Oklahoma Governor Candidate, Gary Richardson has announced his determination to file a constitutional lawsuit against the actions of the legislative leaders. Richardson says the suit deals specifically with House bills 1449, 2348 and 2433.
When asked if others have offered to join this effort, Richardson said that the Author of SQ640, Stan Ward, is joining the effort. He says he will have more to announce after the filings are completed. But he insists the support is growing, and will take on new momentum now that he has taken the leadership role in the effort.
Richardson says all three laws violate the Oklahoma Constitution.
The constitution was violated numerous ways:
SQ640 was ratified in 1992, by Oklahoma voters, to reign in the abuses of the legislature in creating new taxes & fees to pay for undisciplined state spending. The author of that constitutional amendment was attorney Stan Ward.
Today, Stan Ward has committed to joining Richardson in that lawsuit. His advocacy will demonstrate that there is no ambiguity in the author's original intent. He plans to make that case and seek relief for all Oklahomans by insisting that the Oklahoma Supreme Court declare a cease & desist on the state so that the citizens are not unconstitutionally harmed.
Here is the Richardson press release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Richardson to Challenge Tax Hikes in Supreme Court
Tulsa, OK, June 22, 2017– Gary Richardson held a press conference at the Tulsa Press Club today at 3 p.m. to announce his plan to file a lawsuit in the Oklahoma Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of House Bills 1449, 2348, and 2433.
House Bill 1449 creates the “Motor Fuel Tax Fee” which charges a fee to owners of electric and compressed natural gas vehicles in order to make up for the fact that they don’t pay the motor fuel tax; House Bill 2348 effectively raises taxes on the millions of Oklahomans who take the standard deduction when filing their tax returns by uncoupling the state deduction rate from the federal rate; and House Bill 2433 adds a new 1.25% sales tax on motor vehicle sales on top on the existing excise tax already charged on car sales. All three of these laws were enacted in violation of Article 5, Section 33 of the Oklahoma Constitution which was enacted by State Question 640 in 1992.
"Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. I’m here today to talk about the recent “tax increases” that were passed by our legislators.
Our state constitution reads in Article 5, that “the people reserve to themselves the power to propose laws and amendments to the Constitution and to enact or reject the laws and amendments at the polls, independent of the legislature.”
In 1907, when writing our State Constitution, our state founding fathers held that the will of the people is “sacred”. They made clear that the legislature only has the legislative powers expressly delegated to it and that all other legislative power is vested in the people exercised by the initiative and referendum processes. It was this holding and right to the use of an “initiative petition” that Norman, Oklahoma attorney Stan Ward headed a citizen’s group to gather enough signatures to put State Question 640, in 1992, to the vote of the people that amended Article 5 of our State Constitution requiring all “revenue increases” to have at least 3/4ths majority of the legislators to pass a tax or to be voted on by the people, that the bill was to originate in the State House, and not to be voted on in the last 5 days of the session.
This past legislative session, our leaders violated Article 5, Section 33 of our State Constitution when they passed House Bills 1449, 2348 and 2433.
In order to attempt to make up for the fact that owners of electric vehicles and compressed natural gas vehicles don’t pay the motor fuel tax, our state legislators passed House Bill 1449, attempting to create a “motor fuel tax fee”. The authors of the bill knew this wasn’t a fee because they put “tax” in the name of their fee! House bill 1449 failed to get the 3/4ths majority needed to pass legislation that raises revenue in both the state house and senate and it was voted on in the last five days of session, both of which violate Article 5, Section 33 of the Constitution.
House Bill 2348 enacted by our state leaders raised taxes on the 70% of Oklahomans who take the standard deduction when filing their tax returns by freezing the state deduction rate, which normally is increased every year to match the federal rate. Again, this bill didn’t get the 3/4th votes needed in the State House which violates Article 5, Section 33.
HB 2433 is an effort by our legislators to add a new sales tax of 1.25% tax on motor vehicle purchase. This, on top of the existing excise tax already charged on car purchases. This bill, if left unchallenged, would take close to $125 million from Oklahomans purchasing vehicles. Again, the bill didn’t receive three fourths majority in either the State House or Senate, it was voted on in the last five days of session, and they added an emergency clause to the bill, all in violation of Article 5, Section 33 of our Oklahoma Constitution.
Folks, when our Legislators and Governor willfully disregard our State Constitution, it’s up to the people of our state to take a stand, which is why I am standing here today, for the citizens of our state.
Since 1981, I have been standing as a warrior for the citizens of our state. First as a United States Attorney, appointed by President Reagan and then in the private practice of law. I can think of no better way, at this time, to continue the fight than by challenging the constitutionality of these new taxes that are clearly in violation of Article 5, Section 33 of our State Constitution.
This is why I will be filing a law suit in the next few days, on behalf of the citizens of Oklahoma, asking the courts of Oklahoma to invalidate House Bills 1449, 2348 and 2433. I have hired Norman, OK lawyer Stan Ward, again, the author of Article 5 Section 33, to be my attorney of record in this constitutional challenge.
We are a nation of laws and when our lawmakers refuse to follow our Constitution, then we the people must rise up and ask the courts to defend our Constitution. It’s not "We the Legislators," it’s "We the People!"."
Click here for audio of the press conference
Click here for a high res photo of Gary Richardson
Opinion of the Editor
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David Van Risseghem is the Director of Sooner Politics.org. The resource is committed to informing & mobilizing conservative Oklahomans for civic reform. This endeavor seeks to utilize the efforts of all cooperative facets of the Conservative movement...