Five down, 21 to go.

Well, maybe that’s a bit of hyperbole, but Oklahoma House Majority Whip Gary Banz says he’ll be at the Reagan Amendment Summit.  I’d be surprised if he’s not joined by others in Leadership.  The oil and gas industry is very powerful, or so I’m told, in the Oklahoma legislature.  The Kochs, and all that.  Those guys are going to love the Reagan Amendment.  That’s going to be helpful in Oklahoma, which has no federal land to speak of.  When you think about it this is an energy industry wet dream. That has its downside of course.  Our most implacable opposition will from the environmentalists, and they’re going to try to smear us as the running dogs of Big Oil.

As far as I know, no one involved in our effort has gotten a nickel from the oil industry, and I’d like to keep it that way.  We’re not looking for their money.  It would be used against us.  But if these guys want to explain a little reality to some of these chicken hearted Oklahoma legislators, the ones who are afraid of the Birchers, that would be O.K.

Like Alaska and Idaho, Oklahoma has issues which the Federal Land Commission which will have to be worked out.  They don’t have Indian Reservations, but they have a lot of land that is under some sort of tripartite sovereignty, with the feds, the State of Oklahoma, and the Indians each having a share.  It’s complicated, but it can all be worked out.

I called Gary because he’s a leader of the Assembly of State Legislatures.  Scott Bedke made the suggestion, and it was a good one.  They’re having an Executive Committee meeting in June that I won’t be able to get to.  The main meeting will be in Salt Lake on November 11th, and I can make that.  I don’t how the Reagan Amendment fits in with their thinking.  They’re dealing with Convention Procedure.  It may have no effect on it.  But it’s a big group of leaders from around the country, and I’ll get a chance to talk with a lot of people I haven’t met.  The Reagan Amendment Summit will have already occurred, so we should have a pretty good idea of where we stand.

I haven’t been able to get ahold of incoming NCSL President Curt Bramble, so I called our Utah sponsor, my friend Kraig Powell. He liked the Reagan Amendment.  He had some questions, of course.  It’s a lot to digest. He said Bramble is on the road, trying to renew conservative interest in NCSL, now that he’ll be the President.  I guess a lot of conservatives have been staying away, and he’s getting them back.  The Reagan Amendment Summit will be helpful to him in that respect.  I think he’s going to like it, a lot.  It might even somehow wind up on the official agenda of the NCSL meeting.  I’m going to ask, anyway.  Kraig asked me to lay it all out in an email, which he’ll forward to Bramble.  Then he’ll try and set up a conference call for the three of us.

The best part of what I’ve been doing these last 18 months is making friends.  When we decided to move back to California I got out a map and drew a line 100 miles East of the Bay Area.  That’s as close as I wanted to get.  So we wound up in Sonora, a nice place, rural.  We’ve been here fourteen years.  Neither of us has made one friend since we’ve been here.

So a little over a year ago I flew back to Salt Lake to meet Kraig and testify for our bill.  I talk about it here on the blog, back in the posts from March of 2014.  I really liked Kraig a lot.  In fact, I met a lot of people I liked.  Kraig told me I needed to talk to some of these guys at lunch, so I show up in the main plaza of the Capitol and sit down with around ten of them.  We eat lunch, and one guy says he’s going up to Petersburg, Alaska to shoot a black bear.  He starts complaining about the cost of Alaska guides, and that got my goat up.  I was friends with some of these guys.  From the NRA.  I tell him you don’t need a guide for black bear, and he says he knows that, he was talking about brown bear.  We kind of got into it on the whole guide business, so I decided to change the subject and talk about my hunting career.

I went out and got a moose.  Busted my ass packing that meat out, and butchering it.  That’s a lot of work.  I get the meat home and my wife won’t cook it.  Wasn’t wrapped in plastic, didn’t come from Safeway.  So Binky the polar bear, down at the Alaska zoo, got my moose.

They kind of liked that story, so I told them a few more.  I’ve got some good ones, if I do say so myself.

I feel like I made some friends in Utah.

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