On November 2, there will be 11 state questions put before the voters for their consideration.
As a Legislator, I supported all of the questions, with the exception of the first and last ones on the ballot (SQ 744 and SQ 757).
State Question 744 dictates that the Oklahoma Legislature appropriate funding for state education entities by a formula which is tied to the amounts appropriated by other states. I believe it is very bad policy to place legislatures in other states in charge of setting policy which will be used by Oklahoma. Legislative hearings have determined that the passage of this legislation would have a dramatic impact on the funding of a number of other non-education state government agencies and the passage of this proposal would make it extremely difficult to realize tax relief in the future.
State Question 757 enables the legislature to expand the size of the state’s Rainy Day Fund. I believe this is also bad policy as it would allow legislatures to avoid returning money to citizens in the form of tax relief in the good revenue years, and also avoid necessary reductions in wasteful government spending in the down revenue years. The up and down government revenue cycle is a huge tool for restraining the size of government and a large rainy day fund allows legislators to avoid making some tough choices.
I support the remainder of the state questions. This includes SQ 746 which would establish a voter ID law. The legislature was forced to send this issue to a vote of the people in order to bypass a gubernatorial veto.
I was the House author for SQ 747. If approved, this proposal would establish term limits on all statewide elected officials. I have witnessed the dramatic effects term limits have had in cleaning out the corruption of the previous legislatures, and I believe this important policy will have a positive impact if applied to the rest of state government.
SQ 748 will modernize the legislative apportionment process by allowing for a more broad based representation on the apportionment commission which would draw state redistricting lines should the legislature fail to do so.
SQ 750 would institute a reform to the process by which Oklahoma citizens can petition to change the Constitution. It proposes to index the initiative petition signature requirement to a percentage of the total vote of each gubernatorial election only. Currently the requirement is tied to the general election which means it is much hard to complete an initiative petition following a presidential election when many more people voted.
SQ 751 declares English to be Oklahoma’s official language and does not allow law suits to be filed against the state for not offering services in other languages.
SQ 752 updates the membership of the State Judicial Nominating Commission to include two new non-lawyer members.
SQ 754 is a counter to SQ 744. It states that legislative appropriations cannot be made based on the amount spent by other states. If both SQ 744 and SQ 754 are approved, the law will likely be determined based on which state question garners the most votes.
SQ 755 is designed to prevent state courts from using international law as a guideline for determining the outcomes of Oklahoma cases. It is also designed to prevent the application of Sharia law.
SQ 756 is Oklahoma’s federal health care opt-out proposal. It is designed to prohibit forced participation in a health care system. It also prohibits making an employer join a health care system.
Please let me know if you have questions about any of the specifics of any of these proposals. You may reach me by email at JWMurphey@gmail.com.