CD 2: The line to succeed 2nd District Congressman Markwayne Mullin is forming on the right.
With Mullin campaigning for the U.S. Senate, it seems only Republicans should run in what is arguably Trump’s most favorable congressional district.
Two others announced last week — state Rep. Dustin Roberts, R-Durant and Muskogee pharmacist Chris Schiller — joining state senator Marty Quinn, R-Claremore and the state’s GOP chairman John Bennett.
At least two other Republicans are said to be considering the race, but no non-Republicans have come forward.
Red root: Mullin and Gov. Kevin Stitt kicked off their TV ad campaigns last week – though Mullin has been on TV for a while, plugging in his plumbing business.
Periodically, people ask why these ads — and Mullin Plumbing’s signature red-sign trucks — aren’t considered political ads, especially since he technically no longer owns the company.
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These questions began 10 years ago when Mullin first ran for Congress. Several people complained to the Federal Election Commission of what they said was an intentional confusion of the ad campaign and commercial advertising. Mullin himself asked the FEC for an advisory opinion.
The FEC reviewed three draft notices, two of which said Mullin Plumbing’s ads were electioneering and should be flagged as such and one that said they weren’t until they placed Mullin as a candidate or did not attack his opponents. The commission was ultimately unable to agree on any of the three and therefore issued no opinion.
In any case, federal election laws only apply within 30 days of a primary and 60 days of a general election. Oklahoma’s 2022 primaries are June 28.
Legislative Notes: House Republicans voted to retain Rep. Charles McCall, R-Atoka, as speaker of the 59th Legislature, which begins Feb. 6, 2023.
The House passed HB 3316, by Rep. Nicole Miller, R-Edmond, which establishes a framework for the automatic erasure of criminal records in certain circumstances.
The House and Senate have each approved measures establishing a framework for the operation of driverless autonomous vehicles on state roads.
“With approximately 300,000 completely self-contained commercial deliveries that have already been made without incident, we know it’s safe,” said Sen. Paul Rosino, R-Oklahoma City. “This legislation will ensure that we know who is operating AV vehicles and that they have appropriate insurance and security protocols in place.”
COVID-19 has taken a toll on schools, but it has also created an appreciation for the access provided by virtual town hall meetings.
Last week, the Senate passed a law requiring most meetings subject to the Oklahoma Open Meeting Act to be livestreamed and archived online if the body has the means to do so. The House seems likely to act on the measure, since it has McCall’s backing.
A new voice was heard last week over the dispute over school vouchers.
American Farmers and Ranchers, formerly the Oklahoma Farmers Union, have weighed in against Senate Speaker Pro Tem Greg Treat’s Oklahoma Empowerment Act, which would essentially give every family of schoolchildren in the state a check to spend however they wish for educational services.
“School vouchers put Oklahoma public schools squarely in the bullseye,” said AFR Cooperative President Scott Blubaugh. “This bill encourages families to take their students – and state funding – out of public schools and turn those dollars over to a private entity that is not bound by transparency or state education standards. ‘State.
“Public schools are essential to the health and vitality of any community,” Blubaugh said. “When a rural public school dies, the small town dies with it. Many of our rural communities are simply struggling to survive. God forbid, this bill further deprives our rural communities of a pillar of their very existence.
One of Rep. Jeff Boatman’s priorities, the creation of a human trafficking response unit within the state attorney general’s office, won House approval.
HB 3504, by Rep. Melissa Provenzano, D-Tulsa, which would require insurers to cover doctor-ordered mammograms, passed the House on International Women’s Day.
Meetings and events: U.S. Senate candidate Madison Horn will address the Creek County Democratic Party at 6 p.m. Thursday at Joseph’s, 54580 W. Oklahoma 16, Drumright.
An April Fool’s Day in absentia (presumably) roast of Gov. Kevin Stitt is scheduled by the Tulsa County Democratic Party at 7 p.m. April 1 at the Tulsa Spotlight Theater, 1381 Riverside Drive. Reservations for the Sketch Comedy Fundraiser are required. See secure.actblue.com/donate/roaststitt.
Campaigns and events: On Saturday, retired astronaut Thomas Stafford hosted an event for U.S. Senator James Lankford in Stafford’s hometown of Weatherford. Inhofe sponsored the event but did not attend due to COVID-19. Third District Congressman Frank Lucas also hosted.
Bottom lines: Oklahomans’ personal income rose 1.6% between the third quarter of 2020 and the third quarter of 2021, according to a Pew analysis. …Lucas and Southwestern Oklahoma State University announced a $1 million grant from the United States Department of Agriculture to provide telemedicine equipment to rural public schools in western Oklahoma.
—Randy Krehbiel, Tulsa World