PO­LIT­I­CAL NOTEBOOK

Tulsa World - - Politics Extra - — Randy Kre­hbiel, Tulsa World

Con­ven­tion­ing:

Five Ok­la­homa leg­is­la­tors, four of them from the Tulsa area, at­tended a meet­ing in Phoenix last week de­voted to plan­ning a con­ven­tion to amend the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion.

In short, a con­ven­tion on con­ven­tions.

Ar­ti­cle V of the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion al­lows for amend­ments through con­ven­tions of the states. No such con­ven­tion has ever been called, in large part be­cause of un­cer­tainty about how it would be man­aged and con­trolled.

Nev­er­the­less, it's be­come a popular cause for some con­ser­va­tives who view it as the only way to rein in fed­eral spend­ing. They pro­pose a con­ven­tion that would im­ple­ment fis­cal re­straints and, pos­si­bly, con­gres­sional term lim­its. Among the best-known pro­po­nents are for­mer U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn.

Op­po­nents, in­clud­ing other con­ser­va­tives, say there is no guar­an­tee the con­ven­tion's scope won't ex­pand into other ar­eas.

Ok­la­homa leg­is­la­tors at­tend­ing were Sens. Michael Bergstrom, R-Wyan­dotte; Nathan Dahm, R-Bro­ken Ar­row; and Julie Daniels, R-Bartlesville; and Reps. Mark Lepak, R-Clare­more, and John Ben­nett, R-Sal­li­saw.

New cen­sus data showed an

Low dough:

uptick in Ok­la­homa's poverty rate in 2016, ac­cord­ing to an anal­y­sis by the Ok­la­homa Pol­icy In­sti­tute. The state also con­tin­ued to see a far higher per­cent­age of its pop­u­la­tion with­out health in­sur­ance.

Ok­la­homa's poverty rate moved from 16.1 per­cent in 2015 to 16.3 per­cent in 2016, the re­port said, while the na­tional rate dropped from 14.7 to 14 per­cent. When an­tipoverty mea­sures such as food stamps are in­cluded, Ok­la­homa's poverty rate is just un­der 13 per­cent.

About 14 per­cent of Ok­la­homans do not have health in­sur­ance, un­changed from a year ago but sig­nif­i­cantly lower than in 2008, while na­tion­ally the fig­ure is 8.6 per­cent.

Ac­cord­ing to Gov­ern­ing, only Texas has a higher unin­sured rate than Ok­la­homa.

Work­ers comp:

The Ok­la­homa In­sur­ance Depart­ment re­ported loss costs for the state's work­ers com­pen­sa­tion in­sur­ers will de­crease 16.3 per­cent in 2018. That means the amount in­sur­ers are pay­ing out for claims by in­jured work­ers is de­clin­ing, and trans­lates to lower rates for em­ploy­ers.

The OID says this is the fifth straight year Ok­la­homa loss costs have de­clined.

In­sur­ance Com­mis­sioner John Doak, busi­ness in­ter­ests and many law­mak­ers at­tribute the drop to work­ers comp re­forms en­acted in re­cent years.

De­trac­tors say the de­crease sim­ply re­flects lower pay­ments and fewer ben­e­fits for in­jured work­ers.

Oba­macare:

Doak has or­dered Af­ford­able Care Act “nav­i­ga­tors” in the state to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion about how many peo­ple they've ac­tu­ally helped buy health in­sur­ance on the ACA ex­changes.

Doak has long as­sailed the nav­i­ga­tors be­cause they are not li­censed in­sur­ance agents. In an ap­pear­ance be­fore Congress last week, Doak called for nav­i­ga­tors to be elim­i­nated.

Some of his col­leagues from other states, how­ever, dis­agreed, say­ing nav­i­ga­tors al­low med­i­cal providers in re­mote ar­eas to help pa­tients find med­i­cal in­sur­ance.

Doak said some nav­i­ga­tors have re­ceived fed­eral grants but signed up very few clients.

“This kind of waste and abuse con­firms a fear I've had from the very be­gin­ning of the Oba­macare de­ba­cle,” he said.

Can­di­dates and elec­tions:

Repub­li­can gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­date Dan Fisher told sup­port­ers in an email that as gov­er­nor he “will to­tally abol­ish hu­man abor­tion.”

Meet­ings and events:

A Tulsa County Repub­li­can Party Com­mit­tee meet­ing for precinct chairs and co-chairs will be held at 7 p.m. Thurs­day at Spir­itLife Church, 5345 S. Peo­ria Ave.

Ok­la­homa Ob­server pub­lisher Arnold Hamil­ton will speak to the Creek County Demo­cratic Party at 6 p.m. Thurs­day at the Bris­tow Com­mu­nity Cen­ter, 417 N. Ch­est­nut, Bris­tow.

State Reps. Lewis Moore, R-Ar­ca­dia, and Bobby Cleve­land, R-Slaugh­ter­ville, say they want a “line-by-line” re­view of state spend­ing dur­ing the up­com­ing spe­cial ses­sion ... Tulsa County plans to take bids soon on 23 acres at the south­west corner of 66th Street North and Lewis Av­enue, across the street from O'Brien Park ... The Of­fice of Man­age­ment and En­ter­prise Ser­vices is so­lic­it­ing pro­pos­als for re­de­vel­op­ing the WPA-era Na­tional Guard Ar­mory in the state Capi­tol com­plex. The build­ing has been used as a ware­house since 2010 ... Delaware County Com­mis­sioner Doug Smith an­nounced his re­tire­ment ef­fec­tive Dec. 15.

One-lin­ers:

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