breaking: Epic Charter Schools far above state average for students dropped after absencesbreaking: Beth Chapman, co-star of bounty hunter reality TV, diesLive video: Day 22 of Oklahoma opioid trial

NewsOK: Oklahoma City News, Sports, Weather & Entertainment

Capital City: Lawmakers return to the Capitol

Advertisement
Workers have started construction on the platform to be used for inauguration ceremonies for Oklahoma's new governor, lieutenant governor and other officials elected to statewide offices in last November's election. Kevin Stitt will be administered the oath of office and be sworn in as the next governor on Jan. 14, 2019, on the south steps of the Capitol.  Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman.
Workers have started construction on the platform to be used for inauguration ceremonies for Oklahoma's new governor, lieutenant governor and other officials elected to statewide offices in last November's election. Kevin Stitt will be administered the oath of office and be sworn in as the next governor on Jan. 14, 2019, on the south steps of the Capitol. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman.

Good Tuesday morning. 

Today is organizational day at the state Capitol. Lawmakers will officially elect leadership positions, adopt rules, settle into offices and begin to name some of the 2019 agenda. What to watch for: House Speaker Charles McCall will give an address that should include highlights of his agenda. 

McCall, along with most other state lawmakers, believes 2019 will be an easier session than the past few years. Challenges will come, but there won't be a massive budget shortfall to contend with (at least we hope not). 

"There was a lot of energy exhausted on the budget (last year), but I think we have an opportunity to redirect that next year to focus on some of the issues we haven't been able to get to," McCall said

Election Day: Fourteen counties have elections today, including the city of Harrah and Luther schools. Here's a complete list

GOV SHUTDOWN CONTINUES ...

Delayed highway projects: About 45 new Oklahoma highway projects worth $137 million will be delayed because of the ongoing partial federal government shutdown, Oklahoma Department of Transportation officials said Monday.

Impact on local breweries: Even the beer companies are feeling the effects of the government shutdown. An inability to submit or receive approvals for beer labels from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau during a shutdown of the federal government is interrupting cash flows for some Oklahoma breweries and limiting product availability for Oklahoma consumers. The Oklahoman's David Dishman has more

Stitt unveils plan to address business conflicts

From Oklahoma Watch: Incoming Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt is asking the attorney general to review his plan to step away from his mortgage company as it becomes a bank and to approve a conflict-of-interest policy for his family investments.

Stitt, who takes office Jan. 14, is facing potential conflicts of interest related to Tulsa-based Gateway Mortgage Group LLC, which he founded, and possibly some real estate and other personal investments.

Inaugural address - pride, people and purpose

Pictured above is the stage already in place on the south steps of the state Capitol. Next Monday, Stitt will give his inaugural address after taking the oath.

Donelle Harder, Stitt's spokeswoman who took the lead in writing the speech, said, " I think there are three things you will hear in the inaugural address and those three things are pride, people and purpose. His goal is to remind us why we are proud to be the state we are today and why we can be proud of what's to come. He is going to cast purpose for this new administration and the mandates he was elected on that he has every intention to carry out. And he is going to remind us that we are all here for the people."

2020 Congressional Race

Kendra Horn had not yet taken office as the new congresswoman from Oklahoma's 5th district before the race for 2020 was already underway

Republicans hit her Pelosi vote: The National Republican Congressional Committee sent text messages to its 5th District supporters. “BREAKING: Democrats like Kendra Horn are once again ignoring your voice by voting for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker. Fight back NOW,” the text said, with a link to the NRCC's fundraising page.

Horn begins fundraising: Horn's campaign sent its first fundraising email of the 2020 race on Dec. 13, three weeks before she was sworn-in to office for the first time. The email noted that political forecasters consider the 5th District race to be a toss-up in 2020.

None of this is unusual in the never-stop campaigning nature of Congress. 2020 will be an interesting race for the 5th district. Will Horn solidify herself as a tough-to-beat incumbent (especially with a significant fundraising performance), or will Republicans see her 2018 win as a minor setback in an otherwise conservative district?  

Force committee hearings?

From the Tulsa World's Randy Krehbiel: SB 136, by Sen. Joseph Silk, R-Broken Bow, would allow legislators to force a committee vote on their bills, thus diminishing leadership’s ability to bury legislation they don’t like.

Silk’s conundrum here is that he’ll have to get leadership to agree to give up control of its legislative agenda.

There is also at least one subplot: Silk is author of SB 13, an “abolitionist” abortion bill that even some abortion rights opponents would as soon not deal with.

Foster case system needs remain

The state has shown “marked improvement” recently in how it cares for foster children, but there still are several areas in which good-faith efforts are lacking, according to an oversight panel (Tulsa World).

The three national experts released a report last week that knocked the Oklahoma Department of Human Services in areas involving child maltreatment, and the numbers of therapeutic foster homes and caseworkers from Jan. 1 through June 30, 2018.

TODAY: Practice & Policy Lecture Series presented by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS). Women in Politics: What it Means for Policy and Leadership will be presented by OU Professor Emeritus Cindy Rosenthal today from noon to 1 p.m. at the Oklahoma History Center. More info can be found here

New Election Board PIO: The Oklahoma State Election Board introduced its new public information officer to Capitol media on Monday. Misha Mohr, who once worked in television, will take over for Bryan Dean who recently left the Election Board. 

More political news ...

-A longtime community leader has filed an ethics complaint with the city of Tulsa accusing City Councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper of using her position to work against the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce, reports the Tulsa World

-The Muscogee (Creek) Nation has prosecuted a non-Indian for the first time since a U.S. Supreme Court ruling prohibited it from doing so 40 years ago, reports The Oklahoman's Justin Wingerter

Thanks for reading. Got questions, suggestions or complaints? Email me at bfelder@oklahoman.com. 

Like what you've read? The best way to support The Oklahoman and NewsOK.com is with a digital subscription.

Ben Felder

Ben Felder is an investigative reporter for The Oklahoman. A native of Kansas City, Ben has lived in Oklahoma City since 2010 and covered politics, education and local government for the Oklahoma Gazette before joining The Oklahoman in 2016.... Read more ›

Comments