LEGISLATIVE leaders apparently weren't thrilled with the idea of giving the state's auditor and inspector the resources and the latitude to run a magnifying glass over state agencies.
Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones had hoped voters could decide in November whether to amend the state constitution to allow his office to initiate performance audits of state agencies. Currently such audits must be requested by the governor, the agency's director or the Legislature. As a result, they rarely happen.
That will continue to be the case. A House joint resolution (and a companion in the Senate) requesting a vote of the people recently died quietly without being heard on the House floor. If leadership had backed the bill, it almost certainly would have gone to the full body for consideration.
A survey in January by SoonerPoll.com found that nearly 75 percent of likely Oklahoma voters favored Jones' idea. He proposed paying for the performance audits through dedication of one-tenth of 1 percent of state sales tax revenue, about $2 million per year.
There may have been concerns that this change would give the auditor too much power. But if state agencies are spending taxpayer money properly, they should welcome the scrutiny.
Lawmakers are usually more than willing to let voters decide issues. It's disappointing they chose not to this time around.
Liberal guys and girls aren't the only ones who wanna have fun and make a statement. PETA is notorious for its attention-getting street theater tactics. A conservative group called The National Center for Public Policy Research joined the fun this month by deploying a HAZMAT team to dramatize the dangers of dealing with a broken compact fluorescent light bulb. Then it said it would hire a discount hypnotist called Klepto the Mediocre to compel Americans to buy the Chevy Volt, a car that only the Obama administration seems juiced about. Since so much of the “Occupy” movement has been ludicrous and childish, the NCPPR's response is apropros. All the idiotic “Occupy” stunts need a conservative counterpart. How about an Easter parade of movie androids to demonstrate the robotic nature of so much “Occupy” rhetoric?
Spring has officially arrived, whether you mark the season by the calendar or the landscape. If you're among the 40 million Americans who suffer from nasal allergies, the tree pollen is a less-than-welcome feature of this time of year. Oklahoma City jumped from 22nd to sixth in this year's “Spring Allergy Capital” rankings by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. The report considers pollen scores, the number of allergy medicines used per patient and the number of board certified allergists per patient. Tulsa comes in 28th, and Knoxville, Tenn., tops the list for the third year in a row. In addition to seeking relief for your symptoms, the foundation suggests you proactively reduce your exposure to pollen. If you venture forth from your abode to enjoy the outdoors, do so in the afternoon or evening — pollen counts are highest in the early hours, when trees tend to pollinate. Though your runny nose and watery eyes may curse the advent of the season, take time to appreciate the beauty in bloom.