Sunday, February 24, 2013

State House Republicans, Democrats Differ on States’ Rights Committee

OKLAHOMA CAPITOL – This week House Democrats made a barrage of statements condemning the House States’ Rights Committee created by House Speaker T.W. Shannon.

House Democrats complained that the “Committee entertained as fact internet myths and tinfoil hat fantasies” during a meeting of the Committee last Tuesday.

A press release issue by the House Democratic Caucus on Friday pointed to legislation like House Bill 1487 and House Joint Resolution 1020 saying they politicized things like the National Guard and the medical profession. The release did not provide specifics about their policy objections.

The committee was created in response to Oklahomans’ concerns over mandates handed down by President Barack Obama and the federal government that go unchecked, unfunded and impact the personal freedoms of our citizens.

Rep. Tom Newell, R-Seminole, responded that the Democrats’ complaints demonstrate a lack of concern over unprecedented encroachment by the federal government into the lives of Oklahomans.

“The behavior of the Democrat members of the State’s Rights Committee has shown their lack of concern for the citizens’ individual rights and their lack of knowledge of the functions of government on all levels,” said Newell. “Unfortunately, this continued push for big government and a society where the people are expected to stay quiet and pay their taxes shows the far-left, socialist values that have become the foundation of the modern Democrat Party. Racking up debt and taking away rights in the name of a false definition of liberty has become the mantra of their party from top to bottom.”

The Democrats said proposals considered and passed in the Committee will create circumstances “forcing people to choose whether they will follow federal or state law in the course of doing their jobs.”

Rep. Leslie Osborn, R-Mustang, said the Committee serves a legitimate need and function.

“A mandate from local, state or federal government should be a concern to the citizens,” said Osborn. “When a suspect mandate is passed down by the federal government, we, as elected representatives, have a duty to be a line of defense for the people.”

Rep. Ed Cannaday, D-Porum, claimed the Committee was given credibility when Speaker Shannon presented a bill to the Committee members last week.

“With the Speaker of the House presenting his own bill in this committee then it is clear this committee is legitimate because his bill gave it legitimacy,” said Cannaday.

Rep. Lewis Moore, R-Arcadia, chairman of the Committee, said individual freedom and state sovereignty are legitimate concerns the Legislature should address.

“Maybe mocking the concept of individual liberty makes House Democrats feel better, but I take very seriously the encroachment of the federal government onto our natural God-given and Constitutional rights as citizens,” said Moore. “I believe Oklahomans sent House Republicans a very clear message when they voted in the largest Republican majority in state history in November, and protecting their rights is one of our top priorities.”

House Democrats said they will continue to push back on these proposals presented within the State’s Rights Committee and, if needed, on the House floor.

House Republicans pledged to continue to stand for the people of Oklahoma and the freedoms our Forefathers and families have fought for and Our Creator has blessed upon us.

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