Whatzup Politics (1404)
By Congressman Markwayne Mullin
2020 has been a difficult year for everyone. The current challenges facing our country have dampened the Christmas spirit for many during this time of year and I’m sure there are some who just want to get past the holiday and move on to 2021.
Christmas will look different than previous years for families across the country, but our fear and challenges cannot overshadow the real meaning of Christmas.
Matthew 1:21 tells us: “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.” The true meaning of Christmas is the celebration of the Lord Jesus Christ who was born to this earth to save sinners like us. The miraculous birth of Jesus Christ calls us to rejoice, no matter what else is happening in our lives.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).” This Christmas, my family will celebrate the spirit of Christmas, even though we are absolutely looking forward to a better new year.
From my family to yours, I want to wish you a Merry Christmas.
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. Sherrie Conley, R-Newcastle, recently was selected to co-chair a nationwide bipartisan committee for trauma-informed legislators. House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, made the announcement.
The committee of trauma-informed legislators is one of the proposed initiatives of the Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice (CTIPP), a national trauma-informed advocacy organization. The purpose of creating the committee is to promote state trauma-informed legislation.
Conley, a Republican, has been invited to co-chair alongside New York Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi, a Democrat. Both lawmakers served as co-panelists last week during the National Conference of State Legislatures webinar on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). A spokesman for CTIPP said having Republican and Democrat co-chairs makes it clear this is a bipartisan committee.
“Rep. Conley has devoted much of her career to helping students and families overcome the effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences so they can thrive and enjoy bright futures,” McCall said. “It’s an honor to announce her invitation to serve in this pivotal role to both be an advocate at the national level and to bring what she learns back home to help Oklahomans.”
Conley said, “This is a fantastic opportunity for me to learn from others in the nation about policy and practices which are key to helping people overcome the effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences and to bring that knowledge back to Oklahoma. I’m also excited to bring the work we’ve started here in Oklahoma on this matter to the national forefront. It is an incredible honor to be asked to help lead in this way.”
Trauma-informed legislation has been introduced in at least 29 states, covering a range of approaches to promote trauma-informed policies and practices. The intent for the committee is to provide a forum in which legislators advocating for trauma-informed legislation can share experiences, get reports on relevant developments, develop model legislation and engage in other activities that help build momentum for trauma-informed approaches. CTIPP will provide administrative support for the committee, while the co-chairs will provide leadership, including shaping the role of the committee, helping it develop a national profile, developing the agendas for periodic Zoom meetings, helping to recruit members, and other activities they decide to take. Recruiting will begin by reaching out to the approximately 60 sponsors of the legislation in the 29 states.
Conley, a former public school teacher and school administrator, was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 2018. During her years as an educator, and now a state representative, she has devoted much of her time to educating the public about Adverse Childhood Experiences and working to develop solutions to help her constituents, her state and now the nation.
CTIPP’s mission is to create a resilient, trauma-informed society where all individuals, families and communities have the opportunity and support needed to thrive.
Sherrie Conley represents District 20 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which includes parts of Cleveland, Garvin, McClain and Pottawatomie counties.
By State Rep. Rick West
One of the great traditions in the state Legislature is our high school page program, which gives students the opportunity to work at the state Capitol for a week during the legislative session. During this time, students run messages for their representative or senator and they get to take part in a mock legislative session and be elected to various leadership positions by their peers. The program is currently suspended because of COVID-19, but I want to encourage parents and school administrators to go ahead and get me a list of interested seniors. If it does open back up, I can get applications out to you to give them a chance to take part in this wonderful tradition.
An opportunity for college students is our House Internship program. Students enrolled in credit-bearing courses can apply by the last of December to serve during the spring semester. This program gives students the opportunity to be an active participant in the legislative process of our state. House interns will work closely either with professional, nonpartisan staff or their state representatives and will be part of a governing body that produces laws and shapes public policy for the State of Oklahoma. More information about the program can be found here: https://okhouse.gov/Internship/Index.aspx. Interested students can contact my office.
On the legislative front, the state Board of Equalization recently met to certify the revenue estimate of what the Legislature is expected to receive to draft the state budget for Fiscal Year 2022, which begins July 1, 2021. The board estimates lawmakers will have $8.4 billion to fund state services. This is not nearly as bad as some feared with the economic effects of COVID-19 and its effect on businesses this year. The good revenue picture is thanks to the prudent actions of the governor and Republican lawmakers who tried their best to keep businesses open during the pandemic and to get things moving again as soon as it could be safely done. While we want to keep people healthy, we have to have our businesses open to keep our economy strong. This then provides revenue that funds services for those who need them.
Here locally, I’ve had a ball visiting many of our small town Christmas parades. Spiro, Heavener, Monroe, Poteau, Arkoma and Wister have all hosted parades where the crowds have just been great and full of holiday spirit. Seems like we all needed a little fresh air to breathe. And, of course, it’s wonderful to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas – a savior who is Christ the Lord. I welcome His message of peace on earth and good will toward mankind.
With that, I want to wish everyone in District 3 a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Rick West represents District 3 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which includes part of LeFlore County.
OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Jay Steagall, R-Yukon, and State Sen. Paul Rosino, R-Oklahoma City, co-chairs of the Oklahoma House and Senate Joint Veterans Caucus, are joining the Oklahoma City Fire and Police Departments on Thursday and Friday to provide pizza to soldiers returning home for Christmas and the New Year. The soldiers currently are stationed at Ft. Sill in Lawton and are traveling through Will Rogers World Airport.
“What an honor it is to welcome these soldiers on this leg of their journey home,” Steagall said. “On behalf of the members of the Oklahoma Legislature’s Veterans Caucus, I want to extend our gratitude for these soldiers’ service to our country, and pray that we all remember those who cannot be home this holiday season.”
Rosino added, “It’s such a blessing to once again participate in this event, honoring our brothers and sisters in arms who are on their way home to spend time with their families for the holidays. Though this year has presented several challenges, I’m grateful that these troops will be able to be home with their loved ones.”
“As firefighters, we feel a kinship to those who wear a uniform on a daily basis,” said Cameron Weems, president of the Oklahoma City Firefighters Local 157. “Public service is a foundation to both our community and this nation. To be able to provide something so simple as a warm meal to our service members is one small way to show our appreciation. I can only hope that these brave women and men realize that they have our everlasting respect and appreciation for the job they do. The Oklahoma City Firefighters will always stand ready to support our military community.”
“The Oklahoma City Fraternal Order of Police is honored to play a small role in this act of appreciation,” said Mark Nelson, Vice President of Oklahoma City Fraternal Order of Police. “This year has been extremely difficult for all of us. The men and women who selflessly give of themselves deserve our gratitude and respect. We wish all our military personnel a safe and Merry Christmas.
Steagall, Rosino and members of the fire and police departments will greet soldiers arriving at Will Rogers World Airport at midnight Dec. 17. More will arrive Dec. 18. Pizza will be served both days.
Jay Steagall represents District 43 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which includes parts of Canadian County. Paul Rosino serves State Senate District 45 in Oklahoma County.
WASHINGTON— Yesterday, Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) signed an amicus brief supporting the Texas Attorney General’s lawsuit against Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin, which challenges the results of the 2020 presidential election in those states.
“The American people must have faith in our election system and deserve certainty regarding the 2020 elections,” Mullin said. “Fair and honest elections are a pillar of our democracy and this brief asks the Supreme Court to fully consider the issues that have been seen in the states. We must all remain committed to protecting the integrity of our democracy and ensuring the will of the people succeeds.”
A copy of the amicus brief can be found here.
WASHINGTON— Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) today applauded the Federal Communications Commission’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction, which will help rural communities receive access to broadband. 50,617 households or businesses in Oklahoma’s Second Congressional District will get access to high-speed broadband in the next 10 years, with a total investment of $79,828,448.
“My district is the only congressional district in the country where broadband is available to less than half the population,” Mullin said. “Rural consumers need the bandwidth necessary to deliver educational opportunities for children and adults, telemedicine care for patients, news and entertainment content to consumers, and more markets for businesses’ goods and services. This investment will help ensure rural Oklahomans are not left behind in the Internet economy.”
More information on the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund can be found here.
OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Ross Ford, R-Broken Arrow, has been appointed by House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, to serve as a member of the Criminal Justice Reclassification Coordination Council beginning immediately.
The council, chaired by Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter, reviews the reclassification of felonies and sentence lengths and makes recommendations to the governor and House and Senate leaders to ensure the safety of the public.
“I’m honored by the speaker’s trust in me to serve in this capacity,” Ford said. “Making sure our laws keep the public safe, but are fair for those accused of crimes, is important to me, as it is to all Oklahomans. I look forward to the important work this council has been tasked to perform.”
Ford is a 25-year veteran of the Tulsa Police Department where he worked as a patrol officer and as a DARE and community relations officer. He said this experience will help him serve the council’s mission of considering reforms to Oklahoma’s felony classification system and sentencing requirements.
The 22-member Criminal Justice Reclassification Coordination Council is made up of law enforcement personnel, judicial system representatives, mental health and recovery professionals, private sector advocates and state government partners. The council met eight times in 2019. A report of their work can be found here: https://www.oag.ok.gov/sites/g/files/gmc766/f/documents/2020/cjrcc_annual_report_2019.pdf.
Ross Ford represents District 76 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which includes part of Broken Arrow and Tulsa.
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma House of Representatives and Oklahoma Senate have planned a bipartisan, bicameral virtual demonstration of the redistricting software, Maptitude for Redistricting by Caliper, that both chambers will use to redraw new legislative and congressional district lines during the 2021 redistricting process.
As part of the Legislature’s transparency efforts surrounding redistricting, the public will be able to watch the virtual demonstration via livestream on the Oklahoma Senate website, https://oksenate.gov/live-chamber.
Tracy Horgan, the director of redistricting services for the Caliper Corporation, will provide a brief demonstration of the software capabilities for lawmakers at 9 a.m., Dec. 14, in Room 535 at the Capitol. Due to COVID-19 protocols, the demonstration will be conducted remotely and in-person attendance by lawmakers will be limited.
The demonstration will be recorded and archived so that lawmakers and the public can watch the software demonstration at a later date, if necessary. Following the demonstration, the House and Senate redistricting office staff will begin a three day virtual training course to learn and refine their skills with the software.
When the U.S. Census Bureau releases the population counts for the state, and the P.L. 94-171 data necessary for redistricting, the public will then be invited to submit complete statewide maps derived from the 2020 census data and present those maps to the committee.
The full parameters and procedures for public map submissions will be announced to the public and posted on the House and Senate website prior to the release of the P.L. 94-171 data. Pursuant to federal law, the U.S. Census Bureau is required and expected to release that data to the states no later than April 1, 2021.
“The House and Senate are prioritizing transparency and public participation throughout the redistricting process by holding numerous town halls across the state to gain public input. Allowing citizen drawn plans will give the public even more hands-on input through the submission of maps they create themselves.” – Rep. Ryan Martinez, R-Edmond, chair of the House Redistricting Committee
“The ability to submit public maps gives the people an opportunity to be right in the middle of the process and provide meaningful input regarding how they would like to see their districts formed. The goal of our Caucus has been and will continue to be ensuring transparency and fairness in redistricting.” – House Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman, co-vice chair of the House Redistricting Committee
“Citizen input is an important part of the redistricting process which is why we’re holding town hall meetings across the state and inviting the public to submit maps. Inviting the public to follow legislative training is just another example of the Senate’s commitment to an open and transparent redistricting process.” – Sen. Lonnie Paxton, R-Tuttle, chair of the Senate Select Committee on Redistricting
“It is critically important for the legislative redistricting process to be fair, open, and transparent. I encourage the public to learn about the software that will be used to draw the new maps so they have the information they will need to draw and submit their own proposed maps.” – Sen. Michael Brooks, D-Oklahoma City, co-vice chair of the Senate Select Committee on Redistricting
OKLAHOMA CITY -- State Rep. Regina Goodwin, D-Tulsa, released the following statement on behalf of the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus in response to Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter’s attempt to influence and overturn the 2020 presidential election.
“The Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus strongly opposes the support of Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter, among 18 Republican state AGs, and the ill-founded lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Paxton.
“We voice utter disgust at the attempt by many Republicans to overturn the legitimate votes of Americans who ensured the victory of President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris.
“Equally disturbing are the 46 Oklahoma Republican state representatives who support the attempted overthrow of nearly twenty million voices and votes, in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin, states that include large African American populations, who voted overwhelmingly for President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris.
“State and federal courts throughout America have dismissed 36 lawsuits from the president and Republican attorneys general across the country. These lawsuits are an attempt to ‘hijack’ the 2020 presidential election, which has now been certified in 50 states, including Oklahoma.
“For the many who champion states’ rights, these hypocritical attacks on democracy are un-American. A better use of taxpayer dollars would be resolving problems in Oklahoma and not participating in dangerous, unconstitutional lawsuits.
“The US Supreme Court should not be used to uphold voter suppression and racism; the Court should be a beacon of justice and liberty.”
Members of the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus: Chair, Rep. Regina Goodwin, Vice-Chair, Rep. Jason Lowe, Sen. George Young, Sen. Kevin Matthews, Rep. Monroe Nichols, Rep. Merleyn Bell, Rep. Ajay Pittman, and Rep. Mauree Turner.
OKLAHOMA CITY – A group of Oklahoma House Republicans today praised Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter for signing on to a brief in support of the Texas attorney general’s lawsuit to contest election results in the key battleground states of Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
The lawmakers contend, with counterparts in Texas and other states, that there is enough evidence of fraud in the Nov. 3 general election, including late changes to voter laws without legislative approval, in the states mentioned above to warrant a legal challenge.
“The integrity of our national elections is vital for the citizens of our country and for the freedoms we currently enjoy,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement. “Fraud in even one state affects the security of all others. The irregularities witnessed in these key battleground states, and the changes to voting rules usurping the legislative process, are alarming and warrant further scrutiny by the Supreme Court of the United States. We, therefore, are pleased that Attorney General Mike Hunter has chosen to act on behalf of all Oklahomans in filing suit against these states, challenging the changes made to voting rules and procedures in violation of the Electors Clause of the United States Constitution, Article II, Section 1, Clause 2.”
The following lawmakers signed on to this statement:
- State Rep. Steve Bashore, R-Miami
- State Rep. Brad Boles, R-Marlow
- State Rep. Sherrie Conley, R-Newcastle
- State Rep. Rusty Cornwell, R-Vinita
- State Rep. Denise Crosswhite Hader, R-Piedmont
- State Rep. Bob Ed Culver, R-Tahlequah
- State Rep. Dean Davis, R-Broken Arrow
- State Rep. Eddy Dempsey, R-Valliant
- State Rep. Sheila Dills, R-Tulsa
- State Rep. Mike Dobrinski, R-Okeene
- State Rep. Ross Ford, R-Broken Arrow
- State Rep. Tom Gann, R-Inola
- State Rep. Jim Grego, R-Wilburton
- State Rep. David Hardin, R-Stilwell
- State Rep. Toni Hasenbeck, R-Elgin
- State Rep. Justin Humphrey, R-Lane
- State Rep. Gerrid Kendrix, R-Altus
- State Rep. Dell Kerbs, R-Shawnee
- State Rep. Mark Lepak, R-Claremore
- State Rep. Dick Lowe, R-Amber
- State Rep. Robert Manger, R-Oklahoma City
- State Rep. T.J. Marti, R-Broken Arrow
- State Rep. Ryan Martinez, R-Edmond
- State Rep. Stan May, R-Broken Arrow
- House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka
- State Rep. Kevin McDugle, R-Broken Arrow
- State Rep. Garry Mize, R-Guthrie
- State Rep. Terry O’Donnell, R-Catoosa
- State Rep. Jim Olsen, R-Roland
- State Rep. Kenton Patzkowsky, R-Balko
- State Rep. Randy Randleman, R-Eufaula
- State Rep. Dustin Roberts, R-Durant
- State Rep. Sean Roberts, R-Hominy
- State Rep. Cynthia Roe, R-Lindsay
- State Rep. Lonnie Sims, R-Jenks
- State Rep. David Smith, R-Arpelar
- State Rep. Chris Sneed, R-Fort Gibson
- State Rep. Marilyn Stark, R-Bethany
- State Rep. Jay Steagall, R-Yukon
- State Rep. Wendi Stearman, R-Collinsville
- State Rep. Preston Stinson, R-Edmond
- State Rep. Judd Strom, R-Copan
- State Rep. Tammy Townley, R-Ardmore
- State Rep. Mark Vancuren, R-Owasso
- State Rep. Kevin West, R-Moore
- State Rep. Rick West, R-Heavener
- State Rep. Rande Worthen, R-Lawton