Blockquotes are from the actual ballot wording here:
washington-county-general-election-ballot-2016 (pdf format – downloadable)
On each measure you will have an opportunity to vote either:
FOR THE PROPOSAL – YES
AGAINST THE PROPOSAL – NO
STATE QUESTION NO. 776 LEGISLATIVE REFERENDUM NO. 367
This measure adds a new section to the Oklahoma Constitution, Section 9A of Article
2. The new Section deals with the death penalty. The Section establishes State constitutional mandates relating to the death penalty and methods of execution. Under these constitutional requirements:
• The Legislature is expressly empowered to designate any method of execution not prohibited by the United States Constitution.
• Death sentences shall not be reduced because a method of execution is ruled to be invalid.
• When an execution method is declared invalid, the death penalty imposed shall remain in force until it can be carried out using any valid execution method, and
• The imposition of a death penalty under Oklahoma law-as distinguished from a method of execution-shall not be deemed to be or constitute the infliction of cruel or unusual punishment under Oklahoma’s Constitution, nor to contravene any provision of the Oklahoma Constitution.
My thoughts: This amendment sounds reasonable to me. I support the death penalty in general as a crime deterrent and appropriate to some crimes. I plan to vote YES.
See more from Batesline here.
STATE QUESTION NO. 777 LEGISLATIVE REFERENDUM NO. 368
This measure adds Section 38 to Article II of the Oklahoma Constitution. The new Section creates state constitutional rights. It creates the following guaranteed rights to engage in farming and ranching:
• The right to make use of agricultural technology,
• The right to make use of livestock procedures, and
• The right to make use of ranching practices. These constitutional rights receive extra protection under this measure that not all constitutional rights receive. This extra protection is a limit on lawmakers’ ability to interfere with the exercise of these rights. Under this extra protection, no law can interfere with these rights, unless the law is justified by a compelling state interest-a clearly identified state interest of the highest order. Additionally, the law must be necessary to serve that compelling state interest. The measure-and the protections identified above-do not apply to and do not impact state laws related to:
• Eminent domain,
• Dominance of mineral interests,
• Right of way or other property rights, and
• Any state statutes and political subdivision ordinances enacted before December 31, 2014.
My thoughts: I am a clear NO on this one because of the ‘compelling state interest line’. I call these weasel words. They basically undo all the good language above and say we the state can do whatever we want when we have a ‘compelling interest’. Given the state’s track record for undermining rights – this is NOT acceptable to me.
This from one of our brightest and best who just happens to be a rancher in the Panhandle – Kenny Bob Tapp: I understand the concerns pro 777 folks have with the infamous HSUS [Humane Society of the United States]. Our concerns maybe should be with a group that has had a very detrimental affect to Life and Liberty in Oklahoma, The Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce. If you look at the authors and sponsors of 777, the majority of them are State Chamber backed candidates. For almost 10 years of my citizen grassroot involvement in promoting 2nd Amendment legislation, abolish abortion, legislation, free market efforts and opposing insurance exchange efforts (Obamacare) in Oklahoma, the Oklahoma State Chamber and their controlled legislators have been at the forefront of stopping or opposing all these efforts, plus some. My point is while we haven’t had any negative effects by the infamous HSUS in Oklahoma who opposes 777, Life and our freedoms have taken a huge hit by the infamous State Chamber who apparently is the huge reason we have 777 on the ballot in Oklahoma
Dax Ewbank has this observation (and I agree): This is why I will be voting NO on SQ777. The entire premise of it is based on the idea that government creates rights. That is not a school of thought that lends toward freedom nor one that we should be using as a premise for government.
My well researched friend Andrea Hutchison on her reason to vote NO on 777: There are several reasons 1. Farm Bureau and OCA’s stance on the repeal of the Country of Origin Labeling both groups promoted this action which has destroyed thousands cattle producers. 2. Their stance on The Transpacific Partnership – they both promote this action that will destroy US sovereignty TPP is not about global trade it is about global control aka Globalism. These two organizations have taken the path of globalism. I have worked with both groups in attempts to stop the sustainable model from advancing. Both have advanced it further and support it openly. I wrote a resolution to address this which passed and is now Oklahoma Farm Bureau policy. However in July Oklahoma Farm Bureau leadership praised the Global Food Security Act and Food Initiative which will demand sustainability ( this term is a tool to destroy US producers it is a Trojan Horse for Regulations. Both of these groups are advancing globalism. I want Americanism. They are getting marching orders from higher up. Our OCA was on Fox News urging a yes vote , on that clip was an individual who was tied to the dismissal of HSUS intrusion onto producers properties via a verification program. That was a huge red flag … They are advancing globalism by these very actions. There is too much confusion in it and too much vague language in it. We are fighting an ideology and that is top down centralized control – one world government and “sustainability” is the weapon being used to destroy us —from within— we can’t amend our constitution to fight an ideology.
Video with John Michener of OCPAC on SQ 777
Video from Oklahoma Stewardship Council
“Don’t let corporate interests harm our family farms, land, and animals.”
“We’re a grassroots campaign of family farmers, community leaders, and concerned citizens opposing State Question 777. SQ 777 wasn’t proposed by farmers or ranchers — it’s designed to give free reign to corporate interests and Big Ag.”
STATE QUESTION NO. 779 INITIATIVE PETITION NO. 403
This measure adds a new Article to the Oklahoma Constitution. The article creates a limited purpose fund to increase funding for public education. It increases State sales and use taxes by one cent per dollar to provide revenue for the fund. The revenue to be used for public education shall be allocated: 69.50% for common school districts, 19.25% for the institutions under the authority of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, 3.25% for the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, and 8% for the State Department of Education. It requires teacher salary increases funded by this measure raise teacher salaries by at least $5,000 over the salaries paid in the year prior to adoption of this measure. It requires an annual audit of school districts’ use of monies. It prohibits school districts’ use of these funds for increasing superintendents’ salaries or adding superintendent positions. It requires that monies from the fund not supplant or replace other educational funding. If the Oklahoma Board of Equalization determines funding has been replaced, the Legislature may not make any appropriations until the amount of replaced funding is returned to the fund. The article takes effect on July 1 after its passage.
My thoughts: I am a clear NO and continue to ask when we will get spending under control. This is more tax and spend – enough already!
STATE QUESTION NO. 780 INITIATIVE PETITION NO. 404
This measure amends existing Oklahoma laws and would change the classification of certain drug possession and property crimes from felony to misdemeanor. It would make possession of a limited quantity of drugs a misdemeanor. The amendment also changes the classification of certain drug possession crimes which are currently considered felonies and cases where the defendant has a prior drug possession conviction. The proposed amendment would reclassify these drug possession cases as misdemeanors. The amendment would increase the threshold dollar amount used for determining whether certain property crimes are considered a felony or misdemeanor. Currently, the threshold is $500. The amendment would increase the amount to $1000. Property crimes covered by this change include; false declaration of a pawn ticket, embezzlement, larceny, grand larceny, theft, receiving or concealing stolen property, taking domesticated fish or game, fraud, forgery, counterfeiting, or issuing bogus checks. This measure would become effective July 1, 2017.
My thoughts: I am a clear YES on this one. No fan of the current drug laws at all. This one just doesn’t go far enough in that regard.
STATE QUESTION NO. 781 INITIATIVE PETITION NO. 405
This measure creates the County Community Safety Investment Fund, only if voters approve State Question 780, the Oklahoma Smart Justice Reform Act. This measure would create a fund, consisting of any calculated savings or averted costs that accrued to the State from the implementation of the Oklahoma Smart Justice Reform Act in reclassifying certain property crimes and drug possession as misdemeanors. The measure requires the Office of Management and Enterprise Services to use either actual data or its best estimate to determine how much money was saved on a yearly basis. The amount determined to be saved must be deposited into the Fund and distributed to counties in proportion to their population to provide community rehabilitative programs, such as mental health and substance abuse services. This measure will not become effective if State Question 780, the Oklahoma Smart Justice Reform Act, is not approved by the people. The measure will become effective on July 1 immediately following its passage.
My thoughts: I am a probable NO on this one. Save the money and do not redirect it elsewhere.
STATE QUESTION NO. 790 LEGISLATIVE REFERENDUM NO. 369
This measure would remove Article 2, Section 5 of the Oklahoma Constitution, which prohibits the government from using public money or property for the direct or indirect benefit of any religion or religious institution. Article 2, Section 5 has been interpreted by the Oklahoma courts as requiring the removal of a Ten Commandments monument from the grounds of the State Capitol. If this measure repealing Article 2, Section 5 is passed, the government would still be required to comply with the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution, which is a similar constitutional provision that prevents the government from endorsing a religion or becoming overly involved with religion.
My thoughts: I am a clear YES on this one. I love that it removes language that has been used to cause problems regarding the Ten Commandments monument.
STATE QUESTION NO. 792 LEGISLATIVE REFERENDUM NO. 370
This measure repeals Article 28 of the Oklahoma Constitution and restructures the laws governing alcoholic beverages through a new Article 28A and other laws the Legislature will create if the measure passes. The new Article 28A provides that with exceptions, a person or company can have an ownership interest in only one area of the alcoholic beverage business-manufacturing, wholesaling, or retailing. Some restrictions apply to the sales of manufacturers, brewers, winemakers, and wholesalers. Subject to limitations, the Legislature may authorize direct shipments to consumers of wine. Retail locations like grocery stores may sell wine and beer. Liquor stores may sell products other than alcoholic beverages in limited amounts. The Legislature must create licenses for retail locations, liquor stores, and places serving alcoholic beverages and may create other licenses. Certain licensees must meet residency requirements. Felons cannot be licensees. The Legislature must designate days and hours when alcoholic beverages may be sold and may impose taxes on sales. Municipalities may levy an occupation tax. If authorized, a state lodge may sell individual alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption but no other state involvement in the alcoholic beverage business is allowed. With one exception, the measure will take effect October 1, 2018.
My thoughts: I am a clear YES on this one. It eliminates some of our really bad laws over-regulating and killing competition in the state of Oklahoma. It doesn’t go far enough, but it is a step in the right direction in my opinion
Some pros and cons on each question via OklahomaWatch here (with a downloadable pdf guide also available)
I will be adding additional reference links on state questions for a few days — so please check back if this is of interest to you! Next up some thoughts on judicial retentions…