Whatzup Politics (1436)
OKLAHOMA CITY – Legislation has been filed to cut and replace financial ties and control of the federal government over common education in Oklahoma. Sen. David Bullard, R-Durant, authored Senate Bill 863 to authorize the State Department of Education to develop a ten-year plan to phase out the acceptance and use of federal funds for the support of K-12 education and project what state funds will be needed to fill the gap.
“The U.S. Constitution is very straightforward about education – this is a state power protected by the 10th Amendment and the federal overreach is alive and well in our education system,” Bullard said. “I filed SB 863 to have the Department of Education create a ten-year plan to remove the federal government where it does not belong and replace it with state funds. The federal government does not need to be in Oklahoma education.”
The proposed plan would have to be submitted to the Senate Pro Tempore, House Speaker and governor by June 30, 2024.
“Oklahoma needs to be in control of our own destiny when it comes to education – not a liberal bureaucrat from D.C. or California. We must not put our children up to the highest bidder. They are not for sale. Oklahoma will be better off without federal government interference in how we educate our kids.” Bullard explained. “Schools will not lose any money, and we will be in sole control of our education system and classrooms,” Bullard said.
SB 863 will be up for consideration once the legislative session gets underway next month.
OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. George Burns, R-Pollard, has filed Senate Bill 187, which would increase the amount of living and transportation expenses that could be paid on behalf of a birth mother through the adoption process.
“With costs for basic needs on the rise, this increase is one reasonable adjustment we can make to support birth mothers and help ensure more children can be placed in safe loving homes,” Burns said.
The limit is currently $1,000, but this measure would increase it to $3,500.
Burns added that expenses eligible to be covered for the birth mother include utilities, food, travel, and child care.
First off, allow me to say Happy New Year (ok, I know I'm 24-days late) and to advise you of the upcoming County and Precinct conventions that will be convened in March, where we will nominate and vote on new officers for the 2023-2025 terms, including chair, vice-chair. secretary, treasurer, state committeeman and state committee woman.
In the coming months we will also begin discussing grass-roots issues that will include state and federal matters and how we can influence those issues as a group so we can get those matters back to the local level. We all know whatever is passed in Oklahoma City will have an effect in LeFlore County one way or the other. Issues such as education, using state funds for sex reassignment and the continued battle over the Second Amendment to name a few. Remember, our rights are but a generation of being taken from us and if you would like to spearhead a discussion during our monthly meeting simply reach out to me and I'll try to accommodate your interest.
At this past weeks meeting I challanged the 28 in attendance to bring at least 1-friend to our next meeting on February 16 at the Patrick Lynch Library in Poteau at 6:30. I know that every one of you has at least one conservative friend, neighbor or family member that should be interested in furthering our goals. If this happens we'll have 56, then the following month we could have 84, then so on and so on. Our county is supposed to RED and while I know there are probably some registered Republicans that are in name only, but everyone should be concerned where our county, and nation is headed. Change can happen at the local level, but as your chair, cannot do it alone.
May God bless you, your family and the United States.
Bob Hawley, Chair
LeFlore County GOP
Session hasn’t yet started but meetings and preparations have begun. I was named vice-chair of the House Transportation Committee this session. The Department of Transportation presented their overview for the upcoming year to the Appropriations & Budge Subcommittee for Transportation this past week, which I attended. My goal as vice-chair will be to try to focus on rural roads and their needs. Shoulders on many of our roads would be a good starting point. Another road trip with Transportation Sec. Gatz down State Highway 63 from Haileyville to Kiowa might be in order.
Kenneth Corn, U.S. Department of Agriculture rural development state director, traveled to Wilburton last week to tour the remains of Latimer County Hospital. This is a step in the process as we try to determine a path forward into getting some type of health care facility in the Wilburton area. The “new wing,” as many refer to it, was dedicated in 2007 but is actually out of compliance in several areas. At this time, a feasibility study will be conducted to try to determine if even this wing can be utilized. I remain committed to some type of emergency care facility located here.
I also wish to commend our new Attorney General Gentner Drummond as he takes the lead in the Swadley's investigation. I do not know where this might go, but at least I believe it is progressing in earnest.
Finally, last week, I participated in one of my favorite events as I attended the 78th Southeast District Livestock show on the campus of Eastern Oklahoma State College. The local Lions Club has been a principal sponsor of this show for 78 years. These type of events don’t just happen, and I commend all the local Lions who participated to make this show a success. You don’t do this for yourself but rather our youth.
As always, thanks for allowing me to serve. Never hesitate to contact my office if we can be of assistance. I can be reached at Jim.Grego@okhouse.gov or (405) 557-7381.
The National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women (N.O.B.E.L. Women) presented Representative Ajay Pittman (D-OK) as one of the Spark Award Honorees during the 2022 Legislative Conference in Hill, Maryland.
“Representative Pittman’s ability to inspire and galvanize the women toward a common goal of encouraging them to become powerful voices in their respective legislative districts,” said Rep. Juandalyn Gavin, N.O.B.E.L. President (D-AL). “This made her a worthy candidate for the
N.O.B.E.L. Women is a non-profit, non-partisan organization primarily composed of current and former black women legislators as well as many appointed officials. Originally established in 1985, N.O.B.E.L. Women is the country’s premier organization of Black women legislators
committed to increasing and promoting the presence of Black women in government, non-profit, and corporate leadership.
Pittman was appointed as the National Chaplain for African American Women Legislators and Corporate sponsors. She accepted the call to action and serves among legislators, who have set the highest standard of service in diverse communities and communities of color.
“My role and responsibilities are to bring inspiration to the diverse religious traditions and hope through a word of prayer,” said Rep. Ajay Pittman. “In times like these, one of my goals is to help center our national leaders amidst all of the responsibilities of a legislator and as female leaders in their own communities.”
Pittman gives recognition to Oklahoma’s former State Representative Freddye D. Williams, who was one of the National visionaries and founders of N.O.B.E.L. Women; and to those women who served in House District 99 prior to her, which includes former Representatives and Senators Angela Z. Monson and Anastasia A. Pittman, who also served as a board member of N.O.B.E.L. Women.
“This award is given to the outstanding woman legislator who has exemplified the values of the organization by going above and beyond traditional methods to ignite a “spark” for leadership,
service, and unity,” said President Givan.
In Addition to Rep. Pittman of Oklahoma, Rep. Kamia L. Brown (FL), Rep. Rena Moran (MN), Rep. Kim Schoffield (GA) and Sen. London Lamar (TN), were all among the women legislators being honored.
OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Tom Gann, R-Inola, this week filed a bill to prohibit the abuse of non-disclosure agreements, providing greater transparency in government.
House Bill 1378 would require businesses of any kind seeking state or local incentives to fully disclose who they are and what they do and also would prevent government officials from entering into non-disclosure agreements (NDAs).
"When politicians are willing to invest and speculate with taxpayer dollars, the Oklahoma taxpayer has a right to know exactly how taxpayer dollars are being distributed for business activity and exactly who will be receiving the taxpayer dollars from vendors seeking to do business with the State of Oklahoma," Gann said.
Gann gave the following example of an NDA.
"In June 2022, in a State Department of Education Board meeting, a testing vendor was awarded $33.6 million for their product, yet the person presenting the proposal refused to reveal who the vendor was. They stated the Office of Management Enterprise Services for Oklahoma was under a NDA. The proposal passed without the public knowing who was receiving $33.6 million of taxpayer dollars despite the board meeting being governed by Oklahoma's Open meeting Act.
"NDAs undermine transparency, which is the purpose of such law."
Gann also pointed to House Bill 2034, the Energy Discrimination Elimination Act of 2022, which passed during the 2022 legislative session and was signed into law by the governor. The bill prevents the state treasurer from investing state resources into companies that ascribe to what Gann termed "woke ideologies," such as Environment Social Governance (ESG).
"The company that competed last year for the over $700 million in state dollars set aside in the Large Economic Area Development (LEAD) Act was an ESG company and could have chosen to locate in Oklahoma, but officials were not disclosing the details because of the NDA signed by elected officials," Gann said.
"Taxpayers have by large majorities rejected these woke ideologies ascribed by stakeholder companies not only at the ballot box but with their pocketbooks as well," he continued. "It is time the Oklahoma taxpayer is respected by the government they are compelled to support. I urge passage HB1378 to require full transparency in government."
- Tom Gann serves District 8 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. His district includes parts of Mayes, Rogers and Wagoner counties.
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Senate has completed filing bills for the First Session of the 59th Legislature. The deadline was Thursday, Jan. 19. A total of 1,116 Senate Bills and 18 Senate Joint Resolutions were filed.
The Thursday deadline did not apply to appropriations bills, which can be filed throughout the session.
Senate rules also allow for bills by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate to be filed throughout the session. Senate Resolutions and Senate Concurrent Resolutions can be filed throughout the session as well.
Members of the public can read and download current legislation by going to the official Senate website at oksenate.gov and following the link for legislation at the top of the homepage. The Senate website also includes daily agendas, meeting notices, calendars, and other helpful information.
The 2023 legislative session will convene at noon on Monday, Feb. 6. The Senate offers streaming audio and video with closed captioning from the Senate Chamber, as well as from all committee rooms on its website. Wireless Internet access is available to all Capitol visitors throughout the Senate Gallery, rotunda, committee rooms, offices and press rooms.
You can also follow the Oklahoma State Senate @oksenate on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
The LeFlore County Election Board has announced that a Primary Election will be held for Board of Education Office No. 3 in Pocola School District on Tuesday, February 14, 2023. State law mandates a primary election be held if more than two candidates file for the same school board office.
The candidates are: Roger Lairamore, Josh Merritt and Michael E. Severe.
According to LeFlore County Election Board Secretary, Sharon Steele, if one candidate receives more than 50% of the votes, that candidate will be named the elected official. If no one receives more than 50% of the votes, the top two candidates will vie for the position in the April 4 Board of Education General Election.
Voters who are registered and reside at an address within the geographical boundaries of the Pocola School District are eligible to vote in both the Primary and Board of Education General Election. If you have questions about eligibility, contact your County Election Board at 918-647-3701 or email@example.com. You can also find your district information using the State Election Board's OK Voter Portal at oklahoma.gov/elections/ovp.
There will also be Special School Bond Elections for LeFlore and Monroe School Dist. on February 14.
Friday, January 20 is the last day to apply for voter registration in order to be eligible to vote in the February 14 School Board Election, Leflore County Election Board Secretary Sharon Steele said today.
Steele said that persons who are United States Citizens, residents of Oklahoma, and at least 17 ½ years old are eligible to apply for voter registration. However, you must be at least 18 years old to vote.
Applications must be received by the County Election Board or postmarked no later than midnight, January 20. Applications postmarked after that time will be accepted, but will not be processed until after the February 14 Election. Applications may also be submitted to any motor vehicle agency that is also an official voter registration agency by the submission deadline.
Applicants will be notified in writing when their application has been processed. Approved voters will receive a Voter Identification Card in the mail. Some may receive a letter that explains the reason or reasons the application was not approved. Steele said those who do not receive a response within 30 days of submitting their application should contact the County Election Board office immediately.
The LeFlore County Election Board reminds voters that applications must be approved by the County Election Board Secretary in order to vote.
Registered voters who have moved to LeFlore County from a different county or state will need to complete a new Voter Registration Application in order to be eligible for elections in Leflore County. If you have moved within the county and need to update your address, you may make changes online using the OK Voter Portal at oklahoma.gov/elections/ovp or complete a Voter Registration Application.
Voter Registration Applications can be download from the State Election Board website at oklahoma.gov/elections. You may also complete a form at your County Election Board. Most post offices, tag agencies, and public libraries have applications available upon request.
The LeFlore County Election Board is located at 103 N. Church St., Poteau and is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. For questions, please contact the Election Board at 918-647-3701 or firstname.lastname@example.org
OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, has filed legislation to improve student learning in the state of Oklahoma.
“As students return to school this month, now is a perfect time to ensure they will learn factual information rather than modern wokeness,” Dahm said. “These curriculum updates will provide students with an understanding of our philosophical underpinnings, teach them to reason, and allow them to think critically in the classroom.”
Senate Bill 139 would add the New England Primer, The Law by Bastiat, and other historically significant documents to the required reading materials for high school students.
SB 137 would implement a pilot program that offers courses on the Constitution and the Federalist Papers among others.
“It is important for students to understand the documents that influenced the founders and also their reasons for adopting the Constitution and form of government that they did,” Dahm said. “These texts have massive historical significance both philosophically and politically. They are the groundwork of our nation.”
SB 138 would require Oklahoma social studies courses to include at least 45 minutes of instruction on Victims of Communism Day, beginning with the 2023-24 school year.
“Communist regimes have murdered more than 100 million people and subjected countless more to unthinkable atrocities,” Dahm said. “We must ensure our citizens understand the brutality of these regimes and the real danger socialism poses to our freedoms and lives.”
SB 140, the Oklahoma Science Education Act, provides for the creation of a school environment that encourages the exploration and debate of scientific theories, and allows teachers to help students analyze strengths and weaknesses of said theories rather than accepting them as proven truths.
“Students and teachers should be able to grapple with tough scientific questions in the classroom without fear of repercussions,” Dahm said. “Hopefully this will expose the ‘theory’ aspect of evolution by allowing alternate views to be presented.”