Whatzup Politics (1277)
WASHINGTON— Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) released the following statement after the House passed the H.R. 925, the Heroes Act 2.0. Mullin was not present for the vote due to supporting his son’s ongoing rehabilitation from a wrestling injury but would have voted “no” on the bill.
“Once again, Speaker Pelosi has put a bill on the floor that is nothing but a socialist wish list full of provisions that don’t have anything to do with fighting the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mullin said. “We have already spent trillions of dollars in relief funding which has yet to be fully used. Spending another $2.2 trillion, without fully utilizing what has already been appropriated, is reckless. We should be focused on bringing relief to families who need it instead of using this crisis to push a political agenda.”
H.R. 925 is a recycled version of Pelosi’s bill which passed the House in May. It includes:
- Defunding the police by removing $600 million from the original Heroes Act intended for the COPS Hiring program and state, local, and Tribal law enforcement assistance.
- Extending the $600 per week UI supplement through Jan. 31, 2021, plus a transition period to allow the supplement to continue through March 31, 2021 for those who have not exhausted their benefits, meaning businesses will be competing with unemployment benefits for workers through spring of 2021.
- Allowing illegal immigrants to receive direct stimulus payments.
- Removing safeguards in the Paycheck Protection Program that would prevent taxpayer money from bailing out Planned Parenthood.
- Providing “deferred action” and work authorization during the emergency declaration and for 90 days after for illegal aliens working in jobs that could be held by out of work Americans.
- Federalizing elections, with only five weeks until election day, by including strict, impossible to achieve mandates on how states must run their elections, including early voting, no ID requirement for in-person voting, same-day registration, and no excuse vote by mail without safeguards or restrictions on ballot harvesting.
- Expanding Obamacare through a new Special Enrollment period, which has already been rejected by the White House.
- Prohibiting funds from supporting educational freedom for families.
- Using hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money to bailout state and local governments for decades of fiscal mismanagement instead of assisting with COVID-19 recovery.
OKLAHOMA CITY – Members of the House Democratic Education Policy Group released the following statements in response to State Auditor Cindy Byrd’s findings from an investigative audit into Epic Youth Services.
Each of the lawmakers responding to Auditor Byrd’s findings are former Oklahoma public school educators.
“As we have said from the beginning, our concern has never been about our teachers that work for Epic,” said State Rep. Melissa Provenzano, D-Tulsa. “Our concerns have always been upstream. Were Oklahoma tax dollars being spent on our students? Today it appears we found out they were not.”
“As somebody who believes in accountability and transparency, hearing that it was such a struggle to get information for this audit from Epic Youth Services is disheartening,” said State Rep. Jacob Rosecrants, D-Norman. “While I believe there is a place in our state for virtual charter schools, I believe it is our place to ensure that the taxpayer knows exactly how and on what their money is spent.”
“It is completely inappropriate to allow $125 million meant for Oklahoma public school students to be managed outside the purview of Oklahoma taxpayers,” said State Rep. John Waldron, D-Tulsa. “We owe our citizens a thorough accounting just as we owe all our public school students a quality education.”
“Today we learned that one person is responsible for managing funds on both the public and private side of the business,” said State Rep. Trish Ranson, D-Stillwater. “This lack of accountability and oversight is especially alarming as Epic has now grown to the state’s largest school district.”
Lawmakers from the House Democratic Education Policy Group first started voicing concerns regarding Epic’s business practices more than a year ago. Provenzano said this about the school in July of 2019:
“This school has consistently demonstrated questionable actions in how money is spent (most often not directly on students), financial decisions, the way attendance is calculated, and their questionable record keeping. Given the strict oversight the state Department of Education has for brick-and-mortar schools, I am eager for their response to this situation and their plans to keep this from ever happening again.”
OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Rhonda Baker, R-Yukon, the chair of the House Common Education Committee, on Wednesday held an interim study examining Oklahoma schools’ versus other regional states’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Oklahoma students and those around the nation have suffered during this current pandemic,” Baker said. “In many instances, they’ve had to adapt to virtual education or to blended-learning models, and they’ve lost learning time in vital subject areas, putting them at risk of not being prepared for their next grade or even graduation. Even upon being able to return to their classrooms this fall, many are facing changes to the classroom structure and different standards for participating in extracurricular activities. The point of the study was to look at our response as a state. Additionally, we looked into some of the practices being implemented in surrounding states. It is important to learn what we are doing well and where we can make improvements in our educational performance so our students can continue to excel as we prepare them for graduation and the future work force.”
Oklahoma school districts were forced to close in March in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Students moved to virtual instruction, while many markers of student success were suspended for the year, including testing and the statewide Schools’ A-F Report Card.
School districts were allowed to reopen in August for the current school year, with each district deciding its own method of instruction. Many districts are offering virtual or blended-learning models as well as in-person classes, and many have varying policies on mask wearing, social distancing, frequent handwashing, facility cleaning and other health and safety measures to keep students and educators safe.
Baker said schools are continuing to face challenges as cases of COVID continue to surface throughout many areas of the state.
“Our educators are becoming innovative in their delivery so they can accelerate each student’s progress, which is a state and regional goal,” she said. “I especially want to express my appreciations to the superintendents that spoke during today’s study giving all educators ideas for student success during this unprecedented time.”
Supt. Chuck McCauley of Bartlesville Public Schools discussed the importance of becoming competitive in the educational field so students will want to stay in their home districts when they have other learning options with which to choose. Supt. Geri Gilstrap of Stilwell Public Schools spoke about “boot camps” the district offers to parents and grandparents who are partnering with their child virtually to learn the basics of technology. This allows them to help the child be more engaged and successful. Both presenters discussed the strong desire by most students to attend school in person.
Additional presenters at the study included:
- Stephen Pruitt from the Southern Regional Education Board who gave an overview of the regional response to reopening education after COVID;
- Carolyn Thompson, deputy chief of staff and chief of government affairs with the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) spoke about Oklahoma’s educational response to COVID;
- Tiffany Neal, deputy superintendent of curriculum and instruction with OSDE spoke about remediation;
- Dr, Pam Deering executive director of the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration and the Oklahoma Association of School Administrators spoke about superintendents concerns and responses to the health crisis; and
Rhonda Baker serves District 60 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which includes parts of Caddo and Canadian counties.
Our Commitment to America
By Congressman Markwayne Mullin
While Speaker Pelosi and the socialist Left are trying to defund our law enforcement, destroy our economy and dismantle our institutions, Republicans are fighting for our country. We will restore our way of life, rebuild the greatest economy in history, and renew the American Dream. This is our commitment to America.
COVID-19 created an unprecedented challenge for our country and changed many things about our everyday lives. We must do all we can to defeat the virus and restore our way of life. Through increasing testing, developing a safe and effective vaccine, lowering drug prices, and expanding access to telemedicine, we can keep America healthy and get back to normal.
Prior to the pandemic, our country had the greatest economy in a generation. We had record low unemployment rates and wages were rising. By helping small businesses through tough times with forgivable loans, offering tax credits in Opportunity Zones to lift up distressed communities, and investing in our infrastructure, we can get America back to work and rebuild our economy.
Everyone deserves a chance to create their own American Dream. Students should be able to choose the school that is best for them, no matter what their zip code is. Through increased opportunities for career and technical education, workers can learn skills needed to thrive in a 21st century workforce and get a good-paying job. America will continue to be the land of opportunity for this generation and many more to come.
The socialist agenda of defunding, destroying, and dismantling leaves too many Americans behind and that is unacceptable. We need real solutions to move our country forward. The United States of America is the greatest country in the world and our commitment to it is worth fighting for.
Want to stay up-to-date on what I’m doing in Oklahoma and Washington on your behalf? Sign up for my newsletter by visiting Mullin.house.gov/newslettersignup.
WASHINGTON— Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) released the following statement after the House passed H.R. 7948, the Tribal Health Data Improvement Act, by voice vote. The bill would reaffirm Tribal public health authorities are entitled to access public health data.
“Our sovereign Tribal Nations and Tribal Epidemiology Centers were always supposed to have equal access to public health data that states, counties, and cities have. But for years, many Tribes have faced numerous challenges while trying to access this public health data,” Mullin said. “Now more than ever, Tribes need access to this data in order to make decisions for their communities and the Tribal Health Data Improvement Act makes that happen. I am glad this bill passed the full House today and I encourage the Senate to take it up quickly so Tribes don’t have to wait any longer for the data they need.”
OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Sherrie Conley, R-Newcastle, today hosted an interim study examining the effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and toxic stress on children’s behavior in the classroom and efforts schools can take to help avoid suspension.
The study was held before the House Common Education Committee.
“Violence in the classroom has become a nationwide epidemic,” Conley said. “The underlying cause often is traced to ACEs or toxic stress. These manifest as struggles in the classroom that then lead to destructive life choices that stretch into adulthood for many of our children. We are hoping with this study to find the best solution to intervene in the academic environment and to create wrap-around services in a child’s early years that can help our young people overcome the devastating results of these Adverse Childhood Experiences.”
Conley – a former teacher and school administrator – said by addressing ACES early, educators can help slow down and hopefully prevent alcohol and drug abuse and other youthful offences, as well as illiteracy, chronic unemployment, and other issues that plague adults who experience toxic stress during childhood. She also hopes to find ways we can better educate young people on the consequences of their actions that break society’s rules, not just while they’re in school but beyond the classroom.
“Ensuring our educators are well trained in de-escalation tactics, identifying behaviors and academic struggles caused by ACES, and providing plenty of resources to share with our families, we can change the trajectory of young peoples’ lives and build resilient, healthy adults,” she said. “If we start now, our state can move from treating symptoms and dealing with outcomes to true prevention.”
Conley lined up a team of experts to examine the problem of ACEs and toxic stress and to explain how schools currently deal with the resulting behavior issues and methods that might result in better success for a child’s future.
The study focused on educating and properly training teachers before entering the classroom, locating and utilizing resources within Oklahoma communities and state agencies, ensuring the state and schools are setting teachers up for success in the classroom, supporting teachers and administrators when faced with addressing violence, and building relationships with families so trust guides decisions in wrapping around services to help those families in crisis.
Presenters at the study included Zack Stoycoff with Healthy Minds; Mindy Bellack, executive director of Frontline Family Solutions; Dr. Peter Messiah, executive director of the Oklahoma Association of Youth Services; Mike Martin, superintendent of Pauls Valley Public Schools; Drew Eichelberger, superintendent of Bethany Public Schools; Dr. April Grace, superintendent of Shawnee Public Schools; Renee Launey-Rudolf, director, and Jennifer Gambrell, assistant director of the Oklahoma Office of Educational Quality and Accountability; Dawn Keller, school counseling program director at Southwestern Oklahoma State University; and Dr. Sara Rich, executive director of the Oklahoma Schools Psychologist Association.
Sherrie Conley represents District 20 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which includes parts of Cleveland, Garvin, McClain and Pottawatomie counties.
WASHINGTON— Today, Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) signed Heritage Action’s Police Pledge to show his unwavering support for law enforcement officers and his opposition to any effort to “defund the police.”
“The men and women of our law enforcement put their lives on the line each day to keep their communities safe and they deserve our full support,” Mullin said. “We are a nation of laws and the laws must be enforced. Defunding the police is not a serious answer to the issues our country is facing and will only lead to anarchy. I am proud to sign this pledge and stand with our nation’s brave law enforcement officers.”
More information on the pledge can be found here.
America’s hunters and anglers are our nation’s original conservationists, a title that we wear proudly. On Saturday, Sept. 26th, Oklahoma celebrated our nation’s 48th Annual National Hunting and Fishing Day (NHFD), a day set aside to recognize and celebrate the historical and ongoing contributions of the Sooner State’s sportsmen and women. As Co-Chair of the Oklahoma Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus and a member of the 49-state National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses, I am proud to celebrate the time-honored traditions of hunting and angling, and I hope all Oklahomans used National Hunting and Fishing Day to take advantage of the inherently socially distant activities of hunting and fishing that are available to us.
Hunters and anglers provide the foundation of conservation funding through the purchase of licenses, tags and stamps, and by paying self-imposed excise taxes on the equipment that we use. Adding these contributions together, hunters and anglers generated $44.1 million to fund the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation through the “user-pays, public-benefits” American System of Conservation Funding. This funding, in addition the overall economic contributions of hunters, provides benefits for all Oklahomans.
Equally as important, hunting and angling provide Oklahomans an opportunity to explore the natural world around them while taking advantage of the many well-documented physical and mental health benefits associated with spending time outdoors. Through hunting and angling, one can truly appreciate the importance of conservation. This is why sportsmen and women dedicate much of their time and resources to improve conditions for fish and wildlife, which has ripple effects throughout the ecosystem and benefits all species and the people that enjoy them. Similarly, sportsmen and women are among the strongest supporters of legislation to increase public access opportunities for all Americans and provide additional funding for wildlife management.
There is perhaps no better example of this than the recent passage of the Great American Outdoors Act. This historic piece of legislation fully and permanently funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and appropriates $9.5 billion to take neglected infrastructure projects off the backburner, including $3 billion to support hunting, fishing and recreational shooting activities on federally owned public lands and waters. Thanks to a bipartisan effort in Congress and the support of sportsmen and women, the Great American Outdoors Act will ensure we are leaving our country in a better place for the next generation.
We hope you used National Hunting and Fishing Day to celebrate our time-honored traditions and perhaps introduced someone new to our outdoor pursuits so that they, too, can enjoy the physical and mental health benefits of hunting and fishing. Given the renewed desire for safe outdoor recreational opportunities brought about by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a growing desire among the populace for a self-sufficient lifestyle that includes food security, there is perhaps no better time to introduce beginners to the outdoors for the first time. Along the way, they will learn more about the natural world around them, procure organic, locally sourced food for the entire family, and carry forward the proud conservation legacy of Oklahoma’s original conservationists.
MAKE IT COUNT OKLAHOMA! An undercount in the census of just 2 percent can cost the state $1.8 billion in lost federal money over the next 10 years. Fill out your census form, Oklahoma. Learn more at: www.2020census.gov.
I would like to take this opportunity to announce that I will be a candidate for State Representative, District 3, this year.
I served as State Representative in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
I was born in Poteau and lived in LeFlore County most of my life. I attended Simpson and Hower Grade School, as well as Junior High in Poteau. I graduated from Heavener High School. I attended Poteau Community College, Central State College and received my law degree from the University of Tulsa. After graduating from the University of Tulsa Law School, I moved to Spiro where I started my law practice.
I was married to Kay McCoy Sullivan for 55 years and 6 days before her death in 2015. From our marriage we had 4 children, 3 of which reside in Poteau, and the other is deceased. I have 6 grandsons and 2 granddaughters.
A few of my legislative accomplishments are:
- Obtaining multiple funding for new roads including, but not limited to, the new highway from Poteau to Heavener, the new highway from Poteau to Wister and the new highway nine north to Arkoma.
- Changing Poteau Community College to Carl Albert State College and
- Getting the college into the state system, so that student credits would transfer to any college or university.
- Passed bill creating Talimena State Park as well as Clem Hamilton Heavener Runestone State Park.
- Introduced and passed bill that saved the teacher retirement system in Oklahoma.
- Introduced and passed bill that created a juvenile mental health facility in Oklahoma.
- Introduced and passed bill that changed state colleges to universities.
- Introduced and passed bill to allow 18-year-olds to vote.
- While in the Legislature, I was voted most outstanding legislator 3 straight years in a row.
- I was elected 1st Assistant Majority Leader, the 4th highest job in the House.
I have also served 14 years on the Board of Education, eight years as District Attorney, and two years as Assistant County Attorney.
I served a three-year term on the Ethics and Merit Commission of Oklahoma and a one-year term as Chairman of the Regional Multi-State Interstate Highway Committee.
Some of my community service included starting and coaching the Poteau Bandit Football Program, creating the Poteau Athletic Hall of Fame, and serving 8 years as President of the Poteau Quarterback Club.
I find it appalling that so many of our young people having to leave this area when they finish their education to find a decent job. If elected, I will devote all of my time to this job. I will work hard to improve conditions that will attract jobs to this area.
I am very conservative when it comes to fiscal policy. I try not to waste my money and I don’t want the government wasting yours and my tax dollars. I will watch this very closely.
I own nine guns and I am a strong advocate of your and my right to own and possess guns. I will vigorously defend any attempt to strip us of our right to bear arms.
I humble ask for your help and support in this race. If you agree with my programs as we go forward, then please ask your family and friends to support me. If you have any questions or advice, you can contact me at 918-839-0239.
Paid for by Mike Sullivan for State Representative
On Friday, September 25, the NAACP will host a conversation with Vice Presidential Candidate Senator Kamala Harris. Moderated by CNN Commentator Angela Rye, the event will include Leon W. Russell, Chairman of the NAACP National Board of Directors, and Derrick Johnson, NAACP President and CEO, and other leaders. Senator Harris will discuss the national reckoning on racism, the global pandemic and her vision for the future of America. The conversation is a premier event of the NAACP’s 111th national convention and will take place starting at 2 PM ET / 11 AM PT.
“We are excited to have a real conversation with Vice Presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris about the current climate and where we need to go,” said Derrick Johnson, president and CEO, NAACP. “In the closing of our national convention, we are eager to discuss her plans for the safety and well-being of our communities in America.”
Join us for this critical conversation on naacpconvention.org.
“The NAACP recognizes the overwhelming significance of having the first black woman as a vice-presidential candidate of a major political party,” said NAACP Board of Directors Chairman, Leon W. Russell. “We know that this pivotal moment sets the stage for our continued work to achieve equal justice and now is the time to engage in these conversations as the world faces unprecedented times and new realities during this global pandemic.”
WHAT: Conversation with Vice Presidential Candidate Senator Kamala Harris
WHEN: Friday, September 25, 2020, @ 2 pm ET / 11 am PT
- Senator Kamala Harris, Vice Presidential Candidate
- Angela Rye, CNN Commentator
- Leon W. Russell, Chairman, NAACP National Board of Directors
- Derrick Johnson, President and CEO, NAACP
Founded in 1909 in response to the ongoing violence against Black people around the country, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) is the largest and most pre-eminent civil rights organization in the nation. We have over 2,200 units and branches across the nation, along with well over 2M activists. Our mission is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.
NOTE: The Legal Defense Fund – also referred to as the NAACP-LDF was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP, but separated in 1957 to become a completely separate entity. It is recognized as the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and shares our commitment to equal rights.