Sen. Warren Hamilton Proposes Changes to State Question Approval Process
Beverly Cantrell - February 8, 2022 3:26 pm
OKLAHOMA CITY – State Sen. Warren Hamilton has filed Senate Joint Resolution 30, which would give a voice back to rural Oklahomans and transform how state questions are passed in the state.
Hamilton, R-McCurtain, says allowing state questions to pass by a simple majority undermines rural Oklahoma and ensures only the major cities have a voice in hot-button topics that often appear on the ballot. His solution is to require state questions to be approved by a two-thirds majority vote of all Oklahoma counties to pass and be written into the state’s constitution. If a majority of voters approve the question, but not two-thirds of Oklahoma’s 77 counties, the amendment would only take effect in the counties that approved it.
“Several notable disasters have been unleashed on Oklahoma, including the lottery, “medical” marijuana, reduction in sentencing for drug offenses, and Medicaid expansion, all through our flawed methodology of state questions,” Hamilton said. “I remind you that rural Oklahoma voted overwhelmingly against each of these. State questions are a way for out of state liberal groups – who are not accountable to us – to spread half-truths and lies and to circumvent our legislature. It is the duty of the legislature, as our representatives, to solve these issues.
“State questions present a golden opportunity for voter fraud, election tampering, and out of state influence. As it stands right now with questions being decided by a simple majority, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Lawton determine the outcome of state questions that affect all of Oklahoma. Requiring two-thirds majority of the counties to pass a question would ensure proper and constitutional representation for rural Oklahoma as well.”
Hamilton pointed to the most recent state question passage of Medicaid expansion as the perfect example. Only seven of Oklahoma’s 77 counties voted for the measure. Under SJR 30, 52 counties would have been required to pass the question for it to go into effect statewide.
“More often than not, state questions boil down to ‘urban’ vs. ‘rural’ interests,” Hamilton said. “If a state question is so important for the betterment of the state, it should have overwhelming support – not just support in our largest cities.”
The resolution has been assigned to the Senate Rules Committee. If it is passed through the legislative process, it would be placed on the ballot for Oklahomans to approve or deny.
For more information, contact: Sen. Warren Hamilton at 405-521-5604, or email Warren.Hamilt[email protected]