Whatzup Politics (1396)
America’s hunters and anglers are our nation’s original conservationists, a title that we wear proudly. On Saturday, Sept. 26th, Oklahoma celebrated our nation’s 48th Annual National Hunting and Fishing Day (NHFD), a day set aside to recognize and celebrate the historical and ongoing contributions of the Sooner State’s sportsmen and women. As Co-Chair of the Oklahoma Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus and a member of the 49-state National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses, I am proud to celebrate the time-honored traditions of hunting and angling, and I hope all Oklahomans used National Hunting and Fishing Day to take advantage of the inherently socially distant activities of hunting and fishing that are available to us.
Hunters and anglers provide the foundation of conservation funding through the purchase of licenses, tags and stamps, and by paying self-imposed excise taxes on the equipment that we use. Adding these contributions together, hunters and anglers generated $44.1 million to fund the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation through the “user-pays, public-benefits” American System of Conservation Funding. This funding, in addition the overall economic contributions of hunters, provides benefits for all Oklahomans.
Equally as important, hunting and angling provide Oklahomans an opportunity to explore the natural world around them while taking advantage of the many well-documented physical and mental health benefits associated with spending time outdoors. Through hunting and angling, one can truly appreciate the importance of conservation. This is why sportsmen and women dedicate much of their time and resources to improve conditions for fish and wildlife, which has ripple effects throughout the ecosystem and benefits all species and the people that enjoy them. Similarly, sportsmen and women are among the strongest supporters of legislation to increase public access opportunities for all Americans and provide additional funding for wildlife management.
There is perhaps no better example of this than the recent passage of the Great American Outdoors Act. This historic piece of legislation fully and permanently funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and appropriates $9.5 billion to take neglected infrastructure projects off the backburner, including $3 billion to support hunting, fishing and recreational shooting activities on federally owned public lands and waters. Thanks to a bipartisan effort in Congress and the support of sportsmen and women, the Great American Outdoors Act will ensure we are leaving our country in a better place for the next generation.
We hope you used National Hunting and Fishing Day to celebrate our time-honored traditions and perhaps introduced someone new to our outdoor pursuits so that they, too, can enjoy the physical and mental health benefits of hunting and fishing. Given the renewed desire for safe outdoor recreational opportunities brought about by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a growing desire among the populace for a self-sufficient lifestyle that includes food security, there is perhaps no better time to introduce beginners to the outdoors for the first time. Along the way, they will learn more about the natural world around them, procure organic, locally sourced food for the entire family, and carry forward the proud conservation legacy of Oklahoma’s original conservationists.
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.
I would like to take this opportunity to announce that I will be a candidate for State Representative, District 3, this year.
I served as State Representative in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
I was born in Poteau and lived in LeFlore County most of my life. I attended Simpson and Hower Grade School, as well as Junior High in Poteau. I graduated from Heavener High School. I attended Poteau Community College, Central State College and received my law degree from the University of Tulsa. After graduating from the University of Tulsa Law School, I moved to Spiro where I started my law practice.
I was married to Kay McCoy Sullivan for 55 years and 6 days before her death in 2015. From our marriage we had 4 children, 3 of which reside in Poteau, and the other is deceased. I have 6 grandsons and 2 granddaughters.
A few of my legislative accomplishments are:
- Obtaining multiple funding for new roads including, but not limited to, the new highway from Poteau to Heavener, the new highway from Poteau to Wister and the new highway nine north to Arkoma.
- Changing Poteau Community College to Carl Albert State College and
- Getting the college into the state system, so that student credits would transfer to any college or university.
- Passed bill creating Talimena State Park as well as Clem Hamilton Heavener Runestone State Park.
- Introduced and passed bill that saved the teacher retirement system in Oklahoma.
- Introduced and passed bill that created a juvenile mental health facility in Oklahoma.
- Introduced and passed bill that changed state colleges to universities.
- Introduced and passed bill to allow 18-year-olds to vote.
- While in the Legislature, I was voted most outstanding legislator 3 straight years in a row.
- I was elected 1st Assistant Majority Leader, the 4th highest job in the House.
I have also served 14 years on the Board of Education, eight years as District Attorney, and two years as Assistant County Attorney.
I served a three-year term on the Ethics and Merit Commission of Oklahoma and a one-year term as Chairman of the Regional Multi-State Interstate Highway Committee.
Some of my community service included starting and coaching the Poteau Bandit Football Program, creating the Poteau Athletic Hall of Fame, and serving 8 years as President of the Poteau Quarterback Club.
I find it appalling that so many of our young people having to leave this area when they finish their education to find a decent job. If elected, I will devote all of my time to this job. I will work hard to improve conditions that will attract jobs to this area.
I am very conservative when it comes to fiscal policy. I try not to waste my money and I don’t want the government wasting yours and my tax dollars. I will watch this very closely.
I own nine guns and I am a strong advocate of your and my right to own and possess guns. I will vigorously defend any attempt to strip us of our right to bear arms.
I humble ask for your help and support in this race. If you agree with my programs as we go forward, then please ask your family and friends to support me. If you have any questions or advice, you can contact me at 918-839-0239.
Paid for by Mike Sullivan for State Representative
On Friday, September 25, the NAACP will host a conversation with Vice Presidential Candidate Senator Kamala Harris. Moderated by CNN Commentator Angela Rye, the event will include Leon W. Russell, Chairman of the NAACP National Board of Directors, and Derrick Johnson, NAACP President and CEO, and other leaders. Senator Harris will discuss the national reckoning on racism, the global pandemic and her vision for the future of America. The conversation is a premier event of the NAACP’s 111th national convention and will take place starting at 2 PM ET / 11 AM PT.
“We are excited to have a real conversation with Vice Presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris about the current climate and where we need to go,” said Derrick Johnson, president and CEO, NAACP. “In the closing of our national convention, we are eager to discuss her plans for the safety and well-being of our communities in America.”
Join us for this critical conversation on naacpconvention.org.
“The NAACP recognizes the overwhelming significance of having the first black woman as a vice-presidential candidate of a major political party,” said NAACP Board of Directors Chairman, Leon W. Russell. “We know that this pivotal moment sets the stage for our continued work to achieve equal justice and now is the time to engage in these conversations as the world faces unprecedented times and new realities during this global pandemic.”
WHAT: Conversation with Vice Presidential Candidate Senator Kamala Harris
WHEN: Friday, September 25, 2020, @ 2 pm ET / 11 am PT
- Senator Kamala Harris, Vice Presidential Candidate
- Angela Rye, CNN Commentator
- Leon W. Russell, Chairman, NAACP National Board of Directors
- Derrick Johnson, President and CEO, NAACP
Founded in 1909 in response to the ongoing violence against Black people around the country, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) is the largest and most pre-eminent civil rights organization in the nation. We have over 2,200 units and branches across the nation, along with well over 2M activists. Our mission is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.
NOTE: The Legal Defense Fund – also referred to as the NAACP-LDF was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP, but separated in 1957 to become a completely separate entity. It is recognized as the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and shares our commitment to equal rights.
WASHINGTON— Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-2) released the following statement after the House passed the Democrats’ partisan energy 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.
“We truly need an all-of-the-above energy strategy in order to keep the lights on at a price American families can afford. This legislation does the exact opposite,” Mullin said. “With a total price tag of more than $135 billion and heavy-handed government regulations, the Democrats’ energy package is another step towards socialism. It leaves rural communities in the dust by prioritizing cities and would jeopardize all the progress our country has made in becoming energy independent. It’s unfortunate they took a bipartisan bill to improve renewable energy storage in rural areas and packed it full of radical energy priorities that will result in unreliable, expensive energy for consumers.”
H.R. 4447 was initially introduced by Mullin and passed unanimously out of the Energy and Commerce Committee earlier this month. Before bringing it to the House floor for a vote, Democratic Leadership added nearly 900 pages worth of unrelated provisions to the bill, creating a partisan energy package that will never become law.
By Congressman Markwayne Mullin
Speaker Pelosi and the Radical Left have been dead set on resisting President Trump and anything he stands for at all costs. They have blamed the rioting, violence and hatred in our country on President Trump and Republicans rather than condemning it outright.
When “peaceful protestors” were tearing down monuments in Baltimore, Speaker Pelosi said, “people will do what they do.”
When discussing foreign interference in our elections, Speaker Pelosi called President Trump and Republicans in Congress, “enemies of the state.”
When asked about the vacancy on the Supreme Court, Speaker Pelosi wouldn’t rule out impeaching President Trump again if he fulfilled his constitutional responsibility of nominating someone for the seat.
Just imagine the outrage that would come from Speaker Pelosi and the Radical Left if any Republican made comments like those. The mainstream media would never let it go. But when Speaker Pelosi makes those remarks, they don’t even report it.
Speaker Pelosi repeatedly claimed during impeachment that, “no one is above the law.” But when she was caught violating local health protocols in San Francisco by going to a salon, despite ordinary citizens not being allowed to get the services she received, her response was “she was set up.” Speaker Pelosi’s philosophy is clear: Rules for thee, but not for me.
Our country is better than this and deserves leaders who practice what they preach. Our country is great, and we need great leadership.
OKLAHOMA CITY – An interim study held Wednesday in the Oklahoma Senate examined the potential to make permanent changes that the Oklahoma Legislature made earlier this year to the state’s open meeting law that allowed agencies, boards and commissions at the state and local level to meet and hold public meetings virtually, in accordance with health and safety guidelines due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, requested the study saying he thinks the temporary changes have been mostly successful and that making them permanent may be worthwhile to ensure state laws accommodate the use of new technology. The changes to the Open Meeting Act expire Nov. 15.
“I think the changes the Legislature made to the Open Meeting Act were successful on two fronts,” Treat said. “The changes allowed government at state and local levels to continue to meet publicly and do their jobs while still following coronavirus-related health and safety protocols. The changes also brought public meetings online increasing transparency of government at the state and local level by giving the public even more access to observe the actions of public bodies.”
Treat said he personally took advantage of public meetings moving online and watched the online meetings of the school board of the district where his children attend school. He said work and his children’s extracurricular activities often kept his family from attending such meetings in person.
“Working families have a lot going on and don’t always have time to attend a meeting in person of the city council, the school board, or the county commission. But those local entities make decisions routinely that have a huge impact on the daily lives of those same families. I think by modernizing the Open Meeting Act and preserving the ability of public bodies to give the public access to meetings online is a positive and the Legislature should consider making these changes permanent,” Treat said.
The hearing featured testimony from the mayor of Bethany about his city’s experience with holding meetings online. A representative from the Oklahoma Press Association, shared experiences of its members with the changes and offered examples of entities that fell short of the tenants of the Open Meeting Act. Members of the Capitol press corps overall characterized the updates to the Open Meeting Act as positive but gave input on areas that lawmakers should pay attention to ensure public access isn’t diminished.
“Any changes we make to the Open Meeting Act will be to increase transparency and access by the public. We must make sure that changes aren’t made that allow public bodies to avoid scrutiny. I appreciate the input of members of the media for their input on how the Legislature can prevent abuses of the Open Meeting Act as we work to modernize the law,” Treat said.
OKLAHOMA CITY – A group of state legislators on Tuesday held an interim study on the administrative rules process with the goal of analyzing potential improvements, changes or reforms so the Legislature is more involved in the process.
The Joint House and Senate study was heard before the Senate Rules Committee. It was held by State Reps. Tom Gann, R-Inola, and Denise Crosswhite Hader, R-Piedmont, chair and vice chair, respectively, of the House Administrative Rules Committee, and State Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow.
“The focus of the study was to determine a baseline of information so legislators have a better understanding of the current status of the administrative rules process in relation to the Administrative Procedures Act,” Gann said. “I wanted to provide examples of areas of needed reform as well as where reduction of rules could benefit Oklahomans. I would also like to see greater participation among lawmakers and a more robust process in the Legislature as well as increased transparency.”
With administrative rules having the effect of law once approved by the Legislature, the lawmakers said it is incredibly important to make sure each rule is studied and that it follows statute and doesn’t create new state law. The problem is there are hundreds if not thousands of rules submitted each year, and the current process only allows them to be mass approved or to create individual resolutions that must then go through the legislative process if they desire to deny a rule.
Rep. Crosswhite Hader said she asked to be on the House Administrative Rules Committee and even campaigned on this issue because she sees it as one of the most important issues impacting Oklahomans.
“Agencies do their best to follow the guidelines the Legislature sets out when asked to promulgate rules to follow state statute, but it is the Legislature's responsibility to maintain a check on those agencies to ensure they didn't go beyond the scope of what is in the law,” Crosswhite Hader said. “This hearing was to help insure that all of the Legislature - the House and Senate – are on the same page when it comes to protecting citizens from agency overreach.”
Sen. Dahm said, “For years I have worked on limiting excessive regulation in our state. This interim study allowed members of the Legislature and the public to hear from experts across the country about reforms other states have enacted. I’m thankful for the opportunity to have this joint study with the House, the governor’s office and all those involved as we work together to make a better Oklahoma and a better business environment for the future.”
Sens. Julie Daniels, R-Bartlesville, and Darcy Jech, R-Kingfisher, also took part in Tuesday’s study.
"Red tape and over regulation affect individual liberty and economic growth,” Daniels said. “We must streamline the elimination of egregious or unnecessary rules and regulations. And the legislature must be more engaged in its administrative rules oversight responsibilities. The information and ideas provided by this study will help show us the way.”
Jech added, “The issue of administrative rules is an important one. I’m pleased that Senator Dahm and Representative Gann chose to present their joint study on this particular issue. I know that both legislators devoted much time and effort preparing for the study. There was some very important information presented, which will be very beneficial while drafting potential legislation for the upcoming session.”
Other speakers at Tuesday’s study included Cara Rodriquez with Glenn Coffee & Associates who spoke on the constitutional framework and administrative and legislative powers as well as the difference between rules, statute and executive actions and ways for lawmakers to assess the proper channel; James Broughel from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University who spoke on the regulatory burdens of the Oklahoma Administrative code and exploring reforms for Oklahoma; Peggy Coe and Chris Coffman with the Oklahoma Office of Administrative Rules who gave an overview of the process and a presentation on the forthcoming Administrative Rules Portal.
Rep. Gann gave an overview of the House process for the oversight of administrative rules, and Daniel Dew with the Pacific Legal Foundation spoke on administrative rule reform and best practices from other states.
OKLAHOMA CITY – The leader of the Oklahoma Senate commented on the withdrawal of an initiative petition on redistricting.
“I’m not surprised the initiative petition was withdrawn because this latest iteration was flawed. Regardless of what some may say, the redistricting process in Oklahoma is not broken. Senators take our responsibility seriously to uphold the constitution. That is why we are soliciting the public’s input and taking steps in our process to ensure the public’s important role in redistricting. The Oklahoma Senate will represent the interests of Oklahomans and will conduct an open and transparent redistricting process,” Treat said.
Treat last year announced the formation of the Senate Select Committee on Redistricting, chaired by Senator Lonnie Paxton, R-Tuttle. In July, Treat and Paxton announced steps taken by the Senate to ensure the public’s role in redistricting including public hearings held at locations around the state with opportunity for public comment at those meetings, and the public submission of proposed maps of state legislative and congressional districts, as well as public notice given before action taken by the redistricting committee.
OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Sheila Dills, R-Tulsa, and State Sen. Joe Newhouse, R-Broken Arrow, on Tuesday held joint interim studies before the Common Education Committees that focused on the State Aid Funding Formula and the Bilingual, ELL and Transportation components.
The first study examined bilingual education funding, testing, qualifying conditions, school procedures and transparency and accountability. The second targeted transportation funding in the changing virtual environment as well as funding for schools that utilizing city transit systems, and the 1.5-mile rule for school districts bus routes.
“The needs of our children today are different than the needs of our children when the funding formula was established 40 years ago,” Dills said. “It is time we begin the process of adjusting the weights for state aid to ensure taxpayer dollars are meeting the needs of our children, and our government is operating efficiently.”
Newhouse added, “This joint interim study explored ways to improve our education funding formula so non-English speakers can receive the instruction and help they need to become proficient English speakers. We also studied ways transportation costs can be appropriately accounted for and reimbursed. Moving forward, we must be very intentional with how we spend our taxpayer dollars to make the greatest impact for our Oklahoma students.”
Other presenters at Tuesday’s bilingual study included:
- State Sen. Gary Stanislawski, R-Tulsa, chair of the Senate Education Committee and chair of the State Aid Funding Formula Task Force from 2017-18;
- Matt Richmond, chief program officer for Ed Build, an organization working to bring fairness to school funding formulas, speaking on the Oklahoma State Aid Formula as well as bilingual and English language learners;
- Dan Ruhl, executive director of English Proficiency for the Oklahoma State Department of Education; and
- Chris Berry, director of language and cultural service for Oklahoma City Public Schools.
Presenters for the transportation study included:
- Monty Guthrie, deputy superintendent of finance and federal programs;
- Ron Flanagan, Muldrow Public Schools;
- Jason Simeroth, Yukon Public Schools;
- Daniel G. Thatcher, J.D. National Conference of State Legislatures Senior Fellow in Education
- Richmond and Stanislawki also spoke during this study.
OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Sean Roberts, R-Hominy, led an interim study Tuesday regarding the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Attendees heard from Interim Commissioner of Health Dr. Lance Frye, who said the state was ill-prepared at the beginning of the pandemic in March, but the situation has improved across the state since.
"It has really been a pretty impressive response by the state," Frye said in the study. "We started with less than nothing… and we have done well with where we are compared to the rest of the nation."
Frye said at the beginning of the pandemic, the state did not have an adequate supply of personal protection equipment for healthcare professionals, nor did the state have testing capabilities. Both of these situations have improved and Oklahoma is often used as a model for the rest of the nation of a good response to the pandemic.
Two Oklahoma doctors were invited by Roberts to speak before the committee. Dr. Chad Chamberlain told attendees that policymakers should consider multiple factors that are affected by public health decisions, including mental health issues as a result from isolation, and Dr. Jim Meehan encouraged proactive practices and bolstering bodies’ defenses to be better prepared to fight viral illnesses. He discussed an effective vitamin protocol that includes Vitamin D3, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, melatonin and zinc.
“I appreciate our speakers for lending their valuable expertise and experience to this important topic,” Roberts said. “It’s important to reflect on how our state has improved since the early days of the pandemic and begin the process of addressing the issues that arose so that, in the event of a similar devastating situation, we are better prepared.”
Roberts chairs the House Public Health Committee. A recording of the study is available at https://okhouse.gov/Video/Default.aspx.