BY DAVID PERRYMAN
I had a double take last week. One of those times when I see something that I know that I have seen before, but it just hadn’t registered. What I was looking at was an Easter Egg Tree.
I understand that we live in America, the great melting pot, and we are blessed to have such broad diversity in our culture, our history and our traditions, but it seems that hanging colored plastic eggs from a tree is the epitome of mixed metaphors.
We don’t generally color our leftover valentines green for St. Patrick’s Day and I have never heard of anyone putting a Butterball Turkey on the top of a Christmas tree. Nonetheless, here I was staring face to face with a tree meticulously decorated with lace and ribbon and eggs. I have to admit that in a way it was pretty, but it was not my idea of a proper Easter decoration. Not my idea at all.
The next day, I was sitting at my desk in the capitol reviewing the House bills that had made their way out of the House and the Senate bills that had made their way out of the Senate.
The more bills I reviewed, the more I realized that along with the good bills that had been passed, there were some very bad bills. Likewise, along with some bad bills that did not pass or did not get voted on, there were some very good bills that did not even get a hearing.
Disappointingly, often whether a bill would be heard was not whether the bill was a good idea, but instead was whose idea the bill was. Sometimes the politics was partisan, other times it was just plain old politics.
One example this session is Representative Curtis McDaniel’s House Bill 1503 to prohibit texting while driving. The Bill passed out of committee but because it was not the idea of the Speaker, it was blocked from being heard and is essentially dead until next year.
Another Bill that went nowhere was Senator Frank Simpson’s Senate Bill 501 to allow local government to regulate smoking.
There are other examples of Democratic and Republican Bills that were not voted on because someone else might get the credit. Some of these helped fire protection. Some streamlined government or cut out government red tape, but were suppressed because of politics.
Unfortunately, this game of gridlock and obstruction is played at both the federal and state level. We all remember last year when both Oklahoma U.S. Senators agreed that a federal judge appointee was the most qualified appointee that they had ever seen, but instead of stepping up to do the right thing, they played party politics to delay the appointment.
There are even those of one party who do not want the economy to improve because the other party might get the credit.
When I ran for office, I pledged that every vote cast would be for the best interest of House District 56. I have taken that a step further. There are several Bills, Republican as well as Democratic, that have needed slight adjustment or changes in wording for them to be good bills. I have amended bills for Representatives from both parties and provided substitute language to make the bills work better for the citizens of Oklahoma.
One example is the amendment that I made to Republican Representative John Bennett’s bill for permits to haul portable storage buildings. My suggested amendment was adopted and will save permit holders $450 if their permit is lost, damaged or destroyed.
Gridlock and political games are detrimental to our country and our state. It will continue unless you step up and become involved in the process. It is not enough for you to sit back and hope that legislators vote for the common good. It is your responsibility to make certain that legislators put aside egos and selfish aspirations to do what is right.
If you are not involved, all you will hear is the voice of the money of lobbyists and corporations who do not have your best interest in mind.
Don’t let anyone convince you that eggs grow on trees, but likewise, just because it is not your idea of the perfect Easter decoration, don’t chop one down. Wouldn’t George Washington have sounded foolish to say, “I cannot tell a lie, I chopped down the Easter Egg tree.”
Thank you for allowing me to serve as State Representative. If you have any questions or comments, please call me at 405-557-7401 or eMail me at David.Perryman@okhouse.gov