2nd Nov 2020
State Questions in Oklahoma are often hard. Hard to read in a ballot box. And often addressing hard problems. I am no expert. But I often get asked about them. Here is a bit of history I thought was interesting on this one. Perhaps this will help others in starting their own research.
Yes or No
In a sentence: Do Oklahoma Voters want to decrease the amount of funds going into the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust Fund (TSET)? Yes decreases. No leaves it the same.
The current split is basically 75% to TSET and 25% to the legislature. A no vote leaves this in place. The proposal is 75% to the legislature and 25% to TSET. A yes vote makes this change in percentages.
Why make changes? Basically to fund the Medicaid expansion, which was another recent State Question. So a look at some history beyond the present State Question is necessary.
Master Settlement Agreement
In the 1990s many US states sued Big Tobacco. In 1998 there was an agreement between most states and Big Tobacco called the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA). States receive annual payments from tobacco sales.
State Question 692
In 2000 Oklahoma voters approved another State Question (692), which set up TSET and the current fund setup: 75% to TSET and 25% to the legislature.
Then State Question 802
Earlier this year, Oklahoma voters approved another State Question (802) which expanded the Medicaid program in Oklahoma under the Affordable Care Act.
Now State Question 814
The Oklahoma legislature voted to put the current State Question (814) up for vote this November. It basically amends the prior State Question (692) which set up TSET and its funding percentages. It is basically to fund the prior State Question (802) which expands Medicaid coverage. All three of these State Questions amend the Oklahoma Constitution.
This is obviously a quick and basic summary of the history of current State Question – without any discussion of the underlying policies and politics (which this blog tries to stay away from generally).