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November 20, 2017, 03:31:22 am
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Author Topic: New legislative session in January  (Read 2072 times)
Ed W
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« on: November 16, 2016, 07:41:30 pm »

I'm wondering if a group of private citizens like us can have some influence on the Oklahoma legislature. Many of the bills that are introduced each session are written by corporations or lobbyists. My thought was that there's a good deal of intellectual horsepower right here on the forum. So with that in mind, what kinds of bills should come before our legislature? Do you have any ideas that should become law? And assuming we're able to produce those ideas, does anyone know how to put them in the correct format?
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Conan71
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« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2016, 09:56:28 pm »

Awesome!!  I find this far preferable than bitching about who won and lost last week.  Let's be a part of the solution not the problem.  As the new legislature has been sworn in, this is quite topical.  Sitting behind a keyboard and criticising government isn't input.  Getting in touch with and staying in touch with your state Senator and Representative is input and, yes, you can help shape policy.  If you don't step up and assume someone else will take care of it for you, well, you get exactly the what you put into your government.

IIRC, the agenda is pretty well set in early December so it's time to move on items you want.  A meeting with your district rep would be a good place to start and I mean right away.

http://www.okhouse.gov/legislation/legislativedeadlines.aspx

I did some advocacy work about 15 years ago which involved speaking before a sub-committee on public safety down at the Capitol and found it pretty gratifying.  

Obviously the further you get from local governance it can seem harder to have input.  At the state level, I don't see that as such a challenge.  Getting beyond the person reading the emails for your US Rep or Senator might be a bit more difficult, though I can say Tom Coburn was pretty good at personally reading and returning emails.

Clearly if there is a threat of teachers moving to other states, Oklahoma is not offering a competitive wage.  That should change and should be one of the first priorities.  While raises are no guaranty of improved teacher performance and outcomes, if we can't properly staff schools with teachers because there are more attractive options we have a problem.    

As I was writing this someone who was just sworn into office was saying there's a move to try and get a $5,000 to $10,000 raise per teacher.  (I'm going to take off my cynical mask for now and hope this may get a serious look).  

Along with this, there are going to be tough and unpopular decisions like getting rid of some tax breaks and raising personal income tax.  From a management aspect, one complaint teacher friends of mine had about SQ 779 was how much waste they see in administration and other areas they feel could go on a diet without affecting the experience of the student.

District consolidation or at least consolidation of services between smaller rural districts in proximity to each other has to be on the table.

Alcohol laws are finally coming into the modern age.  I'm optimistic by the criminal reforms which passed.

So what now, considering the make up of our legislature?



« Last Edit: November 16, 2016, 09:58:47 pm by Conan71 » Logged

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Red Arrow
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« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2016, 10:22:37 pm »

Getting in touch with and staying in touch with your state Senator and Representative is input and, yes, you can help shape policy.

I am in Ritze's district.  I have no hope for improvement.

Quote
Along with this, there are going to be tough and unpopular decisions like getting rid of some tax breaks and raising personal income tax.  

I am all in favor of reducing or eliminating the tax break for married folks (with one income) as they are more likely to have (or have had) children in the public schools.  When I hear the overall tax rate for some of my married with children co-workers compared to me, single no dependents, it makes me ill.  I am aware of the so called "marriage penalty" at the Federal level for 2 income households but at the state level, so what, pay up you tax consumers.

Edit: spelling correction
« Last Edit: November 16, 2016, 10:37:05 pm by Red Arrow » Logged

 
Ed W
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« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2016, 08:03:36 am »

Okay. To sum up so far:

1. Teachers deserve better pay. How can we achieve that?

2. Tax reforms are needed that may include eliminating some loopholes/credits/etc. How do we achieve that and what should we target?

Finally, there's this about getting a legislators attention (without delivering bags of cash in the dead of night):

http://www.attn.com/stories/12768/former-congressional-staffer-explains-how-to-make-congressman-listen

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Ed

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heironymouspasparagus
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« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2016, 09:54:29 am »

Okay. To sum up so far:

1. Teachers deserve better pay. How can we achieve that?

2. Tax reforms are needed that may include eliminating some loopholes/credits/etc. How do we achieve that and what should we target?

Finally, there's this about getting a legislators attention (without delivering bags of cash in the dead of night):

http://www.attn.com/stories/12768/former-congressional-staffer-explains-how-to-make-congressman-listen




From previous involvement in ABATE of OK and the experiences there....two gold standards for rep contact;

1st - phone calls.  Personal effort to physically contact your rep using your time/effort.

2nd - HAND written letter.  Logging on to a 'petition' site and clicking is worthless - it will be completely ignored - too easy and implies lack of commitment.  Keep it short and sweet, but write it by hand, put it in an envelope and mail it.

Each of these are considered as multiples - many times the people agree as perform these acts.
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“When you wage war on the public schools, you're attacking the mortar that holds the community together. You're not a conservative, you're a vandal.”    - Garrison Keillor

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« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2016, 10:55:10 am »

I have regularly written my state Senator and Rep and have posted to their facebook pages and have called before as well. Mostly about education funding and policy. My rep is nut and has never responded except to delete questions from facebook. My Senator has responded and told me that he agrees with me but then his votes are in conflict with his statements so what he says is all hot air.

So my wife contributed to the very strong Democratic candidate for Senator in my district in Jenks. He used to be the superintendent of schools for Sand Springs. I put up signs and I talked to my neighbors and everyone was voting for the Democrat. All I saw on facebook was about people voting for the Democrat. Both candidates had enough money they were running TV ads. The Democrat lost by 30 points, in Jenks, which while red has to be one of the most pro-schools areas of the state. My Republican Senator that consistently votes for tax cuts and doesn’t defend schools in any way won by 30 points.

State government doesn’t give a crap about the people and what the people want because people vote Republican no matter what. Working within the framework of state politics is pointless right now. The people have no influence because they don't vote based on policy or needs, they vote based on identity.
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heironymouspasparagus
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« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2016, 12:10:02 pm »

I have regularly written my state Senator and Rep and have posted to their facebook pages and have called before as well. Mostly about education funding and policy. My rep is nut and has never responded except to delete questions from facebook. My Senator has responded and told me that he agrees with me but then his votes are in conflict with his statements so what he says is all hot air.

So my wife contributed to the very strong Democratic candidate for Senator in my district in Jenks. He used to be the superintendent of schools for Sand Springs. I put up signs and I talked to my neighbors and everyone was voting for the Democrat. All I saw on facebook was about people voting for the Democrat. Both candidates had enough money they were running TV ads. The Democrat lost by 30 points, in Jenks, which while red has to be one of the most pro-schools areas of the state. My Republican Senator that consistently votes for tax cuts and doesn’t defend schools in any way won by 30 points.

State government doesn’t give a crap about the people and what the people want because people vote Republican no matter what. Working within the framework of state politics is pointless right now. The people have no influence because they don't vote based on policy or needs, they vote based on identity.



Takes a lot of people doing the same thing.  

One particular OK House Rep (OKC area) was dead set on a law that put seat belts on motorcycles (25 years ago or so...) along with helmets.  ABATE lobbied him strongly, and he literally said, "F... off, I don't have to listen to you a-holes!"   So we contacted a lot of people in his district and amazingly, several hundred did call and write him.  He returned to the House and was no longer supporter of the bill, and proclaimed ABATE as a wonderful example of grassroots political action organization....how politics SHOULD work!   He was still lying of course...he didn't believe in any such thing but he did believe in voters in his district and their irritation.


You are right about the worthlessness of OK Senate and Reps - problem is most of the people are the same as your Senator and Rep....

Start with your neighbors and work out from there throughout the districts.  Be prepared to mostly "lose" and be hugely frustrated/irritated/surprised.





« Last Edit: November 17, 2016, 12:12:09 pm by heironymouspasparagus » Logged

“When you wage war on the public schools, you're attacking the mortar that holds the community together. You're not a conservative, you're a vandal.”    - Garrison Keillor

Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.

What you do speaks so loud, I cannot hear what you say.
swake
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« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2016, 12:26:42 pm »


Takes a lot of people doing the same thing.  

One particular OK House Rep (OKC area) was dead set on a law that put seat belts on motorcycles (25 years ago or so...) along with helmets.  ABATE lobbied him strongly, and he literally said, "F... off, I don't have to listen to you a-holes!"   So we contacted a lot of people in his district and amazingly, several hundred did call and write him.  He returned to the House and was no longer supporter of the bill, and proclaimed ABATE as a wonderful example of grassroots political action organization....how politics SHOULD work!   He was still lying of course...he didn't believe in any such thing but he did believe in voters in his district and their irritation.


You are right about the worthlessness of OK Senate and Reps - problem is most of the people are the same as your Senator and Rep....

Start with your neighbors and work out from there throughout the districts.  Be prepared to mostly "lose" and be hugely frustrated/irritated/surprised.







I almost never vote for a winning candidate. That's just normal for me.
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Conan71
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« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2016, 01:21:48 pm »


Takes a lot of people doing the same thing.  


This, right here, is what makes change happen.  Thank you H!

Yes, there are legislators like Ritze and whomever swake’s Senator is who will always get re-elected because they are in very Christian areas.  This is the one irony about the Oklahoma Legislature which has baffled me for some time:  Our country was founded on the principal of living free of religious oppression and not having a state religion.  This crop which has been in OKC for the last 10-15 years is bound and determined to make Oklahoma a Christian caliphate.

That’s no reason to give up though.
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"It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first” -Ronald Reagan
swake
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« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2016, 01:30:42 pm »

This, right here, is what makes change happen.  Thank you H!

Yes, there are legislators like Ritze and whomever swake’s Senator is who will always get re-elected because they are in very Christian areas.  This is the one irony about the Oklahoma Legislature which has baffled me for some time:  Our country was founded on the principal of living free of religious oppression and not having a state religion.  This crop which has been in OKC for the last 10-15 years is bound and determined to make Oklahoma a Christian caliphate.

That’s no reason to give up though.

Dan Newberry, who when I have heard him speak and and when he has emailed me has been perfectly nice, but it's not how he votes.
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Conan71
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« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2016, 01:39:29 pm »

Dan Newberry, who when I have heard him speak and and when he has emailed me has been perfectly nice, but it's not how he votes.

I voted for John Waldron, he was one of the teachers who stepped up to run this time.  John ran a very good person-to-person campaign getting out into the neighborhoods but he was running against Dave Rader.  Dave had the name recognition and I suspect the “R” going for him.  I question whether or not John could have won if he’d been a Republican. Jeanne McDaniel was our state representative for 12 years and is a Democrat (mid-town Tulsa) so it’s entirely possible Waldron could have won it against a lesser-known opponent. 

I worry Dave will get to OKC and caucus with the rest of the GOP drones and become just like them.

I’ve always voted for whomever I thought was the best candidate in a given race, Dem, Rep, Ind, & Lib candidates have all gotten my votes over the years.  This was the first election in 32 years I did not vote for a single Republican.
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"It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first” -Ronald Reagan
heironymouspasparagus
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« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2016, 02:07:37 pm »


I’ve always voted for whomever I thought was the best candidate in a given race, Dem, Rep, Ind, & Lib candidates have all gotten my votes over the years.  This was the first election in 32 years I did not vote for a single Republican.



Whew!!   Imagine that...we are very close to the same....   Are you scared by that??

I am - why is it there were no Republicans worth voting for on those ballots this time...?  Bothers me a lot....

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“When you wage war on the public schools, you're attacking the mortar that holds the community together. You're not a conservative, you're a vandal.”    - Garrison Keillor

Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.

What you do speaks so loud, I cannot hear what you say.
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« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2016, 12:09:55 pm »

Dan Newberry, who when I have heard him speak and and when he has emailed me has been perfectly nice, but it's not how he votes.

I worked with Dan for years.  He's a very nice person.  I would never recommend him for a position of authority.


Edited to add - these sombitches have kids.  It blows my mind they act to hurt their children so badly.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2016, 12:13:33 pm by Townsend » Logged
heironymouspasparagus
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« Reply #13 on: November 18, 2016, 01:34:30 pm »

This, right here, is what makes change happen.  Thank you H!

Yes, there are legislators like Ritze and whomever swake’s Senator is who will always get re-elected because they are in very Christian areas. 

That’s no reason to give up though.



Because they are in extremely right wing areas.  Not the same as being in Christian areas.  In fact, anyone who says this is or should be a 'Christian country' are going against the express written Word - quoted in the red letter section - that says His kingdom is NOT of this world.  There can be no such thing as a Christian country in this world.

And attempting to make the US a theocracy is another way they are literally trying to go against His word.  By definition....


True - no reason - I never give up!!   Rust never sleeps!!

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“When you wage war on the public schools, you're attacking the mortar that holds the community together. You're not a conservative, you're a vandal.”    - Garrison Keillor

Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.

What you do speaks so loud, I cannot hear what you say.
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« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2016, 02:00:45 pm »

Great thread – My legislative agenda:

1. Tax Reform  - popular buzz word

A) Release cities from the restrictions on how they can raise money. If Owasso wants no sales tax but an income tax, fine. If Tulsa wants to pay for a teacher raise with property tax, fine. Allow local government to make decisions concerning their own finances.

B) Lower taxes on small businesses -   Provide a tax credit for the first $25,000 of income from a sole proprietorship or partnership income.  We want to encourage entrepreneurs, lets do it. This is a modest tax break, about $1,250 of Oklahoma income tax for small business owners.

C) Oil production tax - raise it back to where it was. Companies drill where the oil is. No reason Oklahoma needs to have among the lowest production taxes in the country.

D) Raise the gasoline tax - we want to fund infrastructure, this is the best tax to do it and while gas prices are low. Very little general revenue bonds should pay for roads when a fair proxy for a use-tax is available. Oklahoma roads consistently rank in the bottom of surveys and fixing roads and bridges keeps falling down thw priority list as we lose revenue.

E) Raise the upper income tax limit back to where it was - sorry, we dropped it and we went broke. Cutting taxes didn't raise revenue, we knew that, so lets be honest.


2. Education Reform

A) Bring back the benefits - Teachers have never been paid that well, and that's probably OK. They work relatively low hours in a year and we don't want to motivate people to be a teacher just because of money (I didn't know what I wanted to do, but teachers make bank!).  But, historically, teachers have had a few nice benefits they kept them in the field:  summer vacations, holidays off, health insurance, retirement, and job security.  Unfortunately, we have chipped away at nearly all of that - retirement for new teachers is far less generous, health insurance the same, we have consistent layoffs, and pay has gotten so low many now work during their summer break so that perk is gone.

If we can't compete purely on pay, lets work on bringing back the perks.

B) Money - Teachers need some sort of a raise. $5k in a lump some from sales tax was the wrong move,, but lets do something better. First make it a plan - phase in a $6k raise over 3 years.  There needs to be a long discussion on how to pay for it...

C) Consolidate - But we can start by consolidating schools. Change the distribution of funds formula to set an ideal size for schools based on existing studies of what actually works. Big enough to have Spanish and Chinese, small enough that it isn't a city unto itself. If you don't want to consolidate, you won't have to. But you will have to pay for the extra principle, facility, etc. on your own.  (side note: epic failure by Tulsa to grant Union independence in perpetuity, and to carve out sections for Jenks. Carving out the generally wealthiest areas for their own schools crippled TPS)

D) Teacher Accountability - like all jobs, there are good teachers and bad teachers. There is the guy that consistently updates his curriculum and makes sure his students learn as effectively as possible by staying up to date on techniques, the guy is early to help kids study, and stays late to see the volleyball game. Then there is the guy who does the minimum required, and no more. They should not be treated the same simply because of tenure.

The actual evaluation process is difficult, because you don't want to punish a teacher at McClain because his students test as well on Calculus as kids at Edison or Booker T. But surely there is a way to work with the teachers union and administration to come up with a system. Perhaps the system rewards teachers with the new money discussed, as opposed to punishing the "bad" ones we reward the good ones and leave the "bad ones" behind. There has to be some effective method.

E) Regent Consolidation  - Oklahoma has too many state sponsored small colleges. Just in the Tulsa area we have TCC, Tulsa Tech, NSU, OSU-Tulsa, OU-Tulsa, Rogers State, and Langston. There are similar patterns throughout Oklahoma.  We need to do better.  We need to develop a master plan moving forward to bring one regional institution to the forefront - minimize duplication of services and maximize return for state dollars as well as the brand recognition of the institution. No offense to the above listed schools - but if no one outside the area has heard of your institution, the degree is less valuable.


3. Tribal Issues

We have been ignoring Tribal issues because it is tricky and the State's ability is limited. But the Tribes have some things they really want to clarify, and many citizens have things they want clarified.  Can a casino be put in next to my house? Do Tribal citizens need state hunting or fishing licenses? If a Dakota access type protest broke out here, what would we do?  Oklahoma should proactively work to address such issues.


4. Legal Reform

A) A few years back we passed laws to make it harder to sue professionals, to limit recovery of victims, and to help protect insurance companies. It has had no benefit to the people of Oklahoma, but has increased profits for industry groups. It needs to be revisited.

B) We need to clarify liability for man-made earthquakes. Also a few years ago we eliminated joint and several liability, which went a long way in granting immunity to many oil related incidents. But the issue is not settled. As it stands the vast majority if earthquake insurance claims are denied, and Oklahoma citizens pay for damage to their property caused by the profit generating activity of someone else. If the State of Oklahoma wants to grant immunity to high pressure injection wells, step up and do it - and then tell your citizens in Central Oklahoma why you did it.

Otherwise lets clarify systems, one for public damage and one for private. Every injection well has to pay into a state fund based on the amount of fluid they inject. The rate is set by earthquake activity in the area that the Oklahoma Geological Survey attributes to injection and historic damage therefrom. The fund continues to collect until it hits certain tiers and then the injection tax drops. This fund is then used to repair public infrastructure damaged caused by earthquakes.

For private damage the companies have to maintain earthquake insurance. Set liability based on proportion of injected fluids within a distance from the epicenter. The formula simply lays out the value of the injected volume at 10 miles, 20 miles, etc. The injecting companies insurance companies then have to deal with the damage claims, or subrogation claims from property damage companies.


5. No in-state kickbacks to businesses - tax incentives to move a business should not be allowed intrastate

There is a long running racket in the US of companies demanding bribes to move jobs. It transfers wealth from the community to private enterprises for often dubious rewards.  Frequently, it bestows gifts on a new company to the detriment of a company that has been a loyal area resident for decades.  I think this should be addressed on a Federal level, but Oklahoma can start by addressing it on a State level.

Ban incentives for companies to move from one Oklahoma location to another.  Chesapeake threatens to move from OKC to Tulsa so long as Tulsa provides bonds for a new HQ?  DENIED.
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