World’s Editorial Writers
Saturday, May 29, 2010
5/29/2010 5:41:25 AM
Perhaps the best thing that can be said about the 2010 Oklahoma Legislature is that it is over with.
In small pernicious ways and large expensive ones, the Legislature set the state back again and again.
The handful of positive accomplishments – and there were a few – were grossly outweighed by the legislative body’s malicious actions and negligent inactions.
To an outsider looking in, it would appear that the threat of a federal government invasion of the state to force abortions on innocent pregnant women was the state’s direst concern.
Yet again and again and again, the Legislature set aside important issues to debate what inconveniences, irritations, embarrassments and unconstitutional burdens it could lay upon women seeking abortions.
Meanwhile, a state budget crisis left the state’s public schools starving for money and prisons dangerously understaffed, but lawmakers were too busy working on plans to keep lucrative corporate-welfare tax incentives flowing to their wealthy political donors.
There might not be enough money to pay for janitors to clean the restrooms of public schools, but there were millions available for a select few oilmen.
The indictment against the do-nothing Legislature of 2010 goes on and on:
It squandered time worrying over how to hide public records from the prying eyes of reporters, advocates and the general public.
Its members worried over how to create a dangerous Oklahoma militia, potentially armed with made-in-Oklahoma guns that were free of burdensome federal regulations.
It meddled in the details of managing the Oklahoma Lottery – editing the casting calls for future advertising efforts – but failed to deal with the lottery’s structural financial problems.
It tried to set the agendas of the state’s attorney general and, failing that, appointed its own officers to file feckless and expensive lawsuits designed to make political points, not law.
It failed to pass a common-sense, life-saving ban on “texting” while driving, instead approving a watered-down measure that applies to teens with learner’s permits.
The list of offenses goes on, too lengthy to recount in this space.
Never before has it been more a relief to announce that the Oklahoma Constitution has done its job and forced the Legislature to adjourn. We have suffered long enough and look forward to a brief hiatus until this gang that couldn’t govern straight gathers again at the state Capitol.