Oklahoma Farm Bureau Delegates Set Policy for the General Farm Organization- Steve Thompson talks with Ron Hays About Some High PointsSun, 10 Nov 2019 14:20:08 CST
The Oklahoma Farm Bureau held their 78th Annual Convention and Trade Show in downtown Oklahoma City over the weekend. On Saturday, Farm Bureau delegates worked through dozens of resolutions that came from the State Resolutions Committee- that had risen up from County Farm Bureaus earlier in the year. Steve Thompson, Senior Director of Public Policy for Oklahoma Farm Bureau, talked with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays about some of the key issues that were approved by the delegates on Saturday. Listen to the full conversation that Hays and Thompson had on Saturday afternoon by clicking on the LISTEN BAR at the bottom of this story.
Thompson said a very recent issue had surfaced just ahead of the State Convention- a brand new state question just announced- State Question 804, a proposal that would put into the state constitution a new Independent Redistricting Committee. Thompson said the Board of Directors approved a resolution that was brought to the delegates at the state meeting- and they approved the general Farm Organization's opposition to SQ 804.
The group Let's Fix This has teamed up with the Oklahoma League of Women Voters to establish the group People, Not Politicans, Inc to pursue the signatures for State Question 804 to land on the November 2020 General Election Ballot.
State Question 804 is a proposed constitutional amendment that is a highly prescriptive change to how redistricting would occur in Oklahoma- both for State Legislative District lines as well as for Congressional Districts. Read the details of the proposal by clicking or tapping here, which was filed with the State of Oklahoma on October 28th.
Thompson said there are several troubling aspects of this possible state question, especially in how this Commission would be selected. Thompson calls the proposal "disturbingly flawed" and contends that there is a significant lack of accountability based on the stipulation that retired judges would be appointed by the Chief Justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court to oversee the process- giving equal weight to the eventual Commission to the two major political parties and independent voters with non elected officials controlling every step of the way.
Thompson adds that delegates adopted a resolution that also addresses the issue of Municipal Ad Valorem Taxation. He says the group is in general opposed to this concept of using the ad valorem process to raise revenue for cities and towns in the future, currently reserved for counties and schools- the delegates did adopt language that will allow the public policy team to work on this topic if it comes up and appears likely to pass the state legislature in 2020.
Many other topics were a part of the sixty resolutions approved by the delegates. One other issue that Hays talked with Thompson about concerned farmers being able to protect their livestock from attacks by black buzzards. Thompson says this is an enormous problem and several county Farm Bureaus wanted language on this topic- and added that a lot of other state Farm Bureaus are equally concenred about getting the Federal Government to act and allow farmers to actively protect their cattle herds from this predator.
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