A Plan For AICCM

One thing that didn’t get accomplished during the so-called Oklahoma City Renaissance was the completion of the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum near the nation’s crossroads of Interstates 35 and 40.

The unfinished center has become a symbol of a loss of political will and even injustice perpetuated by those state politicians and legislators who stopped funding its completion in 2012.

But that could be changing. After its initial, formal conception in the state legislature some two decades ago, the AICCM is finally getting the final push of funding it needs from Oklahoma City and the Chickasaw Nation, officials recently announced.

Under the new plan, Oklahoma City and the Chickasaw Nation will partner to finish the center, which needs $65 million to complete. The money needed to finish the center will come from a state bond issue, private donations and the city itself. The Chickasaw Nation, according to news reports, has promised to fund any gap in construction costs and will also provide operating money for several years to ensure the center remains open and functioning.

The Chickasaw Nation’s involvement became the last crucial step to make the AICCM a reality.

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School Vouchers Not A Good Fit For Oklahoma

A recent editorial in The Oklahoman arguing in favor of school vouchers deserves a thorough challenge because it omits and distorts important information about the issue.

The editorial, titled “Conservative policy takes a hit with Oklahoma ESA decision,” ran Wednesday. The gist of it was that Republicans “capitulated” when the legislative leaders decided not to consider bills creating taxpayer-funded Education Savings Accounts (ESA’s), or school vouchers, that could be used by parents to pay for their children’s tuition at private schools. This apparently made The Oklahoman editorial board unhappy. State Finance Secretary Preston Doerflinger, a Republican, wasn’t happy either with the voucher decision, arguing, “Republicans should put D’s (for Democrats) after their names and call it good.” Obviously, the voucher issue has struck some deep chord among some conservatives.

The Oklahoman argues that a majority of state residents support the idea of vouchers, basing its assertion on the results of one poll, and that vouchers would benefit “low-income” children the most. The editorial also makes the point that those opposed to vouchers are the “most rabid teacher union members and their allies.” Note the word “rabid.” What does that even mean in this context? How typically insulting and sophomoric for the newspaper.

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Anti-Abortion Proposal Creates National Headlines

An extremist anti-abortion bill proposed this year in the Oklahoma legislature would have made anyone who performs the procedure subject to first degree murder charges.

It’s doubtful that Senate Bill 1118, sponsored by Republican State Sen. Joseph Silk of Broken Bow, would have ever made it through the legislative process, but it’s worth noting anyway as an example of the wasted time and energy that our state leaders spend on advancing extremist, right-wing religious positions instead of doing the basic work of governance and crafting real-life policy that would help the state overcome its many challenges.

The bill didn’t make it through the legislature process because even the radical extremists who lead our government here knew the murder-charge proposal is obviously unconstitutional and just plain bizarre. The bill has made national news, of course. The only thing positive one might say about it is that at least its supporters openly admit their intent is to abolish abortion. Many anti-abortion advocates often use disingenuous rhetoric to advance legislation limiting reproductive rights and don’t openly state their real goal is to abolish the procedure.

The bill, as amended and currently on the legislative web site, now would make it illegal for anyone to perform an abortion if a “fetal heartbeat is detected.” This, too, is an unconstitutional proposal, which would draw a successful lawsuit.

What’s 100 percent certain is that the abortion procedure would continue in this country even if it was made illegal through a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, which seems unlikely.

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