Sunday, March 26, 2023


 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair


     This week, the Oklahoma Supreme Court(OSC) ruled the state constitution protects the right to an abortion to a woman in life-threatening situations.   In the 5-4 decision, the OSC determined Senate Bill# 612 was unconstitutional and violated Section 861 of the state constitution. 

     Enacted in April 2022, SB#612 prohibited all abortions except in narrowly defined medical emergencies and made abortion a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine.  The OSC’s concurring and dissenting opinions on the decision can be found at: 

     Governor Kevin Stitt disagreed with the OSC opinion, calling it an ‘activist’ opinion.  Stitt pointed out the majority(concurring) opinions failed to mention the unborn.  “From the moment life begins at conception, we have a responsibility to do everything we can to protect that baby’s life and the life of the mother,” Stitt said.

     In the dissenting opinion, Chief Justice John Kane wrote: “This court should adhere to the Constitution given to us, not craft what we believe to be a ‘better’ Constitution.  The power lies with the people.” 

     Justice Yvonne Kauger, 85, wrote the 4,870-word majority/concurring opinion.  The Sermon on the Mount is only 2,000 words!  Kauger, appointed to the OSC in 1984 by Governor George Nigh, lists four feminist arguments why a women should have the right to an abortion.  In her rambling conclusion, Kauger cites several injustices against women in the past and winds up by writing: For some women, the draconian law which allows no exception, in the absence of a medical emergency to preserve the life of the mother, may be a death sentence. In some instances, women may have fewer rights than a convicted murderer on death row.”

     The justices who joined with Kauger in the majority opinion, the governor who appointed them to the high court and the date of their appointment are as follows: Winchester (Keating in 2000), Combs (Henry in 2010 ), Gurich (Henry in 2011), and Edmondson (Henry in 2003).

     Justices who voted No were Kane (Stitt in 2019), Kuehn (Stitt in 2021), Rowe (Stitt in 2020), Darby (Fallin in 2018). Three observations:

     First, the OSC is more unstable than Justine Bieber.  How the OSC will rule is inconsistent and impossible to predict.  The OSC’s pick and choose past rulings on what is ‘log rolling/single subject’ legislation are classic examples.  What they see as constitutional in one ruling will be ruled the exact opposite in another case.  Their rulings are often illogical and legally indefensible.  They have often overturned the will/vote of the people of Oklahoma based on their liberal interpretation of a law.   

     Second, Oklahoma needs judicial reform.  The current retention ballot isn’t working.  Since the Sooner state went to the retention ballot (1972) for the state’s three courts of appeal, no jurist has been voted out.  That is not because they are all doing a bang-up job.  It’s because Oklahoma voters can’t find out anything about the judges on the ballot, so they skip the retention ballot.  Proposals to term-limit judges hasn’t gotten anywhere in the legislature.  Proposed reforms to the nomination process (controlled by the state attorney’s association- OBA) always hit a dead end.  The reason liberals and quasi- conservatives get appointed to the OSC is because the OBA is not conservative.  Having liberals involved in the selection of the justices have put liberals on the court. 

     Third, legislating from the bench is alive and well in Oklahoma.  The OSC has routinely struck down legislation and overturned the vote of the people.  That proves elections have consequences.  It makes a difference who is elected governor. All, but one of the Justices (Winchester), who voted against the unborn were appointed by a Democrat governor.  It is not the job of the OSC to rewrite the constitution.  Their job is to interpret the law, not make it.

     The hyperbole, exaggerated scenarios liberals use to make their case for terminating a child’s life in the womb fail to address the one overriding question: when does life begin?  If it begins at conception, then no one has a right to murder another and any law that allows it is draconian.

Sunday, March 19, 2023


 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair


     The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (OTA) is an authorized quasi state agency.  It was created, by statute, in 1947 to construct, maintain, repair and operate turnpike projects authorized by the state legislature and approved by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (DOT).  The OTA issues revenue bonds for the purpose of paying costs of constructing the turnpikes.  The bonds are paid back solely from the tolls and do not constitute indebtedness to the state.  The OTA has been described as similar to a public utility.

     The OTA board has seven members.  The governor is an ex-officio member.  The other six members, who serve without pay for eight-year terms, are appointed by the governor.  The board members can be removed by the governor at any time, without cause, and replaced. The OTA has around 650 full time employees.  It takes in over $330 million annually in tolls.

     In August 2022, the Council of Bond Oversight approved $500 million in revenue bonds OTA could issue to expand Oklahoma’s toll roads.  The OTA plans to use the money to widen the Kilpatrick, Turner, and the Will Rogers turnpikes.  They also plan to improve the Gilcrease and the Creek. 

     OTA’s 15-year plan is called ‘Access Oklahoma.’  The plan, “identities and addresses on-going highway infrastructure needs to improve access to communities across Oklahoma.”  To view the plan, go to:

     Until last week, the OTA had never been audited by the state auditor’s office.  That is about to change.  On Wednesday, Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond requested State Auditor Cindy Byrd conduct an investigative audit of the OTA.  “I have had many conversations over the past few months with legislators, community leaders, private citizens and state employees who have expressed a wide array of concerns with the financials conduct of the OTA.  These concerns include, but are not limited to improper transfers between the OTA and DOT, improper contracting and purchasing practices, and inadequate internal financial controls,” Drummond said. Three observations:

     First, the OTA is a private business controlled by Oklahoma government.  Most Oklahomans don’t realize when they toss their quarters into the basket, the money doesn’t go to the state- it goes to bondholders.  The governor sovereignly controls the OTA.  Not only is the governor on the authority, but they hand select the other members.  There have been a number of failed attempts by legislators through the years to fold the OTA under the DOT, but the bondholders are a powerful lobbying group.  Each attempt is met with resistance and the proposals never come to a vote on the floor.

     Second, Oklahoma has a long history with toll roads.  Oklahoma was the first state west of Pennsylvania to construct a toll road.  The Turner Turnpike, named for Governor Roy Turner, was authorized in 1947 and opened in 1953.  When built, Oklahomans were told once it was ‘paid off,’ the toll booths would come down.  Because the OTA ‘cross pledges’ the turnpikes in the state, no single turnpike is ever paid off. 

     Oklahoma has 10 toll roads comprising over 600 miles.  Fifteen percent of Oklahoma roads are toll roads.  The state ranks only behind Florida in number of miles of toll roads and behind New Hampshire in percentage of total roads vs. toll roads. 

     Third, the audit is long past due.  Tim Gatz, executive director of the OTA, says he welcomes the scrutiny of the audit.  Gatz claims the OTA is well run and managed, but not all of OTA’s expansion is being met with enthusiasm. In December, 150 citizens of Cleveland County, who oppose expansion of turnpikes around Norman, filed suit against the OTA claiming it violated the Open Meeting Act.  Cleveland County Associate District Judge Timothy Olsen agreed with them, saying the OTA intentionally violated the Open Meeting Act by discussing business not on the pre-published agenda. He ruled any business conducted on the items not published is void. The OTA has appealed the ruling.

     Turnpike expansion was a campaign issue in last year’s gubernatorial race.  Governor Stitt’ opponent, Joy Hofmeister, pledged to request an audit of the OTA if she was elected.  Some of Hofmeister’s advisors are now working for Drummond and some believe those staffers are behind the audit request.  Whatever the motivation/reason for Drummond’s request, more sunlight on what is going on at OTA is good for Oklahoma.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Parleying by legislative leadership should be done behind the scenes!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial 


by Steve Fair


     This week, Oklahoma Speaker of the House Charles McCall, (R-Atoka) held a news conference and said HB#2775 and HB#1935, two school choice bills passed by the House, cannot be amended by the Oklahoma State Senate.  McCall said the upper chamber must pass them as is.  Any tweaks, modifications, or alterations the senate had could be addressed with a ‘trailer bill,’ McCall declared.

     McCall’s hardline stance on the two bills didn’t set well with Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, (R-OKC).  Treat called McCall’s statements, “asinine.”   “The Senate has a role to play.  These members(senate) are duly elected, and we will play our role,” Treat said.    

     “We expect those (HB#2772 & HB1935) to be heard as is.  We are open to the Senate’s ideas for education.  If they have some priorities, the House is certainly interested in anything that benefits education in the state of Oklahoma,” McCAll responded. Three observations:

     First, Oklahomans lose when the two chambers feud.  Last year, the two chambers were frequently at odds.  Oklahoma taxpayers received no tax relief in 2022 because the House’s tax cut proposals failed to be considered by the Senate.   The leaders of the two chambers don’t appear to collaborate or communicate.  At his news conference, Treat referenced a weekly meeting he and McCall hold where the school choice issue wasn’t brought up.  If that is true- and there is no reason to believe it isn’t- then why is McCall publicly taking a tough, inflexible stand?   McCall’s goal appears to be to get passionate school choice citizens to put pressure on Treat to get his bills a vote in the senate. 

     Oklahoma voters elected legislators to represent their interests and to work together for the good of the state, not grandstand and showboat.  Elected officials need to set aside ego and work together.  Contention and conflict will produce a dead end stalemate.  When that happens, nobody wins.    

     Second, collaboration and negotiation are part of the political process.  McCall’s ‘line in the sand,’ stance is not just a poke in the eye to the senate, but an insult to the Oklahomans who elected the 48 senators.  More collaboration usually results in better legislation, not worse.  The two chambers are there to vet and inspect the work of the other chamber.  Neither should be expected to rubber stamp the other’s proposals.  Treat is right- the senate should do its job.    

     Third, trailer bills in Oklahoma are a myth/fable.  They are an apparition. These so-called bills of correction never come to past.  They are discussed and promised when fishhooks are pointed out in major legislation, but they never materialize.  Fixing the ‘unintended consequences’ in a bill should be done before it is passed, not after it becomes law.    

     In the musical, “Oklahoma,” cowboy Will tells Ado Annie (in song) that he wants total commitment from her.  He croons he expects ‘all ‘er nothing.’ Ole Will gives no quarter to compromise, accommodation or middle ground.  Annie takes umbrage with Will’s demands and takes a hardline stand of her own, resulting in a rift in their relationship.  That appears to be what is being played out in the Oklahoma legislature.  It’s uncertain which chamber- or leader of the chamber- is being unyielding and obstinate (all ‘er nothing).  But for certain the parleying by legislative leadership should be done behind the scenes and not played out in the media. 

Sunday, March 5, 2023


Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

     Last week, Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond reversed an official opinion by his predecessor John O’Connor.  In December 2022, O’Connor was asked by the Statewide Virtual Charter School Board (SVCSB) if Oklahoma taxpayer dollars could be used by religious affiliated private schools.  The Archdiocese of OKC had presented a proposed charter school to SVCSB, that if approved, they described would be unapologetically Catholic.  O’Connor said, ”a state should not be allowed to discriminate against religious affiliated private participants who wish to establish and operate charter schools in accordance with their faith alongside other private participants.”  

     In a letter to the SVCSB, Drummond disagreed and said “religious liberty is one of our most fundamental freedoms.  It allows us to worship according to our faith, and to be free from any duty that may conflict with our faith.  The opinion as issued by my predecessor misuses the concept of religious liberty by employing it as a means to justify state-funded religion.”   

     Oklahoma Speaker of the House Charles McCall, (R-Atoka) said the conflicting opinions by the two AGs showed how important passage of the Oklahoma Parental Choice Tax Credit Act (OPCTC) is for Oklahoma parents and students.  The OPCTC would provide tax credits for parents who send their children to private schools, religious or otherwise.  Three observations:

     First, O’Connor’s opinion is consistent with a recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court(SCOTUS).  In June 2020, the SCOTUS ruled 5-4 the state of Montana could give tax incentives for people to donate to a scholarship fund that provides money to Christian school for student tuition expenses.  Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion: “A state need not subsidize private education.  But once a state decides to do so, it cannot disqualify some private schools solely because they are religious.”

     Second, Drummond admits the issue is unsettled.  In his letter to SVCSB, Drummond wrote that it remains unclear whether charter schools are public schools because they receive tax dollars.  Drummond said he hoped the SCOTUS would take up the issue in their current term.  Drummond wrote that if approval of one faith’s charter school application was done, it could result in the approval of all faith’s charter school.  Drummond contended the result would be taxpayers funding schools teaching theological doctrine they disagreed with.  He urges the SVCSB to be careful in reviewing the Archdiocese’s application, calling approval, ‘a slippery slope.’  Drummond’s opinion was probably a safe opinion, based on the current pending cases before the SCOTUS.

     Third, tax dollars belong to the taxpayers, not the state.  Tax dollars don’t belong to an elected officials, a state agency, a school district,  or the legislature.   Just because taxes are paid into state coffers, they don’t cease to be taxpayer’s money.  But it appears Oklahoma elected officials don’t really believe that.  True school choice bills that would have empowered Oklahoma parents to take ‘their’ tax dollars and use them to pay tuition at a private school were dead on arrival in the state senate. 

     In 1961, the SCOTUS ruled Secular Humanism was a religion and therefore protected under the First Amendment.  Humanists believe man is capable of morality and self-fulfillment without a belief in God.  That means when God is not recognized in the public square, humanism- is being taught by default.   Isn’t giving humanist educators tax dollars also a slippery slope?  Aren’t taxpayers already funding religious teaching they disagree with?

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Every sin tax Oklahoma passed in the last 40 years was done to "help the children.”

 Weekly Opinion Editorial

820 Not For Kids!

by Steve Fair

    Oklahomans start voting this week on whether to expand marijuana use in the Sooner state.  Early voting begins Thursday, March 2nd, at county election boards across the state.  SQ#820, if approved, would allow recreational use of pot for those over 21.  Advocates contend the state is losing millions of dollars in tax revenue by not taxing dopehead use.  They say the tax from recreational use could be used to ‘help the children.’  Currently only medical use of weed is legal in Oklahoma.  Three observations:

     First, every sin tax Oklahoma passed in the last 40 years was done to ‘help the children.”  Liquor by the drink, parimutuel horse track betting, the state lottery, and casino gambling all were marketed/peddled to Okies as vehicles to provide more money for education.  The tax revenue windfall from each was supposed to improve Oklahoma children’s quality of life by making them healthy, wealthy and wise.  Never mind the aforementioned did major damage to Oklahoma families by promoting addictive activities.  A strategy to smoke, drink and gamble the way to prosperity seems foolhardy, irresponsible, and bad public policy.  Most of the time the tax revenue from ‘sin’ tax is a net loss to a community.  According to the National Highway Safety Administration, in states where pot has been legalized for recreational use, fatal traffic accidents attributed to DUIs associated with pot have skyrocketed.  The only high drivers we need in Oklahoma are those driving up Mt. Scott.

     Second, liberals are pushing SQ#820.  Out of state liberals have pumped $3.2 million dollars into the campaign to move Oklahoma to the left.  The same people who in 2022 ran the shady, dark money group Clean Up Oklahoma are mailing Vote Yes on SQ#820 push cards to voters.  They are spending millions of dollars to convince Oklahoma voters weed is not a gateway drug and legalizing it would be great for the state.  The head of the Yes group is a former Bernie Sanders staffer and the money for the affirmative campaign is not coming from Oklahomans.  Why would liberals spend that kind of money in a conservative state?  Because SQ#820 is a ‘test balloon’ for those liberals to identify pockets of strength for their progressive agenda.  They believe Oklahoma, with its libertarian leanings, is low hanging fruit for progressives.  They could be right.

     Third, the get-out-of-jail free element of SQ#820 is imprecise and obscure.  If approved some people would get their sentences for weed offences expunged.  It is unclear exactly how the process will work, but the Yes folks say it will result in less court cases.  Oklahomans have seen the results of liberal meddling into the criminal code.  SQ 780 and 781 decriminalized many crimes and changed felonies to misdemeanors, and resulted in the release of lawbreakers back into the community.  According to the FBI crime data base, criminal activity in the state is up since the two bills were passed.  Oklahoma’s violent crime rate is higher than New York and California.  Oklahoma law enforcement has been hamstringed.  SQ 820 is along the same line as 780 and 781.  It advocates forgiveness without justice and compassion without fairness.

    There is no way a majority of Oklahoma voters want legalized, reactional marijuana in the state.  But that majority must vote.  Rest assured the stoners, tokers and dope smokers will get their vote out.  The question is- will the sober, clear-headed and temperate show up?  That remains to be seen.  The world is run by those who show up.  If Oklahomans care about the state(and their children), they will vote No on State Question #820.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Education is important, but it isn’t the only factor determining a child’s success in life!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair


     The Oklahoma legislature is in session and funding for secondary education tops the agenda.  Speaker of the House Charles McCall, (R-Atoka) has penned two bills. HB 2775, if implemented would increase funding to public schools by $500 million.  HB 2775 includes an across-the-board annual pay raise for all classroom teachers of $2,500, which totals $150 million.  $300 million would be distributed to school districts across the state on a per pupil basis and $50 million would be sent to the lower income school districts in the state.   

     The second bill by the Speaker is HB 1935.  It allows a $5,000 annual tax credit for parents of students attending a private school.  HB 1935 also includes a $2,500 annual tax credit for homeschooled students. The tax credits would be retroactive, so parents would benefit on their 2023 tax returns.

     “This plan works for every education stakeholder in our state.  We know the key to future success is a great education and House Republicans are committed to ensuring each student can attend the school that best meets their needs.  We must accomplish our education goals without eroding necessary funding to our public schools and our public school teachers wo are so vital to student academic excellence,” McCall said.

     If the two bills pass and are signed into law, it would put Oklahoma ahead of bordering states, Arkansas and Missouri, tied with Kansas and just behind Texas in per pupil expenditure on education.  McCall claims the two bills will set every child in the state up for success.  It is reported Governor Stitt and Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Waters both support the two bills.  Three observations on the two bills:

     First, teachers don’t teach for the money.  If an educator were in it for the money, they wouldn’t have chosen education.  Oklahoma classroom teachers deserve a raise.  But money alone will not fix Oklahoma education.  According to the National Center for Education Statistics in 2021 only one fourth of Oklahoma secondary students were proficient when looking at all grades/all subjects.  Test scores have declined in the past five years- even after Oklahoma taxpayers have funded record increases for education.  Education leaders need to come to the table with more than just requests for more tax dollars.  Oklahoma needs to make some hard decisions regarding secondary education.

     Second, the tax credit is a compromise.  Governor Stitt, and others,  favored a voucher system, which would have allowed parents to control a portion of the per pupil funding districts receive for each student.  They championed the idea the money followed the student- to a public or private school. 

     After the governor’s State of the State address, in which he endorsed school choice, public school education, especially rural districts, mobilized.  They claimed Stitt’s proposed voucher system would have closed schools and successfully alarmed enough people to get the Governor and the legislature to find middle ground on the contentious issue.

     Third, the hit to state revenue from HB 1935 is difficult to determine.  The current Oklahoma state income tax bracket is 4.75%.   It is estimated only 5% of all K-12 students in Oklahoma go to private schools.  In order for a family of 4 to take their full $20,000 tax credit associated with HB 1935, their annual taxable income would have to be $425,000. The truth is that most private school student parents will not benefit the full amount of the tax credit. 

     Setting up a child for success in education doesn’t happen when tax dollars are spent and teachers get a raise.  Oklahoma taxpayers have been told for decades that education success was just around the bend- if only more money is spent.  Education is important, but it isn’t the only factor determining a child’s success in life.   A child is set up for success when their parents stay involved in their offspring’s life and guide them to recognize their chief end is to love God and love others. 

Sunday, February 12, 2023


 Weekly Opinion Editorual


by Steve Fair

     The State of the Union address has become more of a self-promoting propaganda tool than a report to Congress.  While President Joe Biden wasn’t the first to use the speech to promote political philosophy, he was the first to unveil his campaign tag line.  Repeating, ‘let’s finish the job,’ at least 7 times during his speech, the POTUS hit at least 7 liberal hot button issues.  Here they are in no particular order:

     First and foremost, Biden wants to raise taxes.  “No billionaire should pay less taxes than a firefighter or policeman. The tax plan is not fair,” Biden said.  He is right about it being unfair, but there are not enough billionaires to make his plan work.  Currently the top 1% of wage earners are paying 40% of the total tax burden.  The bottom 50% pay just 2% of the total.  It’s the 49% in the middle who are paying their unfair share.  Neither Party has done a good job of revamping the tax code.    

     Second, Biden wants to give teachers a raise.  Few people believe school teachers are overpaid, but should raises not be tied to results?  Poor outcomes by public educators have been tolerated for decades.  It is past time to have a merit system for teacher pay.  One size doesn’t fit all. 

     Third, Biden wants to help unions organize.  Democrats have lost ground with their once reliable support from unions.  President Trump made inroads with them in the 2016 election.  They saw the failed policies of the Democrats had eroded the once thriving manufacturer base in America.  Biden recognizes Democrats need to get unions back to win.

      Fourth, Biden wants to cut oil and gas consumption.  “We may need gas and oil for the next ten years,” Biden said to laughter in the chamber.  America using a majority of clean energy is decades away from reality, a fact most liberals will concede.  That was why Biden’s remark was met with so many hoots and hollers.

     Fifth, Biden wants to increase regulations on private business. Gas and oil companies top the list of businesses Biden wants to go after.  Citing the price of gas at the pump and food at the shelf, Biden said; “Capitalism without competition is extortion.”  Biden said.  But it’s not.  Extortion is against the law and companies that break the law should be prosecuted, but when you have a limited supply and a high demand, the price must go up to balance out the equation.  Simple economics teaches that high prices are the cure for high prices.  More regs will hurt private business and prolong economic recovery.

     Sixth, Biden wants to limit gun ownership.  Mentioning ‘assault weapons’ as guns he wants to ban, Biden played to the liberal base.  The Second Amendment is just a little too pesky for the Democrats.  While disarming America is their goal,  they fail to acknowledge the issue is not the gun, but the heart of the person misusing the gun.

     Seventh, Biden wants to reverse the reversal of Roe vs. Wade.  Killing babies in the womb is a longtime plank in the Democrat Party platform and one of the major differences in the two Parties.  Biden was obligated to kowtow/grovel to the base on that issue and he checked the box. 

     When Biden said Republican lawmakers wanted to cut Social Security and Medicare, Republicans in the chamber begin to shout and yell.  The POTUS appeared rattled and momentarily got off script, but recovered quickly and got back on message. 

     “Let’s finish the job,” Biden said to conclude the speech. Clearly, this is the ‘theme’ of Biden’s re-election campaign.  Just think- millions of dollars were spent on research with focus groups and advertising professionals to come up with those four words.        

      Americans should finish Biden’s political career by sending him home.  The 80-year-old shuffled in and out of the chamber, looked his age, and his overall appearance did not instill confidence in his cognitive skills.  It’s not just Republicans who want Biden to not seek re-election.  Many Democrats want Biden to be finished, but at this point, they don’t have anyone who is a viable candidate to knock him off in the primary. 

Recreational use of marijuana is bad public policy!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by  Steve Fair


     On Tuesday March 7th, Oklahoma voters will go to the polls and vote on State Question #820.  If approved, it would create a state law legalizing recreational use of marijuana for persons 21 or older.  It would add a 15% excise tax incremental recreational use sales tax to the other taxes already on legal pot.  The last day to request an absentee ballot for the election is Monday February 20th.  In person early voting will be available on Thursday March 2nd and Friday March 3rd from 8am-6pm. 

     Proponents of SQ 820 assert passage will safely regulate and tax weed in the Sooner state, generate millions of dollars for state government to spend on schools, health care and public safety and expunge criminal records of people who they say, ‘made one small mistake.’  They also claim it would generate an estimated $821 million of tax revenue over a five-year period.

    Those opposed to SQ #820 point to state data that shows a 4,000% increase in children overdosing on cannabis since medical marijuana became legal in Oklahoma in 2018.  “People want to say that this(SQ820) is good tax revenue for the state, but if we were to do this, no amount of money is worth putting our kids at risk,” Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn maintains.  Three observations about SQ#820:

     First, marijuana can often be a gateway drug.  The National Institute of Drug Abuse found adults who reported using weed were more than likely to abuse other harder drugs.  In other words, those who used marijuana often went to other harder drugs. That is supported by data from the Centers of Disease Control(CDC).

     The CDC says there are multiple short and long-term effects of marijuana on the brain.  They suggest frequent use of pot can cause disorientation, anxiety, paranoia, and depression.   The CDC says temporary psychosis and schizophrenia are also more likely to be developed by those who use cannabis. 

     Second, sin taxes don’t overset their cost to communities.  Taxes on alcohol, tobacco, gambling, and medical marijuana may generate revenue for state government, but their expansion has been devastating to communities and families.  From increased crime to addictions, the financial impact has been of negative net effect to the state.   

     Third, medical marijuana should be regulated like other medications.  Few dispute that weed has medicinal benefits for certain medical conditions, but clearly Oklahoma’s current ‘medical marijuana’ law needs to be addressed.  When 10% of Oklahomans(376,000)  have a medical marijuana card, clearly much of the use is not ‘medical’ in nature.  Oklahoma, by far, has the highest share in the country of percent of population according to the Marijuana Policy Project.

     Most Oklahomans are unaware there is an election on Tuesday March 7th.  Because of that, voter turnout will likely be low.  There is no doubt proponents of SQ#820 will show up.  Opponents of the proposal must vote to stop expansion of drug use in the state.  

     There are two primary reasons Oklahomans should vote no on State Question #820.  The first is the expungement component of SQ#820.  Who is eligible for expungement is ambiguous/obscure/unclear.  The second reason is because recreational use of marijuana is bad public policy.  The challenges legal pot creates dramatically offset the tax benefits.  Increased addiction and crime is not something to promote in Oklahoma.  SQ#820 is a white elephant investment. 

Thursday, February 2, 2023

An increase in humility and self-abnegation might result in God’s healing of America!

Weekly Opinion Editorial 


by Steve Fair

     The desire and drive to self-promote is synonymous with the heart of mankind.  Everyone is tempted to exalt and extol themselves, on either a large or small scale.  Trying to impress others by bragging on accomplishments, earned credentials, prestigious positions, and important responsibilities has become a growing phenomenon.  In modern day America, humility and meekness are considered undesirable character traits.  Bragging, swagger, self-confidence and bluster are coveted attributes.   Three observations:

     First, no one does self-promotion better than politicians.  That seems to be part of the job description..  “I am not sure I know the answer to that complex problem,” said no politico ever.  The self-described public servant has an answer for everything and they put their own ‘spin’ on it.

     How effective a politician can put ‘spin’ on issues and situations determines just how far they can go in the industry.   Spin isn’t about suppressing the truth, but more about leaving out truth from the narrative.  As the old saying goes; “No one knows what you know or what you don’t know.” Political operatives are paid big bucks to ‘spin’ stories to an unsuspecting public.  The goal is to ‘sell’ the message.  The key to stopping the ‘spin’ is a public that is skeptical and a little bit cynical. If citizens stayed consistently engaged and paid close attention to their government, the spin doctor’s tales would fall on deaf ears.  

     Second, self-promotion is self-serving.  Self-promotion is often nothing more than idle chatter and accomplishes nothing.  “Put your money where your mouth is,’ means action follow words.  Self-promotion can energize a crowd and might lead to action, but in most cases it does little more than glorify the self-promoter. Most braggarts are quick to point out their superiority over others.  They can run faster and jump higher than anyone else, but actually running a race requires capital they are unwilling to invest. 

     Third, self-promotion is not Christian.  Throughout scripture, believers are told to be meek, humble, self-effacing, discreet, and unassuming.  No place in the Bible commands believers to ‘toot your own horn,’ or to ‘pat yourself on the back.’  Yet, the vast majority of politicians, even those who profess to be believers, never miss a chance to brag and boast of what they have accomplished.  Solomon wrote that pride goes before a fall.   Jeremiah 9:23 says a smart man shouldn’t boast about his intelligence, a strong man about his strength and a rich man about his wealth.  True believers brag on Christ, and not themselves. 

     Self-promotion naturally flows out of all men, even when trying to suppress it. The growth of social media has contributed to the rise of self-promotion. However, the real issue is the gullibility of citizens that are easily persuaded to believe something that is not only half true or not true at all. But not all are fooled by self-promotion.  In a 2015 study by the Association of Psychological Science (APS), self-promoters were often perceived in a negative way by those they are trying to impress.  Instead of accomplishing the desired effect of impressing others, they actually damage their image with their target audience.   What braggers and self-promoters don’t recognize is while they are lifting themselves up, they often unintentionally put others down.  They come across as conceited and self-centered. 

     The old saying, ‘it ain’t bragging if you can do it,’ is dumb.  It doesn’t cease to be boasting just because you can do it.  An increase in humility and self-abnegation in America just might result in God’s healing of our land.

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Unity is job of individual Republicans, not the RNC Chair!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair


     On Friday, the Republican National Committee (RNC) voted 111-51-4 to re-elect Ronna Romney McDaniel as Chairman.  With her election to a fourth term, McDaniel becomes the longest-serving RNC Chair since the Civil War.  She faced a formative challenge from Harmeet Dhillon, the National Committeewoman from California and Mike Lindell of My Pillow fame.  After her victory, a relieved McDaniel invited Dhillon and Lindell to the stage as a show of a sign of unity.  “With us united, and all of us working together, the Democrats are going to hear us in 2024,” McDaniel declared.

     Dhillon told reporters immediately after exiting the stage the GOP is not united.  “Nobody’s going to unite around the Party the way it is, which is seemingly ignoring the grassroots,” Dhillon said.  Lindell, who had predicted he would win the race but got only four votes, had no comment on his poor showing. Even in a show of solidarity, the GOP was ungracious.  Three observations:

     First, the GOP is historically a Party of disunity.  The modern Republican Party seems to always have tension and unrest.  Whether its pro-life Republicans being dismissed by pro-choice Rs or fiscal conservatives being trivialized by other GOPers, turbulence and strife are more the rule than the exception in the Party of Lincoln.  Agreeing to disagree is not practiced.  Demonizing fellow Republicans is the sport of choice.  From precinct level to the RNC, debating and attacking those who only agree 80% of the time has been the main reason Republicans haven’t dominated politics for decades.

     Second, Democrats can disagree and still unite.  A classic example is the recent Speaker of the House race.  Speaker Kevin McCarthy, (R-CA) was elected on the 15th ballot.  Every single Democrat House member voted every single time for minority leader, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, (D-NY).  They epitomized steadfastness/unity.  They are willing to focus on the majors in governing, unlike some Republicans, who are willing to lose in order to make a point.  The Dems have come a long way since Will Rogers declared he was a not a member of an organized political Party- he was a Democrat[S1] . 

     Third, America loses, when Republicans govern with a disagreeable penchant.  Holding out for nothing when you could settle for something is irrational, yet time and time elected Republicans can’t seem to come together.  When the Grand Ole Party is in power, being contentious keeps the country from moving forward.  

     Most registered Republicans have no idea the job responsibilities/duties of the RNC Chairman.  Unifying the Party is not a specific function of the job.  The rules of the Party are clear; the Chair’s job is to conduct a fair and impartial presidential primary every four years(and raise tons of money).  Therein lies the problem.  Ronna McDaniel was hand-picked to lead the RNC by former President Trump.  Will McDaniel run a fair primary with objectivity? Will she be neutral and give every candidate equality or will she attempt to ‘tilt the table’ to help Trump?  The 168 members of the Republican National Committee’s job now becomes to hold McDaniel accountable to adhere to RNC Rule 11(no endorsing in primaries).  

     Regarding ‘Unity of the Party,’ that job is on individual Republicans, not the RNC Chair.  The Republican Party claims to be ‘bottom up/grassroots’ driven.  True unity happens when a fair primary is conducted, a nominee chosen(at whatever level) and grassroots Republican voters coalesce around the nominee and help get them elected.  Unity is not some group hug on a national stage.


Friday, January 20, 2023

Legislators waste tax dollars grandstanding!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


    The Oklahoma legislature ended filing of bills for this session on Thursday.  The 48 member Senate filed a total of 1,116 bills and 18 Senate Joint Resolutions.  That is an average of 23.25 bills per senator. 

     The 101 member Oklahoma House of Representatives filed 1,901 bills( up 419 from last year) and 44 House Joint Resolutions.  That is an average of 19 bills per representative.  All told, state lawmakers will be considering over 3,000 bills this year.  In 2022, 416 bills became law. 

     Legislative rules allow for appropriation bills to be filed throughout the session and rest assured, there will be several.  The rules also allow for the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House to initiate legislation at any time.

    The Oklahoma Constitution sets the date for the legislature to meet.  This year, it will convene on Monday February 6th and  adjourn by May 26th.  If taxpayers want to research  legislation, they can go to or

     One bill certain to be controversial is a school choice proposal by Sen. Julie Daniels, (R--Bartlesville and Sen. Shane Jett, (R-Shawnee) that would allow parents the option of tapping a portion of their children’s education dollars to pay for a variety of education services, including tuition.  That bill number is SB#822. 

     After meeting with a group of public school educators on Wednesday, Sen. Adam Pugh, (R-Edmond), the Chair of the Senate Education committee, released a four point public education agenda, detailing his support of public school teachers.  President Pro Tempore Sen. Greg Treat, (R-Edmond) praised Pugh’s agenda in a press release.  Often when leadership opposes a bill, it never gets to the floor for a vote. SB#822 faces an uphill battle. 

     Rep. Josh West refilled HB#1030, which would require a consumer’s consent for their personal data to be collected.  West’s bill passed the House last year, but did not get a vote in the Senate.   "Major technology companies track our every conversation, our spending records, our movements and so much more and then sell that information so it can be used to socially engineer us through marketing manipulation," West said. Three observations::

     First, lawmakers need to major on the majors.  Appropriations, revenue, taxation bills should be at the forefront.  Money bills should be paramount, but inevitably they are pushed to the back of the line and considered last.  Often the fiscal year budget is the last bill to pass in a legislative session. 

     Oklahoma tax payers deserve meaningful tax cuts in 2023.  State government is flush in money and lawmakers have generously handed out raises to state employees, teachers, and others.  It’s time to give the taxpayer back some of their money and it should be a significant/consequential amount, not some negligible token tossed to taxpayers like they were a beggar on the street.    

     Second, taxpayers/voters/citizens should pay attention.  Legislators seldom hear from constituents until a citizen is angry.  Careful, deliberate, continual monitoring of what is going on at the legislature will result in more accountability.  People often do what is ‘inspected’ more than what is ‘expected.’  The web sites mentioned above are a place to start.  When you communicate with your legislator, be clear, concise, and respectful.  Expressing your opinion in a constructive effectual manner can often result in their being better informed.  A good legislator will welcome the input because it will keep them in tune with what their district and state want and need.

     Third, there are too many bills.  House bills filed were up +22% vs last year, Senate bills up +18.8%.  Many of these bills are repetitious/redundant and unnecessary.  Lawmakers wrongly believe they must get bills passed into law in order to be effective.  The truth is legislators are sent to the Capitol to ‘represent’ their constituents/district and to ‘vet’ legislation.

 .  Filing bills on controversial issues to call attention to themselves is not a part of their job description.  These 3,000 bills have to be organized and considered, with there being only a 13% chance of one making it on the books.  A great deal of taxpayer funded time and money is being wasted for legislators to grandstand.

     Back in the 1930s, when the Oklahoma legislature was in Democrat control, the late Will Rogers said when they were in session, ‘neither man, beast or property’ was safe.  Sadly, not much has changed in the past century. Oklahoma taxpayers/voters/citizens better pay close attention to what is happening at 23rd and Lincoln(State Capitol) in 2023.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

New Oklahoma residents should not attempt to change the state to a ‘lite’ version of their previous zip code.

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

      A recent article in Forbes magazine addressed state to state migration.  According to Forbes, Americans are moving long-distances more than ever.  The increase has since the COVID-19 pandemic.  The ability to work remotely and the opportunity to pursue new avenues and opportunities have increased address changes from state to state by +5% in the past two years.  California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts are the five states Americans are fleeing.  Texas, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia are the top five U.S. states people are moving to.  Oklahoma ranks #13 among all states in state-to-state migration.

      Oklahoma population has increased each year the past twelve years.  The average growth has been about ½ percent per year.  It was recently announced Oklahoma’s population is now over four million for the first time in state history.  Oklahoma’s population growth has outpaced all bordering states with the exception of Texas.  There are two primary reasons people are moving to Oklahoma?

     First, the lower cost of living.   Oklahoma has the third-lowest cost of living in the United States, behind only Kansas and Mississippi.  Americans are fleeing states with a high cost of living, especially during inflationary times.  Migrants coming from California and New York to Oklahoma are paying 25% less for housing, 12% less for food and fuel.  While Oklahoma’s per capita income is lower than the regional average, the cost of living does make up for some of that deficiency.

     Second, politics.  Many of the new residents in the state trekked here because of politics.  Some came because they love the lax medical marijuana laws and the accessibility to casino gambling.  Others came because Oklahoma’s governor and legislature didn’t shut down the state during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Still others came to Oklahoma because the state is more politically conservative than the state they were living in. The Oklahoma legislature has passed some of the most pro-life legislation in the United States and gun rights are celebrated in the Sooner state. 

     New blood brings new opportunities.  Oklahoma currently has five U.S. House districts.  If population growth continues, it could add an additional seat after the 2030 census. Additional population means more manpower/labor force available in the state.  That in turn attracts employers and helps existing businesses grow.  

     Newcomers can also present challenges.  They bring with them their values, principles, morals, ethics, and politics to their new location.  They often work to convert those in their new locale to their world view instead of accepting/embracing what/who/where they are.  New settlers introduce new ideas, customs, and values to their new state.  Instead of converging or moving toward union or uniformity, they diverge and divide the state.

     Most of those moving to Oklahoma for political reasons are moving from Democratic controlled states.  In their previous state, they were considered conservative, but in truly conservative Oklahoma, their views are moderate at best.   

     Oklahomans should welcome migrants from other states with open arms.  Legendary college football coach, Frosty Westering said it best; “You are either green and growing or ripe and rotting.” But Oklahomans should not embrace their politics and values.  If newcomers came to Oklahoma because their previous state was too liberal, they should accept Oklahoma is the most conservative state in the U.S. and not attempt to change it to a ‘lite’ version of their previous zip code.   

Sunday, January 8, 2023


 Weekly Opinion Editorial


By Steve Fair

      The Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives is the presiding officer of the body.  The office was established in Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution.  The Speaker is the political and parliamentary leader of the House, as well as the presiding officer.  The Speaker serves as the de facto leader of the House majority Party and the head of the administration for the House.  The Constitution does not require the Speaker to be a member of the body, however all thus far have been. 

     There are 435 members of the U.S. House.  A Speaker must normally receive 218 votes to be elected (a simple majority).  Most Speakers are elected on the first ballot.  There have been 14 instances in U.S. history where the Speaker’s race required multiple ballots- the last time in 1923, when Rep. Frederick Gillett, (R-MA) was elected on the ninth ballot.   

     The 2023 race for Speaker took a similar turn.  Rep. Kevin McCarthy, (R-CA), the House minority leader the past four years failed to reach the 218 votes on fourteen ballots.  This after former President Trump publicly urged Republican members to unite behind McCarthy.   Trump’s endorsement of McCarthy did not get him one vote on the next ballot. Ultimately, McCarthy was elected on the fifteen ballot, with  six Republicans voting present and McCarthy getting 216 votes, a majority of those voting.

     Twenty Republican members of the House, including newly elected Rep. Josh Brecheen, (R-OK), refused to coalesce/unify behind 200 other Republicans to elect McCarthy.  These hold-out members constitute the ‘Freedom’ caucus.  It appeared McCarthy wasn’t going to be elected without their support.  The 20 member Freedom caucus demanded the threshold needed to call a vote of confidence in the Speaker be lowered to just one member (McCarthy agreed to do that).  The Freedom caucus called for lower taxes, a reduction of the national debt, and a lowering of the federal budget deficit.  They also have demanded seats on powerful committees.  McCarthy agreed to virtually all of their demands, but in doing so  angered some of the more moderate members of the Republican caucus.    Three observations:

     First, a legislative body requires teamwork.  No individual member of a 435 member body can get much accomplished.  They have to work with others to accomplish anything.  Collaboration, negotiation, and cooperation are necessary skills to get legislation passed.  Failure to work with other members of the body will limit effectiveness of a member.  Too many uncooperative team members kill a team’s goals and objectives.   Effective governing requires willingness to give and take.  Being obstructive is not constructive. Helen Keller said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

     Second, some people will take nothing instead of something.  Some people are not wired to negotiate.  They consider any concession an unnecessary compromise.  They are intolerant of an alternate viewpoint.  Bargaining is for the feeble.  They would rather lose than compromise their convictions.  They are willing to accept a liberal over a moderate to prove their point. 

     Third, the tail wagged the dog in the Speaker race. The twenty members of the Freedom caucus constitute just 10% of the House GOP caucus, yet they were able to exercise proportionally more power than their numbers dictate.  All of their goals are worthy ones, but it remains to be seen if those goals will be accomplished, after their angering many in their own caucus.   

     Fortunately, Rep. McCarthy did not withdraw and a ‘moderate/centrist’ GOP candidate for Speaker get elected with ‘blue dog’ Democrat support.  That would have created a circus in the House.  Speaker McCarthy’s challenge is to ‘herd the cats’ and move the House forward.  With a single member having the ability to call for a confidence vote on the Speaker, his challenge of unifying the GOP will be formidable. 

     There is a fine line between negotiating and quibbling.  If negotiating gets personal (and it clearly did in the Speaker’s race), both parties lose.  Good negotiators are tough, but they know when to quit.  For a good negotiator, it’s not all or nothing.  They understand the art of the deal.  Six Republicans have shown they throw the long ball on every play and don’t subscribe to incrementally moving the ball down the field.