The Norman Transcript

Government

November 7, 2012

State votes ‘yes’ to all

(Continued)

NORMAN —

In Cleveland County, about 70 percent of property tax supports schools and is determined by the state legislature, according to Cleveland County Assessor David Tinsley.

“We as a community must look at the plan going forward, replacing both the immediate loss with 766 and the long-term loss with 758. We can’t look at all these iniatives independently of each other, there’s a cumulative effect when all these tax reforms come together. Income tax is a high priority on our government’s agenda, hopefully in the next few months as we see new legislation, closing the gap in education fundsw will be a priority as well.”

 

SQ 759

This measure limits affirmative action programs. State question 759 would still allow affirmative action in three instances: 1. When gender is a bonafide qualification, it is allowed; 2. Existing court orders and consent decrees that require preferred treatment will continue and can be followed; 3. Affirmative action is allowed when needed to keep or obtain federal funds. The measure applies to the state and its agencies, counties, cities and towns, school districts and other state subdivisions.

Supporters say affirmative action is no longer needed.

Several groups, including the ACLU and the League of Women Voters took stands against the measure.

 

SQ 762

This measure removes the governor from the parole process for persons convicted of nonviolent offenses and enlarges the power and authority of the Pardon and Parole Board by authorizing that board to grant parole to persons convicted of certain offenses defined as nonviolent offenses.

The 2007 audit of the Department of Corrections found that removing the governor from the parole process for nonviolent offenders would save up to $40 million over the course of a decade because of the increased efficiencies and quicker processing of paroles. Proponents of SQ 762 said it will save the state millions of dollars.

“Letting the governor focus on parole recommendations for violent crimes is a critical component of Oklahoma’s recent progress to build a stronger, more effective criminal justice system,” said House Speaker Kris Steele, R-Shawnee. “Approving this measure will generate tens of millions of dollars in savings that can be reinvested in initiatives that truly reduce and prevent crime.”

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