The Edmond Sun

Opinion

December 23, 2013

The dark strategies of the most powerful lobbyists

EDMOND — This year Gov. Mary Fallin signed SB 630 to close down the wasteful practice of sole specing. Those who make money from sole specing didn’t appear to be paying attention to the bill as it passed without opposition.

After Gov. Fallin signed the bill, they realized what had happened and charged their lobbyists with the unenviable task of undoing our reform. Since the legislative session was nearing an end, they couldn’t just file a new bill. They had to find a pre-existing bill, take over that bill, and keep legislators from discovering the heinous nature of their proposal.

Their actions serve as a tutorial 101 about the secretive and dark form of art used by Oklahoma’s very best and, in this case, most desperate lobbyists.

First, they found a bill which was supposed to give a pay raise to state troopers. Their parasitic proposal wiped out the state trooper pay language and replaced it with their reversal of our reform. They did this in spite of the fact that the trooper pay raise language had little in common with their re-creation of sole spec bidding and could hardly be thought germaine.

So apparently petrified of legislators discovering the intent of their proposal, they didn’t have the courage to reference our law in the reversal. Normally, when a pre-existing law is being amended, the original law is referenced so the reader can understand the proposal both while it is being voted on and after it has passed.

Their proposal didn’t reference or amend ours at all. It simply created a second law which actually looked like a good law on the surface but in reality created a conflict with and reversal of our previously passed reform.

If it had been approved, they clearly counted on their attorneys interpreting the law as the preeminent law of the two because their proposal would go into law after our reform. Traditionally, when two laws conflict, the law which is approved last governs. In this way, I believe they attempted to hide the unconscionable outcome of their proposal from all but the most observant lawmakers as the casual reader would have no clue as to the real intent of their bill.

While these actions may be considered politically savvy in that legislators would not have realized what they were voting on, this terrible “art” of lawmaking has filled state statutes with conflicting provisions. A tyranny of laws results, which benefits those who can afford to hire smart attorneys to navigate through the maze of conflicting statutes, but punishes the average member of the public who has no such luxury.

A majority of the members of a conference committee had to sign the now co-opted bill before it could be forwarded for a vote of the House. Unfortunately, the lobbyists were able to bypass the requirement of a public hearing which applies to most bills before it can be signed. Legislators were asked to sign the proposal without first attending a public hearing, at which time I could have publicly exposed what they were doing.

The lobbyists then told those legislators that their proposal was necessary to assist with the Moore tornado recovery. The tornado had occurred just hours earlier, and this cynical and immediate exploitation of the tornado appears to have proven very effective.

As the session drew to a close, by deploying these and other nuanced tactics which I simply don’t have enough room to describe, they successfully convinced the requisite number of legislators to sign the bill.

In explaining why he signed the bill, one of the Legislature’s most reform-minded members apologetically explained: “Jason, they said it was for Moore and I would have done anything for Moore at that moment.”

With this collection of legislative signatures in their custody, it appeared as if their proposal was on the fast track to approval, and all our efforts to stop sole specing would be in vain.

I must ask the reader’s forgiveness but due to the space limitations of the local newspapers, I will once again need to ask for another article in which to conclude this story.

REP. JASON MURPHEY, R-Guthrie, represents House District 31, which encompasses all of Logan County and a portion of northern Edmond. He may be reached via email at jason.murphey@okhouse.gov.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Instead of mothballing Navy ships, give them to our allies

    A bitter debate has raged in the Pentagon for several months about the wisdom of taking the nuclear aircraft carrier George Washington out of service to save money. The Washington, at 24 years old a relatively young vessel, is due for a costly refit, a routine procedure that all of the 11 large carriers in service undergo regularly.

    April 18, 2014

  • The pessimist’s guide to grizzly bears and Earth Day

    This coming Friday, to “celebrate Earth Day,” the Walt Disney Co. will release one of those cutesy, fun-for-all-ages, nature documentaries. “Bears” is about grizzly bears.
    The trailer says, “From DisneyNature comes a story that all parents share. About the love, the joy, the struggle and the strength it takes to raise a family.”
    Talk about your misguided “Hollywood values.” I previously have acknowledged a morbid, unreasonable fear of grizzly bears, stemming from a youth misspent reading grisly grizzly-attack articles in Readers Digest. This fear is only morbid and unreasonable because I live about 1,500 miles from the nearest wild grizzly bear. Still. ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Digging out of the CIA-Senate quagmire

    Last week, the Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., voted to declassify parts of its report on the CIA’s rendition, detention and interrogation program. The White House, the CIA and the Senate still have to negotiate which portions of the report will be redacted before it is made public. But this is an important step in resolving the ugly dispute that has erupted between the intelligence committee and the intelligence agency.
    The dispute presents two very serious questions. Was the program consistent with American values and did it produce valuable intelligence? And is effective congressional oversight of secret activities possible in our democracy?

    April 15, 2014

  • Los Angeles Times: Congress extend jobless benefits again

    How’s this for irony: Having allowed federal unemployment benefits to run out in December, some lawmakers are balking at a bill to renew them retroactively because it might be hard to figure out who should receive them. Congress made this task far harder than it should have been, but the technical challenges aren’t insurmountable. Lawmakers should restore the benefits now and leave them in place until the unemployment rate reaches a more reasonable level.

    April 14, 2014

  • Many nations invested in Israel

    Former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Yoram Ettinger recently spoke to a gathering at the Chabad Center for Jewish Life and Learning in Oklahoma City. The event began with a presentation by Rabbi Ovadia Goldman, who told the attendee that the  upcoming Jewish holiday of Passover was an occasion for them to embrace the children of God, which is all of humanity.

    April 14, 2014

  • Coming soon: More ways to get to know your doctor

    Last week, the federal government released a massive database capable of providing patients with much more information about their doctors.
    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the government agency that runs Medicare, is posting on its website detailed information about how many visits and procedures individual health professionals billed the program for in 2012, and how much they were paid.
    This new trove of data, which covers 880,000 health professionals, adds to a growing body of information available to patients who don’t want to leave choosing a doctor to chance. But to put that information to good use, consumers need to be aware of what is available, what’s missing and how to interpret it.

    April 14, 2014

  • HEY HINK: Hateful bullies attempt to muffle free speech

    Hopefully we agree it should be a fundamental right to voice criticism of any religion you wish. And you should have the right to sing the praises of any religion you choose. If criticism of religion is unjust, feel free to make your best argument to prove it. If criticism is just, don’t be afraid to acknowledge and embrace it. If songs of praise are merited, feel free to join in. If not, feel free to ignore them. But no American should participate in curbing free speech just because expression of religious views makes someone uncomfortable.

    April 11, 2014

  • Putting Oklahoma parents in charge

    Oklahoma’s public schools serve many children very well. Still, for various reasons, some students’ needs are better met in private schools, in virtual schools or elsewhere. That is why two state lawmakers have introduced legislation to give parents debit cards, literally, to shop for the educational services that work best for their children.

    April 11, 2014

  • Israelis, Palestinians are losing their chance

    Developments in the Middle East suggest that prospects of success for the Israeli-Palestinian talks, to which Secretary of State John Kerry has devoted countless hours and trips, are weakening.

    April 11, 2014

  • Teens might trade naked selfies for mugshots

    Will teenagers ever learn? You think yours will. Maybe so. But it's likely that was also the hope of the parents of children who were so shamed by nude photos of themselves that went south - how else can they go - that they killed themselves.

    April 11, 2014

Poll

Do you agree with a state budget proposal that takes some funds away from road and bridge projects to ramp up education funding by $29.85 million per year until schools are receiving $600 million more a year than they are now? In years in which 1 percent revenue growth does not occur in the general fund, the transfer would not take place.

Agree
Disagree
Undecided
     View Results