Whatzup Politics (1162)
OKLAHOMA CITY - State Rep. Lundy Kiger (R-Poteau) today announced the following process for anyone who has contacted his office or who has had or is still having health-related issues that required personal medical attention associated with Heavener’s water quality while Veolia North America was operating the city’s water treatment plant through the end of 2019.
From May through October 2019, while working with constituents to help improve Heavener’s water quality issues, Kiger received a large number of health-related complaints from constituents living in Heavener who had been exposed to dirty water through bathing or through consumption while cooking or drinking the water.
From the large number of complaints received, Kiger discussed with officials from the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) possible options available for people with concerns to confirm that their health issues actually came from the poor water quality or not.
“It was evident with so many calls of concerns that people needed confirmation that would help them in their ongoing treatment,” Kiger said. “To do this, I’ve called on officials at the OSDH to discuss options and a possible health evaluation for people who have sought treatment or are needing to seek treatment.”
Kiger invited officials from the OSDH to travel to Heavener in November 2019. The team, led by Director Gary Cox, met with a sample group of 10 citizens from Heavener who had contacted Kiger with ongoing treatment with serious concerns of health effects from the water.
“When I started receiving emails on specific health problems from individual people, I understood this was serious and that too many had been affected,” Kiger said. “When we met in person with the sample group and heard each one telling their story about their specific health problems and daily struggles related to the water, it was shocking to see the physical damage on some and to hear in their own words that illustrated just how bad some of these health problems are for these and many other people who have been exposed to dirty water for so many years.”
Some of the health issues described included bacterial infection, high blood cell counts, vomiting, diarrhea, hair falling out, headaches, dizziness, severe skin irritation on children and the elderly, skin rashes so bad that many had bleeding rashes, and some people who described some very serious organ failures and surgeries earlier in the year. These were some but not all of the illnesses described to OSDH officials at the November meeting.
Kiger requested that the OSDH help develop a process for these people to be seen to help confirm if or if not their health issues are being caused by the dirty water.
The following is the process available to people affected or who feel they have been affected by poor water quality in Heavener until the end of December 2019, who have met with a medical professional and received an evaluation or treatment for illnesses, but the physician wasn’t aware of the water problem possibly being a cause: you can ask your physician to email their name, phone number and email address to
Kiger will respond back to physicians with contact information for the state’s epidemiologist. This will give doctors the opportunity to discuss with the epidemiologist whether there is a possibility an illness could be related to dirty water. This could potentially lead to helping doctors assess an individual’s symptoms anew, possibly leading to a new diagnoses,
Kiger said this isn’t the easiest and most perfect process, but it is at least some help for those who feel their health issues were caused by dirty water.
Since the removal of Veolia from treating city water began Jan. 1, water quality improvements are being made daily. For those who believe they became ill or had physical health damages due to poor water quality, however, Kiger said he wants each person to have the peace of mind knowing the truth.
“My thanks to Director Cox and the team at the OSDH for their help on this matter for the people of Heavener,” Kiger said.
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma House of Representatives passed legislation directing all sheriffs, jailers and deputies to comply with any request made in an immigration retainer request provided by the federal government. House Bill 3195 is authored by Rep. John Pfeiffer (R-Orlando), who pointed to instances in Oklahoma where illegal immigrants have been released by local law enforcement despite their immigration status having been confirmed. Pfeiffer said the bill was requested by members of law enforcement to help define their role in these situations.
“I repeatedly heard from law enforcement in my district and from across the state that they needed clarification as to their roles in these situations,” Pfeiffer said. “House Bill 3195 requests that they comply with federal immigration agencies by alerting them to a person’s immigration status and holding a person for no longer than 48 hours while federal officials arrive.” House Bill 3195 was co-authored by Rep. Sean Roberts (R-Hominy).
“Our local law enforcement should be cooperating with federal immigration agencies in instances where a person’s status as an illegal immigrant has been confirmed,” Roberts said. “We’ve seen unfortunate situations in Oklahoma where our existing laws failed to keep our citizens safe by releasing an illegal immigrant before federal agents arrived.”
The legislation would require the person identified in the immigration detainer to be informed they are being held in accordance with the request from federal agencies. The bill states that a sheriff, jailer or deputy is not required to comply if the person has provided proof that the person is a citizen of the United States. House Bill 3195 passed the House by a 78-21 vote. It is now available to be considered by the Senate, where it is authored by Sen. Julie Daniels (R-Bartlesville)
Attorney General Hunter’s Office Successfully Defends Two Longstanding Abortion Laws in Oklahoma County
OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General Mike Hunter today announced his office successfully defended two longstanding state laws from challenges led by a New York City-based abortion advocacy group. Oklahoma County District Judge Natalie Mai declined to put on hold a 1978 Oklahoma law allowing only physicians to perform abortions and a 2012 requirement that physicians must perform abortions in person, rather than by telemedicine.
Both laws were passed on an overwhelming and bipartisan basis, and had never before been challenged. “This is an extreme lawsuit, seeking to overthrow commonsense safety laws that have been on the books for half a century combined,” Attorney General Hunter said. “We appreciate Judge Mai’s thoughtful review and decision, which stays faithful to the U.S. Supreme Court’s repeated assertion that there is ‘no doubt’ that these types of laws are reasonable and constitutional ‘to ensure the safety of the abortion procedure.’ "Abortion advocates used to say that abortion should be between a woman and her doctor, but now they are attempting to take the doctor out of the room, and out of the picture altogether. We look forward to our continued defense of these laws and others that have been enacted to protect Oklahoma women’s health and safety, as well as the dignity of the unborn.”
A contrary ruling, the attorney general observed, would have potentially threatened the state’s anti-opioid efforts, given that the state also restricts the distribution of opioids through telemedicine. In defending these laws, the attorney general was supported by the Oklahoma State Medical Association, the Oklahoma Association of Nurse Practitioners, and the Telehealth Alliance of Oklahoma, among others.
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed legislation directing the Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision and the State Board of Osteopathic Examiners to revoke the licenses of physicians who perform abortions. House Bill 1182, authored by State Rep. Jim Olsen (R-Roland), would revoke the license for one year.
An amendment filed prior to the vote clarified the life of the mother exception. “Every single human life, born and unborn, has value. It’s our obligation as a civilized people to defend and fight for those who cannot fight for themselves,” Olsen said. “I’m glad the House stood together to recognize that the most innocent us also deserve our most basic of rights—the right to life. But there is always more work to be done to fight for the lives of the unborn.
This is something that a lot of good people have worked on and prayed for, for a long time. I have had the privilege of being a part of that, and I am thankful for the help of the Lord.” During debate, Rep. Brad Boles (R-Marlow) explained that House Bill 1182 was extremely personal to him. Boles, a coauthor of the bill, told the members that 37 years ago, his birth mother made the courageous decision to put him up for adoption when she could have instead had an abortion. “Now she had a million reasons why it would have been more convenient for her to choose abortion—economic reasons, future college, athletic reasons—but she chose life,” Boles said. “And due to that decision she made unselfishly, I’m here today.” Rep. Tammy West (R-Bethany) also debated in favor of the bill.
“This bill, as amended, adds protections for the child, the mother, and for the discernment of the decision of the physician who is taking care of both,” West said. “It also enforces that the baby, whether in the womb of the mother or in the arms of the mother, is never reduced to an inconvenience in the state of Oklahoma.” House Speaker Charles McCall (R-Atoka) was also a coauthor of the bill.
“The overwhelming majority of Oklahomans are pro-life, and they communicate their position on this issue to our members routinely,” McCall said. “I fully support any effort that would save an unborn child while also ensuring that the mother’s life and physical health is protected as well. This bill does that, and it is a policy the House has passed before.
“All life has intrinsic worth, and we should be doing all we can to protect those who cannot protect themselves,” McCall continued. “I am proud to be one of the members of the House standing with the many groups supporting this bill, including the Oklahoma Faith Leaders group comprised of the Catholic Conference of Oklahoma, Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Assemblies of God, Heartland Conference Church of God, and Tulsa International Pentecostal Holiness Church New Horizons Conference.” Rev. Paul Abner, an ordained Oklahoma City minister who serves as the director of Oklahoma Faith Leaders, praised the legislation’s passage.
“We’re grateful to Rep. Olsen and other members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives for passing this legislation today,” Abner said. “Unborn children should be protected by law and welcomed into life, and HB1182 is one more step toward accomplishing that. Oklahoma is leading the way with this innovative legislation as we believe no other bill like this has passed in any other state. We look forward to working with the Oklahoma State Senate next to pass this much needed legislation.” Rev. Blake Gideon from First Baptist Church of Edmond, who serves as president of Oklahoma Baptists, was also in favor of the legislation.
“I support House Bill 1182 because it is one of the strongest pieces of pro-life legislation that Oklahoma has put forth,” Gideon said. “It holds doctors to the Hippocratic Oath to do no harm, and it stipulates the only exception being the life of the mother.” House Bill 1182 is coauthored by Rep. Kevin West (R-Moore); Rep. Tom Gann (R-Inola); Rep. Justin Humphrey (R-Lane); Rep. David Smith (R-Stuart); Rep. Brad Boles (R-Marlow); Rep. David Hardin (R-Stilwell); Rep. Sean Roberts (R-Hominy); Rep. Dustin Roberts (R-Durant); Rep. Dean Davis (R-Broken Arrow); Rep. Todd Russ (R-Cordell); Rep. Jay Steagall (R-Yukon); Rep. Marilyn Stark (R-Bethany); Rep. Zack Taylor (R-Seminole); Rep. Denise Crosswhite Hader (Piedmont); Rep. Tammy Townley (R-Ardmore); Rep. Kevin McDugle (R-Broken Arrow); Rep. Nicole Miller (R-Edmond); Rep. Kyle Hilbert (R-Bristow); Rep. Lonnie Sims (R-Jenks); and Rep. Mark Lepak (R-Claremore). House Bill 1182 passed the House by a vote of 71-21. It now moves to the Senate for consideration.
The bill is authored in the Senate by Sen. Mark Allen (R-Spiro). -30- Rep. Jim Olsen represents District 2 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which includes a portion of Sequoyah County.
By State Rep. Lundy Kiger
One of the most notable problems we have in the county and much of Oklahoma is the trash problems on the roadsides of our beautiful state. Every time you see a piece of trash, someone threw it out or it blew out of their vehicle or truck. Regardless both are illegal. The state, counties and cities have laws in place to fine and address those that throw out trash. But, many people litter without being seen by law enforcement; the result is still the same that our county looks not only dirty, but as a population it comes across as we don’t care. This is something that we have to change.
We live in one of the most beautiful parts of the state, and it’s time we start taking care of it as the asset it really is to our area. What people see is a reflection on each of us.
I have made contact with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections (ODOC) and requested they look at the possibility of using state inmates to help us get the litter problem under control. My request to ODOC is to consider a program that would allow inmates at Jim E. Hamilton Correctional Center, and possibly state inmates housed in the LeFlore County Jail to participate in litter clean up with the help and direction of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT).
Each of us agree that our state inmates didn’t create the litter issue, but as taxpayers each of us are paying for their daily needs of room, food, medical care and for many education. As I discussed with ODOC, our taxpayers would be happy to see those who we are supporting with our taxes be a part of the solution in helping to clean up our county.
I will continue discussions with ODOC to look at possible options to help not only LeFlore County, but all counties in our state. My thanks to each of our communities who work hard in organizing trash pick-up with volunteers in our county annually. I hope soon that we have state inmates helping and making a real difference.
WASHINGTON— Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) released the following statement after the United States Senate voted to acquit President Trump on both articles of impeachment. “From day one, this has been entirely politically driven and it’s no surprise that President Trump was acquitted today,” Mullin said.
“Throughout this entire impeachment process one fact has remained the same: President Trump has not committed a single impeachable offense. I hope we can move on from this and focus on delivering results for the American people.”
The polling place for Precinct 312 has been changed, Sharon Steele, Secretary of the Leflore County Election Board, announced today.
Voters in the precinct formerly voted at the Hodgen First Baptist Church.
Beginning with the February 11, Special School Bond Election for Heavener School, the polling place for Precinct 312 will be at 20520 School House Rd., Hodgen, OK.
Voters will be voting in the school safe room.
Oklahoma's Presidential Preferential Primary election is scheduled for March 3. Here is what you need to know.
- Eligible voters may cast only one ballot for the Presidential Preferential Primary (PPP).
- Voters must be a registered member of the party for which they intend to cast a ballot. (For example, Republicans may vote in the Republican Democrats may vote in the Democratic PPP.)
- Independents are allowed to vote in the Democratic PPP only. The Democratic Party is the only recognized party in Oklahoma that currently allows Independents to vote in its primaries. Independents are defined as voters registered without a party affiliation.
- The purpose of the Presidential Preferential Primary (PPP) is to allow all recognized parties in Oklahoma to send delegates to their party's national convention. The delegates are responsible for casting votes for the candidates they are assigned to, which represent the popular
- Each party is responsible for choosing the Presidential candidate that will be on the ticket in November.
If you are currently registered to vote, you do not need to register again for the Presidential Preferential Primary election. If you are not registered to vote, you can download an application at: elections.ok.gov or contact the LeFlore County Election Board at 918-647-3701 or County Election Board is located at 103 N. Church St., Poteau. Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The last day to register for the Presidential Preferential Primary is February 7.
Registered voters may verify their registration and political affiliation using the State Election Board's OK Voter Portal at: elections.ok.gov/OVP.
The Election Board reminds voters that no party changes are allowed from April 1 through August 31 of even-numbered years.
Attorney General Hunter Partners with Walmart, EVERFI to Launch Prescription Drug Safety Program in Oklahoma High Schools
WASHINGTON— Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) released the following statement after President Trump signed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) today.
“During his campaign, President Trump promised the American people a better trade deal and he delivered on that promise,” Mullin said. “Canada and Mexico are Oklahoma’s top trading partners and this agreement puts us on a level playing field with our neighbors. Today’s signing has been over a year in the making and I look forward to seeing its benefits for years to come.”