millennials—and, indeed, all people—are restlessly seeking.
“Oh, we may get weary and think work is dreary; ’tis harder by far to have nothing to do.”
Tina Korbe Dzurisin is a research associate at OCPA. Formerly, she was a staff writer at The Heritage Foundation and an associate editor at HotAir.com.
- See more at: http://www.ocpathink.org/articles/2316#sthash.MvO7dA11.dpuf
The Oklahoma Legislature could use a few more members like Rep. David DankSince winning election in 2004 to the seat formerly held by his term-limited wife, Dank, R-Oklahoma City, has been more concerned with approving meaningful legislation than he has re-election. In this regard he’s similar to U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, whose efforts to rein in federal spending have at times left him at odds with his own party.
Dank resembles Coburn in one other way: He’ll tell you what’s on his mind. Nuance isn’t his style.
So colleagues shouldn’t have been surprised when Dank gave the recently completed session a grade of “C-minus at best.” He found the session to be “marked as much or more by what we failed to do than by what we actually achieved.”
He was irked by the Legislature’s unwillingness to reform tax credits — something he has tried to accomplish for the past several years. The small, and postdated, cut in the top personal income tax rate is nothing to boast about, in his view, and the workers’ compensation bill signed by the governor became “muddied … so badly that it may be years before we know what it really does.”
Dank also said a change in campaign finance reporting rules will allow for less accountability. “The way the rules are written and enforced,” he said, “is an open invitation to corruption.” Even consolidation of state agencies and commissions, an ongoing conservative cause that was furthered this session, could have been better considering that “state government is such a complicated, duplicated mess.”
In assigning his grade, Dank argued that everyday deliberations at the Capitol “turned not on public policy and what is best for Oklahoma, but on what looked politically popular.” That critique won’t be popular with GOP leaders, but then again, going along to get along isn’t Dank’s style.
Two measures by Rep. Gus Blackwell received ceremonial bill signings Tuesday.
House Bill 1672 directs health benefit plans that provide prescription drug coverage or contracts with a third-party for such services. House Bill 2182 restructures new fees in relation to amounts charged by county clerks for electronic formats.
Known as the “Continuity Care Act of 2013,” HB 1672 must notify an enrollee presently taking a prescription drug of any deletions in the plan’s prescription drug formulary, except generic substitutions. The measure does not apply to a drug that is determined by a therapeutics committee of the health benefit plan that is subject to new safety warnings or safety recalls by the Food and Drug Administration.
“HB 1672 is important to anyone who relies on prescription drugs,” said Blackwell, R-Laverne.
“The measure requires an insurer of a health benefit plan that covers prescription drugs and uses one or more drug formularies to provide information to the enrollee. Also, a health benefit plan issuer is required to offer each enrollee prescription drug coverage at their contracted benefit level until the plan renewal period, regardless if a drug has been dropped from the benefit plan’s drug formulary. This bill will keep Oklahomans informed on their prescription drug benefits and help them make proper decisions on their coverage.”
House Bill 2182 provides a ceiling on the fee amounts that may be charged by county clerks for providing records in electronic formats. The measure provides consistency on the fees as charged by counties.
“In light of all the fee increases you typically see, this is actually a bill that decreases fees,” Blackwell said. “So if a court clerk can, right now, can charge a dollar for an electronic copy of a record, we reduced that to 25 cents. And if the person got more than 3,500 records, the fee drops to 15 cents. It also mandated if they were charging less than that presently, that it stayed at the price they were charging on Jan. 1 of this year.
“No one had a fee go up, many saw a fee go down and it helped the court clerks to normalize the price, help business and allow country government to continue. I’ve worked two years on this bill and it’s been very difficult combining the desires of private business with government and making sure people had access to information.”
HB 2182 goes into effect immediately. HB 1672 becomes law on Nov. 1.
Rep. James Lockhart, D-Heavener
I must come clean. Up until a few days ago I had never dealt with the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) directly. I had heard mention of this thing or that thing they did through members of my church. I had never dealt directly with the BGCO, so I did not know what to expect.
That was before the flood.
When the Haw Creek and Hontubby communities in southern LeFlore County flooded recently, BGCO disaster relief teams were the first on the scene.
The BGCO disaster relief teams set up shop in the old rock school building at Haw Creek. They cooked breakfast, lunch, and dinner for anyone that would come eat it. They brought experts that led the teams of volunteers to assist with cleaning the mud from the flooded houses.
The leadership style of the BGCO teams was simple: if a BGCO worker had a blue ball cap, he was a boss. Billy the Blue Hat was what we called my team leader. Simple, direct, extremely effective leadership, Billy has about 70 rent houses in his home town. He was the go-to guy when it came to cleaning the flooded houses and knowing exactly how to go about it.
Roughly, 25 houses were flooded in Haw Creek. The BGCO volunteers cut out the damaged drywall and insulation, power washed the debris and mud out of the houses, loaded the debris and assisted with hauling it off. The BGCO teams then sprayed the houses with anti-fungal, anti-mold pesticide to prevent the dangerous molds and fungus that grow inside the walls after a flood, and they did all of this work at no cost to the homeowners.
One of the BGCO volunteers was from Moore. I was shocked that he would leave his hometown that had been devastated by tornadoes to come help a small, rural community in far southeastern Oklahoma with a flood. Another BGCO volunteer was retired from HUD. He was very familiar with floods after his hometown of Miami, Oklahoma, had flooded years ago. He shared stories of how they had dealt with the affected homes. I valued his insight and the concern he showed for those who lives had been impacted.
I was thoroughly impressed with the BGCO teams. They were effective and knowledgeable. Best of all there wasn’t massive amounts of paperwork or other red tape often associated with large organizations. The BGCO volunteers were especially compassionate towards the families that were displaced by the flood.
The BGCO volunteers didn’t ask for recognition or wages, they didn’t force their particular brand of religion or politics on anyone. In fact, in the days that I worked side by side with them, not one of them ever asked which political party I belonged to.
I have always been a member of a Baptist church. Basically, I believe our job as Christians is to bring more people to know Jesus Christ. These BGCO volunteers were a shining example to what Jesus taught, “do unto others as you would have done to you.” The actions of the BGCO disaster relief teams spoke louder than words. I was glad to have been given the opportunity to see the good works the BGCO does.
To help the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma contact them at:
3800 N. May Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK 73112
(405) 942-3000 / (405) 942-3800
Four measures authored by House Speaker T.W. Shannon will receive ceremonial bill signings by Governor Fallin on Tuesday.
The measures – House bills 1910, 1912, 1919 and 2195 will be signed by the Governor at the ceremony, which is set to take place at 9 a.m. in the Blue Room on the second floor of the Capitol.
A summary of the four bills is below:
n House Bill 1910: Calls for an eight-year plan to prioritize asset repairs and maintenance to which liquidated property funds will be directed.
n House Bill 1912: Allows a victim to file for a protective order without filing a previous criminal or legal complaint against an alleged defendant. The court can also consider the safety of a victim before setting a bond for an alleged violation of a protective order.
n House Bill 1919: Allows for Oklahomans to deduct funds used to care for foster children. Under the proposed legislation, a single person could deduct up to $2,500 in donations a year and married persons filing jointly up to $5,000.
n House Bill 2195: Caps bonded indebtedness by limiting debt service payments as a percentage of the General Revenue Fund. The measure places the payment cap at five percent of the GRF. By doing so, this would limit the ability to increase state debt when interest rates are high.
The McCarville Report
State Treasurer Ken Miller, a college professor in his night job, came up with a new “composite” grading system for the Oklahoma Legislature. The statewide elected officials give themselves high marks, but others have different standards.
Miller’s monthly newsletter published a report card from those who gave a letter grade, and now others are chiming in, too.
Governor Fallin gave the Legislature an A. So did Senate Pro-tem Brian Bingman and Speaker T.W. Shannon, but not Rep. David Dank, who gave the session a C-minus, or Rep. Jeff Hickman who just said it was a “frustrating” session.
But the grade that Miller didn’t publish came from the state’s two leading newspapers, and a few other political factions at the Capitol.
Perhaps the grading of the Legislature is more a reflection of the squabbles ahead.
Grief from the Tulsa World was not surprising toward the Republicans in charge at the Capitol. The Oklahoman’s displeasure seems out of character for a newspaper that has for decades pushed the kind of substantial workers compensation reform which passed this year, and has long supported income tax reductions.
Shannon delivered 74 votes for workers compensation reform.
The session got testy in the final weeks until the tornadoes brought about a hasty end as the leaders scrambled to respond to the devastation.
Fallin unveiled in the final days a plan to provide $50 million in insurance coverage to 9,000 Oklahomans. She had Bingman’s support in the Senate, but the speaker shot down the proposal.
Shannon also took aim at “common core” standards for education, but Bingman wasn’t ready to back away from the controversial program. There’s been a growing uprising among conservative activists nationally in opposition to “common core” standards previously enacted by the Oklahoma Legislature and other states.
Shannon has allies in Oklahoma’s political circles on the issue. Senators Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe were among eight senators nationally to express opposition to the policy they fear will give federal education officials more control over schools.
Revisiting three controversial issues could dominate next year’s session and make for eventful election-year drama.
Common core funding for education and health insurance threaten to divide the GOP, and pension reform could rile up thousands of state employees already angry about the lack of pay raises while Fallin has been governor.