We Have Met The Opposition and It Is Us
Attempt for Open Government Blocked by Republicans
You Can Watch the Video Here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35GwuC1rTO0
Representative Charles Key introduced a resolution on the first day of this legislative session that would allow all bills a chance to be heard in committee and receive an up or down vote. The current legislative rules, surprisingly enacted AFTER the Republican party took control, allows the Speaker of the House, the Floor Leader and Committee Chairs COMPLETE control over all legislation and ultimately deciding what bills get heard and what bills die without being heard. Amazingly, members of my own Republican party were the chief opponents of this proposed move to “Open Government.”
Some of the arguments against Open Government were quite revealing. Representative Don Armes, R-Faxon, stated during the floor debate his preference for the current system was that it provided cover from his constituents.
“I’m just going to be painfully honest. You want open government? Here it is. We all have constituents in our district that might not be the brightest and the best, for lack of a better term. They might not understand the things that we see in this chamber. They might not understand the political process of making laws… If a constituent (comes up to you) and says, ‘There ought to be a law’…wouldn’t you agree that sometimes those people say, ‘there ought to be a law’ that’s ridiculous…and they expect us to take it up to the Capitol and try to pass it and at that point, really the best thing for everybody concerned would be for that (bill) to get killed somewhere. How do you address that? What you need sometimes as a state representative is the protection of that committee chairman to go to him and say, “I got a guy. I promised him I would introduce this bill. It’s a terrible idea. How do I stop this train before we change the law in a negative way? And I’m not being facetious at all with that.”
Representative Dan Sullivan argued,
“Should we spend the time and recourses of this body on… (frivolous bills) the answer is no. We have bigger things to do than to deal with some individual legislator’s pet project… we have a budget to write, we have bills to write to effect the opportunity of citizens of the State of Oklahoma, to have jobs to get better jobs…education of their children the this is going to bog us down.”
A very noble argument except Rep. Sullivan’s first piece of legislation this session was (fortunately, it has been pulled) running a resolution (HR 1002) commending the Republic or Turkey!! It begins with this statement: “WHEREAS, the Republic of Turkey and the United States of America are long-standing allies, both dearly cherishing the universal values of freedom, democracy and human rights…” Human rights? Turkey? How does this improve Oklahoma jobs and Oklahoma education?
The bottom line is this: We do not have an oligarchy (power rests in the few). We did not elect parents to provide for us, we elected Representatives to represent the citizens. What the grassroots citizens of Oklahoma want is open government. Open government will eliminate stupid bills from being presented. Good bills should be brought to light and heard and hopefully passed. Bad bills should be brought to light and exposed for what they are and rejected. All should be heard. Legislators will become more selective in what they present as legislation. The people’s business will be on discussed openly and every committee vote will be on record and every house vote will be on record. The writers of bad bills and the supporters of the same will be exposed to their constituents and expelled from office. The writers and supporters of good legislation will be retained. That is how the system is designed to work.
The Oklahoma Conservative Agenda for 2011 supports strong, free market, economic policy, but also lists the following fifteen criteria by which we will evaluate the performance of our Legislators:
1. Legislative Rules Changes – Open Government
2. Education Reform
3. American Laws for American Courts
4. Judicial Reform
5. Defense of the 2nd Amendment
6. Defense of the 10th Amendment
7. Enumerated Powers Act
8. Illegal Immigration
9. Personhood Amendment
10. Pro-Family Legislation
11. Parties pay for primaries
12. Oppose the United Nations Sustainable Development Efforts
13. Fees (Fees cannot be used for taxation)
14. Oppose the Surveillance Society
15. The purpose of Government is to Govern, not to engage in business
The vote for Open Government was close, but it did not pass. Unfortunately, the House leadership “politicked” during a short recess (translation: threatened those that didn’t support them) and many changed their positions. The following Representatives, either because of pressure, uncertainty, ignorance or lust for power voted against Open Government.
Armes, Banz, Billy, Brumbaugh, Casey, Cockroft, Coody, Cooksey, Cox, Dank, Denney, DeWitt, Epps, Faught, Hall, Hardin, Hickman, Holland, Jackson, Jordan, Joyner, Kirby, Liebmann, Sc. Martin, St. Martin, McCullough, McNiel, Mulready, Nelson, Nollan, Ortega, Ownbey, Peters, Peterson, Quinn, Richardson, D.Roberts, S. Roberts, Russ, Schwartz, Sears, Shannon, Stiles, Sullivan, Thomsen, Trebilcock, Vaughan, Watson, Wright, Steele
If this measure comes up again, we hope that they will reexamine their position.
We invite you to visit www.libertyforge.us and read the details of the Oklahoma Conservative Agenda for 2011.