• Passage of Oklahoma prescription monitoring bill is worth saluting

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Thu, Apr 2, 2015

    GOV. Mary Fallin on Tuesday signed a bill that has the potential to save lives. It reached her desk a year later than hoped for, and it doesn’t go as far as backers of the original bill had wanted, but it’s a victory nonetheless for those concerned about Oklahoma’s significant prescription drug problem. House Bill 1948, by Rep. Doug Cox, R-Grove, and Sen. A.J. Griffin, R-Guthrie, requires doctors to check an online database before prescribing some highly addictive medications. After the law goes into effect Nov. 1, doctors will have to check the database the first time they prescribe for a patient, and then check it every 180 days thereafter.

  • Redbuds' colorful display in full bloom across Oklahoma

    Published: Thu, Apr 2, 2015

    PURISTS have always insisted that mistletoe was a poor choice for the official state flower, but few would argue with the selection of the redbud as Oklahoma’s official state tree. When you see mistletoe in December, you’re seeing a parasite. When you see a redbud in late March or early April, you’re seeing paradise. To mistletoe we’ve attached an almost spiritual significance. Redbud has none of that, but we would argue that nothing stirs the spirit more than the sight of a redbud at the peak of its beauty. True mistletoe is European; the Oklahoma variety resembles it enough that the name is appropriate. Scandinavians associated mistletoe with their goddess of love. This is one explanation for the link between the

  • A call to accept the “Oklahoma Standard” challenge

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Apr 1, 2015

    ONCE again, residents in the city of Moore recently found themselves taking cover from a tornado, and picking through debris afterward. And again, they felt the warmth and kindness of friends, neighbors and total strangers. “What a great community,” one woman affected by the March 25 storm told a local television station as she welcomed help from others. One of those offering help to storm victims was Karen Reed, 54, of Norman, a paraprofessional at one of the schools damaged by the May 20, 2013, tornado. Reed said she remembered how people turned out after that massive and deadly storm. “To me, it’s important to give back and help in any way that I can to show my appreciation for the people that helped us,”

  • Incident offers Oklahoma lawmakers, others a lesson in civility

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Apr 1, 2015

    IN a hasty culture like our own, civility is generally an insufficiently appreciated virtue. Until we find ourselves the object of incivility or its publicly shamed perpetrator, we dismiss beautiful manners as arbitrary, if not unnecessary. Arbitrary, etiquette might be — but it is not unnecessary. Oklahoma conservative leaders recently relearned the relevance of civility after a debate that included unseemly remarks on social media. As state senators deliberated a bill to prohibit state educators from paying union dues by payroll deduction, the scholars at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs transparently voiced their support for the bill. The argument became personal when Trent England, OCPA vice president for

  • 'Free' money creating budget problems in Oklahoma, elsewhere

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, Mar 31, 2015

    State agencies can be left in a bind

  • Voter ID keeps winning in court

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Mon, Mar 30, 2015

    THE U.S. Supreme Court recently declined to hear a challenge to Wisconsin’s voter identification law, which means citizens will have to show identification before voting in future elections in that state. At some point, you’d think voter ID opponents would take the hint and accept defeat, but we’re not holding our breath. The court’s inaction is in line with its 2008 ruling that upheld an Indiana law requiring voters to show identification before voting. Today, 30 states including Oklahoma have similar laws. The Wisconsin law allows up to eight forms of identification, including in-state driver’s licenses, state-issued photo IDs for nondrivers, military IDs and some student identification cards.

  • Middle class shrinkage seen across the demographic map

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Mon, Mar 30, 2015

    Issue has become so politicized

  • Oklahoma education rally should offer plan, not platitudes

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Mar 29, 2015

    Education event set for Monday at Capitol

  • Rep. Tom Cole's laudable effort to keep Social Security afloat

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Mar 29, 2015

    NO, U.S. Rep. Tom Cole isn’t bored and simply looking for a challenge. Instead Cole, R-Moore, says his decision to try to come up with a way to keep Social Security afloat is based on a firm belief that it can be done. “The problem is it’s easily fixed,” Cole said in an interview last week. “It’s the politics that’s hard.” In 2014, 24 percent of all federal spending went to pay for Social Security. When you add in Medicare, Medicaid, welfare and other benefit programs, and the interest on the debt, these programs combine to eat up two-thirds of all federal monies. And yet reform proposals routinely get shot down in Washington. Recall President Barack Obama’s bipartisan deficit commission, which

  • Oklahoma ScissorTales: Will this be a new beginning for OU?

    The Oklahoman Editorials | Published: Sat, Mar 28, 2015

    WITH sanctions having been leveled against additional fraternity members for their involvement in a racist chant, here’s hoping the University of Oklahoma can do what OU President David Boren said Friday: come through having learned and grown. Boren expelled two members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity soon after a cellphone video went viral March 8 showing SAE members singing a racist song on a bus. The fraternity was disbanded and members forced to move out. An OU investigation into the genesis of the chant and the involvement of members resulted in about 25 being disciplined. The punishments, which Boren said had been accepted by all involved, included permanent withdrawals, community service and cultural

  • Many downsides generated by Colorado marijuana experiment

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    A look at legalization of marijuana, one year later

  • Oklahoma road funding providing much benefit

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Thu, Mar 26, 2015

    DURING the past decade, Oklahoma’s transportation system has been provided a guaranteed and slowly increasing amount of state funding. This year’s budget shortfall has led some to suggest a portion of those funds should now be diverted to other needs. State government’s financial challenges are real. The needs of nontransportation agencies are often legitimate. Still, lawmakers should think long and hard before stalling or reversing the progress made in Oklahoma’s transportation system. State history, and the experience of other states, shows how quickly transportation neglect can become an impediment to economic growth. Pennsylvania is one of the few states consistently rated worse than Oklahoma for structurally

  • Administration's regulation-generating machine is humming along

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Thu, Mar 26, 2015

    THE Obama administration’s regulation-generating machine is humming right along, with hydraulic fracturing and greenhouse gases in the cross hairs most recently along with climate change “deniers.” We keep trying to remind ourselves, just two more years and maybe things will get better. The administration on Friday ended a busy week of edict-issuing by rolling out new comprehensive rules for hydraulic fracturing on federal lands. The good news is that not much federal land has been made available for oil and gas drilling, despite President Barack Obama’s assertions to the contrary, and so these rules from the Interior Department won’t be as damaging as they might otherwise.

  • Allegedly fraudulent worker the latest blow to Oklahoma veterans agency

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Mar 25, 2015

    THE discovery that its chief investigator allegedly was a fraud is the latest gut punch to the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs, which has made news for the wrong reasons in recent years. A righting of the ship must be the agency’s foremost mission. That job falls for now to Maj. Gen. Myles Deering, who in January was appointed by the Oklahoma Veterans Commission to become the agency’s executive director. Deering had already been serving as Gov. Mary Fallin’s secretary for veterans affairs, but moved into the top VA post days after the agency’s previous executive director, John McReynolds, resigned under pressure.

  • Concerns intensifying over man-made causes of Oklahoma quake swarm

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Mar 25, 2015

    CONCERNS are intensifying over man-made causes of the recent Oklahoma earthquake swarm. The key question is how this will affect a state economy for which oil and gas exploration is vital. Not long after “The Big One” in late 2011 (a 5.6-magnitude earthquake centered in Lincoln County), suppositions about links between exploration and seismic activity rose to prominence. After all, something must be causing a sudden increase in such activity! Why not connect it to a new and different thing that humans are doing? But earthquake swarms have happened before in this state; they commonly happen now in regions of the world where oil exploration can’t be blamed. Still, the threat is real enough, and the science is legitimate

  • ACT plan would make Oklahoma a national outlier

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, Mar 24, 2015

    A push is underway at the Legislature to eliminate seven end-of-instruction (EOI) tests now required for high school graduation and replace them with the ACT or a similar national test. Yet the vast majority of states that require all students to take the ACT also require state tests. If the Oklahoma proposal is a good plan, then why aren’t more states using it? That question deserves an answer. Twelve states require 100 percent of their high school students to take the ACT before graduating. Almost all also require additional state tests, according to publicly available information. Wyoming is an exception.

  • Democrats go to extreme with filibuster of human trafficking bill

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, Mar 24, 2015

    IT says much about the growing extremism of the national Democratic Party on social issues that, given a choice between helping victims of human trafficking or funding abortion, Democratic senators are making the latter a higher priority. The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act would increase penalties for those convicted of slavery, human smuggling and sexual exploitation of children. It’s a bill that should pass easily with bipartisan support. Indeed, the bill is sponsored by Democrats and Republicans, and nine Democrats voted to pass it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. But then Democrats announced they had belatedly “noticed” a provision regarding a ban on taxpayer funding of abortion and said they were

  • Growth in spending for major U.S. federal welfare programs can't be sustained

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Mon, Mar 23, 2015

    SEVERAL U.S. presidents, including Bill Clinton, liked to style themselves as “The Education President.” Clinton was also delighted by the gratuitous designation of “America’s First Black President.” The real first black president is often referred to on these pages as The Great Divider. But Barack Obama easily qualifies as “The Welfare President.” Clinton grudgingly agreed to reform the nation’s welfare system in 1996, under intense pressure from congressional Republicans. They wanted a change from welfare to workfare. Clinton didn’t want to go along, but he also didn’t want to be a one-term president. What’s happened since the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act

  • Voters should have a say in Oklahoma liquor laws debate

    The Oklahoman editorial | Published: Mon, Mar 23, 2015

    COULD Oklahoma’s archaic and cumbersome liquor laws finally be modernized? It appears public demand for change is generating pressure. And lawmakers may finally tackle this tough issue — but not until next year. Even so, any movement is encouraging. This year, freshman Sen. Stephanie Bice, R-Oklahoma City, filed legislation to allow liquor stores to sell refrigerated strong beer. It was an admittedly small change. Yet Bice found taking even that step would have repercussions because it upset the balance between liquor stores, which can sell strong beer but cannot refrigerate it, and convenience stores, which can sell cold beer but only low-point beer.

  • A wish for a constructive resolution to OU fraternity uproar

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Mar 22, 2015

    Court fight would be unfortunate