Archive for the ‘Thad Balkman’ Category

10th Circuit Appeals Court Upholds Lower Court Ruling Declaring Anti-Gay Adoption Law Unconstitutional

August 15, 2007

Need further proof the world’s going to hell in a hand basket? This piece is from the Dallas Voice, “The Community Newspaper for Gay & Lesbian Dallas.”

“State Rep. Thad Balkman, the instigator of the measure, claimed — apparently in error — that the law would prevent Oklahoma children from being adopted by gay couples from out of state, and opined that “children are better off with two parents — a mother and a father, not two mothers or two fathers.”

By Ann Rostow
News Analyst

The U.S Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit has struck down one of the most extraordinary anti-gay laws in the nation — Oklahoma’s ban on recognizing legal gay adoptive parents from out of state.

Passed in 2004, the law was unique in the country and breathtaking in its scope. A lower federal court ruled the law unconstitutional last year, and last Friday, Aug. 3, the three-judge federal appellate panel put the final nail in its coffin, handing the GLBT legal community a nice precedent in the process.

Critics of the law say it’s hard to believe that an elected group of lawmakers, even in the reddest state, could conceive of passing this kind of legislation in the first place. Imagine adopting a couple of children at birth, moving to Oklahoma years later, and discovering that you are no longer legally related to your teenage son or daughter, they say.

How did it happen? It happened in a kind of gay panic, brought on by the plight of two gay fathers in 2003. Read more…

Oklahoma Education Association Hosting IdeaRaiser

March 27, 2007

The next IdeaRaiser for Oklahoma’s 100 Ideas Initiative will be hosted by the Oklahoma Education Association on Thursday, March 29 at 6 p.m. at Westfield Elementary School, 17601 N. Pennsylvania in Edmond.

The 100 Ideas Initiative is a non-partisan project designed to solicit the best ideas for Oklahoma’s second century. IdeaRaisers are public meetings designed to encourage input and discussion about those ideas and suggestions. To date, six IdeaRaisers have been held at locations throughout the state, and more are scheduled in the coming months.

100 Ideas Executive Director Thad Balkman said Thursday’s event has great potential for some fantastic ideas related to education and its importance.

“I think this IdeaRaiser, much like our higher education event earlier this year, can bring some great minds together to come up with some groundbreaking solutions in addressing education related issues and improving our overall education system,” said Balkman. “The OEA has been very helpful in organizing this event and we are looking forward to a productive evening.”

Rural Oklahoma to be topic of McAlester IdeaRaiser

March 9, 2007

Rural Oklahoma will be the focus of an IdeaRaiser in Southeastern Oklahoma next week.

The event, slated to be held at the Eastern Oklahoma State College campus in McAlester will focus on issues facing rural Oklahoma and what ideas to improve those areas.

“We are excited to welcome Speaker Cargill and the 100 Ideas initiative,”

said Steve Smith, Dean of the McAlester campus. “We hope to have students, educators, small business owners and other interested citizens come and share their ideas to help chart the course of rural Oklahoma’s future.”Pittsburg County legislators, Senator Richard Lerblance, and Representatives Terry Harrison and Brian Renegar have been invited to participate.

RSVPs for the IdeaRaisers can be sent to or by calling 1-888-465-2007. Organizers encourage those interested in attending to RSVP.

Two IdeaRaisers Slated for Week

March 5, 2007

100 Ideas Initiative Executive Director announced today that two IdeaRaisers are slated for this week.

The first event will be held Wednesday at 10 a.m. at the Fraternal Order of Police in Oklahoma City and will focus on public safety. The second IdeaRaiser, scheduled for Thursday at 2 p.m. at the State Capitol, will be held in conjunction with Mental Health Day and is slated for 2 p.m.

“These events give us an opportunity to discuss two very important issues to Oklahomans–public safety and mental health,” said Balkman. “I look forward to some productive discussions and ideas these individuals are sure to have.”

Hosts for the FOP event include the Oklahoma District Attorneys Association,Oklahoma Firefighters Association, the Oklahoma Chiefs of Police, Rep. Rex Duncan, R-Sand Springs, chairman of the Judiciary & Public Safety Committee, Rep. Sue Tibbs, R-Tulsa, chair of the Criminal Justice & Corrections Committee, Rep. Mark McCullough, R-Sapulpa, vice-chair of Criminal Justice & Corrections and Rep. Lucky Lamons, D-Tulsa, a former Tulsa Police Officer.

Hosts of the Thursday IdeaRaiser include Rep. Doug Cox, M.D., R-Grove, chair of the Public Health Committee, Rep. Kris Steele, R-Shawnee, chair of the Health Committee and the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Oklahoma.

Cargill, Florida Speaker Engage NSU Crowd

February 20, 2007

NSU President Larry Williams speaks with Speaker Cargill and Florida Speaker Marco Rubio

Oklahoma Speaker of the House Lance Cargill and Florida Speaker Marco Rubio engaged a crowd of over 40 people Friday at the third IdeaRaiser for the 100 Ideas Initiative.

Rubio, who initiated Florida’s 100 Ideas program in 2005,
encouraged Oklahomans to get involved in the project.

“We’re hoping you’ll come up with ideas the political process hasn’t picked up on,” Rubio said.

Rubio also said that the Florida initiative found “that people felt what the government was dealing with was not what people were dealing with in their daily lives.”

“As you engage people at every level, I think you’ll find that there are ideas that no one is talking about or writing about, but are still important,” he added.

The topic of discussion Friday was rural healthcare in Oklahoma.

Ideas presented at the event included creating a system to provide travel to patients living in rural areas who do not otherwise have a method of getting to doctor appointments, creating a statewide electronic medical database and providing more information in elementary schools about preventative health care.

Those in attendance at the University Center at Northeastern State University included representatives from the NSU Oklahoma College of Optometry and the Cherokee Health Science Center.

NSU President Larry Williams, his wife, Pamela, and State Rep. Mike Brown, D-Tahlequah, were also in attendance.

House Speaker Takes the Good With the Bad in 100 Ideas Initiative

February 19, 2007

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Keith Perry of Skiatook would like to do away with Oklahoma’s toll roads. John Howk of Bartlesville would like to see a new state Constitution drawn up.

Those are a couple of the ideas Oklahomans have contributed to House Speaker Lance Cargill’s 100 Ideas initiative.

The initiative is a public think tank that seeks citizen input to address problems Oklahoma faces in its centennial year.

Patterned after a program in Florida, the initiative was launched in January by the nonprofit 100 Ideas Oklahoma, which operates on private donations.

The Florida initiative was paid for by that state’s Republican Party and was criticized by Democrats, who said the organization paid no attention to their ideas.

At the end of the year, the 100 Ideas initiative will publish a book filled with the first 100 ideas from Idearaisers across the state. Cargill says he plans to use the book as an agenda for action.