Monday, June 5, 2017

Freshmen Legislators & The Abandonment Of Principles

  The Republicans had 26 new Representatives  & 13 Senators serving a freshman term in the 2017 legislative session. That may be the biggest group of new faces since statehood.
  Think tanks were full of speculation last November, about what impact the large new group might bring to the process.
​  Sadly, many conservative groups express great disappointment, if not outright abandonment.
  Of the 39 freshmen Republicans, Only 4 Representatives and 2 Senators voted consistent with the constitution, on two of the key revenue bills.

Constitutional Disrespect

  Of all the speculation of last winter, not one publication projected that the final days would be filled with voting on unconstitutional new revenue proposals. Yet that is exactly where these freshmen allowed the leadership to take them.
   The Oklahoma Constitution is clear about the protections granted to our taxpayers. When the 1992 amendment (SQ640) was approved by our high court, it stipulated the following:
A. All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives. The Senate may propose amendments to revenue bills.

B. No revenue bill shall be passed during the five last days of the session.

C. Any revenue bill originating in the House of Representatives shall not become effective until it has been referred to the people of the state at the next general election held throughout the state and shall become effective and be in force when it has been approved by a majority of the votes cast on the measure at such election and not otherwise except as otherwise provided in subsection D of this section.

D. Any revenue bill originating in the House of Representatives may become law without being submitted to a vote of the people of the state if such bill receives the approval of three-fourths (3/4) of the membership of the House of Representatives and three-fourths (3/4) of the membership of the Senate and is submitted to the Governor for appropriate action. Any such revenue bill shall not be subject to the emergency measure provisions authorized in Section 58 of this Article and shall not become effective and be in force until ninety days after it has been approved by the Legislature and acted on by the Governor.
  What our freshmen largely demonstrated was a willing complicity in a blatant and grievous violation of our constitution.  Their actions sought to undermine the rights of every consumer and taxpayer in the state.  Not one of them can plausibly claim ignorance when they voted on a 2nd tobacco tax bill which was defeated a week earlier.   
  • They all knew that the bill called for the same $1.50 increase in the sale of a unit of the product.
  • They all knew that the motivation was to fund a glaring deficit.
  • They all watched their own party leadership kill an effort to end "Swag" spending on gifts and posh events for the personal benefit of the leadership and their favored friends.

The Most Simple Case Of Constitutional Infringement

   In the chart below, the Republican Freshmen who voted to support the "Tobacco Fee" (SB845), or the Auto Sales Tax (HB2433); in the last 5 days of the session are highlighted in Blue Ink.
Those who opposed the bills are in Red ink.

Freshmen Republican Representatives

Greg ​Babinec,
Rhonda Baker, 
Carol Bush, 
Dale Derby, 

Tim Downing, 
Scott Fetgatter, 
Roger Ford, 
Avery Frix, 

Tom Gann, 
Kyle Hilbert, 
Justin Humphrey, 
Dell Kerbs, 

Mark Lawson, ​
Ryan Martinez, 
Kevin McDugle, 
Scott McEachin, 
Marcus McEntire, 
Carl Newton, 
Mike Osburn, 
Tess Teague, 
Josh West, 
Kevin West, 
Rick West, 
Tammy West, 
Rande Worthen, 

Zack Taylor, 

Freshmen Republican Senators

Micheal Bergstrom
Julie Daniels
Tom Dugger
Chris Kidd

James Leewright
Greg McCortney
Joe Newhouse
Lonnie Paxton
Roland Pederson
Dewayne Pemberton

Adam Pugh
Dave Rader
Paul Scott

from Sooner - Editorial

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