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Oklahoma State Question 754 (2010)

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Oklahoma State Question 754, or the No Mandated State Expenditures Act, was on the November 2, 2010 state ballot in Oklahoma as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was defeated. Defeatedd The measure was authored by Senator Todd Lamb along with multiple Representatives.[1][2]

SQ 754 would provide that the Oklahoma State Legislature could not be required to make expenditures for any function of government using a predetermined formula of any kind or by reference to the expenditure levels of any other state government or any other entity.

Election results

See also: 2010 ballot measure election results

Official results of the measure follow:

Question 754 (State Expenditures)
ResultVotesPercentage
Defeatedd No614,21962.92%
Yes 361,907 37.08%

Results via the Oklahoma Election Board.

Text of Amendment

Ballot title

The ballot title that voters saw on the ballot read:[3]

This measure adds a new section to the Oklahoma Constitution. It adds Section 55A to Article 5. The Legislature designates amounts of money to be used for certain functions. These designations are called appropriations. The measure deals with the appropriation process.

The measure limits how the Constitution could control that process. Under the measure the Constitution could not require the Legislature to fund state functions based on:

1. Predetermined constitutional formulas,

2. How much other states spend on a function,

3. How much any entity spends on a function.

Under the measure these limits on the Constitution's power to control appropriations would apply even if:

1. A later constitutional amendment changed the Constitution, or

2. A constitutional amendment to the contrary was passed at the same time as this measure.

Thus, under the measure, once adopted, the measure could not be effectively amended. Nor could it be repealed.

Shall the proposal be approved?

For the proposal

Yes: __________

Against the proposal

No: __________

Summary

The summary of the measure read:[4]

This measure adds a new section to the Oklahoma Constitution. It adds Section 55A to Article 5. The Legislature designates amounts of money to be used for certain functions. These designations are called appropriations. The measure deals with the appropriation process.
The measure limits how the Constitution could control that process. Under the measure the Constitution could not require the Legislature to fund state functions based on:
1. Predetermined constitutional formulas,
2. How much other states spend on a function,
3. How much any entity spends on a function.
Under the measure these limits on the Constitution's power to control appropriations would apply even if:
1. A later constitutional amendment changed the Constitution, or
2. A constitutional amendment to the contrary was passed at the same time as this measure.
Thus, under the measure, once adopted, the measure could not be effectively amended. Nor could it be repealed.

Constitutional changes

The measure was proposed to add Section 55A to Article V of the Oklahoma Constitution to read as follows:[1]

Section 55A. Notwithstanding any other provision of the Oklahoma Constitution to the contrary, whether such provisions of this section shall become adopted, the Legislature shall not be required to make expenditures for any function of government using a predetermined formula of any kind or by reference to the expenditure ;evels of any other state government or any other entity. The provisions of this section shall not be construed to authorize the Legislature to make appropriations in excess of the limits allowed by Section 23 of Article X or any other provision of the Constitution.

Support

There was no known supporting campaign for the measure.

Opposition

Opponents

  • 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 754 was to vote no on the measure.[5]
  • Since the measure essentially defeated State Question 744, supporters of the 744 were inclined to oppose the measure, according to reports.[6]

Media endorsements

See also: Endorsements of Oklahoma ballot measures, 2010

Opposition

  • The Oklahoman recommended a 'no' vote on the measure, stating, "The ballot question also states the amendment, if approved, could not be repealed, although the author of the legislation behind the question disputes that. The people of Oklahoma elect lawmakers to decide the state budget. Curbing their ability to do so with the primary purpose of stopping just one proposal isn't wise policy."[7]
  • The Enid News and Eagle recommended a 'no' vote on the measure, stating, "This question would prohibit the use of constitutional formulas and how much other states or entities spend on an entity to decide state funding for that entity. We are against rules that prevent elected leaders from doing their main job, which is to determine the state budget."[8]
  • The Tulsa World was against the measure, recommending a 'no' vote: "The measure has a particularly galling provision that would prohibit future voters from ever repealing it. For that reason and because of the potential for unintended consequences with the broadly worded referendum, it should be rejected."[9]
  • The Oklahoma Daily was against the measure, stating, "We say: NO. Written for the sole purpose of countering SQ 744, this measure has the potential to take the power of prioritizing the state budget out of the hands of the lawmakers with prohibitions on ways lawmakers decide to appropriate funds. The ballot language also makes it permanent, which could be a major hindrance in the future."[10]
  • The Tulsa Beacon made recommendations for all the state questions on the ballot, and recommended a 'no' vote on the measure.[11]

Polls

See also: Polls, 2010 ballot measures
  • In a survey conducted by SoonerPoll.com and powered by Tulsa World, 621 likely Oklahoma voters were polled on 5 of the 9 statewide ballot questions that was on the November 2, 2010 ballot. The poll, conducted via telephone during the dates of January 2-5, 2010, included only registered voters in the state, and surveyed 325 Democrats, 267 Republicans, 28 Independents and one Libertarian. According to reports, the margin of error was plus or minus 3.93 percentage points. The results for Question 754 are as follows:[12]
  • In a second poll conducted by SoonerPoll.com, 59 percent of voters polled stated that they were against the measure. The poll surveyed likely registered voters in the state, which included 385 Democrats, 340 Republicans and 31 independents. The margin of error was reported to be 3.57 percentage points and was commissioned by the Tulsa World.[13]
  • 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]
Legend

     Position is ahead and at or over 50%     Position is ahead or tied, but under 50%

Date of Poll Pollster In favor Opposed Undecided Number polled
January 2-5, 2010 SoonerPoll.com 22% 57% 21% 621
July 16-21, 2010 SoonerPoll.com 22% 59% 19% 755
October 18-23, 2010 SoonerPoll.com 44% 35% 21% 753

Possible lawsuit

Due to the impact and the reason behind the measure, the passage of State Question 754 would have essentially shot down State Question 744 if that measure had passed as well. In any case, according to Dr. Rick Farmer, director of committee staff for the Oklahoma State Representatives, legal action would have taken place if 754 had passed. According to Farmer, who compared the two measures, which one was a legislatively-referred state statute and the other an initiated constitutional amendment, "But can a statute direct the state’s constitution? I don’t know about that. So here’s my prediction: If any of these pass, one the other or both, it’s going to be in the Supreme Court. It’ll be a big lawsuit. We’re talking about a billion dollars.”[15]

Path to the ballot

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.) Oklahoma is one of ten states that allows a referred amendment to go on the ballot after a majority vote in one session of the state's legislature.

See also

External links

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Suggest a link

References