There are amazing benefits and learning opportunities available to those who closely monitor the state legislative process. I have learned much about human behavior and individual character through observation during those times when policy makers are under pressure.
I remember that day in 2009 as one of those busy days in which I struggled to keep up with work. I was almost certainly tempted to direct my legislative assistant to refuse all visitors so that I could get my work done; however, I didn’t feel right about doing that and instead said, “If […]
Regular readers of the state’s appropriations bill were greeted by something new as they opened this year’s version of the venerable legislation.
I have always believed that citizens are the best positioned to hold government accountable. Unlike legislators, citizens are not subject to co-option by bureaucracy, unlike the press, they need not fear loss of access if they take a tough stand against the actions of government.
As an office holder, it didn’t take long for me to observe the sharp tension between many of those who make up the grassroots, small government constituency and the State Chamber of Commerce.
It is perhaps the best news from this legislative year and a reform for which legislative and state leaders should rightly take credit. It could represent the key turning point in a return to ethical governance and restore a balance in favor of Oklahoma taxpayers and away from special interests.
It’s a program so effective that other states are seeking to copy it. It was featured on the local news last week as News 9’s Alex Cameron took his cameras inside the headquarters of Oklahoma’s new, unified IT entity. Cameron’s story, entitled “Keeping the State of Oklahoma Secure Against a Cyber Attack,” captured footage from […]
I knew the concern was legitimate, but believed the benefit from doing the right thing would outweigh the downside — as it always does.
Imagine the following absurdity: a business owner divides his business into 140 different divisions and gives the head of each division control over a free-standing legal, information technology, financial service, human resource and public relations department. Is this hard to imagine? It should be, because in the business world, these functions are consolidated and shared […]
It has long been theorized that the wars of the future will not be fought on the battlefield or at sea but instead will be through computerized device. That future has arrived. Each and every day our nation and its IT assets are under assault from foreign nation states.
The first warning sign happened last year on April 2nd of 2014. By a 20-3 vote, a legislative committee unexpectedly approved a 30 million dollar diversion of transportation funding.
Oklahomans are coming to terms with the decision of this year’s Legislature to slow the amount of motor vehicle funds going to roads and bridges and to substantially raid the existing funds.
During the last fifteen months I have mostly resisted the temptation to write about my feelings regarding the current state of transparency in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. This may seem perplexing to my regular readers because up until March of 2014, I frequently wrote about the deliberative but systematic transformation of the House away […]
The circumstances of Wednesday, May 22 brought me to the stark realization that two important concepts of reform have been abandoned by the Legislature.
Imagine the perplexity felt by the average Oklahoman. For the past four months, he has heard news story after news story detailing the state’s looming budget shortfall of $600 million. But after all of this panic, the Legislature has approved a new state budget which is of similar size as the old budget. How does […]
Local officials are struggling to deal with the millions in damages upon roads as a result of this weekend’s unprecedented rain and flooding. It’s ironic for these events to occur just as they and many of us in the Legislature are coming to grips with the unexpected 180 degree reversal of state leaders in regards […]
A few days ago, a prominent Oklahoma City official seemed to express a confusion which is likely shared by most Oklahomans.
I recently received an encouraging email that brought back memories from my time as a city councilman. This email came from a group that petitioned the City for a zoning change years ago. It reads, “… wanted to reach out to you because of your support when we presented the request to the Guthrie City […]
In the middle of April 2014, I finished my work for the day at the House of Representatives and drove to the Cedar Ridge neighborhood at 220th and MacArthur. It was the commencement of campaign season and for the next few months my family and I would make thousands of visits door to door.
As we near the end of the legislative session, the Legislature will be presented with last minute, late session emergencies in order to compel legislators to issue more taxpayer-funded debt.