Five state questions to go before voters
Oklahoma voters will see five state questions on Tuesday’s ballot.
• State Question 793 would allow large retailers such as Walmart to offer optometry services in their stores. Supporters say it would give consumers better access to those services. Opponents say it would give large corporations total control over the doctors operating in their stores, including barring them from providing services that aren’t profitable.
• State Question 794, commonly known as Marsy’s Law, would enshrine certain victims’ rights in the Oklahoma Constitution. It would give victims the right to speak to a prosecutor, expand the court proceedings in which victims have a right to be heard, allow the victim to refuse interview requests from defense attorneys without a subpoena and add rights to reasonable protection and proceedings free from unreasonable delay. Supporters say the law would restore balance and fairness to the criminal justice system. Opponents say it would undermine due process and widen alreadyexisting inequities in the criminal justice system.
• State Question 798 would change the system Oklahoma uses for electing governors and lieutenant governors. Rather than electing candidates for those offices separately, as voters have since statehood, voters would instead select joint tickets that include a gubernatorial candidate and a running mate, similar to presidential elections. The Oklahoma Legislature would determine the process for selecting lieutenant governor candidates. Supporterssay it would encourage a stronger partnership between the governor and lieutenant governor. Opponents say, depending on how running mates are selected, it could limit opportunities for women, minorities and candidates from rural Oklahoma.
• State Question 800 would divert 5 percent of gross production tax collections to a new state budget reserve fund called the Oklahoma Vision Fund beginning July 1, 2020. The percentage of funds diverted would increase by .2 percent each year, with no cap on the ultimate percentage that would be diverted. That money would create an endowment that would be expected to grow over the years. Supporters say the measure would help smooth out the state’s boom-and-bust budget cycles. Opponents say it could erode millions of dollars for state services, including education.
• State Question 801 would amend the Oklahoma Constitution to allow local school districts to useproperty tax dollars on teacher pay and other operational costs. Under current law, districts may only use that money for maintenance, repair operations, upkeep and construction of district facilities and grounds. Supporters say the measure would allow cash-strapped districts more flexibility in how they use their money. Opponents say it would increase inequities in public education, since more affluent districts would have more options than districts in poorer areas.