Saturday, May 31, 2014

Should Tulsa Move To Kansas

In 1992, Tulsa World editorial writer, David Averill, wrote a shocking essay reflecting the frustrations of Tulsan and calling for a 'secession' of sorts.
In those days, Oklahoma was staunchly Dixiecrat (southern conservative Democrats). But Tulsa and much of northern Oklahoma was traditionally Republican. This situation led to deep frustrations over how state investments in infrastructure and other budgetary decisions were made.
The clearly leftist wrtiters at the Tulsa World sought to capitalize on this situation and call for Tulsa and other Green Country counties to join the state of Kansas.

Tulsa, Kan. // Secession Is Out of the Question; 

So Let's Join Our Northern Neighbors

Sunday, March 22, 1992 12:00 am, by David Averill
It happened again, for the umpteenth time. An acquaintance, a Tulsan, said, "Tulsa should just secede from Oklahoma and become its own state."
The remark, this latest time, came during a conversation about State Question 640, the new constitutional amendment that effectively ended representative democracy in Oklahoma.
The enlightened parts of the state, including Tulsa and most of eastern Oklahoma, voted against the misbegotten plan, but other areas of the state voted for it, and it passed. The vote in favor of SQ 640 was heaviest in the least enlightened areas, for example, Oklahoma City.
Tulsans increasingly realize that dragging the rest of Oklahoma into the 20th century, let alone the 21st, is a nearly impossible job, maybe beyond the capabilities even of Tulsans. So they say, "Tulsa should just secede from Oklahoma and become its own state."
Let's nip that talk in the bud. Tulsa isn't big enough to be a state. And creating a 51st state would be a major constitutional and congressional headache. Ask Puerto Rico.
No, a better plan would be for Tulsa and part of the northeast to secede from Oklahoma and annex itself to another state, namely Kansas. Kansas would be the best choice. Arkansas is too backward.
Let's face it, take away northwest Arkansas and Arkansas is Mississippi with shoes. Missouri would offer professional baseball, a definite plus, but Tulsa would be only the third largest city in Missouri and might get lost in the shuffle. But Tulsa (pop. 367,302) would be the largest city in Kansas, ahead of Wichita (pop. 304,011) and Kansas City (pop. 149,767).
Just think! No more No. 2. No more paying Tulsa taxes for government palaces and government programs in Oklahoma City, the lair of the unenlightened.
There are other arguments in favor of the match. Wichita is big in aviation and aerospace, so is Tulsa. Western Kansas has oil and natural gas, and we wrote the book on oil and gas in Tulsa. It has wheat, and we know all about wheat in Tulsa.
We've been told for years that every surrounding state has better roads, lower workers' compensation rates, higher teachers' salaries and lower taxes than Oklahoma. So moving in with any of them, expecially Kansas, would be an improvement for Tulsans. Politically, Kansas is a bastion of traditional Republicanism, same as Tulsa.
Kansas has a turnpike, we have turnpikes. Kansas has outstanding state universities. And as the largest city in Kansas, Tulsa would almost have to have a free-standing, four-year, state-supported institution of higher learning. The University of Kansas at Tulsa, better known as UKanT. The universities of Wichita and Tulsa already have a great basketball rivalry. Just think how much more spirited it would be as a "cross-state rivalry."
Tulsans also would then be able to claim the great Dwight D. Eisenhower, general and statesman, as a native son. What can Tulsa and Green Country offer Kansas? Lots of things: Business, industry and commerce. Almost enough population to qualify for another congressman. Two great museums; opera, ballet and symphony. A major airport. An inland waterway, doorway to the Gulf of Mexico. 
The new southern boundary of Kansas might run along the Arkansas River from Arkansas City to the Tulsa County line near Lake Keystone, and then east along the southern boundaries of Tulsa, Rogers, Mayes and Delaware counties to the Arkansas line, and due north back to the current Kansas line.
The new Kansas Bootheel, as it would be known, would bring to Kansas the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve; Grand, Hudson, Oologah and Skiatook lakes (that's got to be more lakes than all of Kansas has now), and several nice towns, including Bartlesville, Pryor, Vinita and Miami. The Bootheel also would include Claremore, so Will Rogers henceforth would be known as the beloved Kansas humorist.
But most of all we would offer Kansas ourselves. Tulsans  are hip. Tulsans are aware. They're now, they're with it, they're happening. Any state would love to have us.  Tulsa, Kan. It has a nice ring. Let's get the ball rolling on this.

I made a rational adjustment to Averill's proposal. Ponca City is a natural part of the cultural identity of southern Kansas. So I extended Averill's proposed border westward along the county line of Kay County.

There are so many changes that have happened in the 22 years since this publication. The political winds have shifted with great intensity and other legal matters would deeply impact the feasibility.

It will make for an interesting discussion...

Friday, May 30, 2014

Get Used To A Bunch Of New Oklahoma Laws provides a great database on legislative actions. Here is a short list of some new laws and actions in Oklahoma Govt.Here are just a handful of the most recent bills which were signed into law. We listed the date they were introduced to the legislature and the date they were finally made law.
For a complete almanac of the legislative work, see

Oklahoma's New Laws

SB 1206 
(2013-2014 Regular Session)

State Capitol Building; authorizing licensed vendors to contract for supplementary catering services during certain time period. Emergency.

Feb 3, 2014
May 28, 2014
Approved by Governor 05/24/2014 SB 1398  
(2013-2014 Regular Session)

Professional counselor qualifications; recognizing foreign qualifications for licensure. Effective date.

Feb 3, 2014
May 28, 2014
Approved by Governor 05/28/2014 SB 1187 
(2013-2014 Regular Session)

Environment and natural resources; requiring Environmental Quality Board to promulgate rules governing water reuse projects; DEQ to issue permit. Emergency.

Feb 3, 2014
May 28, 2014
Approved by Governor 05/28/2014 SB 2140 
(2013-2014 Regular Session)

Criminal procedure; expungement of criminal records; modifying certain qualifications. Effective date.

May 19, 2014
May 28, 2014
Approved by Governor 05/28/2014 SB 1216 
(2013-2014 Regular Session)

Department of Human Services; modifying certain term.

Feb 3, 2014
May 28, 2014
Approved by Governor 05/28/2014 SB 929 
(2013-2014 Regular Session)

Juvenile Code; authorizing disclosure of certain records to certain persons. Emergency.

Feb 4, 2013
May 28, 2014
Approved by Governor 05/28/2014 SB 1182
(2013-2014 Regular Session)

Child abuse investigations; permitting Department of Human Services to contract with retired peace officers. Effective date.

Feb 3, 2014
May 28, 2014
Approved by Governor 05/28/2014 SB 1851
(2013-2014 Regular Session)

Agriculture; authorizing the Department of Agriculture to inspect and license farmer's markets in Oklahoma and Tulsa Counties. Effective date.

Feb 3, 2014
May 28, 2014
Approved by Governor 05/28/2014 SB 1524 
(2013-2014 Regular Session)

Memorial highway designations; designating various memorial highways and bridges. Effective Date.

Feb 3, 2014
May 28, 2014
Approved by Governor 05/28/2014 SB 1848
(2013-2014 Regular Session)

Public health; directing Board of Health to establish certain standards; requiring medical screenings prior to abortion; penalties. Effective date.

Feb 3, 2014
May 28, 2014
Approved by Governor 05/28/2014

For a complete almanac of the legislative work, see

Monday, May 26, 2014

Drama In Tulsa's D. A. Race: Will Kunzweiler Be Declared Winner Without An Election?

Senator Brian Crain demonstrated exceptional regard for the rule of law, this past week.

Oklahoma Constitution- Section V-23: 
Ineligibility to appointment to office 
Interest in contracts.
 No member of the Legislature shall, during the term for which he was elected, be appointed or elected to any office or commission in the State, which shall have been created, or the emoluments of which shall have been increased, during his term of office, nor shall any member receive any appointment from the Governor, the Governor and Senate, or from the Legislature, during the term for which he shall have been elected, nor shall any member, during the term for which he shall have been elected, or within two years thereafter, be interested, directly or indirectly, in any contract with the State, or any county or other subdivision thereof, authorized by law passed during the term for which he shall have been elected.
  With the effects of the Oklahoma Term Limit Initiative being fully implemented and impacting upon the elected legislative body, There has begun a massive new interest in county government by many former legislators.
   So much so that some new interest in constitutional stipulations is now in the political discussions of the day.
   Perhaps Senator Brian Crain (R-Tulsa) is not the first person to publicly disqualify himself from office, but he may have made it impossible for any other legislator to skirt the Oklahoma Constitution, in the foreseeable future.
   Senator Crain was and is very passionate about the Tulsa District Attorney position. He is a former prosecutor and currently a practicing attorney while serving his final term in the senate.
   Senator Crain, in his withdrawal statement, said he felt he could successfully challenge the restriction in state court, but he said he would likely be temporarily harming the cause of criminal justice during that litigation process.  He demonstrated a good deal of class and leadership by stepping aside for the sake of Tulsa's more pressing courthouse needs.
   But Rep. Fred Jordan insists that he is not restricted at all by Section V-23 of the Oklahoma Constitution, since he is not going to be in legislative office when he would become the Tulsa District Attorney.
Crain, Jordan, and Kunzweiler all filed for the Tulsa District
Attorney office. Tim Harris did not seek re-election.
   Several students of Oklahoma's Constitutional law have pointed out that no legislator can be elected to an office which was created or had an increase in pay or benefits, which he was a part of granting (regardless of his votes in that legislation).
  If it is true that the District Attorney's term of office starts on January 1st, 2015, Then Fred Jordan's best argument will be that his legislative term ends in late November, but his would-be D.A. term won't start until a month later.  Crain, however; would still be 2 years away from completing his current term.
  The question was asked; "Why can't Brian Crain just resign his senate seat now, so that he is also 'out of office'?" But a careful reading of the constitution says that the restriction is in place "during the term for which he shall have been elected".
   This brings yet another argument for allowing Jordan to be elected. Jordan would like an interpretation which says that eligibility is based upon his status on the moment he takes his next oath of office. But the wording of the constitution clearly focuses upon the date of his election, including primary elections, because the election board (and the Secretary of State) need to certify that an eligible person was selected to the new term.
   This interpretation is further supported by other eligibility requirements if the constitution, such as the age of the candidate. A Senator must be 25 'on the date of his election', according to the Oklahoma Constitution.
   Now, for  more delicate issues...
If a legislative body votes for a pay raise, to go into effect in the next legislative session, are they all disqualified from seeking re-election? It would seem so. Perhaps this is why pay raises are usually scheduled years in advance, so as to avoid an inconvenient response from the Oklahoma Supreme Court.
   How many other former legislators got by with violating the Oklahoma Constitution? I'm hesitant to believe this was the first time that this matter ever applied to a county or statewide election?
  Then there's the issue of former legislators doing business with the state. It happens in some very subtle ways and often the state agency's procurement systems don't always know who owns the company they are awarding contracts to. Will there be a new effort to hunt down violators? It will be very interesting to see how this provision is enforced.
   Is it fair to only restrict legislators in this matter? I say 'yes & no'. It is a needed protection against corruption, but it should also apply to the executive branch because the governor not only signs the legislation, and plays a powerful role in negotiating the language of the bills that get to the executive desk.