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Shawnee bypass: GOP lawmakers load 2010 ballot

Shawnee bypass: GOP lawmakers load 2010 ballot

This article first appeared on Newsok.com.

TRUST WOULD LIKE TO NOTE THAT SQ 744 PLANNED ON THE 2010 BALLOT IS AN INITIATIVE THAT TRUST OPPOSES.  SEE OUR LEGISLATIVE GOALS.

The Oklahoman Editorial
Published: April 23, 2009

In January when Senate minority leader Charlie Laster mulled the coming legislative session, he expressed hope that Democrats would play more of a role than merely sustaining the vetoes of his fellow Shawnee native, Gov. Brad Henry. He didn’t mention the Republican majority’s option of overriding vetoes through direct democracy.

The 2010 election is shaping up to offer the most loaded state question ballot since 2004, when citizens weighed in on gay marriage, a state lottery, a tobacco tax increase and other heavy issues. By contrast, 2008’s state question ballot was lackluster.

Henry’s veto of a voter ID bill set the stage for a direct vote on the issue. Already on the ballot is a teacher union’s attempt to require school funding to equal some magical regional average. Other potential state questions include making English the official language of state government, confirmation of workers’ comp judges and limiting legal contingency fees. The latter is leverage against trial bar/Henry resistance to other components of tort reform that won’t go to the ballot.

Teachers had no trouble turning their initiative petition into a referendum; other advocacy groups haven’t fared well recently with petition drives. Enter the Legislature, which the Republicans now run. If Henry vetoes a cherished bill, overrides are difficult. The state question option essentially bypasses the governor’s office.

Of course this makes people question whether the Legislature is even needed. But Democrats who balk at this have a short memory: It’s exactly what they did to Henry’s Republican predecessor on car tag reform.


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