Rep. Jason Murphey
Special to The Sun
I have developed a healthy fear of crisis policy making. Crisis policy making occurs when politicians attempt to avert a purported crisis by approving a far-reaching new law or new big government program.
It takes a courageous policy maker to refuse to go along with crisis policy making. Most politicians fear taking blame for the armageddon-like crisis that purportedly waits ominously just around the corner.
Crisis policy making sometimes takes place in May of each year, which is when the state Constitution requires the Legislature to end session and go home. This timing is at times intentional as proponents of the new policy propose their change just a few days before this deadline. They advance their proposal against a backdrop of impending doom with little time available for thoughtful deliberation.
Good policy is not created quickly or in a crisis. It is horrifying to realize that a new big government program that will last for many years was developed by policy makers in just a few days.
Unfortunately I have become accustomed to seeing legislative leadership become suckered into endorsing these types of efforts, but this May I witnessed something completely different.
As the legislative session came to a close, a proposal emerged to create a new state government health insurance program. The federal government had just rejected Oklahoma’s proposal to continue the existing Insure Oklahoma program. The federal government clearly seeks to transition these types of programs under the auspices of the new national health care program.
This rejection set off a mad scramble to create a new state program to make up for the loss of Insure Oklahoma — and past Oklahoma leaders would have quickly advanced this new program.
Not so, this time!
Our Speaker of the House T.W. Shannon calmly rejected the creation of a new program in a crisis.
He wasn’t quick to react just because the federal government tried to force our hand.
The representatives who refused to take action came under heavy criticism from those who wanted the new government program and who pointed to the armageddon-like scenario of thousands losing their health insurance. It would have been easy to give in to the criticism and create the new government program without thoughtful consideration or deliberation. Many politicians would have believed this prediction and feared taking the blame, but Shannon never backed down.
A few days ago the federal government reversed course and rescinded their rejection of Insure Oklahoma.
By refusing to legislate in a crisis, Shannon forced the federal government’s hand. The federal government blinked and Shannon and Oklahoma taxpayers won. The creation of a new big government program was averted.
I constantly receive emails from those who are depressed and fearful of all of the change, the expansion of big government, the associated unaffordable financial cost and the unmistakable loss of liberty.
Don’t ever believe that the fight against ever expanding government is hopeless.
Please know there is hope because of courageous policy makers who are determined to stop the expansion of big government.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.