Area lawmakers rate high on OCPA bills

Tulsa area Republicans scored well on votes on 22 bills designed to gauge economic freedom, free enterprise, individual opportunity, limited government and federalism.

Rep. David Brumbaugh, R-Broken Arrow, led the way with a perfect 100 percent score from OCPA Impact, a lobbying branch of the conservative think tank, Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs.

In the House, “A” ratings went to Tulsa area lawmakers Brumbaugh; Rep. Michael Rogers, R-Broken Arrow; Rep. David Derby; R-Owasso; Rep. Sean Roberts, R-Tulsa; Rep. Terry O’Donnell, R-Tulsa; Chuck Strohm, R-Tulsa; and Rep. Glen Mulready.

Tulsa area representatives who got an “F” were Rep. Seneca Scott, D-Tulsa; Rep. Eric Proctor, D-Tulsa; and Rep. Jeannie McDaniel, D-Tulsa.

In the Senate, “A” ratings were given to Sen. Gary Stanislawski, R-Tulsa; Sen. Bill Brown, R-Broken Arrow; and Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow.

OCPA Impact CEO Dave Bond said the intent of the scorecard is to show how individual lawmakers in the 2015 legislative session generally supported the interests of growth-minded Oklahoma taxpayers. .

“Over the course of the 2015 legislative session, we notified legislators when bills were added to the watch list for potential use on the scorecard,” Bond said on his website. “We tracked and scored committee and floor votes on the bills included.

“The scorecard is just one of our efforts at OCPA Impact to help Oklahoma become the absolute best state for working families, taxpayers and entrepreneurs and to keep our state’s economy growing in the right direction.”

The 22 bills were weighted with a point system based on their relative importance.

Tulsa Area Representatives

% Grade Name
100 A David Brumbaugh, R-Broken Arrow
96.8 A Michael Rogers, R-Broken Arrow
96.1 A David Derby, R-Owasso
94.9 A Sean Roberts, R-Tulsa
94.6 A Chuck Strohm, R-Tulsa
91.2 A Terry O’Donnell, R-Tulsa
90.6 A Glen Mulready, R-Tulsa
88.6 B Dr. Mike Ritze, R-Broken Arrow
87.4 B Mark McCullough, R-Sapulpa
87.3 B Ken Walker, R-Tulsa
85.7 B Weldon Watson, R-Tulsa
82.4 B Pam Peterson, R-Tulsa
82.0 B Katie Henke, R-Tulsa
78.5 C Jadine Nollan, R-Sand Springs
45.5 F Seneca Scott, D-Tulsa
31.0 F Eric Proctor, D-Tulsa
27.8 F Jeannie McDaniel, D-Tulsa

Tulsa Area Senators

% Grade Name
93.8 A Gary Stanislawski, R-Tulsa
93.1 A Bill Brown, R-Broken Arrow
91.8 A Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow
85.8 B Rick Brinkley, R-Owasso
80.9 B Dan Newberry, R-Tulsa
84.9 B Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa
79.5 C Brian Crian, R-Tulsa
76.6 C Mike Mazzei, R-Tulsa

Here is a summary of those bills and if a yes or no vote was suggested.

Senate Bill 18 – Yes

Public School District Administration Savings

Principal authors: Sen. Kyle Loveless, Rep. Jon Echols

It would have authorized task force to study and make recommendations regarding consolidation of Oklahoma public schools administration, in an effort to reduce administrative costs and direct more funds to classrooms. It passed in the Senate and was not heard in House.

Senate Bill 127 – Yes

Appointment of Medicaid Agency Director

Principal authors: Sen. Kim David, Rep. Tom Newell

It would have allowed the governor to directly appoint director of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority. It was passed in a House committee but not heard on House floor.

Senate Bill 468 – Yes

Protecting Mineral Rights Owners

Principal authors: Sen. Bryce Marlatt, Rep. Kevin Calvey

In future cases in which a municipality restricted drilling for oil and natural gas, it would have made the municipality responsible for compensating mineral rights owners for any revenue lost due to the new restrictions. It passed the House but did not emerge from conference committees.

Senate Bill 560 – Yes

Direct Primary Care Protections

Principal authors: Sen. Rob Standridge, Rep. David Derby

This preserves the right of Oklahoma patients and their doctors to arrange for direct primary care outside of traditional insurance plans, using private payment. It was signed by the governor.

Senate Bill 609 – Yes

Education Savings Accounts

Principal authors: Sen. Clark Jolley, Rep. Jason Nelson

It would have allowed parents of Oklahoma schoolchildren to utilize Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) to place their children in individually customized educational environments – including environments outside the traditional public education system. It passed in a Senate committee but was not heard on Senate floor.

Senate Bill 648 – Yes

State Employee Health Insurance Reform

Principal authors: Sen. Greg Treat, Rep. Glen Mulready

It would have allowed HealthChoice, the main provider of Oklahoma state employee health plans, to adjust deductibles and copays for medical procedures for state employees, based on certain criteria. It would have allowed HealthChoice to steer state employees toward facilities that are already saving county and city governments in Oklahoma millions of dollars by providing high-quality procedures at a fraction of the cost of large hospitals, due to low overhead of the free- market medicine model. It passed in a House committee but was not heard on House floor.

Senate Bill 676 – Yes

Pushing Back Against EPA Overreach

Principal authors: Sen. Greg Treat, Rep. Jon Echols

It would have statutorily ensured Oklahoma does not comply with unconstitutional or otherwise illegal provisions in new Clean Power Plan regulations being implemented by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It was vetoed by Gov. Mary Fallin on May 1.

Senate Bill 752 – Yes

Medicaid Reform

Principal authors: Sen. Kim David, Rep. Glen Mulready

It would have initiated a coordinated care model for a portion of Oklahoma’s Medicaid population, similar to models currently saving taxpayers millions of dollars in other states. Oklahoma’s Medicaid system is currently fee-for-service, with little emphasis on responsible individual behavior. It passed in a House committee but was not heard on House floor.

Senate Bill 782

Charter School Expansion – Yes

Principal authors: Sen. Clark Jolley, Rep. Lee Denney

Increases school choice options statewide by eliminating statutory restrictions on placing charter schools outside of Oklahoma and Tulsa counties. Establishes best practices for sponsors and applicants. Also allows for an appeals process, should a charter school application be denied despite local community support. It was signed by  the governor.

Senate Bill 809 – Yes

Preempting Excessive Local Restrictions on Energy Production

Principal authors: Sen. Brian Bingman, Rep. Jeff Hickman

It pre-empts local Oklahoma municipalities from prohibiting oil and gas production within their geographical limits. It was signed by the governor.

Senate Bill 839 – No

Funding for Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture

Principal authors: Sen. Brian Bingman, Rep. Jeff Hickman

It formally creates Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture in Tulsa and authorizes Oklahoma Capitol Improvement Authority to issue $25 million worth of bonds to finance construction. Museums, generally speaking, are not a core function of state government. Oklahoma’s state government already funds a number of museums, and will likely continue to do so; however, based on experience with the Native American Cultural Center and Museum, costs for a new museum are likely to mount above projections, further burdening taxpayers. It was signed by the governor on May 29.

House Bill 1566 – Yes

Medicaid Reform – Yes

Principal authors: Rep. Glen Mulready, Sen. Kim David

It initiates a coordinated care model for a portion of Oklahoma’s Medicaid population, similar to models currently saving taxpayers millions of dollars in other states. It was signed by Gov. Mary Fallin.

House Bill 1567 – Yes

State Employee Health Insurance Reform

Principal authors: Rep. Glen Mulready, Sen. Greg Treat

It allows HealthChoice, the main provider of Oklahoma state employee health plans, to adjust deductibles and copays for medical procedures for state employees, based on certain criteria. It was signed by the governor on Apr. 13.

House Bill 1614 – Yes

Preempting Local Restrictions on Ridesharing

Principal authors: Rep. Katie Henke, Sen. Jason Smalley

It establishes statewide standards across Oklahoma for ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft. It was signed by the governor on May 8

House Bill 1696 – Yes

Charter School Expansion

Principal authors: Rep. Jason Nelson, Sen. David Holt

As originally filed, would have provided avenues for physical-location charter schools to be sponsored and established throughout Oklahoma. Previously, due to statutory restrictions, physical-location charter schools could be sponsored and established only in Oklahoma and Tulsa counties. It passed in the Senate floor but Senate amendments were not approved by House.

House Bill 1747 – Yes

Rural Opportunity Zones

Principal authors: Rep. Tom Newell, Sen. Mike Schulz

It would have made Oklahoma counties with declining population more competitive by classifying them as Rural Opportunity Zones and offering a five-year income tax exemption for families, individuals, workers and employers – new taxpayers, all – moving in from out of state. Kansas currently offers a similar program. Every county in Texas is income-tax-free. It passed in the Senate but did not emerge from a House committee.

House Bill 1748 – Yes

Federal Funds Transparency

Principal authors: Rep. Tom Newell, Sen. Greg Treat

It would have required Oklahoma state government agencies to publicly disclose the federal funds they receive, as well as strings attached to those funds. It was vetoed by the governor on May 11.

House Bill 1749 – Yes

Paycheck Protection

Principal authors: Rep. Tom Newell, Sen. Nathan Dahm

It prohibits Oklahoma state government from collecting membership dues on behalf of any organization that collectively bargains against taxpayers at the state agency or school district level. Taxpayers in Oklahoma had previously been forced to facilitate dues collections for government labor unions that funded extreme political causes. It was signed by the governor.

House Bill 2003 – Yes

Principal authors: Rep. Jason Nelson, Sen. Clark Jolley

It would have allowed parents of Oklahoma schoolchildren to use Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) to place their children in individually customized educational environments – including environments outside the traditional public education system. It failed in a House committee.

House Bill 2237 – No

Funding for American Indian Cultural Center and Museum

Principal authors: Rep. Jeff Hickman, Sen. Brian Bingman

It provides additional funding, in the form of $25 million in bonds, for the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum, still under construction. Oklahoma’s state government currently funds a number of museums – including over $1 million a year for this museum – and will likely continue to do so; however, with this project, costs have consistently mounted above projections, further burdening taxpayers. To date, taxpayers have committed over $100 million to this individual project. It was signed by Fallin on May 28.

House Bill 2242 – No

General Appropriations Funding for Oklahoma State Government

Principal authors: Rep. Earl Sears, Sen. Clark Jolley

This provides appropriations for much of Oklahoma state government for Fiscal Year 2016, though actually equals only between one-third and two-fifths of total states pending. During session, legislative- and executive-branch leaders consistently said the state was facing a budget “shortfall” of at least $611 million. The FY 2016 budget agreement, of which HB 2242 was the centerpiece, was touted by lawmakers as a reduction compared to the prior fiscal year’s appropriation; in reality, however, the budget agreement represented an increase of over $17 million compared to the prior fiscal year. It was signed by Gov. Mary Fallin June 1.

House Joint Resolution 1012 – Yes

“Right to Farm” Ballot Question

Principal authors: Rep. Scott Biggs, Sen. Jason Smalley This gives Oklahoma voters the opportunity, on a statewide ballot, to guarantee the right to engage in certain farming and ranching practices. Experiences in California and other states show what can happen when agricultural producers are subjected to excessive regulations.

The stated end goal of many of the ultra-liberal activists behind these regulations is simple: end the use of livestock, poultry, fish and other agricultural products for food. It was filed with Secretary of State on April 30.