Archive for May, 2007

Lawyers Not Ready for Reform

May 31, 2007

Andrew Spiropoulos is a professor of law and director of the Center for the Study of State Constitutional Law at Oklahoma City University. He also is an adjunct scholar at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs.

Andrew Spiropoulos
Guest viewpoint

Like many in my profession, I dreamed of being a lawyer from a young age, inspired by both the Atticus Finches of fiction and the Abraham Lincolns of real life. I have never lost my love for the law and the pride I have in the noblest practitioners of it.

Yet despite my love for the law and for genuine lawyers I am bitterly disappointed by the recent actions of some in my profession.

When the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs asked me four years ago to help study and develop recommendations for the reform of our state’s civil justice system, I naively believed that most of the leaders of the profession here in Oklahoma sincerely would participate in the effort to make our system better. Granted, I never expected that the plaintiffs’ bar would consider the issue with an open mind, especially the bottom-feeders who would be most hurt by reforms discouraging meritless and profiteering litigation.

I did, however, expect those whose personal financial interests were not directly hurt by sensible reform to sincerely grapple with remedying the accumulated flaws of our system.

My expectations were, of course, utterly unrealistic. The profession here in Oklahoma has shown little or no interest in reforming itself. Read more…

OKPNS Legislators’ Blog

May 31, 2007

By Rep. Joe Dorman

The legislative session ended this past Friday and now it’s time to sort through the piles that have stacked up. I had two bills go to the Governor and I’m still waiting for his signature on the bill dealing with firefighter training and funding, along with the creation of a controlled burn indemnity fund established through the Conservation Districts. I do not expect any problems from this bill since I never heard of any efforts to work against it. Every organized fire association, the conservation districts and the agricultural associations were all in support of this bill. Read more…

By Rep. Jason Murphey

The House of Representatives recently passed major legislation amending the ethics rules that govern the fundraising conduct of the campaigns of Oklahoma politicians. These reforms include a new limitation on lobbyists’ influence over elected officials. These ethics reforms were contained in House Bill 2210, sponsored by Lance Cargill, Speaker of the House.

Ethics reform is an issue about which I feel strongly. As an observer and participant in the political process, I have seen first hand how some ethics abuses are perpetrated. As a State Representative, I have also noticed how much influence lobbyists have over the legislative process. When I sought election to this office, I campaigned on a platform of ethics reform.

Read more…

OKPNS Legislators’ Blog

May 31, 2007

By Rep. Joe Dorman

The legislative session ended this past Friday and now it’s time to sort through the piles that have stacked up. I had two bills go to the Governor and I’m still waiting for his signature on the bill dealing with firefighter training and funding, along with the creation of a controlled burn indemnity fund established through the Conservation Districts. I do not expect any problems from this bill since I never heard of any efforts to work against it. Every organized fire association, the conservation districts and the agricultural associations were all in support of this bill. Read more…

By Rep. Jason Murphey

The House of Representatives recently passed major legislation amending the ethics rules that govern the fundraising conduct of the campaigns of Oklahoma politicians. These reforms include a new limitation on lobbyists’ influence over elected officials. These ethics reforms were contained in House Bill 2210, sponsored by Lance Cargill, Speaker of the House.

Ethics reform is an issue about which I feel strongly. As an observer and participant in the political process, I have seen first hand how some ethics abuses are perpetrated. As a State Representative, I have also noticed how much influence lobbyists have over the legislative process. When I sought election to this office, I campaigned on a platform of ethics reform.

Read more…

Ivan the Terrible, or Terrible Reporting?

May 31, 2007

The blogosphere is abuzz with stories regarding “turmoil” at the Oklahoma Democratic Party. But according to well-placed sources, much of what has been reported is simply not true. Much of the speculation surrounds the agenda of new party Chairman Dr. Ivan Holmes.

Reports have indicated that Holmes’ election signaled a rise to power by the “radical fringe element” within the party. Those who know Holmes, including Republicans, tell the Oklahoma Political News Service that Holmes’ election actually signals a turn away from the extremists who have run the party in the past.

Other errors include reports that Holmes campaigned for a trio of extreme resolutions at the party convention and that he was unaware that some party employees he has fired were funded by the Democratic National Committee. “Just bad reporting,” a source tells us.

Another source tells OKPNS that it appears some bloggers have been fed misinformation in an effort to undermine Holmes, since Holmes has pledged to give voice back to the mainstream grassroots Democrats. “It appears he’s angered the extremists with first his upset victory, and then his house cleaning, and it is the extremists who are manipulating the bloggers to trip him up,” the source says.

Open Door Policy – May 29, 2007

May 31, 2007

The legislative session ended this past Friday and now it’s time to sort through the piles that have stacked up. I had two bills go to the Governor and I’m still waiting for his signature on the bill dealing with firefighter training and funding, along with the creation of a controlled burn indemnity fund established through the Conservation Districts. I do not expect any problems from this bill since I never heard of any efforts to work against it. Every organized fire association, the conservation districts and the agricultural associations were all in support of this bill.

The session was smooth for most as the power-sharing agreement worked in the Senate and the House members were able to work together on issues such as the budget, immigration, education reform and health care. Despite some of the partisan wrangling on a few issues, most everyone got something of what they wanted to see this year from the session.

The deadline for interim studies has passed and I want to thank each of you that submitted ideas. I turned in 26 requests for study and hopefully the Speaker will approve them. I, along with my interns and the House Staff, have all started work on some of these and I expect some good ideas will come forth from these meetings. I will do a detailed explanation of some of these in the coming weeks, along with others requested by different legislators.

I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day! The services at Fort Sill and Elgin were very moving and the weather was very cooperative. It’s was good to get back home and see friends at these events. I also enjoyed Cement’s 105th birthday celebration with the parade and the main street roped off for people to have a fun day of fellowship. I got several comments about shaving off my beard there. If you hadn’t heard, I told a group they could shave my hair and beard if they raised $1,000 for a Relay for Life and they got over $1,800. It’s a good summer haircut for a great cause!

The week ahead has me speaking to the Grady County Democratic Women’s Club about the legislative session, the Sovereignty Symposium regarding tobacco legislation and tribal compacts, the Association of General Contractors will discuss road funding and Ninnekah has their 115th birthday celebration this Saturday. I will be getting around to see people around the district over the next few weeks and catch up with the time off from the Capitol until the studies begin. I enjoyed the trivia lessons on Tuesday in Elgin while getting coffee, so it’s good to see some things don’t change while we are in session.

It is an honor to represent your views at the State Capitol. If you wish to contact me and discuss one of these or another issue, I can be reached at my office in Oklahoma City toll-free at 1-800-522-8502, or directly at 1-405-557-7305. My e-mail address is joedorman@okhouse.gov at work. My mailing address is PO Box 559 , Rush Springs , OK 73082 and my website is http://www.joedorman.com on the Internet. Thank you for taking time to read this column and I look forward to seeing you soon.

Internet Request Yields Huge Response for State Lawmaker

May 31, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Ray Carter, House Media
Capitol: (405) 557-7421
Contact: State Rep. Joe Dorman
Capitol: (405) 557-7305
E-mail: joedorman@okhouse.gov

Internet Request Yields Huge Response for State Lawmaker

OKLAHOMA CITY (May 31, 2007) – To encourage Oklahomans to become more involved in state government, state Rep. Joe Dorman used the World Wide Web to solicit their input this year.
In online postings on Dorman’s personal Web site (www.joedorman.com) and his pages on myspace.com and facebook.com, the Rush Springs Democrat encouraged members of the public to send in their suggestions for legislative studies.
The response was overwhelming.
“I asked people to turn in ideas for issues they thought the Legislature should address during the interim,” Dorman said, “and I had a huge response from people all across the state.”
After the Oklahoma Legislature adjourns each May, state lawmakers conduct interim studies on issues that could be addressed during the next session, which begins the following February.
Dorman submitted more than 20 study requests this year with the majority coming from the online response of Oklahomans.
The study proposals submitted as a result of Dorman’s online request include a review of animal cruelty laws affecting laboratories, gasoline prices, the legal definition of mental illness, protection of the state’s water supply, driver’s education classes, global warming, state-funded medical research opportunities, the state contracting process, a proposal to install ATMs on toll roads, creation of a NASCAR race track in Oklahoma, encouraging the production of biofuels from switch grass, and more.
“It’s a wide variety of issues,” Dorman said. “But all of them are issues that are important to Oklahomans now engaged in our political process and I’m very excited by the response.”
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Total Body Makeovers (Politics Style)

May 30, 2007


From The Daily Byte with James Davenport:

It is amazing how quickly some political candidates forget their own history as elected officials. Now that they are interested in a new (usually higher office) they want you to forget their previous positions, too. It is an amazing Total Body Makeover, Politics Style! As soon as they announce, they drop inconvenient positions, equivocate on unpopular stances, and generally try to shed any problematic policies they have previously held. In some cases, it is very similar to dressing up a corpse.

Maybe you are a career politician and trial attorney who has had strong ties to local police and fire fighters unions. Never mind that, just reinvent yourself into a citizen legislator who supports lawsuit reform and is a long-time supporter of our community’s first responders. Do not ask questions about the past, just listen to what I am telling you now. Read more…

Coburn Mulling Presidential Bid?

May 30, 2007

Sen. Tom Coburn is mulling an entry into the Republican presidential primary, according to sources inside and outside the Senate. Coburn, a senator from Oklahoma, is believed to be receiving encouragement from a small group of wealthy businessmen and philanthropists in the Oklahoma-Kansas-Texas region of the country.

He’s all about faith, lower taxes, and staying the course in Iraq,’ says an adviser outside of the Senate who has been speaking to Coburn. Coburn had been mulling a run earlier this year, but with what appeared to be a crowded field, including two sitting Senators (John McCain and Sam Brownback), along with another seriously looking (Chuck Hagel), Coburn appeared to pull back.

‘He’s not bound to any timetable or any fundraising imperative,’ says a longtime adviser to Coburn, who has spoken with him. ‘What’s important for him is that there is no other true, Reagan conservative in the race, and he thinks he can fill that void.’ Coburn is believed to have the backing of several low-profile members of the so called ‘Swift Boaters,’ men who financed the ads that doomed the presidential aspirations of Sen. John Kerry.

The Politico: Thompson Plans to Enter Presidential Race

May 30, 2007

From The Politico:

Fred Dalton Thompson is planning to enter the presidential race over the Fourth of July holiday, announcing that week that he has already raised several million dollars and is being backed by insiders from the past three Republican administrations,Thompson advisers told The Politico.

Helping Thompson in Oklahoma are Corporation Commissioner Jeff Cloud and former Republican State Chairman Steve Edwards of Tulsa. Read more…

Turmoil Strikes Oklahoma Democratic Party…

May 29, 2007

From McCarville Report Online:

The Oklahoma Democratic Party appears to be in turmoil today, with the forced resignations of three staff members and some potential major donors said to be reluctant to help fund the administration of new Chairman Ivan Holmes.

Word of the turmoil comes a few weeks after Holmes won the chairmanship in a surprise over Norman attorney Ben Odom, the outgoing vice chairman, in what one party source described as a victory for the “radical fringe element” of the party. Read more…