• Vaccine bill wasn't likely to boost clarity for Oklahoma parents

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Thu, May 5, 2016

    INFORMED consent is a worthy goal, particularly when dealing with medical decisions. But a bill recently passed by the Legislature appeared less likely to increase clarity than to create confusion, which is why Gov. Mary Fallin was right to veto it. House Bill 3016 would have required Oklahoma doctors to provide “relevant information” regarding vaccines' benefits and risks as well as information concerning the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.

  • Events bring finish line into sight for Trump

    Events bring finish line into sight for Trump

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Thu, May 5, 2016

    “IF we win Indiana, it's over.” Donald Trump said that Monday about the Indiana primary, and how right he was. Soon after the polls closed Tuesday and it became apparent that Trump would be victorious, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz ended his bid for the Republican presidential nomination — providing Trump a clearer path to becoming the GOP's candidate in November. That path widened Wednesday when Ohio Gov. John Kasich said he too was suspending his campaign. Kasich and Cruz, the last of 16 challengers who once were in the field, had done all they could to try to slow Trump's charge. Kasich even agreed not to expend resources in Indiana in hopes of boosting Cruz's chances there — and Trump beat Cruz by a resounding 17 points.

  • OK turnpike projection issues don't erase need for new roads

    OK turnpike projection issues don\'t erase need...

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, May 4, 2016

    OFFICIALS with the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority have been getting an earful from residents in eastern Oklahoma County over plans to build a turnpike in that part of the metro. New reporting about faulty traffic and revenue projections with previous toll roads is likely to raise the decibel level a bit. The Oklahoman's Randy Ellis found that in the 66 years that turnpikes have been built in Oklahoma, only one has met the five-year revenue projection the OTA used to market bonds for new toll roads. That was the Turner Turnpike, which runs from Oklahoma City to Tulsa. Many of the other 10 toll roads in the state have come up far short of projections.

  • Little purpose served by one piece of Oklahoma’s constitution

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, May 4, 2016

    OKLAHOMANS will have the opportunity this year to repeal a section of the state constitution that generates lawsuits against sensible government programs due only to alleged, indirect benefit to people of religious faith. A lawsuit based on a similar provision in Missouri's constitution demonstrates why repeal would be a good thing. Article II, Section 5 of the Oklahoma Constitution declares, “No public money or property shall ever be appropriated, applied, donated, or used, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, or system of religion” or for the benefit of “any priest, preacher, minister, or other religious teacher or dignitary, or sectarian institution as

  • Experts raise valid concerns about Oklahoma DHS budget

    Experts raise valid concerns about Oklahoma DHS...

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, May 3, 2016

    IT'S evident that Gov. Mary Fallin would like to spare the Department of Human Services as the budget for fiscal year 2017 is being drafted. Fallin's revised budget plan, submitted to lawmakers in mid-April, called for an 8.6 percent increase for DHS while most other agencies would see their budgets cut. Is an increase — any increase — realistic, given the $1.3 billion hole that needs to be filled? The director of DHS, Ed Lake, has been making cuts during this fiscal year and recently notified his employees that more cuts were likely in all departments “barring what would be some kind of fiscal miracle.” He's bracing for the worst. Meantime, new pressure is being placed on the governor and budget writers to hold DHS

  • Developments all around point to the 'smarting up' of America

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, May 3, 2016

    WE hear much these days about the dumbing down of America — its politics, its schools, its cultural footprint. But all around us are signposts declaring the “smarting up” of this country. We have smartphones and smartwatches, an automobile called the Smart Car, smart meters to measure electricity consumption and smart thermostats to control that consumption. As technology spreads and cheapens, the cost of “smartness” has dropped and so has the impact of the “smart” modifier on product labels. Still, it's dumb not to apply that word when appropriate. Kansas City and other metropolitan areas are embracing the trend. Washington is pushing the movement with taxpayer-funded grants.

  • Oklahoma lawmakers should learn from incentive problems

    Oklahoma lawmakers should learn from incentive...

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Mon, May 2, 2016

    LAWMAKERS seeking funds to fill a massive budget shortfall are looking at potential changes to some of Oklahoma's numerous tax incentive programs. That's sensible — with a $1.3 billion deficit looming for the fiscal year that begins July 1, a host of options should be discussed. Yet as they go forward, not just in this trying budget year but in years ahead, policymakers should glean a few lessons related to tax breaks and incentives. One is that all credits should be reviewed occasionally, to see if they're doing what they were expected to do. The Legislature wisely took a step in this direction a year ago when it approved formation of a panel whose job is to evaluate incentives and provide lawmakers with a scorecard.

  • Toll on children another reason for continued corrections reform in Oklahoma

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, May 1, 2016

    IN the discussion about the need to revisit crime and punishment in Oklahoma, much of the focus, naturally, is on the cost to the state. The Department of Corrections received $484.9 million from the Legislature a year ago, and could use more to better manage the annual growth in the inmate population. Not all the costs are strictly dollars and cents, however. A report issued last week by the Annie E. Casey Foundation highlighted the significant impact that incarceration has on the children of those who wind up behind bars. Nationally, about 5 million children have had a parent incarcerated at some point in their lives, according to the foundation. In Oklahoma, one in 10 children has had a parent in jail or prison at some

  • Another court finds in favor of voter ID statute

    Another court finds in favor of voter ID statute

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, May 1, 2016

    REQUIRING citizens to present identification before voting is an idea broadly popular with citizens. It's also an idea that continues to withstand legal challenges. The latest judicial victory was handed down by U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder, who recently issued a 485-page ruling upholding a 2013 North Carolina election-law overhaul that included voter ID requirements. While the North Carolina law included several reforms not relevant to Oklahoma, Schroeder's decision regarding the voter ID requirement is relevant. Oklahoma is among 33 states that require some form of identification before citizens can vote in person. Not all state voter ID laws are the same, and Oklahoma's is considered fairly lenient.

  • Oklahoma ScissorTales: Recalling a great decision by state's voters

    Oklahoma ScissorTales: Recalling a great...

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sat, Apr 30, 2016

    EACH year at this time, we're reminded of one of the best decisions Oklahomans ever made regarding stewardship of funds. The state treasurer's office noted Wednesday that it had received a $76 million payment from the tobacco industry. These annual payments are part of a settlement agreement that Oklahoma and several other states reached with tobacco companies in 1998. Seventy-five percent of the latest payment ($57 million) was deposited into the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust Fund, which was wisely established by a vote of the people in 2000. The rest of the annual payment goes to the attorney general's evidence fund, and to the Legislature for health care-related appropriations.