• OKC now a magnet pulling residents, businesses to its center

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Mar 11, 2015

    Oil price concerns are not slowing development

  • Bad bills impede all states' progress

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Mar 11, 2015

    OFFICIALS with the Tulsa Regional Chamber recently suggested that various bills at the Legislature are harming the state’s national reputation and making Oklahoma look like a backward place. There’s some truth to that claim, although Oklahoma is hardly unique in that regard. Across the nation, politicians’ actions harm their state’s reputations. In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to ban fracking has led more than a dozen upstate towns to advocate secession from New York. Those communities would rather be part of Pennsylvania due to its increased economic opportunity. In 2013, voters in 11 Colorado counties actually voted on seceding from the state. The mostly symbolic measure passed in five counties.

  • Support for death penalty remains bipartisan in Oklahoma

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, Mar 10, 2015

    OKLAHOMA may have gained international notoriety for a botched execution last year, but Oklahomans remain firm in their support of the death penalty. A bipartisan, 85-10 legislative vote approving a new execution method makes that emphatically clear. House Bill 1879 by Rep. Mike Christian, R-Oklahoma City, would authorize the use of nitrogen hypoxia for state executions. Under current law, drug injection is the state’s first method of execution. That provision remains in place under HB 1879. But should that method be declared unconstitutional, or if the state is unable to obtain the drugs required, then nitrogen gas would be used. Under current law, electrocution is the fallback option, followed by firing squad.

  • We can all stand to learn something from OU fraternity video

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, Mar 10, 2015

    “YOU are disgraceful.” University of Oklahoma President David Boren summed it up pretty well Monday morning in his remarks at a protest and rally on campus following the release of a racist video involving OU students. Disgraceful, indeed. The cellphone video was made aboard a bus that carried members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity to a weekend event. The video, in which several young men take part in a truly vile song aimed at blacks, was released anonymously Sunday to The OU Daily, the university’s student newspaper, and quickly went viral. The video captures many of those on the bus singing, to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It.” Instead they sing, “There will never be a (N-word) in

  • Letting Oklahoma governor choose some agency, board directors is a conversation worth having

    The Oklahoma Editorial | Published: Mon, Mar 9, 2015

    OKLAHOMA government is known for having a large number of state boards and commissions. It’s also known for structuring those entities in such a way that they can be isolated from public pressure, potentially boosting inefficiency. One state lawmaker thinks that situation could be improved by allowing the governor to appoint the heads of many regulatory boards. That’s a conversation worth having. Legislation by Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, would give the governor the power to nominate the executive directors of 10 state entities. Those nominees would be subject to Senate confirmation.

  • Incompetence hardly a strong defense in Obamacare case

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Mon, Mar 9, 2015

    CRITICS routinely argue that government programs are slapdash affairs, developed with little serious forethought or consideration for real-world consequences before being incompetently implemented and managed. So it’s ironic that the Obama administration now tacitly agrees with such critiques in its defense of Obamacare. The Affordable Care Act authorizes monthly tax credits to certain taxpayers who obtain insurance through an exchange. The law defines “coverage month” as any month a taxpayer is “covered by a qualified health plan ... that was enrolled in through an Exchange established by the State under section 1311.

  • Corrections reform is a difficult idea to sell to Oklahoma lawmakers

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Mar 8, 2015

    Debate over ‘85 percent’ crimes is an example

  • Further evidence of need to end U.S. oil export ban

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Mar 8, 2015

    Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm among those urging policy change

  • Oklahoma ScissorTales: Bill could help make Oklahoma lakes more safe

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sat, Mar 7, 2015

    OKLAHOMA lawmakers have been loath to apply rules of the road, as they relate to alcohol consumption, to the state’s lakes. That may be about to change in one small way. The House of Representatives this week voted 93-0 for a bill by Rep. Doug Cox, R-Grove, that would cost drunken boating operators their driver’s license for a time. This is an effort to crack down on the all-too-frequent practice of drinking to excess while at the helm. Intoxicated or not, a motorist driving with an open can of beer in his hand would be immediately taken to jail if caught. Drinking while operating a boat is perfectly legal, so long as the person’s blood alcohol concentration doesn’t exceed .08 percent.

  • Oklahoma lawmakers should approve “Right to Try” legislation

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Fri, Mar 6, 2015

    BY approving a bill that’s now headed to the state Senate for consideration, lawmakers can provide the opportunity to give terminally ill patients one last chance to improve their quality of life. The “Right to Try Act” deserves to eventually wind up on the governor’s desk. Members of the House Public Health Committee seemed to recognize that in voting 10-0 for House Bill 1074 by Rep. Richard Morrissette, D-Oklahoma City. “This is not a Republican or Democratic issue but a right to life issue,” Morrissette told committee members. The full House gave its approval this week. HB 1074 would allow Oklahoma patients who have exhausted their conventional treatment options to get new drugs from the manufacturer.

  • Without focus, regulation can harm consumers

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Fri, Mar 6, 2015

    Teeth whitening ruling in North Carolina

  • Oklahoma City made difficult but correct call on convention center land

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Thu, Mar 5, 2015

    ULTIMATELY, the cost of buying the land for a new convention center proved too great, and so Oklahoma City officials did a difficult but responsible thing — they said, we need to start over. And so start over they will with the process of identifying the next-best location for the building, which is a central component of the MAPS 3 package approved by city voters in December 2009. Mayor Mick Cornett said Tuesday it had become apparent that trying to purchase the land south of Myriad Gardens was “not in the best interest of our residents and the MAPS program.” The city had hoped to buy the site for $12.84 million. Attorneys for the land owners were seeking $100 million.

  • Proposed election change could temper sway of special interest groups

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Mar 4, 2015

    LEGISLATION to hold local elections on the same day has received committee approval, and Oklahoma lawmakers deserve praise for taking that step. By simplifying the election calendar, the proposal could increase voter participation, which in turn will reduce the sway of special interest groups that often dominate such elections. Senate Bill 312, by Sen. David Holt, R-Bethany, would consolidate all local candidate elections to one cycle in the spring or one cycle in the fall. The bill passed unanimously out of the Senate Rules Committee. While many Oklahomans tout the importance of local control of government, low participation in local elections undermines that concept.

  • Rail crackdown would put squeeze on U.S. oil companies

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Mar 4, 2015

    IT may soon take longer, and cost more, for oil companies to get crude oil to North American refineries. As the administration puts the squeeze on pipelines, it also has its eye more than ever on products moved by rail. Last month the federal Department of Transportation sent to the White House draft rules that would require, among other things, the use of stronger tank cars hauling crude oil. The Associated Press noted that the Office of Management and Budget usually demands that proposals by safety regulators be scaled back, but this time there may not be as much pushback. The reason is that there have been some spectacular and damaging derailments of late involving trains carrying crude oil.

  • Three OKC city council races up for grabs Tuesday

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Updated: Mon, Mar 2, 2015

    One of Oklahoma City’s many strong suits is the work of its city council. The city’s remarkable growth has been augmented by a council whose members work hard for their individual wards while keeping the greater good of the entire city in mind as well. Voters in three of those wards have the opportunity Tuesday to vote for the person they want representing them on the council. A combined 10 candidates are seeking the jobs in wards 2, 6 and 8. If no candidate receives better than 50 percent of the votes cast, the two biggest vote-getters will face off April 7. Ward 6, which includes much of downtown, has been represented the past six years by Meg Salyer. She merits another four years on the horseshoe.

  • Low tax rates give states a competitive advantage

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    THE state cut its income tax to stay competitive with bordering states. One such neighbor is Texas, which has no state personal income tax. Oklahoma? No. Arkansas. The adjacent state that’s been cutting income taxes in recent years lies to the west of Arkansas. New Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson has signed into law an income tax cut designed to keep up (or keep down!) with its neighbors. Arkansas has been taxing citizens as much as 7 percent on incomes as low as $36,000 per couple. By contrast, the top rate in Oklahoma is 5.25 percent, which will drop to 5 percent next year. The Arkansas cut, passed with bipartisan support (it had unanimous support in the state Senate), will cost the treasury $100 million.

  • Vote on Oklahoma ESA legislation runs counter to GOP ideals

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    Too often, politicians either wave a finger in the air and fall in line with the crowd, regardless of policy merit, or they become complacent and act as though the public won’t notice contradictions between their campaign rhetoric and actual record. A House committee’s recent failure to pass Education Savings Accounts legislation is an example of the latter. ESAs would allow Oklahoma parents to receive a debit card with a share of the state aid allocated for a child’s education. That money could then be used for the child’s education, including private school tuition. Polling shows that ESAs are popular among virtually all groups, but particularly among parents and Republican primary voters. Thus, ESA opposition

  • Ride-share insurance glitch needs to be resolved

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Updated: Fri, Feb 27, 2015

    THE rise of Uber, Lyft and other ride-sharing services has rightly been hailed as a triumph of private-sector innovation. But the growth of the industry also has created an insurance glitch that could harm Oklahomans unfortunate enough to be in an accident caused by a ride-sharing driver. In the ride-sharing system, private citizens use personal vehicles to provide transportation to clients who hail them via a smartphone app. When those vehicles are used for personal use, the driver’s personal auto liability coverage is in effect. But when the vehicle is used to provide rides for a fee, the personal policy does not provide coverage. At that point, a commercial policy is needed, which Uber and similar companies typically provide

  • Responsibility for controlling fans falls to host schools

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Mon, Mar 2, 2015

    Storming the court can be dangerous

  • ISIS defies liberal stereotypes, analysis

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Mar 1, 2015

    United States doesn’t need nuance