Blog

13 Feb
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RELEASE: ODP – Patrick Wyrick Should Immediately Step Down

For Immediate Release
February 13, 2017

Media Contact:
Angela Allmond, Communications Director
405-427-3366
Oklahoma Democratic Party

 Patrick Wyrick Should Immediately Step Down

OKLAHOMA CITY – Patrick Wyrick’s appointment by Governor Fallin to serve as a Justice for the Oklahoma Supreme Court displays a callous disregard of the Oklahoma Constitution and serves as another example of backroom politics. Wyrick should immediately step down.

Oklahoma’s Constitution, Article 7, Section 2 requires that a Supreme Court Justice “shall have been a qualified elector in the district for at least one year immediately prior to the date of filing or appointment.” Patrick Wyrick has been and still is, a resident of Cleveland County which is not within the boundaries of Supreme Court District 2. In March of 2016, Wyrick voted in Cleveland County. To lawfully vote in Cleveland County he was required to have been a resident of that County. In fact, Mr. Wyrick has declared himself to be a resident of central Oklahoma by living and voting in that area for well over a decade.

Even if we believe that Mr. Wyrick changed his residence to Atoka in October 2016, that would not qualify him as a resident of Judicial District No. 2 for the required year prior to either filing for the position or of his appointment.

Governor Fallin is sworn to uphold the Constitution, and yet she has violated the Constitution by this appointment. Patrick Wyrick should immediately step down. What kind of a judge seeks and accepts an office knowing he does not meet the legal qualifications? Wyrick has started his service by violating his oath to uphold and defend Oklahoma’s Constitution. Accepting a position for which he is not qualified is an apparent violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct, Rule I.I which requires that “A judge shall comply with the law. . .” The Judicial Code, Rule 1.2, also requires that: “A judge shall act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the of the judiciary, and avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety.” Certainly, his actions do not promote public confidence but rather create the appearance of impropriety.

The Democratic Party calls on Governor Fallin and Patrick Wyrick to do the right thing and renounce this position immediately. If the Governor and Wyrick will not follow the law, the Democratic Party is prepared to file suit to enforce Oklahoma’ s Constitution.

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The mission of the Oklahoma Democratic Party is to represent working people in Oklahoma and the best way to accomplish that is to elect Democrats to all areas of government. Oklahoma Democrats are progressive and sensible. We are optimistic about the future, and we are determined to see Oklahoma’s traditional values upheld. More information about the Oklahoma Democratic Party can be found at www.okdemocrats.org or by calling (405) 427-3366.

12 Feb
0

Women’s Reproductive Rights Threatened Again with HB1441 and HB1549 on the Agenda

HB1441 and HB1549 Back on the Agenda

As promised, HB1441 and HB1549 are back on the Public Health Committee meeting agenda. The second attempt to pass these bills to the house floor is scheduled for February 14, 2017. These are the only two anti-abortion bills in the House at this time. Please contact Members of the Public Health Committee between now and Tuesday morning. Check here for a script/email template.

House Bill 1441 would require a pregnant person to seek permission from their sexual partner to have an abortion. The committee postponed the vote on this bill during their last meeting. Let’s use this extra time to push back against this awful bill!

House Bill 1549 seeks to ban abortions based on genetic abnormalities. The committee vote on this bill tied 4 to 4 and now House leadership has brought it back for a second vote.

How you can help:

Call/email to express disappointment in their yes votes and ask them to reconsider and vote NO on HB1549 and also on HB1441.

Mike Ritze (R), Chair
(405) 557-7338
mike.ritze@okhouse.gov

Sean Roberts (R), Vice Chair
(405) 557-7322
sean.roberts@okhouse.gov

Dale Derby (R) (new)
(405) 557-7377
dale.derby@okhouse.gov

Harold Wright (R)
(405) 557-7325
harold.wright@okhouse.gov

Call/email Speaker McCall and Rep. George Young and ask them to Vote NO on HB1549 and no on HB1441.

Charles McCall (R)
(405) 557-7412
charles.mccall@okhouse.gov

George Young (D)
(405) 557-7393
george.young@okhouse.gov

Call/email to thank the representatives who voted NO on HB1549 and ask them to vote NO on both bills on Tuesday.

Forrest Bennett (D) (new)
(405) 557-7404
forrest.bennett@okhouse.gov

Carol Bush (R) (new)
(405) 557-7359
carol.bush@okhouse.gov

Mark Lawson (R) (new)
(405) 557-7414
mark.lawson@okhouse.gov

Marcus McEntire (R)(new)
(405) 557-7327
marcus.mcentire@okhouse.gov

11 Feb
0

RELEASE: ODP Statement on the Passing of Representative’s Wife

For Immediate Release
February 11, 2017

Media Contact:
Angela Allmond, Communications Director
405-427-3366
Oklahoma Democratic Party

Representative’s Wife, Reverend Dr. Thelma Chambers-Young, Passes

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Democratic Party is saddened by yesterday’s passing of Reverend Dr. Thelma Chambers-Young, the wife of Representative George Young (D) HD99. Reverend Chambers-Young, a psychologist, minister, wife, mother, and grandmother served the community in many positions and was the former Senior Pastor of the University Place Christian Church and the Executive Director of Epron June Monson Clergy Consortium.

Reverend Chambers-Young received the Human Rights Award in 2015 from the Garfield County Church Women United, earned her Masters in Public Health at the University of Oklahoma in 1978 and her Ph. D. in Counseling Psychology from Oklahoma State University in 1997.

Thelma is survived by her husband George Young, their two children and three grandsons. The ODP extends their deepest sympathies and thoughts to Representative Young and his family.

Services:
Visitations: 5pm – 7pm Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Cemetery: Morning Star Cemetery Boligee, AL
Services: Memorial Services Wildewood Christian Church, 6900 N. Kelley Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK 73111
Services date and time: 2pm Thursday, February 16, 2017

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The mission of the Oklahoma Democratic Party is to represent working people in Oklahoma and the best way to accomplish that is to elect Democrats to all areas of government. Oklahoma Democrats are progressive and sensible. We are optimistic about the future, and we are determined to see Oklahoma’s traditional values upheld. More information about the Oklahoma Democratic Party can be found at www.okdemocrats.org or by calling (405) 427-3366.

10 Feb
0

RELEASE: House Panel OKs Fee Hike on Minerals Production

House Panel OKs Fee Hike on Minerals Production

OKLAHOMA CITY (9 February 2017) – A measure that would increase the fee on the production of minerals other than coal mined in Oklahoma was endorsed by a legislative panel Thursday afternoon.

House Bill 1844 would require operators of non-coal mining operations to pay the state Department of Mines a fee of one and one-fourth cents per ton of minerals they produce; the current fee is a penny per ton.

State statute defines “minerals” to mean limestone, gypsum, asphalt, clay, copper, granite, gravel, lead, marble, salt, sand, shale, chat, tripoli, caliche, volcanic ash and zinc, but not oil or gas “and any other mineral found naturally in a liquid or gaseous state.”

HB 1844, by Rep. Leslie Osborn, R-Mustang, received a unanimous “do pass” recommendation from the House Appropriations and Budget Subcommittee on Natural Resources and Regulatory Services.

In response to a question from Rep. Brian Renegar, D-McAlester, Jim Rodriguez, executive director of the Oklahoma Aggregates Association (OKAA), said the industry supports the measure.

“The appropriated amount going to the Department of Mines has been cut significantly over the past several funding cycles, and federal funds the department receives have been reduced, too,” Rodriguez said. “The industry wants to ensure that the Department of Mines can operate in a reasonable manner. We want to support their operations, in order to protect workers and the state.”

The proposed fee increase will generate “around $188,000 to $200,000” per year, Rodriguez estimated.

The state Department of Mines was appropriated $775,772 by the Legislature for the current Fiscal Year 2017. That was 11.7% less than the agency was appropriated for FY 2016, and 22.26% less than the agency was appropriated 10 years ago, ledgers reflect. During that same period, revenue from agency fees increased 35%: from $850,000 in FY 2007 to $1,149,000 in FY 2017.

Production in Oklahoma of minerals other than coal totaled 78 million tons (primarily limestone, sand and gravel, granite, gypsum and clay) in 2015 (the latest year for which statistics are available), according to the state Department of Mines website.

The aggregates industry employs more than 3,500 people in Oklahoma, the OKAA reports. Its member companies produce more than 90% of the crushed stone and 70% of the sand and gravel consumed annually in Oklahoma, and OKAA producers export 15 to 25 million tons of aggregate materials each year for use in other states and countries, the organization says.

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MIKE W. RAY
Media Director, Democratic Caucus
Oklahoma House of Representatives
(405) 962-7819 office
(405) 245-4411 mobile

09 Feb
0

RELEASE: Dyslexia to be Highlighted at State Capitol Feb. 20

Dyslexia to be Highlighted at State Capitol Feb. 20

OKLAHOMA CITY (9 February 2017) – An event to focus attention on dyslexia is scheduled at the State Capitol later this month, Rep. Ed Cannaday announced Thursday.

The Porum Democrat will join the advocacy group Decoding Dyslexia OK in co-hosting a “come-and-go” meeting Feb. 20 in Capitol Room 112, from 10 a.m. to noon. The event will be held in conjunction with Capitol Dyslexia Awareness Day, and the event will be open to the public, Cannaday said.

For additional information, contact Cannaday’s Capitol office at (405) 557-7375; or Michelle Keiper, founding member of Decoding Dyslexia OK, at (918) 691-6118; or by visiting the website www.decodingdyslexiaok.org.

Dyslexia, a reading disorder, is characterized by trouble with reading despite normal intelligence. Different people are affected to varying degrees. Problems may include difficulties in spelling words, reading quickly, writing words, “sounding out” words in the head, pronouncing words when reading aloud, and understanding what one reads.

“Oklahoma’s institutions of higher education are not adequately preparing our teachers to identify this serious disability,” said Cannaday, a retired school teacher/administrator. Two-thirds of Oklahoma fourth graders read below proficiency levels in 2015, he said; blame was attributed at least in part to suspected dyslexia.

Dyslexia can be managed through early identification, Cannaday said. “We have effective interventions, but first, educators must be able to identify the condition.” To address this need, Cannaday has filed House Bill 1789.

It would require educators in kindergarten through third grade who teach early childhood education, elementary education and/or special education to receive quality training in “multisensory structured language teaching methods in order to meet the needs of students identified as having dyslexia.”

HB 1789 has been assigned to the House Committee on Common Education.

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MIKE W. RAY
Media Director, Democratic Caucus
Oklahoma House of Representatives
(405) 962-7819 office
(405) 245-4411 mobile