Commentary

Thu
22
Jun

Irvin Named OKFB Senior Director of Membership and Organization

Oklahoma Farm Bureau recently promoted Marcia Irvin to senior director of membership and organization. In her new position, she will guide membership and organizational programs including the Women’s Leadership Committee, Young Farmers and Ranchers, safety services and commodities.

“Marcia has served Farm Bureau faithfully for more than 40 years,” said Monica Wilke, OKFB executive director. “I know she will continue to enhance our membership programs and offerings.”

 

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Thu
22
Jun

Lessons from Big-Spending Illinois

By Jonathan Small

Oklahoma just completed, with much gnashing of teeth and moaning, a budget year with a shortfall of nearly $1 billion. Imagine, though, facing deficits that total $30 billion or more – and that’s before you even start discussing a $250 billion pension debt.

Such is the case with Illinois, where lawmakers haven’t even managed to pass a budget since 2015, where they have failed to balance the state budget every year since 2001, and where annual tax increases have failed miserably to keep the state afloat.

 

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Thu
01
Jun

Muscogee (Creek) Nation Supreme Court and the Oklahoma Supreme Court to Host Training

On March 7, 2013, the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization of 2013 (VAWA 2013), was signed into law (Public Law 113-4). VAWA now includes Title IX – Safety for Indian Women, which assigns criminal jurisdiction over non-Indian offenders who commit crimes in Indian Country involving domestic violence, dating violence and violations of Protection Orders. Tribes that choose to exercise their sovereign power to investigate, prosecute, convict and sentence criminals in such VAWA cases must meet certain requirements. In FY 16, Congress appropriated $1,000,000.00 to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of Justice Services, Tribal Justice Support Directorate for the sole purpose of training in Indian Country to carry out the new provisions in the Violence Against Women Re-Authorization Act.

 

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Thu
25
May

Beware of “Storm Chasers” Preying on Victims

Strong storms with potentially flooding downpours, tornadoes, powerful winds, and hail have been making their way across the state this storm season. They leave massive damage to homes and businesses in their wake, including downed trees and power lines, damage to roofs, homes, cars and fences.

“Home and business owners who suffer damage to their property should carefully research companies before making a final decision,” said Kitt Letcher, president and CEO of BBB. “With the diverse and severe weather that Oklahoma receives, storm related damage is increasingly common. The likelihood of scammers and unethical businesses taking advantage of consumers increases when severe weather comes through our state. Comparing companies and researching the market ensures that you will not become a victim.” Letcher summarized, “BBB receives multiple reports and complaints related to weather related scams or scam attempts each year.”

Thu
25
May

OCPA President: The Veiled Budget

By Jonathan Small 

To hear some at the state Capitol talk, every agency is on starvation rations due to the state budget shortfall. The executive branch made presentations offering a doom-and-gloom picture of government agencies implying that if funding remains flat for the largest seven agencies then the other 60 agencies would be eliminated.

But, despite this sky-is-falling rhetoric, many agencies are actually spending more than they were in recent years while others have seen only minimal financial impact from the budget downturn.

How is this possible? The appropriated budget passed each year by the Legislature is only a portion – in some cases, a small slice – of the total amount of dollars available to many agencies. Many agencies receive much of their funding through other means, whether that is direct tax dollars, fees, or federal tax dollars.

 

Thu
18
May

Geary Police Department Blotter

By Terryl Allen

This report is for the Geary Police Department. During the two week period from May 1st thru 14th the Geary Police Department wrote 12 Municipal or District Citations. The Geary Police Department received a total of 198 telephone calls for service during this period.

 

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Thu
11
May

Former U.S. Senator Dr. Tom Coburn on Efforts to Increase Personal Income Taxes

Yesterday, the House and Senate Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget passed House Bill 2347, which caps personal itemized deductions effective January 1, 2017. Dr. Tom Coburn has issued the following statement regarding efforts to have the bill approved by the entire legislature and sent to the Governor for approval.

“Efforts to cap itemized deductions in order to increase personal income taxes by $187 million on more than 426,000 Oklahomans directly oppose the promises by conservatives to do the tough work of going line by line through every expenditure of government and to reform government so that it lives within the current tax burden in Oklahoma, especially during a tough economy. These efforts should stop immediately.

“Oklahoma’s economy is hurting due to the recessionary effects of OPEC’s energy price war and stagnant economic growth due to the failed tax, spend, and regulate policies for eight years under the Obama administration.

 

Thu
23
Mar

Governor Mary Fallin Applauds House of Representatives for Passing Criminal Justice Bills

OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today commended the Oklahoma House of Representatives for its bipartisan approval of three bills related to reforms of the criminal justice system. The governor asked lawmakers in her State of the State address last month to consider these reforms, which were recommended by the Oklahoma Justice Reform Task Force that she convened last year.

“Without jeopardizing public safety, these measures address Oklahoma’s prison population, which is among the highest in the nation,” said Fallin. “Our criminal justice system will cost our state nearly $2 billion in the coming years if we do not make any changes, which is why these reforms are so critical. I am grateful to Representatives Terry O’Donnell and Scott Biggs for their hard work. With our state prisons already filled to well over capacity, it is vital that we safely and prudently fix our criminal justice system.”

 

Thu
16
Mar

Prison Continues Negotiations, No New Updates

By Eric Warsinskey

 

No news is good news as negotiations continue between Core Civic and various entities in attempts to secure a contract to house prisoners at Watonga’s Diamondback Correctional Facility.

In late February, the Trump Administration reinstated the use of private prisons for federal inmates, saying commercial prison operators are needed for the correctional system’s “future needs.” As a result, CoreCivic now has the chance of landing a contract for Federal prisoners at Watonga’s prison, something that wasn’t possible under the Obama Administration.

 

 

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Thu
16
Mar

‘Blue Lives Matter’ Bill Passes House

By Eric Warsinskey

 

A bill that would dramatically increase the likelihood of the death penalty for those convicted of killing a law enforcement officer in the line of duty passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives with a vote of 73-21 last Wednesday.

House Bill 1306, which was co-authored by local representative Mike Sanders of Kingfisher and State Rep. Casey Murdock, creates the Blue Lives Matter in Oklahoma Act of 2017, which provides that any person convicted of, or who pleads guilty or nolo contendere to murder in the first degree of a law enforcement officer, correctional officer or corrections employee while in the performance of their duties shall be punished by death or life in prison without parole.

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