Monday, April 30, 2007

Vouchers Bad for Students; Bad for State

Senator Gumm Featured on "The Daily Oklahoman" Opinion Page
(Artcile was orginally published Monday, April 30, 2007 in response to an April 23 op-ed in support of siphoning public resources to private schools.)

The most common argument those who support vouchers use is that money to educate a child should follow a child. Children in private school, they claim, do not consume the public dollars they would if they attended public school. Since that money is not needed by the public school, the money should flow to the private school.

That argument might hold water if public education was a “zero-sum” game; it most certainly is not.

Every Oklahoman – even those families who put their children in private schools – benefits because we offer a free public education to every child. It is my strongly-held belief that America owes its position as the world’s last remaining superpower to the fact every child – regardless of the wealth of their parents – can get a public education.

The economy is stronger because everyone can get an education. Our quality of life is improved. Giving every child a chance to become everything God intends for him or her to become creates opportunity for all of us.

That is the mission to which public school funding is dedicated. It simply stands to reason that if everyone benefits, then everyone should help bear the burden of funding that mission. Vouchers deny that basic fact about education and how it must be funded to the benefit of all of us.

Another argument that supporters of vouchers use is their claim that some public schools are so irreparably broken that we have to provide an escape route for children trapped in substandard public schools.

It is true that some public schools are better than others; in fact, some private schools are better than others. For us, however, to abandon any school simply because it right now might be underperforming is social Darwinism at its most perverse.

We ask public schools to do so much: educate every child. That even includes those who might not have had a hot meal the night before; or those who live in abject poverty; or those who might not have supportive parents; or those with challenges many of us could not even imagine. We must not abandon them; we must make every public school the best it can be.

Private schools serve an important purpose, but they are not obligated to – and in fact, never will – educate every child. While I would never oppose any parents’ right to avail themselves of private school for their children, we dare not abandon the glory of public education.

America’s history is replete with individuals in every field of endeavor who would not have achieved what they did without public schools. Our nation would not be as strong without public education; our future would not be as bright without public education.

So, any proposal like vouchers that would benefit a precious few at the expense of us all is simply bad public policy that does nothing less than put our entire future at risk.

-- By Senator Jay Paul Gumm

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Senator Gumm's Blog for April 24-30, 2007

"Bumper Sticker Politics" Serves State Poorly

By Senator Jay Paul Gumm

The serious discussion of critical issues sometimes gives way to what I call “bumper sticker politics.”

By that, I mean when an extraordinarily complicated issue gets reduced to a few words that fit on a bumper sticker. The Senate considered one of those issues last week when we considered Senate Bill 507, the so-called “Tort Reform” or “Lawsuit Reform” bill.

This was a long and complex bill. It would fundamentally change the ability of everyday Oklahomans to ask a court to put right what once went wrong.

Despite its complexity, senator’s votes on this bill will be distilled down to being “for” or “against” the whole of tort reform, an issue very important to our medical and business communities. Since becoming your senator, I have voted for just about every tort reform bill to come before the Legislature.

I believe it is important we limit the number of frivolous lawsuits, making sure doctors can practice and businesses can operate without undue fear of lawsuits. However, we must preserve access to the courts for those individuals who have truly been hurt by another.

One of the courts’ most important jobs is to hold businesses and individuals accountable if they harm someone. That requires a balance that is far more difficult to achieve than popping off a two-word, bumper-sticker answer.

This bill, while containing some good provisions I recommended, was loaded down with provisions that would have closed the courts to Oklahomans of modest means. In their zeal to protect defendants in civil suits, the authors of the bill went way too far giving defendants too much protection.

In fact, some of that protection was so strong that if criminal defendants were allowed the same ability to keep facts secret it would amount to legalizing obstruction of justice. Our courts exist to find the truth, this bill would gut the courts’ ability to find that truth.

It was ironic when one of the sponsors of the measure used one of my favorite quotes in his debate. “Sunlight is the best disinfectant,” he said. In an effort to express support for the bill, this senator gave the most eloquent argument against the bill.

Senate Bill 507, in the form it was presented, would ensure that sunlight in many cases would never be able to illuminate the truth. Because of where the bill was in the legislative process, we had no options to clean up the measure before us; it was either a “yes” or “no” on the whole bill before us.

While I will always look for ways to pass effective and balanced tort reform, I could not support a measure that was so fatally flawed and so out-of-balance for the people I represent. We can do better than the bill that passed the Senate and is now on the governor’s desk, and we certainly owe Oklahomans our best efforts.

Thanks again for reading, have a great week, and may God bless you all.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Charter School Debate

A recent hot topic of debate at the House of Representatives has centered around the creation of charter schools. Currently there are 13 in Oklahoma. All are in Oklahoma City and Tulsa.

Consider one example of a successful charter school. Six years ago the F.D. Moon Academy in Oklahoma City was the lowest-performing school in the state. Five years later, in the very same building, students of KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) Charter School produced some of the highest tests scores in Oklahoma, despite tremendous social and economic challenges.

KIPP eighth-grade students dominated the 2006 Oklahoma Core Curriculum Test (OCCT), with 100 percent passing both the state math and writing tests and 97 percent of KIPP students passing the state reading test. This compares to the statewide average of 72 percent of eighth graders passing the math test and 59 percent of Oklahoma City students passing it. The average Academic Performance Index (API) score for all Oklahoma students is 1180. The average score for Oklahoma City students is 1006. Students attending KIPP averaged 1393 out of 1500, which surpassed even Oklahoma City’s Classen School of Advanced Studies, the 17th best high school in the country according to Newsweek. Records indicate that 73 percent of those who enter KIPP at the fifth grade level read at a third-grade level or less, but by the time students reach eighth grade, 97 percent are passing the state reading test.

KIPP students attend school from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm and twice-monthly on Saturdays. As a college preparatory school, KIPP's focus is not simply on graduating students from 12th grade, but on ensuring they graduate from college.

In a recent Oklahoman story, a KIPP student was quoted as saying, “Before, my dream was basketball or something like that. Now, I want to be a businessman, and KIPP helped me set my goal.”

Nationwide, fifty KIPP academies have been established. Charter schools such as these represent an exciting trend toward reversing the failures of inner city common education.

Considering the phenomenal track record of this, who would oppose such schooling? Early this year, in an obvious attempt to end such success, the Tulsa School Board took action to declare a moratorium on the establishment of any new charter schools.

In response, Democrat State Representative Jabar Shumate, who represents an impoverished part of Tulsa, submitted legislation that would permit higher education institutions and city councils in Oklahoma and Tulsa counties to allow charter schools in those counties. This would prevent local boards of education which are hostile to alternative forms of education from stopping creation of charter schools.

After much questioning and debate, Shumate’s bill passed the House by a one vote margin. Shumate was the only Democrat to vote for the bill and it took the support of fifty Republicans to ensure passage.

The narrow vote demonstrates how that even in light of overwhelming evidence that charter schools are successful, defenders of the status quo will fight hard to oppose reforms designed to improve the learning conditions of Oklahoma’s children.

I admire Representative Shumate’s commitment to doing the right thing for Oklahoma children and was honored to support such legislation.

Open Door Policy - 4/23/07

Open Door Policy - 4/23/07
The shooting at Virginia Tech last week has encouraged the Governor and members of the legislature to prepare for the worst in Oklahoma. Governor Henry established a task force to review school safety and individual universities have begun to look at ways to inform students in regards to harmful situations on campus. I have visited with Sandy Garrett to encourage schools to pool resources and purchase new security cameras and equipment in groups to cut down on costs and get better deals. Nothing is more important than preparing in every possible way to ensure the safety of students and teachers. This is a disturbing trend in our society and we even saw incidents locally that reflect this. Students need to be aware of their surroundings and report any suspicious activities. Even joking around about harming fellow students and teachers will be punished severely in this modern society. My prayers go out to all those suffering right now over these incidents.
The House met at the Capitol this past weekend, which did not go as well as planned. On Saturday, the power outage in Oklahoma City kept the computer systems from working and required the members to operate similar to the days of statehood. We addressed three pieces of legislation where the clerk had to read the entire bill to us and mandated a roll call rather than using the electronic voting machines. This slowed things down significantly and left little accomplished. Less than 100 citizens showed up to watch the proceedings, but they at least watched some of the activity that did occur.
I want to thank several of the folks back home for voicing their concerns over bills that have been considered recently. Homer Thompson, Pete McDaniel and Dwight Woodward have been very good about keeping informed with the problems in SB 507, the legislation dealing with tort reform. This bill would significantly limit the rights of mineral owners to file class action lawsuits over problems with oil companies. This is but one of the problems with this bill and I appreciate them and others voicing their views. I am encouraging the Governor to veto this bill.
Another issue that was considered was funding for the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program. Legislators voted to place a grade point cumulative on this bill that would have eliminated 31% of the students from the area I represent. While I agree there do need to be increased standards for retention of this scholarship, I felt this was too high and would have prevented too many students the opportunity to succeed in college. I myself had the chance to go to college on the Oklahoma Tuition Aid Grant and I will never deprive students the same chances I had.
Though we worked Saturday, I had several chances to see friends on Sunday. The Fletcher Fire Department had a successful fundraiser at their station and the Apache Rattlesnake Hunt was once again a huge success. There was a tremendous crowd at the festival all weekend and this provided a great boost to the local economy. I'm happy to participate in this event each year and have quite a bit of fun working with the guys in the snake pit. Another event coming up soon to watch for is the Crawds n' Rods fundraiser in Elgin on May 12 which benefits their local fire department.
It is an honor to represent your views at the State Capitol. If you wish to contact me and discuss one of these or another issue, I can be reached at my office in Oklahoma City toll-free at 1-800-522-8502, or directly at 1-405-557-7305. My e-mail address is at work. My mailing address is PO Box 559, Rush Springs, OK 73082 and my website is on the Internet. Thank you for taking time to read this column and I look forward to seeing you soon.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Oklahoma House & Senate to Praise Hornets Team and Personnel and Wish Them Well in the Future

Contact: Ray Carter, House Media
Capitol: (405) 557-7421
Contact: State Rep. Joe Dorman
Capitol: (405) 557-7305

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 11, 2007) - Members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives and Senate plan to praise the Hornets basketball team for its achievements and look to the future of pro sports in Oklahoma.

A House concurrent resolution by state Rep. Joe Dorman and state Sen. Mike Morgan praises the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets "for their support of Oklahoma throughout the past two years" and "extends a warm welcome to the Hornets family to return to their adopted state anytime in the future ..."The resolution is being filed in advance of the Hornets final Oklahoma game on Friday, April 13.

"The Hornets have been a great success story for Oklahoma," said Dorman, D-Rush Springs. "We've proven that Oklahoma is NBA-ready."

Dorman and Morgan are two of the main authors of a tax incentive bill that lured the Hornets to Oklahoma after they were displaced by 2005's Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. At the time, officials expected the NBA team could provide a multi-million boost to the state economy - and they were right. A 2006 study showed the Hornets had an economic impact of $66.4 million on Oklahoma City during the 2005 season.

"Above the economic impact, the spirit brought forth by this team was contagious and led many Oklahomans to immediately adopt this team as their own," said Morgan, D-Stillwater. "The Hornets tenure in Oklahoma was great not only for them to continue and grow as a team while New Orleans rebuilds, but it also gave Oklahoma the opportunity to experience top-level professional sports regularly in our great state."

"Oklahoma displayed to the rest of the world we can be the home of professional sports," said Dorman. "Whether we are the recipients of an existing team or a newly-created expansion team, our state will no doubt be hungry to see an NBA team located herepermanently in the near future."

"We appreciate the opportunity extended by the Hornets and the NBA to be the adopted home of the team and their personnel," Morgan said. "The experiences over the last two years with community service provided by the players and the Honeybees has been an immeasurable benefit to Oklahoma and we will not soon forget how great an opportunity this was to have them here."

"There's no denying the state got a fantastic return on our investment," Dorman said. Dorman noted that average attendance at home games was 18,718, more than 97 percent of capacity with 18 sellouts in the first season. The Hornets regular season ends next week with the team still seeking a spot in the playoffs.

Dorman Calls for Additional Protections from Credit Card Companies

Contact: Ray Carter, House Media
Capitol: (405) 557-7421
Contact: State Rep. Joe Dorman
Capitol: (405) 557-7305

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 19, 2007) - Although lawmakers voted this week to restrict the sale of college students' private information to credit card companies, state Rep. Joe Dorman said additional safeguards are still needed.

"We took a step in the right direction today, but too many loopholes remain that allow credit card companies to target college freshmen," said Dorman, D-Rush Springs. "The door is still open for teenagers to be lured into a debt spiral that will take years to escape."

Senate Bill 496, by state Sen. Jim Reynolds (R-Oklahoma City) and state Rep. Sally Kern (R-Oklahoma City), cleared the state House today and makes it illegal for any state college or university to "enter into any agreement" to "sell student data to any creditor for purposes of marketing consumer credit to students.

The legislation passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives on a 90-5 vote and now returns to the state Senate. Dorman was among those supporting the bill, but he warned that it contains several loopholes that need to be closed.

"The school foundations, which are private entities, are usually the groups that actually sell student information and they are not covered by this bill," Dorman said. "The foundations can continue to make millions of dollars selling that private information and we need to put a stop to that."

He said additional restrictions on credit-card marketing are also needed.

"The bill does not prevent credit card companies from buying a vendor spot on campus and targeting college students," Dorman said. "We need to restrict that activity. Right now, too many students have easy access to credit cards that parents don't know about until the kid is overwhelmed by debt."

Credit card companies often issue cards to students who do not have any significant income because it is assumed the parents will ultimately cover the debt, Dorman noted."Senate Bill 496 was a good start, but it doesn't eliminate the entire problem," Dorman said. "I hope the Legislature will enact additional safeguards as soon as possible."

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Stopping Our Tax Dollars From Financing Terrorists

Stopping Our Tax Dollars From Financing Terrorists

As your State Representative it is my goal to work hard in advocating
for the concerns of House District 31 constituents.

The most frequent requests I receive are for a change in the law or
advocacy for a new piece of legislation. Over the first few months in
office, I fielded a number of suggestions and developed a long list of
potential legislation. I believe it is important to give every
constituent's proposal due and fair consideration.

Such was the case earlier in the year when a citizen contacted me with
a request to investigate whether or not Oklahoma pension funds were
being used to invest in foreign companies doing business in the
terrorist-sponsoring countries of Iran, Syria, North Korea and Sudan.

This type of information is rather hard to come by, but after some
research, I obtained a 2004 report developed by The Center for
Security Policy, showing several startling facts.

Nearly 18% of the Oklahoma Teachers Retirement Fund and 14% of the
Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement Fund are invested in foreign
companies who do business in terrorist sponsoring nations. This
represents an investment of about 1.2 billion of our teachers', state
employees' and taxpayers' funds. Worse still, this figure only
accounts for the investments of two of Oklahoma's seven retirement

You might ask why it is a problem for us to invest monies in these
countries such as Iran?

It is basically illegal for businesses based in the United States to
do business with the government of Iran. However, because foreign
companies are outside the jurisdiction of the United States, they can
ignore the US policy of not allowing businesses to work for the
government of Iran in rebuilding the aging infrastructure of this
terrorist nation. The revenue generated by rebuilt infrastructure and
the technology provided by these companies can be used by Iran to arm
and train Hezbollah terrorists, shelter members of Al Qaeda, build
Shehab 3 ballistic missiles, and even piece together nuclear bombs.

I do not believe that the average state employee, teacher and taxpayer
is fully aware that their retirement funds have been used to help
finance the enemy. If they were made aware of this, I feel lawmakers
would have little option but to enact a change of policy.

This change of policy would help stop the rehabilitation of aging oil
supply infrastructure in Iran and make it more difficult for the
Iranian government to continue their policy of financing terrorists
organizations. Oil revenue is estimated to account for a large
percentage of Iran's revenue. However, several European companies,
including those in which Oklahoma funds are invested, have snubbed
their nose at US policy and are working to help Iran. Without the
threat of divestment, these I believe companies will continue to
support our enemies.

Legislation is being offered in several other states to start the
divestment process. Foreign companies stand to loose billions of
dollars of American pension funds if they continue to support terror.

Very soon I plan to introduce a resolution on the House floor to call
for Oklahoma retirement systems to start the disinvestment process. I
will ask the speaker to impanel an interim study so we can begin the
process of writing appropriate statutory language to make sure our
money will not be invested in companies which help develop
infrastructure in terrorist states.

In short, it is vital that we dry up the money which funds our

A copy of the 2004 report showing Oklahoma's investment in these
companies can be obtained online at

As always, please feel welcome to send me your comments or concerns.
Without the involvement of a very reform minded House District 31
constituent, I would have been unaware of the need to advocate for
this important issue.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Letting You See How Government Spends Money

This week the House of Representatives approved what I believe to be one of the most exciting pieces of government reform legislation this year.

Indications are that a strong number of House District 31 residents believe that government is too big. They feel the scope of citizens' freedoms are reduced the more government grows and usurps power.

Thus, as your State Representative, I am committed to fulfilling the charge of working to reduce the size of government. The biggest issues we face in trying to downsize government are finding inefficiencies, inappropriate spending and corruption. Once these are exposed it will be hard for elected officials to refuse to take action.

The problem we are forced to deal with is that state government spending (almost $7,000,000,000 in state appropriations alone) is not readily exposed to the scrutiny of the people. Even many legislators rarely have direct access to the items on which taxpayer money is spent. Most of the information presented to legislators only concerns requests for new spending, with little oversight over current and past agency spending. You can only imagine the temptation for abuse of public dollars when taxpayers and their elected representatives do not have easy access to how and where money is spent. A 2006 August poll found that 64 percent of Oklahoma voters believe state government wastes between 10 cents and 59 cents of every dollar it collects.

This is about to change. SB 1, which already won approval in the Senate, cleared the House on Tuesday and should now be its way to the Governor. If the Governor approves the bill, state agencies will be required by law to post their expenditures. The website will be online by the end of the year and will allow taxpayers to search government expenditures. As the website evolves, it should include easy to use tools which allow taxpayers to track exactly how and where government money is spent. This will offer the average citizen much more oversight than legislators currently have.

Some of the items to be included online include grants, contracts, subcontracts, tax credits, payments to businesses under the various business incentive laws, and expenditures from the Rainy Day Fund.

This idea was proposed by state Senator Randy Brogden and State Representative Paul Wesselhoft after a similar concept was put forward by Oklahoma U.S. Senator Tom Coburn and approved at the federal level. Coburn's vision of a website where citizens can google government spending has caught on at the state level with 17 states across the nation considering or enacting similar proposals.

I believe this will be a vitally important tool as we begin the process of working to reduce the size of government in Oklahoma and I would encourage everyone to note web address for future reference.

As always, please feel free to contact me if I can be of assistance. I can be reached at 557-7350 or on the web at

Senator Gumm's Weekly Blog - Teachers' Retirement

The process by which we make laws is an elegant one designed to make it difficult to pass any proposal into law.

It is supposed to be that way: cumbersome and sometimes frustrating. Any government that can do something for you with great ease and efficiency can do something to you with great ease and efficiency.

The frustrating part of that is while it takes a coalition to pass anything, one individual in any number of positions can kill a proposal with little effort. That brings me to the heart of this week’s column.

As I have written before, state government has a commitment on which we must make good: the promise made to retired educators with the Oklahoma Teachers’ Retirement System (OTRS). Many of us have tried time and again to put more dollars into the system.

Last year, numerous proposals to strengthen OTRS were short-circuited by one individual in a position that allowed him simply say “no” to our retired educators. That individual is the now, thankfully, retired Speaker of the House of Representatives Todd Hiett.

Retired educators were the victims of a political reality. Speaker Hiett was locked in a difficult primary election for his party’s nomination for lieutenant governor. To preserve his political future, he could not afford to put more state resources into any government operation, especially a government retirement program for teachers.

We in Senate leadership proposed several options to put available resources into OTRS, which is among the most poorly funded public retirement systems in the nation. The then-Speaker simply said “no,” putting his political fortunes ahead of retired educators.

The result was more than $100 million left on the table when the 2006 session adjourned. That money could have been used to strengthen OTRS and boost cost of living adjustments for teachers. One individual put his personal interests ahead of our teachers.

That action caused retired educators to get the smallest cost-of-living adjustment of any group of state retirees last year. Retired educators are frustrated and outraged, and they should be.

That is why I introduced a bill this year to put most of last year’s leftover money – $70 million – into OTRS. While that bill did not move, it helped create an enormous amount of pressure to do something for the teachers retirement system.

As we enter the final half of the 2007 session of the Oklahoma Legislature, a number of proposals are on the table to help our retired educators. While we do not have the resources we did last year, almost everyone agrees – Democrats and Republicans alike – that we must do something.

As we craft a solution to help our retired educators, I will do everything in my power to see that the system is strengthened for the future and that the promise Oklahoma made to them is fulfilled.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Murphey Legislative Update 4/4/2007

This week the legislature took action on two important measures both of which I have been privileged to co-sponsor. While the House of Representatives prepared to debate pro-life legislation (SB 719), a Senate committee was taking action on HB 1804, the immigration reform proposal.

SB 719 is a comprehensive approach to stopping the use of taxpayer funds for abortions and establishing more in-depth disclosure reporting requirements from Oklahoma's abortion industry. The bill became elevated in profile after two major Oklahoma medical groups came out in opposition to it. This unprecedented action seemed to give courage to opponents of the proposal and so debate on the floor of the House became vigorous.

Those opposed to the bill argued that by taking away the ability of people to use Medicaid for abortions, we are punishing the poor who can not afford it. Proponents debated in favor of the bill by stating that taxpayers should not be forced to provide for an action which is in such opposition to the deeply felt values held by many Oklahomans.

SB 719 passed the house by a margin of about 3-1. I appreciated the number of House District 31 residents who contacted me to encourage support for this bill. It was a privilege to represent your values on the issue.

The vote on immigration reform (HB 1804) took place in the Senate Judiciary Committee after what appears to have been considerable behind the scenes lobbying by Oklahoma Chamber members opposed to some of the provisions that sought to hold employers responsible for hiring illegal aliens.

The potential watering down of this bill was one of my greatest fears due to the nature of the opposition. However, it appears as if most of the bill's language was left in place, with the Chamber lobby agreeing to slight changes. For the most part, this bill will still encourage employers to avoid "looking the other way" in their hiring practices.

HB 1804 passed the Senate Judiciary Committee by a narrow 5-3 margin. Due to new Senate rules, if a bill fails a vote in committee, it is dead for the next two years. So, for now, by a slight margin, comprehensive immigration reform remains alive and heads to the full Senate for a vote.

As always, please do not hesitate to give me a call at 557-7350 or visit on the web at

Back to "Square One" on the Budget - by Senator Gumm

What could have been an historic agreement on a budget has now degenerated into politics as usual.

As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, Democratic and Republican legislative leaders in the Senate and the majority Republicans in the House – a bipartisan group – came to a budget agreement. That agreement would have set baseline funding for state government beginning July 1.

The budget was a good one, meeting most of the state’s needs in a responsible manner with the revenues that were available. The budget was not perfect; but then, I have never seen a perfect budget.

Despite all the progress we made in developing this budget, the governor vetoed all the funding for the fiscal year that begins on July 1. The governor’s primary complaint was “the process” we used to develop the budget, not so much the contents of the budget.

The governor and his negotiators felt they were not sufficiently involved in the negotiations. House Democrats understandably felt they did not have sufficient input into the process, which is a reality for any minority party.

House Democrats have more than enough votes to sustain the governor’s veto, and they have said that is their intention – which is perfectly within their constitutional role. So, we are back to square one on the budget process.

I am deeply concerned that the final budget we produce this session will not be as good a document as the one scuttled by the governor’s veto. The governor’s veto puts the “Back-to-School” sales tax holiday – which even he included in his legislative agenda last year – at serious risk.

As disappointing as the governor’s veto was, and the decision by my good friends in the House Democratic Caucus to sustain that veto, it is not nearly as troubling as the aftermath of this battle.

Republican leaders in both the House and Senate are punishing House Democrats for standing up for what they believe. A large number of bills – a lot of very good ideas – written by House Democrats have been killed just to “get even.”

Republican leaders have admitted as much in news reports; the action is a direct result of House Democrats’ decision to exercise the power given them by Oklahoma voters. Folks, that is just plain wrong.

Instead of focusing on the hard work that lies ahead of us to get a budget completed that reflects our values, Republicans in the Senate and House are wasting political capital to exact revenge on House Democrats. The result is that a lot of good ideas are falling victim to hardball politics.

While I disagree with the governor’s veto and the House Democrats’ decision to stand by that veto, they have the right to do what they did. To turn an honest disagreement into a game of political “gotcha” is petty and childish; all of us in state government have a responsibility to be better than that.