The chorus of voices looking to stop text-messaging while driving now includes the country’s four largest cellphone companies.
T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and AT&T are getting behind a multimillion dollar ad campaign promoting AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign.
“Every CEO in the industry that you talk to recognizes that this is an issue that needs to be dealt with,” the head of AT&T told The Associated Press.Perhaps the message eventually will sink in with Oklahoma legislative leaders.
Several efforts this year to ban texting and driving failed. Oklahoma is one of just 11 states that haven’t outlawed texting at the wheel, which is dangerous not only to the person sending or reading messages, but to others on the road.
Workers’ compensation reform is often viewed as an issue important to a sliver of Oklahoma’s business community, but a source of indifference for most citizens. A new poll suggests that this may no longer be the case.
A SoonerPoll.com survey of likely Oklahoma voters showed 72.5 percent felt changes should be made to the current workers’ compensation system with two-thirds believing the current system hurts Oklahoma businesses. Only 8.7 percent disagreed with a potential change to an administrative-based system.
An outright majority of Democrats surveyed agreed that shifting to an administrative system could be beneficial.
Because the poll was commissioned by the State Chamber Research Foundation, some will question its findings. But it’s not unreasonable to think most Oklahomans, having lived their entire lives hearing of problems with the current work comp system, have concluded it’s time to junk it. Lawmakers should take note.
Let’s hear it for Milton Tingling.
Tingling, a justice on the New York Supreme Court, struck down New York City’s proposed ban on large soft drinks. The idea was proposed last year by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and approved by the city’s health board. It was to take effect this week, but Tingling said uh-uh.
Among other things, he said in his ruling Monday that the ban on drinks larger than 16 ounces was arbitrary in that it only applied to some sugary drinks and some places that sell them. “The loopholes in this rule effectively defeat the stated purpose of this rule,” said Tingling, a Democrat elected to his post in 2001.
Bloomberg proposed the ban as a way to cut down on obesity, and he vows to appeal. “One of the cases we will make,” he declared, “is that people are dying every day.” And only an expansion of the nanny state can prevent that, it seems.
Promoters of Oklahoma City have a new arrow for their quiver.
The Business Journals recently ranked our metro as the second-best city in America for small business, trailing only Austin, Texas. Denver, Raleigh, N.C., and Salt Lake City round out the top five. Tulsa came in at 24th.
The Business Journals analyzed each city’s number of small businesses per 1,000 residents, the change in that concentration during the past year, one-year growth rates for small businesses and private-sector employment, and five-year rates for population and employment.
The study gave Oklahoma City high marks for indicators that deal specifically with entrepreneurship. We were also one of only six major markets that added small businesses during the past year while maintaining a concentration of more than 25 small businesses per 1,000 residents (ours is 26.9).
Oklahomans who obey the law by purchasing auto insurance should cheer Insurance Commissioner John Doak’s support for an effort to punish those who don’t.
Doak, a Republican, is backing legislation by Rep. Mike Christian and Sen. David Holt, both Oklahoma City Republicans, that could cost drivers their license plates if they don’t have liability insurance. Drivers would be given a temporary sticker for their vehicle and be fined each day until insurance is bought and verified. The bills also would increase fines for driving while uninsured and create administrative fees for uninsured drivers. Revenue from the fees would go to law enforcement and to pay for the state temporary insurance plan.
Doak’s agency estimates there are about 560,000 uninsured drivers in Oklahoma. They cost the state nearly $9 million in unpaid insurance premium taxes each year, but “those millions of dollars are just the beginning,” he said.
We’re among those who’ve criticized Doak for hiring practices and for spending $170,000 to outfit his anti-fraud unit with shotguns, body armor and police-style vehicles. He’s on target, though, in trying to reduce the number of uninsured drivers in Oklahoma. This is a long-standing problem, one that’s understandably frustrating for the many who do follow the law.
Well, that didn’t last long.
This week President Barack Obama announced he was disbanding his jobs council. Obama formed the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness — a group of businessmen and women from across the country — in January 2011, shortly after Democrats got hammered in midterm congressional elections.
The council ostensibly was aimed at coming up with ways to improve the economy. But the president met just four times with the group during its two-year run, and not at all after February of last year.
Unemployment was above 9 percent when the council formed. Now it’s at 7.9 percent, with more than 12 million still out of work. Administration officials say Obama will continue to seek input from business leaders about how to help the economy. But many have already told him that new and stricter federal regulations are a huge problem. How’s that worked out for them?