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Thursday round-up ... locker room safety, 'the gay agenda,' and much more

Kirk Demarais
"Rusty Reddirt" is struggling to keep his hat on today in that stiff wind.
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Could this weather be any nicer? A bike ride is in order, Rusty!

Anyway, with Thursday upon us, it’s time to see what is going on over at the State Capitol …

State Rep. Joe Dorman (D-Rush Springs) filed a bill – HB 3076 – which would require fingerprints to be taken of prospective volunteers and sent to OSBI for background checks. Seems reasonable. Dorman said, in the Enid News & Eagle: “My constituents have had concerns about school safety, not because of any story in Oklahoma, but just because of some of the national stories they have heard.” Read more here.

And our friend Peter J. Rudy over at Oklahoma Watchdog - a true Capitol watchdog (since we can't always be there) - gives us a summary of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee. Of interest was the vote over Rep. Dennis Johnson's (R-Duncan) HB 2621 about eliminating transferability of tax credits. Rep, Gus Blackwell, a Panhandle Republican, said "(t)ransferability is not bad," while Rep. Johnson responds that "there's too much chance of abuse as it is now." Read the outcome of the vote here.

And speaking of Rep. Blackwell (R-Goodwell), we noted yesterday his bill, HB 1551, the one Rep. Sally Kern introduced last year (which failed) about exploring alternative theories concerning evolution and global warming. We at Red Dirt Report support full and open debate on any subject, regardless of societal pressures or, in this case, scientific orthodoxy. Some people, like the editorial board at the Tulsa World, sniffs at the Blackwell (read: Kern) bill, claiming it's religious beliefs entering the classroom. We read the bill and that is not the intent. It is not a religious bill and the World and others need to be intellectually honest about that. 

In our RDR inbox today was an email from Oklahomans for Liberty's David Tackett. Tackett does great work, like exposing the Republicans who do not favor eliminating the state income tax. But then there is that controversial bill, HB 2195, Rep. Mike Reynolds put forth - the reintroduction of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" specifically gays and lesbians from openly serving in the Oklahoma National Guard. Tackett informs his readers that supposed "conservative" legislators like Reps. Ann Coody, Gary Banz and Veterans committee Chairman Paul Wesselhoft are "furthering the gay agenda" by not allowing a hearing of HB 2195. We disagree. They, and others, recognized there were a lot of problems - unintended or not - with Reynolds' bill.

Covering the committee meeting it was clear that there was not support for the bill and there was outcry against it coming from all corners of the country. While we don't know Reynolds' motivations, we feel it was a hateful, hurtful bill and it was rightly sent to the Rules committee graveyard. Oklahomans for Liberty's David Tackett, meanwhile, wants his readers to "share your disgust" with Wesselhoft, Banz, Coody and Speaker Kris Steele for "pushing the gay agenda" by calling or emailing them. Of course that's their right. We simply disagree. For Tackett, "the gay agenda" is stuff like "gays in the military" and "gay marriage." But in a liberty-loving society, one seeking equality for all, why would that so concern an organization with the word "liberty" in the name?  Of course we got to witness "The Gay Agenda" recently here in Oklahoma City, thanks to Randy Roberts Potts and Keaton Johnson, and it had nothing to do with outraged Republican legislators or activists. It was, well, pretty boring. Read about it here.

Did you catch the CNN GOP debate in Mesa, Ariz. last night? We believe Ron Paul was the strongest of the four and Newt Gingrich seemed almost defeated, compared to previous performances. Could it be those low poll numbers are getting Newt down? Or is Callista wanting Newt to get another line of credit at Tiffany’s? With Newt, you never know. And what of Mitt Romney jerkily ignoring that final question about "misconceptions"? It was much like the way he reacted to this reporter when we asked him a question. And social conservative Rick Santorum seemed to be flailing quite a lot. Just an observation, gang. In any event, Red Dirt Report is scheduled to cover the Ron Paul campaign rally on the south steps of the State Capitol at noon Saturday.

Radio host Glenn Beck was just saying on his radio show that Oklahoma is a destination, even among people in Texas, where he has relocated. Thinking about that, I noted over at the Durant Daily Democrat that State Sen. Josh Brecheen (R-Coalgate) was pleased with a recent editorial in The Wall Street Journal praising Gov. Mary Fallin’s plan to reduce the state’s income tax.

Writes Brecheen: “The Wall Street Journal believes Oklahoma has the best chance of fully abolishing our state income tax in the near future given that we’re an oil and gas state. The editorial points out that the oil and gas industry has helped our state have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation at just over six percent.”

Read Sen. Brecheen's column here.

And over at the Oklahoma Gazette, editor Phil Bacharach shares his thoughts and memories of journalist and Oklahoma native Anthony Shadid, who died Feb. 16 while covering events taking place in Syria. Read more about it here.

Copyright 2012 West Marie Media

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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