Many have asked me how I will be voting and if I have recommendations, so I’m sharing with you the organizations and people I value for their research and explanation of state questions as well as how I plan to vote November 8th.
Let me preface this by saying, we need to think long and hard before we start adding stuff to our state constitution, which is what will happen with each ballot measure that passes, other than SQ790, which removes Article II, Section 5 of our state constitution.
We elect men and women to represent us in the legislature – let’s make them do the job we elected them to do, present and vote on legislation to make the positive changes we need in Oklahoma and not cement these changes in our constitution, making correction or change near impossible. Just a little food for thought.
Here we go! A few of the people/organizations I trust when looking for answers on the State Questions…
The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA), is a wonderful resource. http://www.ocpathink.org/article/voters-guide-to-ballot-measures
As is, Oklahoma Conservative PAC www.oklahomacpac.org
I also trust Michael Bates at www.Batesline.com
I differ with these guys a little. On the State Questions, here’s how I will be voting…
SQ776 – Death Penalty – NO – we already have the death penalty in Oklahoma and just last session the legislature passed HB1879 which took care of this concern
SQ777 – Right to Farm – NO – it would supposedly provide protection to one industry, it is vaguely worded, the verbiage “compelling state interest” is not defined and the ballot measure is confusing.
SQ779 – Education TAX – NO! NO! NO! – Taxes Suck! Especially when the tax will do more harm to the state than it will do good for the teachers. Everyone agrees, teachers need a raise, but there are better ways to make it happen. Less than half of the money of the projected revenues will go to teachers while almost 20% of it goes to higher education, which according to our state constitution has no responsibility for accountability or transparency on how the money is spent as they are not required to report it.
SQ780 – Justice Reform – NO – while I agree that we need justice reform in our state that is the role of our legislators and should not be placed in our constitution. Just last session our legislature passed 3 bills that dealt with Justice Reform. Let’s allow our legislators do their job. While I support the lessening of some charges from felonies to misdemeanors, this is not the answer. The consequence, should this pass will be an immediate overcrowding of county jails as those former felons will be pushed out of state prisons, but will still have to be locked up in already overcrowded county jails based on their newly reduced charges to misdemeanors.
SQ781 – Funding for County Programs – NO– contingent upon SQ780 passing – once again, we don’t need this in our constitution.
SQ790 – Religious Liberty – YES – this state question actually repeals the Blaine Amendment in our constitution. Last year the Oklahoma Supreme Court ordered the removal of the Ten Commandments from the capitol grounds, citing a portion of the Oklahoma Constitution which prohibits the government from using public property for the benefit of any religious institution (Blaine Amendment). This will also allow for more parental choice in education.
When Article II, Section 5, was placed in the Oklahoma Constitution, and similar “Blaine Amendment”-type provisions were added to other state constitutions, the framers wanted to encourage children to be indoctrinated in the state religion of the day (generic protestantism) and make it harder for families who wanted to educate their children in their own religion. The motivation for those who want to keep it today hasn’t changed, but the state religion has been changed (by the U. S. Supreme Court in the 1960s) to atheism and materialism. Credit: Michel Bates
SQ792 – Alcohol Modernization – YES – NO – YES – NO – it’s your choice. I understand the desire to bring our liquor laws up to date and more in line with the times, and I agree. In fact, I just spoke in favor of this state question at the Wagoner County GOP meeting and after listening to the discussion tonight and reading Michael Bates’ commentary, I believe I may reconsider. YES we need to update our liquor laws but if it won’t go into effect until 2018, we have time to allow our legislature to work on it, making the legislation and changes more concise and less confusing. Might I suggest flipping a coin on this one?
Judges and Justices (taken directly from OklahomaCPAC.org)
Oklahoma Supreme Court Justices: Vote NO on Justices James Winchester and Donald Combs. They are not just. Overall, our State Supreme Court is progressive and activist. It sometimes disregards our state constitution, and its opinions are inconsistent. These two justices voted incorrectly on five out of six key votes, yielding a score of only 16.5%.
In the last few years, the Oklahoma Supreme Court has banned the Ten Commandments (Prescott v. Okla. Capitol Preservation Committee, 2015 OK 54), protected child rapists (Burns v. Cline, 2016 OK 99), protected abortionists (Burns v. Cline, 2014 OK 90), and protected sex offenders (Hendricks v. Jones ex rel. State ex rel. Okla. Dept. of Corr., 2013 OK 71). Download this Judging Justices Flyer and give a copy to everybody at church.
Charlie Meadows provides the following recommendations on appellate judges based on his off the record discussions with attorneys, prosecutors, and lower court judges.
Judge Clancy Smith (State Court of Criminal Appeals): Vote NO – Sources tell us that this Brad Henry appointee is very smart, but ideologically progressive to her core and way too nit-picky with jury decisions.
Judge Robert Hudson (State Court of Criminal Appeals): Vote YES – Hudson is fairly new on the court. He was appointed Payne county District Attorney by Frank Keating, replacing a corrupt DA. Eventually he became chief of staff for Scott Pruitt. He was recently appointed by Gov. Fallin to the Criminal Court of Appeals. Hudson appears to be a serious Christian, and everyone consulted gave him very high marks.
Judge Thomas Thornbrugh (State Court of Civil Appeals): YOUR CHOICE – The Court of Civil Appeals is the most difficult to evaluate because they do not settle many high profile cases. Thornbrugh was the only judge on the court with whom some sources were not fully satisfied.
Judge John Fischer (State Court of Civil Appeals): Vote YES.
Judge Larry Joplin (State Court of Civil Appeals): Vote YES.
As for the rest, I think you know how I will be voting. I will be voting my conscience, aligning myself with the candidate that best represents my principles and values. I must admit, the Supreme Court and the thought of Hillary Clinton as President are a YUGE part of my motivation.
My recommendations in down ticket races (Tulsa area)…
Oklahoma State Senate
Dist 25 Joe Newhouse
Dist 33 Nathan Dahm
Dist 35 Gary Stanislawski
Dist 37 Dan Newberry
Oklahoma House of Representatives
Dist 12 Kevin McDugle
Dist 66 Jadine Nollan
Dist 67 Scott McEachin
Dist 74 Mr. Derby (David Derby’s dad)
Dist 76 David Brumbaugh
Dist 69 Chuck Strohm
Dist 78 Molly McKay
Dist 79 Weldon Watson
Dist 80 Dr. Mike Ritze
County Commissioner Dist 2 Josh Turley
Tulsa County Court Clerk Don Newberry
City of Tulsa
City Council Dist 9 Eric McCray
Hope this helps! Happy Voting!