Claremore Daily Progress

Our View

April 8, 2013

Fund education first

OKLAHOMA CITY — “It’s  really funny, ... They were able to pass this law in a relatively short amount of time, but they weren’t able to get school finance done.” ~John Lockwood

The ninth week of session included a bittersweet mixture of activity here at the capitol. 

We began Monday when, once again, the legislature bypassed state law and failed to pass an education budget. Implemented in 2003, the “Fund Education First” deadline has not been honored once during my tenure in the legislature. 

Public schools await their supplementary budgets and must begin preparations for the next school year without a sense of how much money they will have. Last Monday afternoon on the House floor, I and many of my fellow colleagues continued our call to  fully fund education, as soon as possible, by moving a motion to pass an education budget. Unfortunately, our motion was defeated along partisan lines.

The proposal to cut state revenues by lowering the state personal income tax also passed a Senate committee this week. Although the bill that passed the Senate committee actually lowers the personal income tax rate more than the House proposal, to 4.95  percent rather than 5 percent, the fact that the Senate’s bill does not implement the income tax cut until January 2015 tells us that the Senate recognizes it is not the right time to cut state revenues. With a recovering economy, growing state revenues need  to be used to restore state funding to our core agencies. 

Finally, we received the news of the death of Captain Rodrick “Pete” Norwood, the legislative liaison for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. Both chambers honored this kind, good man.  As was said about Captain Norwood when we passed HR 1012 honoring him, he embodied and symbolized what it meant to be in the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. The issue for which he worked tirelessly in our halls at the capitol this session was a pay raise for  his colleagues in the OHP. Therefore, I am pleased that a Senate committee passed the bill giving the OHP raises. We look forward to seeing Norwood’s hard work pay off and the OHP getting the raises they deserve.

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Our View
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    I can’t imagine that there would be very many politicians who would say they didn’t think public education was important.  I’m sure if you polled the legislature, 100 percent would say it’s a top priority.  But it’s one thing to talk the talk—it’s another to walk the walk.  

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  • sherrerBenweb.jpg Public Education:  The vine must be watered

    Monday’s rally for public education was the single most exciting event I’ve had the opportunity to experience in my 10 years in the legislature.  

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Burrage, sean.tiff Senate review by Sean Burrage

    Hailey Mathis is studying political science and history at the University of Oklahoma. She’s one of a very select group of college students each year who have the opportunity to learn about government and public service through an internship at the State Senate.  

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  • Kim Dabney Autistic in Oklahoma

    Since the 1970’s, April hosts Autism Awareness Month to highlight the fastest growing epidemics of our time. Just last week, the Center for Disease Control announced a startling statistic, 1 in 68 children are suffering with autism.

    April 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kim Dabney Autism awareness did not save Avonte

    Every April since the 1970’s due to an abruptly rising condition in children across the country, we observe Autism Awareness Month.  According to government figures, the rapid increase in autism, unheard of prior to the 1940’s, skyrocketed from 1 in 10,000 children to the latest estimates of 1 in 68.

    April 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Randy Cowling John D. Williams: Claremore’s Progressive Citizen of the Year

    There are few opportunities to make choices that will guide the future direction of our lives, let alone the impact on our community.

    March 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • sherrerBenweb.jpg Education Rally: All about accountability

    The education rally planned at the State Capitol on March 31 is needed to focus public attention on the crises our public schools are experiencing.  

    March 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 9.10-burrage,-sean-2007-0105.jpg Senate Review

    If you were raising children in the 1950’s or before, you had a tremendous fear that never crosses the mind of parents today—polio.  At its worst, the disease could cause permanent muscle paralysis and even death.  1952 was considered the height of the polio epidemic, with more than 60,000 cases and 3,000 deaths reported in the United States.

    March 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • BAILEYDABNEY8-2009.tif Markwayne Mullin, Citizen Legislator

    When our nation’s Founding Fathers deliberated the governmental structure for this great nation, they clearly intended to populate Congress with citizen legislators. James Madison described the ideal representative as one “called for the most part from pursuits of a private nature and continued in appointment for a short period of office.”

    March 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • The Sheriff speaks out

    In a recent edition of the weekly Oologah Lake Leader, which I will never respect again, its owner, John Wylie crossed yet another line of integrity. He repeatedly accused the late Mickey Perry of being a dirty cop

    March 9, 2014