Midterm movement 

Oklahoma County votes on new leaders and five state questions Nov. 6.

click to enlarge ballot_box.jpg

CONGRESSIONAL OFFICERS

U.S. Representative District 04
Tom Cole (R)
Mary Brannon (D)
Ruby Peters (I)

U.S. Representative District 05
Steve Russell (R)
Kendra Horn (D)

STATE OFFICERS

Governor
Kevin Stitt (R)
Drew Edmondson (D)
Chris Powell (I)

Lieutenant Governor
Matt Pinnell (R)
Anastasia A. Pittman (D)
Ivan Holmes (I)

State Auditor and Inspector
Cindy Byrd (R)
John Yeutter (L)

Attorney General
Mike Hunter (R)
Mark Myles (D)

State Treasurer
Randy McDaniel (R)
Charles de Coune (I)

Superintendent of Public Instruction
Joy Hofmeister (R)
John Cox (D)
Larry Huff (I)

Commissioner of Labor
Leslie Osborn (R)
Fred Dorrell (D)
Brandt Dismukes (I)

Insurance Commissioner
Glen Mulready (R)
Kimberly Fobbs (D)

Corporation Commissioner
Bob Anthony (R)
Ashley Nicole McCray (D)
Jackie Short (I)

COUNTY OFFICERS

County Assessor
Larry Stein (R)
Mike Shelton (D)

County Treasurer
Forrest Butch Freeman (R)
Daniel Chae (D)

County Commissioner District 1
Brad Reeves (R)
Carrie Blumert (D)

County Commissioner District 3
Kevin Calvey (R)
Thomas Gerald Parkhurst Jr. (D)

STATE QUESTIONS

State Question No. 793
This measure adds a new Section 3 to Article 20 of the Oklahoma Constitution. Under the new Section, no law shall infringe on optometrists’ or opticians’ ability to practice within a retail mercantile establishment, discriminate against optometrists or opticians based on the location of their practice, or require external entrances for optometric offices within retail mercantile establishments. No law shall infringe on retail mercantile establishments’ ability to sell prescription optical goods and services. The Section allows the Legislature to restrict optometrists from performing surgeries within retail mercantile establishments, limit number of locations at which an optometrist may practice, maintain optometric licensing requirements, require optometric offices to be in a separate room of a retail mercantile establishment, and impose health and safety standards. It does not prohibit optometrists and opticians from agreeing with retail mercantile establishments to limit their practice. Laws conflicting with this Section are void. The Section defines ‘laws,’ ‘optometrist,’ ‘optician,’ ‘optical goods and services,’ and ‘retail mercantile establishment.’

State Question No. 794
This measure amends the provision of the Oklahoma Constitution that guarantees certain rights for crime victims. These rights would now be protected in a manner equal to the defendant’s rights. The measure would also make changes to victims’ rights, including: (1) expanding the court proceedings at which a victim has the right to be heard; (2) adding a right to reasonable protection; (3) adding a right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay; (4) adding a right to talk with the prosecutor; and (5) allowing victims to refuse interview requests from the defendant’s attorney without a subpoena. The Oklahoma Constitution currently grants victims’ rights to crime victims and their family members. This measure would instead grant these rights to crime victims and those directly harmed by the crime. Victims would no longer have a constitutional right to know the defendant’s location following arrest, during prosecution, and while sentenced to confinement or probation, but would have the right to be notified of the defendant’s release or escape from custody. Under this measure, victims would have these rights in both adult and juvenile proceedings. Victims would be able to assert these rights in court and the court would be required to act promptly.

State Question No. 798
This measure will add a provision to the Oklahoma Constitution to change the manner in which the governor and lieutenant governor are elected. Currently, voters cast one vote for their preferred candidate for governor and a separate vote for their preferred candidate for lieutenant governor. Under this measure, if approved, candidates for governor and lieutenant governor from the same party will run together on a single ticket and voters will cast one vote for their preferred ticket. The measure requires the Legislature to establish procedures for the joint nomination and election of candidates for governor and lieutenant governor. If passed, this new election format will be used beginning in the 2026 general election cycle.

State Question No. 800
This measure would add a provision to the Oklahoma Constitution creating a new trust fund. This fund would consist of (i) legislative appropriations, (ii) deposits from other sources, and (iii) investment income. Beginning July 1, 2020, 5 percent of revenues from the gross production tax on oil and gas will be deposited into the fund as well. The percentage of gross production tax revenues deposited into the fund will then increase by 0.2 percent per year. Monies in the fund will be invested by the state treasurer. The fund is exempt from constitutional restrictions on the state owning stock. The state treasurer is required to make prudent investment decisions and diversify the fund’s investments to minimize risk. After July 1, 2020, 4 percent of the fund’s principal will be deposited each year into the state’s general revenue fund. Principal will be calculated by using an average of the fund’s annual principal for the five years before the deposit. No more than 5 percent of the fund may be used to pay interest on bonds issued by the state or local governments. The fund will be called the Oklahoma Vision Fund.

State Question No. 801
This measure would provide a means for voters to allow school districts to expand the permissible uses of ad valorem tax revenues to include school operations. The Oklahoma Constitution limits the rate of ad valorem taxation. However, it permits voters in a school district to approve an increase of up to five mills ($5 per $1,000 of the assessed value of taxable property) over this limit for the purpose of raising money for a school district building fund. Currently, monies from this building fund may only be used to build, repair, or remodel school buildings and purchase furniture. This measure would amend the Constitution to permit voters to approve such a tax to be used for school operations deemed necessary by the school district, in addition to the purposes listed above.
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