Communications & Public Affairs

Sept 17, 2018

Contact: State Rep. Steve Kouplen, District 24
Phone: (405) 557-7306

EDITORS: This version uses statements in the first sentence.
Path to Today’s Need for Special Session – Governor Had Been On Board

Well Vetted Rules to Enact State Question 788 Vital Public Safety Matter

“You can’t put a price tag on public safety.”

OKLAHOMA CITY – “In response to statements last week by both Governor Fallin and the Senate co-chair of the marijuana working group on implementation of State Question 788, I would like to examine how we have arrived at this point in the process and their criticisms. Many times prior to the passage of SQ 788, the governor emphasized the fact that a special session would be needed to implement SQ 788, if passed. In my opinion, this was meant to influence the vote, knowing that the Oklahomans were weary of the legislature’s failure to deal with education funding in our state,” stated Rep. Steve Kouplen (D-Beggs)

“Even in regular session, there was an attempt by the House to deal with the possibility of passage of SQ 788, but the action was killed in the Senate. Undoubtedly, without consulting the attorney general, after passage of SQ788, the governor’s tune changed when the Oklahoma State Department of Health passed emergency rules that were less than vetted, as she signed those rules in short order. Fallin signed those rules without vetting by the public or even documentation as to the origin of authorship. When public backlash and the AG intervened, those rules were reversed. RULES THAT INCLUDED TESTING!” cited Kouplen.

“The one consistent thread in committee hearings that practically everyone agreed upon was that for the sake of public safety, there is a need for testing. The director of the Oklahoma State Department of Health, the AG’s letter and numerous legal opinions are that legislative action is required.”

“Licensing of testing protocols require statutory action by the legislature. I assume that’s what the governor knew when she was saying a special session was going to be necessary, before she flip-flopped to oppose one. So, if my call for a special session to ensure public safety and enable the process of testing to get started is, and I quote the governor and the senate co-chair “hot air and political rhetoric before the election and political pandering,” then so be it. I believe the favorability numbers of the governor and the fact that a majority of Oklahomans polled believe that we are going in the wrong direction in this state indicates where the majority of the “hot air and political pandering” is originating from on this issue. This is a vital public safety matter that can’t wait five to eight months. You can’t put a price tag on public safety.”