OKLAHOMA CITY (Aug. 15, 2016) – The Oklahoma House and Senate leadership dropped the ball repeatedly during the 2015-16 legislative session. They helped maintain the status quo and refused to stand up to Washington D.C. on a variety of fronts. The legislature effectively killed 21 bills that would have blocked the federal enforcement of unconstitutional policies. To make matters worse, the vast majority of the bills did not even receive a vote in their respective chambers.

The long list of legislation that Oklahoma lawmakers failed to act upon is as follows:


Sen. Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow) filed SB1296 to create a state bullion depository, an important first step toward establishing gold and silver as commonly used money in the state. The depository would have served as the custodian, guardian and administrator of gold, silver and other precious metals transferred or acquired by the state, or an agency, political subdivision or other instrumentality of the state as well as accepting deposits of gold and silver by private individuals.

SB1296 passed the Senate Committee on Appropriations by a 20-9 vote. Unfortunately, the bill did not proceed any further from that point. Senate President Brian Bingman (R-Sapulpa) along with Floor Leader Mike Schulz (R-Altus) refused to even schedule the bill for a vote in the full Senate, effectively killing the legislation.



Three bills were introduced in 2015-2016 to require legislative approval before a state agency could adopt or enforce any new federal rule or regulation. Sen. Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow) introduced SB1161 to require state agencies to submit any new federal rule or regulation applying to them to the Oklahoma House and Senate before its adoption or implementation. SJR23 was introduced by Sen. Dahm to “restrict the actions of [state] personnel and the use of… financial resources” for unconstitutional federal acts. HB1737 was introduced by Rep. Lewis Moore (R-Arcadia) to require “approval of the State Legislature or appropriate standing committee of the State Legislature and knowledge of the United States Senators representing the State of Oklahoma” before any state-level participation in federal acts.

SB1161 passed in the Senate General Government Committee, but was ultimately killed in the Senate Appropriations Committee under the leadership of Chairman Clark Jolley (R-Edmond). SJR23 never made it out of the Senate Rules Committee, where it was killed under Chairman Ron Justice (R-Chickasha). HB1737 passed in the House State and Federal Relations Committee, but did not proceed any further. House Speaker Jeffrey Hickman (R-Fairview) along with Majority Leader Charles Ortega (R-Atoka) refused to even schedule the bill for a vote in the full House, effectively killing the legislation.


Four Oklahoma bills filed in 2015-2016 would have taken action against federal gun control. Sen. Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow) introduced SB1124 and SB276 while Rep. Sally Kern (R-Oklahoma City) introduced HB3051 to prohibit any state or local agency, along with their employees, from knowingly and willingly participating in any way in the enforcement of any future federal act, law, order, rule or regulation issued regarding a personal firearm, a firearm accessory or ammunition. SB10 was introduced by Sen. Patrick Anderson (R-Enid) to protect any “personal firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition that is manufactured commercially or privately in Oklahoma and that remains exclusively within the borders of Oklahoma” from federal gun control measures conducted under the specious notion of interstate commerce.

None of these bills achieved any success. SB1124 and SB10 were killed in the Senate Rules Committee at the behest of Chairman Ron Justice (R-Chickasha). HB3051 was killed in the House Rules Committee under Chairman Tommy Hardin (R-Madill). SB276 was killed in the Senate Public Safety Committee under Chairman Don Barrington (R-Lawton).


Rep. Jeff Coody (R-Grandfield) introduced HB3099 to allow farm producers to deliver raw milk to consumers and sell it at farmer’s markets. The proposed measure would have allowed advertising of legal unpasteurized raw milk as well. HB2852 was introduced by Rep. Steve Kouplen (D-Beggs) to allow the incidental sale of raw milk products in certain instances at farmer’s markets. Neither bill went anywhere. HB3099 passed the House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, but House Speaker Jeffrey Hickman (R-Fairview) and Majority Leader Charles Ortega (R-Atoka) effectively killed the legislation by refusing to schedule it for a vote. HB2852 was killed in the House Agriculture and Rural Development under Chairman John Enns (R-Enid).


Five bills were introduced to take various measures against illegal federal spying. Rep. Lewis Moore (R-Arcadia) introduced HB1738 to ban “material support or resources” from the state to warrantless federal spy programs. Sen. Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow) introduced SB444 to mandate that “a government entity may not obtain the stored data or transmitted data of an electronic device without a search warrant issued by a court upon probable cause.” Introduced by Sen. Dahm, SB618 would have banned state government officials from accessing the location information from an electronic device with only a few exceptions. HB1295 was introduced by Rep. Paul Wesselhoft (R-Moore) and SB503 was introduced by Sen. Ralph Shortey (R-Oklahoma City) to restrict the government use of drones by instituting search warrant requirements, stopping the weaponization of drones, and other common sense regulations.

HB1738 cleared the Oklahoma House State and Federal Relations Committee by a 6-0 vote, but did not go any further. House Speaker Jeffrey Hickman (R-Fairview) along with Majority Leader Charles Ortega (R-Atoka) refused to even schedule the bill for a vote in the full House, effectively killing the legislation. SB444 and SB618 were killed in the Senate Judiciary Committee under Chairman Anthony Sykes (R-Oklahoma City). HB1295 was killed in the House Public Safety Committee under Chairman Mike Ritze (R-Broken Arrow). SB503 was killed in the Senate Public Safety Committee under Chairman Don Barrington (R-Lawton).


Introduced by Sen. Kyle Loveless (R-Oklahoma City), SB838 and SB1189 would have reformed asset forfeiture laws by prohibiting the state from taking property without a criminal conviction. It would have completely eliminated civil asset forfeiture under state law and only allow forfeiture via criminal proceedings after prosecutors secured a criminal conviction. This crucial legislation never saw the light of day. Both pieces of legislation were killed in the Senate Judiciary Committee under Chairman Anthony Sykes (R-Oklahoma City).


Introduced by Rep. Mark McBride (R-Moore), HB2126 would have essentially nullified new EPA orders related to the Federal Clean Water Act. The bill would have mandated that the Oklahoma Water Resources Board “shall not evaluate interactions with surface waters when conducting either major or minor groundwater basin or subbasin hydrologic surveys and investigations.” This would have denied state-level compliance with the new EPA orders. Unfortunately, HB2126 was killed under Chairman Kevin Calvey (R-Del City) in the House Environmental Law Committee.


Two bills were introduced to nullify federal involvement in the institution of marriage. Rep. Todd Russ (R-Cordell) introduced HB1125 to end state-issued marriage licenses, while providing marriage certificates as an alternative. It would have replaced all references to marriages “licenses” in state law with “certificates” to bypass federal involvement. Introduced by Sen. Josh Brecheen (R-Coalgate), SB973 would have effectively nullified recent Supreme Court mandates regarding marriage. The bill would have prohibited “taxpayer funds or governmental salaries” from being used toward “any activity that includes the licensing or support of same-sex marriage.”

HB1125 experienced some initial success. It passed the House by a 67-24 vote. However, once in the Senate, the bill was upended abruptly. It never made it out of the Senate Rules Committee, where it was killed under Chairman Ron Justice (R-Chickasha). SB973 was killed in the Senate Judiciary Committee under of Chairman Anthony Sykes (R-Oklahoma City).


HB3002 was introduced by Rep. Lewis Moore (R-Arcadia) to re-assert the sovereignty of Oklahoma tax payers against unlawful federal coercion. It would have earmarked certain federally-mandated taxes into a state-run escrow account, which would act as sort of a liaison between Oklahoma residents and the federal government. Tragically but not unexpectedly, this bill suffered the same fate as all the rest. It was killed under Chairman Tommy Hardin (R-Madill) in the House Rules Committee.


Although the Oklahoma legislature dropped the ball and refused to push back against federal overreach this year, all hope is not lost. The legislators who refused to uphold their oath to the Constitution and killed these bills are now more vulnerable than ever. Remember to alert your community about who is jeopardizing your rights, Oklahomans. From that point, the legislature can be remade with individuals who have the backbone to protect your sacred freedoms through nullification.

The process can be a long, hard and ugly one, but it can pay off. Many of the states that are currently passing several nullification bills each year were in Oklahoma’s situation not too long ago. However, liberty-minded activists in those states steadfastly refused to give up and successfully pushed their legislators to do the right thing. That is the future that Oklahoma can achieve, but it is going to take some grit and determination to get there. Are you up to the challenge?

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