BALLOT TITLE FOR STATE QUESTION NO. 793
This measure adds a new Section 3 to Article 20 of the Oklahoma Constitution. Under the new Section, no law shall infringe on optometrists' or opticians' ability to practice within a retail mercantile establishment, discriminate against optometrists or opticians based on the location of their practice, or require external entrances for optometric offices within retail mercantile establishments. No law shall infringe on retail mercantile establishments' ability to sell prescription optical goods and services. The Section allows the Legislature to restrict optometrists from performing surgeries within retail mercantile establishments, limit the number of locations at which an optometrist may practice, maintain optometric licensing requirements, require optometric offices to be in a separate room of a retail mercantile establishment, and impose health and safety standards. It does not prohibit optometrists and opticians from agreeing with retail mercantile establishments to limit their practice. Laws conflicting with this Section are void. The Section defines "laws," "optometrist," "optician," "optical goods and services," and "retail mercantile establishment."
What It Means: Optometrists and Opticians will be allowed to contract offices in discount retailers like Wal-Mart, Target, and Costco to check eyes and prescribe glasses and contacts.
Pros: You will be able to get your eyes checked in more convenient locations without having to go to a specific optometrist's office.
Cons: Optometrists and Opticians in discount retailers may not be held to the same standards as those in individual offices. Examinations and care may not be as thorough.
My Take: More vendors mean more competition and better prices and services for the consumer. I am voting YES.
BALLOT TITLE FOR STATE QUESTION NO. 794
This measure amends the provisions of the Oklahoma Constitution that guarantees certain rights for crime victims. These rights would now be protected in a manner equal to the defendant's rights. The measure would also make changes to victim's rights, including:
(1) expanding the court proceedings at which a victim has the right to be heard;
(2) adding a right to reasonable protection;
(3) adding a right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay;
(4) adding a right to talk with the prosecutor; and
(5) allowing victims to refuse interview requests from the defendant's attorney without a subpoena.
The Oklahoma Constitution currently grants victims' rights to crime victims and their family members. This measure would instead grant these rights to crime victims and those directly harmed by the crime. Victims would no longer have a constitutional right to know the defendant's location following arrest, during prosecution, and while sentenced to confinement or probation, but would have the right to be notified of the defendant's release or escape from custody.
Under this measure, victims would have these rights in both adult and juvenile proceedings. Victims would be able to assert these rights in court, and the court would be required to act promptly.
What it means: This is the so called "Marsy's Law"; named after a woman killed by her boyfriend after he was released on bail. If you are the victim of a crime you will be told if the suspect is out on bail, where they reside, or if they have escaped. Nor would you be forced to answer questions from their attorney without a subpoena.
Pros: Victims would know the status of their attackers at all times.
Cons: I don't see any.
My Take: I am all for victims' rights. It is a YES for me.
BALLOT TITLE FOR STATE QUESTION NO. 798
This measure will add a provision to the Oklahoma Constitution to change the manner in which the Governor and Lieutenant Governor are elected. Currently, voters cast one vote for their preferred candidate for Governor and a separate vote for their preferred candidate for Lieutenant Governor. Under this measure, if approved, candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor from the same party will run together on a single ticket and voters will cast one vote for their preferred ticket.
The measure requires the Legislature to establish procedures for the joint nomination and election of candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor. If passed, this new election format will be used beginning in the 2026 general election cycle.
What it means: Currently Governor and Lt. Governor run separately. This would permit them to run on the same ticket much like President and Vice President.
Pros: It would simplify the primary and runoff election process; and eliminate the possibility of Governor and Lt. Governor being from the same party.
Con: Some say it would strengthen whatever political party is in power.
My Take: I'll flip a coin. Six or one half dozen.
BALLOT TITLE FOR STATE QUESTION NO. 800
This measure would create a new fund called "The Oklahoma Vision Fund" in the Oklahoma Constitution. Money could be appropriated to the Fund. Beginning July 1, 2020, five percent (5%) of gross production taxes on both oil and gas would be deposited into the Fund. After that fiscal year, the percentage would increase by two-tenths percentage points each year. Other monies could be deposited into the Fund if provided by law. The State Treasurer would deposit four percent (4%) of the principal amount of the Fund into the State General Revenue Fund each year. The Fund would be subject to an investment standard known as the prudent investor rule. The Fund could be invested in stocks and similar securities. Not more than five percent (5%) of the monies in the Fund could be used for payment of debt obligations issued by the State of Oklahoma, state government entities or local government entities.
What It Says: A fund will be created using oil and gas production taxes to help insulate state agencies from cut backs when the oil market is lean.
Pros: I'm always griping about how our state suffers when we have a lean oil year because so much is based on petroleum. This is a way to ease those lean years.
Con: 1-We already have several funds created for "rainy days", why do we need another? 2-how are we going to prevent future legislation that would raid this fund for other uses? 3-some say this will divert funds from other uses.
BALLOT TITLE FOR STATE QUESTION NO. 801
This measure amends Section 10 of Article 10 of the Oklahoma Constitution. It expands the uses permitted for certain ad valorem taxes levied by a school district. Currently, tax revenue is placed in a building fund. The fund is changed to allow use for operations. The operations would be those deemed necessary by a school district.
What it Says: It will allow individual school districts to use certain tax revenue for teacher salaries, class room supplies or other operating expenses that are not strictly for building. It would be left up to the school districts how to distribute those funds.
Pros: It would be a way to pay teachers more without raising taxes. It would give more power to individual school districts one on one.
Cons: Some teacher's unions say it will take away from much needed building and repair.
My Take: Any way we can improve education without raising taxes I am for. It is a big YES from me.