Greetings from your State Capitol!

   Oklahoma stands to lose $7 million of federal grants due to over 20 percent of Oklahoma stores selling tobacco products to minors.  If you are a retail clerk please ID all purchasers of tobacco products, no matter how old they look!  Be advised that the Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission is stepping up their sting operations to catch violators.

   I had a good visit with the new president of NEO A&M College, Jeff Hale.  He, like the U.S. president, has been on the job a little over 100 days. Dr. Hale will be a great asset to the college and northeast Oklahoma.  Welcome!

   The bill to put the Ten Commandments monument at the State Capitol has received a lot of press.  This country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles.  If everyone lived their lives by the Ten Commandments we would have fewer Oklahomans in prison, fewer children in foster care, and save millions that we spend on social programs.

   Our country, while based on Christianity, is tolerant of all religions, much more so than any other country.

   Last year I refused a copy of the Koran, not because I have anything against the Muslin religion but because of the argument that the Capitol is a place for legislative issues and churches are the place for religious issues. The same argument could be made about this monument.

   After listening to questions and debate on the issue I voted in favor of the Ten Commandments monument.

   A bill was passed for the people to vote on making English the official language of our state government.  I was satisfied that in its final form the bill protected Native American languages and health care facilities are exempt.  Private individuals and businesses will still be allowed to use whatever language they choose.  Only official government business would be affected.  I voted for the measure.

   I also voted for a measure to increase public scrutiny and oversight of state contracts awarded to private attorneys.  Problems with Oklahoma’s questionable “no bid” government attorney contracts have gained unfavorable national attention for our state.

   In closing—did you know that the Boy Scout organization was founded in Pawhuska Oklahoma?  See you next week!