Oklahoma Street Guns: No Training, No Permit, No Problem

It’s highly disappointing that another legislative bill loosening what few gun restrictions we have here to a new ridiculous level is moving through the Oklahoma House and Senate by huge voting margins.

It’s a sign that conservatives, who dominate state government, still remain confident they’re empowered politically enough to pass extremist legislation, which doesn’t bode well for what might happen to next year’s budget or even what might happen in the upcoming November election.

The state faces a $1.3 billion shortfall for next fiscal year and some state agencies have already taken steep cuts because of a revenue failure this year. Higher education, for example, has already had its overall state allocation reduced by $112 million and faces more cuts next year.

But if you can afford to buy a gun in this economic downturn caused by conservative ideology, well, it looks like you’re going to be able to walk around and display it openly even if you haven’t had one bit of training or even have a permit.

House Bill 3098 easily passed the Senate on a 37-9 vote Wednesday after earlier passing the House on 73-15 vote. The bill, in its present form, would allow anyone 21 or older who hasn’t been convicted of a felony crime to openly carry a gun without receiving the training required for concealed carry and without getting a permit.

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Oklahoma Standard Major Part Of Global Warming Crisis

Oklahoma’s role in the world’s global warming crisis is well known.

There’s the world infamous U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, our fellow Oklahoman, who denies that manmade carbon emissions are creating the circumstances for an upcoming catastrophe, which will include population displacement, starvation and major drought.

Then there’s the local GOP-manifestation of the “drill, baby drill” mantra, which symbolizes excess, carelessness and a lack of futuristic thinking. Read this about tax breaks for unprofitable fossil fuel wells if you need to know how bad it is. The mantra has driven the Oklahoma economy into the ground because of a worldwide glut of fossil fuels and made the state one of the most seismically active places in the world.

Inhofe and other conservatives here are the antithesis of good stewards of the planet and environment, and this is well-known nationally and worldwide. It’s only Oklahoma’s image of a backwards place that ironically shields it from more worldwide scrutiny and condemnation. But the type of thinking produced here by an anti-education bias and energy company greed will be considered one of the great human errors of the fossil fuel age as the world slowly but surely moves to renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power.

It’s difficult not to try to put the issue into some larger perspective as each month brings the telling news. March 2016, according the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, was the warmest March on record, which dates back to 1880. This follows a string of record-breaking months when it comes to the heat closing in.

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A Fantabulous Response When Conservatives Broke Oklahoma

There seems to be some fantabulous thinking going within some elements of the local liberal community when it comes to taxes in Oklahoma.

I’ll try not to stir up the liberal pot, again, like I did last week, but let’s be realistic, the GOP-dominated legislature is NOT going to substantially raise income taxes or, in essence, roll back the cuts dating back to 2004 anytime soon to fix the budget. There IS a slight possibility that the most recent 0.25 percent cut implemented starting in 2016 might get rolled back because of the efforts of state Sen. Mike Mazzei, a Tulsa Republican, but even that could eventually face a Gov. Mary Fallin veto or a court challenge. State budget writers would be wrong to count on the extra revenue until any legal action is decided, which could take weeks if not months.

Do we even want to restore all the income tax cuts that have been implemented since 2004, which has resulted in a severe state revenue decline? Lawmakers over the years have slashed income taxes from 6.65 percent in 2004 to 5 percent today. People here continue to elect these same type of lawmakers to office.

Wouldn’t it be better if we’re going to engage in fantabulous thinking to re-envision the overall income tax code and various brackets and sales taxes and credits and exemptions? Yes, of course. But that’s not going to happen either under a GOP-dominated government. It takes a three-fourths majority of legislators and the governor’s signature or a vote of the people to increase taxes. What’s more likely to happen is that the legislature and Fallin will cobble together a budget that falls short of providing more significant money to education and health care. Maybe education will get some more money but not enough for teacher raises or to make up for previous cuts.

A new poll out shows that Oklahomans supposedly want to prevent funding cuts by raising income taxes. But I believe the wording in the poll, conducted by the Global Strategy Group, led participants to that conclusion. The poll begins, for example, by mentioning the state’s $1.3 billion budget shortfall expected next fiscal year and possible cuts to education, health care and public safety. It doesn’t ask this question straight up: Are you in favor of raising income taxes in Oklahoma?

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