Oklahoma Lawmakers Still Working Hard To Sabotage Will Of Voters
9:30 AM EST on March 1, 2022
Although we’re still a bottom 10 state in a lot of areas, over the past few years, Oklahoma has made some progress in two surprising fields – criminal justice reform and medical marijuana legalization.
This progress is primarily thanks to non-profit coalitions, volunteer groups, and Oklahoma voters, who – after years of watching our cowardly, do-nothing conservative lawmakers pander to their base with unconstitutional legislation, while kicking important real-life issues in a can down the road – passed new reform laws via citizen-driven petition initiatives that put state questions on the ballot.
This right of the Oklahoma voters to get shit done, and pass much-needed reforms on their own, hasn’t sat too well with rural Derplahoman lawmakers who want to impose their sanctimonious ideology and moral code upon the majority.
Led by Oklahoma lawmaker...
Wait a second.
It just occurred to me that I'm rewriting the exact same thing I wrote back in March of 2020 when Oklahoma lawmakers tried to subvert the will of the people and make it more difficult to get state questions on the ballot and voted into law.
Let's try this again with a fresher take...
Last week, a right-wing Oklahoma lawmaker quietly filed a piece of legislation that could put a state question on the ballot asking Oklahoma voters to limit their own powers.
Dubbed Senate Joint Resolution 4, if voted into law it would...
Oops, I did it again! That's what I wrote when lawmakers set out on a 2021 agenda to sabotage the people's right to put state questions on the ballot.
Anyway, if the self-plagiarism doesn't make it obvious, bitter Oklahoma lawmakers are – once again – trying to make it more difficult for voters to overcome their own legislature's incompetence.
Oklahoma Watch filed a report this week documenting their newest efforts:
Several Oklahoma lawmakers are looking to add hurdles for citizen-led groups to pass the type of state questions that legalized medical marijuana, expanded Medicaid and won voter support despite Republican leaders opposition in recent years.
More than a dozen bills up for consideration, all authored by GOP legislators, seek to either tighten requirements for citizen-led voter initiatives to get on the ballot or increase the threshold for some of the proposals to pass on election day.
These include proposals to:
• Require a majority of voters in two-thirds of Oklahoma counties to vote for some state questions to take effect statewide;
• mandate background checks for petition circulators;
Let's be clear – these attempts by lawmakers to make it more difficult for voters to pass their own laws is fascist and authoritarian and a slap in the face to our alleged democratic value, but I don't have a big problem blocking out-of-state donations for initiative or referendum campaigns.
In fact, I say we double-down and block out-of-state donations for any Oklahoma election, from Governor to State Rep and all the way down to school board and city council. These races need to be decided by Oklahomans – not out-of-state special interest groups!
The guys behind all this anti-democratic legislation, like State Rep. Carl Newton, would obviously agree, right?
State Rep. Carl Newton, R-Waynoka is a co-sponsor on a House proposal seeking to ban out-of-state campaign contributions for state question campaigns.
"Do we need New York, California or some state out there sending in a bunch of money trying to influence our elections?" he said. "I just think Oklahomans should support Oklahomans."
Newton said he doesn’t think candidates — who often receive big donations from out-of-state companies or political action committees — should have the same restriction.
Oh, he's just a hypocritical asshole like all our other GOP lawmakers. Good to know.
Anyway, the Oklahoma Watch article does a good job analyzing all the authoritarian legislation, and through fact-based reporting, blows holes through many of the lawmaker's authoritarian arguments. Hopefully, like in 2020 and 2021, the lawmaker's attempt to neuter the power of voters is unsuccessful, and I'm self-plagiarizing myself again in 2023.