The Pryor Times

April 16, 2013

Unanswered prayers


Ben Sherrer



Garth Brooks sang, “Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers,” - and that’s my sentiment for the failure of some measures this session. The prayers for passage of some of these measures will be unanswered. Thankfully.

A measure that had received a lot of publicity early in the session was ultimately not heard by the full House. House Bill 1562 by Rep. Wesslehoft-R would have repealed the substantive portions of the Water for 2060 act. The act was authored by former Speaker of the House Kris Steele-R and had been applauded as the only significant water legislation of the 2012 session. It would have been a setback to protecting Oklahoma’s water over the next half-century if the Water for 2060 Act had been repealed.

House bill 2200 by Rep. Derby-R would have allowed the state to contract with a debt collector and charge up to 35 percent over the owed amount. Thankfully it failed to get enough votes to pass as it would have been a burden on some innocent people who simply forgot to pay a bill or fine on time.

A measure to phase out the funding for OETA failed on the House floor. Many senior citizens watch OETA and many children enjoy cartoon programming like Big Bird or Curious George. I personally like shows like Globe Trekker, Frontline, Oklahoma programming, and, dare I say, reruns of the Lawrence Welk Show. I was glad to see this bill fail.

HB 1424 removed the safety inspections for elevators. Rebecca Hamilton, who rarely debates a bill or utters a word on the House floor gave a moving debate about what we do in the legislature affects so many people’s lives. She mentioned how certain bills had either prevented the loss of life or caused the loss of life. I thought it was one of the most moving debates I have ever heard - and because of her debate the bill failed.

Most recently the Senate decided not to hear a measure that would have authorized firearms in classrooms. A totally knee-jerk reaction to recent school shooting events, this bill failed to take into account a myriad of issues that accompany the decision to put a firearm in any classroom on the person of anyone other than a law enforcement officer. I still haven’t heard from a classroom teacher that felt good about the idea.

Some of the best things that happen in the legislature are the unanswered prayers of some legislators about their bills. And for the next six weeks I remain hopeful that other prayers for the passage of bad or useless laws will also go unanswered.

Please contact me with any questions or concerns about issues pending in the legislature. We’re starting down the home stretch and will conclude this year’s session at the end of May. I can be reached at bensherrer@okhouse.gov or (800) 522-8502. Until next week, God bless you.