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Our SQ choices

Oklahoman Modified: October 18, 2010 at 8:43 am •  Published: October 17, 2010
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SQ 752: Judicial nominations; vote yes

This measure would expand the Judicial Nominating Commission, an appointed body that narrows the list of potential judges for vacancies on the Supreme Court, the Court of Criminal Appeals, the Court of Appeals, District and associate district judgeships and the Workers' Compensation Court. The governor makes the final decision. SQ 752 would add two at-large members who are not lawyers to the commission, appointed by the House and Senate legislative leaders. The measure also would prohibit any of the gubernatorial or legislative appointments from having immediate family members who are lawyers and prohibits more than two at-large members from the same political party. The proposal at least serves to dilute the influence of lawyers on the selection list while preserving the governor as the ultimate authority.

SQ 754: State budgeting rules; vote no

This question was designed in large part to stop SQ 744 from ever becoming law even if it is approved. But it's unclear the consequences if it passes. The measure would prohibit the use of constitutional formulas and how much other states or entities spend on a function to decide state funding. The ballot question also states the amendment, if approved, could not be repealed, although the author of the legislation behind the question disputes that. The people of Oklahoma elect lawmakers to decide the state budget. Curbing their ability to do so with the primary purpose of stopping just one proposal isn't wise policy.

SQ 755: Sharia law; vote no

This is another feel-good measure that has no practical effect and needn't be added to the Oklahoma Constitution. The question would prohibit the use of international or Sharia law when cases are decided in Oklahoma courts. As it is, judges exclusively use state and federal law to guide their judicial decision-making. Passing the question might make some politicians happy and make some Oklahomans feel better. That's all it would do. Voters should reject it as unnecessary.

SQ 756: Health care opt-out; vote no

The proposal would allow Oklahoma to reject any law or rule that requires a person, employer or health care provider to take part in a health care system. It's a political statement aimed at making sure the Obama administration knows Oklahomans want no part of Obamacare. That's hardly shocking, as Oklahoma voters pick representatives who also don't support it and are carrying that message in Washington, D.C. The constitutionality of a federal health care mandate already is being challenged in court, and passage of this question won't be a factor. It would be an unnecessary addition to the state constitution.

SQ 757: Rainy Day Fund; vote yes

In the midst of a series of tough budget years, this is an easy pick. The question would allow more money to be deposited in the state's Constitutional Reserve Fund, more commonly known as the Rainy Day Fund. The measure would increase from 10 percent to 15 percent the amount of surplus revenue that can go in the state's savings account. This is a responsible measure that will help Oklahoma weather future budget storms.

by 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...
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