Articles written by State Rep. Carl Newton


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  • Carl's Capitol Comments

    State Rep. Carl Newton|Mar 24, 2021

    I’ve been handed 18 Senate bills to present in the House. Six of these I’ve given to two freshman members. This will lighten my load, but it also will help these members gain some experience in presenting bills in committee and navigating the process of getting measures heard and passed on the House floor. I remember well what it was like to learn the ropes of the legislative process, so I’m happy to mentor a few of the House’s newest members. On that note, I want to say how impressed I am with the great quality of the 15 new members we have...

  • Carl's Capitol Comments

    State Rep. Carl Newton|Mar 17, 2021

    By the time you read this, the deadline for House bills to have passed the House floor will have passed. We considered 242 bills or resolutions last week and advanced 416 to the state Senate. We’ll take a brief pause as staff on both sides of the rotunda works to get legislation moved to the opposite chamber, and then we’ll begin hearing Senate bills in committee. Our main concern in passing legislation is to take care of the people of Oklahoma. One of the concerns we’ve heard from constituents is about the protection of personal prope...

  • Carl's Capitol Comments

    State Rep. Carl Newton|Mar 10, 2021

    This past week was an incredibly busy one on the House floor. We heard an average of between 50 and 60 bills per day. We still have about 300 bills eligible for consideration before the March 11 deadline for House bills to be passed in the House Chamber. After that, the House will begin hearing Senate bills and the Senate will take up our legislation. Four of my bills passed in the House this week and moved to the Senate where they’ve already been first read. House Bill 1687 would allow cemeteries to reclaim plots that have been unused and u...

  • Carl's Capitol Comments

    State Rep. Carl Newton|Mar 3, 2021

    The House of Representatives finished hearing bills in committee this past week. The next two weeks will be devoted to hearing bills on the House floor. Of the 1,987 House bills and joint resolutions introduced this year, only 503, or 25%, made it through the committee process. This compares to 494 measures that passed in committee in 2020 out of 1,378 filed, equaling 36%; and 450 of 1,756 in 2019 – 26%. Some of the measures never made it to committee. Others received a do-not-pass recommendation – or too many no votes – to advance from commi...

  • Carl's Capitol Comments

    State Rep. Carl Newton|Feb 24, 2021

    Well, last week was one for the record books for most of Oklahoma. Haven’t seen snow and ice like that in a good long while, if ever. Here in the district, I received a number of reports about ranchers who had calving problems. I’m passing on some information about the Livestock Indemnity Program provided by the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA). This disaster assistance is now available for Oklahoma ranchers experiencing higher-than-normal livestock losses due to the adverse weather or for other reasons. For more about the program, you can go...

  • Carl's Capitol Comments

    State Rep. Carl Newton|Feb 17, 2021

    The Legislature last week passed the first bill of the session, and the governor already signed it into law. Senate Bill 1301 reinstates temporary modifications to the Open Meetings Act allowing once again for virtual meetings among state agencies, boards and commissions. Last year, during the onset of the Covid pandemic, the Legislature granted virtual meetings, but the act expired in November. This bill reinstates the practice until Feb. 15, 2022, or 30 days after the Covid-19 state of emergency expires. Many of these public bodies are...

  • Carl's Capitol Comments

    State Rep. Carl Newton|Feb 10, 2021

    Normally, I would be writing about the Legislature, but this week I want to focus on something very heavy on my heart – the tragic house fire that claimed the lives of four people in Waynoka, two of them firefighters. This was such a rare tragic event that forever changed the lives of so many in this community and the surrounding area. On Jan. 29, Waynoka Firefighters Taylor Bradford and Lonnie Bolar responded to a fire at the home of James “Jim” Jones. Jones and Mylinda Walker were trapped inside the burning home. When Bradford and Bolar...

  • Carl's Capitol Comments

    State Rep. Carl Newton|Feb 3, 2021

    By the time you read this, the first session of the 58th Legislature will be underway. The governor starts the session each year with the State of the State address. This outlines the governor’s priorities and budget for the coming year. While it’s certainly important to hear from the executive branch, it’s important to remember the governor and his cabinet is just one leg of government. It is up to the Legislature to actually pass laws and determine each year how state revenue will be appropriated to various state agencies through the state...

  • Carl's Capitol Comments

    State Rep. Carl Newton|Jan 20, 2021

    This past week, I and several other representatives hosted a public meeting in Woodward to discuss details of the redistricting process. Every 10 years, the Legislature is constitutionally required to redraw legislative and congressional district boundaries to match population shifts as reported from the U.S. Census. Each member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives and state Senate and each member of Congress must represent roughly the same number of people. As people move from one area to another, sometimes boundaries shift. Rural...

  • Carl's Capitol Comments: Take heart

    State Rep. Carl Newton|Dec 23, 2020

    This may be a very different Christmas this year for many who are choosing to stay away from family gatherings because of the threat of illness. I know that may cause some feelings of loneliness or depression or even despair. But I want you to be encouraged. Over 2,000 years ago, in a little city named Nazareth in Galilee, things looked bleak as well. The Jewish residents were under brutal Roman rule at the time. A young virgin turned up pregnant, telling her fiancé she had been impregnated by the Holy Spirit. Likely thinking his betrothed...

  • Carl's Capitol Comments

    State Rep. Carl Newton|Oct 14, 2020

    State Question 814 will be on the Nov. 3 statewide ballot. If approved, it would result in an increase in money the Legislature receives annually from the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, or TSET. The additional money could then be spent to help cover the state’s share of Medicaid expansion, which was approved by state voters through a separate state question in June. That expansion is set to take effect July 1, 2021. The projected cost to the state for Medicaid expansion is between $162 and $211 million. Thus, there will be a large d...

  • Carl's Capitol Comments State Question 805 would change 'nonviolent' offender sentencing

    State Rep. Carl Newton|Oct 7, 2020

    State Question 805 will be on the Nov. 3 statewide ballot. I’m sharing some information about the question so you’ll be better informed when you get to the voting booth. This question would change the Oklahoma Constitution to prohibit the use of prior felony convictions to increase sentences for nonviolent crimes in Oklahoma. This prohibition against sentence enhancements applies to all felonies, except the 52 violent crimes defined in statute as of Jan. 1, 2020. If passed, the measure would allow people serving prison time for nonviolent cri...

  • Carl's Capitol Comments

    State Rep. Carl Newton|Sep 30, 2020

    The speaker of the House recently announced that for the first time all House members will serve on a redistricting committee when it comes time to redraw our legislative districts following the results of this year’s census. This means as residents of northwest Oklahoma, you will have a voice in this process. Every ten years, after the census is conducted, the Legislature is required by the state constitution to redraw the legislative districts for the House and the state Senate. In the past this has been accomplished with a small committee o...

  • Carl's Capitol Comments We can't afford for you to not fill out the census

    State Rep. Carl Newton|Sep 9, 2020

    I wanted to take a moment to remind everyone to please fill out the census. Federal money follows census counts. If we don’t get an accurate count of where our people live, we lose money to other counties and other states. We cannot afford to let that happen. Estimates show that an undercount of just 2% could result in a $1.8 billion loss to Oklahoma over the next 10 years. That’s money that could be spent to upgrade our highways, roads and bridges. It would go to our schools to make sure our students have proper classroom materials as well as...

  • Carl's Capitol Comments

    State Rep. Carl Newton|Jul 22, 2020

    The Oklahoma Department of Corrections recently sent state legislators notice of a plan the department has drafted to responsibly bring its costs in line with current fiscal year appropriations. The Department of Corrections did not make any cuts to the James Crabtree Correction Center in Helena, the “Bill” Johnson Correctional Center in Alva or the William S. Key Correctional Center in Fort Supply. These centers employ a great many people from our House District, and these employees and correctional officers do a great job of helping ensure th...

  • Carl's Capitol Comments: Remember why we celebrate

    State Rep. Carl Newton|Jul 8, 2020

    As we approach the Fourth of July holiday, I’m reminded anew of the love I have for the United States of America and the desire I have for all citizens of our great nation to appreciate our country and remain loyal to its cause. The level of freedom and liberty we have in this nation is truly unparalleled in any other nation in the world. This does not come without cost. Ask anyone who planted a flag on the grave of a loved one on Memorial Day about the sacrifice in blood and tears that they and their loved one paid to secure such freedom. A...

  • Carl's Capitol Comments Vote on June 30

    State Rep. Carl Newton|Jun 24, 2020

    Oklahomans have a statewide election coming up on June 30 in which they will be asked to vote on primary candidates for statewide legislative and U.S. Congressional seats, a state question and county and municipal special elections. I hope that everyone over the age of 18 is registered to vote and will exercise this most sacred right. The liberty to choose who represents us is one of the pillars of our free society. Frankly, it is our responsibility to determine the values by which we are governed – whether we want to pay more in taxes and expa...

  • Carl's Capitol Comments

    State Rep. Carl Newton|Jun 17, 2020

    Oklahoma voters on June 30 will be asked to vote yes or no on State Question 802, which seeks to add a new article to the Oklahoma Constitution to expand eligibility for Oklahoma’s Medicaid program to include low-income, able-bodied adults. A yes vote on this measure would make Medicaid available to all Oklahoma adults between the ages of 18 and 65 whose income does not exceed 133% of the federal poverty level that are not already covered by Medicaid. Estimates show this is about 200,000 Oklahomans. This figure is just an estimate and could be...

  • Carl's Capitol Comments: Instead of violence, respond in love

    State Rep. Carl Newton|Jun 10, 2020

    I try to keep you updated on the events at the Capitol and legislation that affects your lives. In the past few weeks our nation, states and communities have been saddened by the unjust death of George Floyd. The death of Mr. Floyd as evidenced by the video was a true travesty of justice. Incidences like this cause us to experience many emotions, including racial tension, fear, uncertainty, anger and grief. I’m certainly for the right to peaceably assemble and protest to see change. Freedom of speech is one of our most fundamental freedoms a...

  • Carl's Capitol Comments 167 laws passed

    State Rep. Carl Newton|Jun 3, 2020

    The second session of the 57th Oklahoma Legislature is a wrap. With the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down the Capitol and much of the state for about a month and a half, we ended up passing considerably fewer bills than during a normal session. We started the session with 2,240 pieces of legislation filed, and ended with 167 measures becoming law. One new law will prohibit our state, cities, counties or political subdivisions from enacting red flag laws. Red flag laws allow law enforcement to confiscate firearms on the suspicion that a person...

  • Carl's Capitol Comments: FY21 budget only 3% less than FY20; misconceptions addressed

    State Rep. Carl Newton|May 27, 2020

    The House and Senate both approved by overwhelming majorities a state appropriations’ bill for Fiscal Year 2021 in early May that was reduced only 3% from FY20. This was after the Equalization Board estimated a $1.4 billion, or 17%, decrease in revenue over that which was certified in February. The fact that we were able to get this budget done took great effort on the part of our legislative budget leaders. The governor did not agree with the budget and vetoed the appropriations’ bill and several of the other bills that contributed to the over...

  • Carl's Capitol Comments

    State Rep. Carl Newton|May 6, 2020

    One of the first things the Legislature will tackle when it returns to session May 4 is the budget for Fiscal Year 2021. When the state Board of Equalization met in February, it certified $8.244 billion for the Legislature to appropriate for FY21. Because of the effects of COVID-19 with many businesses closed temporarily and the subsequent loss of taxes combined with the plummeting price of oil and gas, that figure has since been reduced to $6.878 billion. That is a $1.366 billion, or 16.6%, cut. As the chair of the House Appropriations &...

  • Carl's Capitol Comments: The key to a smart reopening: personal responsibility

    State Rep. Carl Newton|Apr 29, 2020

    I know the governor announced a three-phase plan last week to reopen Oklahoma churches and businesses, and sports and entertainment venues. We need to get our economy restarted but also be smart in doing so. I think the most important part of making this a safe and successful transition is personal responsibility. First, you know your strengths and weaknesses better than anyone else. Second, if you are immunologically suppressed or have other health concerns, please stay isolated as much as possible. The virus is still out there and likely... Full story

  • Carl's Capitol Comments

    State Rep. Carl Newton|Apr 22, 2020

    It’s been a difficult month having to miss many of the normal gatherings that are part of our lives here in northwest Oklahoma, including church and chamber gatherings. I’m thankful, however, that we’ve seen fewer cases of COVID-19 than many areas of the state. Last week, I took part in a conference call with Gov. Stitt. As many may know, the anticipated peak for COVID-19 in Oklahoma has been moved back to April 30. The number of cases has been considerably less than was first projected. The projection now is for about 4,000 hospital beds...

  • Carl's Capitol Comments: Legislators give Stitt broad authority to centralize services

    State Rep. Carl Newton|Apr 15, 2020

    I know this Easter must have been much different for everyone not being able to meet at church or in large family gatherings. Still, this Easter was very special because it is the true picture of love in sacrificial offering that our Lord Jesus Christ made in His death, burial and miraculous resurrection. I feel like we are all going through a similar time right now, where things seem so dark and confusing, but hope is just around the corner. May the peace of God come to you this week as you look for the day we can all reconnect with each other...

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