This Week in Liberty News, the weekly news journal is a collection of stories I have run across throughout the week that affect your liberty in Oklahoma, Texas, and the national scene — back after a short multiple-tornado caused absence. This week there’s quite a bit to discuss on the national level, as has been the case ever since the Obama Administration-related scandals started to pile up. I literally lost count of how many there are one day this week.
Tulsa Mayoral Primary
Tulsa’s non-partisan mayoral primary will be held Tuesday, June 11. After a debate this week, a Fox23 News poll of 1,800 viewers showed Bill Christiansen had a strong, 14-point lead over runner-up Kathy Taylor, and could win the nomination should he increase that lead and win greater than 50% in Tuesday’s vote. If not, there will be a runoff. Current Mayor Dewey Barlett received the lowest percentage in the Fox23 poll, with only 25% support.
Tulsa World also has an interview with all three candidates, answering the question, “What is the first specific issue you would address in the new mayoral term and how?”
Public School Storm Shelters
In the wake of multiple EF-5 tornadoes in the state with the second-highest tornado fatality rate, much consideration is being put into how schools should handle storm shelters and severe weather procedures. Tulsa World again reports, “Only about 5 percent of Oklahoma’s 1,700 school buildings have a FEMA-funded tornado safe room.”
A neutral perspective:
“Safety drills should be re-examined, as what was once thought safe may no longer be safe,” said Victoria Calder, director of the Texas School Safety Center. The center is based at Texas State University-San Marcos. …”Basically we’ve moved away from saying always go into the hall, having seen the Joplin footage,” Calder….Texas developed standard safety guidelines for schools to implement, regardless of budget, she said.”
But a question remains of what sort of public funding should be allocated to build such structures? The undertaking will no doubt be another expense on Oklahoma’s already strained education budget. Some have proposed new bond issues to finance retrofitting existing schools with new storm-safe shelters, while others point to streamlining the state administrative structure to eliminate costly overhead.
Gun bill signed into law – HB 1622 was signed into law by Governor Mary Fallin this week, permitting private schools to develop a weapons policy to allow persons with a Handgun License to carry weapons on school premisses. It also allows a person to carry a weapon while at a meeting of an elected official, and will take effect November 1, 2013.
Around the US
Scandal after Scandal – It’s hard to keep up with how many scandals are plaguing the White House in one way or another these days. In addition to Benghazi, the IRS targeting conservative organizations, and the Department of Justice infiltrating the Associated Press, we have now learned the National Security Agency is actively spying on anyone using a Verizon cell phone.
On top of that, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act apparently gives the US Federal Government direct access to personal information of the users of online services including Google, YouTube, Hotmail, Skype, Yahoo, Facebook, AOL, Apple, Paltalk, and Twitter.
Twitter is establishing a history of leading the pack in protecting the privacy of its users, and is the of the aforementioned services declining to make it easier for the government to access their data, though it does comply with specific requests as necessary by the laws in place.Drones – Even the somewhat left-leaning Gizmodo (Gawker Media) technology and gadget website is addressing drones and how they should be regulated or legislated.
TUCSON, AZ – An effort to recall the famous (or infamous, depending on who you are) Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has failed. The petition drive requiring 335,000 signatures to hold the election fell short of its goal on the deadline on May 30.
Obamacare – South Carolina could become first state to nullify Obamacare. Nullification is a long-lost practice states used to believe in exercising when federal laws were considered unconstitutional, and thereby forbidden to be enforced in the states applying nullification measures.