Saturday, February 14, 2004

Senator Frank Shurden Attacks Citizen's Rights

Shurden, the same fellow that has tried every trick in the book to keep cockfighting legal in Oklahoma for several years is at it again. Shurden, dissatisfied with the citizen's overwhelming vote to ban cockfighting a couple of years ago has introduced yet another bill to change the rules after the vote.

He has introduced SB829 which re-writes the rules for statewide elections and undermines the constitutional right of citizens to make laws by statewide initiative. S.B. 829 repeals SQ 687 (the state referendum against cockfighting) by suspending the voter-approved initiative in 57 counties and it allows any county to overturn the statewide cockfighting ban. The concept behind this legislation, if applied broadly, would not only subvert the statewide initiative process, but also the state legislative process or process of electing statewide oficials. We would cease to be the state of Oklahoma and be balkanized into largely autonomous counties that would set all of the rules.

This is a fancy way of saying that Shurden wants to retroactively change the law so that state questions brought to the public for a vote will only count in those counties where it is passed. This is so cockfighting can continue in those rural counties where the ban did not win. If this rule is applied then our state will become an unmanagable jigsaw puzzle of laws. To extend this illogic a bit further - Brad Henry would govern part of Oklahoma and Steve Largent would be the Governor of Tulsa and Oklahoma counties.

Thank goodness Shurden is termed out this year. He's hurt Oklahoma enough.

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