The Edmond Sun


April 22, 2013

4 key items look like they will gain legislative OK

GUTHRIE — This is a big week in the Legislature. It is a key deadline week. By this Thursday another set of proposals will fail to advance past the deadline and will become dormant for this year.

Fortunately, many aggressive reform proposals are still alive.

What follows is a brief description of some of the issues that appear set to win approval prior to the deadline and remain alive for additional consideration as the session moves into its final month.

This week the House of Representatives considers the proposal to reform Oklahoma’s costly workers’ compensation system. The current cost of the Oklahoma system is sixth highest in the nation. Many believe the high rate paid by Oklahoma businesses remains one of the last major barriers to our ability to compete for economic growth.

There is now little doubt that in its final form the proposal will be far reaching and transition the Oklahoma comp claim adjudication system from judicial to administrative-based. Oklahoma and Tennessee are purportedly the last two states to use a judicial system to adjudicate workers’ comp claims. The Tennessee Legislature is also moving legislation to make the transition and so the race is on to see which state will be the last in the nation to implement the reform.

This week the Senate is expected to take up the governor’s plan to consolidate or eliminate more than 50 state boards and commissions. Myself and fellow Edmond-area state Rep. Mike Turner authored these proposals in the House in our roles as chairman and vice chairman of the House Government Modernization committee. Should the Senate approve the initiatives we will need to ask the House to approve the Senate amendments and then the proposals will be ready to go to the governor for her signature. I have enjoyed working with two local senators who serve as principal authors of the most aggressive of these proposals. Guthrie Sen. A.J. Griffin and Edmond-area Sen. Greg Treat have performed a lot of the hard work to help the proposals remain viable and move forward. Based on my first-hand observations, the taxpayers are greatly indebted to these two hard-working legislators.

I believe a multi-year tax reform proposal will win approval. Reductions would take place between now and the 2016 tax year and if certain conditions are met will reduce top rates down to 4.85 percent. This helps keep Oklahoma competitive with Kansas which recently has implemented significant tax reform and will let Oklahomans keep more of their money. They will use it much better than the government ever could.

It has become obvious that no bond issues will be brought forward this year. I believe this is the first year since I have been in Legislature when no bond issue has been proposed. This is due to the strong leadership in the House of Representatives, which has aggressively held the line against new debt issuance.

The effort to put a cap on the state’s ability to issue debt continues to advance in multiple bills. It feels like we are finally turning the corner and putting an end to the wasteful debt issuances of the past.

I expect legislators will show how Oklahoma’s infrastructure needs can be met without issuing new debt. Before the end of session funds should be made available to fix the deferred maintenance needs of the Capitol building and other neglected but presumably still needed state-owned properties. The work continues to pass House Speaker T.W. Shannon’s plan to put in place a system for liquidating unneeded state-owned property and using the proceeds to repair the buildings such as the Capitol, which have been neglected.

Numerous welfare reform proposals are receiving approval. This includes a proposal the House voted for last week to stop inappropriate transfers of benefits from person to person, a prohibition on the use of welfare money at casinos and liquor stores and the proposal I previously wrote about to ensure food stamp recipients are employed and hopefully working their way out of dependence upon the government.

These are a few of the aggressive reforms that are still making their way through the legislative process. There are others and should you have questions about a specific proposal please let me know.

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, on Facebook at and

Text Only
  • 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 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


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
     View Results