Archive for February, 2014

We Don’t Need A Minimum Wage Increase, We Just Need To Listen To Tom Woods

This is your wallet on inflation.Working at a credit union, though it can drive some to insanity, has its benefits. I’ve worked for three different small to medium financial institutions, so I’ve come to know the culture, and trust me they’re all nuts. Anyhow, every now and then a little bit of sanity finds its way through the cracks in the walls and somebody says something that makes sense.

Today at work I was talking with one of the VP’s about the minimum wage increase (yes, I know, we are very exciting people), and was pleasantly surprised at how aware of the possibility of a federal minimum wage increase she was. Not only that, she gave a very clear reason as to why it’s a bad idea. Put simply, when the minimum wage goes up, it costs more to hire entry-level workers which in turn drives up prices and lowers incentive to hire.

It’s Simple

Perhaps it should be no surprise Mary Fallin is opposed to the increase as well. At the National Governors Association meeting she said, “I’m concerned that it would destroy jobs, and especially small business owners can’t afford to increase their minimum wage.” How insightful. But hey, it’s true. Especially for small businesses. Small businesses like the one I work for. It’s the difference between hiring two new employees or one, the difference between running an ad on the radio and having to find ways to cut costs in order to keep prices competitive.

Smart people in general really just understand that raising the minimum wage, and particularly the federal one, isn’t at all productive in the long run.

So Why?

So why do we keep having this talk every five years or so? Obama proposes an increase to $10.10 an hour, and the general idea is that this is supposed to reduce poverty. People and politicians alike need to understand that higher wages shouldn’t necessarily be interpreted as increased prosperity. Just think back a few years to when Billy Corgan was a cool kid who never had the time, and you could fill up your gas tank for fifteen bucks. You know what else you got at the gas station back then when the minimum wage was half what it is today? A full-time paid employee to operate the pump and wash your windshield. You didn’t even have to get out of the car! He might have topped your washer fluid, and you probably still had enough money to leave a tip.

Really, honestly, I survived my first year of college in 2006 on $7.50 and $8 an hour, and prices aren’t that much different now. We don’t need a minimum wage increase. We just need to listen to Tom Woods. Ten minutes a day could save the Republic. Please watch this video now:

Thank you.

For more Oklahoma, Texas, and national news and opinion that matters for Liberty, visit the Standard Excellence Facebook page, and my Twitter profile @FoaRyan.

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SB902 Dead In Committee

SB902 is now effectively a dead bill. Dan Newberry (R), chairman of the Senate Business and Finance Committee, did not allow this bill to be heard and voted on today.

Authored by Senator Constance Johnson (D), SB902 is a medical marijuana bill that would allow doctors in Oklahoma to recommend and prescribe cannabis to severely ill patients.

The State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision shall develop and adopt rules permitting the prescription of medical cannabis by physicians licensed in the State of Oklahoma pursuant to the provisions of Section 480 et seq. of this title. The Board shall establish fees for the licensing, production, distribution, and consumption of medical cannabis and develop policies for the issuance of licenses to prescribers and consumers of medical cannabis.

If passed, it would go into effect November 1 and make Oklahoma the 21st state to allow medical use of the cannabis plant. Under current rules, a doctor could lose his or her license for even suggesting a patient explore the possibility of using cannabis to treat even life-threatening conditions.

I attended a Senate hearing last week on the potential of several forms of cannabis (oil, CBD-rich strains, etc.) to treat severe seizures. The hearing was an informational session presented by Dr. Mark Rosenfield, CEO of ISA Scientific inc., and Josh Stanley of Strains of Hope (featured on CNN’s “Weed” with Dr. Sanjay Gupta), as well as two heartfelt pleas from parents of children whose life-threatening seizures are better treated with one dose of cannabis oil than more than fifteen pharmaceutical medications. Senator Newberry did not attend this meeting.

This hearing was on the same day as a legalization rally for SB2116 (also authored by Constance Johnson), but this bill was only for medical use. I think it’s a shame that Senator Newberry didn’t even feel this bill deserved to be heard.

Personally, I have been shy about taking a position on drug law reform, or at least being vocal about it, but this one matters more to me because it could significantly affect the healthcare of many people who are dependent on medicines that literally kill in the end. Allowing people to use medication that could replace 15 drugs and countless thousands (if not millions) of dollars should be a no-brainer. But it looks like Oklahoma will have to wait.

For more Oklahoma, Texas, and national news and opinion that matters for Liberty, visit the Standard Excellence Facebook page, and my Twitter profile @FoaRyan.

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Republicans Defy Their Own Platform In National Popular Vote Compact

Oklahoma State CapitolSome things you would think should never come out of a Republican-controlled legislature – gun control, higher taxes, or in this case, anything that undermines the US Constitution, and the way it was designed to work.

But last Wednesday, to the surprise of many, Senate Bill 906 passed the Republican-led Oklahoma Senate by a vote of 28 to 12. Also called the National Popular Vote Compact, SB906 puts into place a trigger, which would cause our electoral college to vote with the popular vote nationwide after a threshold of 270 electoral votes is reached. Republican Senators who voted for this include Rob Johnson (the author of the bill), Ralph Shortey, Kyle Loveless, Brian Bingman, and Bryce Marlatt, totaling 16. Among the Republicans who voted no are Greg Treat, Nathan Dahm, and Clark Jolley (a good thing for him, too, since he’s running for the 5th Congressional District House seat).

The National Popular Vote Compact is part of a larger movement, backed by FairVote, a 501(c)(3) organization that has been trying for years to change presidential elections to a national popular vote. Their current fight is in the states, and they are already halfway to their goal.

What’s the big deal?

Though the Constitution does not specifically state how electoral votes are to be cast, it does specifically call for electors. Electors are representatives of states.

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

So after reading the words “each State shall appoint,” which I carefully and conveniently highlighted in bold for those short on time or attention span, could someone please explain to me how any other state could possibly affect the way my state electors vote? Maybe proponents of the national popular vote aren’t aware of this, but the Constitution designs here a mechanism by which States may elect a President. It isn’t a direct democratic election.

What’s more, the party that is authored and promoted this legislation would have caused its own state’s electoral votes to have gone to Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, simply because he won the popular vote! In effect, it would not matter how Oklahoma voted. In 2000, our votes would have gone to Al Gore.

Echoing the words of State Republican Chairman Dave Weston, the Oklahoma County GOP has issued a resolution expressing strong disapproval over the passage of SB 906, which states:

The Oklahoma County Republican Executive Committee is disturbed by the recent passage in the Oklahoma State Senate of SB 906 – the National Popular Vote Compact. This legislation, if passed and enacted into law, would drastically change how Oklahoma votes cast in future Presidential Elections would be counted.

…Our founding fathers created the Electoral College and the US Senate with the purpose of giving a heavier voice to smaller states like Oklahoma to prevent dominance of a handful of populous states and thereby limit the possibility for tyranny.

The Oklahoma Republican 2013 Platform clearly states “We support continuation for the Electoral College for the election of the U.S. President instead of the national popular vote election.”

I think that’s pretty strong language. This resolution will be delivered to the Republican Senators in Oklahoma County, as well as other counties, who voted for SB906. It especially needs to go to any and all Senators who have been invited to all-expense paid trips to attend seminars being put on by National Popular Vote lobbyist groups. Michael Bates has exposed this at length on his blog BatesLine.

Status of the bill

As of right now, the bill’s first reading has taken place in the House. Yesterday I spoke with Speaker Jeff Hickman’s office to find out its status and try to determine which committee the bill would be assigned to. At this point, no assignment has been made, so it’s possible it could just sit there and not be dealt with this year.

Some want this legislation to ‘die’ in the House, and not receive a hearing, but I think it would be better for it to be struck down in a committee vote or on the House floor if necessary. Mainly, I think this is a good idea because this is actually a bill from 2013 that was not taken up. It was quickly and quietly brought back into play this year, and passed before most of us ordinary citizens could have any idea it was even going to be considered.

Either way, call your state Representative and let him or her know where you stand on this bill! I doubt anyone would have thought this would have passed the Senate, so let’s make sure it does not gain traction in the House.

For more Oklahoma, Texas, and national news and opinion that matters for Liberty, visit the Standard Excellence Facebook page, and my Twitter profile @FoaRyan.

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We Can Stop Obamacare In Oklahoma

We can stop Obamacare right here in Oklahoma. This state is the strongest Republican state in the nation, but there hardly seems to be a push to dismantle the legislation the party claims to oppose so strongly in Washington. In fact, until enormous pressure fell on Governor Fallin in 2012 to do so, our state would have implemented the healthcare exchange and Medicaid expansions that many Republican states have outright rejected.

Rally against Obamacare penalties at Oklahoma Capitol

A rally inside the Oklahoma Capitol. Participants delivered letters to their representatives urging them to support legislation that would prevent the enforcement of the Affordable Healthcare Act in Oklahoma.

We could, and rightfully should, be the beacon of freedom shining out to the rest of conservative-led America in dealing with Obamacare from the state level, but it’s going to take some work. Specifically, there are a number of bills sitting in our state legislature now, and haven’t moved in weeks.

The first of the bills in question are HB2817 and SB1279. As companion bills, if passed they will repeal the healthcare trusts required by the Affordable Care Act. However, they have been sitting in committees since February 4.

SB1279 is authored by Sen. Nathan Dahm (R-Tulsa County) and was referred to the Senate Appropriations Health and Human Services Subcommittee. It has not been brought up for a reading since February 4. Sen. Kim David (R-Porter) is the chair, and has the power to bring this bill up in her committee.

The companion bill in the House is HB2817, which is Rep. Gus Blackwell’s committee. Ask him to give this bill priority!

Both would repeal the Oklahoma Health Information Exchange Act effective November 2014, but neither will do anything as long as they are sitting in those committees. Call these committee leaders and let them know you want to see socialized healthcare left out of your state. Sen. David’s office number is (405) 521-5590, and her email is david@oksenate.gov. Rep. Blackwell’s office number is (405) 557-7384, and his email is gusblackwell@okhouse.gov. Both chairs are Republicans, and they should stand with the people of Oklahoma before Obamacare penalties start to hurt our state.

For further updates on legislation related to the Affordable Care Act in Oklahoma, and for more Oklahoma, Texas, and national news and opinion that matters for Liberty, visit the Standard Excellence Facebook page, and my Twitter profile @FoaRyan.

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Who Said Selfies Are For The Birds?

Standard Excellence Rings of SaturnWho said selfies are for the birds? Only a recent social phenomenon, the selfie has fast become just another part of everyday life in the 21st Century. In fact, last year Oxford dictionary named “selfie” their word of the year.

And now it seems this viral trend has spread to other species on the planet.

This happened when some Aboriginal rangers in Austrailia were attempting to capture video of fresh-water crocodiles. Their cameras kept disappearing, and nobody knew why, until one bird failed to cover his trail. As can be seen in the video, a young sea eagle quickly acquires its target and makes off with the loot. After fleeing to a safe distance, the suspect – er, I mean eagle – inspects the stolen cargo, then proceeds to take “selfies,” and leaves the camera behind to spread on social media.

So, not only is there a delinquent bird problem going on down under, they’re obsessed with their own persona, too! But don’t let this young millennial fool you, the adults are much more viscous in their pursuit of criminal activity:

“This one was still learning because he just took it near the cliff-side and he never dropped [it], he just put it down and started picking at it. An adult one would have flown it right up the top and yeah for sure it would have smashed that camera.”

The rangers say they will be bolting down their camera in the future.

Reported by the Australian Broadcasting Company. Heard through TheBlaze.

For more Oklahoma, Texas, and national news and opinion that matters for Liberty, visit the Standard Excellence Facebook page, and my Twitter profile @FoaRyan.

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House Elects Jeff Hickman New Speaker

OKLAHOMA CITY. Today in a brief House of Representatives session, Jeff Hickman, a Republican State Representative from Fairview, OK, succeeded TW Shannon (R-Lawton) as Speaker.

Hickman was voted in by a strong majority of 69-29 votes, falling along party lines. Assistant Majority Whip Rep. Lisa Billy (R, House District 42) nominated the new Speaker, followed with a second by Todd Thomsen (R, House District 25). The Republican caucus met earlier Monday to decide between two contenders for the nomination. Mike Jackson of Fairview, OK was the other Republican in the running for House speakership.

Oklahoma Speaker Jeff Hickman sworn in

Chief Justice Tom Colbert administers the oath of office to new Speaker Jeff Hickman

Upon receiving the nomination and being sworn in, Speaker Hickman hugged his wife, who was standing at his side with their son as he gave the oath of office. This was followed by an emotion-filled speech in which the new Speaker promised to take his duties seriously, and to work hard to tackle the issues currently facing the Oklahoma legislature, such as the state retirement and pension system.

Jeff Hickman hugs his wife as he is sworn in

Oklahoma House of Representatives give a standing ovation to new Speaker Jeff Hickman

The House, in good spirits without having any controversy over who would become speaker, gave multiple standing ovations to Rep. Hickman when he was nominated and voted in. Democrat Minority Leader Scott Inman (D, House District 94) received his party’s nomination.

For more Oklahoma, Texas, and national news and opinion that matters for Liberty, visit the Standard Excellence Facebook page, and my Twitter profile @FoaRyan.

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