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Author Topic: 2015 Oklahoma Joint Resolutions of Interest thread  (Read 773 times)
cannon_fodder
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« on: January 08, 2015, 03:58:23 pm »

We are one week in to the 2015 Oklahoma Legislative Session, and more than 100 new bills have been filed. I keep up with things fairly well, because my sense of things that are “interesting” is both sick and twisted. Nonetheless, I thought I’d share and stir some discussion. I’m going to start with the joint resolutions and then do Senate Bills, then House bills in different threads (in order to facilitate more clear discussion).

You can see the actual bills here:
http://www.oklegislature.gov/basicsearchform.aspx

http://Legiscan.com/OK is an excellent source to find other information on all sorts of legislation (I linked to Oklahoma, obviously) and sometimes will have bills posted before the official page listed above.

I’m not posting the full text because I don’t want a post so long no one will read. I’m also not pretending to be unbiased and have inserted by commentary with an asterisk  after the citation and short description.

SO… a small portion of the bills I found interesting. Just bills, not laws. Starting with the Joint Resolutions:


SJR1Amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution to eliminate the houses of the Oklahoma Congress and replace them with a single 100 person house, each with 2 year terms. Also calls for full redistricting.

* I am always in favor of MORE representatives.  When the nation was founded we had less than 30k people per US representative, we are now up to about 750k per representative (+100 senators which is not meant to be proportional). Currently in Oklahoma we have one representative per 38,000 (+48 senators).  We started with one per 13,000. More representation means more voices actually matter on all sides of the issues which leads to a better republic (as opposed to a purely binary system). Also, more representatives means more people you would have to buy influence with – which means more influence for the voters.


SJR2Ballot measure calling for an OK constitutional Amendment creating legislative sessions only in odd-numbers years

* we want to be just like Texas!  But, then again, the less time our legislature is in session the better for the people of Oklahoma. I really don’t think I care one way or another, but it is an interesting idea.


SJR3Amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution setting the maximum pay of Oklahoma’s Congress to no more than the average of our surrounding states.

*Never realized how much our legislators make compared to surrounding states. Oklahoma: $38k + 153 per diem. AR: 16k + 148. CO: 30K + 183 or 43 depending on distance. Kansas 7k + 148.  LA 24K + 155. MO 36k +103. TX 7200 + 150. So the average would be:  $20,000 a year and a per diem reduction. So dang near a 50% pay reduction.
http://www.ncsl.org/research/about-state-legislatures/2014-ncsl-legislator-salary-and-per-diem-table.aspx

SJR4Joint resolution calling for a U.S. constitutional convention for the purposes of a balanced budget amendment, term limits for Federal Offices, and to limit the power of the Federal government.

* This is a very well drafted bill and I largely agree with its tone. However, no economist thinks a balanced budget amendment is a good idea and practically speaking, may not be possible. Also worrisome, the last time we had a state called convention we threw out the existing constitution and drafted an entirely new document (which, ironically, was meant to bolster the strength of the Federal government). Constitutional conventions are open forums, not just the requested amendments/topics are on the table.



SJR5Ballot measure calling for a constitutional convention for the State of Oklahoma to throw out and replace the Oklahoma Constitution.

* Oklahoma’s constitution is a mess. My favorite part is the religious freedom clause (Article 2) that guarantees all religious freedom… except for plural marriage. In the 1907 western United States, that’s essentially saying to Mormons the equivalent of saying “All religion is cool, except speaking Hebrew” to Jews. But I digress, this would create a huge mess and, more worrisome, I fear it is actually a furtherance of the attempt to kill checks and balances in Oklahoma. To wit: an attack on the judiciary.
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