General Election 2020 Analyses – Oklahoma Emphasis

Sample ballot link in Oklahoma

If you want to pull your own sample ballot go to http://ok.gov/elections and type in your name and birthdate as prompted.

Friends have been asking me for an election analysis this cycle and what to my wondering eyes did appear but an email from Gary Kilpatrick covering it all in detail. So reviewing it and agreeing on nearly everything, I called and asked his permission to publish for your review. He graciously gave me permission and updated his email to say he was now voting no on the judicial retentions he had previously said ‘your pick’ because of additional information he has found since the email.

That email from Gary is below with my comments in [brackets]:

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Many have asked me for my analysis of the upcoming ballot.  So here goes.
For candidates for office I look at three things, in order: (1) what have they done?; (2) what do they propose to do, often reflected in the party platforms?; and (3) what is their character and their worldview?  

The result is for me quite clear [me too!/sc]:


President/Vice President – Donald Trump and Mike Pence

Corporation Commissioner – Todd Hiett

Senator – Jim Inhoff

Representative – Kevin Hern

State Representative – Wendi Stearman


Judicial Retention

JUSTICES OF THE OKLAHOMA SUPREME COURT

District 1 – Matthew John Kane, IV – VOTE YES 

District 1 is our district, and Judge Kane served as a district judge for the 10th Judicial District in Osage County since 2005.  He was appointed to the Supreme Court by Governor Stitt in September 2019. 

District 6 – Tom Colbert – VOTE NO 

[updated from email to recommend a NO Vote by Gary and by me/sc]

Judge Colbert was appointed to the court in 2004 by Gov. Brad Henry. He is the first black justice to sit on the supreme court. Between 1999 and 2004 he was a judge for the Oklahoma Court of Appeals and was appointed by Governor Keating.  

District 9 – Richard B. Darby – VOTE NO

[updated from email to recommend a NO Vote by Gary and by me/sc]

Judge Darby was appointed to the court in 2018 by Gov. Mary Fallin. He previously served as a district court judge in the 3rd Judicial District for 24 years. 

* I often hear that Oklahoma has a very liberal Supreme Court, and that may well be true since many, if not most, of the justices were appointed by liberal Democrat governors. I often hear they are pro-abortion.  So I read the 2015 case regarding Senate Bill 642 – a law that proponents argue “increased protections of women’s reproductive health.” It was a pro-life/anti-abortion bill that addressed consents for minors seeking abortions, provided revised protocols for rape investigations, added requirements for inspections of abortion facilities, and introduced new penalties for violation of existing abortion statutes.  The sticking point in SB 642 is that in our Oklahoma Constitution we have a provision that requires that “every act of the Legislature shall embrace but one subject.” The Supreme Court has argued that the purpose of the “single subject rule” is to prevent the Legislature from making a bill “veto proof” by appending unpopular legislation within popular bills. Unfortunately, when I read SB 642 I fail to see that simply calling the four provisions of the bill related since they address “women’s reproductive health” as not a very robust argument.  If I were a judge I might have agreed with the current justices that SB 642 did not pass the “single subject” smell test. I’m not a lawyer but if I were, my judicial philosophy would be that my job is to interpret the law as written and not insert my worldview into how I view the law.  I believe that is the legal philosophy of Judge Barrett, who is up for confirmation to the Supreme Court of the United States.

JUDGES OF THE COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS

 District 2 – Robert L. Hudson – VOTE YES

Hudson was appointed by Gov. Mary Fallin in 2015. Before that he served as a special district judge for Logan County.  He was the chief law enforcement officer for Payne and Logan counties previously.  Judge Hudson wrote the opinion reversing the Court’s finding of 31 years ago (see comments on Judge Lumpkin). I like it when people are willing to admit they are wrong (of course he was not on the Court 31 years ago). 

 District 3 – Gary L. Lumpkin – VOTE YES

Judge Lumpkin has served on the Court of Criminal Appeals since 1989, when he was appointed by Gov. Henry Bellmon. He previously served as an Oklahoma district court judge. 

 In 1989, when he was first appointed to the Court of Criminal Appeals, Judge Lumpkin dissented on a finding of the Court. Just a couple of weeks ago the Court agreed with Judge Lumpkin’s dissent of 31 years ago and reversed itself. I read the opinion and quite frankly I don’t understand how the court got it wrong in 1989.  I like it when the truth finally wins out! 

JUDGES OF THE OKLAHOMA COURT OF CIVIL APPEALS

District 1 – Office 2 – Jane P. Wiseman – VOTE NO!!

Judge Wiseman was appointed Gov. Brad Henry in 2005. Before that she was a special judge of Tulsa County and a district judge in District 14. She is definitely very liberal. 

District 2 – Office 1 – Deborah B. Barnes – VOTE NO!!

Barnes was appointed by Gov. Henry in 2008.  Prior to her appointment she was the vice president and associate general counsel for Oneok, Inc. She is definitely very liberal. 

District 2 – Office 2 – Keith Rapp – VOTE NO

Gov. George Nigh appointed Judge Rapp to the court in 1984.  Before that he was a judge on the 14th District Court. 

—- JUST A REMINDER.  YOUR VOTE ON THE JUSTICES IS NOT WORTH A PLUG NICKEL.  THEY WILL ALL BE RETAINED.  THE ONLY WAY YOUR VOTE WOULD COUNT WOULD BE IF THERE WERE A WELL-FUNDED RECALL INITIATIVE.  FOR THAT REASON, SOME PEOPLE VOTE NO ON EVERY JUDGE.  I DON’T SUBSCRIBE TO THAT PHILOSOPHY (ALTHOUGH I HAVE VOTED THAT WAY).  I WANT JUDGES WITH A CONSERVATIVE LEGAL PHILOSOPHY, AND WE HAVE A FEW OF THEM ON OUR COURTS NOW. I TRY TO GUESS WHO IS CONSERVATIVE AND WHO IS LIBERAL, AND VOTE NO ON THOSE I THINK LEAN TO THE LIBERAL VIEWPOINT, EITHER IN THEIR LEGAL PHILOSOPHY OR THEIR WORLDVIEW ——-

State Questions:


STATE QUESTION 805 – Criminal History in Sentencing – VOTE NO

 This is an initiative petition which amends the Oklahoma Constitution. Ballotpedia states: 

“yes” vote supports:prohibiting using a person’s past non-violent felony convictions to impose a greater (enhanced) sentence when sentencing a person convicted of a non-violent felony; andproviding for sentence modifications for eligible individuals serving or set to serve sentences that were enhanced based on past felony convictions.
“no” vote opposes the amendment, thereby maintaining that a person convicted of a non-violent felony can receive greater (enhanced) sentences based on past felony convictions. 

Those supporting SQ 805 include the ACLU of Oklahoma and Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform. They argue that our high incarceration rate is fueled in large part by harsh, extreme sentences that punish Oklahomans for previous mistakes. Another supporter of SQ 805 is the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs. They have posted on their website several informative articles about this state question which I suggest you peruse.

https://www.ocpathink.org/search?q=state+question+805

Opponents of SQ 805 include Governor Kevin Stitt, Oklahoma district attorneys, Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, and Help in Crisis. Governor Stitt argued, “Trying to put this into our state’s constitution, it peels back enhancements for DUIs, human trafficking, domestic violence — some of the things I don’t think we need to put into our constitution.” Former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating stated: “This constitutional amendment is the ultimate gift to the career criminal and the insect crime wave of the lifetime repeat offender. … A person’s selfish and destructive long life of crime will be handled as one first offense after another. The fifteenth offense is the first offense as far as punishment goes.” Keating recently resigned from the board of OCPA, in part over his difference of opinion regarding SQ 805.It is important to note that the measure would not apply to those who have ever been convicted of a violent felony. The measure defines violent felony as any felony offense listed in Oklahoma Statutes Title 57 Section 571, which is available here. Such offenses include assault, battery, murder, manslaughter, kidnapping, human trafficking, burglary, robbery, child abuse, rape, rioting, arson, terrorism, and more.

Where I stand.

If you have ever read any of my musings over past state questions then you know that I do not like amending our Constitution to insert details that should be handled by our legislature.  This is another case in point. Simply for this one reason, I should be voting No on SQ 805.

However, now that I have studied the issue, if I were a legislator, I would have been pushing reform in exactly this area.  It would have been high on my list of priorities for three reasons – (1) as a society we must find the right balance between punishment and prevention/restoration, both in terms of the sentencing discretion we give our district attorneys and the courts, but also the amount of money we allocate to prevention of crime and restoration from criminal conviction; (2) as the OCPA study suggests this proposal would save money in the penal system and hopefully if we get #1 right it will save more money in less repeat occurrences; and (3) it is moral to forgive past offenses duly paid for rather than using past offenses as an excuse to tack on more time for current crimes. It is important to remember that district attorneys/judges already have discretion to “enhance” a sentence via their authority to use the range of sentences prescribed by law for each crime rather than just imposing the maximum sentence from the get-go. Thus, I am in favor of the purpose of SQ 805, and I can make a good argument to vote Yes on SQ 805

Which way will I vote? Bottom line, this is a complex issue for which I doubt there is one right answer.  I have to say right up front – I do not agree with the arguments made by the district attorney association. We elect legislators to resolve issues like this – to study an issue, to debate it and then to act. It is wrong that they have not already acted in this area of the law. But two wrongs do not make a right, and I definitely do not believe that details like SQ 805 should be enshrined in our state Constitution.  Therefore, I will vote NO on SQ 805, and I will encourage my legislators to improve our incarceration sentencing guidelines. 

* There are a lot more facts about this issue than I have included in the above discussion. (You can find some of those facts in the OCPA blogs). The related issues of prevention and restoration are deeply complex.  They involve, for instance, related issues like education. What are we teaching in school about law and order, about crime, about moral law, about civics, about American History, etc. We cannot expect to have a moral society if we teach immoral ideas in our schools. There is no quick fix for this issue – no state question that will resolve the incarceration problems we face as a society.  And I do not believe the answer is just to throw up our arms and say “I give up.” We must continue to elect moral, hardworking, intelligent legislators to work through these issues and move us forward as a society, and that means moving us closer to God. And we must support them, encourage them, provide them with information and ideas, and confront them when we honestly disagree. Romans 13 requires believers to submit to the civil magistrate; but we must remember that in America “We the people” are, in essence, the civil magistrate.  We cannot simply argue Romans 13 requires us to do nothing but submit to unjust laws.  We must work for justice as defined by God, not by man.

STATE QUESTION 814 – Fund Medicaid Program with Tobacco Settlement Endowment – VOTE YES

This change to the Oklahoma Constitution came from the Legislature. Ballotpedia states:

“yes” vote supports decreasing the percentage of money (from 75% to 25%) that is deposited to the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) Fund from funds the state receives from tobacco settlements and directing the state legislature to appropriate funds to secure federal matching funds for the state’s Medicaid program.
“no” vote opposes decreasing appropriations made to the state’s Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) Fund, thereby maintaining that 75% of the money the state receives from tobacco settlements will be deposited into the TSET Fund.

As of 2020, the average annual payment received by Oklahoma under the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement was around $75 million, of which, about $56.25 million was deposited into the TSET fund. Under State Question 814, the amount deposited into the TSET fund would be $18.75 million. The remaining $56.25 million would be deposited into the Tobacco Settlement Fund. Of that amount, 8.33% ($4.68 million) would be directed to the Attorney General’s office and the remaining 91.67% ($51.57 million) would be used to secure federal matching funds for the Medicaid program.

TSET is a wealthy endowment (~ $1.3 billion) which has been continually growing.  It will not be hurt by approval of SQ 814.

I will be voting YES for SQ 814.

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Above is the email received from Gary Kilpatrick on 9/29/20. I am in general agreement with this analysis and my special thanks to Gary for doing the research on this one!

Summary:

President/Vice President – Donald Trump and Mike Pence

Corporation Commissioner – Todd Hiett

Senator – Jim Inhoff

Representative – Kevin Hern

State Representative – Wendi Stearman

Oklahoma Supreme Court:

District 1 – Matthew John Kane, IV – VOTE YES 

District 6 – Tom Colbert – VOTE NO 

District 9 – Richard B. Darby – VOTE NO

Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals:

District 2 – Robert L. Hudson – VOTE YES

District 3 – Gary L. Lumpkin – VOTE YES

Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals:

District 1 – Office 2 – Jane P. Wiseman – VOTE NO!!

District 2 – Office 1 – Deborah B. Barnes – VOTE NO!!

District 2 – Office 2 – Keith Rapp – VOTE NO

State Questions:

STATE QUESTION 805 – Criminal History in Sentencing – VOTE NO

STATE QUESTION 814 – Fund Medicaid Program with Tobacco Settlement Endowment – VOTE YES

Sandra Crosnoe for Finding Gems & Sharing Them

Some additional links that may be of interest:

https://www.muskogeepolitico.com/2014/10/tulsa-beacon-dont-retain-judge-jane.html – some thoughts on Wiseman from a previous election cycle

https://www.ocpathink.org/search?q=state+question+805 OCPA on SQ805

https://ballotpedia.org/Oklahoma_State_Question_805,Criminal_History_in_Sentencing_and_Sentence_Modification_Initiative(2020) quote on SQ805

https://ballotpedia.org/Oklahoma_State_Question_814,Decrease_Tobacco_Settlement_Endowment_Trust_Fund_Deposits_and_Fund_Medicaid_Program_Amendment(2020) quote on SQ814

https://r3publican.wordpress.com/2020/09/23/what-has-he-done/ a list of Trump accomplishments

Kevin Buchanan (District Attorney in Washington County) KWON interview on SQ805

Sample Ballot for Washington County OK – General Election 2018 – Vote Nov 6th

Early voting dates here.

If you need a sample ballot for Washington County, here is a copy (in pdf downloadable format):

SampleBallot – GENERAL ELECTION November 06 2018 for WASHINGTON COUNTY – OK

If you are in another area here is an online voter tool to see yours (you will have to provide your name and birthdate).

As you can see the graphics are too small to see well here so you will need to download the pdf file to study closely.  In general, I plan to vote Republican, but cannot in good conscience vote for Leslie Osborne, Joy Hoffmeister, or Glen Mulready.  I don’t support people who vote to raise taxes and fail to work to live within our/their means.  I will leave these places blank and hope the Republicans nominate better people in the future.  I don’t see the Democrats doing any better (sadly) and can find no information on the Independents on the ballot.

Judicial Retention

I plan at this point to vote No on all the judicial retentions for their failure to stand for life and their support of fees / taxes on the people.  See this article on topic.

State Questions

I will also be voting to turn down all the state questions on this ballot.  I considered writing a detail explanation on all of them.  However, you need to study them on your own and make your own decisions.  Here is a brief summary of why I am a NO on each one:

SQ793 (eye care in retail mercantile establishment) seems to rather obscurely include more licensing/requirements and was the only one I briefly considered voting for since in one respect it seems to “open up” new markets, but at the same time it adds constraints on the market that I would rather not see. [More info on this one here via Batesline taking no side on the question]

SQ794 (also known as Marsy’s law) this question on the surface might sound good to you however, it was proposed by a fellow in California (enough said?) and looks to me like it will add judicial overhead to do something already being done well.  The most egregious line in the whole thing says “Victims would no longer have a constitutional right to know the defendant’s location…” [More info on this one here via Batesline taking a pro side on the question]

SQ798 (Governor and Lt Gov combined ballot) consolidation of power is NEVER a good idea.

SQ800 (creating a new trust fund) NOT ANOTHER ONE

SQ801 (expanding permissible use of ad valorem tax revenue) since they are already misspending what they have, I certainly wouldn’t give them more ways to misspend what they have so we the taxpayers can continue to bail them out.

Bartlesville City Council

I don’t know the candidates in Ward 2.

If I lived in Ward 4, I’d be pleased to vote for Joel Rabin.  He is consistently bringing to light issues of importance to the whole community and standing up for the rights of the people in Ward 4 specifically and Bartlesville in general.  We need more men and women of courage like Joel on our city council.  He has the ability, the insight, and the temperament to stand against all odds as is needed in this city at this time.

Posted with prayers for all the candidates and all the voters.  

May we see things the way He sees things and love our neighbors even as we vote!

Finding Gems & Sharing Them – Sample Ballot for Washington County OK – General Election 2018

How Can We Trust Them with More Money$$ — Vote No SQ 779

 

how-can-we-trust-them-with-more-money-voteno779How Can We Trust Them with More Money$$

  #VOTENOSQ779

Finding Gems & Sharing Them — How Can We Trust Them with More Money$$

For more info on State Questions on the General Election 2016 ballot here >>>

Let’s Make Our State Sales Tax Rate the Highest in the Land…

conservatives-on-779

Let’s Make Our State Sales Tax Rate the Highest in the Land…

said no conservative state ever!  #VOTENOSQ779

OKGRASSROOTS — Let’s Make Our State Sales Tax Rate the Highest in the Land!

For more info on State Questions on the General Election 2016 ballot here >>>

Some Thoughts on Oklahoma State Questions on the General Election Ballot 2016

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:

• Trespass,
• Eminent domain,
• Dominance of mineral interests,
• Easements,
• Right of way or other property rights, and
• Any state statutes and political subdivision ordinances enacted before December 31, 2014.

no-on-777 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!

Richard Harris on SQ 779: The Cloward-Piven Plan

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.cobwebs-quote

My thoughts:  I am a probable NO on this one.  Save the money and do not redirect it elsewhere.

Richard Harris on STATE QUESTION 781: PUTTING CRIMINALS BACK ON THE STREETS

 

 

 

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

Coalition for Yeson792 (for more info)

 

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…

 

Finding Gems & Sharing Them – Some Thoughts on Oklahoma State Questions on the General Election Ballot 2016

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