(I’m running excerpts from posts this week as part of my annual review. This is the fourth of four 2016 year-in-review posts. Click on the link below the excerpt to read the full post. All these posts appeared on Blue Oklahoma and its companion blog Okie Funk. Simply put, the year 2016, as defined in posts on this blog, now in its thirteenth year, wasn’t a good one for Oklahoma in any general sense. From the state’s continuing earthquake crisis to a state budget shortfall that led to a nearly 16 percent funding cut for higher education to the typical right-wing theatrics of a Republican-dominated legislature, 2016 has become, in my mind, perhaps one of the worst years in state history, culminating in the coming presidency of the authoritarian and unpredictable Donald Trump. These are not normal times here or throughout the country, and the uncertainty of what might happen in the coming year has many people afraid and depressed. We need independent media voices now more than ever. Thanks for reading the blog, and don’t give up the progressive fight in 2017.—Kurt Hochenauer)
It seems like once we get rid of some ridiculous law restricting reproductive rights for women here in Oklahoma, another law emerges that’s even more crazier than the last one.
So it goes in Oklahoma.
The good news is that the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled invalid or “unconstitutional,” whatever the means in this weird place these days, a new law that would have required physicians performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. It was a slam dunk 9-0 decision and follows a similar ruling on a similar Texas law by the U.S. Supreme Court. The law was never about women’s health. Anyone who says that is a liar. Doctors or anyone can dial 911 just like anyone else, and emergency medical situations rarely come up at abortion clinics. This law created by the Republican-dominated legislature and signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin was to restrict abortion in the state. That was its only purpose. Anyone who says otherwise is lying or perhaps not very bright.
Fallin basically admitted this in a statement about the ruling:
The Sign Says More Trouble Ahead For Oklahoma Women, December 14, 2016.
That president-elect Donald Trump is highly unpredictable is widely accepted, but what does seem something to securely bank on is his commitment to tax cuts for the wealthy given his connection to Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, who has been appointed to his transition team, and local oil baron, Harold Hamm, who is rumored to be in the mix for energy secretary.
As you might recall, both Fallin and Hamm, chief executive officer of Continental Resources, hammered out a 2014 tax-break deal for the state’s oil and gas companies that lowered their gross production rate from 7 percent to 2 percent for the first three years of any oil and gas well drilled vertically or horizontally.
This is what Fallin said about the deal after it was pushed by local oil and gas executives, which included Hamm:
Is Oklahoma Microcosm Of Coming Trump Presidency?, November 30, 2016
I’m often asked about how to vote on the various state questions in Oklahoma during election seasons, and so I give my recommendations for what they’re worth.
I’ll give a brief overall recommendation on the seven questions, and then I’ll go more in depth over each measure starting with the no votes. I recommend no votes for State Questions 776, 777 and 790. I recommend yes votes for State Questions 779, 780, 781 and 792.
Keep in mind, as I go through the measures, that there are at least one or two of them upon which reasonable people on the left-end of the political spectrum can disagree. One of those, of course, is SQ 779, which would raise the state sales tax by one cent to provide for teacher raises and other funding for educational systems in the state.
Let’s start with the no votes:
No on SQ 776. This measure is a constitutional amendment that would allow any method of execution in Oklahoma just as long as it doesn’t violate the U.S. Constitution. The question originated out of the legislature after botched executions with lethal drugs here. There are three obvious reasons for voting against it: (1) It undermines the judicial branch of government making the legislative branch superior in the matter of executions, (2) it will face legal challenges that the state will almost certainly lose, and (3) it’s a barbaric “lynch-mob” amendment that doubles down on the death penalty, a practice which states throughout the country are ending and which the U.S. Supreme Court may soon abolish. Opposition to it has drawn bipartisan support.
That Is The Question But Here Are The Recommendations, October 14, 2016