Miami voters will be asked to approve a sales tax for street work during a special election in July. A divided City Council this week approved an ordinance and resolution to place a sales tax of 0.65 percent before voters on July 27, the date of the primary election for federal, state and county offices. In a May 2009 election, voters defeated a proposed 1-cent sales tax for street projects, with 327 voting in favor and 380 voting “no.”

House Speaker Chris Benge said he is ready to discuss limiting the number of state questions that will appear on the November ballot. Last session, lawmakers put eight questions on the ballot ranging from voter identification at the polls to Senate approval of a governor’s selection of judges to serve on the workers’ compensation court ”” two issues Gov. Brad Henry vetoed.

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Oklahoma County voters could be asked in December to fund a new Oklahoma County Jail, District 3 County Commissioner Ray Vaughn said Wednesday at a meeting of the Edmond Noon Exchange Club. County Commissioners have until October to decide the location in order to have a ballot initiative this year, he said. The U.S. Department of Justice issued a report in 2008 that the jail is understaffed and overcrowded. Several million dollars’ worth of settlement have been paid by the government due to substandard conditions.

Oklahoma voters overwhelmingly support a proposed state constitutional amendment that would extend term limits to all statewide offices, the latest Oklahoma Poll found. More than three-fourths of the 621 likely voters surveyed said they favor the proposed amendment, which is expected to appear on a statewide ballot this year. Only 17 percent opposed the idea. The proposition, State Question 747, would limit lieutenant governors, attorneys general, state auditors, labor commissioners, insurance commissioners and superintendents of public instruction to two four-year terms.

In a little less than a year, Oklahoma residents will go to polls to decide the fate of a proposed constitutional amendment that would mandate the state provide more funding to public schools. The measure is state question 744, dubbed “HOPE” or “Helping Oklahoma Public Education” by its creators.

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The 2010 elections may seem far off. But in the state Capitol folks are already lining up their message and jockeying. Which can only mean the next legislative season will interesting. Lawmakers up for re-election will either be overly cautious, not wanting to offend or they’ll be outlandish, hoping to garner attention and get their name out.

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Petition drive falls short

Thu, Aug 27 2009 — Source: Durant Daily Democrat

A newly created TIF district will apparently remain in place after a petition drive failed to produce the requisite number of signatures, according to petition sponsors. In a press conference Monday at the Marshall County Courthouse, spokesperson John Wigley of Kingston announced that the group of volunteers working to gather signatures came up about 100 names short.

Tulsa County District Judge Jefferson Sellers said in his ruling that the Tulsa City Clerk’s Office used the wrong election to determine the required number of signatures of registered voters. State law says that a petition needs to be signed by at least 25 percent of the number of voters in the preceding general election to be deemed sufficient. Proponents of the petition said they had not decided whether to appeal the ruling because they faced a Sept. 10 deadline to get the issue on this November’s ballot.

The 9:30 a.m. hearing before Tulsa County District Judge Jefferson Sellers will decide whether City Councilor John Eagleton has raised legitimate arguments in the petition protest he filed earlier this month. Tulsans for Better Government filed the petition with the City Clerk’s Office in early May 2008. The group had 90 days from that initial filing to collect signatures. It submitted 6,994 signatures attached to a copy of the petition on Aug. 1, 2008.

We have had a pretty busy year working to expand the initiative process here at Oklahomans for Initiative Rights. But, as the History of Initiative & Referendum page here on the Citizens in Charge Foundation site can tell you, the fight for citizen-controlled government in Oklahoma has been going on for 110 years! The battle for initiative rights started before Oklahoma was even a state, and I can promise you it isn’t about to stop!


A group pushing to overhaul Oklahoma’s child welfare system will host its second rally in less than two weeks today at the Oklahoma County Juvenile Justice Center. The rally will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the center, 5905 N Classen Blvd. The rally is sponsored by the Oklahoma Family Rights Coalition, which has circulated initiative petitions twice this year calling for a public vote on overhauling the child welfare system. The group withdrew its first initiative petition in April after gathering only about 85,000 of the 117,013 necessary signatures within the 90-day period allowed.

The protest period to challenge an initiative petition seeking a special election on whether to make municipal elections nonpartisan ends at 5 p.m. Tuesday. Protests must be filed in Tulsa County District Court. City Clerk Mike Kier ruled last week that the petition had a sufficient number of signatures from Tulsa residents to move forward. Of the nearly 7,000 signatures on the initiative petition, 6,675 had Tulsa addresses.

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The Obama Justice Department has been slammed for attempting to meddle with a ballot initiative in Oklahoma. Several state lawmakers sent a “stern letter” to Attorney General Eric Holder blasting a letter sent by his office in April.

A petition for a vote to make the city’s municipal elections nonpartisan was ruled sufficient Thursday. City Clerk Mike Kier said that of the nearly 7,000 signatures on the initiative petition filed a year ago, 6,675 had Tulsa addresses. Only 3,427 valid signatures were needed to meet the state requirement for this type of petition, he said. Steve Schuller, a member of Tulsans for Better Government, said, “We are very pleased Mr. Kier made that determination and are looking forward to getting the question on the ballot in November so voters can amend the City Charter.”

Tulsa voters might get the chance to decide in November whether municipal elections should be nonpartisan. City Clerk Mike Kier was still working Wednesday to certify a nearly year-old initiative petition that has more than 6,000 signatures requesting the question be placed before voters. Kier said he expects to have a publication notice on the “sufficiency or insufficiency” of the petition by the end of the week.

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