Press release from Senate Floor Leader Owen Laughlin, R-Woodward
Supporters of the bill to make English the official language are disappointed that Senate Democrats utilized a rarely-used procedural maneuver to block an up-or-down vote on the bill by sending it to a conference committee.
The bill’s author, Senate Republican Floor Leader Owen Laughlin, said the Democrats’ obstruction likely kills Senate Bill 163 for the 2008 session.
“Making English the official language of our state is an issue whose time has come in Oklahoma. I am very disappointed that Senate Democrats voted in lock-step to block an up-or-down vote on this important issue,” stated Laughlin, R-Woodward. “Senator Morgan sent a pretty strong signal on the floor that the Democrat leadership plans to kill this bill in conference.”
Other supporters of SB 163 also expressed their concerns about the Senate Democrats’ action.
“Republicans have made the Official English proposal a priority for many years. We believe the people overwhelmingly agree that English should be our official language. I am sorry that the Senate Democrats have continued to block the people’s right to vote on this important issue,” stated Sen. James A. Williamson, R-Tulsa.
“I’m disappointed but not surprised by the Senate Democrats’ actions. Instead of allowing the people of Oklahoma to vote on this critical issue, they maneuvered it into a conference committee where they can gut and kill the Official English bill,” said Sen. Randy Brogdon, R-Owasso.
“The Senate Democrats’ substitute language is just a piece of paper that does not change the status quo. It still requires the state to expend funds to provide unnecessary translations for government services. Our version would have stopped the silly lawsuits that seek to force our state to provide services in any number of foreign languages,” said Sen. Anthony Sykes, R-Moore.
According to Landline Magazine, a rally to protest the trans-Texas corridor of the NAFTA superhighway, eventually planned to go up I35, then up to Canada, is planned tomorrow, Saturday April 5th, at the Austin Capitol building.
The rally, hosted by Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom (TURF) is scheduled 12:15 p.m. on Saturday in Austin, with the rally at the south steps of the statehouse scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Click here for carpool times and locations posted by members of TURF.
Invited speakers at the rally include representatives of the Teamsters, Eagle Forum and Texans for Fiscal Responsibility in addition to U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-TX, U.S. Rep. Virgil Goode, R-VA, Oklahoma state Sen. Randy Brogdon, R-Owasso, and several Texas lawmakers.
…from Norma Sapp of Oklahomans for Initiative Rights, updated at 2:35 PM:
In the beginning, HB 3350 by Terrill and SB 1982 by Brogdon were bills making changes to our initiative and petition system in Oklahoma. These changes would have helped regular citizens be able to do initiatives. They would have made all the checks and balances up front before you spent all you time effort and money gathering the signatures, only to find out that you didn’t place a comma in the right place and your petition is invalid.
The first thing to happen was SB 1982 was not heard in committee. In my search to find out why…I was told that Drew Edmondson called and told them to “kill the bill.”
Rep. Terrill was having problems with HB 3350 until he made an agreement to change it to a Task Force bill. It has made it out of committee and through the floor. Last Wednesday, 3-26-08, they finally assigned it to the Rules committee on the Senate side.
When I found this out I spoke to Charlie Laster about moving it to General Government. He told me to speak to Owen Laughlin and Laughlin signed the slip to move it to General Government. Then on Thursday morning I got my notice for the committee and it wasn’t on there!
So Monday, 3-31-08, I started my quest to find out what happened. After getting the run around for about two hours, I was finally told that it was lost in the Pro Tem’s office and he had been sick lately so no one knew what was going on. Finally, an insider…[said she] had overheard the discussion about it last week. Her quote was “Not No, but HELL NO!” to allowing it to be heard in Gen. Gov. on Monday the 31st. Now I’m not even sure it will be heard in the rules committee on Wed. 4-2-08!
In all my discussions with Democrats, in or out of the Legislature. The only reason I get for apposing it is the fact that it was introduced by the same people who were championing TABOR [Taxpayers Bill of Rights].
What is wrong with these people? It seems to me that Democrats hate Republicans simply because they are Republican. And it isn’t solely Democrats who hate. I also hear Republicans talk about Democrats the same way?
In the mean time my organization (Oklahoman’s for Initiative Rights) is caught up in the fight and we are the losers.
In a conversation with Mary Easley yesterday, she said there was nothing wrong with our system and she could not support the bill. If there is nothing wrong with the system then how do we have people who have been indicted over this subject? And why is Drew Edmondson sticking his nose into the process of the Legislature? And why did they listen to his order to KILL THE BILL?
This is just to let you know about the shenanigan’s going on. It may be normal politics but it isn’t right.
In this week’s “Coffee Talk” podcast, Ok Sen. Glenn Coffee (R-OKC) discusses the state budget, and how things are not as dire as some had predicted.
He says he is pleased that the OK State Supreme Court rescinded its decision to not allow some records to be available online, and commended the Senate for its Open Records policy, the successful Open Books efforts by Sen. Randy Brogdon (R-Owasso), and the recent recognition of the Senate’s Sunshine efforts.
He says that in this age of YouTube and the internet, “people want to have ready access to information” online, and he is proud that the OK Senate is on the forefront of that, and hopes that other state agencies will follow suit.
To listen, click here.
“Competition breeds success,” Brogdon said. “When you have the opportunity to have competitions in an elected capacity, it is good for people.” – Senator Randy Brogdon
Hat tip: Oklahoma Corridor Watch Blog
An Oklahoma state senator said Thursday that he led opposition to a plan like the Trans Texas Corridor this year because it would have surrendered his state’s sovereignty to the federal government.
Sen. Randy Brogdon, R-Owasso, said at a morning news conference at the Rohill Building at 3100 N. “A” St. that Oklahoma House Bill No. 1819 would have helped create a “NAFTA super highway” by waiving Oklahoma’s 11th Amendment right not to be sued in federal court.
He told participants in a Thursday night program offered by the Midland Business and Professional Chapter of the John Birch Society that the road would be regulated under international law.
Can this be a surprise when the Governor promises “a government of complete openness and transparency,” yet he still hasn’t revealed where he went on his vacation back in March?
From The Journal Record:
OKLAHOMA CITY – A national report released Thursday gives Oklahoma, 26 other states and the District of Columbia an overall “F” for required, accessible disclosure of corporate tax breaks and other economic development subsidies, procurement contracts and lobbying activities.
Good Jobs First ranked Oklahoma 30th among the states, but noted with approval the recent enactment of the new Taxpayer Transparency Act and a tax-break and government-spending disclosure Web site set to go online Jan. 1.
State Sen. Randy Brogdon, R-Owasso, was the principal Senate author of the measure, Senate Bill 1, from the 2007 legislative session.
It is modeled after legislation backed by U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn at the federal level.
Brogdon said data on tax credits may not be available for four-to-six months after the Web site goes live in January.
“The reason for that is the way that our fiscal year doesn’t line up with the calendar year,” he said. “It’s going to be a little bit behind on some of those.”
Brogdon said that ultimately the site will offer access to data such as Quality Jobs incentives, as well as tax credits.
The senator said he recently spent time with the staff at the Office of State Finance, which is administering the Web site. Read more…