• Strain is a constant with indigent defense system

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Jun 7, 2015

    WHEN lawmakers produced the state budget for fiscal year 2016, Joe Robertson was glad to learn that his agency, the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System, hadn’t taken a cut. Now if only something more could be done about the system’s swollen case file. The flat budget (just over $16 million) was appreciated because, with $611 million less to work with than last year, there wasn’t much ability for spending increases anywhere. A flat budget was a sign the Legislature prioritized the OIDS over a lot of other entities. Yet the agency picked up 4,400 more cases this fiscal year than it did a year earlier. Its overall caseload stands at about 44,000 per year — a tremendous undertaking for Robertson and his staff. “We’re

  • Oklahoma ScissorTales: One policy not worth copying

    The Oklahoman Editorials | Published: Sat, Jun 6, 2015

    LAST year Denton, Texas, passed an ordinance banning horizontal fracturing in city limits. This year, lawmakers in Oklahoma passed a law that keeps municipalities from doing the same. Our state policymakers have always paid close attention to what goes on in Texas. Here’s hoping they don’t get any ideas from the Texas legislature’s vote this week to allow licensed faculty, staff, visitors and students older than 21 to carry concealed handguns on college campuses. “There are various caveats, and neither side of the debate feels satisfied with the final version of the bill, but the net result will be more guns in classrooms,” Matt Valentine, who teaches writing and photography and the University of Texas, wrote at

  • Oklahoma should do more to expose abusive teachers

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Fri, Jun 5, 2015

    A lawsuit accusing Hollis school officials of allowing a teacher to resign and keep her teaching credentials despite allegations of sexually abusing a student highlights a growing problem in Oklahoma. Current practices by school officials allow pedophiles to maintain teaching licenses and victimize other children. State law must break that cycle and block child molesters’ easy access to schools. Former Hollis teacher Jennifer Caswell awaits sentencing on sexual assault charges involving a former student, an eighth-grader at the time.

  • Environmentalist 'investors' engage in farce

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Fri, Jun 5, 2015

    IF you invested in a company routinely derided as “Big Oil,” would you be surprised to learn that it’s a large company that makes most of its profit from energy? If you answer “Of course not,” then you’re clearly not an environmental activist. At the recent shareholder meetings of Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp., a group of environmentalist shareholders submitted resolutions that would further their political causes without particularly benefiting the companies they invested in. Exxon shareholders overwhelmingly rejected one proposal to put a supposed climate change expert on the company’s board. That measure received support from only 21 percent of shareholders. A similar measure met the same fate at the

  • Nothing shocking about issues related to Clinton foundation

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Thu, Jun 4, 2015

    THE census of scandals/outrages associated with Bill and Hillary Clinton is so large that it deserves its own ZIP code. Atop the list are the machinations involving the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation. Lest anyone think this has more to do with Bill than it does with Hillary, we remind readers of the man’s own words in 1992 about getting “two for the price of one” with a Clinton victory over George H.W. Bush. The co-presidency narrative has continued, when convenient, and the BOGO (buy one, get one free) line remains an apt way to measure the activities of one or both Clintons. It informs us as to how Hillary would govern as notional co-president with Bill.

  • Plenty of reason for concern about EPA water rule

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Thu, Jun 4, 2015

    GIVEN the Environmental Protection Agency’s activist bent during the Obama administration, the natural reaction is to recoil at most any new EPA rules and regulations. Its recently released clean water rule is no exception. The EPA is expanding the federal Clean Water Act’s definition of “navigable waters of the United States.” That term traditionally has referred to large lakes and rivers. The definition was expanded in 1986 to include tributaries and adjacent wetlands. The latest expansion would give the EPA control over, as The Wall Street Journal put it in an editorial, “just about any creek, pond, prairie pothole or muddy farm field ...” The EPA says it’s only trying to bring some certainty to this issue,

  • Future of American Indian museum now rests with Oklahoma City

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Jun 3, 2015

    WITH the stroke of a pen, Gov. Mary Fallin handed the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum over to Oklahoma City. Unknown is whether the city believes the project is worth salvaging. Fallin last week signed House Bill 2237, which the Legislature approved in the waning days of the recently completed session after considerable debate. Passage of the bill was a victory of sorts because the Legislature hadn’t done anything about the AICCM since construction stopped in 2012 due to lack of funds. Yet the fact Oklahoma City officials weren’t closely involved in developing HB 2237 left them uneasy, and understandably so given how the bill is structured.

  • Will Rand Paul's move hurt him in bid for presidency?

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Jun 3, 2015

    RAND Paul has a flair for the dramatic, although his most recent stunt could wind up costing him in his bid for the Republican nomination for president. We’ll know in time. Paul, R-Ky., rode the backing of tea party forces to his election to the Senate in 2010 and since then he has endeared himself to those supporters with his push against government overreach. Recall his nearly 13-hour filibuster last year that focused on the potential of U.S. drone strikes against American citizens on U.S. soil. On Sunday, the target of his ire was the USA Patriot Act, in particular Section 215, which allows the National Security Agency to track information about phone calls – the numbers dialed, how long the calls lasted, etc.

  • Recent OK County jail update should grab taxpayers' attention

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, Jun 2, 2015

    Feds may be moving toward litigation

  • Time to use U.S. energy as a foreign policy tool

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, Jun 2, 2015

    THE push to end the 1970s-era ban on oil exports is typically based on economic arguments, but the value of lifting the ban as a tool of foreign policy is becoming increasingly apparent. If you doubt it, just listen to any major Republican presidential candidate. Among those attending the recent Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Oklahoma City, there was near-unanimity on the need to end the ban. Foreign policy was the major reason. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry bluntly stated, “I would flood Asia and Europe with the United States’ liquefied natural gas to send a powerful message to Mr. Vladimir Putin. We need to send him a message: Mr. Putin, if you’re going to use energy as a weapon, the United States is

  • Economy, national security should be focus for GOP candidates

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Mon, Jun 1, 2015

    Recent straw poll underscores the point

  • Mostly modest achievements for 2015 Oklahoma legislative session

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, May 31, 2015

    THE recently concluded 2015 legislative session generated modest policy improvements, but no major breakthroughs. The budget shortfall was partly to blame, and all in all, things could have been much worse. But Oklahomans deserve better from a Legislature where Republicans hold supermajorities. The policy change that stands to have the most immediate impact is also one of the simplest: a ban on texting while driving. Because Oklahoma citizens are mostly law-abiding, making texting behind the wheel illegal will cause fewer citizens to text when they drive. The deterrent effect will increase as people get tickets for not following the law. By changing the statute, lawmakers will change behavior, which will save lives and reduce

  • Oklahoma ScissorTales: Shelter discipline issue a mark against Oklahoma DHS

    The Oklahoman Editorials | Published: Sat, May 30, 2015

    “WE do not support the use of mechanical restraints with children in the emergency shelters. That is absolutely not appropriate.” Of course it isn’t, and yet somehow over a period of several months beginning last year, some abused and neglected Oklahoma children being housed at a state shelter were indeed handcuffed by two off-duty law enforcement officers. The comment above came from a Department of Human Services spokeswoman responding to The Oklahoman’s reporting of these incidents. The Commission on Children and Youth, an oversight agency, received a complaint about this practice and notified DHS leaders in April. Commission officials also investigated and found that nine children ranging from 7 to 17 had been

  • Oklahoma appeals court shows bribery issue isn't complicated

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Fri, May 29, 2015

    Ruling validates plain meaning of the law

  • Oklahoma's recent weather has passed this way before

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Fri, May 29, 2015

    SO much has been said lately about the epic weather, the “biblical” rainfall, the “climate change” that has erased historic drought and replaced it with historical precipitation totals, that we wonder why it’s always the bad weather that gets the press. After all, biblical references to weather are hardly confined to the negative. Yes, we know that massive rainfall totals will always be associated with Noah and his family’s survival during a period of “biblical” rainfall.

  • Washington Examiner: How the EPA flooded the zone on water rule

    Washington Examiner editorial | Published: Thu, May 28, 2015

    GOVERNMENT has many tools to instill public confidence. The most praiseworthy ones are transparency and accountability. When government works in the open and invites feedback, citizens can feel like they are part of the process, instead of being imposed upon by outside forces. But what happens when government just pretends to work in the open, in order to mollify public concerns? As it prepared to issue its new rule on water regulation, the Environmental Protection Agency faced a great deal of public concern and resistance from landowners and farmers. Given recent and aggressive EPA actions against landowners, there were fears that the rule would dramatically expand EPA jurisdiction over every ditch and gully in America

  • GOP should reject anti-immigrant stance

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Thu, May 28, 2015

    Ronald Reagan’s approach was better

  • Sweeping legislation in Oklahoma can be difficult to sustain

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, May 27, 2015

    Priorities change over time

  • Carson's showing at SRLC: What's it really mean?

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, May 27, 2015

    AFTER the 13 declared or potential Republican candidates for president had made their pitches to GOP activists in Oklahoma City, either in person or by videotape, Dr. Ben Carson emerged as the winner of a straw poll that capped the Southern Republican Leadership Conference. What does that mean exactly? Perhaps not much. One of those potential candidates who didn’t come to town, Donald Trump, dismissed the results Monday morning on Fox News, saying straw polls can easily be manipulated by any one candidate’s turn-out-the vote efforts. Indeed Bill Shapard, whose company conducted the Sooner Poll, said he had heard Carson bought a large number of tickets for the conference. On the other hand, Shapard said of Carson

  • Corporation Commission faces a tough decision

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, May 26, 2015

    THE three members of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission will earn their pay as they consider Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co.’s $1 billion environmental compliance and replacement generation plan. Their decision will have major implications. Due to federal Environmental Protection Agency rules for regional haze and mercury and air toxics standards, OG&E is being forced to make several changes. Those regulations will have little meaningful impact on the environment, and OG&E deserves praise for fighting them in court, although unsuccessfully. The problem facing Oklahoma now is that the regulations will impose dramatic new costs on those who use electricity.