I hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend! I was happy because I got to spend it at baseball with both my sisters' families and celebrate the grand nephews and nieces belated birthdays. It was also great to see the Oklahoma Redhawks clinch a spot in the playoffs also. Good luck to them and also to all the secondary school athletes as they start their sports programs this semester. I was going to make schedules again this year, but funds are limited right now so I will not be able to get them printed.
With the November elections right around the corner, I hope each of you will take the time to research not only the candidates on the ballot, but also the ballot questions. We have a mix of eleven initiates and referendums which the people of Oklahoma will decide on if those should become a part of our State Constitution. The questions, with a brief description, are as follows:
*SQ 744 - Repeals the minimum cap on average spending for common schools and establishes a new cap of a regional average based upon the average spent on states surrounding Oklahoma . The measure does not raise taxes, but it also does not provide new funding for the spending requirements.
*SQ 746 - Requires a person who votes to show government-issued identification and increases penalties to a felony for swearing to a false voter statement.
*SQ 747 - Establishes term limits for statewide elected officials for a maximum of two terms for each office.
*SQ 748 - Establishes the creation of a new Legislative Apportionment Commission consisting of one democrat and one Republican each appointed by the Speaker of the House, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, the Governor and the seventh member shall be the Lieutenant Governor. Currently, the Commission consists of the Attorney General, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and the State Treasurer.
*SQ 750 - This measure would affect the required amount of signatures necessary for initiative and referendum petitions. This would set the required signatures on the percentage based upon the most votes cast for a statewide ballot with the Governor on the ballot, rather than using the immediate past General Election, which could have the Presidential election. Presidential elections generally increase the percentage of voter turnout substantially, so this would likely lower the required amount of signatures.
*SQ 751 - Would establish English as the language used in official state actions. It also provides Native American languages may be used and other languages as required by federal law.
*SQ 752 - Adds two new at-large members to the Judicial Nominating Commission, appointed by the Speaker of the House and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate. This Commission selects a pool of nominees to fill vacant judicial positions, and the Governor chooses one from this pool to serve.
*SQ 754 - Would not require the Legislature to base appropriations on a predetermined Constitutional formula, how much other states spend or how much an entity spends on a function.
*SQ 755 - Forbids courts in the State of Oklahoma from considering or using international law or Sharia Law when deciding cases.
*SQ 756- Prohibits the requirement a person or employer participate in a government-mandated health care system passed after January 1, 2010. This measure also includes restrictions on government control over health insurance.
*SQ 757 - Would increase the amount of surplus revenue going to the Constitutional Reserve Fund, or "Rainy Day" Fund from 10% to 15% for the preceding fiscal year.
These are very brief descriptions due to limited space for my column. Please do more research on each. You can read the full ballot title at http://www.ok.gov/elections/ and by clicking the State Questions link. As with elections, there are many special interests spending quite a bit of money to either support or defeat each of these questions. Please take the time to learn about each of these questions and vote the way you feel will best help our state.
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 email@example.com at work. My mailing address is PO Box 559 , Rush Springs , OK 73082 and my website is www.joedorman.com on the Internet. Thank you for taking time to read this column and I look forward to seeing you soon.