Reminder - Oklahoma Ethics Commission Reporting Requirements

Attention: Clubs With an Ethics Reporting #:

Due no later than Tuesday, February 1, 2011 (5:00 p.m. for mailed & hand-delivered reports; midnight for FAX or web-based reports)

Quarterly C1-R or C-3R reports are due for the reporting period ending 12/31/2010 (10/19/2010 thru 12/31/2010).
Updated SO-2 (Statement of Organization)
$50.00 Renewal Registration Fee
***The Oklahoma Ethics Commission is diligent; file timely and avoid late filing fees. ***

Late Filings - $10.00 per day up to a maximum of $100.00

It is better to file on time and amend / update your report later than to miss the filing deadline.

A committee which does not intend to exceed $500 in either contributions or expenditures supporting or opposing candidates or political parties during a calendar year may check the “ does not intend” box on the annual statement of organization (SO-2), and no campaign reports w ill be required for that calendar year.

Attention: Clubs Without an Oklahoma Ethics Reporting #:

If your club accepts or spends more than $500 annually to support or oppose state candidates or ballot measures, you are required by law to register with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission and report.
Those that receive or expend $500 or less annually have no registration or reporting obligations under the rules.
 

Please do not hesitate to call me or email me, if you have questions or need compliance assistance.

Also, I would appreciate you sending me an email to let me know what your expectations are for financial reporting, reporting compliance, etc. at our upcoming convention.

treasurer@ofdw.org

In Unity, 
 

Jana

Jana Lewis Harkins, Treasurer

Oklahoma Federation of Democratic Women

 


Posted on 18 Jan 2011, 23:38 - Category: OFDW


The Benefits of Health Reform In Oklahoma

Key Benefits for Oklahoma


  • Provide tax credits for up to 54,428 Oklahoma small businesses to help make coverage more affordable. [Internal Revenue Service, 4/19/10]
  • Prohibit insurance companies from excluding coverage of pre-existing conditions for the 918,849 children in Oklahoma, starting this year. [U.S. Census Bureau, 1/7/10]
  • Close the „donut hole‟ and improve other Medicare benefits for 575,000 Oklahoma seniors. [HealthReform.gov, accessed 6/15/10]
  • Reduce Medicare premiums for the 495,000 Oklahoma seniors who are not enrolled in Medicare Advantage and will no longer subsidize these private insurance plans. [Senate Finance Committee]
  • Reduce health care costs for as many as 25,800 retirees in Oklahoma who have health insurance through their former employer and are not yet eligible for Medicare. [WhiteHouse.gov, accessed 6/15/10]
  • Ensure affordable coverage options for 639,000 Oklahomans who are uninsured and 142,000 Oklahomans who purchase health insurance through the individual market. [HealthReform.gov, accessed 6/15/10]

o Ensure immediate access to affordable insurance options for as many as 86,641 uninsured Oklahomans who have a pre-existing condition. [staff estimate using Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), 4/09 and HealthReform.gov, accessed 3/20/10] Starting July 1, 2010, approximately $60 million will be available to operate this program in Oklahoma. [Department of Health and Human Services, accessed 6/15/10]

o Provide tax credits for up to 319,000 Oklahomans to help make health insurance more affordable, bringing $5.2 billion in premium and cost-sharing tax credits into Oklahoma during the first five years the health insurance Exchange operates. [HealthReform.gov, accessed 6/15/10; Senate Finance Committee]
 

o Reduce family health insurance premiums by $1,710 - $2,440 for the same benefits, as compared to what they would be without health reform by 2016. [Senate Finance Committee estimate based on CBO, 11/30/09]
 

o Provide access to Medicaid for 331,935 newly-eligible Oklahomans, and provide $11.7 billion in federal funding for the cost of their coverage. [Urban Institute, 1/25/10; Senate Finance Committee]

  • Allow as many as 374,412 young adults aged 19 to 25 to stay on their parents‟ insurance plans. [U.S. Census Bureau, 1/7/10] The Administration estimates this change will help approximately 14,500 young adults in Oklahoma who could now have health insurance coverage through their parents if not for their age. [WhiteHouse.gov, accessed 6/7/10]
  • Create 2,800 - 4,500 jobs by reducing health care costs for employers. [U.S. Public Interest Research Group, 1/20/10]
  • Provide more federal funding for 45 Community Health Centers in Oklahoma. [National Association of Community Health Centers, 2009]

Affordable Coverage Options for Oklahoma Small Businesses

Small businesses make up 75 percent of all Oklahoma businesses, yet just 36.3 percent of these small businesses are able to offer health insurance to their employees. [AHRQ, accessed 3/20/10; AHRQ, accessed 3/20/10] Starting this year, up to 54,428 Oklahoma small businesses will be eligible for tax credits for a percentage of their contribution to their employees‟ health insurance. [Internal Revenue Service, 4/19/10] Small businesses of the size that qualify for these tax credits employ 205,316 Oklahomans. [AHRQ, accessed 3/20/10]
 

Protecting Children

Recognizing the special vulnerability of children, health reform prohibits insurance companies from excluding coverage of pre-existing conditions for the 918,849 children under age 18 in Oklahoma. [U.S. Census Bureau, 1/7/10] This takes effect for plan or policy years beginning on or after September 23, 2010, and applies to all new plans.
 

Strengthening Medicare for Oklahoma Seniors

Health reform improves Medicare benefits for the 575,000 Medicare beneficiaries in Oklahoma. [HealthReform.gov, accessed 3/20/10] Last year, approximately 102,000 Oklahoma seniors hit the Medicare Part D „donut hole,‟ and about 49,100 of these seniors received no extra help to offset the cost of their prescription drugs. [HealthReform.gov, accessed 3/20/10; WhiteHouse.gov, accessed 6/7/10] Starting this year, as many as 49,100 seniors in Oklahoma who don‟t receive Medicare Extra Help and who hit this gap in their prescription drug coverage will receive a $250 check, and the „donut hole‟ will be completely closed by 2020. Seniors do not need to do anything in order to receive their rebate check, which some seniors who already hit the donut hole received in mid-June. These checks will be mailed monthly to seniors who reach the “donut hole” later in the year. The 575,000 Medicare beneficiaries in Oklahoma will see other improvements to the program, including a free, annual wellness visit and no cost-sharing for prevention services. Finally, by gradually moving to a more fair payment system for private insurance companies who participate in Medicare Advantage, health reform will lower Medicare costs for the 495,000 Oklahoma seniors not enrolled in Medicare Advantage, by as much as $45 in premium costs each year. [Senate Finance Committee]
 

Helping Businesses Help Early Retirees

The health reform law created a $5 billion program to support employer health plans that provide coverage to retirees who are not yet eligible for Medicare, to help protect access to coverage while reducing costs for employers and retirees. As many as 25,800 early retirees in Oklahoma who have health insurance through their former employer could benefit from this program, which will provide financial assistance until 2014, when health insurance Exchanges will make it easier for early retirees to access affordable health insurance. [WhiteHouse.gov, accessed 6/7/10] The Department Health and Human Services (HHS) issued regulations indicating the program started on June 1, 2010, in advance of the June 22, 2010 effective date required by law. [Federal Register, 5/5/10; White House, 5/4/10] A recent survey found that 76 percent of large employers that offer retiree benefits plan to pursue participation in the program, and that the average federal reimbursement for each early retiree will represent between 25 and 35 percent of each early retiree‟s health care costs. [Hewitt Associates, 5/25/10]


Affordable Coverage Options for Oklahomans

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act contain several provisions to expand affordable coverage options for millions of Americans. First, health reform will provide immediate access to quality, affordable health insurance for as many as 86,641 uninsured Oklahomans who are unable to obtain health insurance because of a pre-existing condition. [staff estimate using AHRQ, 4/09 and HealthReform.gov, accessed 3/20/10] Starting July 1, 2010, approximately $60 million will be available to operate this program in Oklahoma. [Department of Health and Human Services, accessed 6/7/10]
Second, health reform will ensure that the 639,000 uninsured Oklahomans and 142,000 Oklahomans who purchase health insurance through the individual market have access to affordable health insurance options through state-based health insurance Exchanges in 2014. [HealthReform.gov, accessed 3/20/10] By reforming the insurance market and forcing insurance companies to compete for business through the Exchange, health reform will reduce family health insurance premiums by $1,710 - $2,440 for the same benefits. [Senate Finance Committee estimate based on CBO, 11/30/09] In addition, 319,000 Oklahomans who purchase health insurance through the Exchange will receive premium tax credits to help make health insurance even more affordable. [HealthReform.gov, accessed 3/20/10] During the first five years that the health insurance Exchange is operational, Oklahomans will receive $5.2 billion in premium and cost-sharing tax credits to further reduce the cost of health insurance. [Senate Finance Committee]
Finally, health reform will open access to Medicaid for 331,935 newly eligible Oklahomans, by expanding eligibility to non-elderly parents, childless adults, children, and pregnant women with income up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level. [Urban Institute, 1/25/10] The federal government will fully fund the cost of covering these newly eligible individuals for three years and will pay 90 percent of these costs after 2020, compared to the current contribution in Oklahoma of 64.4 percent of costs. In total, Oklahoma could receive $11.7 billion in federal funding during just the first five years of this coverage expansion. [Senate Finance Committee]
 

Affordable Coverage Options for Oklahoma Young Adults
 

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, “Young adults often lose their health insurance if covered under a parent‟s or guardian‟s policy at age 19 or upon graduation from high school or college.” [NCSL, accessed 3/20/10] For plan or policy years beginning on or after September 23, 2010, young adults in Oklahoma will be able to remain covered by their parent‟s insurance policy until age 26. Ultimately, the 374,412 young adults aged 19 to 25 in Oklahoma could benefit from this policy, and the Administration estimates it will help approximately 14,500 young adults in Oklahoma who could now have health insurance coverage through their parents if not for their age. [U.S. Census Bureau, 1/7/10; WhiteHouse.gov, accessed 6/7/10] In addition, once the health insurance Exchanges are operational in 2014, 595,060 Oklahomans under age 30 will have access to less costly catastrophic-only health insurance plans. [U.S. Census Bureau, 1/7/10] These plans will also be available to others who are exempt from the individual responsibility policy.
 

Job Creation

A recent analysis found that slowing the growth rate of health care costs will make it more profitable for businesses to expand employment, leading to estimated job gains nationwide of 250,000 – 400,000 per year for the next decade as a result of health reform. [Center for American Progress, 1/10] For Oklahoma, this could mean 2,800 - 4,500 new jobs each year. [U.S. Public Interest Research Group, 1/20/10]
 

Support for Oklahoma Community Health Centers

Community health centers provide critical health care to Oklahomans, regardless of their ability to pay. Health reform makes an immediate and substantial investment in the 45 federally-funded health centers in Oklahoma. [National Association of Community Health Centers, 2009]


Posted on 6 Jan 2011, 21:48 - Category: DPC Senate


A Busy Two Years

As we approach the end of another year and the conclusion of President Obama’s first two years in office, I wanted to take a few moments to look back at all that we have accomplished together.

The past two years have quite simply been the most productive and progressive period of change since the New Deal. From the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ every action President Obama has taken from his first day in office to the present has made America a stronger, safer, more equal and more perfect nation.

The President has fulfilled critical campaign promises, like increasing access to quality, affordable health care and ending combat operations in Iraq. He has met crises head on, fighting to pass the Recovery Act and Wall Street reform in order to repair America’s damaged economy. And he has opened new doors of opportunity for countless Americans by creating jobs and making college more affordable.

Just today, the President signed historic legislation to end the discriminatory ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy which will now allow individuals to serve in the American military regardless of their sexual orientation and the Senate overwhelmingly ratified the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty which President Obama signed with Russia earlier this year.

In a Bloomberg article today, Alan Brinkley, an historian at Columbia University, said the last two years has likely been “the most productive session of Congress since at least the ‘60s” while in a Rolling Stone article earlier this year, Norman Ornstein, a scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, noted that "If you're looking at the first-two-year legislative record you really don't have any rivals since Lyndon Johnson — and that includes Ronald Reagan." Presidential Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin said of President Obama’s accomplishments in his first two years in the same article "When you look at what will last in history, Obama has more notches on the presidential belt.”

While we know that there is so much more left to do get Americans back to work and get our economy back on track, the full sweep of what President Obama and Democrats have accomplished for the nation over the past two years is simply breathtaking. In recognition of all that we have achieved, we have compiled a video highlighting some of the major mile markers along the way. http://my.democrats.org/twoyears

I invite you watch it http://my.democrats.org/twoyears and to reflect on how far we have come, and I wish you and your loved ones a happy holiday season and a wonderful New Year.

Governor Tim Kaine
Chairman
Democratic National Committee
 


Posted on 22 Dec 2010, 18:52 - Category: DNC


Midwest Regional Meeting Report

I don’t know about you but after the results of the November 2, 2010 elections I was ready to get to work on 2012. Many in the Midwest lost ground in the 2010 election cycle. I know in Oklahoma, Democrats lost all of the statewide seats and fell further behind in efforts to regain the State House and Senate. I called Missouri Federation President, Charli Seitz, the night of the election and Missouri was going much the same way. We were ready to get together and talk about what we do and where we go from here, so it was perfect that our Midwest Regional Meeting was set for Saturday, November 20, 2010 in Kansas City, MO.

The Missouri Federation of Women’s Democratic Clubs hosted the 2010 Midwest Regional Meeting in Kansas City, MO at the Hyatt Place KCI and our themes were Women Winning Elections and Diversity in Politics. During the NFDW Convention last June in Knoxville the women of the Midwest Region put together a list of workshops and topics we wanted to have at the meeting and Missouri set the wheels in motion. Midwest Regional Director, Tami Arreguin, called the meeting to order. Women from Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Indiana, and Michigan were present. We were welcomed by Kansas City Council Woman, Deb Hermann, who may soon be the Mayor of Kansas City. Kansas City has a majority of seven women serving on the City Council. Councilor Hermann touched upon her election success and credited her victory to having a network of people and her ability to raise money.

The first guest speaker, MO State Representative Sara Lampe, addressed her experience as a female elected official and what she has seen with recruiting women to run for office. When it comes to family, women have a sense of responsibility that men do not have. It’s also not enough to want to run; you have to have some strengths that will help you win. You have to be able to WOO-Win Others Over. You also need to be connected enough to have a network from which you can raise money. Men have no problem asking other men for money but women write 80% of the checks in the U.S. so they are more aware of money issues. Many women come from a background of divorce, no money, mortgage and children so they will need to have financial support from others to win. Many of those others will be people who wouldn’t ordinarily support them. People will want to get to know you before you make the ask. Money follows ideas so women need to sell the idea of why it is important. Diversity is strength-if we are all alike, we have weaknesses.

Our second speaker was Dr. Julie Warm from the Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She shared theories, facts and statistics with us about women in the U.S. serving in public life. Many of the women running for office these days come from the areas of business and law. Areas of education and social sciences are still untapped. The U.S. is 83rd in the world in women elected to office. After the November, 2010 elections women will represent 15.5% of those elected, down from 17% previously. Studies have shown that when asked in school girls expect to perform more political acts-voting, donating, demonstrating, writing letters-than boys. However, years later the actual performance of political acts is outnumbered by men. Research shows that men feel qualified to run because they believe they are just as good as anyone else, while women believe they should have the credentials and have to be asked to run. Women are also more issue-oriented and get involved because they want to get something done. Some of the theories on why women don’t run are cultural-raising children, social-women are told they cannot do it (gender), structural-women lack the club memberships for politics. At the conclusion of Dr. Warm’s presentation we broke into groups and brainstormed ideas for engaging women of all ages in the political process through our local clubs. Each group then presented their ideas to all of the attendees so that we would have a list of ideas to take back to our states and share with our clubs.

During lunch Regional Director Tami Arreguin spoke to us about effective fundraising methods and its purpose beyond the idea of raising dollars, but also raising awareness and enthusiasm about the campaign. After lunch former Missouri NEA Executive Director, Peggy Cochran lead a workshop on diversity. We discussed stereotypes, bias and prejudice on many levels, race, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, citizenship status, employment status, education status, social status, and even political party. The purpose was to show a greater awareness of some of our own stereotypes and biases, as well as learn ways to respond that builds unity. To go deeper into religion and its place in politics, our last speakers were Reverend Ginger Moore and Melissa Brooks. Each of us was asked to write a prayer we would give publicly if asked to do so. We reviewed different aspects of prayer like to whom we offered the prayer and of what we offered. This served to remind us that even among ourselves we each firmly believe something different about something of which we follow in complete faith, much like John Godfrey Saxe’s, The Blind Men and the Elephant.

This concluded our meetings for the day but many of us continued on with festivities at Kansas City’s Zona Rosa holiday lighting ceremony and then dinner and some shopping. Most of us left with the belief that we received something of value to take back and share with our clubs. The meeting served a very constructive purpose that certainly prepares us to move forward after the 2010 setback. We left with a plan for 2011 that we believe will bring Democratic victory in 2012.

 

Special thanks to Charli Seitz, Cathy Spainhower, and the Missouri Federation of Women’s Democratic Clubs for hosting a wonderful and successful meeting. Also, thanks to Tami Arreguin for her leadership as Director of the Midwest Region.

Christie Breedlove-Oklahoma Federation of Democratic Women


Posted on 21 Dec 2010, 7:41 - Category: MWR


The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010: Win for Women, Mothers and Working Families

The agreement announced by the President not only secures vital tax relief and investments in our workers that will create jobs and accelerate economic growth, it contains specific policies that provide targeted support for working families, particularly women and mothers. Building off the gains made in the Recovery Act, the agreement will extend key provisions including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) that disproportionately benefit women and working families. In summary:

Women represent about 60 percent of the parents benefitting from the EITC and CTC expansions in the agreement. An estimated 12 million women will benefit from the expansion in the EITC and CTC that are extended in this agreement.

One out of every three families gaining from the extension of these credits is headed by a single mother. Families headed by single mothers are among the most economically at risk in our fragile recovery. This extension of the EITC and CTC would direct substantial resources to these families, with an estimated 4 million of the families gaining being headed by single mothers.


Illustrative Example: Working mother with three children making $20,000. This family will:

• Receive a tax cut of more than $2,100 from extending recent expansions in the EITC and Child Tax Credit as part of this agreement.

• Receive a $400 tax cut from the new payroll tax cut.

• Compared to the Republican alternative, this family will receive a total tax benefit of $2,500 next year.


HIGH IMPACT, JOB CREATING TAX CUTS FOR WORKING FAMILIES

Economic studies consistently find that lower-income households are the most likely to spend additional money, creating jobs and helping overall growth. That’s why the Congressional Budget Office has concluded that “policies aimed at lower-income households tend to have greater stimulative effects.”

Beginning in the Recovery Act, the President has demonstrated his commitment to extend benefits and tax cuts to struggling families as the right thing to do for family security and our economy. According to a study released last year by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, seven policies included in the Recovery Act have kept 3.3 million women and girls above the poverty line.


Three of these policies are continued in the current agreement, including Unemployment Insurance, the EITC and the Child Tax Credit.

Not only do these provisions help strengthen the economy by promoting work and putting money into the pockets of working families who eventually put it back into the economy through consumption, they are also effective at improving the health of families. A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research recently found that the expansion of the EITC increased the mental and physical health of low-income mothers with two or more children.

Earned Income Tax Credit

The EITC in the Recovery Act:

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) supplements the wages of low income workers, and especially working mothers, lifting more children out of poverty than any other single program or category of programs.

Under the Recovery Act, the EITC was expanded to reduce the marriage penalty and to create a “third tier” of the EITC for families with three or more children. This means larger families now receive up to $1,040 more than they would have under the old system.

By extending the EITC in the agreement:

• About 6 million women will receive an expanded EITC tax credit. Without this agreement, these women could lose up to $1,040.

• About 1 million families headed by single mothers will receive an expanded EITC tax credit.

Child Tax Credit

The Child Tax Credit in the Recovery Act:

The Child Tax Credit helps low-and moderate-income families with children. The credit allows families to reduce their federal income tax by a certain amount for each qualifying child under the age of 17 in a household. In 2001, the Child Tax Credit was expanded to $1,000 per child, but was unavailable to millions of low income families because the minimum amount of earned income used to calculate the credit was set at about $12,500 in today’s dollars.

In the Recovery Act, the Administration and Congress secured an important expansion in the Child Tax Credit for lower income families by lowering the minimum amount from about $12,500 to $3,000.

By extending the CTC with the $3,000 minimum threshold in the agreement:

• Eight million women and 6 million families headed by a single mother will benefit from a larger CTC.

• For many of these families, extending the minimum threshold in the CTC will result in thousands of dollars in additional tax benefits that would have otherwise been lost. For example:

o A married couple with three children making $23,000 will receive $3,000 in child tax credits compared to about $1,540 if only the 2001/2003 tax cuts were extended – an increase of about $1,460.

o A single mother with two children making $17,000 will receive $2,000 in child tax credits compared to about $640 if only the 2001/2003 tax cuts were extended – an increase of about $1,360.


American Opportunity Tax Credit
 

The American Opportunity Tax Credit in the Recovery Act:

• The Recovery Act expanded the AOTC so that it now provides up to three times more relief than was previously available under the Hope Credit and Lifetime Learning Credit and is refundable for low-income students for the first time.
 

• The AOTC gives working families and students a $2,500 per year partially refundable tax credit to help students and their families cover the cost of college tuition.
 

The American Opportunity Tax Credit in the agreement:

• This deal fully extends AOTC for two years, ensuring that more than 8 million students will continue to receive this tax benefit to help them afford college.
 

Unemployment Insurance

The agreement secures an extension of unemployment insurance for an additional 13 months. Without this extension, 2 million people looking for work would have lost their benefits this month alone, and through the end of next year 7 million people would have lost their benefits.

• Extending unemployment benefits provides crucial economic security to American families. A recent report by the Council of Economic Advisers found that while 14 million people received federally supported unemployment insurance benefits through October 2010, an additional 26 million people living in their households benefitted indirectly.

• About 42 percent of these recipients have, or live with, children. As of October, 2010 10.5 million children had benefitted from this provision.

 


Posted on 13 Dec 2010, 8:51 - Category: DNC


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