• Debate over proposed Oklahoma tax increase should center on policy

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Mon, Oct 12, 2015

    IS a tax system “fair” if the rich pay more than the poor? Among political liberals, one would expect the answer to be yes. Yet for many on the political left, it's not enough for the rich to pay far more than the poor. The rich must also feel the hurt more. Thus, a new report showing the impact of a proposed penny sales tax increase on various income groups leaves some left-leaning organizations and individuals disquieted. University of Oklahoma President David Boren and others hope to put a 1-cent state sales tax increase before Oklahoma voters next year through an initiative petition process. The resulting funds would go to teacher pay raises and a range of other education entities, details to be fleshed out in the

  • Patrick Kennedy shines a light on issue that badly needs it

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Oct 11, 2015

    PATRICK Kennedy, son of the late U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy, called it “a conspiracy of silence.” He was talking about his struggles with addiction and mental illness, but also those of his father and mother. It's a conspiracy not just for the person who's afflicted, Kennedy says, “but for everyone else who's forced to interact with that person. That's why they call this a family disease.” He was speaking last week on “60 Minutes,” and perhaps his appearance on that program along with his new memoir, which recounts the troubles he and his famous family experienced, will help move the needle when it comes to public policy regarding mental health and substance abuse.

  • Many facets to filling Oklahoma's skilled labor shortage

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Oct 11, 2015

    A series of stories kicking off Sunday in The Oklahoman make it abundantly clear: A high school diploma isn't enough anymore if the goal is to find good-paying work. Not even close. There was a time not that many years ago when a high school graduate could find good jobs in Oklahoma's industrial sector. Those jobs now require a level of learning far beyond what is offered in high school. Chuck Mills, president of Mills Machine Co. in Shawnee, says that today, machinists “need to know trigonometry, advanced math — they're running automated computerized equipment and they do the programming for the machines.

  • Oklahoma ScissorTales: So much time, effort expended on monument

    The Oklahoman Editorials | Published: Sat, Oct 10, 2015

    FORMER state Sen. Jim Wilson, D-Tahlequah, couldn't have been more right when he argued back in 2009 that the Legislature was asking for trouble if it voted to place a Ten Commandments monument on Capitol grounds. “We're going to spend a lot of money, and we're going to lose,” Wilson said. Six years and several legal battles later, the monument now sits several blocks south of the Capitol on the property of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, a conservative think tank. The monument was placed there after being removed Monday night. Removal from the Capitol grounds came three months after an Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling that said the display violated the state constitution. The ruling angered conservatives who aren't

  • Export ban veto threat more of the same from administration

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Fri, Oct 9, 2015

    THE U.S. House of Representatives plans to vote Friday on an idea that would put people to work and save money for American consumers. That combination should be welcomed by any president, but because those new jobs would come in the traditional energy sector, Barack Obama wants nothing to do with it. The White House on Wednesday threatened to veto legislation that would end this country's 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports. The bill has strong support among Republicans in Congress, which is reason enough for Obama to oppose it. The fact that lifting the ban would benefit those who make their living in fossil fuels makes it the perfect daily double.

  • Oklahoma's opposition to REAL ID law could be painful later

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Thu, Oct 8, 2015

    OKLAHOMANS are understandably wary of federal intrusion and value protection of their personal information. Yet by opposing the federal REAL ID law, Oklahoma lawmakers may soon force citizens to jump through even more bureaucratic hoops. The REAL ID Act was passed in response to the 9/11 attacks as Congress sought to make it more difficult for criminals to obtain fake identification cards, something that was relatively easy due to lax standards in some states. Under the federal law, states are supposed to keep facial images on file and digital images of identity-source documents. Driver's licenses are required to include a “common machine-readable technology.” Each state is required to provide all other states electronic

  • Courts keep striking down Obama administration's bad regulations

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Thu, Oct 8, 2015

    A court decision striking down an Obama administration effort to stymie hydraulic fracturing on federal lands shows the administration has taken its anti-energy philosophy to new lengths. The administration is now imposing regulations to solve a problem that may not exist based on legal authority that resides only in bureaucrats' imaginations. The rules, issued by the federal Bureau of Land Management and set to take effect earlier this year, set highly restrictive standards for wastewater disposal and disclosure of chemicals used in fracking on government land. Several Western states challenged the regulations, and Wyoming U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl sided with the challengers.

  • Across the country, pay equity legislation growing in popularity

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Oct 7, 2015

    FRUSTRATED by congressional inaction on a wage mandate, states are thumbing their noses at Washington and acting on their own. This isn't about the minimum wage — something state and local governments have been increasing quite frequently. It's about equal pay for equal work. Overall, women don't get paid as much as men. There are some logical reasons for this (more later), but logic rarely figures into a political fight that dovetails neatly with the liberal obsession over “income inequality.” California lawmakers just passed a pay equity bill that may be the strongest ever enacted.

  • Grocer's move is a loss for prison farm workers

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Oct 7, 2015

    THERE'S a growing national effort to rethink corrections policies. Too bad some self-proclaimed prison reform advocates only support helping inmates become reformed, productive citizens so long as no one makes a profit. For several years, Whole Foods has sold tilapia, trout and goat cheese produced by a Colorado prison labor program. But activist protest has prompted the company to no longer sell those products. A Whole Foods spokesman told The Associated Press the company viewed the program as a way to “help people get back on their feet and eventually become contributing members of society.” Prisoners working in the program gained skills that could translate into job opportunities outside prison, earning some pay in the

  • Problems can't continue with Oklahoma execution protocol

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, Oct 6, 2015

    HAVING seen its request granted to postpone three pending executions, the state of Oklahoma must determine not just went wrong with a planned execution last week, but whether it's truly capable of carrying out this duty without incident. There is some reason to wonder, given the events surrounding Richard Eugene Glossip's near-execution last week. Gov. Mary Fallin issued a last-minute stay after it was discovered that one of the three drugs to be used was the wrong drug. Instead of potassium chloride, the provider had shipped potassium acetate. What followed was a series of sometimes contradictory statements from various parties scrambling to explain what transpired.

  • Programs helpful, but choices are key in fighting obesity

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Mon, Oct 5, 2015

    RESEARCHERS have turned up some interesting findings regarding obesity. The shame is that they have so many subjects to use in their work. A study from the journal Fertility and Sterility found recently that overweight men are slightly more likely than slender men to father sons. Looking at 8,500 couples who were in fertility treatments, researchers found that overweight men were 27 percent more likely to have boys. Meantime British researchers have determined that fidgeting in your seat can negate some of the downside of a sedentary lifestyle.

  • Move by OSHA highlights need for more oversight of regulators

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Mon, Oct 5, 2015

    THE Obama administration's penchant for short-sighted overregulation continues unabated. The latest example: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is imposing hundreds of millions of dollars in new regulatory burdens on numerous businesses without providing advance notice, opportunity for public comment or thorough consideration of economic impact. Under the federal Administrative Procedure Act, agencies can issue “guidance” documents to clarify issues regarding an existing regulation without publication in the Federal Register and without public notice or comment. But OSHA is accused of using three recent guidance documents to effectively expand regulatory reach while sidestepping the required vetting

  • Strong message sent with recent OK state budget hearing

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Oct 4, 2015

    THE 2016 legislative session doesn't begin until February, and a state budget plan probably won't emerge until May. So it's notable — extraordinary, really — that state lawmakers met with agency directors in September to send a blunt message: Don't ask for more money. Budget leaders recently met with agency heads and told them, in a nutshell, “to turn in flat budget requests, expect cuts and plan accordingly,” according to one report. That may not make agency officials happy, but this effort should encourage taxpayers. It shows state lawmakers are taking their jobs seriously, and aren't resorting to pandering even though that would be the path of least resistance. Typically, lawmakers tend to be noncommittal

  • Tactics of group challenging Oklahoma abortion law paint an ugly picture

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Oct 4, 2015

    YOU almost have to admire the nerve of the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights. The organization is claiming its own inaction and months of delay now justify Oklahoma courts rushing to decide a last-minute challenge to a state abortion law. This year, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 642, which made four major changes to state abortion law. Under current law, parental consent is required for a minor to get an abortion, with some exemptions. SB 642 adds teeth to that law by specifying a nonguardian adult who obtains an abortion for a minor in violation of the consent law (or a doctor who violates that law) can be held civilly liable and subject to damages.

  • Oklahoma ScissorTales: Partnerships benefit OKC schools

    The Oklahoman Editorials | Published: Sat, Oct 3, 2015

    A venture announced this week is an excellent example of how the Oklahoma City community can help its public schools. The school district joined with the Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools to create Partners in Action, which will connect schools with businesses, faith-based groups, nonprofits and government agencies. Entities taking part will be able to post the resources they have to offer, and see what schools need. About 200 supporters attended a luncheon this week to launch the initiative. “Do you have employees that can volunteer in our schools?” district community relations manager Ashleigh Arnall asked.

  • Group misses the mark with claims about Moore workplace attack

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Fri, Oct 2, 2015

    IT'S legitimate to be concerned about the threat of militant Islam across the globe. What's not legitimate is to act as though every crime committed by an American Muslim is inspired by radical Islamic ideology. That's a distinction the Central Oklahoma chapter of ACT for America fails to make. ACT for America describes itself as a “grassroots organization devoted to promoting national security and defeating terrorism.” Yet a recent release from its central Oklahoma chapter seems less concerned with terrorism than with making wild leaps of logic to exploit a local tragedy — a manipulative move that offends common decency.

  • Another bizarre twist in Glossip execution

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Fri, Oct 2, 2015

    GOV. Mary Fallin did the right thing in halting the execution of Richard Eugene Glossip over concerns about one of the drugs to be used. Likewise, Attorney General Scott Pruitt was wise on Thursday to ask that all pending executions be placed on hold. Wednesday's spectacle in McAlester, with the U.S. Supreme Court rejecting a final Glossip appeal and then Fallin, roughly an hour after the execution was to have occurred, stepping in to halt it will only bolster the perception that Oklahoma can't carry out the ultimate punishment without incident. Fallin issued her stay because the Department of Corrections had received potassium acetate for use as the third and final drug in the lethal mixture, instead of potassium chloride.

  • Difficult but necessary choice by Chesapeake

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Thu, Oct 1, 2015

    CHESAPEAKE Energy Corp.'s layoffs of 740 employees, most of them in Oklahoma City, are a jarring sign of the toll being inflicted by the continued downturn in U.S. energy prices. Yet we're optimistic those prices will recover in time, and that Chesapeake will too. The company that started in 1989 enjoyed tremendous growth during its first two decades and established itself as a fine corporate citizen through its support of numerous nonprofits and schools. However its workforce eventually became unsustainable. Two years ago, following demands for change by major shareholders, a new chairman and new CEO were named. Job 1 was to shore up Chesapeake's viability, and that entailed letting go about 640 Oklahoma City employees

  • Lack of specifics not a problem for Trump

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Sep 30, 2015

    HURRICANE Trump blew through Oklahoma City last week, leaving behind a throng of about 5,000 people who didn't learn anything they didn't already know about the Republican presidential candidate. Donald Trump has risen to the top of the polls by blasting President Barack Obama, blasting others in the GOP field, blasting immigrants from south of the border and bragging about how much better things will be when he becomes president. It was more of the same during his brief stop Friday at the Oklahoma State Fair. A campaign that's been light on policy proposals, other than to say he'll deport every illegal immigrant and get Mexico to build a wall along the border, wasn't any more specific in Oklahoma City.

  • On abortion, Democrats certainly not pandering to the electorate

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Sep 30, 2015

    GIVE national Democrats credit for this much: Their commitment to abortion absolutism is unwavering, even if it places them on the political fringe far outside the mainstream of U.S. voters. We're not simply referring to Democrats' defense of Planned Parenthood after undercover videos indicated the organization may have violated federal laws banning the sale of fetuses for profit or altering abortion procedures for profit purposes. Frankly, that knee-jerk defense of Planned Parenthood was unsurprising. But even where polls show strong, bipartisan support for abortion restrictions, most Democrats have toed the absolutist line anyway. Last week U.S. Senate Democrats filibustered a bill to ban most abortions after 20 weeks