Oklahoma City’s renaissance is gaining national attention. Along with Indianapolis and Tampa, we’re featured as a U.S. city “joining the big leagues” in the latest issue of World magazine. Economic and quality-of-life factors contribute to this designation. Our state capital boasts a high level of entrepreneurial activity combined with low unemployment and a low cost of living. And let’s not forget our exciting young NBA team, the Thunder. The article, contributed by Brandon Dutcher of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, contrasts the city’s previous perception with its growing energy. “Not long ago Oklahoma City was just another small city in flyover country, perhaps best known as the site of the deadliest pre-9/11 terrorist attack in U.S. history, the 1995 bombing of a federal building,” Dutcher wrote. Out-of-state scouts are taking notice of our potential. Oklahoma City, says Atlantic senior editor Derek Thompson, “could represent the future of America.”
Photo provided by Cooper Ross
Oklahoma has a major problem with prescription drug abuse. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that our state has the highest rate of nonmedical use for painkillers. Such findings give credence to efforts like those by state Rep. Pat Ownbey, R-Ardmore, who wants to require physicians to check the prescription history of new patients. Ownbey’s House Bill 2574, approved this week by the House, would make doctors check the state narcotics bureau’s online prescription monitoring program before prescribing a controlled dangerous substance to a new patient. Doctors also would have to do a similar check each year on all their patients. Two legislators who are physicians took opposite stances on the bill. One said it would be a burden, the other supported the plan. If it puts a dent in the doctor shopping that is so common in Oklahoma now, it will be worthwhile.
Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
Members of the Oklahoma City Council used part of Tuesday’s meeting debating whether to change an ordinance aimed at ticket scalpers. The current ordinance prohibits sellers from bumping the price of a ticket by more than 50 cents over face value. On the table is a proposal that would increase that to $20 above face value, keep scalpers at least 500 feet from event venues, and recognize ticket exchange programs run by teams or venues. But why wade into this issue at all? If a person wants to pay more for a ticket than the ticket is worth, so what? The council ought to spend its time on more pressing matters.
Photo by Michael Kimball, The Oklahoman
Heard the joke about the Chevy Volt? It was subjected to a battery of tests and all of them came out negative. The electric car, a darling of the fossil fuel-averse Obama administration, didn’t quite go the way of Solyndra, another administration flight of fancy, but it has been put in neutral. General Motors suspended sales after a rash of bad news over battery fires and slumping sales. Not to worry: America’s first plug-in vehicle is a hit in Europe, where it was recently named Car of the Year. “Battery-operated cars are electrifying environmentalists, progressives and award-givers,” noted the New York Daily News. “The only ones who aren’t juiced about them, it seems, are autobuyers.” The Volt is so politically correct that you can legally drive one solo on California freeway lanes restricted to cars with multiple passengers. Thus you can beat the fossil fuelers to any fire sales disposing of Solyndra’s assets.
NATE BEELER/THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER
Every once in a while, the people’s business really does get accomplished at the state Capitol. Witness the deal reached on $92.5 million worth of supplemental spending this fiscal year. The funding will help pay for the first Oklahoma Highway Patrol academy in three years, pay the $5,000 bonuses due to National Board Certified teachers, reimburse counties and towns what they have spent for disaster assistance, pay insurance benefits for teachers and support staff, and give a boost to the state medical examiner’s office. Legislative leaders recognized the worthiness of those causes, and so agreed to spend money from increased state revenue collections. The rest of the Legislature should follow suit and waste no time giving these expenditures the green light.
Photo by Paul B. Southerland, The Oklahoman
The Muscogee (Creek) Nation lost a court ruling this week, but it’s the state that’s been the biggest loser so far. The Creeks sued the state in 2010 over a new law that made it illegal to sell cigarettes that hadn’t been approved by the state. Before that, the tribe sold some brands of Indian-made cigarettes that didn’t carry a state tax stamp. This meant the state lost out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax revenue. On Tuesday, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s dismissal of the Creek lawsuit. And all that lost tax revenue? For now it’s up in smoke, although that could change if the state wins a separate lawsuit it filed in Tulsa County in 2009 against tribal retailers. That case was put on hold pending the 10th Circuit case. Here’s hoping some remuneration comes the state’s way.
Graphic provided by the Muscogee (Creek) Nation