Editorial: Upcoming legislative session: More of the same
BY World's Editorials Writers
Saturday, January 19, 2013
1/19/13 at 6:53 AM
If the bills filed for consideration in the 2013 Legislature are any indication, look for another ripsnortin', quarrelsome and generally unproductive session.
Among issues that are the subject of bills already filed are income taxes, workers compensation, gun rights and abortion, according to an analysis by The Associated Press.
Those are subjects that have been debated before, but we can also expect some new material. One measure would allow for the human consumption of horse meat and the export of horse meat out of the state, a proposal that's sure to lead to lots of discussion. Another measure would allow qualified caregivers and patients to possess marijuana for medical uses.
Those types of stories will be good for generating some headlines, but it's likely the old standbys will take up most of the Legislature's time. One that's sure to spark lots of controversy is a proposal to replace the state's 5.25 income tax rate with a flat tax of 2.95 percent, and to eliminate all income tax deductions. Surely lawmakers have enough sense to strangle this misguided proposal in its crib. Surely?
Gov. Mary Fallin and some other state leaders still want to tackle the income tax, but the appetite to drastically slash it or eliminate it altogether seems to be diminishing. Let's hope it is, anyway.
Another controversial topic will be the effort to defund the state's public television system, the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority. The plan calls for funding to be phased out by 2018. Public television has long been a conservative target. Here's hoping it survives the latest attempt.
Predictably, there will be measures attempting to usurp the powers of the federal government - or more specifically, the president's authority. Measures already filed attempt to nullify federal initiatives on health care and the environment. And as usual, protection of the sacred Second Amendment is a top priority with some lawmakers.
Looks like some things never change. So look for another raucous, contentious, sometimes silly and - as we already noted - generally unproductive session. Oh, and expect some national headlines - just not the kind that make us look good.
Original Print Headline: 2013 Session