The important issues facing voters this November are the State Questions

Concerned citizens of Haskell, Latimer, LeFlore and Pittsburgh Counties: 10-06-16. By Les Brelsford

The important issues facing voters this November are the State Questions. Voters must have a reasonable understanding of these complicated issues. They may sound good but they may not be good for our state. Last week we reviewed State Questions 777,779 and 790. This week we will review the wording of the following State Questions in an attempt to help the voters understand them.

State Question 776

This measure adds a new section to the Oklahoma Constitution, Section 9A of Article 2. The new section deals with the death penalty. The section establishes State constitutional mandates relating to the death penalty and the methods of execution.

Under these constitutional requirements:

The Legislature is expressly empowered to designate any method of execution not prohibited by the United States Constitution.

Death sentences shall not be reduced because a method of execution is ruled to be invalid.

When an execution method is declared invalid, the death penalty imposed shall remain in force until it can be carried out using any valid execution method.

The imposition of a death penalty under Oklahoma law shall not be deemed to be or constitute the infliction of cruel or unusual punishment under Oklahoma’s Constitution.

(This amendment does not seem warranted as the State of Oklahoma already practices these powers.)

State Question 780

This measure amends existing Oklahoma laws and would change the classification of certain drug possession and property crimes from felony to misdemeanor. It would make possession of a limited quantity of drugs a misdemeanor. The proposed amendment would reclassify certain drug possession cases as a misdemeanor. The amendment would increase the threshold dollar amount used for determining whether certain property crimes are considered a felony or misdemeanor from $500 to $1,000. Property crimes covered by this change include: false declaration of a pawn ticket, embezzlement, larceny,grand larceny, counterfeiting or issuing bogus checks.(Approval of this SQ would help the problem of prison over-crowding by allowing non-violent offenders to be punished in other ways than lengthy incarceration.)

State Question 781

This measure creates the County Commission Safety Investment Fund if voters approve State Question 780. This measure requires the office of Management and Enterprises to determine how much money was saved on a yearly basis because of State Question 780.The amount determined would be distributed to communities to provide community rehabilitation programs such as mental health and substance abuse services. (SQ781 would provide more funding for our epidemic drug abuse problem and mental health issues)

State Question 792

This measure repeals Article 28 of the Oklahoma Constitution and restructures the laws governing alcoholic beverages through a new Article 28A.The new Article 28A provides that with exceptions, a person or company can have ownership interest in only one area of the alcoholic beverage business-manufacturing, wholesaling or retailing. Retail locations like grocery stores may sell wine and beer. Liquor stores may sell products other than alcoholic beverages in limited amounts. With one exception the measure will take effect October 1,2018. (Approval of this question would entice more large companies like Costco to locate franchises in our state and boost a sagging economy)

It is important to note that these State Questions will change the Oklahoma Constitution and should not be taken likely. Each State Question can be completely reviewed on the web at Oklahoma Secretary of State.

To save our rural schools and hospitals, vote Democratic, a vote for the working man and woman!