Our SQ choices

Oklahoman Modified: October 18, 2010 at 8:43 am •  Published: October 17, 2010
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SQ 744: School funding; vote no

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.

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