The Edmond Sun

Opinion

March 11, 2013

Legislative success stems from not taking votes personally

GUTHRIE — Aside from the last week of the legislative session, this is probably the busiest week in the legislative year. Bills authored by those who serve in the House of Representatives must win approval by the entire House by the end of the week, or they are not eligible for additional consideration.

I have learned much about human behavior and individual character by watching and observing during the deadline weeks of the past. Legislators who have worked on legislation for months sometimes see their efforts come to an immediate halt when the bill is not scheduled for a vote or is defeated by a vote of the House. The stress is compounded as House members vote on 150 or more bills during the week. This requires them to work late into the night, and results in sleep-deprived policy making.

A lot of politics takes place during this week as a handful of legislators attempt to use laborious parliamentary tactics to delay the process. They attempt to kill legislation by running out the clock and making it impossible to consider some bills before the deadline. One particular lawmaker even sends out gleeful emails taunting other legislators with the possibility that their bills won’t be heard because time will expire before they can be considered.

The activity isn’t limited to the House chamber. The House lobby fills up with lobbyists, special interests, government officials and grassroots activists. These dueling groups send in requests to legislators, calling them out to be lobbied for and against numerous proposals. I can always tell when we are getting close to the end of bills to be considered by noticing how many people are left in the lobby.

The careful observer may receive insight into a legislator’s true character by observing how he handles the defeat of legislation. Some are unable to manage the hurt and disappointment and seek retaliation against those who killed or voted against their proposal. I absolutely understand how they feel because I have been in that position a number of times, but I think the most highly of those who are able to shrug off defeat even when they were right on the merits, and keep working to do the right thing in other ways and through other bills. Those who respond poorly to defeat risk making long-term enemies, thus creating opposition to future efforts.

Here is the secret to success in the legislative environment: A legislator should never retaliate against another legislator who votes against his bills. If possible, a legislator should not even remember the names of those who voted against him. This allows him to interact with and relate to the other legislators without remembering their specific votes.

The application of this strategy has been vital for those of us working to modernize and reform state government. The legislator who works against a reform proposal one day, may become a solid supporter of another reform proposal the next day. Over time, we continue to build momentum for reform by highlighting the efforts of those who advance reform proposals and never retaliating against them when they disagree with our approach.

This has been one of the greatest keys to the success of the modernization effort, but it can be applied to all legislative action in general. And this is the week when that strategy becomes especially important.

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
  • 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

  • OTHER VIEW: Newsday: Lapses on deadly diseases demand explanation

    When we heard that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had created a potentially lethal safety risk by improperly sending deadly pathogens — like anthrax — to other laboratories around the country, our first reaction was disbelief.

    July 22, 2014

Poll

If the Republican runoff for the 5th District congressional seat were today, which candidate would you vote for?

Patrice Douglas
Steve Russell
Undecided
     View Results