Tahlequah Daily Press

Editorials

May 12, 2014

Fallin’s hissy-fit veto binge may cost her big-time this fall

TAHLEQUAH — Gov. Mary Fallin’s “temper tantrum,” as it was dubbed last week by State Rep. Mike Brown, embarrassed members of her own party, and for good reason. If voters are savvy enough to understand the retaliatory nature of the vetoes she let fly, she may have blasted a hole in her own foot.

According to observers, Fallin’s hissy-fit stemmed from the Legislature’s refusal to pass her bill to establish charter schools, possibly in every county. Last month, she brought in Jeb Bush to bolster her agenda, and both played to the media at a successful charter school in Oklahoma City.

Bush did say one thing that made sense, though it’s so obvious it’s almost a no-brainer: “I don’t think Washington’s the place where the education system can be fixed or improved.” That’s true, but accepting Fallin’s charter school proposal isn’t necessarily sound policy, either. What works in Oklahoma City might not work in Tahlequah – and what works in Tahlequah might not work in Hulbert. That’s why local control and state control should be balanced when it comes to education.

Democrats, who traditionally support public education, were apprehensive. And though the Republican super-majority in the Legislature might normally applaud the charter school concept, in this case, they didn’t bite. That’s because the companies she wanted to oversee this behemoth project are all from somewhere other than Oklahoma. No self-respecting, pro-business Republican – especially one who supports rock-bottom tax breaks for corporations to entice them into the Sooner state – is going to back a move that exports a windfall across the border.

In an almost-unprecedented move, the two parties worked together to reject Fallin’s plank. She was quick to exact her revenge, rapping off 15 vetoes in record time – just a blink of an eye when compared to what Brown described as “hundreds of hours of work.”

The veto most outrageous to fellow Republicans was on a bill to shorten the waiting period on background checks certain firearms and peripherals. Fallin characterized this bill and others as “meaningless” in the face of more pressing business. And while there may indeed be more critical matters at hand, Fallin risked alienating legions of Second Amendment and gun loyalists, not to mention the NRA, with the stroke of her pen.

Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, Senate author of H.B. 2461, said the measure requires a sheriff or police chief to sign off quickly on applications for tax stamps for automatic weapons, short-barreled rifles and shotguns, silencers, suppressors and other items. And it sets a deadline of 15 days, if the buyer isn’t precluded from possessing a firearm.

Fallin explained her veto by saying, erroneously, that the bill attempted to control a federal agency – namely, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Since when has Fallin – or any person on the political right – developed a taste for licking the boots of the ATF?

The colossal blunder prompted the second historic action in a matter of days: It marked the first time the GOP-controlled Legislature overrode a Fallin veto. And they did it with the help of their Democratic colleagues. Perhaps voters  will have longer memories than they usually do, because we need to send a few more grownups to Oklahoma City this fall.

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Editorials
  • NSU needs to be more candid when its plans go awry

    Many area residents were disappointed to learn this week that the NSU Fitness Center, and its all-important indoor lap pool, won’t open next month, as originally announced.
    This latest delay is no surprise.

    July 28, 2014

  • Higher premiums a just reward for drunken drivers

    Over the past several years, Oklahoma has slipped in many of the polls that count. This week, we learned Tulsa is No. 4 on a list of cities with high rates of fatal DUI accidents. Is anyone really surprised?

    July 25, 2014

  • Maybe it’s time to think about having another BalloonFest

    The 18th annual BalloonFest was the last one held, in 2010. In summer 2011, when the Daily Press staff hadn’t heard anything about the much-anticipated event, we started asking questions.

    July 23, 2014

  • If you see a drunken driver, take the time to call in a report

    If you see something, say something. You’ve heard the warning, and seen it imprinted on placards at airports. In the wake of 9/11, it became a national mantra, mainly aimed at spotting potential terrorist activities. But it’s good advice anytime, and for any reason, even at the local level.

    July 14, 2014

  • City officials should stop squabbling and try to work together

    It’s bad enough that the Chamber of Commerce scandal has given Tahlequah a black eye. But if the bickering among city officials doesn’t stop, the community will have a complete set of shiners for its public face.

    July 11, 2014

  • Only full disclosure will restore trust in the chamber

    Despite pressure from some quarters, neither the Press nor anyone else who values full disclosure will be clamming up until all the facts are known, and those who are responsible meet with justice.

    July 10, 2014

  • Only full disclosure will restore trust in the chamber

    A few board members for the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce are saying they’ve heard nothing but positive things lately – about the chamber itself, and presumably, about themselves.

    July 9, 2014

  • Employer-sponsored insurance may now be a ‘hostage’ situation

    When the fallout settles from the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, many Americans might decide they’re better off with health insurance that doesn’t come from their boss.

    July 7, 2014

  • With confidence in Congress at 7 percent, time for a new slate

    Note to Congress: We don’t like you. Not at all.
    A Gallup poll released Monday, June 30 confirmed what most of us already know: the American public is disgusted with the House and Senate. The survey recorded the lowest level of confidence since Gallup began asking the question in 1991: a whopping 7 percent. That’s not a typographical error; it’s a single digit.

    July 2, 2014

  • New chamber head needs to be free from scandal’s taint

    Every time another layer is peeled off the unfolding saga of the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce embezzlement case, those going through the records hope they might see a light at the end of the tunnel. So far, that hasn’t happened.

    June 30, 2014

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