Whatzup Politics (1466)
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma House of Representatives on Monday adopted a resolution encouraging the National Rifle Association (NRA) to relocate its headquarters to Oklahoma.
Rep. Steve Bashore, R-Miami, author of House Resolution 1007, said with the civil rights group’s recent announcement that it is moving its incorporation status from New York to Texas, he felt now would be a perfect time to extend the invitation. The group’s headquarters is actually in Fairfax, VA, but it has operated as a New York-based nonprofit since its founding in 1871.
“Our citizens and our state Legislature have an obvious love and appreciation for our Second Amendment right to bear arms,” Bashore said. “With the association’s announcement, we want to extend a welcome and open invitation to relocate to our firearm-friendly state.”
Bashore said about 80,000 people attend the NRA’s annual conferences and approximately 5.5 million members in the association, which is considered the gun owner’s chief advocate.
HR 1007 notes that since territorial times Oklahomans have been protective of their Second Amendment rights, and the state Legislature is equally committed to protecting these rights for its citizens. This is evident by the number of firearm-friendly pieces of legislation passed, including constitutional carry.
The resolution also states that Oklahoma currently has the ninth highest firearms sales nationwide and declares that that state is open for business, allowing business owners to make their own decisions about how to operate, open or close.
Oklahoma has proven to be a state working to protect the rights of an individual to keep and bear arms, the resolution reads. As such, the state welcomes the National Rifle Association and its mission to continue educating and defending civil rights in this state for years to come.
The resolution concludes that any company seeking freedom and liberty is encouraged to make Oklahoma its home.
- Steve Bashore serves District 7 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which includes Ottawa County and part of Delaware County in Northeast Oklahoma.
By State Rep. Rick West
The House passed three pro-life bills over the past few weeks.
House Bill 1102 would revoke for at least a year the licenses of physicians who perform abortions except in the case of saving the life of the mother.
House Bill 2441 would stop abortions from being performed once an unborn child is determined to have a detectable heartbeat. The measure also would require any facility where abortions are performed to post a sign in a conspicuous place stating it is against the law for anyone to force another person to have an abortion and that abortions induced by medication using a two-step process may be reversible if the second dosage has not been taken within the first 24 hours.
House Bill 1904 would require any physician who performs an abortion in the state to specialize in obstetrics and gynecology and be board certified. This would at least protect a woman’s health should an abortion be performed.
I’m unabashedly pro-life, and I wish abortions were never performed, but until this issue is reversed in our courts, I will continue to promote every bill possible to protect the lives of the unborn and the health of women who are pregnant.
Also this past week, I met with the Oklahoma Director of Transportation, Tim Gatz. We discussed the Tin Horn Replacement and some county roads that join onto state highways and how ODOT and the county commissioners can work together on these issues. We talked about roads in Pocola, the main highway running through Poteau, and other projects. The Poteau Bypass, Pleasant Valley Road, is a very dangerous intersection. We talked about possible solutions to improve safety there. We also discussed Broadway in Poteau, which is the state highway, as well as the cleaning of Overpass Road going to Cavanaugh, and the possibility of putting in passing lanes on the highway between Poteau and Heavener.
Back on the legislative front, we passed House Bill 1019, which would cap the cost of insulin for many Oklahomans with Type 1 diabetes. The amount of copayment an individual would be required to pay would be capped at $90 for a 90-day supply. Currently, an individual’s copay is based on their own insurance plan, and the price can be very high. This is a good bill for those that struggle with trying to manage this disease.
Another bill would grant Oklahoma farmers and ranchers an exemption from having to submit a copy of their IRS Schedule F Form when applying for a farm tax exemption from the Oklahoma Tax Commission. The Tax Commission changed the rule this year requiring the form without going through the regular administrative rule making process. This measure would reverse that action.
On a final note, I want to celebrate the fact that the Carl Albert State College Board voted recently to start a wrestling program. This is exciting for students, parents, area coaches and our whole community. This is going to be a great deal for our area, and I can’t wait to see it get up and running.
Remember to listen to me on KPRV Radio each Thursday morning during the legislative session. And if I can help you with anything, feel free to call my Capitol office at (405) 557-7413 or email me at .
Rick West represents District 3 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which includes part of LeFlore County.
OKLAHOMA CITY –The Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus issued statements today in response to the racist and obscene language heard coming from commentators’ live-streamed broadcast. The slur, which included the "n-word," was directed at Norman High School Girls' Basketball players, as they were kneeling during the National Anthem.
"How disappointing that a team of student-athletes who have exhibited such courage and determination be confronted by racist language and hateful rhetoric," said Rep. Merleyn Bell, D-Norman. "These students deserve better, and my colleagues and I stand ready to ensure they receive just that."
Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus Chair Rep. Regina Goodwin, D-Tulsa, had this to add:
“In a day of rumored names and delayed accountability, Matt Rowan admitted to making despicable remarks,” Goodwin said. “Rowan is an announcer, OSPN live stream business owner, and a one-time youth pastor of a Baptist church. He spewed vulgar and obscene language inclusive of the ‘F-ing N-Word’ directed at Norman High School Girls Basketball players before the start of a state tournament game.
“He was not aware that his comments were being broadcast as the Norman team was kneeling during the National Anthem.
“This week, before this incident, I read the racist third verse of the Star-Spangled Banner on the House floor. The stanza proudly hails how the slave can not be saved from the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.
“Mr. Rowan should fully own his racist words without excuse. The vile slurs seemingly stopped once he knew he was being broadcast, not because he was healed of a blood sugar spike. A better reflection of God, racial sensitivity and fair engagement in America is key to a greater America.
“We need contracts with more capable, black business owners, broadcasters and announcers. The black student-athletes who are watched running up and down these courts should also see themselves more in station owners, producers, administrators coaches, referees and teachers. These young women exercised their right to peacefully protest police killings and injustice in America.
"Their taking knee is far better than taking a knee to end a life as officers did to Derrick Scott and George Floyd. The use of the n-word shows America’s ugly racist past is too often present.
“Norman High School players, black and white together, who are bravely protesting for more justice in America is beautiful.”
OKLAHOMA CITY -- State Rep. Mauree Turner, D-OKC, released the following statement today in response to House Bill 1888, which prohibits public bodies from conducting gender or sexual diversity training or counseling.
“My mom raised me in an LGBTQ2S+ affirming space because she knew the world would not do the same.
“I’m appreciative that the language regarding the outing of students was removed as the legislation was quickly becoming more reminiscent of when people used to publish the identities and private information of our LGBTQ2S+ community members in newspapers so that they could be hunted down.
“Trying to legislate people into the 'closet' is not how we make Oklahoma a top 10 state.
“Many of my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, expressed to me their disgust with the legislation. I appreciate it, but I need those who chose to keep their disgust private to understand that they missed a chance to champion the victims of this legislation.
“You cannot say you are pro-life and pass legislation that is sure to increase suicide attempts and suicide rates for children in Oklahoma by weaponizing their identities against them - that's not how this works.
“We suspended our children and communities in the air while we entertained House Bill 1888, waiting to hear it or not. Ultimately, we didn't hear it, but so much damage has been done. May we start the healing process together and forever remember: magic happens when you show up. This couldn't have been done without communities coming together. ”
OKLAHOMA CITY – The House of Representatives advanced a slate of broadband expansion legislation this week laying the groundwork for comprehensive improvements to the state’s lagging internet infrastructure over the next decade.
As a package, the bills offer state incentives and grants to broadband providers, establish ways to maximize existing and future infrastructure, update broadband terms in state law, and add important stakeholders to the council developing long-term broadband plans.
“These bills are a strong foundation to get faster, cheaper internet to all Oklahomans – especially in rural areas with no internet at all,” said House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka. “It won’t be easy or happen overnight, but the House is committed to doing its part to deliver broadband to all Oklahomans.”
Expanding rural broadband is a multibillion dollar, multi-decade endeavor nearly every state is undertaking. Billions of federal dollars are being made available to internet providers to build out infrastructure. State and local policies and incentives also play a large role.
“Harnessing those substantial federal dollars with strong state policies and targeted state incentives is the fastest, most efficient path to get broadband to the many places lacking it in Oklahoma,” said Rep. Logan Phillips, R-Mounds, chairman of the House Technology Committee. “Oklahoma was falling behind in broadband development and access, but we are making an aggressive course correction with this package of bills and others to come, on top of federal efforts. It’s an all-hands-on-deck approach.”
Oklahoma is ranked 47th nationally for rural access to broadband. A 2017 report by the Oklahoma State University Extension Office found approximately 30% of Oklahoma households had no type of internet connection at home.
Additionally, there is a significant digital divide between rural and urban parts of the state, with 72% of urban households connected to broadband and only 48% of rural households connected. The rural/urban broadband gap of 24 percentage points is the largest among Oklahoma’s neighboring states.
“Lack of broadband development hurts rural Oklahoma and makes the entire state less competitive when attracting businesses to grow our economy. Expanding broadband received strong bipartisan support in the House because it has statewide benefits in so many areas, from the economy to the education system to healthcare to overall quality of life,” Phillips said.
Phillips is co-chair, along with Sen. James Leewright, R-Bristow, of the Rural Broadband Expansion Council, a diverse group of stakeholders formed last session to develop broadband expansion plans for Oklahoma.
“The House will continue bringing all parties to the table to develop actionable, achievable plans,” McCall said. “I appreciate the contributions of all the stakeholders and House members working on this significant long-term effort.”
Broadband bills advancing to Senate
- HB 2040, by McCall, creates a sales and use tax rebate for new broadband equipment used to deliver service in unserved or underserved areas. A maximum of $20 million would be rebated for projects in 2022, with $15 million allocated for rural areas and $5 million for urban areas. It passed 85-14.
- HB 2090, by McCall, adds a tribal representative and wireless internet service provider to the Rural Broadband Expansion Council, establishes 25 megabits per second download and 3 megabits per second upload as the minimum speeds offered to be considered broadband service, and defines terms like “underserved” and “unserved” for the purpose of mapping and incentive awards. It also directs the council to develop strategic parameters for state incentive awards for consideration next session. It passed 97-0.
- HB 2928, by McCall, requires providers to submit data for mapping all broadband assets in the state. It passed 98-0.
- HB 1124, by Phillips, establishes a broadband grant program at the Commerce Department. It passed 91-6.
- HB 1122, by Phillips, HB 1923, by Rep. Ryan Martinez, R-Edmond, and HB 2779, by Rep. John Pfeiffer, R-Orlando, all address opportunities for broadband and other attachments to utility poles. Further details of the measures will continue to be developed through the legislative process.
WASHINGTON— Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) released the following statement after he was chosen to serve on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence for the 117th Congress.
“The work of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is vitally important to the safety and security of not only Oklahomans, but also every American,” Mullin said. “I am honored to be selected to serve on this prestigious committee and bring valuable experience to the table. From oversight of our intelligence community to protecting our country from emerging threats, I look forward to working with Ranking Member Nunes and the other members of the committee to strengthen our national security. Peace through strength.”
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Ensuring Access to Medicaid Act, which would establish regulations for health care providers wishing to participate in Medicaid within Oklahoma passed out of the House today.
House Bill 1091 by Rep. Carol Bush, R-Tulsa, specifies how claims are to be processed, ensures payments made to providers are timely and that rates are following the fee schedules in effect at the date of service. It also details how quickly treatment must be authorized.
“No matter what Medicaid delivery system the state chooses to move forward with – whether managed care or a state model – we must ensure Oklahomans can access quality health care,” Bush said. “This bill determines the contract provisions the Health Care Authority must establish to protect the rights of qualifying participants.”
Oklahomans in June passed a state question allowing for the expansion of Medicaid to include low-income adults between the ages of 18 and 65 whose income does not exceed 133% of the federal poverty level and who are not already covered by Medicaid.
The governor in conjunction with the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) has selected multiple managed care organizations to administer the state’s Medicaid plan. The plan to this point has been managed by the OHCA.
The plan could still be contested by the Legislature, but in the meantime, Bush said her goal is to protect Oklahomans should the plan proceed.
HB 1091 requires that s a condition of any proposed or potential plan participating in capitated managed care, the OHCA shall require the following contract provisions:
- 90% of all claims shall be paid within 14 days of submission to the plan;
- Authorizations shall be facilitated within 24 hours for inpatients transferring to post- and long-term acute-care facilities;
- All plans shall offer network contracts to all community providers designated as essential by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services;
- All plans shall offer payment rates to contracted providers that are no lower than the fee schedule of OHCA in effect on the date of service;
- All plans shall formally credential and re-credential physicians or other providers at a frequency that may be less than once in three years;
- All funds appropriated to OHCA shall be used in accordance with legislative intent; and
- Plan reviews and determinations for prior authorization must be timely and in accordance with established guidelines.
HB 1091 passed the House with a vote of 81-13. It is being carried in the state Senate by Sen. Chris Kidd, R-Waurika.
Carol Bush represents District 70 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which includes parts of Tulsa County.
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus held a press conference at the State Capitol on Thursday morning to encourage Republicans to continue to focus on the restoration of the Earned Income Tax Credit.
Democrats have fought for the restoration of the EITC since before it was repealed, and it is currently a key priority of the Oklahoma Focused Agenda.
“Many members of our caucus, myself included, have filed legislation at one time or another to restore the refundability of the EITC,” said House Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman. “Now we are seeing it in Republican tax legislation. The EITC is our common ground, and it must be included in any conversation about tax policy.”
Rep. Mickey Dollens, D-OKC, and Rep. Monroe Nichols, D-Tulsa, both have EITC legislation filed this session.
“This is about securing a win for Oklahoma’s workforce,” Dollens said. “Restoring the EITC is the easiest way to get money back into the pocket of Oklahoma workers.”
The EITC also contributes to economic development. An OKPolicy study showed that every dollar spent through the credit generates $1.58 in economic activity.
“Democrats have fought for the EITC because it is a smart policy that helps individuals and communities,” Nichols said. “Hardworking, low-income Oklahomans shoulder the burden of Oklahoma’s irresponsible tax policy. Now, Republicans have finally acknowledged the importance of the Earned Income Tax Credit. The EITC and Oklahoma workers must be at the center of the conversation when we talk about tax policy in this building.”
To learn more about House Democratic Caucus economic priorities, visit oklahomafocused.com.
WASHINGTON—Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) released the following statement after voting against Speaker Pelosi’s gun-grabbing bills, H.R. 8 and H.R. 1446.
“Gun owners across our country should be concerned about the future of our Second Amendment rights with Nancy Pelosi and her radical Democrats in control of the House,” said Mullin. “The gun-grabbing bills the House passed today do nothing to prevent gun violence at the hands of criminals. Instead, they turn law-abiding, gun-carrying citizens into criminals. The Constitution clearly states: ‘the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.’ Period. I will always stand up for our Second Amendment rights and that’s why I voted no on both of these bills.”
H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, criminalizes many activities that are common practice among law abiding gun owners, including mandating background checks when a gun is temporarily transferred from one person or entity to another. This would cover transfers of firearms with historical significance to a museum for public display, a suicidal person who asks a friend to take their guns, or an injured car accident victim who alerts an emergency responder that there is a gun in their vehicle and asks the responder to keep the gun from falling into the wrong hands when the vehicle is towed.
H.R. 1446, the Enhanced Background Checks Act, creates arbitrary delays on background checks by increasing the amount of time a person must wait to receive a completed background check to a minimum of 10 full business days prior to proceeding to sale. Current law allows the sale of a firearm to an individual if the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) does not return a denial within 3 full business days.
OKLAHOMA CITY – Legislation clarifying immunity protections for people asserting claims of self-defense passed the House today.
Rep. Kevin West, R-Moore, said House Bill 1662 was a constituent request and he worked with the Oklahoma 2nd Amendment Association and with the state District Attorneys Council on the language in the bill.
“For people who have to use justified self-defense to protect themselves when they fear for their lives or safety, this gives them the assumption that they are innocent until proven guilty and that they acted in a legal manner unless proven otherwise,” West said.
West ran a similar measure last year, but it was sidelined because of COVID.
As amended, HB 1662 creates an appeal process for a defendant charged with and subject to criminal prosecution for unlawful use of defensive force. The measure would allow the defendant to file a motion to dismiss charges based on a claim of justified self-defense. If the motion is successful, the criminal charges and proceedings are to be dismissed with prejudice, which means the charge cannot be refiled.
The bill requires that if the court still decides at the end of the appeals process to pursue the unjustified use of force charge then the state must prove based on clear and compelling evidence that the defensive force used was not justified and was thereby unlawful.
HB 1662 passed by a vote of 77-19. Sen Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow is carrying the bill in the state Senate.