Oklahoma’s Republican Senate Majority Leader and his fellow GOP legislators are gutting law enforcement agencies by refusing to deal immediately with dangerous levels of budget cuts – cuts that are beginning to endanger public safety, one of the state’s leading law enforcement advocates said today.
“Today, Republican legislative leaders like Sen. Todd Lamb are sitting at home in their easy chairs, getting ready for Christmas, collecting their state pay checks while men and women in law enforcement face being furloughed; while prisons are on the verge of being forced to release convicts early; and while prosecutors soon may not be able to bring criminals to justice because of the state’s financial collapse,” Sen. Kenneth Corn said.
“For Todd Lamb or any Republican to claim today that they are supporting law enforcement is a joke. They are doing nothing while problems mount daily for lawmen at every level in Oklahoma.”
The Poteau Democrat was reacting to media statements made Monday by Lamb, R-Edmond, about Democratic support for the death penalty. Oklahoma City Democratic Senator Connie Johnson is preparing to file legislation next year to repeal the death penalty. Johnson has attempted to repeal the death penalty several times in the past and has failed. Corn will oppose her effort.
“If Todd Lamb is so concerned about law enforcement, he can still sign my petition to call the legislature into an immediate special session to deal with public safety budget cuts,” he said.
“I support the death penalty,” Sen. Corn added. “The death penalty exists because it was passed into law by Oklahoma Democrats. Oklahoma Democrats believe in justice, punishment for criminals and the enforcement of the death penalty. There is absolutely no chance the death penalty will ever be repealed in Oklahoma. Democratic legislators will never let that happen. If Todd Lamb doesn’t realize that then he isn’t very smart.”
Corn pointed out that it was Democrats who ensured the death penalty could not be overturned in the courts. And, it was Democrats who recently tried to broaden the death penalty so that it covers criminals such as child molesters.
“It has been Oklahoma Democratic legislators and Oklahoma Democratic district attorneys who have historically been the staunchest supporters of the death penalty,” he said.
Corn is considered an expert on public safety and law enforcement issues in Oklahoma. He has been recognized and honored repeatedly by law enforcement groups for his tough stance against crime and his support for public safety issues.
He was the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety and Judiciary for several years. Corn also served on the senate’s Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. In those roles, he worked closely with law enforcement leaders to set staffing levels, secure funding for law enforcement budgets and to strengthen Oklahoma’s criminal laws.