Tag Archives: Oklahoma

Oklahoma Senate Passes Constitutional Carry Bill

Oklahoma City, OK – The Oklahoma Senate passed concealed carry, or “constitutional carry,” legislation that would allow Oklahoma residents who are 21 and older, as well as military personnel 18 and older and legally eligible to own a firearm, to concealed carry their gun. The passage of Senate Bill 1212 would remove the current requirement of obtaining a concealed carry permit in order to carry a concealed firearm for self-defense and follows the Oklahoma House approving the legislation in a 59-28 vote on April 25.

The Senate passed the legislation by a 33-9 vote, according to a report by The Hill. Tulsa World reported that state Sen. Nathan Dahm (R), the author of the bill, said the legislation would have no effect on locations that have banned firearms such as governmental buildings and schools, and that “the bill would still require a background check currently required to purchase a firearm.” The Norman Transcript notes that “under current law, Oklahomans who are legally able to purchase a firearm are required to attend an eight-hour training course, undergo an Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) background check, and be fingerprinted and photographed if they’re not already in the state system.”

A report from the Associated Press noted that “A background check would still be required before a person could purchase a firearm and handguns would remain prohibited in places where they are currently banned, including elementary schools, colleges, universities and government buildings. The bill also excludes anyone prohibited by state or federal law from owning a weapon as well as those convicted of assault and battery, domestic abuse, violating a protective order or drug crimes.” The AP also referred to a statement from Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation that announced the bill would remove “the training requirement for carrying a firearm as well as an extensive background check process that includes mental health and court records.”

Breitbart reported that “State Sen. Kevin Matthews (D-11) opposed the legislation, arguing that people should be required to obtain a permit for a gun, similar to obtaining a license to drive a car. Dahm refuted Matthews “by pointing out that the Second Amendment protects a constitutional right to bear arms, not a constitutional right to drive cars.”

Currently, there are twelve states that have passed legislation to abolish permitting requirements to concealed carry a firearm, including Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming, and West Virginia. Breitbart reports that the majority of Montana and Arkansas recognize constitutional carry as well.

According to a report by Breitbart News:

FBI figures published by the NRA show that Alaska’s handgun murder rate “declined after the state enacted permitless carry in 2003.” Moreover, in the years since Alaska’s permit requirement was abolished “handgun murders have declined as a percentage of the total number of murders.”

A drop in handgun murders also took place in Arizona after that state abolished its concealed carry permit requirement in 2010. And in Wyoming–which abolished its permit requirement in 2011–handgun murders have declined as well.

The bill to eliminate carry permits is now at the desk of Republican Gov. Mary Fallin. Tulsa World reported that “Fallin, a Second Amendment supporter, signed legislation to allow open carry of firearms but has previously vetoed gun bills.”

Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Neighboring States’ Suit Against Colorado Pot Legalization

The Supreme Court announced on Monday that it will not hear a lawsuit filed by the states of Nebraska and Oklahoma that claims that Colorado’s recreational pot law violates federal law and enables the trafficking of marijuana across their borders.

The State of Colorado authorizes, oversees, protects and profits from a sprawling $100-million-per-month marijuana growing, processing and retailing organization that exported thousands of pounds of marijuana to some 36 states in 2014,” Nebraska and Oklahoma’s attorneys argued according to The New York Times. “If this entity were based south of our border, the federal government would prosecute it as a drug cartel.

[RELATED: GOP-led Pa. House Passes Bill to Legalize Medical Marijuana]

A brief filed by Colorado’s attorneys read, “Nebraska and Oklahoma concede that Colorado has power to legalize the cultivation and use of marijuana — a substance that for decades has seen enormous demand and has, until recently, been supplied exclusively through a multi-billion-dollar black market. Yet the plaintiff states seek to strike down the laws and regulations that are designed to channel demand away from this black market and into a licensed and closely monitored retail system.

The court did not explain why it will not hear the case, but Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who dissented from the majority along with Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., wrote in his opinion cited by The Denver Post, “The complaint, on its face, presents a ‘controvers[y] between two or more States’ that this Court alone has authority to adjudicate. The plaintiff States have alleged significant harms to their sovereign interests caused by another State. Whatever the merit of the plaintiff States’ claims, we should let this complaint proceed further rather than denying leave without so much as a word of explanation.

[RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Cannabis Oil Activist Shona Banda, Now Facing Felony Charges, Speaks Out]

Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson said in a statement, “Today, the Supreme Court has not held that Colorado’s unconstitutional facilitation of marijuana industrialization is legal, and the Court’s decision does not bar additional challenges to Colorado’s scheme in federal district court.

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman applauded the decision and said, “Although we’ve had victories in several federal lawsuits over the last month, the legal questions surrounding [Colorado’s recreational pot legalization] Amendment 64 still require stronger leadership from Washington.

Leading up to the decision, Obama administration attorneys had urged the court not to hear the case, whereas a group of former Drug Enforcement Administration officials had argued in favor of Nebraska and Oklahoma’s assertions.

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Libertarian Party Obtains Ballot Access in Okla. for First Time Since 2000

The Libertarian Party just scored a major victory in its quest to fulfill candidate Gary Johnson’s promise that the party will be on the ballot in all 50 states as an alternative to the Republicans and Democrats in the 2016 presidential election.

Ballot Access News is reporting that the Oklahoma Election Board announced on Monday that it has verified the Libertarian Party’s petition to become a qualified party in the state, meaning that its presidential candidate will appear on the 2016 ballot and that its voters can register to vote as members of the party.

Only Republican and Democratic candidates have appeared on the Oklahoma presidential ballot in every election so far since the year 2000. The only political party to gain recognized party status since that time, the Americans Elect party in 2011, did not place a candidate on the ballot after doing so.

[RELATED: Libertarian Party of Maine Files Suit Seeking Recognized Party Status, Ballot Access]

Truth in Media reported last year on the fact that Oklahoma Republican Gov. Mary Fallin had signed a bill into law in May of 2015 that reduced the number of signatures required for a third party to obtain qualified party status from 5 percent of the number of people who voted in the last gubernatorial election to 3 percent.

Prior to that change in the law, the Libertarian Party called Oklahoma “one of the toughest states for ballot access.

According to The Associated Press, the Oklahoma Libertarian Party had submitted a petition with 42,000 signatures in February, above the 24,745 signatures required to meet the 3 percent rule.

We did it. Now we have to make it count,” said Oklahoma Libertarian Party vice chair Tina Kelly. She said that the party has a dozen in-state candidates that are planning to run for office, including two possible contenders for U.S. Senate.

[RELATED: DONEGAN: If GOP Debate Stage Can Fit 11, Let Third Parties In General Election Debates]

In order to remain a qualified party in future elections, the top LP candidate on the ballot must garner at least 10 percent of the vote, a steep hurdle for a party that drew one percent of the vote nationally in the 2012 presidential election. However, a bill that would reduce that threshold from 10 percent to 2.5 percent passed the Oklahoma Senate by a vote of 42-1 on March 10. It has been referred to the Oklahoma House of Representatives for consideration.

Election law expert Richard Winger of Ballot Access News wrote, “The most difficult petition requirement the Libertarian Party must now complete, in order to have its presidential nominee on the ballot in all states in 2016, is the Illinois requirement, 25,000 signatures.

For more 2016 election coverage, click here.

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Audit Reveals Oklahoma State Officials Using Seized Property, Funds For Personal Use

Oklahoma state audits from 2009 to 2014 have revealed that while some property and funds seized by law enforcement agencies have gone missing, others have been used by Oklahoma state officials for personal and other improper uses.

Oklahoma Watch, a nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism organization, reported that the list of violations included “using seized money to pay on a prosecutor’s student loans” and “allowing a prosecutor to live rent-free in a confiscated house for years.”

Republican State Sen. Kyle Loveless, who is sponsoring a bill that intends to curb the abuses of civil asset forfeiture by law enforcement, told Oklahoma Watch that the more he learns about the practice, the more upset and outraged he becomes.

“Your property is considered guilty until proven innocent,” Loveless said. “It is up to the individual to petition the government after they’ve seized it to prove that it is innocent. To me, that, on its face, is un-American.”

Under the current law, once police seize either property of funds from a suspect, a judge is asked to grant forfeiture on those assets and they are transferred to the District Attorney’s office, where the proceeds are supposed to be used for the enforcement of drug laws.

Loveless’ bill, Senate Bill 838, would create the Personal Asset Protection Act, and would not allow seized assets to be forfeited unless the suspect is convicted.

The bill was called the “single worst, most damning piece of legislation” for drug enforcement by Sheriff Randall Edwards, who said that it if passed, it would “set the war on drugs back twenty years and will literally allow drug traffic to go unchecked in Oklahoma.”

Oklahoma Watch reported that in one case, a 2009 audit revealed that after a house was seized in 2004, and a judge ordered to have it sold at an auction, a Beaver County assistant district attorney lived in it rent-free until 2009, paid for all utility bills and repairs with his supervision fee account and did not report the benefit as income for tax purposes.

In another case, a 2014 audit found that $5,000 in forfeiture funds had been used to pay for an assistant district attorney’s student loans, and after the payments were revealed, the Oklahoma District Attorneys Council returned the money using funds from its own student-loan program.

Oklahoma Watch also noted that according to the audits, “many district attorneys’ districts did not have written formal policies governing seized property,” and in many cases, “local law enforcement agencies did not keep an inventory of seized items.” 

The audit reports found cases where seized money was spent before it was forfeited in court, some forfeiture cases were never reported, seized money was used to pay for a retirement party, seized assets such as guns, money and vehicles could not be accounted for, and money from forfeitures was spent on court costs.

Oklahoma Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Alleging Saudi Involvement in 9/11 Attacks

Last week Zacarias Moussaoui had a lawsuit thrown out by U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-Lagrange because of a filing error. The Oklahoman reports that the judge dismissed the suit because Moussaoui did not pay a $400 filing fee and failed to ask for the fee to be waived.

Moussaoui is serving a life sentence with no possibility of parole for his involvement in the planning of the 9/11 attacks and connections to Osama bin Laden. In 2005 Moussaoui said he was supposed to pilot a plane into the White House. Since his arrest Moussaoui has sought to expose what he says is funding from Saudi Arabia’s royal family.

In February, Moussaoui released a statement from prison detailing the role of Saudi Arabia’s royal family in financing terror attacks, including the 9/11 attacks. He also claimed that Saudi Arabia did not cut ties to al-Qaeda members in 1994. Moussaoui says he created a database of al-Qaeda donors and remembers some of the names.

The Saudi Embassy has denied any involvement in the 9/11 attacks and claimed the 9/11 Commission found the Saudi government and officials were not involved.

Moussaoui sent a complaint to the Oklahoma federal court in October 2014, asking the judge to let him testify about what he knows. He claims he met with the Saudi prince at the University of Oklahoma in February 2001 to take flying lessons.

Moussaoui also asked the judge to grant him an attorney so he can sue the Obama Administration, who he claims is attempting to prevent him from testifying on behalf of the 9/11 victims family members in their suit against Saudi Arabia. Moussaoui said he is trying to expose a “bigger conspiracy” related to 9/11. Despite these attempts, Judge Miles-Lagrange dismissed the lawsuits based on the filing error. Federal judges in Colorado, Florida and Texas have also refused his requests.

The Saudi Connection

In early April TruthInMedia reported that Saudi Arabia asked a New York City judge to reject another lawsuit from the families of the 9/11 victims. Lawyers representing Saudi Arabia filed papers in a Manhattan federal court claiming that no evidence exists linking the nation to the attacks. The family members of the 9/11 victims point to testimony from Moussaoui.

Lawyers representing the Saudi Kingdom called Moussaoui’s comments “colorful but immaterial hearsay statements.” Moussaoui was previously found to be a paranoid schizophrenic by a psychologist testifying in his trial.

In late March the Federal Bureau of Investigation released a report that attempts to discredit a previous report that hinted at connections between a Saudi family in Prestencia, Florida and the 9/11 hijackers. The FBI 9/11 Review Commission told Congress that a 2002 report from the FBI “was poorly written and wholly unsubstantiated.”

An agent with the bureau originally found that the Saudi family left in a hurry two weeks before 9/11, leaving behind cars, furniture, clothes, and other items. The information was revealed in a 2010 Freedom of Information Act request which found that an unidentified family member was a student at the same flight school that two of accused 9/11 hijackers attended.

The FBI 9/11 Review Commission largely ignored any evidence of Saudi involvement. The New York Post notes, “The review panel highlighted one local FBI report generated from the investigation that said Abdulaziz and Anoud al-Hijji, the prominent Saudi couple who “fled” their home, had “many connections” to “individuals associated with the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001.”

The is only the latest attempt to hold the Saudi royalty accountable. A previous lawsuit from the families was rejected when a judge found that Saudi Arabia was protected because of sovereign immunity. The decision was reversed by a federal appeals court and the families continue their fight.

Despite the denials from Saudi officials, former Senator Bob Graham said he is convinced the Saudi government funded “at least some of the terrorists who carried out the Sept. 11 attacks.” Graham is the former co-chairman of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into the attacks. He recently told the New York Times that he was not giving up his pursuit of finding out who was funding the 9/11 attacks.

OK GOP Governor Signs Bill Making Third-Party Ballot Access Easier

“Today marks an important milestone in Oklahoma history — a day in which the state Legislature and governor not only acknowledged the harmful nature of Oklahoma’s ballot access laws, but also made an effort to ease that burden,” said a statement by the Libertarian Party, cited by The Oklahoman. On Tuesday, Republican Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed HB 2181, a bill that reduces the number of signatures required by independent parties in order to obtain recognized party status and ballot access from 5% of the number of people who voted in the last gubernatorial or presidential election to 3% of those who voted in the most recent gubernatorial contest. The new law is set to take effect on November 1 of this year.

A blog on the Libertarian Party’s website noted, “To get on the ballot in 2016 in Oklahoma, 24,712 valid signatures will be needed. Under the old standard, the amount would have been 41,188.” Libertarian Party staff said that Oklahoma’s outgoing 5% rule made it “one of the toughest states for ballot access.”

Oklahoma’s Republican Speaker of the House Jeff Hickman was one of the authors and initial sponsors of the bill. An op-ed in Tulsa World stated, “Hickman originally proposed bringing the number all the way down to 1 percent.”

Ballot Access News pointed out the fact that Governor Mary Fallin signed the bill within a day of it reaching her desk.

A statement by the Green Party, cited by The Oklahoman, said that the bill’s passage “opens up the possibility for progress towards greater political representation and participation” but that the Green Party will continue pushing for the signature requirement to be changed to 5,000.

Since the year 2000, no independent party has obtained official ballot access in Oklahoma such that a candidate could identify by that label on the ballot.

For more election coverage, click here.

Oklahoma University Expels 2 Students for Leading Fraternity’s Racist Chant

Following the circulation of a viral video that showed members of the Oklahoma University chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) singing a racist chant, the university has severed ties with the fraternity and has expelled two students who participated in the chant.

David Boren, the President of OU, released a statement on Tuesday announcing the expulsion of two students who were “leaders in the singing of a racist chant.”

I have emphasized that there is zero tolerance for this kind of threatening racist behavior at the University of Oklahoma.” Boren said. “I hope that the entire nation will join us in having zero tolerance of such racism when it raises its ugly head in other situations across the country.”

We will continue our investigation of all the students engaged in the singing of this chant,” Boren said. “Once their identities have been confirmed, they will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.”

Boren originally responded to the video with a statement released on Monday in which he said that the university was severing all ties with the local SAE chapter, and closing its fraternity house.

In addition to the SAE members on board the bus in the video, there were women present who were initially identified as members of the sorority Delta Delta Delta. The sorority’s OU chapter released a statement to the university’s newspaper claiming that they are not under investigation by the university, and that none of their chapter members have been officially identified in the video.

On Monday, the OU football team cancelled practice to protest the racist acts. Wearing all black, and walking arm and arm, the players marched into the practice facility and declared that they would not be practicing. The move was approved by Head Football Coach Bob Stoops, who posted a picture of the players’ protest on his Twitter account, with the caption, “#notonOUrcampus.”

Eli Weathers, a junior accounting, finance and political science major at OU, told Benswann.com that he would describe SAE as a “well-known fraternity on campus.” He said that as news of the incident has escalated quickly, and it has become a national issue, four out of his five professors have addressed it in class over the last two days.

Since it has become such a public issue, talking about it has almost become unavoidable,” said Weathers. He added that almost all of the comments he has heard, from both professors and students, have condemned the racist acts as unacceptable.

Weathers told Benswann.com that he doesn’t think the incident involving SAE is isolated solely to the fraternity, or to its chapter at OU, and that he believes it is more of an overreaching issue that involves all “secret/exclusive” societies.

“In almost every ‘secret/exclusive’ society there are comments made about the people that aren’t in them,” Weathers said. “This may be against a race, socio-economic group, or any other group of people that aren’t in that society.”

Weathers concluded by saying that during his time at OU he has never witnessed any explicit, racist speech, and he does not expect to. “I believe the University of Oklahoma fosters an environment that celebrates diversity and condemns such behavior,” Weathers said.

Similar scandals involving fraternities have also been reported at schools such as the University of Texas at Austin and Texas Tech University.

Raw Story posted a picture on Tuesday of a list of rules for fraternity members that was displayed outside the house of the University of Texas’ chapter of Phi Gamma Delta. The rules listed on the flyer included “no fagetry,” “no interracial dating,” and “no Mexicans.”

UT’s campus newspaper, The Daily Texan, reported that the image originally surfaced in 2007 and its authenticity “has never been verified.”

The Texas Tech University chapter of Phi Delta Theta came under fire in Sept. 2014 after obscene images of a sign that condoned rape surfaced from one of the fraternity’s parties and were reported by the Huffington Post.

The Houston Chronicle reported that the international Phi Delta Theta fraternity placed its Texas Tech chapter in escrow, and severed ties with its members who “directly violated organizational policy.” Texas Tech responded to the incident by creating a “task force” to oversee all fraternities and sororities affiliated with the university.

On Tuesday, the editorial board of Texas Tech’s campus newspaper, the Daily Toreador, wrote an article condemning the university’s response to the vulgar acts of Phi Delta Theta, when compared to the way Oklahoma University officials responded to the racist acts of Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

Oklahoma officials should be commended for their swift and decisive response,” the editorial board wrote. “Oklahoma’s response looks even more timely and appropriate when compared to Texas Tech’s response to a similar incident that took place in September.”

‘Right to Try’ bill in Oklahoma moves forward

Legislation has been approved by the Oklahoma House committee which would allow terminally ill patients to have access to experimental medications which are not yet available to the public.

Rep. Richard Morrissette (D) is the author of the Oklahoma version of the Right to Try bill. Morrissette has said, according to the AP, this bill can give new hope to terminally ill patients “that one of these experimental drugs will hit the mark.”

The House Public Health Committee voted 10-0 on Tuesday in favor of pushing the bill forward for consideration by the full House. A number of other states, such as Arizona, Colorado, and Louisiana already have similar bills in place.

The Daily Journal reports the U.S. Food and Drug Administration already allows terminally ill patients to seek to undergo experimental medications. However, it usually takes hundreds of hours to complete the paperwork and for the paperwork to make its way through the proper government channels before it is approved. Many terminally ill patients die while waiting to receive government approval to undergo these new medical treatments.

Christina Sandefur is an attorney for the Goldwater Institute, a conservative public policy group, and she said, “These are people whose days, hours, even minutes may be numbered.”

There would be some requirements when it comes to receiving the experimental medications even if the bill were to pass.

One requirement is a terminally ill patients doctor must approve of the usage of the medication before moving forward. The patient in question would also have to acknowledge the medication they would be receiving poses potential risks o their health and well-being. The company who develops the drug must also be willing to make the medication available to the patient.

The bill would also allow pharmaceutical companies to deploy experimental treatment devices in the same manner as the experimental medications.

The full bill can be read here.

Supreme Court refuses to act on same-sex marriage issue

While more people are showing support for same-sex marriage, the Supreme Court made the decision Monday to not get involved with any appeals court decisions over same-sex marriage and allow these courts to decide how their states should move forward.

As a result of their refusal to get involved, five additional states have been added to the list of 19 others who allow same-sex marriage.  These five new states are Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin, according to Reuters.  The appeals courts who rule over these states have already ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in the past.

Six other states, who fall under the jurisdiction of those appeals courts, may also be affected by this decision and they may see same-sex marriage soon.  These six are Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

“The court’s letting stand these victories means that gay couples will soon share in the freedom to marry in 30 states,” said president of the Freedom to Marry organization, Evan Wolfson, according to USA Today.  “But we are one country, with one Constitution, and the court’s delay in affirming the freedom to marry nationwide prolongs the patchwork of state-to-state discrimination and the harms and indignity that the denial of marriage still inflicts on too many couples in too many places.”

Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, said, according to the BBC, “Today is a joyous day for thousands of couples across America who will immediately feel the impact of today’s Supreme Court action.”

This is not the first time the Supreme Court has made a decision which has suggested support for same-sex marriage.  Last year, the Supreme Court invalidated parts of a law which denied legally married same-sex partners spousal benefits.

All of the small victories for those in support of same-sex marriage make many believe the Supreme Court will soon make a decision which will tackle the issue nationwide.

Charges for Oklahoma beheading suspect emerge as details come to light

Days after Alton Nolen attacked two women after losing his job, murder charges are expected to be filed against him on Monday.

Nolen lost his job at Vaughan Foods in Oklahoma last Thursday and after this, Nolen reportedly went to his former workplace and carried out acts of violence against his co-workers.

Nolen reportedly drove to the Vaughan Foods processing plant, and rammed his car into another vehicle at the entrance before he entered the building.  Upon entering, it is believed he grabbed a knife, similar to those used on the production floor of Vaughan Foods, and beheaded 54-year-old Colleen Hufford, an employee at Vaughan Foods.

Then, Nolen supposedly attacked 43-year-old Traci Johnson, another employee in the plant, before he was stopped by gunfire.  Mark Vaughan is the company’s chief operating officer as well as a reserve deputy sheriff for Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Department, and it was only after he shot Nolen the attack stopped.

Moore Police Sgt. Jeremy Lewis told the LA Times, detectives will recommend prosecutors to charge Nolen with first-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon.

After he was released from prison in 2013 on drug related charges, Nolen reportedly became more religious and co-workers at Vaughan Foods said he had tried to convert them to Islam.

A Facebook page under the name “Jah’Keem Yisrael,” was used by Nolen before the attacks according to CNN.  The page contains pictures of Nolen as well as posts and pictures regarding Islam and the Quran.  Some of these pictures are of al-Qaeda chiefs as well as the 9/11 attacks.

There were also disturbing posts on this Facebook page.  One post reportedly showed a beheaded man with the quote, “I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their fingertips off them.”

The Oklahoma Conference of Churches made a statement Saturday saying, “The Islamic Community of Oklahoma has consistently condemned all violence — most especially acts of violence ostensibly carried out in the name of Islam… Along with our Muslim brothers and sisters we affirm that true Islam is, in fact, a religion of peace and that those inflicting violence in the name of Islam are perverting Islam for their own ends.”

After undergoing surgery, Nolen spoke to investigators on Friday, but no details have emerged form these interviews.

Appeals court wants execution drug details before lethal injection

An execution in Arizona has been put on hold by a federal appeals court after the court said the man sentenced to death has a right to know what drugs will be used in the cocktail used to carryout his execution.

Joseph Wood was convicted of the 1989 shooting and deaths of his ex-girlfriend, Debra Dietz, as well as her father Eugene.  Wood was sentenced to death in 1991 and was scheduled to be put to death this Wednesday, but a three-judge panel in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this past Saturday Wood was entitled to more information regarding the drugs which would put him to death.

The ruling states, according to the Washington Post, “Information concerning execution protocol is not only of general interest to the public, it is important for consideration by the courts. … We, and the public, cannot meaningfully evaluate execution protocol cloaked in secrecy.”

“Today the court has made a well-reasoned ruling,” said Wood’s lawyer Dale Baich, according to the BBC, after hearing the verdict, “affirming the core First Amendment principles regarding the public’s right to know, which aid all parts of our democratic government.”

This ruling was brought about after Wood, along with five other death row inmates, sued the state of Arizona for not providing adequate information on the drug cocktail to be used in their executions.  The secrecy surrounding the drugs used in botched Ohio and Oklahoma executions is the central issue at hand, and the six inmates say the secrecy surrounding the drugs violates their constitutional rights.

Dissenting judge on the appeals court, Judge Jay S. Bybee, said in a statement according to the NY Times, the court had expanded the right of access under the First Amendment in order to “bar the state from lawfully imposing the death penalty.”

Oklahoma Company Markets Bulletproof Blanket For Childrens’ Use In School Shootings

Oklahoma company ProTecht has developed a new and unique type of body armor for kids called the Bulletproof Blanket. The blanket resembles a gym mat and is worn by strapping the blanket around the arms like a backpack. It was designed by podiatrist Steve Walker, and Stan Schone, Jeff Quinn and Jay Hanan contributed to its development.

“Who would have guessed that on a quiet spring morning their lives would be changed forever by a sudden school tragedy,” ProTecht’s website narrates.

While ProTecht markets the idea that the blanket could prove useful in natural disasters to protect children and adults from debris, Protecht’s website also states that the “Bodyguard blanket was developed and tested to specifically protect our children and teachers in the event of a school shooting.” Protecht claims that the blanket offers protection from 90% of weapons that have been used in previous school shootings.

Schone said that the blanket has passed National Institute of Justice Class 3A test, which is used to test body armor for police, according to The Oklahoman.

The Bulletproof Blanket is bright orange and can be folded for children to crouch underneath. Each blanket is tentatively priced at around $1,000, and Protecht anticipates that they will be able to join with schools and nonprofits to make the blankets more affordable. In the case of using the blankets for protection from tornadoes, ProTecht suggested that the cost of the blankets are less than building tornado shelters.

“This thing gives kids an option, an alternative that will give them an opportunity to survive,” Schone told The Oklahoman.

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Oklahoma Senate Passes Solar Panel Surcharge

Oklahoma City, OK, April 22, 2014– Some Oklahoma residents who install solar panels or wind turbines on their property in the future are likely to get hit with a surcharge on their utility bill. Senate Bill 1456 passed 83-5 on Monday, and awaits a signature from Governor Mary Fallon.

The bill, if signed, would authorize utility companies to charge higher base rates to “distributed generation” customers. Distributed generation customers are residents who generate enough electricity through their solar panels and turbines to sell excess energy back to the grid. The utility companies would apply for this authority through the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.

Oklahoma utility companies support this measure, explaining that the new rate increase will keep prices “fair”. Utility companies justified the bill by explaining that they lose money when they buy excess electricity from these residents and redistribute it to other customers. By creating a new class of customers and charging them an increased rate, they argue that utility companies will reclaim the money they’ve lost.

According to The Oklahoman newspaper, Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. spokeswoman Kathleen O’Shea said, “We’re not anti-solar or anti-wind or trying to slow this down, we’re just trying to keep it fair.”

Environmental groups are opposing the surcharge, and there are residents who are concerned about what the cost is going to ultimately be. There’s a possibility that the surcharge will discourage people from seeking to install solar energy on their property if SB 1456 is signed into law.

“It may affect our business, but we don’t know yet,” said Chris Gary, owner of Sun City Solar Energy in Oklahoma City. “Is it a killer for solar in Oklahoma? I don’t believe so, but when you open the door to a charge, that means it can always be increased. A speedbump could turn into a roadblock.”

The surcharge will not apply to customers who already have solar panels and turbines in place. It is currently unknown how much the surcharge will cost.

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Breaking: Oklahoma legislators pass bill legalizing gold and silver tender: Nullify the fed?

OKLAHOMA CITY, March 11, 2014– On Monday the Oklahoma State Senate passed a bill that would legalize gold and silver as legal tender, moving the legislation on to the House for consideration. The vote was 37-4.

Senate Bill 862 (SB862), was introduced by Sen. Clark Jolley and Rep. Gary Banz, with cosponsorship from Sen. Natham Dahm. It reads, in part:

“Gold and silver coins issued by the United States government are legal tender in the State of Oklahoma. No person may compel another person to tender or accept gold or silver coins that are issued by the United States government, except as agreed upon by contract.”

If passed into law, Oklahoma could become the first state to recognize gold and silver as legal tender authorized for payments of debts and taxes.

Last month, the Arizona senate also passed a similar bill by a vote of 18-12. However, the governor has already vetoed a similar bill last year.

The United States Constitution states in Article I, Section 10, “No State shall…make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts.” The Constitutional tender act is a big step towards that constitutional requirement which has been ignored for a long time in every state of the country. Such a tactic would achieve the desired goal of abolishing the Federal Reserve system by attacking it from the bottom up – pulling the rug out from under it by working to make its functions irrelevant at the State and local level.

Passage of this legislation would introduce currency competition with Federal Reserve Notes. South Texas College Professor William Greene explains further:

Over time, as residents of the State use both Federal Reserve Notes and silver and gold coins, the fact that the coins hold their value more than Federal Reserve Notes do will lead to a “reverse Gresham’s Law” effect, where good money (gold and silver coins) will drive out bad money (Federal Reserve Notes). As this happens, a cascade of events can begin to occur, including the flow of real wealth toward the State’s treasury, an influx of banking business from outside of the State – as people in other States carry out their desire to bank with sound money – and an eventual outcry against the use of Federal Reserve Notes for any transactions.

Once things get to that point, Federal Reserve notes would become largely unwanted and irrelevant for ordinary people. Nullifying the Fed on a state by state level is what will get us there.

Without a single act of Congress, the Federal Reserve system can be brought to its knees by passing such bills in states all over the country.

SB862 will first be assigned to a house committee where it will need to pass by a majority vote before the full house has an opportunity to send the bill to the governor’s desk for a signature.

Follow Michael Lotfi on Facebook and on Twitter.

BREAKING: Oklahoma legislators vote to nullify Agenda 21

OKLAHOMA CITY, Mar. 4, 2014 – A bill that would nullify Agenda 21 in Oklahoma passed through the state house today.

“This bill protects your private property from being acquired by eminent domain from without a public vote or public hearing,” said bill sponsor, Rep. Lewis Moore.

HB2807, known as the “Oklahoma Community Protection Act,” would prohibit any state agency or political subdivision from adopting or implementing “policy recommendations that deliberately or inadvertently infringe upon or restrict private property rights without due process.”

It also would void any previous commitments which may have been made under Agenda 21 or a similar program.

It reads, “any debt or commitment to an international or federal entity whereby the citizens did not have the ability to exercise their constitutional rights shall be considered null and void.”

The bill passed by a vote of 66-26.

The United Nations passed Agenda 21 in 1992 at its Conference on Environmental and Development. The global initiative encompasses a wide range of programs meant to promote “sustainability.” It works its way into the U.S. system through a back door strategy, targeting local governments. Objections to Agenda 21 include violations  of personal property rights, the erosion of state and local authority, and  binding of the United States to international agreements contrary to the U.S. Constitution.

HB2805 now moves to the state senate, where it will first need to be passed by a committee before the full senate has an opportunity to concur.

The Tenth Amendment Center, a national think tank focused on reclaiming state power from the federal government, has been following the bill closely and working directly with legislators to ensure its success.

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Can the EPA be nullified? Oklahoma is leading the charge

NullificationOklahoma legislators have turned to nullification pursuant under the Ninth and Tenth Amendments of the United States Constitution in an attempt to fight back against the EPA’s unconstitutional rule making.

State Sen. Patrick Anderson recently submitted SB1167 to the Oklahoma Legislature. This bill will render void all rules imposed by the EPA and not passed by Congress. It is absolute nullification of that agency’s rulemaking in the state of Oklahoma.

From the bill:

“The Legislature declares that the rule-making authority of the Environmental Protection Agency is not authorized by the Constitution of the United States and violates its true meaning and intent as given by the founders and ratifiers, and is hereby declared to be invalid in the State of Oklahoma, shall not be recognized by this state, is specifically rejected by this state, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in this state.”

The legislation also takes it a step further by empowering the state lawmakers to actively block enforcement of such regulations.

“It shall be the duty of the Legislature of this state to adopt and enact any and all measures as may be necessary to prevent the enforcement of rules issued by the Environmental Protection Agency which are not specifically authorized by the Congress of the United States or specifically adopted by the Oklahoma Legislature.”

Other states have noticed the move by Oklahoma and are now considering legislation of their own. One Tennessee legislator plans to review the Oklahoma plan and possibly introduce legislation this season.

To Lean More About Nullification Visit The Tenth Amendment Center.

Follow Michael Lotfi on Facebook & on Twitter: @MichaelLotfi




If a group of Indiana school districts have their way Obamacare will be heading  back to the Supreme Court. According to a local Indiana Fox station, in total, 15 school districts have filed a joint lawsuit against President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

The suit takes aim at multiple defendants including the IRS, the Department of the Treasury and the USDHHS. The state of Indiana is the lead plaintiff.

Bose McKinney & Evans LLP is representing schools in the lawsuit. Indiana Attorney Greg Zoeller will represent the state.

School corporations involved in the lawsuit include:

  • Benton Community School Corporation
  • Community School Corporation of Eastern Hancock County
  • John Glenn School Corporation
  • Madison Consolidated Schools
  • Metropolitan School District of Martinsville
  • Monroe-Gregg School District
  • Mooresville Consolidated School Corporation
  • North Lawrence Community Schools
  • Northwestern Consolidated School District of Shelby County
  • Perry Central Community Schools
  • Shelbyville Central Schools
  • South Henry School Corporation
  • Southwest Parke Community School Corporation
  • Southwestern Jefferson County Consolidated School Corporation
  • Vincennes Community School Corporation

Indiana actually joins Oklahoma with regard to states currently filing lawsuits against the legislation. The defendants cite that the ACA employer mandate imposes significant penalties on employers who fail to provide all of their full-time workers with minimum coverage. The suit claims that the penalties would result in catastrophic financial consequences.

To avoid these penalties the school districts have cuts hours eliminating full-time positions. The lawsuit challenges new IRS regulations (similar to Oklahoma’s lawsuit). In addition, the Indiana lawsuit questions the constitutionality of the federal government imposing a federal mandate on the state of Indiana and public schools.

If successful in moving through appeals in lesser courts the two cases will make their way to the Supreme Court. Oklahoma has already made a major jump through the process.


Obamacare Might Be Heading Back To The Supreme Court: Unconstitutional

A little known secret about the President’s healthcare agenda began leaking a few months ago. The mainstream media has completely abandoned the issue, until recently. However, signs are beginning to point to hemorrhagic status as often times small leaks take up this route.ObamaWhat’s the secret? When crafting the legislation, democrats and the President made a huge mistake. Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, states were given the option to decide whether or not they wanted to set up an insurance exchange, which each state would run. Those states who choose not to set up their own insurance exchange would have a federal exchange set up in its place. States that do choose to set up an exchange are to fine employers who  do not provide insurance under the employer-mandate penalty. This money is then returned to the employees to purchase insurance through the state run exchange.
Here’s the flaw. So far more than two dozen states have opted out of the state exchange. Tennessee, Texas, Florida and Oklahoma to name a few. President Obama and democratic leadership failed to add this same penalty to states who opt out of the state exchange in place of the federal exchange. Therefore, the dozens of states that have already opted out cannot be fined under the employer-mandate penalty. This would have left Obamacare in  shambles.

So, Obama went to the IRS and had them re-write the healthcare law. However, this is unconstitutional. Only Congress can make such changes to law. A lawsuit has been making its way to the Supreme Court  filed by the state of Oklahoma challenging this illegal power grab by the IRS.

I have been following this development for quite some time. Communications director for US Congressman Scott Desjalais (R-TN), Robert Jameson told me in an interview a couple months ago;

“They made a huge mistake here. Congressman Desjarlais will be taking action on the issue and watching it closely in the Supreme Court. If we are successful in upholding this as unconstitutional it will make the states who have opted out of the state run exchange very attractive to businesses who bring jobs and prosperity. It will also make Obamacare even more unsustainable than it already is, which will leave the door open to defunding it.”

Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma Attorney General, just took a major step forward in having his case heard by the Supreme Court. A federal judge in Okalahoma ruled last Monday that Oklahoma has the legal standing to sue the federal government over the subsidies in the federally run exchanges (see video above). This is the first time a federal judge has ruled against the Obama administration with regards to the Patient Care Act in quite some time. Opponents of the Patient Care Act will certainly keep a watchful eye as this story continues to develop.


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