Archive for June, 2007

Inhofe Praises Immigration Bill’s Defeat

June 28, 2007

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) today lauded the defeat of the 2007 Immigration Reform bill (S.1639) after a fourth cloture vote failed to pass the Senate:

“Today’s defeat of the Senate Immigration Bill is a victory for the American people, the integrity of our borders and the rule of law. For the past several weeks, a small cadre of Senators have manipulated the traditional legislative processes, strangled debate, and prevented the introduction of worthwhile amendments. In doing so, they turned a deaf ear to the will of the American people and the overwhelming sentiment of their constituents.

“Thankfully, Americans of all stripes weighed in on this issue, influencing Congressional opinions and helping to once again defeat this bill.

“Despite its proponents’ claims to the contrary, the Senate immigration legislation was fatally flawed from day one. Since its inception, this legislation has failed to address the key issues of concern for almost all Americans: the enhancement of border security and the enforcement of current immigration laws.

“From the beginning of this debate, I have stated that I would vehemently oppose any immigration legislation that guarantees amnesty for illegal immigrants, unfairly burdens taxpayers or fails to secure our borders. In the wake of this latest vote against amnesty, I sincerely hope the Senate will now turn its attention and efforts toward meaningful immigration reform. It is clear that in the future we must deal with the issue of illegal immigration by focusing first on securing our borders – without a path to amnesty.”

Benefit for USS Oklahoma Memorial July 1st

June 28, 2007

A benefit concert will be held July 1st at the Crossroads Church in Oklahoma City to help raise money for the USS Oklahoma Memorial fund.

Governor Henry, Congressman Cole, fmr. Congressman J.C. Watts, and many state elected officials are planning to attend. Oklahoma native Ms. Anita Bryant will be performing at 5 pm, followed by “South OKC’s best fireworks show.” There will also be a tiger show and inflatables for the kids, a professional BMX stunt group, and plenty to eat and drink.

Along with Sen. Jim Reynolds, another organizer of the event is District 45 Senate candidate Kyle Loveless. Loveless explains his involvement in the benefit:

“I was humbled that I was asked to participate in this effort. I have been supportive for years, ever since they first came to me in Congressman Istook’s office; and I was humbled that my church asked me to help.”

For more information, you can visit the church’s website at: http://www.crossroadsokc.com/.

A Video Message from Senator Inhofe

June 28, 2007

Pease watch the below video thank you from Sen Inhofe as he delivers the first batch of 70,000 petitions to Senators.

OK Legislators’ Blog: School Funding & Teacher Retirement

June 27, 2007

By Senator Jay Paul Gumm, D-Durant

Hello again, everybody! Even though the Legislature is adjourned for the year, events happen that will have an affect on issues important to the people I represent.

On education, there is a “good news-bad news” story for the people of rural Oklahoma and the children who attend rural public schools. The good news comes from the Oklahoma Supreme Court, which struck down an initiative petition that had the potential to devastate many small school districts.

The proposal, led by a failed candidate for governor, is called the “65 percent solution.” It would require 65 percent of school operational funding be spent in the classroom.

On the surface that sounds like a good idea. Read more…

By Rep. Jason Murphey

One of the biggest road blocks to government reform is the approximate 7 billion dollar liability that exists in the Teachers’ Retirement System. The problem is, these are benefits that the state does not currently have to give. We have this problem because liberal big-spending politicians have irresponsibly increased benefits without paying for them.

Since 1991, the Legislature has increased the unfunded liability in the Teacher Retirement System fourteen times. The increase in the unfunded liability, due to legislation from 1991 to 2005, has been $1.3 billion. The result is that the Oklahoma Teachers’ Retirement System is the third most poorly funded public pension system in the country.

This year liberal politicians sponsored at least ten bills to increase benefits without finding new ways to dedicate resources or reform the system. Read more…

OK Legislators’ Blog: School Funding & Teacher Retirement

June 27, 2007

By Senator Jay Paul Gumm, D-Durant

Hello again, everybody! Even though the Legislature is adjourned for the year, events happen that will have an affect on issues important to the people I represent.

On education, there is a “good news-bad news” story for the people of rural Oklahoma and the children who attend rural public schools. The good news comes from the Oklahoma Supreme Court, which struck down an initiative petition that had the potential to devastate many small school districts.

The proposal, led by a failed candidate for governor, is called the “65 percent solution.” It would require 65 percent of school operational funding be spent in the classroom.

On the surface that sounds like a good idea. Read more…

By Rep. Jason Murphey

One of the biggest road blocks to government reform is the approximate 7 billion dollar liability that exists in the Teachers’ Retirement System. The problem is, these are benefits that the state does not currently have to give. We have this problem because liberal big-spending politicians have irresponsibly increased benefits without paying for them.

Since 1991, the Legislature has increased the unfunded liability in the Teacher Retirement System fourteen times. The increase in the unfunded liability, due to legislation from 1991 to 2005, has been $1.3 billion. The result is that the Oklahoma Teachers’ Retirement System is the third most poorly funded public pension system in the country.

This year liberal politicians sponsored at least ten bills to increase benefits without finding new ways to dedicate resources or reform the system. Read more…

Who Drives This Van?

June 27, 2007
Photo courtesy of okdemocrat.com

Comments from okdemocratcom:

“Notice The Oklahoma State Tag!!!”

“What does that say, “OKLAHOMA STATE COMMANDER” on the passenger door, oh my!”

“Perhaps the Disabled Veterans Committee is a subsidiary of the Oklahoma State Dept. of Veterans’ Affairs. It would not surprise me if that were the case. The way our Guv and Repub Legislature give away our hard-earned tax money for their pet Special Interests. It just don’t seem right. Maybe Sen. Randy Brogdan’s (R-Owasso) Tax Accountablility Act and TABOR Initiative are beginning to look a whole lot more fiscally responsible.” Read more…

The Daily Byte – June 27, 2007

June 27, 2007


Oklahoma County government has seemingly been in a constant state of change or commotion since January of 2005. It was in that month that my former boss, Stan Inman, led the effort to eliminate the budget board system and give commissioners more control over the budgeting process of the county. This was a very unpopular decision with the other county officials, who believed they were being excluded from the process. From that point forward, there were numerous public disputes between the Board of County Commissioners and the other county officials – including a lawsuit against the Board – and culminating in Stan’s electoral defeat last fall.

It was supposed that with a new commissioner things would quiet down at the county. However, this year we have seen charges brought against Commissioner Rinehart for campaign violations, and we are in the middle of a special election to fill the seat of Commissioner Roth, who was appointed to the Corporation Commission. So the turmoil continues. If Commissioner Rinehart is convicted (and I’m not making any assumptions one way or another), there may be another special election for his seat as well.

Interestingly enough, despite all of the commotion surrounding or between county officials, the actual work of the county continues to be performed. Some have argued that this reflects the little value of having elected officials in many of these positions. In fact, Commissioner Roth was a strong advocate for changing the entire system of county government. But the drive for that kind of reform has perhaps vanished with Roth’s departure from the Board of County Commissioners.

It is often our perception that whatever is happening now is the best or worst that things have ever been. In this case, people make comments like “This is the worst I have ever seen it in county government,” or “It’s never been this bad.” But the truth is, it has been at least this bad, if not worse. Three were multiple county officials indicted in both the eighties and nineties, and friction between elected officials has cost more than one commissioner their seat before. And I think the system is designed to create friction between county officials.

We’ve invited Oklahoma County Treasurer Forrest “Butch” Freeman on to the program today to give us more of a historical perspective on county government, as well as to get his thoughts on the upcoming special election, the charges against Commissioner Rinehart, the as-of-yet unsolved issue of the county jail, and whether or not he believes the continued upheaval gives credence to those, like Commissioner Roth, who have argued for a change in the system f county government. Treasurer Freeman is the “Dean” of county officials in Oklahoma County, and has seen quite a lot of change since he first took office in the early 1990s. he certainly knows county government inside and out.

Freeman has not only been a serious power broker (my term – not his) in county government, but he has been heavily involved in legislative issues for county governments across the state. He chaired the County Government Legislative Committee (CGLC) for a time. The CGLC is the lobbying arm for county governments across the state. Its influence is well recognized by legislators of both parties.

On a personal note, Treasurer Freeman may be the most friendly and upbeat elected official at any level. I have never seen him turn away someone from his office. He usually has a big smile on his face and he enjoys visiting with people. I believe he still works his own counters from time-to-time, assisting constituents with their questions, complaints, or concerns.

New Site Breaks "Future News"

June 27, 2007

Our Buddy Jimmie Martin over at Oklahoma Opinions has started a new blog called “Breaking Future News.” It is a much needed satirical sabbatical from the daily news of murder, mayhem, and our elected officials who no longer feel they need to pay attention to us. Martin describes his new venture as “a look at present trends and individuals and a wild guess at future news events!” He even takes a shot at himself by proclaiming, misspelings and gramatical errors are a signature literary techinque of the blogmaster.”

Here is a sample of what you’ll find on the site. Enjoy!

Marriage Declared Illegal

In a close vote the Senate of the United States passed the “Marriage Annulment Act of 2012” today which prohibits future marriages and declares those presently in place annulled. The bill was sponsored by a consortium of groups including the ACLU, UN Commission on the family, Planned Parenthood, labor groups and the NEA.

In a prepared statement the executive committee of the NEA, speaking for the consortium said that irreparable harm is being done to single parent children. “It is just not fair for some to have two parents and we must level the playing field so that one parent children will have the same self respect and monetary benefits that double parent members enjoy.

FEMA has been instructed to provide mobile homes to the fathers who must move out of the two parent homes. Same sex couples were exempted from the provisions of the bill.President Hillary R. Clinton favors the bill as does United Nations Secretary Bill Clinton who was the principle author.

Inhofe Statement on Immigration Vote

June 27, 2007

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) made the following statement in response to today’s vote to invoke cloture on the 2007 Immigration Reform Bill which passed 64-35:

“I am very disappointed in the outcome of today’s vote. A vote for this motion to invoke cloture is just one step closer to a vote for amnesty. Thirty hours of debate and a limited amount of amendments will not change the underlying nature of this bill. I have long said that I will not support any measure that allows illegal immigrants to shortcut the current path to citizenship and I will continue to fight to expose the flaws in this bill, helping to defeat this egregious gift of amnesty to 12 to 20 million illegal immigrants.

“It’s time for the Senate to listen to their constituents. The American public does not want this so-called immigration fix. What they want and what they deserve is for the federal government to secure the borders and enforce the rule of law – both of which can be achieved without an additional 800 pages of new legislation.”

School Consolidation Battle Brewing

June 27, 2007

By Senator Jay Paul Gumm, D-Durant
Hello again, everybody! Even though the Legislature is adjourned for the year, events happen that will have an affect on issues important to the people I represent.

On education, there is a “good news-bad news” story for the people of rural Oklahoma and the children who attend rural public schools. The good news comes from the Oklahoma Supreme Court, which struck down an initiative petition that had the potential to devastate many small school districts.
The proposal, led by a failed candidate for governor, is called the “65 percent solution.” It would require 65 percent of school operational funding be spent in the classroom.

On the surface that sounds like a good idea; most of the money we spend on schools should go to instruction and, in fact, it does. Despite its name and optimistic claims it would put millions more into classrooms, the “65 percent solution” was nothing but another “smoke and mirrors” plan to look good rather than do good.

The “65 percent solution” would have weakened local school boards and voters, taking away their power to determine what is best for their school districts and the children who depend on them for an education. Small districts unable to comply with the “65 percent solution” would have been forced to close or consolidate, reducing opportunities for children in rural Oklahoma.

The state Supreme Court made the right decision to disallow the petition and keep it off the 2008 general election ballot. Parents and school boards can breathe a sigh of relief because the power to make important funding decisions for their schools remains, for now, in their hands.

That, however, brings me to the “bad news.” Forced school consolidation will continue to be considered by the Legislature. Republican leadership of the Oklahoma House of Representatives continues to kill my constitutional amendment to end forced school consolidation despite strong bipartisan support in the Senate.

Earlier this year, the Republican Speaker of the House launched the “100 Ideas” initiative, inviting Oklahomans to make suggestions about our second century. An enormous amount of the “new ideas” under “education” includes consolidating school districts.

They parrot the proposal of another failed candidate for governor who suggested we have one school district per county. Predictably, all of the consolidation ideas come from individuals in large cities.

Clearly, this is shaping up to be one of the biggest political battles over the next several years. The choice is simple: do we abandon Oklahoma children who live in rural areas? My answer is a resounding “no,” and I will continue to fight for all our children.

Next session, I will re-introduce my constitutional amendment to end forced school consolidation. House Republicans have already shown would force schools to consolidate, but I have hope they one day will realize this power belongs to the people of Oklahoma and not to politicians like them.

Thanks again for reading the “Senate Minute,” have a great week, and may God bless you all.