By Sen. JOSEPH SILK
This past week we wrapped up much of our work in committees and now those bills will head to the floor. I would like to take a break from the typical budget talks and give an update on a few key pieces of legislation that will impact the Oklahoma citizens directly.
For years in Oklahoma we have only been teaching evolution in the science classroom. Many people realize that the evolution theory is filled with holes and stems from a very liberal agenda.
If SB 393 passes, our teachers will be able to teach both sides of the debate, and allow children to find out the truth on their own by actually looking at the issue from both sides. This should create even more educated, well-rounded students on this issue.
The second is the very controversial House Bill 1374, which allows local municipal governments to allow the people to vote to raise property taxes in order to generate more dollars for public safety districts.
The increased revenue would go to increase the police and firefighter staff and presence. This doesn’t sound like a bad idea in general; however, unlike a sales tax (which municipalities can raise already) only property owners would be paying this tax.
Therefore, if this was put on a ballot, and the property owner were outvoted, it would create a very unfair and unjust tax that only the people who didn’t want it would be paying for it, and those who don’t pay for it would be benefiting from it.
I am a huge proponent of local control, however the state does have its role and your elected state legislators should be the only ones you should have to persuade to keep property taxes low.
If this bill passes, it will be yet another level of government that citizens will have to keep an eye on. The vast majority of the constituents I have spoken to on this matter are strongly opposed to this idea.
Finally, and very closely related, is HB 2322. The measure would prohibit municipalities from creating gun laws that are stricter than the state’s. The premise of this idea is that local levels of government should not be allowed to fiddle with fundamental rights that are established by the Constitution, but rather they should abide by them.
Again, this shows the purpose of the state. If this measure fails, it would allow the more liberal towns and cities such as Oklahoma City and Tulsa to create different regulations than the state, which could possibly put visitors to a town in danger of violating the local laws. This is not a road we want to go down.
Again, I want to reiterate that I am, and always have been, a huge proponent of local control. However, the state does have its role and the people understand that, which is why we get involved in the election of our state legislators. Local government shouldn’t be allowed to do absolutely whatever they would like. They should operate within the limits that the people’s legislature has created at the state level.
This is a very interesting discussion that has been increasingly important over the past few years. I would love to hear your thoughts on this or any other issue, so please feel free to contact me anytime. My office can be reached by calling 405-521-5614 or by email at [email protected].
Like the Journal? Click HERE to support us.
To submit a story or information, or to make a correction please send an email to [email protected]
Sponsor COLUMNISTS or another section of leflorecountyjournal.com.com. Call (918) 649-4712 for more information.
To like LCJ on Facebook, please click HERE.
Follow us on Twitter by clicking HERE