2012 State Questions

Oklahomans will have the opportunity to amend the state constitution with their vote on November 6. This is your opportunity to represent your voice directly at the ballot box. I thought it might be important to give you a quick preview of what to expect to see on the ballot.

In addition to enacting new laws to reform the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, we voted to put State Question 765 on the ballot. The agency’s current structure of oversight is dictated by the Oklahoma Constitution, meaning that only voters can decide to make large-scale changes. A vote in favor of the question dissolves the current oversight structure and gives lawmakers direct oversight. A vote against the question retains the current oversight structure.

A vote in favor of State Question 764 would allow the Oklahoma Water Resources Board to issue up to $300 million in bonds to pay for water resource and sewage treatment programs, with the Oklahoma Legislature responsible for funding debt service on the loans from the state budget. A vote against the state question would keep those bonds from being issued.

There will also be two tax questions on the ballot. A vote in favor of State Question 758 would lower the cap on property value increases for owner-occupied homes and agricultural land. The current cap is 5 percent and would be reduced to 3 percent, reducing the amount property taxes could increase by each year. A vote in favor of State Question 766 would make all intangible property exempt from taxes, including patents, contracts, mineral interests and trademarks.

The remaining two state questions on the ballot concern affirmative action and public safety. A vote in favor of State Question 759 would end affirmative action in state hiring, contracting and education programs. Affirmative action programs give weight or preference to under-represented groups such as women, minorities, veterans and disabled individuals. A vote in favor of State Question 762 would remove the governor from the parole process for certain nonviolent offenders. The intent of the question is to expedite the parole process. A vote against State Question 762 will retain the governor’s authority to make the final decision in all parole cases.

Remember to vote! As always, I would love to hear from you. During the interim I will be traveling the district, but will regularly check the calls I receive at the Capitol office at (405) 557-7407.

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