The McCarville Report
Archive for: August, 2016

Gomez to Lead Oklahoma Association of Health Care Providers

It didn’t take long for outgoing Oklahoma Health Care Authority CEO Nico Gomez to reveal where he’s headed after he leaves the state agency. He’ll join the Oklahoma Association of Health Care Providers (OAHCP) as its President and CEO in October.

OAHCP Board President Tandie Hastings said the association scored a huge asset with the hiring of Gomez and should be considered a win for Oklahoma’s long-term care providers and their elderly clients.

“Nico Gomez is a universally respected leader within the health care community,” said Hastings. “He is an accomplished manager, an expert on long-term care, and a passionate advocate for Oklahoma’s elderly and vulnerable citizens. We could not have found a more qualified and accomplished person for the role.”

Gomez is looking to use the position to raise the bar for long-term care in Oklahoma.

“How we treat seniors, individuals with disabilities and the vulnerable shows a lot about who we are as a state and as a people,” said Gomez. “I am excited to be on the front line of the effort to improve our health outcomes and increase both standards of care and the resources we commit to support the men and women who rely on long-term care.”

Gomez will begin his new role on October 3, 2016. He’s been with the Health Care Authority for 16 years. The last three and a half was spent as the agency’s CEO.

Video: Cole Takes on Race in the GOP

Congressman Tom Cole appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe this week. During the discussion, Cole took on race and the Republican party. He said the party should be doing more in the African-American communities.

You can watch the MSNBC video below.

In Albuquerque, Cops Won’t Take No

A 2015  law outlawed what they are doing, but Albuquerque cops are doing it any way, and civil asset forfeiture adds another black eye.


Guild Withdraws Recount

Tom Guild pulled the plug on his 5th District recount today, acknowledging he was losing ground instead of gaining it.

As the recount neared its end, Guild had lost three votes from his total while opponent and fellow Democrat Al McCaffrey had gained one for a net lost of four for Guild.

Guild was defeated by 40 votes in the runoff.


Muskogee Phoenix: Forfeiture Law Must Be Reworked

The Muskogee Phoenix

It’s past time for our state legislators to pull the plug on a law as old as our country.

Civil forfeiture — the ability for government to seize assets from a criminal enterprise — has been around since before the Founding Fathers set foot in North America, but its use began escalating in the 1980s along with the war on drugs.

Law enforcement is allowed to seize assets without an indictment, trial or conviction of a suspect.

The forfeiture must be approved by a judge, but the property owner must prove that the property was not the product of a criminal act.

If the property owner takes on that task and loses, seized assets become the property of the government and shared with the law enforcement agency that seized them in the first place.

At their best, these laws help deter criminal activity and keep offenders from profiting from their illegal activity.

But civil forfeiture laws can create an unseemly perception that law enforcement uses the law to bolster an underfunded department. Critics say it creates a motivating factor for asset seizures.

As an example, law enforcers can detain a suspect and if officers find cash, can seize the funds as the proceeds of a criminal activity.

Again, a judge is supposed to agree that the seizure is legal.

But travelers who are just passing through must wait months or years to get their cash or property back. Legal due process can take a take a back seat to expedience.

This is not to say that law enforcers are guilty of anything.

But the perception is there if people are given the choice of leaving town without their property and without a conviction.

State legislators must do what’s right for civilians first, law enforcers second in this case.

The civil forfeiture law is being studied and the findings of that study won’t be acted upon until the next legislative session in 2017.

That gives legislators plenty of time to get opinions from law enforcers and civil rights activists and do what’s right.

McBride Disappointed In Decision To Evict Jones

Rep. Mark McBride (R-Oklahoma City) released the following statement today regarding the recent decision by the Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES) to relocate the Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector from the state Capitol as part of the Capitol Restoration Project. McBride serves as a member of the State Capitol Repair Expenditure Oversight Committee.

“This decision to move the State Auditor from the Capitol was made, to my knowledge, by the project manager for the Capitol Restoration Project. The Capitol Repair Oversight Committee has never discussed moving the State Auditor from the Capitol. Neither has the Oklahoma House of Representatives ever held any discussions on moving the State Auditor from the Capitol. No legislative member that I have talked to has any recollection of ever discussing this move. . I am very disappointed in the way this decision was made. This is a discussion that not only should have included all invested parties in the restoration of the Capitol Building, but also any subsequent decision should have been made using the proper protocol and procedures.”

Oklahoma, Choctaw Nation Sign Hunting, Fishing Compact

A new compact dealing with hunting and fishing licenses has been signed between the state of Oklahoma and the Choctaw Nation. It means the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) will get access to federal matching funds, while the tribe will purchase licenses for every Choctaw resident citizen between the ages of 16 and 64.

Governor Fallin and Choctaw Nation Chief Gary Batton signed the compact which goes into effect January 1, 2017.

The agreement allows the Choctaw Nation to buy at least 50,000 annual hunting and fishing licenses at a discounted rate. The tribe will pay a lump sum of $200,000 for the licenses and an administrative cost of $75,000 to the ODWC. That will generate additional federal matching funds for the Department’s conservation efforts.

“This is another example of the state of Oklahoma and tribal nations working together,” said Fallin. “This compact is mutually beneficial for the state of Oklahoma and the Choctaw Nation. The large sale of these hunting and fishing licenses will generate revenue for conservation efforts as well as ensure that more Oklahomans are following the standard rules and regulations associated with these licenses. In return, the Choctaw Nation receives a discount for the licenses it purchases.”

“This agreement was very important to me because it helps sustain our traditional ways of life and hopefully encourages our children to be hunters and providers for their family in the future,” said Batton.

Batton also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with ODWC that the Choctaw Nation will maintain Lake Nanih Waiya, which is owned by the Department. It a place of historical significance to the tribe.

The compact and the agreement will run for three years.

Hickman Defends Jones Eviction, Says He Is Wrong

Speaker Jeff Hickman

Speaker Jeff Hickman

House Speaker Jeff Hickman says the eviction of Auditor  & Inspector Gary Jones from the Capitol is appropriate and Jones’ criticism is wrong.

“Since the inception of the Capitol restoration project and the creation of the oversight committee, the House of Representatives has been focused on helping create a master plan for our Capitol Building which will enhance the experience for public visitors, school children and the everyday users of this magnificent building,” Hickman said.

“This past session, the House and Senate developed SB 1583 which defines legislative office and meeting space within the Capitol. Governor Fallin signed the bill into law. All remaining space in the building, including office space currently occupied by a small portion of the State Auditor’s staff, was placed under the control of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services. The current space occupied by the State Auditor is not defined in SB 1583 as legislative space and any reference to the contrary is misleading and inaccurate.

“We must make sure that we are prioritizing each floor of the building to offer the services that are necessary during the legislative session and year round. This is an opportunity that only comes along once in a generation and we must maximize our exiting spaces for new technologies and new experiences. The master plan does that and we look forward to continuing this process.
“I appreciate the commitment of the oversight committee, our design-build teams and the Legislature to restore this beautiful building given to us by previous generations of Oklahomans and preserve it for future generations to enjoy and use.”

Jones Eviction Vindictive? ‘Can’t help but think that it is,’ Auditor Says

Is the eviction of the Auditor & Inspector’s office from the Capitol building political, a vindictive act of revenge, for his outspoken criticism of some practices? Gary Jones says he “can’t help but think that it is.”



Jason Murphey: Advice From A Legislative Garbage Cleanup Man

murphey1By Rep. Jason Murphey

I am a big fan of the CSPAN online video library and archive. The archive contains numerous State of the State addresses — the annual speech by the Governor to the Legislature in which he or she outlines their policy proposals for the next year. It’s a great resource for learning about policy proposals from other states.

I have also used the archive to gain perspective on past initiatives in Oklahoma. The archive contains Oklahoma State of the State presentations dating back to Governor Bellmon’s 1989 speech.

One cannot watch these presentations without getting a “Groundhog Day” sensation. Time and again the governors feel compelled to propose new government programs and initiatives. Invariably they propose a program that will likely grow the scope of government at either the state or local level.

I think many politicians feel obligated to make a name for themselves. I am sure they want to do right and help their state do well, but they also want to create a legacy and perhaps run for a higher and better office in the future.

In the short term, the consideration of their new programs consume the time and resources of the government as the politicians consider how to implement the most recent proposal. In the long term, the program either becomes a conduit to special interest influence and maybe even corruption, or it peters out but stays in state statute to possibly be reactivated in the future.

This fact really became apparent to me in 2013 when the House Speaker created a committee with the mandate to review what are known as repealer proposals: bills that delete existing law instead of creating new. Three or four of us accepted the challenge and went to work scavenging the statutes for these old laws.

Over the years, I started thinking of us as the Legislature’s garbage men.

It isn’t the most spectacular work ever, but is an important job that someone really needs to do it on a regular basis.

Legislative garbage men find the rarely visited neighborhoods in the volumes of state statute books, locate the graveyards containing the abandoned dreams of state leaders long past, and eliminate them.

The creators of these old policies sought to use the power of state or local government to create jobs, economic benefit, etc. But as is the case with so many government programs, the programs didn’t work out and now sit as rusting relics on the statute books until we come along and clean up the debris, thus keeping them from being reactivated and abused by state or local government.

My advice to state officials: quit producing garbage!

Just about every possible program has been tried. Many have not worked. Worse, some programs have created cesspools of bad policy or systems of corruption and abuse that are hard to get rid of because those who benefit have the political power to keep them on the books.

Instead of attempting to solve societal ills through the creation of a new government scheme, policy leaders must roll back the numerous inefficient and corrupt programs that are already on the books. In the absence of bad government, the free market will flourish and provide solutions to societal ills much more effectively than politicians ever could.

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