Despite the gloomy, inaccurate polls from the liberal media, Republican businessman Donald J. Trump was elected president over liberal Democrat Hillary Clinton. He easily carried Oklahoma.
And Republicans held control of the U.S. House (238 to 193) and Senate (51 to 48 over the Democrats) and the Oklahoma House and Senate. Republicans increased their margins in the Oklahoma House and Senate.
Christian colleges sue over Obamacare
Several Christian universities – including Oklahoma Wesleyan University in Bartlesville – and other nonprofit groups filed an opening brief on January 4 with the U.S. Supreme Court concerning a federal mandate to provide abortion in health insurance.
OKWU, Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, Southern Nazarene University and Mid-America Christian University (both in Oklahoma City) joined Geneva College in Pennsylvania to fight an Obamacare provision that mandates that the abortion-causing pills be part of health insurance provided to employees.
Tulsa School cuts
Due to low oil prices and lower revenues, Tulsa Public Schools announced it would cut its spending by $2.1 million for the current school year.
High taxes in Connecticut
Governor Mary Fallin criticized tax increases in light of General Electric’s decision to leave the state of Connecticut because of that state’s tax hike on business. “This is precisely why we know lower taxes influence where businesses go,” Fallin said.
The liberal Oklahoma Supreme Court has turned down a challenge to an initiative petition to raise sales taxes to benefit public education.
OU basketball is No. 1
Oklahoma’s basketball team was voted No. 1 team in the nation – for the first time since 1990 – but the ranking will last only one week after the Sooners were upset by No. 19 Iowa State, 82-77, in Ames.
Trump rally in Tulsa
Donald Trump demonstrated his popularity in Tulsa January 20 at a rally with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin that drew thousands of supporters.
Mazzei: Time to raise taxes
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Mike Mazzei, R-Tulsa, wants to suspend a cut in state income taxes and have state taxpayers pay more in 2016.
OSU basketball upsets No. 3 Kansas
The OSU basketball team shocked the nation with a stunning 86-67 defeat of then-No. 3 Kansas (16-3, 5-2 in the Big 12) in Stillwater but then OSU fell to Kansas State (12-7, 2-5), 74-89 on Saturday.
Protest by homosexuals
An out-of-state radical homosexual advocacy group is screaming opposition to a set of bill in the Oklahoma Legislature to reaffirm traditional values.
The radical group claims 26 bills have been filed that would restrict their sexual freedom.
Muslim prayers at the State Capitol
The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-OK) will hold its second annual “Muslim Day at the Capitol” on February 26.
More than 200 Muslims are expected to attend and hold a prayer service in the Rotunda.
Big 12 beat the SEC in basketball
The Big 12 won seven of 10 games from SEC teams in the annual Big 12/SEC Challenge. OU led the charge with a 77-75 triumph over LSU and player-of-the year candidate Ben Simmons. And Oklahoma State joined the domination with a 74-63 convincing win at Auburn.
Bartlett, council vote for tax increase
Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett and all nine city councilors want to increase sales tax by $884,634,000.00 and, along with chamber supporters, they will try to convince Tulsa voters to approve the tax increase April 5.
Even though the tax hike has more than 40 elements, voters will only be able to vote yes or no on three combinations: public safety, transportation and “economic development.”
College football recruits
Oklahoma has a deceptively strong recruiting class for 2016 despite some low rankings by so-called expert recruiting services. OU signed 19 players last week, including a stellar crop of offensive linemen, receivers and linebackers. Last-minute signee Caleb Kelley – a consensus five-star recruit – could be the best freshman linebacker in the nation.
A third of the Oklahoma State 2016 recruiting class are offensive linemen, who average 311 pounds and stand an average of 6 feet, 5 1/2 inches tall. The Golden Hurricane signed 20 players, including five offensive linemen and four players on the defensive front.
Sheriff candidates file
A grand jury indictment and subsequent resignation by Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz has resulted in host of candidates running in a special election to fill that post.
County voters will pick a Republican candidate for sheriff March 1 with nine candidates on the ballot. The winner will face the lone Democrat, Rex Berry.
Judge upholds pro-life law
A law requiring minimal medical care for women at abortion clinics has been upheld by a judge despite a legal challenge by out-of-state pro-abortion advocates.
Oklahoma County District Judge Don Andrews ruled that a 2014 law that mandates that physicians who perform abortions in Oklahoma must have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic is constitutional. Andrews said the law is consistent with the government’s interest in caring for women’s health.
Petition to end abortion
Russell Hunter of Norman wants to amend the Oklahoma Constitution to make abortion illegal. On January 27, Hunter filed paperwork with the Oklahoma Secretary of State to set the groundwork for an initiative petition to make abortion illegal in Oklahoma. To get the measure on the ballot in November, 123,725 signatures are required.
Signatures could be collected following a protest period. The measure is State Question 782.
Scholarship program affirmed
The Oklahoma Supreme Court upheld the Lindsey Nicole Henry scholarship program, overturning a district court ruling that held that the program violated Oklahoma’s Constitution.
The Lindsey Nicole Henry Act established a scholarship fund for parents of disabled children to receive scholarship money to send their children to a private K-12 school. The scholarships must be used at one of more than 50 participating schools, some of which, but not all, are religious.
Colorado’s marijuana affects Oklahoma
Press reports show that Colorado’s legalization of marijuana has resulted in increased trafficking in other states. That’s why the states of Oklahoma and Nebraska have filed legal challenges.
Cincinnati wants in the Big 12
According to some reports, the Big 12 Conference will meet this summer and reconsider expansion of its membership. The University of Cincinnati reportedly has expressed an interest in joining the Big 12 and some schools have warmed up to the idea.
Cruz wins Oklahoma
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, won the Oklahoma GOP primary while U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vermont, won the Oklahoma Democrat primary.
Cruz, with 35 percent of the vote, topped fellow Republicans Donald Trump (29 percent) and Marco Rubio (24 percent). Ben Carson was fourth with 6 percent while Ohio Gov. John Kasich was fifth with 4 percent.
Regalado wins special election
In the special election Republican primary for Tulsa County Sheriff, Vic Regalado won easily with more than 40 percent of the vote in the winner-take-all primary.
Bill to end abortion
Opponents of abortion are promoting making abortion illegal rather than just restricting it and that is being reflected in several bills before the Oklahoma Legislature.
Senate Bill 1552 by Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow; Rep. David Brumbaugh, R-Broken Arrow; Rep. Lewis Moore, R-Oklahoma City; and Rep. Chuck Strohm, R-Tulsa, would essentially deny a state medical license to anyone performing abortions.
Current budget is cut
The state treasurer reported last week that there was not enough revenue coming in to cover costs in the current budget, forcing 4 percent reductions to all agencies. A 4 percent cut is about $236 million, with a $62 million cut from common education and $56 million from higher education.
QuikTrip rejects the Tulsa Beacon
After 14 years of selling the Tulsa Beacon, without any notice QuikTrip is refusing to sell the conservative, Christian weekly newspaper.
A QuikTrip spokesperson was contacted and he replied that QuikTrip had not sold the Tulsa Beacon “for years” and they would not reconsider their decision.
Food for John 3:16 Mission
Students and their families and staff at Mingo Valley Christian School, donated 14,784 pounds of food for John 3:16 Mission. For 27 years, the school has made the biggest single food donation to John 3:16 Mission.
Hield is Big 12 player of the year
Oklahoma senior Buddy Hield was named the Big 12 Player of the Year and became just the second player to win it twice (Raef LaFrentz of Kansas was the other two-time winner).
Senate passes SB1552
The Oklahoma Senate has passed Senate Bill 1552 which would revoke the medical license of any doctor who commits an abortion.
The bill, by Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, makes one exception for an abortion to save the life of the mother.
Draining the Rainy Day Fund
Gov. Mary Fallin and legislative leaders have agreed to siphon about $78,500,000.00 from the state rainy day fund to benefit public education and the prison system. The Department of Education will get about $51,000,000.00 while the Department of Corrections gets about $27,500,000.00.
For the third year in a row, the Big 12 Conference is sending seven teams – 70 percent of the entire conference to the NCAA Tournament. That ties the Big Ten and the Pac-12 for the most number of teams, although both of those conferences have more members.
After a highly successful year, Oklahoma got a No. 2 seed and virtually a home venue in the NCAA Tournament.
Hindus want to erect an idol
Hindus want to put a statue of one of their gods on the grounds of the State Capitol if state voters amend the Oklahoma Constitution to allow display of the Ten Commandments. State Hindus will renew their interest to install a Lord Hanuman statue at Oklahoma Capitol grounds in Oklahoma City if the amendment passes.
Chamber finances tax vote push
According to a report, the largest contributor to selling the tax increase is the Tulsa Chamber. The chamber gets the bulk of Tulsa’s hotel tax – millions of dollars each year. In the past, chamber officials have claimed they do not use that tax money to promote passage of new taxes.
Pro-abortion vote by liberal Supreme Court
The liberal Oklahoma Supreme Court has once again denied the people of the state from expressing support to end legalized abortion. The court unanimously voted to not allow backers of proposed State Question 782 to even circulate petitions to get the proposal on the November ballot. It would have amended the Oklahoma Constitution to make anyone who committed an abortion guilty of murder.
Meanwhile, the liberal U.S. Supreme Court has dismissed Nebraska and Oklahoma’s lawsuit challenging Colorado’s marijuana regulation laws.
Tornado in North Tulsa
No one was killed but at least seven people were hurt and there was a great deal of damage caused by two tornadoes, one in North Tulsa and another in Claremore. City of Tulsa Building Inspectors reported the following information to the States Department of Emergency Management:
- 390 homes and businesses were affected by the tornado
- 191 homes or businesses had minor damage
- 54 homes or businesses had major damage
- 5 homes or business were destroyed
Also, Oklahoma has the highest potential for earthquake damage in 2016, according to a new report from the United State Geological Society.
OU loses in Final Four
Oklahoma’s hopes for a shot at the national title evaporated early in the second half as the Sooners lost to Villanova 95-51 in the Final Four.
University of Oklahoma basketball coach Lon Kruger has hired his son, Kevin Kruger, as an assistant coach.
Jobs lost at Tulsa Schools
Tulsa Public Schools plans to eliminate 172 administration jobs in a move to cut $3.7 million in expenses in light of upcoming drops in state funding.Tulsa Superintendent Deborah Gist said the cuts will come at the Education Service Center, the Enrollment Center, the Wilson Teaching and Learning Academy and within transportation and maintenance departments.
U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine drew three opponents last week – including Mayor Dewey Bartlett’s brother-in-law Tom Atkinson. Mayor Dewey Bartlett is being challenged by City Councilor G.T. Bynum and they figure to be the top two vote getters.
Freedom of religion
Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today applauded the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) decision to change its documentation to accurately reflect America’s First Amendment right of freedom of “religion,” and not just freedom of “worship.”
Gambling problems increase
Oklahoma has more casinos per capita than any other state and is fifth in the nation in terms of gambling addiction.
Oklahoma’s embrace of legalized gambling has vaulted the “buckle of the Bible Belt” toward the top of the list in problems caused by gambling, according to a national study by WalletHub.com.
In its report, “2016’s Most Gambling-Addicted States,” WalletHub lists Oklahoma as No. 3 in number of gambling machines per capita, No. 5 in legality of sports gambling and No. 11 in percentage of adults with gambling disorders.
Sterling Shepard in New York
Oklahoma’s Sterling Shepard, drafted in the second round by the New York Giants, is already drawing comparisons to famous pro receivers. The Giants have two of the best receivers, Odell Beckham, Jr., and Victor Cruz. Shepard is being compared to Cruz.
Barry Sanders, Jr., to OSU
The Oklahoma State running attack instantly got better when Barry Sanders, Jr., chose to transfer from Stanford to OSU.
His father, Barry Sanders, Sr., won the Heisman Trophy in a storied career for the Cowboys. And the elder Sanders was one of the best running backs in NFL history when he played for the Detroit lions.
Homosexuals in public bathrooms
A directive by President Obama to force public schools to allow homosexuals to use the bathrooms of their opposite sex is drawing heated opposition from Oklahomans.
A notice from the U.S. Department of Education to all public schools insists that male students who think or say they are girls must be allowed in girls’ restrooms and girls’ locker rooms. And the same goes for girls who dress as boys or want to be boys.
While the directive has no force of law, it implies dire consequences for any school district that defies this edict.
Fallin vetoes abortion bill
Gov. Mary Fallin, who ran for office twice on a “pro-life” platform, has vetoed a bill to ban abortion that passed by large margins in the Oklahoma House and Senate. Fallin’s excuse for the veto was that is was “ambiguous” and could not withstand a “criminal constitutional legal challenge.”
Budget cuts, borrowing
The governor and state lawmakers plan to raise a host of taxes and borrow hundreds of millions of dollars.
Faced with a $1.3 billion shortfall (the largest in state history), the state will slightly increase common education funding in the next fiscal year.
To pay for those decisions, tax increases (some are termed “revenue enhancements”) are:
- Eliminating the personal income tax double-deduction ($87,300,000.00 in new taxation)
- Making the “earned income tax credit nonrefundable ($25,900,000.00 in new taxes)
Higher education will be cut by 7.66 percent. The Oklahoma Health Care Authority (the state Medicaid provider) will get a 9.24 percent increase. The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services will get a 2.18 percent increase.
Chambers and bathrooms
Leaders of the chambers of commerce in Tulsa and Oklahoma City want lawmakers to ease restrictions on homosexuals using bathrooms and locker rooms of the opposite sex in public schools.
Mike Neal, president and CEO of the Tulsa Chamber, begged lawmakers “to consider the severe economic consequences” of not obeying the mandate by Obama Administration to let boys dressed like girls go into girls restrooms and locker rooms and girls dressed like boys do the same thing.
“…why is the state seeking to address a problem that is nonexistent…” Neal wrote.
Bynum elected mayor
City Councilor G.T. Bynum got more than 50 percent of the vote and ousted Mayor Dewey Bartlett in the June 28 primary. Since Bynum got more than 50 percent, he wins outright and will not be on the November 8 ballot. In the race for First District Congress, Rep. Jim Bridenstine easily beat fellow Republicans Tom Atkinson and Evelyn Rogers. U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin in District 2 defeated his GOP challenger Jarrin Jackson.
Kevin Durant bolts
The lack of loyalty in the NBA in both players and teams was clearly shown when former MVP Kevin Durant turned his back on the Oklahoma City Thunder and announced he would sign with Golden State.
State Rep. Ben Loring, D-Miami, is the most liberal legislator in Oklahoma and Sen. Ervin Yen of Oklahoma City is the most liberal Republican, according to the Conservative Index published by the Oklahoma Constitution newspaper.
Broken Arrow has the most conservative senators, with Sen. Nathan Dahm at a perfect 100 score and an average of 98. Rep. David Brumbaugh, another conservative from Broken Arrow, got a 100 score with a 93 average. Rep. Mike Ritze, also of Broken Arrow, was close behind with 93 (with an 86 average).
OU picked to win Big 12
Oklahoma Quarterback Baker Mayfield has been named the preseason offensive player of the year in the Big 12 Conference and the Sooners were picked to win the conference title. OU got 24 of 26 votes first-place votes in the preseason media poll. TCU was second and Oklahoma State placed third.
High pay for administrators
The Tulsa School Board approved the hiring of two new administrators – Erick Greene from Detroit Public Schools and Devin Fletcher from Denver Public Schools. Greene reportedly will be paid $157,100 a year while Fletcher will make $155,700 a year.
PSO smart meter letters
Public Service Co. customers who refused a smart meter got a letter from PSO that threatened slower repair service, billing problems and additional fees for $407 the first year without a smart meter.
The letters were sent to electrical power customers who have refused to have their analog meters replaced with the controversial smart meters.
New Oklahoma license plates
Beginning in January 2017, motorists will get a new design on the state license plate showing Oklahoma’s state bird, the scissor-tailed flycatcher, flying over lakes, mountains and mesas.
Disposal wells and earthquakes
State officials are ordering the shutdown of some disposal wells after a 5.6 magnitude earthquake – one of the strongest ever recorded in Oklahoma – struck at 7:03 a.m. on September 3.
The quake, centered near Pawnee, shook structures in Tulsa and was felt as far away as Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Texas, Arkansas and Nebraska. Several minor aftershocks were recorded in Pawnee.
Ohio State beats OU
Oklahoma, ranked has high as No. 3, lost to No. 2 Ohio State by a score of 45-24 in Norman and now has a 1-2 record.
Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler has filed a first-degree manslaughter charge against Tulsa Police Office Betty Shelby in the case of the fatal shooting of Terence Crutcher.
On September 16, Shelby shot and killed Terrence Crutcher. Shelby is white and Crutcher is black.
Oklahoma Wesleyan University, with campuses in Bartlesville and Tulsa, and College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri, have announced they will not participate in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) cross country championship after NAIA officials changed the venue from Charlotte, North Carolina.
The NAIA moved the championship in a protest against a state law in North Carolina that prohibits anyone from using a public bathroom that is not consistent with the gender on their birth certificates.
Liberal Supreme Court
Oklahoma’s liberal Supreme Court has overturned another pro-life law against rapists who target children on a technicality.
Senate Bill 642 by Sen. Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, and Rep. Randy Grau would have required abortionist to preserve a sample of the dead unborn baby when the mother was younger than age 14.
OU beats Texas
No, 19 Oklahoma’s offense is clicking on all cylinders, as evidenced by a record-setting performance in a 45-40 over Texas Saturday in the Cotton Bowl.
Oklahoma State just won a national championship on a week when they didn’t play football.
OSU has been retroactively named as football national champions of 1945 by the American Football Coaches Association.
Muslims want Rep. Bennett to shut up
A Muslim group wants State Rep. John Bennett to shut up when it comes to talking about Islamic terrorism and the threat to Oklahoma.
Bennett, a veteran who fought Muslim terrorists in the Middle East, held an interim study last week on “Radical Islam, Shariah Law, the Muslim Brotherhood and the radicalization process” before the House Judiciary and Civil Procedure Committee.
Failing Tulsa Public Schools
The latest A-F report cards for public education are out and the results are not good for Tulsa or the state.
The 2016 results were worse than in 2015. Statewide, the breakdown was 196 A’s, 455 B’s, 582 C’s, 319 D’s and 213 F’s. By contrast, in 2015, schools earned 212 A’s, 497 B’s, 536 C’s, 333 D’s and 183 F’s.
U.S. Sen. James Lankford was easily re-elected.
All state judges from the Oklahoma Supreme Court; the Court of Civil Appeals and the Court of Civil Appeals won retention votes.
State Question 776 (death penalty) passed; State Question 777 (right to farm) failed; State Question 779 (sales tax increase) failed; State Question 780 (drug charges to misdemeanors) passed; State Questions 781 (community safety fund) passed; State Question 790 (repeal of the Blaine Amendment) failed; and State Question 792 (liberalizing liquor laws) passed.
Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater, a Democrat, has charged State School Superintendent Joy Hofmeister with two felonies involving dark money donations to her campaign plus two felony counts of conspiracy.
Kathy Taylor is back
Mayor-elect G.T. Bynum, a registered Republican, has named former Mayor Kathy Taylor, a liberal Democrat, as his “chief of economic development.”
Taylor endorsed Bynum in that election and even appeared in his campaign literature. She donated to Bynum’s campaign.
More booze and gambling
Now that Oklahoma has voted to liberalize its liquor laws, tribal casinos are racing to expand their facilities in and around Tulsa.
That means a lot more booze and gambling in and around Tulsa.
The latest announcement is from the Osage Nation, which broke ground for a 66,280 square foot expansion to the Osage Nation’s Tulsa Casino. The design was by Marnell Architecture, a company that designed The Bellagio and Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
OU wins the Big 12
No. 7 Oklahoma, champions of the Big 12 Conference, played No. 14 Auburn from the Southeastern Conference in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans at 7:30 p.m. on January 2.
No. 12 Oklahoma State faced No. 10 Colorado in the Alamo Bowl December 29.
Pruitt to head the EPA
The liberal Environmental Protection Agency is in store for more conservative and constitutional policies as President-elect Donald Trump has nominated Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the EPA.
Liberal Oklahoma Supreme Court again
The liberal Oklahoma Supreme Court has struck down a law that requires doctors who do abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within a 30-mile radius. Senate Bill 1848, by Sen. Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, was designed to improve health care for women who undergo dangerous abortion procedures.
The court ruled instead that making a doctor have an affiliation with a nearby hospital was “an undue burden on a ‘woman’s right’” to kill her unborn baby and was therefore unconstitutional.
In June, the liberal U.S. Supreme Court overturned a similar law in Texas.