The following column was submitted by OCPAC President John Michener. Michener is publicly supporting gubernatorial candidate Dan Fisher; OCPAC endorsed Fisher during the summer.Mary’s Little Lambby John MichenerDuring the 2016 legislative session, the …
Conservative leaders urge Oklahoma politicians to protect taxpayers
September 28, 2017
Dear Governor and State Lawmakers,
We are a coalition of conservative citizens, many of us serving in leadership of state or local organizations, who write to urge you to address the need for more consolidation and other efficiencies in all areas of state government and to resist raising taxes on your constituents.
Many Oklahoma families and businesses are struggling and have been forced to reduce their own spending. Indeed, Oklahomans lost more than $13 billion in taxable income and reduced purchases by $4.1 billion in one year alone when oil prices collapsed.
And yet, Oklahoma’s total state government spending is at an all-time high. The state is now on track to spend more money next year—more than $17.9 billion—than at any time in our history. If you believe that certain state services are not adequately funded, we urge you to prioritize spending rather than raise taxes.
“Limited government” and “lower taxes” have been winning campaign messages in Oklahoma over the last decade. Some candidates have even made written promises to oppose and vote against (or veto) “any and all efforts to increase taxes.” We encourage you to stay true to these principles and to oppose efforts to increase the burden of government on hard-working Oklahoma families.
It would seem to be a no brainer, that your representatives assigned to various committees would actually consider the bills brought before them. However, ask any activist involved for more than one cycle if you want to hear the war stories!
The House officially convenes on Monday, February 6, and their first order of business will be to adopt the rules which will govern how they operate for the session. On that day, a representative will propose the adoption of the “Open Government Rule,” which states, “A bill shall be heard and receive a vote in committee if the primary author requests it in writing; and a bill, having passed committee, shall be heard and receive a vote on the House floor if the primary author requests it in writing.”
1. Firing Government Nannies
2. Citizens Without Representation
3. Thrills & Chills Coming
4. Upcoming Programs
1. Firing Government Nannies. Not long ago we reported that Oklahoma City had banned pedestrians from using a public park. In the face of public outcry, the ban has been lifted. This is the correct outcome, and we applaud OKC for coming to the right decision in this matter of public property.
Published on Dec 14, 2016
OCPAC meeting in OKC Area
Former Oklahoma Representative Charles Key explains why we have no real representation and the need for an Open Government rule which requires a hearing of certain legislative proposals.
Charles Key has written a pamphlet on topic. Please obtain one and make sure your representative has a copy. I will share a link here when possible. Attend an OCPAC meeting in the meantime if you can do that because I know they will have them available.
Click on header link to see video or visit source post below:
For several days now I have been wanting to do a post on judicial retention in Oklahoma. Sadly, I was never able to find the information that I wanted to do a post I would have been satisfied with. It is election eve and many of you have already voted in early voting. I apologize for that, but this is all that I have found. My summary version on how I plan to vote is that at the moment of writing this Hudson is the only one I plan to vote to retain. My general philosophy is “When in doubt, vote them out.” Hudson was the only one I could find any philosophical reasons to support him. OCPAC said,
He was recently appointed by Gov. Fallin to the Criminal Court of Appeals. Hudson appears to be a serious Christian, and everyone consulted gave him very high marks.
You can often tell a little about the judicial slots by who appointed them and that tells you a little about the current problems we face (that information on appointments is documented in the Sooner Politics article referenced below.
The best article I found was published by OCPAC. The section on judges is reprinted here:
OCPAC Flyer available in pdf format
“Charlie’s Picks,” now “Michener’s Musings,” General Election Nov. 8. Over thirty years ago, friends of Charlie Meadows, founder of OCPAC, began asking him for his opinions on issues and candidates. Eventually the number of inquiries became so great that he began sending a mass email before each election which he called “Charlie’s Picks.” When Charlie retired as the President of OCPAC in March 2015, the duties of weekly commentary and election advice transferred to me, John Michener. To avoid confusion over authorship, we have decided that future election opinions, picks, and endorsements of OCPAC will be published under the heading “Michener’s Musings.”
You have our permission to forward these picks as far as you like. If you have received these picks by forward, please join our Facebook group to receive regular updates, or send us an email at email@example.com to be added to our email distribution list. We generally send only one update per week, and we will not share your email address with anyone. To become an official member, join OCPAC today.
The following advice represents the opinion of the current OCPAC President and a majority of OCPAC’s leadership Board. Our recommendations will be organized into five major sections: 1) U.S. Races, 2) State Questions, 3) Judging Justices & Judges, 4) Oklahoma Senate Races, and 5) Oklahoma House of Representatives Races. In each race we have endorsed a candidate, picked a candidate, or leave it at “your choice.” Here is what those designations mean:
Endorsed. Candidates who are endorsed by OCPAC have received our seal of approval. You can rest assured that their values align with OCPAC values. They have completed our survey and appeared in person before our PAC for a grueling interview. Based on this vetting process, we believe they understand the proper role of limited government. They believe in the superiority of free markets over state-guided economic development, even in areas such as education and health care. They understand the duty of the state to defend its citizens against the oppression of the federal government. They believe we should not sanction, institutionalize, or encourage evil and depraved behavior, even if the federal government has done so.
OCPAC endorsed candidates include: Jim Bridenstine, Matt Jackson, Tom Gann, Molly McKay, Kevin McDugle, Kyle Hilbert, Joe Newhouse, Scott McEachin, Tess Teague, Joseph Silk, Nathan Dahm, Chuck Strohm, David Brumbaugh, Travis Dunlap, Steven McGowen, and Jason Murphey.
PICKED. Some candidates we simply pick. This typically means the candidate agrees with us on certain key issues of high importance which would make that candidate more preferable than the alternatives. We will attempt to explain a little about each pick.
Continuing with more perspectives on the State Questions and judges on the ballot, here is what John Michener, president of the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee has to say:
SQ 776, “Full Force & Effect of Death Penalty.” Vote YES. This measure would affirm in the state constitution that the death penalty is not cruel or unusual punishment. It would affirm that the death penalty remains in force even when a particular method of execution is unavailable.
SQ 777, “Right to Harm.” Vote NO. This proposed amendment to our state constitution sounds good on the surface, but it appears to have been written by Washington lobbyists on behalf of multi-national corporate agricultural interests. The measure is designed to bypass our state legislature’s authority, so that federal mandates and regulations can rule the day in farming. Ultimately, if passed, this measure would make it harder for small farmers to fight federal overreach and harder to fight the lawyers of out-of- state big corporations. Here is a thirteen-minute explanation of SQ 777, and here is our interview on the Pat Campbell Show.
SQ 779, “The Boren Tax.” Vote NO. This measure would create a new permanent state-wide sales tax. About 70% would go to government school districts, about 20% to state universities, and almost 10% to the State Dept. of Education.
Space does not permit us to fully reveal the utter depravity of this proposal. The government school system functions as an inefficient and corrupt monopoly, as we have explained in previous updates. Creating a huge, permanent, new funding source will only exacerbate the problems inherent in the system.
Practically speaking, the new tax would be a tremendous burden on the citizens of the state. If enacted, the Boren tax would increase the state education sales tax rate by about 28%! Would you stand for your income tax rate or real estate tax rate increasing by 28%? Is that reasonable? The increase would make our state less competitive with other states. According to the Tax Foundation, it would raise Oklahoma’s average statewide sales tax to the second-highest in the union. This is no way to roll out the welcome mat for prospective families and businesses.
Furthermore, the only way to get rid of this onerous tax would be to amend the state constitution again. Funding state departments should not be accomplished by four million people changing the constitution. It is the proper responsibility of the Legislature in the budgeting process as they analyze needs and attempt to provide oversight of our many departments.
SQ 780, “Smart Justice Reform Act.” Vote YES. This measure would change some drug possession crimes from a felony to a misdemeanor, and it would raise the property crime threshold to $1,000, so that if the crime involved less than $1,000 in value, it would be classified as a misdemeanor rather than a felony. These changes make common sense. There is a tremendous difference between having a misdemeanor versus a felony conviction on one’s record. If we want the penalty to match the crime, this is a reform in the right direction. Those who hurt themselves and others by abusing drugs are not beyond recovery. They may deserve some punishment and rehabilitation, but to treat them as felons is to unfairly limit many of their future options.
SQ 781, “County Community Safety Investment Fund.” Vote NO. A man came home and said to his wife, “Look at this new power drill I bought for free.” “Bought for free?” she said. “Yes. It was originally $40, but it was marked half off, so I bought it with the $20 I saved.”
SQ 781 is reminiscent of the free power drill. The state would come home with a new slush fund. Revenue for the fund would come from the cost savings of implementing SQ 780, as imagined by the “best estimate” of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services. Then the funds would be redistributed to counties for “community rehabilitative programs.” Let’s not buy another dollar-sucking socialist scheme. We can use existing public and private programs to help those with addiction problems.
SQ 790, “Repeal the Blaine Amendment.” Vote YES. Last year the Oklahoma Supreme Court ordered a monument of the Ten Commandments be removed from the capitol grounds, citing a portion of the Oklahoma Constitution which prohibits the government from using public property for the benefit of any religious institution. The purpose of the monument was to remember the historical influence of the Ten Commandments, not to support a particular religious institution. Furthermore, the monument was placed by private funds. The court’s opinion was wrong. If the court’s opinion is applied consistently, women and children on Sooner Care will not be able to receive services from a clinic or hospital affiliated with a religion, we will not be able to vote at church polling places, and we will not be able to hold school or conduct public business at churches after a tornado or fire destroys a public building.
Sen. Joseph Silk of Broken Bow and Sen. Rob Standridge of Norman authored SQ 790 so that the citizens might correct the injustice of the court. If SQ 790 passes, the state must still comply with the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which prevents government from endorsing a religion, but we will be able to replace our Ten Commandments monument and continue to benefit from the generosity of churches.
Download this Ten Commandments Flyer, and give a copy to everybody at church. Ask them to vote YES on SQ 790.
SQ 792, “Modernizing Liquor Laws.” Vote Yes. In a perfect world, we would dismantle the ABLE Commission and allow any businessperson to sell all kinds of adult beverages without state interference. This complex resolution would not accomplish that, and it contains many anti-free market aspects. The Legislature would still be regulating the adult beverage industry to a high degree. The fascist ABLE commission would remain intact. Licensing and other restrictions on ownership and sales would continue under this proposed amendment (e.g., felons could not be licensees—another reason to vote yes on SQ 780). However, if passed, Oklahoma would inch in the right direction. We would see more competition and availability of products as a result, and we would be more competitive with other states. We might even be allowed to buy local communion wine on Sundays! Vote YES.
Oklahoma Supreme Court Justices James Winchester and Donald Combs will be on the ballot. Vote NO on both! In the last few years, the Oklahoma Supreme Court has:
- Banned the Ten Commandments. Prescott v. Okla. Capitol Preservation Committee, 2015 OK 54. The U.S. Supreme Court has the Ten Commandments on its building. Previous state Supreme Courts have upheld Christian symbols like a Cross on public ground.
- Protected child rapists. Burns v. Cline, 2016 OK 99. The court struck down a law requiring tissue samples from minors getting abortions. This law would have helped attorneys prosecute rapists. Other state agencies have this authority, but the court targeted this pro-life law unjustly.
- Denied women ultrasounds. Nova Health Systems v. Pruitt. 292 P.3d 28, 2012. Seeing an ultrasound makes a mom 80% less likely to choose abortion. Babies die every day as a result of this opinion.
- Protected abortionists. Burns v. Cline, 2014 OK 90. This decision overturned the law requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at a local hospital.
- Protected sex offenders. Hendricks v. Jones ex rel. State ex rel. Okla. Dept of Corr., 2013 OK 71. The court overturned a law that deterred sex offenders from moving to Oklahoma.
Download this Judging Judges Flyer and give a copy to everybody at church. Ask them to vote NO on Oklahoma Supreme Court Justices James Winchester and Donald Combs.
by Charlie Meadows (former OCPAC president) and John Michener (current OCPAC president)
The following picks represent the opinions of the OCPAC leadership team. We have noted which candidates were specifically endorsed and funded by OCPAC based on their conservative principles and policies.