The Edmond Sun

Opinion

December 23, 2012

An assault on your property rights

EDMOND — Last week, I wrote of the House of Representatives’ creation of new committees designed to expand legislative purview at the state level. Specifically, I pointed to the attempt to gain a grasp on the state’s overwhelming dependence on federal dollars.

Massive amounts of federal spending are channeled through state government. It appears as if about $8 billion of state spending actually originates from federal sources. The Legislature appropriates $6.5 million each year, which means that much of legislative oversight is distracted from the federally funded programs and mandates that accompany the money.

The federal government derives a lot of power from taking your tax dollars and going into debt, and then using that money to entice state governments to do its bidding. Over the years, many state agencies have enabled this system by anxiously applying for federal money. This money has funded a host of government jobs, and those who have federally funded jobs aren’t likely to oppose federal mandates for fear that the funding will be withdrawn and their jobs become no longer necessary.

This puts state government in a tenuous situation as the federal government approaches its inevitable day of reckoning of having to cut back on this funding but, of course, they likely will still insist on the costly mandates that accompany the funding.

State policy makers are starting to realize they must put limits on the amount of new federal funding. We also must stop enacting and revising state laws to comply with the latest and newest intrusive federal mandates, even if this puts some funding at risk.

As in every session, there will no doubt be a continued push this year for any number of initiatives designed to preserve or increase federal funding.

For example, over the past three or four days, legislators have been bombarded with personal and business mail promoting the importance of “pipeline safety.” Most legislators probably have no idea that this is a preliminary attack to enact far-reaching new state regulations that appear set to intrude on the rights of property owners and prove costly to local government entities.

The effort seeks to implement a federal law that could take away funding from a program inside the state’s Corporation Commission unless the state starts a new program regulating citizens’ activities on their own personal property.

The law is still being drafted, but it appears that it could put in place regulations that require you to jump through various government processes prior to digging on your own property with a mechanical digger. Someone who digs a hole to plant a tree could face large government fines if they don’t go through some sort of government-mandate process.

The law also could require that local government entities enact very costly processes such as marking utility lines prior to grading roadways deeper than the original excavation. Can you imagine how much this will slow down the road maintenance process if the local government must mark miles of roadway just to grade a road?

Those who fail to come into compliance with this new law could face massive fines.

What happens if the state doesn’t enact this new assault on the rights of property owners?

Potentially, the state would lose federal funding for a program within the Corporation Commission that most lawmakers and citizens probably don’t even realize exists. Is this really worth the creation of massive new and intrusive state regulations?

It is clear that certain special interests are preparing to advance these new laws. This is exactly the type of proposed action that the new states’ rights-focused committee in the House of Representatives must defeat.

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, on Facebook at facebook.com/JasonMurphey and Twitter.com/JWMurphey.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Sheltons travel for better life for family

    Some time around 1865 a mixed-race African American couple, William and Mary Shelton, made their way from Mississippi to east Texas. Nothing is known for certain of their origins in he Magnolia state, or the circumstances under which they began their new lives in Texas.

    July 29, 2014

  • Film critic Turan produces book

    Kenneth Turan, who is the film critic for National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition,” has written a book “Not to be Missed, Fifty-Four Favorites from a Life Time of Film.” His list of movies span the gamut from the beginnings of filmmaking through the present day.
    There are some surprising omissions on his list. While he includes two films, “A Touch of Evil” and Chimes at Midnight” made by Orson Welles, and one, “The Third Man,” that Welles starred in but did not direct. He did not however, include “Citizen Kane,” that was the first movie Welles made, that is  often cited by both film critics and historians as a favorite film.

    July 28, 2014

  • Logan County’s disputed zone

    Watchers of “Star Trek” may recall the episode from the original series entitled, “Day of the Dove.” In this episode, Captain Kirk and his crew are forced by a series of circumstances into a confrontation with the Klingons. The conflict eventually resolves after Kirk realizes that the circumstances have been intentionally designed by an alien force which feeds off negative emotions, especially fear and anger. Kirk and his crew communicate this fact to the Klingons and the conflict subsides. No longer feeding upon confrontation, the alien force is weakened and successfully driven away.

    July 28, 2014

  • Russell leads in Sun poll

    Polling results of an unscientific poll at www.edmondsun.com show that Steve Russell, GOP candidate for the 5th District congressional seat, is in the lead with 57 percent of the vote ahead of the Aug. 26 runoff election. Thirty readers participated in the online poll.

    July 28, 2014

  • Healthier and Wealthier? Not in Oklahoma

    Increased copays, decreased coverage, diminished health care access, reduced provider budgets and increased frustration are all the outcomes of the Legislature’s 2014 health care funding decisions. Unlike some years in the past when a languishing state economy forced legislators into making cuts, the undesirable outcomes this year could easily have been avoided.

    July 26, 2014

  • Medicaid reform a necessity

    Historically, education spending by the state of Oklahoma has been the largest budget item. This is no longer the case. In recent years, the state of Oklahoma spends more on Medicaid (operated by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority) than common education and higher education combined, according to the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

    July 25, 2014

  • Remembering lessons from 1974

    This week marks the 40th anniversary of an important milestone in America’s constitutional history. On July 24, 1974, the Supreme Court voted 8-0 to order the Nixon White House to turn over audiotapes that would prove the president and his close aides were guilty of criminal violations. This ruling established with crystal clarity that the executive branch could not hide behind the shield of executive privilege to protect itself from the consequences of illegal behavior. It was a triumph for the continued vitality of our constitutional form of government.

    July 25, 2014

  • RedBlueAmerica: Is parenting being criminalized in America?

    Debra Harrell was arrested recently after the McDonald’s employee let her daughter spend the day playing in a nearby park while she worked her shift. The South Carolina woman says her daughter had a cell phone in case of danger, and critics say that children once were given the independence to spend a few unsupervised hours in a park.
    Is it a crime to parent “free-range” kids? Does Harrell deserve her problems? Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk, the RedBlueAmerica columnists, debate the issue.

    July 24, 2014

  • Technology that will stimulate journalism’s future is now here

    To say technology has changed the newspaper media industry is understating the obvious. While much discussion focuses on how we read the news, technology is changing the way we report the news. The image of a reporter showing up to a scene with a pen and a pad is iconic but lost to the vestiges of time.
    I am asked frequently about the future of newspapers and, in particular, what does a successful future look like. For journalists, to be successful is to command multiple technologies and share news with readers in new and exciting ways.

    July 23, 2014

  • New Orleans features its own “Running of the Bulls”

    On July12, the streets of the Warehouse District of New Orleans were filled with thousands of young men who were seeking to avoid being hit with plastic bats wielded by women on roller skates as part of the annual “Running of the Bulls” that takes place in New Orleans.
    The event is based on the “Running of the Bulls” that occurs in Pamplona, Spain, that is  part of an annual occurrence in which a group of bulls rampage through the streets of Pamplona while men run from them to avoid being gored by their sharp horns. That event was introduced to the English-speaking world by Ernest Hemingway, who included scenes from it in his critically acclaimed 1926 novel “The Sun also Rises.”

    July 22, 2014

Poll

The runoff race for the 5th District congressional seat is set for Aug. 26. If the voting were today, which candidate would you support?

Al McAffrey
Tom Guild
Undecided
     View Results