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Two Oklahoma measures garnering much attention

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August 12, 2010

Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma: Oklahoma State Question 744 and State Question 755 are attracting much attention from both residents of the state and across the country. SQ 744 would ask voters on November 2, 2010 to amend the Oklahoma Constitution to require the Oklahoma State Legislature to fund public education to at least the per-pupil average of neighboring states. State Question 755 will ask voters whether or not to require that courts rely on federal or state laws when handing down decisions concerning cases and would prohibit them from using international law or Sharia law when making rulings.[1]

Proponents of SQ 744 have noted the great disparity in Oklahoma school funding compared to neighboring states. Proponents have drawn a correlation between school funding and economic competition with nearby states noting that Oklahoma is ."..dead last in the region and our kids are in a battle with kids from Arkansas, Texas and other states in the region for jobs." However, there has been much opposition to the measure, notably from the state legislature. Randy Brogdon noted, "My biggest concern is that it takes the responsibility of funding away from the Legislature." Brogdon had previously predicted that circulators would get the necessary signatures, which they did, but that voters ultimately will reject the proposal. "When I am asked about it, I explain the direct consequences," Brogdon said. "They realize right away it is not a logical thing to do."[2]

SQ 755 has gained national attention, as the Islamic Shariah Law, "a religious code for living, in the same way that the Bible offers a moral system for Christians," has become the subject of debate. Representative Rex Duncan was the chief author of the bill, and stated that Sharia law was a "cancer" in the United Kingdom because those courts enforced shariah. Duncan, who was interviewed on the national media talk show, Hannity, stated, "SQ 755 will constitute a pre-emptive strike against Shariah law coming to Oklahoma." Duncan also added, "While Oklahoma is still able to defend itself against this sort of hideous invasion, we should do so."[3]

Razi Hashmi, executive director of CAIR-Oklahoma, said there are more pressing issues in the state that need more attention from lawmakers instead of this issue. Hashmi countered claims by Rex Duncan that the CAIR wants Sharia Law in the state and nation. Hashmi claimed, "That’s absolutely absurd. I don’t know anybody who wants Sharia here. Where is he getting that?"[3][4]

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