The legislative session in Oklahoma begins on February 4. To prepare citizens for activism in this session a group of activists in Oklahoma have scheduled twelve rallies across the state to educate people about how the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) can still be fought in the state.
There are several avenues that are being explored. Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has filed a federal lawsuit that argues that IRS rules which tax businesses who opt out of the ACA in Oklahoma even though the letter of the law does not levy this tax. This is taxation without representation and has the potential to overturn mandates for coverage in the law.
The rallies in January are to educate voters about another option that is open to our state: nullification. Nullification of Obamacare (HB1021) was modified and then passed the state house last year and now sits as an active bill in the state senate. It is currently assigned to the Senate Appropriations Committee being denied a vote by the Chairman, Senator Clark Jolley (R-Edmond). An object of the rallies will be to put pressure on Senate Floor Leader, Senator Schulz to re-assign this bill to another committee where it can get a fair vote and get the original language with penalties put back in, not the weakened version. The original language would have made it a felony for federal agents to attempt to enforce the law and a misdemeanor for state agents to enforce the law punishable by a fine and prison time. The bill as it reads now states that the state of Oklahoma declares it null and void but has no teeth.
There is a draft bill authored by Representative Lewis Moore that has several important and key provisions including a state income tax credit for those who have to pay the Obamacare penalties. While a funding source for this tax credit is not required, it would complete the package. It will need to be a part of a different bill under and different title within the statutes. This is being worked on by several state legislators.
The rallies will culminate on Tuesday, February 4 at noon at the state capitol. Citizens will gather at the rotunda on the first floor of the capital building. After a brief discussion on the status of the legislation, select speakers, and time to get organized visits will be paid to all the state legislators in teams. After that citizens will sit in the balconies of both chambers.
For more information on the dates and times of the rallies across the state, go to Stop Obamacare Penalties Now and click on rallies. There is also a link for donations.