Thursday, July 2, 2015

An Oklahoma Constitutional Convention Is Being Drawn Up

  The state of Oklahoma has been in violation of our own constitution for many years. I'm particularly speaking of the mandate in our current constitution which says that at least every 20 years the people of the state must be offered the opportunity to amend or replace our constitution through a convention:

Section XXIV-2: Constitutional convention to propose amendments or new constitution.

No convention shall be called by the Legislature to propose alterations, revisions, or amendments to this Constitution, or to propose a new Constitution, unless the law providing for such convention shall first be approved by the people on a referendum vote at a regular or special election, and any amendments, alterations, revisions, or new Constitution, proposed by such convention, shall be submitted to the electors of the State at a general or special election and be approved by a majority of the electors voting thereon, before the same shall become effective: Provided, That the question of such proposed convention shall be submitted to the people at least once in every twenty years.

"There is no better time than now, for Oklahoma to replace a patchwork mess of 150 amendments in our current constitution and write a far more cohesive and structured governing document"
  This is plain language and any failure of the executive or legislative branch to present the option of a convention shall be an impeachable offense.  It could be argued that the entire legislature is in violation of the constitution because they have been 25 years overdue!
  The last time voters were offered a constitutional convention was 1970. That means it was MANDATED to be offered again in 1990. What we've had is lip-service to the constitution by our legislators. And we've only had selective adherence by our judiciary. They follow strict wording where it supports their desired outcomes and they've completely ignored other provisions where it suits their will and careers.

Senator Kyle Loveless and his former debate opponents
  Senator Kyle Loveless has a bill sitting in the capitol that received an overwhelming passage in the House and a unanimous vote of support in senate committee, but he had it "parked" for further tuning so an interim study could devise a process of selecting delegates to the proposed Oklahoma Constitutional Convention.
  There is no better time than now, for Oklahoma to replace a patchwork mess of 150 amendments in our current constitution and write a far more cohesive and structured governing document. We probably won't change a whole lot of how we're actually governed, but at least we'll have a document that's easier to follow. We'll also have a more confident citizenry who will be far more educated.

According to Oklahoma Watch,
  Senator Kyle Loveless, R-Oklahoma City, said House Joint Resolution 1020 would ask Oklahomans if they wanted to convene a constitutional convention on July 10, 2017. The measure outlines how delegates would be selected and creates a commission to oversee the delegates' selection. The convention would be required to adjourn on June 30, 2018.
The resolution cleared the full House of Representatives and the Senate Rules Committee on a 12-0 vote but the measure had its title crippled, a procedural maneuver that prevents it from being sent to the governor's office.
  The text of the current joint resolution is found here: If the current language is followed, then 112 delegates will meet in July of 2017 to begin work. They will not be paid except for travel 'per diem'.The makeup of the convention will be:

  • 52 House of Representatives (26 Republicans, 26 Democrats)
  • 24 Senators (12 Republicans, 12 Democrats)
  • 14 Executive Department Heads
  • 6 Judiciary
  • 14 Citizens (12 chosen by lottery of those who volunteer, 2 Major University presidents)
  • 2 Osage Tribal Land inhabitants
  Within the breakdowns, individuals will be chosen in such a way as to bring an equal balance of of representation from Western & Eastern Oklahoma. 
  I contacted Senator Loveless before publishing and asked if he had an update on the Oklahoma Constitutional Convention (HJR 1020). He said;
  "Yes positive news- the problem with the language was it specified more democrats than we have elected - so creates some problems-  don't have a date yet on interim study but would assume Sept or October"
He added;
 "We are in violation [of the constitution] and have been for years".
David Van Risseghem
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1 comment :

  1. After reading this proposal, while I agree that we need to re-visit our constitution, the makeup of delegates, I believe will lead to a more monsterous and open to interpretation document than we now have in our 107 pages.
    The very basis of the problem with our current constitution is interpretation. It should be interpretated with no regard to the U.S. constitution (which is applicable only to the central gov't), it should explicly state Oklahomas sovereignty and protection thereof.
    This being said, I believe it would be a very costly mistake to have the convention made up of those that have sworn to uphold the confusing mix of the Ok and US constitution.