Oklahoma delegation supports guns billWASHINGTON — All five U.S. House members from Oklahoma voted last week for a bill that would allow people to carry concealed weapons in most states if they have a permit to do so in their own state. The bill, a top priority of the National Rifle Association, passed 272 to 154 and now goes to the Senate. In debate on the House floor, Rep. Dan Boren, D-Muskogee, said, “Just as one state recognizes a driver’s license issued by another state, I believe states should recognize conceal-and-carry licenses issued by another.” Some states already have reciprocity agreements to recognize out-of-state permits, but others don’t, said Boren, a member of the NRA board of directors. “The result is a piecemeal system where a law-abiding citizen may be required to give up his or her weapon at a state line.” Under the bill, states could continue to have their own licensing systems, and federal standards would not be created. Only Illinois and the District of Columbia do not allow people to carry concealed weapons, and permits from other states would not be valid there. Also, states’ individual prohibitions on where concealed weapons could be carried would apply to all permit holders. Opponents argued that the bill would undermine the strong standards some states have for issuing permits. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-New York, said, “My state has concealed weapons laws … but there are other states that do not come up to our standard, and we don’t want them coming into our state and telling us what to do.” But Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, said, “This legislation will help ensure that Americans’ Second Amendment rights are respected across state lines.”
Lankford seeking public disclosure on grantsWASHINGTON — Five years ago, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, with help from then-Sen. Barack Obama, pushed a bill through Congress requiring all federal spending information to be posted online. That online database, usaspending.gov, allows people to get basic information about federal contracts, grants and other payments. Now, Rep. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, has introduced a bill that would require federal agencies to post information on a website about how grant applications are evaluated and awarded. “Federal agencies award more than $50 billion annually in discretionary and competitive grants, but have little to no standards for disclosing the process of awarding these taxpayer dollars,” Lankford said. “The current process lacks transparency and makes it difficult for grant applicants to navigate the system or for lawmakers to hold agencies accountable for the distribution of taxpayer dollars.” Lankford said the bill would also require agencies to screen applicants to make sure they’re capable of performing the grant and have the financial controls to protect taxpayer money.
Inhofe’s bill for pilots hits co-sponsor milestoneWASHINGTON — Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, celebrated his 77th birthday last week with a legislative milestone: He now has 60 co-sponsors of his legislation called the Pilot’s Bill of Rights. The bill — which would change a number of procedures in regard to Federal Aviation Administration disciplinary actions against pilots and includes changes to the FAA’s medical certification process — can now pass the Senate and withstand a presidential veto, according to Inhofe’s office. Inhofe, a general aviation pilot, got the endorsement last month of actor Harrison Ford, who is also a pilot. “We are seeking to give pilots access to evidence that is being used against them while ending the guilty-until-proven-innocent approach that the FAA has taken, improve the Notice To Airmen (NOTAM) system, and correct problems with the pilot medical certification process,” Inhofe said. Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau
Oklahoma delegation supports guns bill
Lankford seeking public disclosure on grants
Inhofe’s bill for pilots hits co-sponsor milestone