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The McCarville Report
Archive for: January 31st, 2013

House Republicans Unveil 2013 Legislative Agenda

statecapitolThe House Republican Caucus today unveiled their 2013 legislative agenda, which includes a three-point plan addressing economic development, education reforms and infrastructure funding and maintenance.

“Oklahomans have spoken loud and clear this year by voting in the largest Republican majority in Oklahoma history,” said House Speaker T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton. “They want overreaching regulations that limit their freedom repealed. They want policies enacted that protect their rights, that encourage job growth and prosperity and that improves our education system so their children can have a brighter future.”

On infrastructure, Speaker Shannon proposed an eight-year, pay-as-you-go plan to directly fund the upkeep and repair of infrastructure.

“In the past, the model has been to neglect infrastructure to the point of decay and then to take out bonds to repair those needs,” said Shannon. “Our plan will be similar to the eight-year transportation plan we introduced last year that allows us to prioritize projects based on need and to pay our way as we go without adding more debt onto the backs of hardworking Oklahomans.

Regarding the state budget, State Rep. Scott Martin addressed the budget discussions that will be taking place during the upcoming session and indicated that a tax-reduction proposal would be included.

Rep. Martin noted that he has introduced a measure that would reduce the tax rate by .25 percent this session.

“We need a budget that covers our core services and is responsible with our taxpayers’ money,” said state Rep. Scott Martin, R-Norman and chair of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee. “We are going to continue the efforts of the past few years to craft a fiscally conservative budget that takes into account the daily needs and burdens of our citizens and businesses. We need to reduce the tax burden on families and businesses so they can have more money at the end of the month to put food on the table and gas in the tank.

“We also need to pay attention to what is happening at the federal level, where their inaction on fiscal issues will impact our state spending. Unlike the federal government we will pass a balanced budget on time.”

The caucus also stressed the importance of making additional reforms to the state’s expensive workers’ compensation system and the debt-burdened public pension system.

“One of the main issues we will be looking at will be fundamental changes to workers compensation system,” said state Rep. Leslie Osborn, R-Mustang and chair of the House Judiciary Committee. “We have passed several important reforms to the workers compensation system during the last several years, but we want to look at possible ways to improve on those changes.

“In particular we want to make sure that injured workers are properly taken care of and even retrained if need be so they can get back on the job as quickly as possible. We want to create an environment where existing businesses can grow and add jobs and also look at ways to encourage new employers to relocate to Oklahoma.”

“We will offer a pension plan that will be competitive with the private sector and that will give more investment mobility to state workers,” said state Rep. Randy McDaniel, R-Oklahoma City and chair of the House Pension Oversight Committee. “We believe in giving workers more opportunity and choices for greater economic prosperity.”

On education, the caucus committed to increasing local control, accountability and finding ways to fund previous reforms.

“We believe it’s important to restore as much local control on education issues back to the local communities,” said state Rep. Lee Denney, R-Cushing and chair of House Common Education Committee. “We want to look at ways to increase accountably for our schools, our teachers and our administrators so we can focus on providing a quality education for our children.

“We also want to find a way to fund past reforms that our schools simply cannot afford to implement and to push back against one-size-fits-all federal mandates that restrict our ability to make improvements to our education system.”

The House Republican Caucus agenda in its entirety is as follows:

Oklahoma House Republicans 2013 Strategic Plan and Agenda Guiding Principle

Economic Opportunity for All

  • Enact workers’ compensation, pension and unemployment reforms to ensure a pro-business environment
  • Reduce tax burden on Oklahoma families, individuals and businesses to promote
  • greater economic prosperity and quality of life
  • Reduce burdensome state regulations and resist federal and state intrusions on Oklahomans
  • Encourage workforce development through promoting coordination among common education, career tech and higher education institutions

Commitment to Quality Education

  • Restore local control of education by fighting “one-size-fits-all” federal regulations and mandates which constrain learning in the classroom
  • Sufficiently fund mandated reforms to Oklahoma schools through targeted increases in funding
  • Increase accountability among schools, teachers and administrators to ensure the best use of taxpayer dollars

Investments in Infrastructure

  • Protect our current investments in ODOT’s eight-year plan for improving Oklahoma roads and bridges
  • Develop and implement a long-term infrastructure plan to repair and maintain state assets

House Republicans also released their guiding principle for the 2013 legislative session, as follows:

The Oklahoma House Republican Caucus is committed to valuing human life at all stages, free enterprise, personal responsibility and the rule of law by developing responsible solutions that rein in government and promote economic opportunity, individual prosperity and a civilized society.


Mullin Reveals Death Threat Details

Randy Krehbiel
Tulsa World

mullin4CLAREMORE ~ Someone who disagreed with U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin on gun control threatened to shoot Mullin and his three children at their school, the first-term Republican said Tuesday during a town hall meeting at Northeast Technology Center.Mullin’s chief of staff, Karl Ahlgren, said Jan. 19 that death threats had been made against Mullin and his family, but no details were revealed.
“Some lunatic … didn’t like my stance on guns, and his solution was to threaten to shoot me,” Mullin said. “How ironic is that?”

His children were taken in through the back door of their school under the protection of federal and local law enforcement officers “because the threat was directed toward that,” he said.

The situation, which occurred while Mullin was in Washington, caused him to have a “pity party” and question his decision to seek office, Mullin said Tuesday.

“I was praying a little bit, but I was doing more griping,” he said.


Ethics Commission Hires Former Senator’s Daughter

The Oklahoman

The assistant general counsel for the Oklahoma Bar Association will be the top attorney for the state Ethics Commission.

Commissioners voted 5-0 on Wednesday to hire Debbie Maddox as the agency’s general counsel.

Maddox, of Oklahoma City, will succeed Rebecca Adams, who held the post 21 years until she left the agency in November. Maddox, who will start her new duties in about two weeks, will be paid an annual salary of $96,000.

She is the daughter of former state Sen. Jim Maddox, a Democrat from Lawton, who last served in the Legislature in 2004. He had to step down because of 12-year legislative term limits.

Commissioners were unaware of her relationship with the former lawmaker until after she was hired, commission Chairman Jo Pettigrew said.


Coffee Talk: Texas Republicans Want Obama Impeached

Noel Sheppard of newsbusters.org reports that a poll of Texans finds that 67 percent of Republican respondents support the impeachment of President Obama. (Oklahoma Republicans likely have the same opinion.)

Of greater concern for liberals: the poll was conducted by the left-leaning Public Policy Polling.

As a whole, Texans opposed impeachment 50 percent to 39 percent.

But in the crosstabs, PPP broke this down by party affiliation with Democrats opposed 83 percent to 12 percent, Republicans in favor 67 percent to 18 percent, and Independents opposed 54 percent to 32 percent.

Amazing that even 12 percent of Democrats support impeachment.

Also interesting was the racial breakdown concerning this issue with Whites supporting impeachment 48 percent to 41 percent, Blacks opposed 80 percent to 15 percent, and Hispanics opposed 58 percent to 30 percent.

Again, it’s amazing that even 15 percent of Blacks would support his impeachment.

It was also fascinating to see the breakdown by age as people older than 65 supported impeachment 46 percent to 38 percent, folks 46 to 65 opposed 46 percent to 42 percent, and people 18 to 45 opposed 66 percent to 27 percent.

So in Texas, the older you are, the more likely you want Obama impeached.

Read more: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2013/01/30/67-percent-texas-republicans-want-obama-impeached#ixzz2JXdoCEtD

Morrissette Continues Fight Against ‘Red Cedar Flu’

morrissetteJerry Bohnen
Contributing Editor

Oklahoma City Rep. Richard Morrissette has stepped up his fight against the plague of Red Cedar trees taking over the state’s landscape.  Now he suggests some of the flu cases in Oklahoma are due to Cedar Fever, an allergy that causes flu-like symptoms.  And he has doctors on his side.
“I’ve heard from three or four doctors who say the Red Cedar trees are one of the highest instigators of allergies,” Morrissette said as he professed to continue waging efforts to get a law passed to attack the trees. And he’s using the Cedar Fever to help him with the fight, pointing out the cedar pollen can cause headaches, nausea, swelling, muscle aches, sore throat, sneezing, runny nose and watery eyes.
He’s been carrying out the fight against Red Cedars for several years but can’t get support in the legislature. “I don’t believe there’s a commitment here at the capitol. All I get is a lot of talk around here—all talky, talky.”
His bill last year failed in the legislature.
“I’ve been rolled under the bus on past efforts.”
This year, he has HB 1515 which again targets Red Cedars, trees he says are taking over the state to the tune of 700 acres a day, each tree consuming 30 to 40 gallons of water daily.
And with that growth, Morrissette predicts greater health problems such as Cedar Fever.
Part of his effort to clear the land of the pesky cedar trees is another bill, HB 1656, the cedar biomass bill. It calls for the creation of a program to use cedar trees and underbrush as an alternative energy resource. But he admits he’s already getting resistance in the legislature.
Among those not quite ready to support Morrissette are farm groups.
“They’re like cats—you can’t herd them.”  And rural and city fire departments are faced with funding shortages. “They walk like they’re on egg shells.”
Morrissette knows that another massive wildfire, like the one last spring that destroyed dozens of homes in eastern Oklahoma County might give him support. But it might be only temporary support, unless lives are lost.

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