++ AGENDA FOR THIS WEEK’S MEETING
++ WILL GOV FALLIN MISS IT ON THE ECONOMY?
++ OCPAC MEMBERSHIP UP-DATE
++ AGENDA FOR THIS WEEK’S MEETING
Our 12 noon luncheon for Wednesday, March 2nd will be held at
Italiano’s restaurant, 4801 North Lincoln in OKC. We have re-scheduled
Hopper Smith for our speaker this Wednesday, as he had to cancel
during the first Wednesday in February when we were snowed out of our
regular location. He will be talking about the water issue facing the
state. It may be dealt with this year. Involved are the State of
Oklahoma, North Texas water districts, Indian Tribes and cities in
central Oklahoma. We will present the other sides of this story asap.
In addition, we will have Carson Banks speak to us for about 10
minutes. Carson has been a director for the Generation Joshua project
and is also involved with Teen Pact.
The central Oklahoma Auto Dealers Show will be held at the state
fairgrounds starting this Wednesday and running through next Sunday.
The cost of admission is $8.00, but I have a large quantity of tickets
to be given away to folks interested in attending. If you are looking
for a new vehicle or just want to go and see what is new, come to our
meeting and get some tickets. They are free for the asking. I won’t
have time to go, but would love a report from someone about what is
available now, or planned in the future, for auto’s or trucks that
might operate on the duel fuels of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and
* WEDNESDAY - EDMOND AREA - For all the Mike Huckabee supporters,
he will be signing his new book at The Best of Books, bookstore,
starting at 3:00 p.m. on March 2nd. The title of his new book is: A
Simple Government - Twelve Things We Really Need from Washington (and
a Trillion That We Don’t). The bookstore is located at 1313 East
Danforth Rd. (located in Kickingbird Square) in Edmond. For more
information, call (405) 340-9202.
* FRIDAY - OKC AREA - The high noon club meets every Friday, 12
noon, at the H&H Gun Range which is located just East of Meridian on
the North side of I-40. This Friday’s meeting, March 4th will be the
first location in Central Oklahoma in which Avi Lipkin will be
speaking. Avi, has authored several books about radical Islam. He is
Jewish and worked for and still has connections to the Israeli Prime
Minister. His wife was raised as a Coptic (Egyptian) Jew. Growing up
in a Muslim-Arab culture, she is an expert on that culture. She works
for Israeli Intelligence and is the primary Arab interpreter for the
Nation of Israel. I had him on my radio program several years ago and
have attended a 12 hour seminar he presented about 4 years ago. If he
is allowed to speak freely, we will find out the most factual
information available regarding the situation in Egypt and the other
Middle East countries. He will be speaking at several different places
in the OKC area from March 4th through the 10th. I strongly urge folks
to make every effort to attend 1 or more of these meetings.
* SUNDAY - EDMOND AREA - Avi Lipkin will be speaking during the
morning service which starts at 10:45 on Sunday morning as well as the
evening service which begins at 6:00 p.m. The church is located at the
corner of Danforth and Sooner Road in Edmond. Sooner is 1 block West
of I-35 and Danforth is 1 mile North of Second street, which is the
main East West street through the heart of Edmond. I will have his
locations for the following week in next week’s e-mail.
++ WILL GOVERNOR FALLIN MISS IT ON THE ECONOMY?
The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA) just sent out the most
recent issue of their publication, Perspectives. The feature article
is about the need to reform Oklahoma’s Worker’s Compensation (WC)
system. They show a graph of businesses surveyed in Oklahoma which
state that the need for WC reform is the number 2 most important issue
following the need for a well educated and trained workforce.
While we won’t be able to do much about the latter need anytime in the
near future, we can fix our WC system and do so without delay. A
couple of years ago we had State Representative McCullough speak at
OCPAC about his efforts to pass legislation to reform our WC system
and found out the dictator like Speaker Benge had decided we would not
reform the system that year as he wanted to concentrate on tort
There was some level of tort reform accomplished that year, but it
looks like the train is speeding down the tracks to do even more.
While the joint and several liability issue of tort reform still needs
some adjusting, I am concerned we are close to going too far in the
hard cap limits we are about to put on the system. We are also about
to make a huge mistake if we consider the monetary value of a person’s
personal insurance as part of a punitive award. Governor Fallin is
pushing for additional tort reform, though tort reform has never been
as important an issue as the need for WC reform.
The WC system was created, probably in the 1930s. The system basically
says that employers must provide accidental death and injury insurance
for their employees and in exchange those employees give up the right
to sue their employers. The insurance rates an employer must pay on
its employees is determined by how dangerous a particular job happens
to be. For example, a fellow in the high rise window cleaning business
might have to pay $4.00 for WC insurance for every $100 of salary for
his office person, but have to pay $65 per person for his window
cleaners who work on the side of tall buildings. If he also has
workers who only worked on the ground in strip shopping centers, he
might only have to pay $6.00 per hundred for them (these examples
aren’t too far from reality).
When our system was first created, it was set up to be an adversarial
system, meaning it would be eternal job security for WC lawyers as
injured workers would almost always sue the insurance companies for
benefits. Over time, similar injuries show to have similar costs and
times of healing and disabilities.
I believe most states have moved away from an adversarial system to an
administrative system, where injured workers are taken care of quickly
based on the injuries with the costs based on past costs associated
with similar injuries. By taking the lawyers out of the mix, it gets
benefits to an injured worker quickly and costs go down dramatically
State Labor Commissioner Mark Costello has researched the systems in
all 50 states and has determined there are 3 states with the best
system, best determined on a win-win philosophy. It is important to
understand, a reformed system should have two layers, with the first
being the administrative which will usually move quickly and be fairly
accurate. However, the right for an injured worker to an appeal the
decision of the administrative level is vital. That appeal level could
include the ability for a lawsuit.
Unfortunately, Governor Fallin has indicated she only wants to make
some adjustments to the current system and doesn’t want to switch to
an administrative system. I was shocked and most folks I have talked
to about this are also dismayed. I haven’t had time to talk with Fred
Morgan with the State Chamber, but I suspect they too will be
disappointed and if so, this is an issue I would agree with them on.
Folks, this is one of the most important issues on the table to
improve our economy as Oklahoma’s WC rates are some of the highest in
the nation. We do not need to just nibble around the edges on this
issue, we need a game changer in our WC system. I have tried and tried
to speculate as to why Governor Fallin would not want to make a
significant difference on this very important issue? My best
speculation is that it may involve her new husband, as according to
some attorneys I have talked with, he worked with one of the largest
WC law firms in the state. He has recently left that firm, and I
believe has formed his own firm.
Hopefully, the legislature will work with hard in crafting reform
legislation to produce the best WC system possible. That effort must
require a move to an administrative system. If they can get that done,
they need to put that legislation on Mary’s desk and see if she will
sign it or kill it with a veto. If it is the later, I hope those in
the Republican party who supported Mary in the primary, will then
realize what a mistake they made in their choice.
If the Republican legislature isn’t willing to craft that legislation
and put it on the Governor’s desk, it will simply show how much more
change we need in the Republican caucus.
++ OCPAC MEMBERSHIP UP-DATE
As of February 28th, we now have 164 dues paying members for the 2011
calendar year. To break our record for a non-election year, we need to
exceed 217 dues paying members. We normally always have more people
join in an election year, and as such we set a new all time record
last year of 287 dues paying members.
One of the most interesting aspects of the 164 dues paying members is
that 5 are from out of state. We have one member from Mississippi, one
from Texas, one from Colorado, one from Wyoming and one from Michigan.
Three of these out of state members have attended at least one or more
OCPAC meeting in their lives, but I don’t believe the other 2 have
ever even been to a meeting. Therefore, one must ask why are they
joining? Based on a few brief conversations or e-mails, I think it is
because they believe in what we are trying to accomplish in Oklahoma.
In addition, they see Oklahoma as taking an ever increasing role of
leadership toward conservatism and as such they are willing to support
what we are doing.
Therefore, I want to challenge even more of our fellow Oklahoma
citizens to step up to the plate and become a dues paying member of
OCPAC. Regardless of where one lives in the state, we support the best
candidates possible no matter what district they represent. Also,
please remember, all the officers at OCPAC are volunteers and
therefore none of the dues our members pay go into anyone’s pockets as
a salary or commission. Virtually all the money our members pay in
dues goes to elect conservative Republicans or for an effort to hold
those already elected accountable to conservatism. Our PAC expenses
are very minimal.
Please see below for instructions on how to join. The two basic
methods are simply a check or money order for one of our 3 levels of
membership. Over 20 members have us draft their checking accounts once
a month to be a member at one of our two higher levels. I personally
use the check drafting method at $30 per month and it works quite well
for me. Please understand, if a person is using that method and they
need to discontinue, just contact me and we will stop the draft, it is
One more thing. Our elections for officers to serve for the next 2
years will be held at our weekly meeting on March 30th. To be eligible
to vote in that election, you will need to have your dues paid no
later than March 16th and you will need to be present to vote. I
intend to run again for the President’s position, but have not had
time to contact our other officers to see if they intend to seek re-
election. The other positions are Vice-President (Richard Engle),
Treasurer (Susan Goodman), Secretary (Bob Donohoo) and our General
Legal Council (Richard Harris). Anyone interested in running for any
of these positions, please contact me for further information. If
necessary, we will devote the entire meeting of the 30th for candidate
speeches and the election.
I look forward to seeing everyone this Wednesday.