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Political notebook: Despite election defeat, Oklahomans want Trump to remain part of Republican Party
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Political notebook: Despite election defeat, Oklahomans want Trump to remain part of Republican Party

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Trump country: Three-fourths of Oklahoma Republicans want former President Donald Trump to remain prominent in the party, and 80% said they would at least consider voting for him in 2024, according to polling by the Oklahoma City firm CHS.

CHS, which does campaign work for Republican candidates, said Trump was regarded favorably by 55% of all respondents.

Trump's successor, Democrat Joe Biden, was rated favorably by only 35% of respondents.

Lab boost: Third District Congressman Frank Lucas put in a plug for Gov. Kevin Stitt's decision to put the state's new Oklahoma Pandemic Center for Innovation and Excellence in Stillwater instead of the health sciences complex in Oklahoma City.

“The Oklahoma Pandemic Center for Innovation and Excellence will position Oklahoma to be a nationwide leader at the intersection of agriculture, animal and human medicine, food safety, public health testing and preparedness,” Lucas said in a written statement.

Stillwater is in Lucas' district.

Not so fast: Ten Republican state senators asked Gov. Kevin Stitt to "rethink" his push to privatize management of Oklahoma's Medicaid program.

“My district is on the border between Oklahoma and Texas, so I have constituents with experience working with managed care in Texas, and none of the people I’ve spoken to who’ve had to deal with managed care systems believe it’s good for patients or the healthcare system,” state Sen. George Burns, R-Pollard, said in a letter to Stitt.

“Based on my conversations, they aren’t sure who it’s good for other than the out-of-state insurance companies and their stockholders.”

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority, which administers the state's Medicare program, is scheduled to vote this week to transition from the current system to one in which a third party is paid a flat amount per patient per year.

Proponents of such managed care arrangements say they save money, but others say they provide less quality at higher cost.

Bills, bills, bills: Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Edmond, and House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, each filed legislation to reauthorize virtual meetings under the state's Open Meetings Act. .... Several lawmakers propose changing Oklahoma elections so that no contested office would be decided in a primary, even if it results in the general election matching two candidates from the same party. ... Southwest Oklahoma lawmakers are fighting to repurpose and keep open the juvenile center for boys at Manitou. ... Sen. David Bullard, R-Durant, filed a proposed constitutional amendment to give unborn fetuses the same legal standing as children and adults. Previous efforts in a similar vein have been ruled out by the courts. ... Bullard also has a bill to prevent students from being unduly influenced by "socialist" teachers and text books.

Filing period: Filing for municipal offices in Bixby, Broken Arrow, Glenpool, Jenks, Skiatook and Sperry is Monday through Wednesday at the Tulsa County Election Board offices, 555 N. Denver Ave.

Elections will be April 6.

Meetings and events: The six largest appropriated state agencies are scheduled for pre-session reviews with the House Appropriations and Budget Committee this week, beginning with the Department of Education at 9:30 a.m. Monday.

Hearing schedules and live-streaming of the meetings can be found at okhouse.gov.

•The final virtual meeting on legislative redistricting is set for 6 p.m., Monday. It can be accessed at https://www.okhouse.gov/Publications/VirtualMeets.aspx.

Bottom lines: American Federation for Children, former U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos' school-choice organization, praised Stitt for his use of COVID relief funds for private school tuition grants.

— Randy Krehbiel, Tulsa World

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