Whatzup Politics (1484)
OKLAHOMA CITY – House Resolutions 1009 and 1010 sponsored by Rep. Jay Steagall, R-Yukon, were adopted in the Oklahoma House of Representatives today. The two resolutions assert Oklahoma’s state sovereignty in the face of multiple attempts by the federal government to usurp states’ rights. In particular, the resolutions are meant to combat H.R. 1, the “For the People Act of 2021” and H.R. 8, the “Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021.”
HR 1009 reasserts state sovereignty and the state’s authoritative powers as prescribed in the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and declares H.R. 1 to lie beyond the enumerated authorities delegated to the United States Congress in Article I, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution.
“H.R. 1, known as the For the People Act of 2021, is an attempt by the federal government to usurp our state’s election processes. More specifically, in Division A, Title I of H.R. 1, Congress seeks to commandeer the voter registration processes of the several states,” said Steagall. “Additionally, H.R. 1 directs the states to utilize third-party entities to manage the states’ congressional redistricting efforts – a work that is prescribed to this state legislature by the Oklahoma Constitution. This blatant federal overreach cannot be left unchecked.”
HR 1010 reasserts state sovereignty and the people’s reserved powers as prescribed in the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and declares H.R. 8 to lie beyond the enumerated authorities delegated by the people to the federal government.
“The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021, or H.R. 8, is a clear violation of the limitations placed on the federal government prescribed in the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution,” said Steagall. “The provisions of H.R. 8 contradict our constituents’ innumerable unalienable rights including their Fourth Amendment Right to be secure in their persons and effects, as well as their Fifth Amendment right to due process of law.”
HR 1009 and HR 1010 will be distributed to the President of the United States, President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives and each member of the Oklahoma Congressional Delegation.
OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Dell Kerbs, R-Shawnee, today released the following statement regarding the announcement that the National 4-H Conference Center, one of the largest nonacademic youth education and conference facilities in America, is selling its Maryland facility due to government restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is heartbreaking news for the generations of 4-H participants who grew up traveling to the National 4-H Conference Center, where they made unforgettable memories, found lifelong friends and learned firsthand the value of leadership and hard work.
It’s incredibly frustrating to watch businesses and organizations like 4-H struggle to thrive and maintain their identity while living under an overreaching bureaucratic government that fails to take a step back and think about the consequences of their decisions.
This huge loss is the effect of those poorly thought-out decisions. Those decisions have everlasting consequences, and as a result, the 4-H community is losing a significant part of our history.
For members of the 4-H community, there are many fond memories attached to this place, but it’s my hope that 4-H’s mission to continue to instill leadership skills and hard work in our youth will remain no matter the location.”
Kerbs is chair of the House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee.
Click here to read the announcement from National 4-H Council President and CEO Jennifer Sirangelo.
What Is Your Stimulus Check Really Costing You?
By Congressman Markwayne Mullin
Millions of Americans will soon be receiving a $1,400 stimulus check from the latest round of “COVID” relief. While I’m sure many people are happy about seeing this extra money come in, have you thought about what that check is really costing you?
Our country has spent more than $5.7 trillion on COVID relief packages since March of last year. If you divide that by the roughly 330 million people living in our country, that will cost about $17,000 per person, or $69,000 per family of four.
All of that is on top of the massive amount of national debt our country has amassed. In October 2020, it surpassed $27 trillion, which is nearly $85,000 per citizen. This is a huge price to pay for a one-time check.
President Biden, Speaker Pelosi, and Majority Leader Schumer are showing no signs of curbing our out-of-control spending. They will spend billions of dollars to fund their Green New Deal and other big government policies that are part of their radical agenda, knowing full well their options to pay for it will be to raise taxes or add to the debt.
As Congress continues to debate these issues, I encourage you to think about the real cost of the legislation we pass. This is not Monopoly money; it’s taxpayers’ money. The people of Oklahoma expect us to be good stewards of these funds and make tough decisions on what to spend it on.
Our country cannot continue down a path of reckless spending with no plan for repayment. We are saddling our future generations with a huge price to pay because at the end of the day, someone has to pay back what we have borrowed.
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.
OKLAHOMA CITY -- State Rep. Mauree Turner, D-OKC, released the following statement after the House met Tuesday morning and passed three non-binding resolutions before adjourning for the week.
“House resolutions are seen by our constituents as value statements. As policymakers, we should take them just as seriously as the laws we write. They signal to the people what we care about, especially in a time when the everyday needs of Oklahoma have been magnified. Resolutions are ways we show the people what laws might come from us in the future.
“Today, we spent time declaring our sovereignty under the 10th Amendment. Of course, state sovereignty has been recognized by the courts since the ratification of the Bill of Rights in 1791.
“The motive of these bills, however, didn’t seem to be adherence to the Constitution so much as an attempt to score political points by attacking legislation coming out of the U.S. House of Representatives.
“What legislation did Congress pass that we found so egregious? The expansion of voting rights and background checks to purchase a firearm.
“We must do better for our constituents. Government can no longer be focused on the pomp and circumstance of politics. We need real Oklahoma Focused solutions for the problems our constituents face every day.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.”