No state question is more critical or would be more damaging upon passage. The measure proposes to base common education funding on education spending in six surrounding states. Spending could not be reduced even if spending in the other states falls. The proposed calculation limits the ability of lawmakers to budget and make spending decisions. The question mandates no reform or extraordinary accountability, despite conservative estimates that it could eventually cost more than $1 billion annually, forcing a tax increase, cuts in other state services or both.SQ 746: Voter ID; vote yes
SQ 746 is a practical, proactive approach to preventing voter fraud on a small and large scale. If approved, every person appearing to vote will have to provide simple proof of identity. Those who can't would be allowed to vote via a "provisional" ballot. Passage would make Oklahoma one of 22 states that require some form of ID to exercise the privilege of voting.SQ 747: Statewide office term limits; vote no
The question would impose two terms of four years each for governor, lieutenant governor, insurance commissioner, schools superintendent, labor commissioner, attorney general, treasurer and state auditor. Corporation commissioners would be limited to two terms of six years each.Partial terms would not count against the limit; existing service would only count against the governor. Oklahomans like term limits. They aren't necessarily a bad idea for statewide officeholders. But it takes the six statewide officials outside the governor and lieutenant governor's offices a great deal of time to become experts at running their respective areas of state government. To automatically force them out of a job after two terms doesn't make sense and could make state government less efficient and less effective. That's especially true considering lawmakers also face limited terms although even they are allowed 12 years. Voters already can toss statewide officials every four years.
SQ 748: Legislative apportionment; vote no
In the state's history, the apportionment commission made up of the state attorney general, schools superintendent and treasurer has never been needed to draw up legislative districts. The commission is only called into action if the Legislature can't settle the matter. That's never happened. Yet SQ 748 would create a new bipartisan membership roll appointed by legislative leaders and the governor, with the lieutenant governor serving as chair and nonvoting member. No great harm would come to the state from either the question's passage or failure. The Legislature isn't about to hand off this important responsibility.SQ 750: Petition signatures; vote yes
Oklahomans face a tough hurdle in bringing initiative and referendum petitions to a vote of the people, especially in the years after a presidential election when the number of signatures needed on petitions is higher than at other times. It's time for that to change. SQ 750 would use the number of votes cast in the last general election at which the governor was on the ballot as the basis for bringing initiatives or referendums to the ballot. The measure makes sense and somewhat stabilizes the number of petition signatures needed.SQ 751: Official English; vote no
As one state senator who helped write the proposed constitutional amendment admitted, the change won't do much. It requires official "state actions" be conducted in English and allows latitude for Native American languages or differing federal requirements.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.