• 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 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.

  • 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 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • New Oklahoma GOP chairman should note that in politics, the message matters

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

    IN politics, how you’re perceived matters just as much as what you say. Oklahoma Republicans should hope their new party leader takes that lesson to heart if they truly hope to build support for conservative policies. Attendees at the recent Oklahoma Republican Party convention elected former state Sen. Randy Brogdon of Owasso as party chair, and Estela Hernandez of Oklahoma City as vice-chair. To their credit, all leadership candidates emphasized the importance of reaching out to groups that don’t typically vote for Republicans today. Following his election, Brogdon declared, “There are thousands of minorities, Hispanics, African-Americans and millennials who are looking for a conservative approach when it comes to

  • Reserve officers provide valuable service to Oklahoma law enforcement

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Apr 22, 2015

    Most do their work well

  • Washington Examiner: Congress should adopt Trade Promotion Authority

    Washington Examiner editorial | Published: Wed, Apr 22, 2015

    ASKED Friday about Hillary Clinton's position on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, spokesman Nick Merrill offered a tepid statement intended to give heart to the anti-trade Left. “The goal,” he remarked, “is greater prosperity and security for American families, not trade for trade's sake.” In short, candidate Clinton is gently but consciously positioning herself against free trade, aware that the opposite position might alienate supporters. We have seen less subtle expressions of this before. In 2008, candidate Barack Obama railed against free trade, suggesting even that the North American Free Trade Agreement (by then 14 years old) should be renegotiated.

  • Oklahoma lawmakers due credit for letting market forces reign

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, Apr 21, 2015

    TOO often, politicians’ first instinct is to extend government’s reach into the private economy when that should be an act of last resort. Yet perceived problems are many times resolved far more quickly through the efficient mechanism of market forces than through the imposition of bureaucratic red tape. A recent debate in Oklahoma over ride-sharing legislation brings this fact to mind. House Bill 1614 would impose uniform statewide regulation of ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft. Currently, those services face different regulations in different Oklahoma towns. The bill initially included a provision requiring ride-sharing services to adopt a policy of nondiscrimination based on several factors, including sexual

  • As usual, former Sen. Tom Coburn dispensing some tough but needed medicine

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, Apr 21, 2015

    It says something telling about the current regulatory state when a longtime physician such as former U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn has no interest at all in returning to the profession, even for a little while. Coburn, an obstetrician who has delivered more than 4,000 babies, recently filled in for six weeks for a former partner traveling overseas. After that experience, Coburn told the Washington Examiner, “I would never go back and practice medicine the way it is today, never. I’d have to be a concierge doctor. There’s no way I’d play the game they’re having to play. It’s just so much work that doesn’t help the patient.” Later in the interview, Coburn, always a champion of markets managing health care, instead of

  • Oklahoma City arts festival begins its six days of fun

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, Apr 21, 2015

    We have written in recent months, since The Oklahoman’s return downtown after nearly 25 years away, about how neat it is to be back in the heart of the city. One special treat is that our employees only have to cross the street to enjoy the Festival of the Arts, which begins Tuesday. The festival, hosted by Arts Council Oklahoma City and manned by 5,000 volunteers, will be underway from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day through Saturday, and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, at Myriad Gardens, Festival Gardens and Hudson Avenue, which bisects the two. The arts fest features an array of musicians playing night and day. Roughly 200 visual artists from Oklahoma and around the country will display their work.