26 May

RELEASE: Democratic Caucus House Media Director, Mike Ray, Resigns

Okla. House of Representatives: Dysfunction Junction

OKLAHOMA CITY (26 May 2017) – Today I announced my resignation from the Oklahoma House of Representatives after 19 years of service at the State Capitol.

The timing could not have been more appropriate.

On two separate occasions today, during House consideration of Senate Bill 860, the Fiscal Year 2018 General Appropriations Bill, Rep. Regina T. Goodwin, D-Tulsa, stood to ask questions about the measure. Both times, as Ms. Goodwin started to speak, an unidentified Republican Representative shouted “debate!”

That was demonstrably rude.

Similarly, about three years ago former Rep. Mike Shelton, D-OKC, arrived late at the Capitol for a daily floor session; he had been on a business trip and had just arrived at the Capitol from Will Rogers Airport. Mr. Shelton was wearing dress slacks, dress shoes, a dress shirt, a bow tie, and a clean, bright yellow sweater rather than a suit jacket.

An ill-mannered Republican former Representative lodged a complaint with the House presiding officer, arguing that Representative Shelton was dressed improperly. Fortunately, the complaint was dismissed, but not before Representative Shelton had been publicly embarrassed.

Also this morning, Rep. Johnny Tadlock, D-Idabel, made a motion that he wanted the House Journal to reflect that he tried unsuccessfully to be recognized by the presiding officer so that he could ask one or more questions about the budget bill. However, the presiding officer, Rep. Scott Martin, R-Norman, denied Representative Tadlock’s request.

House Democrats challenged the ruling, which was referred to a House floor vote; to no one’s surprise, Martin’s ruling against Tadlock was upheld on a 32-47 vote. The 26 House Democrats were supported by six Republicans, while every vote in support of the presiding officer’s ruling was cast by a Republican.

In the 19 years I have worked for the Oklahoma House of Representatives, NOT ONE TIME – until today – had a Representative’s motion to include a statement in the House Journal EVER been denied. NOT ONCE. If you doubt me, look it up yourself. Be my guest.

Representative Martin said the decision whether to incorporate a Representative’s statement in the Journal is the presiding officer’s prerogative, not a member’s right.

Two weeks ago I circulated to all House members (Republicans and Democrats alike) and all staffers an email about dire warnings that home care providers were mailing to their clients in re the ADvantage waiver program, urging them to apply pressure on their legislators. In my email message I included some advice I received from a House staff division director about this matter.

Within minutes I received a ‘phone call from a House official, advising me that a Republican Representative had complained because the House division director I quoted was “helping the Democrats.”

These five incidents illustrate a principal reason why I am retiring from the legislative staff.

Twelve-year term limits has been a two-edged sword. On a positive note, it has resulted in a regular infusion of fresh ideas from new lawmakers. On the flip side, though, the House of Representatives is now afflicted with a distinct lack of civility and collegiality.

Partisan politics has poisoned the House. The Oklahoma Capitol has become “Dysfunction Junction”.

25 May

DNC Launches Resistance Summer

DNC Launches Resistance Summer Website, Releases New Video Motivating Democrats to Get Involved

Today, the DNC launched the official Resistance Summer website – – where Americans across the country can sign up to participate in a Resistance Summer program near them. The mission of Resistance Summer is to educate, organize, and mobilize grassroots energy from Democrats in all 57 states, territories, and Democrats Abroad to help build our party’s base of political power and resist Trump’s attacks on hardworking families.

The American people are demanding a Democratic agenda focused on expanding opportunity, better wages, affordable health care and a secure retirement. Resistance Summer is not just about holding Trump accountable – it’s about electing Democrats who will prioritize the needs of middle class and working families.

In addition, the DNC rolled out a new web video featuring progressive leaders from across the country promoting Resistance Summer:

The video premiered last night, when Democratic Congressman and Civil Rights icon John Lewis and longtime progressive activist Heather Booth joined with DNC Deputy Chair Keith Ellison to promote Resistance Summer during an episode of Democrats Live.

Background on Resistance Summer:

The Resistance Summer program is a nationwide Democratic Party initiative designed to bolster state parties by investing in local organizing projects over the summer. Since Donald Trump’s inauguration, there has been an explosion of grassroots activity opposing this administration’s abuse of power and the Trump-Ryan agenda, which prioritizes tax cuts for the rich over the needs of middle-class and working families.

The program is a competitive matching grant program, where the DNC will help fund the important work done by state parties to achieve their organizing goals. Recognizing that a one-size-fits-all approach is ineffective, each program will be unique to each state’s strategic priorities and organizational capacity.

Through Resistance Summer, the Democratic Party hopes to educate, organize, and mobilize grassroots energy from Democrats in all 57 states, territories and Democrats Abroad to help build our party’s base of political power, resist Trump’s attacks on hardworking families, and elect Democrats up-and-down the ticket.


25 May

DNC Launches Commission on Protecting American Democracy from the Trump Administration

DNC Launches Commission on Protecting American Democracy from the Trump Administration

WASHINGTON—The Democratic National Committee today launched a commission to combat the Trump administration’s voter fraud misinformation campaign and voter suppression task force. The Commission on Protecting American Democracy from the Trump Administration was created in response to the real threat to democracy posed by President Trump’s sham voter suppression commission.

The commission will work to discredit the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity by debunking the myth of widespread voter fraud in America and demonstrating the difficulty of voting in areas affected by voter suppression. The commission will also highlight and promote best practices for making voting easier and dismantling obstacles to casting a ballot.

Jason Kander, President of Let American Vote and former Missouri Secretary of State will chair the commission with Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-AL) serving as vice-chair. Members of Congress and state and local elected officials also join the commission to offer diverse experience in legislating to protect voting rights and administering fair and accessible elections.

“President Trump’s commission is nothing but a sham to justify the GOP’s voter suppression efforts across the country,” said Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez. “Instead of listening to constituents and working to earn their votes, Republicans would rather deny them their constitutional rights at the ballot box. Our commission will be ready to counter every move that the Trump administration makes to silence eligible voters. We simply cannot trust Trump, Jeff Sessions, or anyone in this administration to protect the integrity of our democracy.”

“When Donald Trump made the false and baseless claim that three to five million illegal votes were cast in the 2016 election, he told one of the biggest lies in presidential history,” said Kander, the president of Let America Vote and the commission’s chairman. “While Trump’s misleading claims about voter fraud were probably made to mend his bruised ego after losing the popular vote, he created an opening for Republican politicians to nationalize their efforts to complicate voting and suppress eligible voters. I’m excited to join with the DNC and defend the rights of eligible voters from the Trump administration’s attacks on democracy.”

“When it comes to protecting voting rights for all Americans, we cannot trust the Trump Administration to get the facts right,” said Rep. Sewell. “Time after time, President Trump has chosen to recite baseless ‘voter fraud’ claims rather than taking on real issues like voter suppression. Our Commission will document and report on today’s wave of voter suppression tactics and provide recommendations for strengthening access to the polls for all Americans. One person, one vote is a fundamental principle of our democracy, and I am proud to be part of a Commission that seeks to protect and advance voting rights.”

Members of the Commission on Protecting American Democracy from the Trump Administration are:

Jason Kander (chairman), President, Let America Vote

Rep. Terri Sewell (vice chair), Alabama-07

Sen. Cory Booker, New Jersey

Rep. Joaquin Castro, Texas-20

State Rep. Crisanta Duran, Colorado House Speaker

Adrian Fontes, Maricopa County Recorder

Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky Secretary of State

Maura Healey, Massachusetts Attorney General

Rep. Grace Meng, DNC Vice Chair, New York-06

Rep. Gwen Moore, Wisconsin-04

Alex Padilla, California Secretary of State

State Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, DNC Vice Chair, Louisiana

Karl Racine, District of Columbia Attorney General

25 May

RELEASE: DNC Chair Tom Perez on CBO Analysis

Perez on CBO Score

WASHINGTON – DNC Chair Tom Perez released the following statement after the Congressional Budget Office released their analysis of Trumpcare, the Republican health care bill:

“Trump and House Republicans threw themselves a party for passing this bill, and now we know exactly what they were celebrating: 23 million Americans potentially losing their care—including 14 million who would lose it thanks to their more than $800 billion cut to Medicaid. They were celebrating higher costs for older Americans and people with serious illnesses. They were celebrating higher profits for insurance companies and health plans without critical benefits like maternity care and life-saving opioid addiction treatment. But most of all, they were celebrating a big fat tax cut for millionaires and billionaires like Trump. This bill is a cruel betrayal of the people they were elected to serve. Democrats believe health care is a right for all, and we will continue to fight every Republican assault on hardworking families.”

If Trumpcare becomes law:

  • Older Americans will pay more.
  • Individuals with pre-existing conditions will be subject to faulty and expensive high-risk pools.
  • Insurance companies will be able institute lifetime limits on coverage, even on those with chronic illnesses.
  • $834 billion in Medicaid cuts included in AHCA that would heavily impact children, the poor and those with disabilities.
  • Planned Parenthood will be defunded, making it more difficult for millions of women to access critical health services.
  • Wealthy Americans receive a huge tax cut.
  • States can opt out of Obamacare’s essential benefits clause, which include:
    • Outpatient care
    • Trips to the emergency room
    • Hospitalization
    • Maternity and newborn care
    • Mental health services and addiction treatment
    • Prescription drugs
    • Rehabilitative services and devices
    • Laboratory services
    • Preventive services, wellness services, and chronic disease treatment
    • Pediatric services
  • States can opt out of Obamacare’s “community rating” provision that prevents insurers from charging higher rates to sick people.

23 May

RELEASE: By Rep. Young – Governor Signs Civil Rights Complaint Bill

Contact: State Rep. George Young
Phone: (405) 557-7393

Governor signs civil rights complaint bill

OKLAHOMA CITY – Gov. Mary Fallin Friday signed into law a measure protecting complainants who file with the Attorney General’s Office of Civil Rights Enforcement.

House Bill 1478 by Rep. George Young requires the Office of Civil Rights Enforcement to redact the name of a person who files a complaint from records that are forwarded to the arresting officer’s employer and from any annual reports that are generated.

“As state representatives and senators, we should work hard to make sure people feel comfortable lodging complaints, and I’m beyond grateful that the 56th Legislature was able to see the value of this measure in protecting our most vulnerable,” said Young, D-Oklahoma City. “The anonymity this legislation provides for complainants should help root out civil rights violations across the state, and I’m confident Oklahoma will be better for it.”

The law takes effect Nov. 1, 2017.

Young represents House District 99, which includes portions of Oklahoma County.