Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

A Pat on the Back for Fallin

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

A Pat on the Back for Fallin

Article excerpt

Let me jump in line with lots of others and commend Lt. Gov. Mary Fallin on her assertion of control in the state Senate last week.

Because of press and writing deadlines, I don't know right now how it's playing out but I hope the confrontation continues. Too much is at stake for the wrong deal to be cut.

At issue, at least the surface issue, is getting a right-to-work referendum before the voters this year, something the Senate leadership is apparently dead set against.

Watching the extravaganza from the sidelines only points out the insanity that governing bodies come up with to ensure power and enforce agendas.

The lieutenant governor, in my opinion, is totally correct to assume that the voters of Oklahoma want her to do her job. Part of her job is presiding over the state Senate. I think that's what she tried to do last Wednesday.

The leadership of the Senate, led by Senate President Pro Tempore Stratton Taylor, and the majority of Democrats failed to show and a quorum was not attained for official business.

Then Taylor convenes the Senate under special rules that allow the whole body to function as a committee. The committee of the entire Senate becomes the Committee of the Whole. Committee rules dictate that the president pro tem lead the committee meeting.

If possible, the Senate becomes a more powerful body when acting as Committee of the Whole. Any bills considered for action from the committee must be considered without amendments or debate.

Amendments and debate define political action.

Too often elected officials get the feeling that they really know what's best for their constituents and shouldn't confuse us with details and specifics.

Special rules are developed, tested against the constitution, played for problems with special interests, tried out in focus groups and then, if possible, rammed down our throats.

These rules can circumvent public notice, open access to deliberation and under the most absurd conditions actually exempt legislators from their own laws. …

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