Whatzup Politics (1307)
OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Sean Roberts (R-Hominy) today released the following statement regarding the choice of National Basketball Association (NBA) players to take a knee during the national anthem prior to the beginning of their game.
“By kneeling during the playing of the national anthem, the NBA and its players are showing disrespect to the American flag and all it stands for. This anti-patriotic act makes clear the NBA’s support of the Black Lives Matter group and its goal of defunding our nation’s police, its ties to Marxism and its efforts to destroy nuclear families.
If the Oklahoma City Thunder leadership and players follow the current trend of the NBA by kneeling during the national anthem prior to Saturday’s game, perhaps we need to reexamine the significant tax benefits the State of Oklahoma granted the Oklahoma City Thunder organization when they came to Oklahoma. Through the Quality Jobs Act, the Thunder is still under contract to receive these tax breaks from our state until 2024.
Perhaps these funds would be better served in support of our police departments rather than giving tax breaks to an organization that supports defunding police and the dissolution of the American nuclear family.”
WASHINGTON— Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) released the following statement after the House passed the second Fiscal Year 2021 funding package. 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.
“Yet again, Pelosi Democrats are using our appropriations process to push their socialist agenda,” Mullin said. “Rather than working with Republicans to find bipartisan compromise, they packed this bill full of partisan poison pills that ensure it will never become law. Especially during this unprecedented time where our country is hurting, we need to put bipartisan solutions over a political agenda.”
H.R. 7617 includes:
OKLAHOMA CITY –State Rep. Melissa Provenzano, D-Tulsa, today released the following statement after Governor Stitt announced that he would be developing a plan for getting PPE into the hands of school districts in order to protect Oklahoma’s students and teachers. Rep. Provenzano was one of two lawmakers to release a list of seven recommendations for students and teachers to safely return to school. Guaranteeing PPE was first on the lawmakers’ list.
“We are encouraged that the governor is taking our recommendations to heart,” Provenzano said. “This is Step 1 to a safe return to school. I look forward to hearing how the governor and the state board of education plan to accomplish the remaining steps to ensure the safety of our teachers, students, and parents.
"As a former educator, I am happy to see the governor’s support for in person education. This is a bipartisan position. The question is ‘how do we do it safely?’ Providing PPE is a great step that we should build on together to reach the shared goal of returning to the classroom safely, and we are thankful to the countless school districts across our state that are working hard to provide a variety of options, both in person and virtual, so that our families may make the choice that best suits them when the time comes."
WASHINGTON— Last night, Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) held a telephone town hall where he provided an update on the federal government’s response to COVID-19 and took questions. More than 8,400 Oklahomans participated in the call.
Below are highlights of the event and a full recording can be found here.
On the Senate Republican’s proposed HEALS Act:
“It’s roughly a trillion dollars and I’ve got to think really hard about this if it’s something I’m willing to support yet. We’ve spent a lot of money, well over $3 trillion so far on the COVID crisis and the question becomes, can the country afford this? What we pay today, we’ve got to pay later. We’ve got to be really careful about this.”
On renewing the Paycheck Protection Program in the next relief package:
“The PPP was a lifeline for 64,000 businesses in the state of Oklahoma. Otherwise, we would have seen drastic lay-offs. The Paycheck Protection Program protects our number one asset, which is our employees.”
On extending unemployment assistance:
“If workers can make more money being at home than they can at work, there is no incentive for them to work. We’ve got to be very careful as a country that we don’t stagnate our own economy. Companies can’t grow if they don’t have help and our economy has to grow each year. One thing that has been great about President Trump and his presidency is that, until as of late, we’ve seen our economy growing. It’s been one of the strongest economies in recent history for the U.S. Right now, it’s not that they’re not willing to work, it’s that financially it would be crazy for them to go back to work because they can make more money staying at home.”
WASHINGTON— Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02), U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), and U.S. Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) made the following statements today after an update from the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs on their response to coronavirus, specifically regarding the impact at the Claremore Veterans Center. View the update press release here.
“The outbreak of COVID-19 cases stemming from the Claremore Veterans Center was extremely concerning. I am relieved ODVA immediately saw the issues at hand, took the necessary steps to fix the problems and will ensure something like this does not happen again,” Mullin said. “I am confident in the leadership of the ODVA and Governor Stitt and their commitment to Oklahoma’s veterans. We owe no greater debt than to those who have served our country and they deserve the highest quality of care.”
“Our veterans deserve the high quality care they have earned. Period,” said Inhofe. “After my office learned of the situation at the Claremore Veterans Center, we were highly concerned and immediately contacted the Governor’s team and the appropriate state and federal entities to offer any assistance necessary. As a state operated facility, I appreciate the willingness of the Oklahoma Secretary of Veterans Affairs and his team to promptly bring in the Oklahoma State Department of Health to implement any needed reforms to slow the spread of coronavirus in the facility and provide the best quality care for all patients. I will continue to collaborate with their teams in Oklahoma and ensure they have access to federal assistance moving forward if needed.”
“I am thankful the Claremore Veterans Center has taken swift action to address the tragic outbreak of COVID-19 cases and deaths at the facility in the last month,” said Lankford. “Claremore’s management team is working directly with ODVA and the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) to curb the spread and protect veterans, their families, and staff at the center. COVID-19 poses a difficult situation and a serious, unique threat to each veteran care facility. I am grateful for ODVA’s diligent efforts to keep facilities clean and safe and immediately address this spread. I will continue to work with the Oklahoma congressional delegation to ensure the State, Claremore Veterans Center and ODVA have what they need to keep our veterans safe.”
“The Department of Veterans Affairs will continue to work closely with the state nursing home in Claremore and the Oklahoma State Health Department to ensure Veterans receive the best possible care,” said VISN-19 Director Ralph Gigliotti, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. “Our first priority is a safe environment for Veterans and we will work closely with the state of Oklahoma to ensure they deliver that kind of care. We are all in this together. VA will continue to provide guidance and expertise as needed during these unprecedented times.”
OKLAHOMA CITY -- House Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman, released the following statement calling on Gov. Kevin Stitt to end his pursuit for a legal ruling that agrees with his position on the compacts.
“The governor’s compact negotiations are starting to look like a stimulus package for trial lawyers,” Virgin said. “Having already spent $1.5 million, the governor is wasting money that could be spent on resources that help our citizens. If the governor continues to pursue this through the appeals process, more money will be spent on lawsuits that could have instead helped schools, our state’s IT infrastructure, or our healthcare community. I encourage the governor to reflect on his position and ask if continuing a pursuit with an uncertain outcome is worth the risk of not protecting Oklahomans.”
WASHINGTON— Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) highlighted the work the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has done to implement the Safe Drinking Water Act in rural areas today during an Energy and Commerce Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee hearing on drinking water standards. Shellie Chard, Director of the Water Quality Division at DEQ, testified at the hearing on behalf of the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators (ASDWA).
“I have worked with DEQ for almost 25 years. We have worked together on many water treatment plants and we have worked together on many infrastructure needs,” Mullin said.
“From a professional perspective, I would rather work with DEQ any day of the week than work with the EPA at all,” Mullin continued.
Full video of Mullin’s remarks can be found here.
Responsible Recreation: How sportsmen and women continue to set an example in the age of social distancing
News Release from Oklahoma State Senator Mark Allen
The COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in many changes to which we must all adjust. Phrases like “self-quarantine” and “social distancing,” rarely used or completely unheard of several months ago are now a part of our daily vocabulary. As we adjust to this “new normal,” America’s sportsmen and women, a group that I am proud to represent as a co-chair of the Oklahoma Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, have found a way to pursue their outdoor passions while much of the world seemingly stood still. By participating in outdoor activities like hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting, sportsmen and women are setting an example for those looking for safe and responsible recreational opportunities.
While millions of Americans have been forced to limit their travels due to mandatory stay-at-home orders, activities like hunting, fishing, recreational shooting, and many other outdoor activities have provided an outlet for Americans to safely recreate as they can be enjoyed while practicing social distancing and adhering to other COVID-19 safety guidelines. As restrictions start to ease, Americans are flocking to the woods, waters, fields, and trails to take advantage of our outdoor resources, with many discovering nature’s wonders for the first time.
This newfound interest in outdoor recreation represents an invaluable opportunity to introduce Americans to activities like hunting and fishing and the vital role sportsmen and women play in conservation. In addition to the numerous documented mental and physical health benefits gained through these activities, maintaining access to hunting and fishing opportunities gives Americans a chance to procure their own locally sourced meat. Due to many of the impacts of COVID-19, this ability to be self-reliant is at a premium.
With all of this in mind, these unprecedented times represent a chance for a new generation of sportsmen and women to discover the passion that many of us already share. Be it through scouting for upcoming fall hunting seasons, or landing that first largemouth bass, now is the time to lead by example and plant the seeds for the next generation of sportsmen and women.
Increased participation in hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting has enormous conservation benefits as well through the American System of Conservation Funding. This “user pays-public benefits” approach relies on the sale of hunting and fishing licenses and self-imposed excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, fishing tackle, and motorboat fuel to fund many state fish and wildlife management agencies. In addition, these activities support local economies which, during these unprecedented times, has become incredibly important. In fact, recent surveys report that Oklahoma’s 779,000 hunters and anglers spend $1.6 billion annually while pursuing their outdoor passions.
Unfortunately, the ability of America’s sportsmen and women to participate in their outdoor endeavors were not uniformly protected as statewide orders were announced. In fact, several states saw actions that hindered or even eliminated the ability to participate in our treasured outdoor traditions. While largely enacted in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, these actions severely limited our outdoor opportunities without any measurable increase in public safety. To ensure that such restrictive actions are not used again, it is up to sportsmen and women to practice responsible recreation, showing by example that our outdoor pursuits can be performed safely. This can be accomplished by following a few simple guidelines.
- Plan ahead; purchase licenses and park passes online, if available
- Recreate close to home
- Adhere to best practices for avoiding COVID-19
- Follow state and federal guidelines
- Pack out your trash as a courtesy to others and to avoid the appearance of overuse
- Share your adventures in a respectful way on social media outlets
To learn more about how others are using these challenging times as an opportunity to spend more time outdoors, search for #ResponsibleRecreation on social media. Likewise, for more information on recreating responsibly, or to take the Responsible Recreation pledge and help lead by example, visit www.responsible-recreation.org.
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.
OKLAHOMA CITY – The leader of the Oklahoma Senate on Friday released the list of approved studies for the 2020 interim. Senators submitted 64 requests and Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat said that 39 study requests were approved.
Treat said the study requests were assigned to the standing Senate policy committee with jurisdiction over the subject matter of the request. Now that the studies have been assigned to Senate committees, committee chairs will determine when to conduct the studies, Treat said.
This legislative interim presents logistical challenges which led to fewer interim studies being approved, Treat said. Due to the ongoing renovation of the Capitol, the Senate only has one available committee room for use this interim. Treat also said the Senate intends to implement social distancing due to COVID-19 which further limits the ability to hold more studies.
“In a typical year, we can accommodate most interim study requests. But this is not a typical year. With only one Senate committee room available for use and the need to implement social distancing due to COVID, we limited each senator to no more than two approved study requests. There are some great topics to cover this year and I look forward to what ideas develop during interim studies,” Treat said.
The list of approved studies is available on the Senate website. When interim studies are scheduled, Senate committees will send hearing notices, which also will be published on the Senate website.
Treat said interim studies must be completed by Friday, October 30.
WASHINGTON— Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) released the following statement after the House passed H.R. 7608, the first Fiscal Year 2021 spending package. 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.
“This spending package is nothing but a socialist wish list that will never become law,” Mullin said. “Not only does it drastically exceed our budget agreement, it also removes existing bipartisan provisions and includes numerous poison pills, like rolling back pro-life protections and tying President Trump’s hands when it comes to national security. We have to be good stewards of the taxpayers’ money, especially during the pandemic when we’ve had to spend trillions in supplemental funding for our response, and this spending package does not do that.”
- Rolls back pro-life policies including the Administration’s Mexico City policy and weakens the Kemp-Kasten Amendment to provide millions of dollars in funds for the United Nations Population Fund, which participates in the management of a coercive abortion program.
- Lacks funding for the border wall and any funding to design, construct, or carry out projects along the southern border.
- Fails to hold the World Health Organization (WHO) accountable and undermines the President’s notice to withdraw from the WHO.
- Provides $500 million for the Green Climate Fund.
- Prohibits Trump Administration reforms to reduce regulatory burdens.
- Provides $15 billion for the Democrats’ partisan, green deal infrastructure bill.
- Recklessly limits America’s domestic energy production by restricting oil and gas production in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, preventing new offshore energy exploration and prohibiting the mining of metals in northern Minnesota.
- Permanently prevents this and any future Administration from making changes to welfare programs that simply require working age, non-disabled adults without children to go back to work in times of low unemployment.