Archive for the ‘Rep. Jason Murphey’ Category

Video: Murphey Legislative Update (June 2008)

May 30, 2008

Good News About Ethics Reform

May 27, 2008

By Rep. Jason Murphey

Last week marked the end of the period during which the Oklahoma Legislature could act on legislation. During the normal course of business, a bill has to be placed on the agenda for a certain number of hours before it can be acted on, so that legislators and others can review it before a vote. However, in the last two days before the legislative deadline, these rules are waived. This year, due in part to negotiations over a number of issues, a significant amount of legislation was held up until right before the deadline. This meant a large number of bills were considered by the House and Senate without giving legislators much time to read them.

Because of these circumstances, there was opportunity for significant changes in the law to pass through without proper consideration. I enjoy the huge challenge of carefully but quickly plowing through hundreds of pages of legalise in an effort to discover these last minute changes, some of which may need to be opposed (more on that next week).

This time, however, I was happy to discover and support a very appropriate and positive change to this year’s ethics reform bill. House Bill 2196, which I wrote about earlier this year, purported to place a ban on any political contributions during the legislative session. The logic followed that a politician should not be receiving donations at the same time he or she is voting on important laws. Read more…

Video: Murphey Update (Week of May 9)

May 12, 2008


OK Legislator’s Blog: Rep. Murphey – Three Important Legislative Reforms Killed in State Senate

Failing To Provide New Hope

April 28, 2008

By Rep. Jason Murphey

One of the most heartbreaking votes took place last week as the House rejected an important reform that had already received approval of the Senate. The proposal, named the “New Hope Scholarship Program,” would have provided tax incentives to those willing to donate to a scholarship fund so students who were trapped in failing inner city schools in Oklahoma City and Tulsa could attend private schools.

The Senate author of this bill, Senator James Williamson, described it as “a two-for-one deal. Two dollars of education for low-income students for every one dollar of effect on the sate budget.”

As I have mentioned in my previous updates, as a member of the Human Services Committee, I see firsthand that there are now 19,000 children in state custody. As a member of the Corrections Committee, I know that Oklahoma prisons are filled to capacity. There are no easy solutions to these problems because the massive cost falls upon the taxpayers; but these challenges, if left unchecked, will eventually be too large for the government to handle and will continue to usurp more and more of your taxpayer dollars. Read more…

Jason Murphey: "Higher Ed Officials Should Stop Attack On Veterans"

March 20, 2008

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Vice-Chairman of the House of Representatives Homeland Security Subcommittee, Rep. Jason Murphey (R-Guthrie), used the occasion of the Veterans Awareness Day Joint Legislative Session on Wednesday to call on Oklahoma Higher Education officials to ease off recent comments that he feels are insulting to Oklahoma’s military men and women:

In their zeal to maintain the status-quo and oppose House Bill 2513, Oklahoma’s higher education elite are bringing into question the judgment of Oklahoma’s military officers.

HB 2513, which is advocated by the National Rifle Association, supports Oklahoma veterans and active duty personnel by giving them the right to defend themselves and others when they are attending or teaching classes at one of Oklahoma’s state colleges and universities, provided they notify the university they are in possession of a concealed carry license.

Murphey said he was especially concerned when, after the passage of House Bill 2513, prominent higher education officials launched a campaign in which they are insinuating that the safety of Oklahoma students will be endangered if Oklahoma’s veterans and active military are allowed to defend themselves on college campuses:

To suggest that Oklahoma’s highly trained military men and women are going to endanger the safety of Oklahoma students is inappropriate. I believe that we have the finest military in the world and I find it offensive that some in the higher education community have begun to question the judgment of our military men and women.

Earlier this year, the Governor received a report from a task force which recommended that millions of dollars be spent on enhancing campus security. This proposed expenditure comes at a time when Oklahomans are already forced to deal with massive tuition increases, high taxes and a government that continues to incur long-term debt. What better way to solve some of our security challenges than to take advantage of the training of our military veterans and active duty military personnel who also maintain concealed carry licenses? House Bill 2513 would allow them to defend themselves and their fellow students and teachers. In many cases, these personnel have training that is equal to or exceeds the training of the law enforcement officers charged with protecting our campuses. This is a service that would be provided with little or no cost to the state.

It is inconceivable that we are willing to ask our military officers to work with local government in securing such dangerous areas as the Green Zone in Baghdad, but we don’t trust them to work with local law enforcement officers to enhance safety on our own college campuses.

House Bill 2513 cleared the House of Representatives by a vote of 65-35 and is now headed to the Senate for consideration. (More info on OKPNS here.)

Saying "NO" To Lobbyist Gift Giving

February 25, 2008

By Rep. Jason Murphey

Recently, a bill I authored, HB 2444, was approved by the House Rules Subcommittee on Elections and Redistricting. HB 2444 would ask the state Ethics Commission to create and maintain a voluntary “No Gifts List.” Under the bill, lobbyists would be prevented from giving gifts to lawmakers who voluntarily place themselves on the list.

When I asked for your vote to be your State Representative, I did so because I wanted to spend time in the Legislature working for the people, not taking lobbyists gifts and certainly not going through the hassle of returning unsolicted items.

Refusing gifts has proven harder than I expected, as lobbyists kept delivering unrequested items to my office. This became a logistical challenge, since some were left with office staff or even sent in the mail. Other lawmakers have told me of similar frustrations, as they did not want to receive gifts either, and yet items are left at their offices. Read more…

OK Legislator’s Blog

February 20, 2008

By Rep. Jason Murphey

Can you imagine a situation in the private business world where one part of the business was allowed to issue millions of dollars of debt without approval from the board of directors? Certainly it would not be long before that business would simply cease to exist. No doubt it would be driven into bankruptcy by out-of-control employees who spend without check or balance.

Yet that is exactly what is occurring in state government. The Regents for Higher Education are issuing millions of dollars of bond projects without the approval of the legislature. The projects not only indebt state government to paying off the principal of the debt, but the unnecessary interest as well.

In fact, it appears that in the last 8 years, more than 250 million dollars have been issued by the Regents in debt. Currently, around 180 million of this is still waiting to be paid back. The money has been requested for use on projects as varied as athletic score boards to golf course maintenance equipment.

Recently, a courageous member of the Council of Bond Oversight asked his board to seek an Attorney General’s opinion on the constitutionality of the Regents to issue this kind of debt. Unfortunately, not enough members of his board voted to support his effort, and it failed. Read more…

By Senator Jay Paul Gumm, D-Durant

Hello again, everybody! Legislative committees in both the Senate and House of Representatives continue consideration of the hundreds of bills filed for 2008.

One of the worst proposals on the table this year is a measure that would begin to “sunset,” or systematically end, many of our state’s tax exemptions. The result would be a systematic tax increase for a broad spectrum of Oklahoma business activities. In fact, if enacted as presented, it would by far be the largest tax increase in Oklahoma’s history

Proponents of ending those exemptions have been clear: they want to raise taxes so they can cut taxes – primarily for the wealthiest among us. I know; it does not make sense to me, either. This proposal would be a “tax shift” that is potentially devastating for many Oklahoma businesses and jobs. It could drive up food prices for you and me, but more on that in a moment.

This notion of “tax shifting” – from an economic development standpoint – troubles me greatly. In essence, ending these exemptions would be breaking a promise we made to businesses that have invested in our state and our people.

Businesses relocate or expand into a state based on a set of promises. New and existing businesses that make new investments and create new jobs do not deserve to have the rug pulled out from under them by eliminating exemptions on which they depend. Read more…

Violating the Constitution

February 12, 2008

By Rep. Jason Murphey

One of the rites of passage for legislators is a vote that occurs near the end of each legislative year on what is known as the “spill-over” bill. This is a massive spending bill that is used as a way to dole out extra taxpayer dollars in order to placate those who did not get everything they wanted in the yearly budget. Last year’s spill-over bill featured a massive one-time spending of $135 million of your money on everything from an unnamed private foundation to an aerospace industries training program in Oklahoma City.

The first problem with this bill is that it is an unconstitutional practice known as “logrolling.” Logrolling is the process in which a spending bill contains a number of appropriations all rolled into one. This bill is presented to the legislature in a form that cannot be amended from the floor, thus forcing legislators to vote up or down on the bill without giving them the chance to vote for or against how the money is specifically spent.

This massive one-time spending also provides cover to future legislatures to increase recurring spending while telling the people that they are cutting the amount of spending in government. For instance, if your personal spending budget was $800 per month and you received a $200 bonus from your job, and you spent all $1000 in one month, would it be fiscally prudent to spend $990 the next month and then assert you had cut your personal budget by $10? Read more…

Murphey, Sullivan to fill Benge’s Posts on Two Committees

February 8, 2008

So, now that Chris Benge is moving on up to Speaker of the House, who’s going to fill his shoes? Turns out it’s going to take two to replace him: From Jennifer Mock, of the OK House of Representatives:

OKLAHOMA CITY (Feb. 6, 2008) – Two state lawmakers were appointed today to serve on House subcommittees in the place of recently named House Speaker Chris Benge, R-Tulsa.

Rep. Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie, will fill Benge’s spot on the House Banking Subcommittee, and Rep. Dan Sullivan, R-Tulsa, will replace Benge on the House Insurance & Retirement Subcommittee.

“I look forward to working with Representative Murphey and Representative Sullivan in their new roles,” Benge said.

Benge was named Monday as the new Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives. In Oklahoma, the House Speaker does not have regular duties on any legislative committees, though the Speaker can cast a vote in any committee.

Reining in Free "Unadulterated Entertainment" for Legislators!

January 29, 2008

By Rep. Jason Murphey

There is some very good news to report about the effort to level the playing field between the paid special interests groups and the people.

During the first six months of 2007, paid lobbyists reported giving legislators $137,000 in personal gifts, such as expensive dinners or sporting events tickets. This spending power basically bought access to the legislators on behalf of the spenders. This is the type of access that the average person (whom the legislators are supposed to be representing) simply cannot compete with.

I feel that the special interests’ influence problem has in large part been created by the massive size of government. Because state government has become so engorged with billions of our tax dollars, and because there are so many different government regulations and laws, a cottage industry has sprung up that is populated by those who seek to benefit their specific field of interest. Because there are millions of dollars at stake, these special interests will see an investment in personal gifts or political contributions to lawmakers as being a small price to pay, compared to the possible benefits. Read more…