Friday, May 28, 2010

Terrill sneaks in "dangerous and wrong" language

Legislators Thursday approved a Senate bill intended to improve the state medical examiner's office but that also would restrict public access to autopsy reports because of last-minute language added by Rep. Randy Terrill, reported The Oklahoman this morning.

For details and a link to the story:

In response (by Mark Thomas): I read the bill several times. The language has been out there for quite a while. I think Terrill is correct; it only says the ME doesn't have to release partial or incomplete details of an autopsy - even to DA's or Law Enforcement! The language simply looked like statutory construction language and not any attempt to close anything.

The bill also has language that the ME's office will always be independent from any other state agency (not under control of law enforcement) and that they can contract with third party vendors "except OSBI" without the express consent of the legislature.

The ME's office needed a total makeover and this bill was an honest attempt to do that, in my opinion.

Mark Thomas
Executive Vice President
Oklahoma Press Association

Thursday, May 27, 2010

My former college cries FERPA

Yes, I have a semester under my belt at this very college.

(From FOI Oklahoma -- Thought this would be of interest given our universities' broad reliance on FERPA for denying records.)
WYOMING--A Wyoming judge ruled Tuesday to dissolve a temporary restraining order against the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and the Cheyenne Herald that prevented the newspapers from publishing a leaked report concerning the president at Laramie County Community College.

A new way to get Grant County news

Grant County is working on a new and better way for citizens to get Grant County news! For now, the county will utilize the District 2 Web site to release news stories regarding commission meetings, projects, staff, etc. However, in the near future, the county will have its own Web site to publicize county business.

Much more to come. This is just the beginning of what could be a great asset to Grant County folks! I'm excited to be part of these exciting new changes!

Please check out the District 2 Web site to get just a taste (a very, very small taste) of what the future will look like:

A good woman to have on our side

(The following is Helen Barrett's e-mail exchange with Rep. Randy Terrill over the DOB issue. Helen is a news editor/reporter for the Alva Review-Courier and a member of the FOI Oklahoma Inc. board of directors.)

Helen caught a little flak from OPA Executive Vice President Mark Thomas for sending the e-mail, but someone needed to say something. If we know these legislators on a personal level, it is our responsibility to call on each of them as real people would - not give them a candy-coated plea that gets lost in the shuffle.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Spending records will go online

In the final votes required for both bills, state senators unanimously agreed Tuesday to put online the details of state spending and tax credits while House members approved posting school spending on the Internet.

For details:

A moving 'memorial day'

Received this e-mail from Jennifer Gilliland at OPA today about a story written by one of Oklahoma's finest professors, who not only has been my mentor but also my friend:

Dr. Terry Clark recently accompanied the Oklahoma Honor Flight when it took 99 World War II veterans to visit the WWII monument in Washington, DC.

Terrill determined to prevent public access

Rep. Randy Terrill on Tuesday added language preventing public access to government workers' birth dates and employee identification numbers to the conference committee version of the Omnibus Corrections bill.

For details:

Thursday, May 20, 2010

DOB bill as persistent as Phoenix

It looks like the effort to make public employee DOBs confidential has been resurrected, this time as part of the DPS dash cam bill, HB 3382.

Tulsa World story:

DataWatch blog

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Benefit dinner for fire chief and family

Please join the Deer Creek Fire Department in helping Chief Benito Gonzales, who recently lost his wife, Maria, to cancer. Proceeds will help with medical bills and funeral expenses.

Benefit Lunch for the family of Maria Gonzales. Sunday, May 23rd, Noon--?, at Christ's Church (former Mennonite Church Building), Deer Creek.

There will also be a silent auction of many donated items with all money going to the Gonzales family as well.

Sponsored by the Deer Creek Fire Dept

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Don't like Oklahoma's new license plate? You may be all alone

The Automobile License Plate Collectors Association (ALPCA) has honored the new Oklahoma license plate with the Best Plate Award for new plates first issued in 2009. This is the third time Oklahoma has won this award since its inception in 1970, which means the state joins only three other states to have won three times.

Oklahoman: traffic tickets just part of getting an education

OU and OSU officials are defying common sense by claiming that parking tickets issued to students are confidential educational records, The Oklahoman said in an editorial Saturday.

"The federal law was designed to protect students’ academic records, not such things as tickets issued to students for parking in the faculty lot," the newspaper said.

For background and a link to the editorial, read:

'Stiff opposition' kills autopsy bill

State legislators won't be voting again this session on a bill that would have restricted access to portions of homicide autopsy reports.

Rep. Leslie Osborn, R-Tuttle, pulled HB 3155 because of stiff opposition on the House floor, The Oklahoman reported today.

For background and the story link, read:

Thank you to Mark Thomas for successfully fighting this bill.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Let the summer games begin

Graduation is over. Summer vacation has begun. Maybe I can get back to the blog now. I’m so far behind on posting my Bible readings, I’m not even going to try.

What will the summer hold? Who knows. For now, I have three trips to Boiling Springs Christian Service Camp planned.