08 May

2017 ODP State Convention Call

Dear Fellow Democrats,

We are delighted to welcome you to the 2017 Oklahoma Democratic Party Convention. It’s always exciting when Democrats from across our great state get together and this year promises to be no exception.

We hope that you will join us not only for the Convention on Saturday, May 20th, 2017 but also for the Carl Albert Dinner on Friday night, May 19th, with Honored Speaker Congressman Keith Ellison, the DNC Deputy Chair. We will also present the Carl Albert, Opio Toure, Chairman’s, Bob Lemon Humanitarian, and Activist Awards, honoring some of those who have worked hardest to elect Democrats across the state.

At this Convention, as well as at the recent County and District Conventions, we are laying the foundation for our work in the 2018 election cycle. When the gavel closes this Convention, we will have completed our constitutional requirements for organizing our Party, and then we will fan out across Oklahoma and get to work electing Democrats and spreading the message that Oklahoma Democrats support progress, equality and unity.

We look forward to seeing you at Convention!

Democratically yours,
Mark Hammons, Connie Johnson, Dave Ratcliff, and Donna Russell

Download the full Convention Call Below

06 May

RELEASE: DNC Statement Unity Reform Commission Chair and Vice Chair

Statement from DNC Unity Reform Commission Chair and Vice Chair

Unity Reform Commission Chair Jennifer O’Malley Dillon and Vice Chair Larry Cohen:

“We are a party united by our values of inclusion and opportunity for all. And this weekend, we started working on an important process that will better prepare us for elections on the horizon.

“The 2016 primary season prompted the delegates of the Democratic National Convention to call for a review of our Party’s nominating process, with a specific focus on ensuring the system is accessible, transparent, and inclusive. This review will be conducted by the members of the Unity Reform Commission, which we jointly chair.

“The Unity Reform Commission will be making recommendations on several important areas that will allow us to continue building an inclusive Democratic Party moving forward. More specifically, these recommendations will concentrate on the following areas:

  • Increasing participation in the presidential nominating process
  • Empowering the party and its candidates to be more competitive in all regions
  • Involving new and unaffiliated voters
  • Reviewing the role of unpledged delegates in the presidential nominating process
  • Supporting redistricting efforts
  • Broadening the base of the party at the grassroots level
  • Expanding the DNC’s donor base

“In today’s political climate, it is more important than ever that Democrats get serious about our party, our values, and our future, and the meetings of this weekend was a productive first step in that direction. We look forward to getting to work with the diverse and talented members of the Unity Reform Commission to fortify our party to meet every electoral challenge ahead.”


05 May

By Rep. Ben Loring (D): Legislature Trains its Sights on the Poor

Desperate for Income, GOP-Controlled Legislature Trains its Sights on the Poor and Small Companies, But GPT on Oil/Gas is Where the Real Money Is

By State Rep. Ben Loring

MIAMI, OK (5 May 2017) – A headline recently in the Journal Record, a nonpartisan newspaper that closely follows all activity in the Capitol and other business and legal news around the state, read, “Late revenue bills target poor, small businesses.” Duh! Like this is a surprise to anyone?

Of course there are those who want to raise taxes on the poor and small businesses. Unlike, say the oil industry, the poor can’t afford to hire an army of lobbyists, not even one single lobbyist. They can’t afford to make large contributions to the campaign slush funds we call Political Action Committees. So, of course, with the state so desperately trying to find income, the Legislature will pick on those who can’t defend themselves: the poor, the little guy.

Let me give you just one small example. Earlier in the session the House passed House Bill 2350, a good bill that would eliminate the sales tax exemption on tickets to professional sporting events. In other words, now when you buy a courtside Thunder ticket, you don’t pay any sales tax on your $1,500 purchase. But under HB2350 you would pay a 4.5% state sales tax, or $67.50, as well as additional sales tax of about the same amount that goes to the city and county. But if today you buy a $6 ticket to a Drillers baseball game, you pay no state tax but you would pay the same 4.5% tax, or $.27, under HB2350.

This bill passed the House of Representatives but was killed in the Senate. So leadership came back with HB2361, under which you would make a “payment in lieu of sales tax”: $1 for any ticket $50 and under, $2 for any ticket over $50. Under HB2350, then, the payment would be equivalent to a 16% tax on that $6 ticket but only 0.13% on that courtside seat. That is 250 times as much (percentage) that the poor guy has to pay to eat a hotdog outside the left field fence as opposed to what the rich guy pays to sit behind Westbrook.

It is not a big difference in amount but it is a HUGE difference in principle. Further, since it is a “payment in lieu of taxes,” the city and county get nothing from it, once again demonstrating the disdain of the Legislature for the plight of local governments.

I have been writing about the Restoring Oklahoma Plan, the House Democrats’ proposal to fix our budget crisis, not with gimmicks but rather with sustainable income. Much happened this week, or did not happen, depending on how you look at it. This week the House JCAB (the Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget), through which all appropriation bills must come, actually passed some parts of our Restoring Oklahoma Plan.

For instance, we passed combined corporate reporting (HB2369), which would close a loophole in our state tax code that allows a multistate corporation to pay income taxes on profits made in Oklahoma to another state in which it does business, where the tax rates might be lower. Under HB2369, the company has to pay the tax to Oklahoma for profits made in Oklahoma. Giving credit where credit is due, leadership also allowed us to reinstate one-half of the Earned Income Tax Credit (HB2368), which was eliminated last year. This was not actually a part of our plan but is something we of the minority party completely support. It simply helps poor people. At the national level, the EITC’s biggest proponent was President Ronald Reagan.

But the big issue of the week was the cigarette tax. I voted for it in committee as HB1841, and will vote for it again on the floor of the House, if given the proper opportunity. It is part of our plan. The healthcare industry seems to believe this tax is their salvation, and no doubt it would help. But alone, it doesn’t do enough. Further, there are those who want to tie managed care into the deal, which would destroy healthcare in Oklahoma.

But what we need more than anything else is to restore the gross production tax on oil to 5%, or better yet 7%. Remember that army of lobbyists I mentioned? Leadership hasn’t gotten their permission to raise the GPT, even though many small oil companies and executives are lobbying to restore the rate and the public very much wants it.

So, rather than pursuing the GPT, leadership repackaged the cigarette tax, bundled it with a fuel tax increase on the middle class, and elimination of relatively meaningless oil and gas credits in a constitutionally questionable bill, HB2365. That’s how they are trying to twist our arms: make us vote for something we don’t want in order to get something we do want. But neither cigarette bill (HB1841 or HB2365) came up for a floor vote this week, obviously because there are not enough votes on the majority side to pass either one. That’s the way politics is played here at the Capitol. The good news: negotiations continue.

(Representative Loring is a Democrat from Miami, OK.)



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

04 May

DNC Chair Perez Statement on Trumpcare Vote

Perez on Trumpcare Vote

“More than 60 times over the last seven years, House Republicans voted to repeal protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Today, they voted again to repeal those and more protections. For some Americans, Trumpcare will mean bankruptcy. For others, it will be a death sentence.

“Trump promised he wouldn’t take away health care from anyone. He lied. Trump promised he wouldn’t take away protections for people with pre-existing conditions. He lied. Trump promised not to cut Medicaid. He lied.

“My dad died of a heart attack when I was 12. But he lived long enough to teach me that our country’s greatness lies in its compassion. Instead of showing compassion, Trump and Republicans spat in the face of human decency. The DNC, Democrats across the country, and the millions of Americans who will be harmed by Trumpcare if it passes the Senate will hold them accountable.”

If Trumpcare becomes law:

  • 24 million Americans will be stripped of healthcare coverage.
  • Planned Parenthood will be defunded, make it more difficult for millions of women to access critical health services.
  • Premiums on older Americans will skyrocket.
  • 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.

04 May

DNC Chair Tom Perez Statement on Trumpcare

Perez on Trumpcare

“Trump and Republicans will own every preventable death, every untreated illness, and every bankruptcy that American families will be forced to bear if this bill becomes law and millions lose access to affordable health care. The 24 million who would lose access to health care is not just a number—it represents fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers and even newborn babies with heart diseases or cancers that are too costly to treat without affordable insurance.

“Trump and Republicans are telling the parents of children with special needs that they’re on their own. They’re telling insurance companies to go ahead and use lifetime limits to decide when someone with a chronic illness has had enough health care. As if this attack on ordinary Americans weren’t reprehensible enough, Republicans in Congress might keep Obamacare’s best protections for themselves and their staffers, as they rip them away from their own constituents. It seems the only people who will truly benefit from this legislation are the uber-rich, who will pocket hundreds of billions in tax breaks. Trump and Republicans will be held accountable.”

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