Friday, February 21, 2003

Senators vote to rewrite an initiative adopted by voters in November by a margin of 124,000 votes.

Following up on our story on the Oklahoma Senate Appropriations Committee vote to rewrite and weaken the anti-cockfighting bill passed by the citizens last November we have some information on the vote. The Committee approved a bill by Senator Shurden that would decrease the penalty for cockfighting from a felony to a misdemeanor.

The Senators in the Committee did not take a roll call vote but passed the weakening bill out of Committee by voice vote. Observors at the Committee vote do report that the following Senators voted in favor of the bill to weaken the anti-cockfighting law: Charles Ford of Tulsa, Maxine Horner of Tulsa, Mike Johnson of Kingfisher/Oklahoma City, Jerry Smith of Tulsa, and Daisy Lawler of Comanche.

Voting in favor of honoring the law (and the people) as passed by a statewide vote in November were Senators: Mike Morgan D-Stillwater, Cliff Branan R-OKC, Randy Brogden R-Owasso, Jim Williamson R-Tulsa, Monson D-OKC, Jonathan Nichols R-Norman, Nancy Riley R-Tulsa, Mark Snyder R-Edmond, and Cliff Aldridge R- Wagoner. Sen. Mark Snyder, said the public knew what they voted on in November. "The majority has spoken. We have a responsibility to the public to accept their will," Snyder said.

The cockfighters friend, Senator Shurden, said rural Oklahoma had been victimized by a smear campaign by animal rights activists pushing the cockfighting ban. He said the ban passed only because of a heavy vote for it in the metropolitan areas. I suppose he means urban voters either should refrain from voting in statewide elections or their votes should count less than rural votes. Urban voters should take note that several of their Senators voted for Shurden's bill and thus apparently agree with Shurden's odd "logic" of democracy. Urban Legislators that vote in favor of the cockfighters position should be targets for defeat at the polls in the next election.

Shurden's bills can still be defeated on the floor of the Senate and House. Make your calls.

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