The Edmond Sun


April 1, 2013

Legislature slows down feds’ overreaching policies

GUTHRIE — Oklahoma legislators have become rather accustomed to receiving emails and calls from those who are intensely worried about ongoing federal overreach. Many of these contacts are from those who want state officials to do whatever is possible to stop the federal government’s attempted expansion into the health care venue. Based on this input, I know it is important to provide continuous updates regarding the most recent actions of state officials to do what they can in this regard.

These concerns from our constituencies have found a home in the House States’ Rights Committee where we have considered a series of varied proposals that attempt to block federal overreach.

I can’t ever recall a more polarized committee environment during my time in the Legislature than during these discussions. As the minority members of the committee aggressively opposed many of the states’ rights proposals, the debates seemed to crystallize the differences between our state’s two largest political parties.

One of the proposed states’ rights bills declared that Oklahoma will not implement the health care law. Substantive parts of the health care proposal rely on state officials to voluntarily comply with the proposal. Last summer’s Supreme Court decision affirmed the right of state government to have a significant say in the way the proposal is applied. The legislation approved by the States’ Rights Committee creates a state law to ensure Oklahoma policy makers exercise this right and do not comply.

A version of this proposal was later approved by the entire House and now awaits consideration in the Senate, along with several other states’ rights proposals that were approved by our new States’ Rights Committee. The fact that these measures have advanced should not be taken for granted. House leadership has stood up to real pressure from those who are eager to kowtow to the federal government.

States’ rights actions have not been limited to the legislative branch. The state’s Attorney General is playing an incredibly important role in this regard. Last week, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt spoke to members of the House Republican caucus and described his effort to defend Oklahomans from the punitive tax penalties of the health care act. A plain and clear reading of the act details that tax penalties should not be applied unless health insurance isn’t purchased from the state’s health insurance exchange. Oklahoma is not creating a state-based exchange. Pruitt is contending that because of this, the IRS cannot penalize Oklahomans. This places into perspective the importance of Gov. Mary Fallin’s decision to not create a state-based health care insurance exchange.

Last week Fallin’s office released 50,000 pages of documents related to the health care proposal and in response to an open records request of the local press. These documents show that thousands of calls and emails were received by the governor’s office from those opposed to the federal plan. This includes emails and online form submissions from a number of House District 31 residents. The open records request clearly demonstrates the overwhelming sentiment of Oklahomans. Fallin listened to your input and acted accordingly.

It can be hoped those in other states will take similar action. If enough states stand together they will force the federal government’s hand and significantly impact the implementation of the federal proposal.

There is recent and encouraging precedent for this approach. Oklahoma and other states successfully refused to implement the federal government’s plan for a national ID card system by proxy known as REAL ID even though federal officials asserted that there may be dire consequences for those who refused. The states did not give in and to date the federal government has been unable to successfully implement this plan.

The actions taken by those who took the time to call and write, the Oklahoma Legislature, attorney general, governor and others highlight the importance of states’ rights and the founding fathers’ view that power should be concentrated at the local level. When the federal government aggressively overreaches, those at the local level are right to slow things down.

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
  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Why poverty across the world matters to Americans

    A child starving in South Sudan should matter to Americans. That was the message delivered last week by Nancy Lindborg, whose job at the U.S. Agency for International Development is to lead a federal bureau spreading democracy and humanitarian assistance across the world.
    That world has reached a critical danger zone, with three high-level crises combining military conflict with humanitarian catastrophes affecting millions of innocents in Syria, the South Sudan and the Central African Republic.
    But back to that child.

    April 18, 2014

  • Government leadership complicit in overfilling prisons

    One of the thorniest problems facing any society is the question of what to do with transgressors. Obviously, the more complicated a culture becomes, the more factors come into play in trying to figure out what to do with those who choose not to “play by the rules.”

    April 18, 2014

  • My best days are ones normal people take for granted

    It is a weekend for working around the house. My fiancee, Erin, and I have the baby’s room to paint and some IKEA furniture to assemble. I roll out of bed early — 10:30 — and get into my wheelchair. Erin is already making coffee in the kitchen.
    “I started the first wall,” she says. “I love that gray.” Erin never bugs me about sleeping late. For a few months after I was injured in the Boston Marathon bombings, I often slept 15 hours a day. The doctors said my body needed to heal. It must still be healing because I hardly ever see 8 a.m. anymore.

    April 18, 2014

  • 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


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.

     View Results