March 12, 2013

Dorman looks at teacher's carrying firearms bill

GRADY COUNTY —  The pace in the Oklahoma Legislature is frantic as members realize that their bills must be brought up for consideration this week, or they will linger for a year before they can be heard.  At the end of the day on Monday, there were over 150 bills which could potentially be heard and there will certainly be others added to this schedule.  This list does include HB 2228, the bill I filed to allow schools the ability to do comprehensive background checks for volunteers using the OSBI network.

I doubt each bill will be brought to the floor, so House members will add the unheard bills in 2013 to the additional list they will file for consideration in 2014.  I will file another eight bills next session, the allowed maximum for House members, and will try to get my three unheard bills in committee from this year discussed next year.  One of my bills, HB 2230, the legislation to fund Positive Tomorrows under a state grant program, did pass committee, but has yet to be scheduled for a floor hearing by the House Calendar Committee so it looks like it will be carried over.

There are two bills which were filed in the House to discuss a reduction on income tax collections, and while they have not been discussed yet, I am certain at least one will be heard due to the desire of the Governor to lower the rate by at least a quarter percent.  Currently, Oklahoma has an income tax rate at 5.25% and there is a desire to reduce this to either 5%, which is the intent of House Bill 2032 by Speaker TW Shannon, R-Lawton, or 4.99%, as is the action of House Bill 1598 by Rep. Scott Martin, R-Norman.  These bills will reduce revenue to the state by about $120 million each year, so to balance the budget, there will need to be cuts made on expenditures.  Senate proposals encourage the elimination of certain tax credits to regain that revenue, but the House measures simply reduce the amount the state will have to spend on services.

I attached amendments to both of these bills to include a “claw-back” provision in case of declared disasters affecting our state.  I have added four different percentage levels which would reinstate part of the existing tax through a formula that would help pay for either the match required of the state to pay for rebuilding and repairing the damages or the ability to assist with an additional allocation.  If the legislature and governor truly feel we can operate within the means of the proposed cut, then I would like to have the ability to fund unexpected events which affect Oklahomans due to a disaster.  As an example, several years ago, the legislature ran legislation in the final month to help the citizens in Moore recover from the tornado which devastated their area.  I will keep you posted on the outcome of my amendments and the proposals as a whole.

Another bill would allow school personnel to have the ability to carry firearms in their schools if authorized by local school boards.  House Bill 1062, by Mark McCullough, R-Sapulpa, would establish a voluntary program for those employed by secondary schools to go through a minimum of 120 hours of training offered through the Council of Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET) and an annual minimum of 8 hours to maintain certification.  Costs associated with training must be paid for by local school districts and Special Reserve School Resource Officers status would authorize their ability to act in that capacity in any school in Oklahoma, while waiving legal liability in certain instances.  I have serious concerns about this legislation and how helpful it will be, so I hope that we have a healthy discussion about what will go into this program.  I would prefer to give schools the ability to hire more School Resource Officers, the trained law enforcement officers with knowledge on how to handle a variety of situations in secondary schools, but that is yet to be considered.

Text Only
  • Fightin' Words: Lessons from sports, even in tragedy

    This week, Americans got to hear firsthand accounts, some for the first time, of a sporting tragedy, the lessons from which are as poignant as sport itself.

    April 18, 2014

  • Weir speaks on good traffic stops do for society

    On the law enforcement side the county was fairly quiet last month. There was an incident which may not have seemed of great importance to many, but I would take exception to that.

    April 15, 2014

  • The Hero of Haarlem…For the Common Good

    “Trudging stoutly along by the canal,” as the story goes, the eight year old son of a Dutch sluicer was returning home from delivering cakes to a blind man. Humming as he passed the dikes, he noticed that recent rains had made his father’s job even more important.

    April 11, 2014

  • Morning Ralph…Morning Sam…For the Common Good

    Deep in the vaults of Warner Bros. there is a series of Merrie Melodies cartoons featuring Sam the Sheepdog and Ralph E. Wolf.  It has been years since I have seen the animation; however, the tan sheepdog with the unruly mop of auburn hair and the thin brown wolf that bears an uncanny resemblance to Wile E. Coyote (except for Ralph’s red nose and Wile’s yellow eyes) are readily recalled.

    April 4, 2014

  • Fightin' Words: A right way and a wrong way to treat a college players union

    Initially the ruling by the National Labor Relations Board over Northwestern football players' ability to unionize was, at first, the start of a ticking time bomb on college sports.

    March 28, 2014

  • In New Orleans, Katrina victims live out Hollywood eco agenda

    I visited Lousiana recently to do some reporting on Sen. Mary Landrieu's bid to win a fourth term in a tough political year. But before heading to the key parishes that will determine Landrieu's fate this November, I stopped by New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward to see how rebuilding efforts are faring nearly nine years after Hurricane Katrina.

    March 25, 2014

  • BLOG: America is doing all it can to Russia

    The conservative response to President Obama's handling of the Ukraine crisis is a perfect example of what some Americans need to learn about how the world around them works now.

    March 21, 2014

  • In jam over Obamacare, Dems don't know which way to turn

    When it comes to Obamacare, many Democrats take comfort in polls showing a small majority of voters, or at least a plurality, oppose repealing the Affordable Care Act. To them, that proves the Republicans' do-away-with-it position is out of sync with voters as this November's midterm elections approach.

    March 18, 2014

  • Il Buono, Il Brutto, Il Cattivo and the Common Good

    The term “Spaghetti Western” is used to describe a movie about the American West but directed and produced by Italians and normally filmed in Europe. This motion picture genre has been around for more than 70 years.  Outdoor scenes are often shot in an area of Spain that bears a striking resemblance to the Southwestern United States.

    March 14, 2014

  • Have Bazooka - will travel and the Common Good

    For seven seasons from 1957 through 1963, actor Richard Boone played a gentleman gunslinger named Paladin in the CBS television, Have Gun—Will Travel.  The storyline involved Boone’s character, a highly educated and cultured mercenary whose residence was the Hotel Carlton in wild-west era San Francisco.  Paladin’s business card intimated that he had no qualms about using his Colt .45 revolver or his single action Marlin rifle for hire, wherever his career would take him.

    March 7, 2014