Oklahoma Healthcare Freedom, State Question 756 (2010)

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The Oklahoma Healthcare Freedom Amendment, also known as State Question 756, was on the November 2, 2010 ballot in Oklahoma as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was approved. The measure was in response to potential federal health care provisions, and allowed residents to get out of any health care mandates. As a result, the proposal categorized a law that would require residents, employers or health care providers to participate in any health care system unconstitutional.[1][2]

Some opponents stated that a healthcare measure would not create much of an effect on the issue because federal law would overlap state law. Opponents also stated that because of this, there were more serious problems affecting the state that needed to be addressed.[3]

Election results

See also: 2010 ballot measure election results

Official results of the measure follow:

Oklahoma State Question 756 (2010)
Approveda Yes 638,530 64.73%

Election results via: Oklahoma Secretary of State

Text of measure

Ballot title

The ballot title that voters saw on their ballots read:[4]

This measure adds a new section of law to the State Constitution. It adds Section 37 to Article 2. It defines “health care system.” It prohibits making a person participate in a health care system. It prohibits making an employer participate in a health care system. It prohibits making a health care provider provide treatment in a health care system. It allows persons and employees to pay for treatment directly. It allows a health care provider to accept payment for treatment directly. It allows the purchase of health care insurance in private health care systems. It allows the sale of health insurance in private health care systems.

The measure’s effect is limited. It would not affect any law or rule in effect as of January 1, 2010.

Nor could the measure affect or negate all federal laws or rules. The United States Constitution has a Supremacy Clause. That clause makes federal law the supreme law of the land. Under that clause Congress has the power to preempt state law. When Congress intends to preempt state law, federal law controls. When Congress intends it, constitutionally enacted federal law would preempt some or all of the proposed measure.

Shall the proposal be approved?

For the proposal

Yes: __________

Against the proposal

No: __________

Constitutional changes

Oklahoma Health Care Freedom Amendment (2010), Constitutional changes

The measure proposed to add Section 37, Article II of the Oklahoma Constitution.[4]



  • Representative Mike Thompson was the sponsor of the measure, SJR 59, and said that lawmakers were determined to allow voters to decide on the health care issue in November 2010.[5]
  • Dan Newberry was the sponsor of the measure, and urged residents to pass the measure during a campaign a few months before the election. According to Newberry, the measure "may be the single most important issue on the November ballot," he said.[6]
  • The Oklahomans for Sovereignty and Free Enterprise took stances on a number of the 11 questions on the November ballot. The group's position on State Question 756 was to vote yes on the measure.[7]


  • According to Mike Thompson, “This constitutional amendment will provide Oklahomans with a powerful legal protection against the federal government’s attempt to insert itself into everyday decisions that affect their finances and health."[5]




  • Brad Henry stated that the measure would only lead to lawsuits against the state, and that the proposed constitutional amendment conflicted with federal law.[5]

Media endorsements

See also: Endorsements of Oklahoma ballot measures, 2010


  • The Tulsa Beacon made recommendations for all the state questions on the ballot, and recommended a 'yes' vote on the measure.[8]


  • The Oklahoman recommended a 'no' vote on the measure, stating, "The constitutionality of a federal health care mandate already is being challenged in court, and passage of this question won't be a factor. It would be an unnecessary addition to the state constitution."[9]
  • The Enid News and Eagle recommended a 'no' vote on the measure, stating, "...this is more of a political statement against the current presidential administration than anything else. The constitutionality of the matter already is being debated in court and passing this won’t make any difference in the outcome of that case."[10]
  • The Tulsa World was against the measure, recommending a 'no' vote: "The measure was intended to nullify federal health care reform in the state, but probably violates the U.S. Constitution’s supremacy clause and should be rejected."[11]
  • The Oklahoma Daily was against the measure, stating, "Don’t let the ideological fear mongering sway you to vote for a questionable opt-out measure that, at best, will probably do nothing, and at worst, will cost you money. Vote “no” on SQ 756."[12]

Ballot title controversy

Reports out of the state were saying that some state legislators weren't happy with the ballot title of the measure. According to Senator Dan Newberry, who sponsored the measure, stated that ballot title, written by the office of the Oklahoma Attorney General, "is vague in nature and isn't a true depiction of what it really does.” However, according to Neal Leader, the senior assistant attorney general, he argued, "The ballot title just doesn't parrot the language in the measure. It is to explain the measure.”[13]


See also: Polls, 2010 ballot measures
  • In one of the last polls taken by SoonerPoll before the general election, the results showed support of the measure by those surveyed. The poll included 384 Democrats, 345 Republicans and 24 independents.[14]

Date of Poll Pollster In favor Opposed Undecided Number polled
October 18-23, 2010 SoonerPoll.com 66% 23% 11% 753

Path to the ballot

Mike Thompson, a primary author of the bill to place SQ 756 on the ballot
See also: Amending the Oklahoma Constitution

Oklahoma Senate Joint Resolution (SJR 59) was the bill in the Oklahoma State Legislature to place State Question 756 on the ballot.

SJR 59 was passed by the Oklahoma State Senate with a vote of 30-13 on May 5, 2010. The proposal was then sent to the House for approval and consideration for the ballot. The measure was then voted on, without debate, and won approval with a vote of 88-9. House Republicans voted 61-0 in favor, and House Democrats voted 27-9. The measure was then forwarded to the Oklahoma Secretary of State for inclusion on the November 2, 2010 general election ballot.[2]

The Oklahoma State Legislature can approve a proposed amendment by a majority vote. (However, if the state legislature wants the proposed amendment to go on a special election ballot, it has to approve the amendment by a 2/3rds vote.)[15][16][17]

The primary legislative sponsors of SJR 59 were Mike Thompson and Dan Newberry. Thompson and Newberry were Republican members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

SJR 59 also had a number of official co-authors. They were:

Charles Key, John Wright, Glenn Coffee, Sue Tibbs, Cliff Aldridge, Cliff Branan, Randy Brogdon, Harry Coates, Jim Reynolds, John Trebilcock, Ron Justice, John Ford, Don Barrington, Brian Crain, Clark Jolley, Todd Lamb, Rex Duncan, Jeffrey W. Hickman, Sally Kern, Steve Martin, Miller, Paul Wesselhoft, Mike Schulz, Brian Bingman, Bill Brown, Anthony Sykes, David Derby, George Faught, Mark McCullough, Randy McDaniel, Jason Murphey, Earl Sears, Bryce Marlatt, Gary Stanislawski, Steve Russell, Leslie Osborn, Pat Ownbey, Mike Sanders, Dan Kirby, Mike Ritze, and Lewis Moore.

Similar certified measures

See also Certified 2010 health care ballot measures
Healthcare on the ballot in 2010
Nevada 2010 ballot measuresUtah 2010 ballot measuresColorado Fetal Personhood, Amendment 62 (2010)New Mexico 2010 ballot measuresArizona 2010 ballot measuresMontana 2010 ballot measuresCalifornia 2010 ballot measuresOregon 2010 ballot measuresWashington 2010 ballot measuresIdaho 2010 ballot measuresOklahoma 2010 ballot measuresKansas 2010 ballot measuresNebraska 2010 ballot measuresSouth Dakota 2010 ballot measuresNorth Dakota 2010 ballot measuresIowa 2010 ballot measuresMissouri 2010 ballot measuresArkansas 2010 ballot measuresLouisiana 2010 ballot measuresAlabama 2010 ballot measuresGeorgia 2010 ballot measuresFlorida 2010 ballot measuresSouth Carolina 2010 ballot measuresIllinois 2010 ballot measuresTennessee 2010 ballot measuresNorth Carolina 2010 ballot measuresIndiana 2010 ballot measuresOhio 2010 ballot measuresMaine 2010 ballot measuresVirginia 2010 ballot measuresMaryland 2010 ballot measuresMaryland 2010 ballot measuresRhode Island 2010 ballot measuresRhode Island 2010 ballot measuresMassachusetts 2010 ballot measuresMichigan 2010 ballot measuresMichigan 2010 ballot measuresAlaska Parental Notification Initiative, Ballot Measure 2 (2010)Hawaii 2010 ballot measuresCertified, health care, 2010 Map.png

Similar measures in other states that were certified for a 2010 ballot include:

  • Voters in Missouri also got a chance to decide whether or not to block the federal government from requiring people to buy health insurance and ban punishment for those without health insurance. Advocates said the measure would "protect the individual’s right to make health care decisions." Opponents of the measures and some constitutional scholars said the proposals were mostly symbolic, intended to send a message of political protest, and had little chance of succeeding in court over the long run.
  • A question in Arizona was slated for the November 2, 2010 ballot, and asked voters whether or not to bar any rules or regulations that forced Arizonans to participate in a health-care system. The proposed amendment, if enacted, would ensure that individuals had the right to pay for private health insurance.

See also

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