Iran, impeachment hot topics at Yukon Legislative Breakfast

Meanwhile, state lawmakers prepare for new session

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State legislators and U.S. field representatives update the audience on current events during Tuesday morning’s Yukon Legislative Breakfast inside the Yukon Police Department community meeting room. (Photo by Carol Mowdy Bond)

By Carol Mowdy Bond

Contributing Writer

The killing of Iran’s military leader and impeachment of President Donald Trump were among topics covered at Tuesday’s Yukon Legislative Breakfast.

The Yukon Chamber of Commerce presented the monthly breakfast Jan. 7 inside the Yukon Police Department community room, 100 S Ranchwood.

U.S. Sen. James Inhofe’s field representative Bryson Panas said most of what has been released through media about the impeachment process and Iran is current.

Panas said that Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s Quds military force killed Jan. 3 by U.S. forces, had been a clear adversary of the U.S. and killed hundreds of Americans. Within the past few weeks, an American contractor in Iran was killed.

About the impeachment of President Trump, Panas said, “We do not know in the Senate when impeachment (trial) will be. Now it’s being held by U.S. Speaker Nancy Pelosi. There are not a lot of hard facts regarding impeachment. We are watching it.”

Panas said U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley R-MO, introduced a bill that would dismiss the impeachment if Pelosi continues to delay sending the articles of impeachment to the senate for trial.

Panas also gave an overview on several subjects.

Since President Trump’s election, 174 judges have been confirmed including 50 circuit court judges. One quarter of all judges will be Trump appointees. Trump’s circuit judges are deciding major cases, leaving a legacy and impacting important policy.

The U.S. southern border is roughly 2,000 miles long, but only 1,000 miles need a wall. About 509 miles of border wall system have been funded, with 83 miles completed. Some 153 miles are under construction, and 273 miles are in pre-construction phases.

The National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2020 authorizes growing topline for national defense with the largest troop pay raise in a decade of 3.1%, gives 4.1 million more vets access to commissaries, will support the Altus and Tinker bases ensuring they have long lives, fully funds nuclear modernization, creates a sixth branch of the military – The Space Force.

STATE LEGISLATOR REPORTS

District 60 State Rep. Rhonda Baker, R-Yukon, said due to construction issues, legislators have been unable to access their offices, but will be able to move in starting this week. Joint budget hearings start this week and can be heard on-line.

Education always needs more money, according to Baker. Governor Stitt wants to track money coming to Oklahoma from the Veterans Administration including that used to send soldiers to school. He has several education “shell” bills but does not have the language yet.

District 41 State Rep. Denise Crosswhite Hader, R-Yukon, said the capitol construction situation is still a mess.

This session she is addressing land abandonment issues so that taxpayers not responsible for the abandoned land do not have to pay for mowing the land.

Crosswhite-Hader also is addressing the issue of travelers in hotels who do not know what to do when there are tornadoes. She is addressing a firearms issue that is causing problems.

State Senator Stephanie Bice, R-Yukon, said the initial bill filing deadline was in December. The final deadline for language in bills is next week. Then bills will go through a process and be assigned to committees.

“We have less than two weeks from filing deadlines until beginning of session,” Bice said.

The governor’s State of the State Address is the first Monday of February, which is also the first day of next legislative session. Sen. Bice said she has several new bills including one that clarifies for law enforcement and district attorneys about possession with intent to distribute.

JUVENILE ENTER CONSTRUCTION

District 3 Canadian County Commissioner Jack Stewart said construction is moving along well for the juvenile center.

Although Oklahoma City is Canadian County’s largest city, Stewart said they’ve been reluctant to take responsibility for their streets in the county.

But they’ve been turning around, and have fully repaved a section of Reno Avenue, S Richland Road and others.

The Route 66 Centennial will be in the next few years, Stewart added.

OTHER UPDATES

  • Yukon City Manager Jim Crosby announced the Jan. 25 opening of the new animal control facility. An open house will be 1-4 p.m. so the public may tour the facility. Phase one of the State Highway 4 widening project will probably begin construction soon, with phase two beginning acquisition of right of way.
  • Yukon Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Jason Simeroth said construction is going well on Redstone Intermediate School being built at Britton Road and Mustang Road. The new school is due to open for the 2020-21 school year.
  • Canadian Valley Tech Center Superintendent Dr. Gayla Lutts reported the rapid response activities to assist Halliburton employees who lost jobs in December went well. About 150 people attended and employers hired over 40 people.
  • Yukon Chamber of Commerce CEO Pam Shelton said the Chamber’s Gala will be Friday, Jan. 31 at the Palace Event Center, 2310 N Banner Road. The Chamber is selling 100 “golden tickets.” From those tickets sold, one will be drawn, and that person has the option to choose anything he/she wants from the auction items.
  • Ward 1 Yukon City Council Member Rick Cacini, president/curator of the Yukon Veterans Museum, announced a memorial ceremony for three Oklahoma sailors will be 2 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14 at the Dale Robertson Center. The sailors perished during World War II with the submarine U.S.S. Grayback went down.