Articles Posted in Oklahoma Supreme Court

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On January 27, 2016, the proponents of Initiative Petition No. 404, State Question 780 and Initiative Petition No. 405, State Question 781 (collectively Petitioners), filed both petitions and their ballot titles with the Secretary of State. The Petitioners assert both rewritten ballot titles misrepresent the effect of the measures and are contrary to Oklahoma law. Initiative 404 sought to amend statutes to reform criminal sentences for certain property and drug offenses, making certain ones misdemeanors, such as simple drug possession. Initiative 405 sought to create the "County Community Safety Investment Fund," taking costs saved by reclassifying misdemeanors and redistributing them to the counties to fund rehabilitative programs. The Oklahoma Supreme Court found the proposed and rewritten ballot titles deficient, and rewrote the ballot titles pursuant to 34 O.S. Supp. 2015, 10. View "Steele v. Pruitt" on Justia Law

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In 2015, Respondents-Proponents Shawn Sheehan, Linda Reid, and Melvin Moran filed Initiative Petition No. 403 (State Question No. 779), with the Oklahoma Secretary of State. The petition sought to amend the Oklahoma Constitution by adding a new Article 13-C, creating the Oklahoma Education Improvement Fund. Funds generated by the one-cent tax would be distributed to public school districts, higher education institutions, career and technology centers, and early childhood education providers for certain educational purposes outlined in the proposed article. Petitioners filed suit to challenge the gist of the measure post-circulation and the sufficiency of the Attorney General's rewritten ballot title. After review of the matter, the Oklahoma Supreme Court held the time for challenging the gist of a measure had expired, and found that the Attorney General's rewritten ballot title was deficient. "We agree that the ballot title is misleading if it does not mention the Board of Equalization's role in limiting appropriations. In addition, the ballot title should refrain from partiality and should clarify the amount of the sales and use tax as well as its allocation." Pursuant to 34 O.S. Supp. 2015, sec. 10 (A)6 , the Court corrected and amended the ballot title. View "OCPA Impact, Inc v. Sheehan" on Justia Law

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At issue before the Oklahoma Supreme Court in this case was a challenge to the legal sufficiency of Initiative Petition No. 409. Respondents-proponents Retail Liquor Association of Oklahoma and Bryan Kerr filed Initiative Petition No. 409 with the Oklahoma Secretary of State, seeking to amend the Oklahoma Constitution by repealing Article 28 and adopting Article 28A. Article 28A as proposed, would have allowed wine to be sold in grocery stores. Also under the proposed article, retail package stores could sell any and all items that were sold in convenience stores and grocery stores. Small brewers could sell their products at a brewery or festival or trade show and could sell alcoholic beverages by the drink at a restaurant co-located on the premises of the brewery. Petitioners-opponents Oklahoma Grocers Association and Ron Edgmon filed an Application to Assume Original Jurisdiction with the Supreme Court to protest: (1) the constitutionality of the petition; and (2) the statutory sufficiency of the gist of the petition. Upon review, the Supreme Court held that the gist of the petition did not fairly describe the proposed constitutional amendment and was invalid. View "In re Initiative Petition No. 409, State Question No. 785" on Justia Law

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Initiative Petition No. 403 sought to amend the Oklahoma Constitution by adding a new Article 13-C. The proposed article would create the Oklahoma Education Improvement Fund, designed to provide for the improvement of public education in Oklahoma through an additional one-cent sales and use tax. Funds generated by the one-cent tax would be distributed to public school districts, higher education institutions, career and technology centers, and early childhood education providers for certain educational purposes outlined in the proposed article. Additionally, a percentage of the funds would be used to provide a $5,000.00 pay raise to all public school teachers. Opponents challenged the initiative, arguing it violated the one general subject rule of Art. 24, sec. 1 of the Oklahoma Constitution. Upon review, the Supreme Court held that Initiative Petition No. 403 did not violate the one general subject rule and was legally sufficient for submission to the people of Oklahoma. View "IN RE INITIATIVE PETITION NO. 403 STATE QUESTION NO. 779" on Justia Law

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Senator Jim Wilson filed suit in an attempt to have the State Senate Redistricting Act of 2011 declared invalid after the Supreme Court rejected his attempt to have the Act declared unconstitutional. In an earlier case, the Senator attached the Act as invalid because it "failed to create Senate districts which as nearly as possible preserve[d] the factors of 'compactness, political units, historical precedents, economic and political interests.'" In his petition in this case, he made "verbatim the same allegations as he did in [his earlier case]." Upon review, the Supreme Court found that the district court properly dismissed Senator Wilson's petition because he failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted and because his claim was barred by the doctrine of claim preclusion having been adjudicated against him in "Wilson I." The Court affirmed the district court's dismissal. View "Wilson v. Oklahoma ex rel. State Election Board" on Justia Law

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Petitioner State Senator Jim Wilson sought review of the State Senate Redistricting Act of 2011, pursuant to Section 11C, Article V of the Oklahoma Constitution. Petitioner alleged the Act does not comply with the apportionment formula in Section 9A, Article V of the Oklahoma Constitution. Specifically, Petitioner alleged the Act does not pass constitutional muster because it "fails to create Senate districts which as nearly as possible provide for compactness, political units, historical precedents, economic and political interests." Senator Wilson did not explicitly identify every district in the Redistricting Act that he contended was not in compliance with Section 9A but claimed that he identified such districts by the maps provided in the appendix of his petition. Upon review of the arguments submitted by the parties, the Supreme Court found that Petitioner failed to show that the State Senate Redistricting Act of 2011 does not comply with the provisions of Section 9A of the Oklahoma Constitution. View "Wilson v. Fallin" on Justia Law