Over the past two years, yours truly has noted how the economy in Oklahoma has with very little media attention outperformed most of the rest of the nation. The Sooner State’s much lower unemployment rate, higher GDP growth, and higher personal income growth have “strangely” coincided with the passage of a strict illegal immigration law-enforcement measure in 2007.
Now there’s another significant news item out of Oklahoma that the establishment press has also virtually ignored. In November, voters there are going to decide whether to opt out of the statist health care legislation passed by Congress in March, also known as ObamaCare, by passing a state constitutional amendment.
Oklahoma is not alone. Two larger states will also have state constitutional opt-outs on the November ballot.
Rush Limbaugh brought the Oklahoma news to his listeners’ attention yesterday, and linked to this LifeSiteNews.com story. If that seems an odd choice, it’s because press coverage in general has been either curt, dismissive, or non-existent.
Here are key paragraphs from Peter J. Smith’s LifeSite report:
Oklahoma Voters May Nullify Fed Health Care Law in November
Voters in Oklahoma will be given a chance in November to decide whether they want to reject the core of the recently-enacted national health care reform, which includes taxpayer-funded abortion and requires individuals to buy health insurance or pay a penalty, thanks to a legislative action that bypassed the objections of pro-abortion Democrat Gov. Brad Henry.
The state’s House of Representatives approved Senate Joint Resolution 59 with a strong bipartisan majority of 88-9. SJR 59 allows citizens to vote up or down a state constitutional amendment that would prohibit “forced participation in a health care system,” and allow individuals to pay directly for health services and carry private health insurance.
The House had waited to act on the Senate resolution, in hopes of overriding the governor’s veto of a resolution that would have enacted the ban via statute. However, after the veto override attempt failed last week, the House enacted the version putting the question to voters.
Because the SJR 59 is a referendum question, the decision will bypass the governor and go directly to the people on the November 2 state ballot. The measure is based on American Legislative Exchange Council’s model Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act.
If enacted, Oklahoma will follow the lead of Virginia, Idaho, and Arizona in challenging President Barack Obama’s signature legislation on the basis of state law, but with a twist: the Virginia challenge to the health care bill is based on a state statute, while Oklahoma would up the ante with a constitutional amendment.
Voters in Florida and Arizona will also go to the polls in November to vote on constitutional amendments opting their states out of the national health care law.
Despite the fact that an Oklahoma House resolution overrode Democratic Governor Brad Henry’s veto by 88-9, the Tulsa World’s Barbara Hoberock gave four of her report’s 13 paragraph to an opponent who argued that the “federal health-care reform law will provide access to health care for people in her district who do not have it.” As has been pointed out frequently, everyone has “access” by law, even if they don’t have insurance.
At the Oklahoman, Michael McNutt’s more balanced report contained a quote from the governor’s spokesperson that goes to the heart of an inevitiable federal government challenge:
Paul Sund, Henry’s spokesman, said passage of SJR 59 “just sets the stage for yet another lawsuit against the state and more unnecessary legal fees for Oklahoma taxpayers.”
“No state has the authority to selectively ignore federal laws of its choosing, and any attempt to do so will be ruled unconstitutional by the courts,” Sund said.
Someone should have asked Mr. Sund why we even bother having states if the federal government can pass any law it likes while imposing any mandates it pleases.
Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.