• Pharmacies critical to Oklahoma efforts to curb prescription drug abuse

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, May 5, 2015

    NOT one of the pharmacists or pharmacies contacted by The Oklahoman responded to interview requests regarding their recent troubles with the Oklahoma State Pharmacy Board. Perhaps that reluctance was understandable, given the magnitude of their mistakes. Reporter Andrew Knittle reviewed pharmacy board records covering 2010 through 2014 and found that the oversight agency had levied 21 fines of more than $20,000. In some cases, pharmacies had allowed thousands of powerful painkillers to go missing — especially egregious lapses considering Oklahoma’s efforts to curb the state’s problem with prescription drug abuse. Just last month, Gov.

  • Free-speech rulings such as that in Kentucky are a victory for all

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Mon, May 4, 2015

    Logical, reasonable determination by judge

  • Some reason for encouragement in latest report about Oklahoma child welfare efforts

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Mon, May 4, 2015

    THERE is some reason for encouragement in the latest report by out-of-state experts who are overseeing Oklahoma’s child welfare reform efforts. More so than in their previous three critiques, this time they found a few things worth praising at the Department of Human Services. The three experts, called “co-neutrals,” are monitoring Oklahoma’s efforts to comply with a 2012 settlement agreement that resolved a federal class-action lawsuit against DHS. The state subsequently created the Pinnacle Plan, which sets improvement goals in several areas of the child welfare system, ranging from reducing worker caseloads to eliminating the use of state shelters for abused and neglected children.

  • Oklahoma three-strikes law an example of why more corrections reform is needed

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, May 3, 2015

    OKLAHOMA’S three-strikes law for drug felony convictions, on the books since 1989, underscores the importance of policymakers occasionally reviewing state statutes to determine whether there’s a better way to handle crime and punishment. The answer, generally, is yes. As Jennifer Palmer reported in today’s Oklahoman, 54 state prison inmates are serving sentences of life without parole for drug violations. They were sentenced under the three-strikes law, which mandates a life sentence when two convictions for any drug felony are followed by a drug-trafficking conviction. Of the 54 men and women serving this sentence, only three were convicted of a violent crime, which is one reason why Democratic state Rep.

  • Obama tactics reveal Medicaid expansion danger

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, May 3, 2015

    Banking on government promises unwise

  • Oklahoma ScissorTales: Survey doesn't give lawmakers much help with state budget

    The Oklahoman Editorials | Published: Sat, May 2, 2015

    MEMBERS of the Legislature who are looking for ways to address a $611 million budget hole for next fiscal year won’t get much help from the findings of a recent poll of registered voters. The Sooner Poll, conducted in mid-March, found that a majority of voters wouldn’t call the shortfall “significant.” Indeed 21 percent of those polled believe the budget is on track or running a surplus. Those polled were given three approaches to solving the shortfall: raise taxes, make cuts across the board, or make deeper cuts to non-education aspects of the budget. Only 14 percent said they would raise taxes. Forty-one percent preferred across-the-board cuts, and 37 percent preferred the third option.

  • Oklahoma lawmakers' inconsistency muddies debate about drilling bans

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Fri, May 1, 2015

    REPUBLICANS in the Legislature appear poised to pass a law that would prevent cities and towns from banning oil drilling. Opponents argue Republicans are being hypocritical, because they often tout the importance of “local control” in other debates. That criticism isn’t without merit, but it also ignores efforts to strike a balance between state and local regulation on the drilling issue. Under Senate Bill 809, cities would not be able to ban drilling within city limits. The Oklahoma Corporation Commission would be the primary regulator in charge of setting restrictions on drilling activity across the state.

  • Tulsa protests over shooting by reserve deputy don't mirror national events, thank goodness

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Thu, Apr 30, 2015

    TULSA County Sheriff Stanley Glanz is scrambling to defend his department and perhaps fighting to keep his job following the April 2 shooting death of a black man by a white reserve deputy. What Glanz is not having to deal with, thank goodness, is the sort of violence seen in cities visited by similar circumstances. Baltimore is the latest sad and scary example of how racial tensions can manifest themselves. More than a dozen police officers were injured Monday as a result of being pelted with rocks and other objects thrown by crowds angered by the death of a man named Freddie Gray. Gray, 25, died in custody one week after his arrest April 12, when he tried to run away from police. He was held down by police, handcuffed and

  • Federal mileage regulations force safety trade-off

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Thu, Apr 30, 2015

    TOO often, government planners try to force people to buy things they don’t want while ignoring the very real trade-offs consumers will be forced to make as a result. This is apparent in government edicts forcing consumers to pay for higher-mileage vehicles at the expense of personal safety. President Barack Obama often brags about the fuel standards his administration has promoted, which call for the U.S. vehicle fleet to average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. Yet many drivers would prefer safer vehicles to those that go farther on a gallon of gas, as demonstrated by a study released by the consulting firm J.D. Power. The study found that drivers are most interested in vehicles with blind spot detection, night vision and

  • Oklahoma attorney general has public on his side in death penalty case

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Apr 29, 2015

    But support waning in many other states

  • Oklahoma lawmakers should make texting while driving a primary offense

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Apr 29, 2015

    A year ago, state Rep. Terry O’Donnell failed in his effort to outlaw text-messaging while driving in Oklahoma — even as a secondary offense, meaning motorists couldn’t have been pulled over solely for texting at the wheel. Now O’Donnell is hopeful his colleagues will not only ban the practice but make it a primary offense. What’s happened in the meantime? One thing is that O’Donnell, R-Catoosa, spent time educating members about texting while driving, and he conducted an interim study last fall that highlighted the many alarming statistics related to the practice.

  • Study of Arkansas river should be of keen interest to Oklahoma policymakers

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, Apr 28, 2015

    THREE rivers have a confluence near Muskogee, a natural phenomenon that helped make possible an ocean-going port far upstream from the Gulf of Mexico. Three rivers have a confluence in southeastern Arkansas, an area of critical importance to the Port of Muskogee and its larger cousin in Catoosa. That confluence is under threat as a result of a natural phenomenon along a man-made navigation system. Why should Oklahomans care about conditions occurring 445 miles from Catoosa? Because what happens there isn’t just of local interest. The entire McClellan-Kerr Arkansas Navigation System is affected.

  • Oklahoma do-it-yourself bill a sensible idea

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, Apr 28, 2015

    A bill winding its way through the Legislature would make clear that it’s legal for do-it-yourselfers to perform plumbing or electrical work in their own home. This right seems self-evident, but apparently that’s not the case. Senate Bill 379, by Sen. Dan Newberry, R-Tulsa, creates the Real Estate Owner’s Rights Act. The legislation declares that a homeowner has “the absolute right” to “personally perform any construction, installation, work or repairs to his or her property including, but not limited to, fencing, landscaping, telephone, plumbing, electrical, roofing, mechanical, carpentry, concrete, masonry or painting, without first obtaining licensure” that would be required to perform such work commercially.

  • Many benefits to police body cams, but also many challenges

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Mon, Apr 27, 2015

    Cost, open records laws are sticky issues

  • Water conservation efforts important all the time, not just during drought

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Apr 26, 2015

    Regular, ongoing conservation efforts needed

  • Survey results: Citizens can face hard policy choices, but recommendations are politically problematic

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Apr 26, 2015

    THE group “Voice Of the People” has a novel idea: that citizens, when given ample information on major issues, are capable of reaching consensus. The findings of the group’s first “citizen cabinet” survey in Oklahoma suggests an informed citizenry is also one that understands many promises made by politicians aren’t going to be kept. The group surveyed more than 800 Oklahomans over several months, focusing on Social Security. Participants were provided a policymaking simulation that included a thorough issue briefing and the weighing of argumentss pro and con. After that process, a majority of Oklahomans expected to face a higher tax burden for Social Security’s continuance without necessarily expecting the

  • Oklahoma ScissorTales: A welcome approach by OKC schools superintendent

    The Oklahoman Editorials | Published: Sat, Apr 25, 2015

    “OUR job is to educate kids, not select and sort them out.” Rob Neu, superintendent of Oklahoma City Public Schools, made this remark Tuesday in announcing a revamping of the district’s code of conduct. The overhaul is badly needed, as an internal report issued a day earlier made clear. The report looked at disciplinary actions taken at 14 high schools and middle schools during the two most recent school years. Nearly 3,000 students were suspended during that time, mostly for disruptive behavior, fighting and defiance of authority.

  • OK state superintendent, board must work together

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Fri, Apr 24, 2015

    STATE schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister recently issued a press release describing her early tenure as a time of accomplishment. Growing tensions between Hofmeister and some State Board of Education members undercut that narrative and provide reason for concern. Board members complain that Hofmeister has been uncommunicative and even obstructionist, preventing effective oversight of state schools. Hofmeister’s responses to those critiques have been vague, at best. We supported changing state law several years ago to give the superintendent operational control of the Department of Education. We continue to support that policy. But the Board of Education maintains an important policy oversight role that shouldn’t be

  • Rare animal breeds can cause major headaches for construction

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Fri, Apr 24, 2015

    Ottawa County bridge is latest example

  • Responsible, thoughtful actions needed following Oklahoma quake study

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Thu, Apr 23, 2015

    Call for ban is an overreaction