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13 May
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Democrats Strengthen Veto Majority in Support of Public Education

Communications & Public Affairs
May 13, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wes Carter, Press Secretary
Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus
(405) 962-7674 wes.carter@okhouse.gov

Democrats Strengthen Veto Majority in Support of Public Education

OKLAHOMA CITY — House Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman, released the following statement announcing that members of the House Democratic Caucus would join legislative Republicans to override Governor Stitt’s veto of House Bill 2741, House Bill 2742 and House Bill 2743.

“This legislative body, led by Republican majorities in both chambers, spent a large portion of last year’s legislative session giving the governor more power. Conversely, Republican leadership has spent this session trying to protect the legislature from an overzealous executive branch instead of taking back those increased powers.

“Last week, our caucus was asked to vote on a budget that borrowed money from Oklahoma retirees to pay the bills of the state. We said ‘no.’ Now, the vote in front of us is to support that budget, which we voted against, or uphold the governor’s veto and cut more than a hundred million dollars to public education.

“In the name of public education, members of the Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus will vote to override Governor Stitt’s veto.

“We are doing this while the governor sits on $800 million in federal stimulus money. Now, Governor Stitt is quick to point out that the money can’t be used on anything but things that have been impacted by COVID-19. However, after looking at our state revenue figures, looking at stores shuddered across the state, Oklahoma’s workforce reeling from unemployment and furloughs, we wonder ‘what exactly hasn’t been affected by COVID-19?’

“Moving forward, I hope Oklahomans remember who pulled the easy lever of taking money from retirees and who made the hard decision to fight against it. I hope Oklahomans will remember that their governor gambled with more than $100 million of public education funding and who made the hard decision to fight against it.

“Oklahoma Democrats have been vocal for years about the need to diversify state revenue streams, and we will continue to call for stable, recurring revenue that can support public education and other core services without relying on one-time funds and taking money from pension systems.”

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05 May
0

Democratic Leader Responds to Extension of Governor’s Emergency Powers

Communications & Public Affairs
May 5, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wes Carter, Press Secretary
Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus
(405)962-7674 wes.carter@okhouse.gov

Democratic Leader Responds to Extension of Governor’s Emergency Powers

OKLAHOMA CITY — House Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman, released the following statement after the House voted to approve the governor’s emergency executive order for another 30 days.

“I think the ‘no’ votes in my caucus come from a place of frustration and dissatisfaction with the governor’s lack of transparency and him continually keeping the Legislature and Oklahomans in the dark.

There have been three different news stories, at least one involving the FBI, regarding executive branch spending. It is not unreasonable for lawmakers to require transparency from the governor before extending his authority.

“If the governor made legitimate attempts to be transparent with the Legislature, I think you would have seen close to a unanimous vote, but until we see transparency, many of us feel we cannot vote to extend his emergency powers.”

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05 May
0

Big Win for Oklahoma Voters

For Immediate Release
May 5, 2020

Media Contact:
Angela Allmond, Communications Director
Oklahoma Democratic Party
405-536-2412

Big Win for Oklahoma Voters

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Democratic Party has released the following statement on the removal of the outdated notary verification on mail-in ballots:

“The Oklahoma Democratic Party is pleased that the Oklahoma Supreme Court saw justice to protect Oklahoma voters’ rights and agreed that the notary feature on mail-in ballots is no longer required. The Oklahoma Election Board must remove the notary requirement on future ballots in time for the Oklahoma June 30th primary.

“On Monday, May 4, 2020, the Oklahoma Supreme Court sided with the League of Women Voters after filing a lawsuit to strike the required notary portion on absentee mail-in ballots. Oklahoma was one of three states that still required a notary to verify a ballot and the.

“Voting is a constitutional right that should be protected and convenient for all. By requiring the notary verification on mail-in ballots, Oklahomans in marginalized communities and homebound individuals are at a significant disadvantage to meet the notary requirements particularly during a worldwide health crisis where our nation is facing a pandemic and sheltering in place. Voters should not be forced to make the difficult choice between their health and safety, and exercising their fundamental democratic right to vote.

“The Oklahoma Democratic Party encourages voters to vote from home and sign up today for Vote by Mail for their health and safety at VoteByMail.okdemocrats.org”

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For more information about the Oklahoma Democratic Party, visit the party website at okdemocrats.org, or call party headquarters at 405-427-3366.

04 May
0

Dunnington Supports Oklahoma Supreme Court Decision on Voter Access

Communications & Public Affairs
May 4, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: State Rep. Jason Dunnington
Phone: (405) 557-7396

Dunnington Supports Oklahoma Supreme Court Decision on Voter Access

OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Jason Dunnington, D-Oklahoma City, released the following statement in response to the Oklahoma Supreme Court order issued Monday. In it, the Court sided with the League of Women Voters, eliminating the need for a notary on mail-in and absentee ballots.

“I’m happy to see the Oklahoma Supreme Court uphold what we already knew: Oklahoma doesn’t need to be one of only three states requiring notarized ballots.

“This decision will make voting by mail more accessible and protect our hard-working poll workers from unnecessary exposure. Most importantly, it will make sure Oklahomans don’t have to choose between their health and their democracy on June 30.”

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04 May
0

House Democrats Express Frustration with Budget Process

Communications & Public Affairs
May 4, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wes Carter, Press Secretary
Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus
(405)962-7674 wes.carter@okhouse.gov

House Democrats Express Frustration with Budget Process

OKLAHOMA CITY — House Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman, released the following statement on behalf of the House Democratic Caucus regarding the budget proposed by House and Senate Republicans on Monday.

“Not because of COVID-19 but due to a clash of egos, this is one of the most disappointing budgets in my legislative career. While the governor sits on $800 million in federal funding, the legislature is constructing a budget that cuts government agencies like education and human services, takes money away from the pensions of police officers, teachers, firefighters, and public employees, and leaves Oklahomans more vulnerable to future pandemics. We are doing this based on a revenue model created by the governor’s office, but we have not been allowed to view how they actually came up with the number.

“The governor needs to stop playing political games during a pandemic and use the money allocated to Oklahoma to fund state government. If he believes in the $1.3 Billion shortfall, then he should release the formula of how he came up with the number so we can have a better understanding of what the executive branch sees.

“Oklahomans shouldn’t suffer because of political power struggles between the legislature and the governor. This governor likes to remind people why Oklahomans elected him. I can say with some certainty that they didn’t elect him to cut government when he could prevent it.”

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