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The McCarville Report
Category archives for: Legislature

Phil Watson Dead At 81

Former Senator and DHS Director Phil Watson, the first Republican elected to the Senate in District 41 in 1972, has died. He was 81: http://www.edmondsun.com/obituaries/thomas-philip-watson/article_1b36081e-c122-11e4-aeb1-9bc352e30172.html


OCPA Urges SB609 Support

The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs is urging support for Senate Bill 609, the “Education Savings Account” measure.

bondsOCPA’s Dave Bond, who heads its Impact arm, writes to supporters that action is needed:

“Senate Bill 609, by state Sen. Clark Jolley, is set to be heard as early as the week of March 2 by the full Oklahoma Senate.

“SB 609 allows parents of Oklahoma schoolchildren to use Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) to place their children in educational environments most suitable for their children — including environments outside the traditional public system.

“Many parents are currently trapped in a school district that may not match the unique needs of their child. Parents know best what their children need, and ESAs would expand parental options while also increasing per-pupil funding for students in public schools — all at no additional cost to taxpayers.

“Your senator is hearing from opponents of SB 609. Time is of the essence and they need to hear from you today that they should support it.”


Dacia Harris Video: Capitol Recap

Dacia Harris of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs now offers a brief weekend recap of Capitol action; here’s her report from early February:


Coates On Probation In Texas

Former Senator Harry Coates continues to pay the price for a Texas DUI arrest: http://newsok.com/former-oklahoma-state-senator-is-on-texas-probation-for-dwi/article/5397258


Tulsa Chamber’s McNeil Criticizes Legislature

mcneilThe Tulsa Regional Chamber of Commerce has unleashed its Republican face and former state lawmaker Skye McNeil, now the Chamber’s spokesman, to criticize the Republican-led Legislature.

McNiel says Oklahoma is getting a black eye due to controversial measures such as efforts to ban AP History and to target gays and lesbians.

However, the Tulsa business chamber’s staff is loaded with known Democrats who frequently promote controversial diversity programs that have been at times under fire from the state’s GOP congressional delegation.

Tulsa Chamber President Mike Neal was criticized last year by the state’s delegation after he held a fundraiser for Democrat U.S. Senate candidate Mary Landrieu while Republicans were seeking to win the U.S.
Senate.

Some state lawmakers often scoff when the Tulsa Chamber staff has promoted Democrat initiatives such as the expansion of Medicaid.

The article in the Tulsa World details McNiel’s complaints:
http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/capitol_report/controversial-bills-giving-oklahoma-a-black-eye-tulsa-regional-chamber/article_cb1d19c5-0388-5cc1-8f95-a2b21ad73fe2.html


Senate Approves Budget Reform Bill

The full Senate has given its approval to a bill that will reform the budgeting process to align resources with state priorities and measurable outcomes. Senator Ron Sharp, R-Shawnee, and Rep. Dennis Casey, R-Morrison, are the principal Senate and House authors of Senate Bill 189, the Performance Informed Budget and Transparency Act of 2015, which was approved on Wednesday.

“We appropriated funds in 2012 for software to lay the groundwork for this new process,” said Sharp, R-Shawnee.   “Senate Bill 189 will implement the new system with the goal of ensuring dollars are appropriated based on priorities and programs that have resulted in positive outcomes for Oklahoma.”

Governor Fallin and her cabinet have worked with the Office of Management and Enterprise Services the last few years on creating the Performance Informed Budgeting system. Part of that process included creation of the website OKStateStat.ok.gov, which features 160 key, measurable objectives for state government. Once fully implemented, Oklahoma will become the first state in the nation to develop a comprehensive budgeting system that ties spending to measurable goals and outcomes.

“The current challenges we are facing simply underscore the need for meaningful reform in the budget process.  From the initial certification by the State Board of Equalization in December to the final certification this month, we saw the shortfall more than double to some $611 million,” Sharp said.  “This is a tool to better assist us as we strive to make state agencies as efficient as possible, and make sure all of the programs and services we fund really do merit continued support,” Sharp said.

SB 189 now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.


Senate Rules Committee Passes Three Holt Election Measures

The Senate Rules Committee has advanced three of the proposals introduced by Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City, to modernize Oklahoma’s election system and increase rapidly declining voter participation.

“The three proposals approved in committee represent a great start to this important effort,” Holt said.  “I want to thank Rules Chairman Ron Justice for hearing these three bills, and the members of the committee for advancing them.  The bills address significant contributing factors to our current low voter participation.   Consolidating local elections will help turnout by minimizing voter fatigue.  Allowing online registration will have great appeal to millennials, and probably voters of all ages.  Allowing a voter to apply for permanent absentee status cuts out an unnecessary procedure.”

In 1992, over 70 percent of eligible Oklahomans participated in the presidential election, but by 2012, that percentage had plunged to only 52 percent, third-worst in the nation.  In 2014, less than 30 percent of eligible voters participated in the statewide general election. A third of eligible Oklahomans are not even registered. There were fewer registered voters in 2014 than there were in 1988, even though the state’s population has grown 22 percent.

The three pieces of legislation advancing to the Senate floor are:

Senate Bill 312 (passed 11-0) – This consolidates all local candidate elections to one cycle in the spring or one cycle in the fall.  Currently, for example, in Oklahoma City this year, school board and career tech board elections were held in February, but city council elections will be held in March.

Senate Bill 313 (passed 11-0) – This allows eligible citizens with a driver’s license to securely register to vote online. Over half the states offer this modern accommodation. Over a third of eligible Oklahoma voters are not registered to vote. Younger voters especially are not used to a world where such tasks cannot be accomplished online. This legislation is co-authored by Minority Leader Randy Bass, who led an interim study on the issue last year.

Senate Bill 315 (passed 9-0) – This allows voters to request to be placed permanently on the absentee voter list, rather than the current practice of requiring an unnecessary application each year.

Holt authored an additional seven election reform measures which will be eligible for consideration in the 2016 legislative session.


National Popular Vote Upended

avote

The National Popular Vote movement was upended by the head of the House Elections and Ethics Committee today as Chairman Rep. Paul Wesselhoft said it won’t go forward.


Miller: I’ll Sue The State

State Treasurer Ken Miller doesn’t like a bill in the Legislature and he’s threatening legal action: http://newsok.com/oklahoma-treasurer-says-he-will-sue-state-to-protect-unclaimed-property-beneficiaries-if-legislature-passes-bill/article/5395473


Social Media: What Michael F. Ford Said On Facebook…

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Looks like some deceptive tactics are being used to pass the deceptive nightmare known as National Popular Vote on Wednesday, Feb 25. Please call the members of the Ethics and Elections Committee and urge they kill this liberal democrat-friendly bill.

Rep. Paul Wesselhoft, chair – paulwesselhoft@okhouse.gov
Rep. Donnie Condit, vice chair – donnie.condit@okhouse.gov
Rep. Gary Banz – garybanz@okhouse.gov
Rep. David Dank – david.dank@okhouse.gov
Rep. Charlie Joyner – charlie.joyner@okhouse.gov
Rep. David Perryman – david.perryman@okhouse.gov
Rep. Michael Rogers – michael.rogers@okhouse.gov

“The Republican National Committee unanimously condemned the proposal. The libertarian Cato Institute and conservative Heritage Foundation and Eagle Forum oppose National Popular Vote, as does the Oklahoma Council on Public Affairs. The Oklahoma Republican Party’s platform has opposed the idea for years.”


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