The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord Everest, member at large; Scott Briggs, Vice President of Administration, OPUBCO Communications Group; Owen Canfield, Opinion editor; and Ray Carter, chief editorial writer.

To submit a letter to the editor, go to this page or email

  • Oklahoma ScissorTales: Some lawmakers' reactions to recent court rulings over the top

    The Oklahoman editorials | Published: Fri, Jul 3, 2015

    THE Oklahoma Supreme Court handed down a 7-2 ruling this week that conservative lawmakers disagreed with. Their response? Impeach the bums! Eleven Republican House members were included in a news release saying the seven justices needed to be impeached because they said a Ten Commandments monument violated the state constitution and should be removed from the Capitol grounds. One lawmaker said jurists were displaying “undemocratic liberal dictatorial powers,” although two of the seven involved in this ruling are generally conservative voices on the court. In a separate news release, Rep. Mike Sanders, R-Kingfisher, made note of the Ten Commandments ruling and the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling legalizing same-sex

  • Might Oklahoma Ten Commandments ruling invite lawsuits over other displays?

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

    THE Oklahoma Supreme Court says a Ten Commandments monument at the Oklahoma Capitol represents the use of state funds to support a system of religion, and therefore violates the state constitution. That the monument might not withstand judicial scrutiny wasn’t entirely unexpected, although few anticipated this particular challenge would succeed. A primary argument against installing the monument was that it would invite lawsuits, requiring expenditure of limited tax dollars on defense efforts with only a modest chance of success. Those criticisms have proven correct. This doesn’t mean we object to the Ten Commandments.

  • Most Oklahoma GOP officials shone in denouncing domestic violence

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

    OKLAHOMA Republican Party officials’ recent debate over domestic violence showed some of them embodying the worst “war on women” stereotypes touted by their Democratic Party opponents. But far more Oklahoma Republicans rebutted those attacks through serious, substantive stands in solidarity with victims. Shortly after his election this spring, state GOP Chairman Randy Brogdon of Owasso appointed T.C. Ryan executive director of the party. That quickly drew criticism. In 2012, Ryan had pleaded guilty to domestic assault and battery in the presence of a minor child and interference with an emergency telephone call. As criticism mounted, Brogdon asked Ryan to instead serve as political director.

  • EPA ruling a small win against over-regulation

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

    IN a small victory for regulatory sanity, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week that the Environmental Protection Agency cannot arbitrarily ignore cost concerns when formulating new rules. Given that the case involved regulations that may generate just $1 in benefits for every $1,600 in mandatory new expenses, that’s a welcome reprieve. Among other things, the EPA oversees the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants Program, which regulates stationary-source emissions of more than 180 specified “hazardous air pollutants.” Power plants are a major focus of EPA officials administering that program. But the agency must show regulations are “appropriate and necessary” before implementing them.

  • Story provides reminder that bills can have unintended fallout

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

    KYLE Gillum had a business idea he felt would benefit downtown Oklahoma City — opening a day care for dogs. He was whipsawed by an ordinance that a previous Legislature no doubt felt made perfect sense when it was approved, but instead serves an example of the unintended consequences of feel-good legislation. Lawmakers decided in 2008 that no new dog kennel should be allowed within 2,500 feet of a public or private school or licensed day care center in Oklahoma City or Tulsa. The bill was offered after patrons and nuns at a private preschool in south Oklahoma City expressed unease over a pit bull terrier kennel about a quarter mile away. The nuns said they were concerned about the safety of their children, although no

  • Supreme Court reverts to form with Oklahoma execution ruling

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, Jun 30, 2015

    THE U.S. Supreme Court reverted to form Monday in upholding Oklahoma’s method of lethal execution. After a week that had pundits declaring the court might be swerving to the left, the conservative bloc of justices cleared the way for Oklahoma to continue its method of carrying out the death penalty. In the 5-4 decision, written by Justice Samuel Alito, liberal members of the court got no help from their conservative brethren, unlike last week’s decisions that made same-sex marriage a constitutional right and upheld the insurance subsidies that are critical to the Affordable Care Act. Both those decisions were hailed by progressives who are sure to be disappointed by Monday’s ruling. This wasn’t a great surprise,

  • Federal ethanol mandate becoming a regulatory farce

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, Jun 30, 2015

    IF you want a glimpse of government dysfunction, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better example than the federal renewable-fuel mandate. A recent congressional hearing showed the law is being implemented in ways that are both haphazard and unrealistic. Passed in 2005 and 2007, the Renewable Fuel Standard requires that 35 billion gallons of ethanol-equivalent biofuels and 1 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel be refined by 2022. When the law was enacted, officials assumed U.S. fuel consumption would increase and domestic oil production would decrease as a share of supply. Lawmakers were wrong on both counts. Consumption declined during the recession and the hydraulic fracturing revolution unleashed domestic supply.

  • Oklahoma rural charter bill increases opportunity

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Mon, Jun 29, 2015

    OKLAHOMA has some nationally ranked charter schools, but has also maintained severe restrictions on charter school expansion. Indeed Oklahoma “was one of the few remaining states that restricted the growth of charter schools just to, basically, urban areas,” Todd Ziebarth, senior vice president for state advocacy and support for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, recently noted to The Oklahoman’s editorial writers. Nationally, Ziebarth said, roughly 55 percent of charter schools exist in urban areas, while 45 percent are in “suburban areas, rural areas and small towns.” Oklahoma was an outlier. But thanks to a new law, students living outside the urban core may now have greater public school

  • Impact of opening primary may be limited

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Jun 28, 2015

    OKLAHOMA Democrats may soon allow registered independents to vote in Democratic primaries. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it means Democrats hope to expand their party’s appeal by courting people who aren’t always that interested in politics. Registered independents are often portrayed as political mavericks who disagree (or agree) with major agenda items touted by both political parties — for example, someone who is pro-choice but anti-tax. But in many cases (although by no means all), a registered independent is someone who doesn’t pay much attention to politics.

  • For officials, things to name before 'I do' is a new dilemma

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Jun 28, 2015

    THE mystery of the history of “Mr.” and “Mrs.” is steeped in tradition. The misery of “Mr.” and Mrs.” is temporarily in the domain of government clerks who register marriages. Traditional, gender-specific terms such as “bride” and groom” and “Mr.” and “Mrs.” are no longer acceptable. Lest anyone think the advent of legal same-sex marriages is clouding traditional terminology, such nomenclature has been cloudy for centuries. What to put on a marriage license application form is the conundrum now, but the definitions of “Mr.” and “Mrs.” have continuously evolved. In recent years, “Ms.” became an acceptable title for women who wished not to be identified as married or unmarried. Men had

  • Oklahoma ScissorTales: A lawsuit to keep an eye on

    The Oklahoman Editorials | Published: Sat, Jun 27, 2015

    JERRY Fent is at it again, this time going after a favorite target of Oklahoma budget writers — the Unclaimed Property Fund. Fent, an Oklahoma City attorney, has filed several lawsuits against the state through the years, trying to ensure that legislators’ actions are constitutional and that public funds are spent properly. He’s won some and lost some. Fent has challenged the way various bond issues were put together. He has challenged the constitutionality of spending tax dollars on Oklahoma’s presidential primary election. He once challenged a law that gave a tax break to the working poor. This time, he contends that the state’s use of Unclaimed Property Fund monies to fill budget holes amounts to a Ponzi

  • Legal clarity loses in ACA subsidies ruling

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Fri, Jun 26, 2015

    THE U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Thursday upholding Affordable Care Act subsidies in states with federal exchanges means the status quo will continue in health care. In other words, premiums will continue to rise, consumer choices will be artificially restricted, and access to care will be limited for many. This is what passes for “victory” with the Obama administration. To recap: Among other things, Obamacare requires citizens to buy insurance policies. To offset the higher costs created by the law’s mandates, some citizens can receive subsidies if they buy coverage through a state exchange. The plain meaning of the law indicates subsidies aren’t available to people in states that did not build their own exchange, but

  • Prospect of long-term road bill from D.C. is encouraging

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Fri, Jun 26, 2015

    OKLAHOMA’S Jim Inhofe regularly ranks as one of the most conservative members of the U.S. Senate, a distinction he wears proudly. Sen. Barbara Boxer, Democrat from California, is at the other end of the ideological spectrum. Yet these two see eye to eye on the need to take care of America’s roads and bridges. Polarization in the nation’s capital? It’s not in evidence on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, where Inhofe, R-Tulsa, is chairman and Boxer is the ranking member. This week the pair announced agreement on a six-year highway funding bill that, if approved by Congress, will mean nearly $4.2 billion for Oklahoma during that time. “I think if you have a heartbeat and a pulse, you understand this

  • Both parties in agreement on removing Confederate flag

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Thu, Jun 25, 2015

    THE killings of nine black church members in Charleston, S.C., have prompted a renewed and necessary debate about state displays of the Confederate flag. The gunman, Dylann Roof, was notably fond of Confederate imagery. The flag debate is typically portrayed as a Republican dilemma. However, Republicans have often been advocates of removing the Confederate flag from public displays. South Carolina first flew the Confederate flag over its Capitol in 1962, when Democrats ruled the roost in that state. A 2000 report by the Georgia Senate put that act in clear historic context.

  • Broken families contribute to Oklahoma's social ills

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Thu, Jun 25, 2015

    OKLAHOMA has a large number of fractured families, and also is a state bedeviled by more than its share of social ills. It’s not a stretch to say the former impacts the latter. Indeed in an article last week, David Leonhardt of The New York Times wrote about a geographical analysis conducted by University of Virginia sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox and psychologist Nicholas Zill that explored the issue of single-parent households. In Oklahoma, according to Census Bureau data mined by Wilcox and Zill, only 39 percent of children live with both of their married, biological parents. The percentages were similar in a stretch of Southern states ranging from New Mexico to the Deep South and up through Appalachia.

  • Cost-shifting helps account for government programs' 'savings'

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Updated: Wed, Jun 24, 2015

    THE folks at the Oklahoma Policy Institute generally favor bigger government over private-sector solutions, and they advocate that cause with vigor. Recently, the group caught our attention when it touted a story saying government health care programs have “done a better job of controlling costs per patient than private health insurance.” That’s certainly counter-intuitive. Government is efficient and the private sector is wasteful? If true, that would suggest we’d all be better off in a truly government-run system like that in Britain. A closer look at the data shows something can be technically accurate without being a legitimate selling point.

  • Hoping for quick end to OKC bus station challenge

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Jun 24, 2015

    AT one time, the Union Bus Station in Oklahoma City served a useful purpose. Now the building sits abandoned and decaying at the corner of Sheridan and Walker avenues. One member of the city council wishes for that to continue. Ed Shadid, who represents Ward 2 on the council, is going to court this week in an effort to keep the bus station site from being put to productive use. Work that developers had hoped would be well under way, on a project that will benefit the city, has instead been on ice. The bus station was built in 1941, to great acclaim. Developers said the Art Moderne building would be “one of the finest, most up-to-date in the Southwest.” It included a concession stand, coffee shop and baggage rooms.

  • HUD scheme part of Obama's vision of big-government rule

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Updated: Tue, Jun 23, 2015

    The black population in Marin County, Calif., is less than 3 percent of the total. The median home value is $781,900, compared with $366,400 for the state as a whole. The median household income in Marin County is $90,839 ($61,094 for the state). The county would thus seem to be a prime area for the Obama administration’s latest reach for utopia. The Department of Housing and Urban Development plans to help end neighborhood segregation by funding “affordable” housing in affluent communities. Call it the Big Rock Candy Condominiums. That’s a reference to the Depression-era fantasy about the poor finding an Eden replete with lemonade springs and streams of alcohol trickling down rocks.

  • Altruism not evident in carbon tax endorsement

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Updated: Mon, Jun 22, 2015

    ON these pages, we’ve consistently taken pro-business and pro-energy stances. This is because we believe free-market forces ultimately generate prosperity for the greatest number of people in the most efficient manner. But we’re not blind to the fact that, individually, business officials can pursue narrow self-interests in short-sighted ways. This includes promoting government policies whose broad effect is decidedly negative. Such appears to be the case with the recent decision of officials at several international oil companies to endorse a carbon tax, supposedly to combat global warming. Don’t let the public relations spin fool you: That action is primarily about destroying a competing energy source’s market share

  • Supreme Court's car tag decision raises concerns about speech

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Updated: Mon, Jun 22, 2015

    A new U.S. Supreme Court ruling declares specialized license plates are a form of government speech. That may make life easier for state officials dealing with potentially controversial license requests, but it also appears to dilute individuals’ free-speech rights, as several justices noted in dissent. The Texas Sons of Confederate Veterans sought a special plate featuring a Confederate battle flag. A Texas state board denied the request, saying the message would be controversial and offensive to many citizens. To defend the rejection, the attorney general of Texas argued that specialty plates represent the words and views of the state, not an individual.