Oklahoma Politics: May 2012 Archives

Rep. David Derby (R-Owasso) sent me a response to my comments regarding his decision to withdraw his endorsement of his colleague, George Faught, in the race for the Republican nomination for Oklahoma's 2nd Congressional District, in connection with Faught's news release on the failure of SB 1433, the personhood bill, to get a hearing in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. As the response was a series of text messages, I've taken the liberty to expand abbreviations:

I pulled my support from Faught because his press release said he was disappointed with the Republican caucus. I'm part of the Republican caucus, and there is no way I will ever stand for being called pro-choice. I chaired the health committee that personhood came through. I kept the liberal amendments from being added. I voted yes on all the whip counts to hear the bill. So I was disappointed in Faught's press release by not calling out leadership. I will not be called pro-choice, nor will I stand for a press release that implies that I am pro-choice. I have an adopted son, and my wife and I personally have had issues that led us to adopt, and thus my pro-life stance. I hope and pray that this clears up the confusion.

Derby, D.jpgIn response to my question about his absence when Rep. Mike Reynolds was trying to appeal the speaker's ruling and bring SB 1433 to a vote, Derby said that he had left the chamber for a short break while the previous bill was being heard and so was out of the chamber when Reynolds was trying unsuccessfully to get Speaker pro-tem Jeff Hickman (R-Dacoma) to recognize him. Derby pointed out that on the subsequent roll call vote to adjourn, he voted against adjournment, which would have kept the door open for another attempt to have the bill heard. (A vote in favor of adjournment killed the bill, by closing the door on voting on it during this session, as April 26 was the deadline for Deadline for Third Reading of bills and joint resolutions from the Senate. Voting nay, as Derby did, was the right vote from the pro-life perspective.)

Derby did indeed chair the Public Health Committee, and voted yes on the motion to move the bill forward with a "Do Pass" recommendation. The yeas were David Derby, Grau, Holland, Jadine Nollan, Mike Ritze, Roberts (S.), Schwartz. The nays were Ed Cannaday (D-Porum), Doug Cox (R-Grove, one of the most consistent Republican votes against pro-life bills), Jeannie McDaniel (D-Tulsa) one of the most consistent Democrat votes against pro-life bills), and Ron Peters (R-Tulsa, term-limited Republican who often votes to the left of the rest of the caucus).

Last week, on April 26, when State Rep. Mike Reynolds tried in vain to appeal the ruling of the speaker pro tempore, so that the Personhood bill (SB 1433) would be heard, only 15 other state representatives were willing to stand with him. This in spite of the fact that SB 1433 had passed the Senate by a wide margin (34-8) and was given a "do pass" recommendation by the House public health committee (7-4). But House Speaker Kris Steele had killed the bill, claiming that it was in response to a caucus vote not to allow it to move forward.

An appeal of the speaker's ruling requires 15 seconds. The speaker pro tem, Hickman, seemed not to see Reynolds's appeal or the seconders. Here, according to Charlie Meadows of OCPAC, are the 18 that demonstrated a willingness to give this bill a fair hearing and an up-or-down vote:

Mike Reynolds (R) *
Gus Blackwell (R) *
Paul Wesselhoft (R) *
Mike Christian (R)
Aaron Stiles (R)
Lewis Moore (R) *
John Bennett (R) *
Sean Roberts (R)
Charles Key (R)
Jason Murphey (R)
George Faught (R) *
Sally Kern (R) *
John Trebilcock (R)
Mike Ritze (R) *
Randy Terrill (R)
Rebecca Hamilton (D) *
R.C. Pruitt (D)
Richard Morrissette (D)

Those with stars after their names also appeared at a news conference last week in support of SB 1433. In addition to those listed above, Josh Cockroft (R), Ralph Shortey (R), and two candidates, Paul Blair (challenging Sen. Clark Jolley in the Republican primary) and Dan Fisher (running for an open House seat), spoke at the the news conference. Meadows notes that Hamilton is a genuine supporter of the sanctity of human life, but questions whether Morrissette's motive was to "stir controversy among Republicans."


Here is video, posted by Personhood USA, of what took place, as Rep. Reynolds sought to suspend the rule, to bypass the floor leader, so that the bill could be heard over the objection of the Majority Floor Leader (Dale DeWitt, R-Braman). Rep. Randy Terrill (R-Moore) points out that Hickman's ruling creates a Catch-22, where there is no way that even a supermajority of the House could move legislation that the Floor Leader seeks to block. This goes well beyond the pros and cons of this particular bill and raises the question: Is the State House a legislative body, or an elected dictatorship?

As you see the end of that video, Hickman claims that there were not 15 standing seconds. But State Rep. Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie, captured video from his seat showing Hickman improperly ignoring Reynolds' appeal and those who stood with Reynolds.

The video shows the list of representatives who then voted to adjourn. This vote may have appeared nothing more than procedural, but it halted Rep. Reynolds' attempts to be recognized for the purpose of overruling the chair and suspending the rules so that the personhood bill could be heard. April 26 was the last day Senate bills could be heard on the House floor, so anyone voting aye for adjournment voted to pierce the personhood bill's head, vacuum its brains out, and collapse its metaphorical skull for ease of disposal.

I would be very interested in hearing from those avowed pro-life Republicans -- many of whom have moved important pro-life bills in the past, even in this session -- who refused to give their public support to ensure that this bill was brought to a vote, and why they instead supported killing it in utero, as it were, by their silence.

georgefaughtlogo.pngMORE: I received an pseudonymous email on Thursday (probably from a campaign operative for one of the District 2 carpetbagger candidates -- no way to know for sure, can't prove it, but the motive is there), claiming that George Faught did not speak in support of the personhood bill in caucus, and that Faught's public statement in support of SB 1433 cost him the endorsements of State Reps. Steve Martin and David Derby. I'm not sure how this operative knew what went on behind the caucus's closed doors, but it doesn't matter. Faught spoke in support of SB 1433 publicly and stood for it when it counted. Martin and Derby did not, and that they would withdraw support from Faught because of his statement suggests that they care more for caucus politics than the sanctity of human life. Derby and Martin are welcome to try to convince me that my assessment of their wobble is wrong, but it will take some very solid reasoning and facts to convince me. (UPDATE: David Derby responds, noting that he voted against adjournment and supported the bill on each caucus whip count.)

Here's the key to the 2nd Congressional District: There's the carpet cleaner -- George Faught, long-time resident of Muskogee, who runs a successful carpet cleaning business in addition to his service to the legislature -- and then you have some carpetbaggers, people who recently moved into the district after living outside the district for decades. District 2 has been represented by "newly arrived residents" since Brad Carson moved to Claremore from midtown Tulsa and won the open seat in 2000. Vote for the carpet cleaner and send the carpetbaggers packing.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Oklahoma Politics category from May 2012.

Oklahoma Politics: April 2012 is the previous archive.

Oklahoma Politics: June 2012 is the next archive.

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