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Advocacy Alerts

Friday, February 24

Young Oklahomans (ages 18-29) vote less often than any other age group, and at among the lowest rates in the nation. SB 349 (Sen. David Holt – R. Oklahoma City) aims to boost voter turnout by young Oklahomans by allowing for 16 and 17-year olds who will turn 18 by the time of the next election to pre-register to vote.

Where Things Stand (as of 2/23)

SB 349 has been assigned to the Senate Rules committee and is set to be heard on Wednesday, March 1st. 

What You Should Do

Contact members of the Senate Rules committee and ask them to support SB 349. (more…)

Friday, February 24

In Oklahoma, deferred deposit loans, better known as payday loans, are advertised as a way for people to get emergency funds for a short-term loan. In practice, these loans prey on low-income borrowers by charging annual interest rates over 350 percent and by creating a cycle of debt that can be nearly impossible to break out of.

HB 1596 would enact sensible reforms to payday lending by limiting borrowers to one outstanding payday loan at a time, requiring a 1-day wait period between loans, and limiting borrowing to a  maximum of 90 days over the course of a year.

Where Things Stand (as of 2/27)

HB 1596 has been assigned to the House Business, Commerce and Tourism committee. Committee Chair Rep. Elise Hall has indicated that she will not allow the bill to be heard. HB 1596 or a similar measure could be taken up in 2018. (more…)

Thursday, February 23

Legislators have the opportunity this session to help ensure that Oklahomans convicted of crimes have a fair shot at rebuilding their lives. They need to hear that you support these efforts.

People convicted of crimes face enormous fines and fees that they often can’t pay, trapping them in a cycle of debt and incarceration. HB 2289 and SB 689 would require that judges set monthly payments on that debt according to a defendant’s income, so that their families don’t have to choose between paying their court debt or buying groceries. They also waives court fines and fees for those who seek to better themselves through higher education or workforce training.

What You Can Do

SB 689 passed the Senate Public Safety committee by a unanimous vote! Thank you for your support.

The bill is now eligible to be heard before the full Senate. Please call your Senator and ask them to support SB 689! You can find your legislator here.

(more…)

Wednesday, February 22

As a result of continued declines in state revenues, another cut to Oklahoma’s top income tax rate will not be triggered in 2018. However, unless legislators take action this year, the top income tax cut rate could kick in automatically as early as 2019, well before Oklahoma’s budget will have had a chance to stabilize.  After the steep funding cuts of recent years, legislators should halt this tax cut and make sure we have the revenues to do what Oklahomans expect from state services before going ahead with any further tax cuts.

Where Things Stand (as of 2/24)

Two bills that would fully repeal the next income tax cut – (SB 170) or delay it for several years (SB 130) – passed out of the Senate Appropriations and Budget committee with overwhelming bi-partisan margins. Thank you for your support! They are now awaiting action by the full Senate before the deadline of March 17th.

What You Can Do

 Please contact your Senators and ask them to halt the next tax cut by voting yes on SB 170 and SB 130.

You can look up your Senator here and call the Senate switchboard at 405-524-0126.

You can find a list of all Senators with their email addresses and phone numbers here.

(more…)

Wednesday, February 22

HB 2209 (Rep. Marcus McEntire – R. Duncan) is good legislation that would help promote better tax policy decisions in Oklahoma by ensuring that legislators and the public know more about who pays taxes and who would stand to gain or lose from proposed tax policy changes.

HB 2209 directs the Oklahoma Tax Commission to prepare a tax incidence report that shows who will pay more or less taxes on any bill that increases, decreases, or redistributes income by more than $20 million, upon the request of the Chair of the committee to which the bill is assigned.

Where Things Stand (as of 2/24)

HB 2209 unanimously passed the House Appropriations and Budget subcommittee on General Government and is now awaiting a hearing by the full Appropriations and Budget committee. The bill is scheduled to be heard Wednesday, March 1st.

What You Should Do

Please contact members of the House Appropriations and Budget committee and ask them to support HB 2209.

Rep. Leslie Osborn, Chair            leslie.osborn@okhouse.gov             (405) 557-7333

Rep. Kevin Wallace, Vice Chair   kevin.wallace@okhouse.gov           (405) 557-7368

Rep. John Bennett                       john.bennett@okhouse.gov            (405) 557-7315

Rep. Scott Biggs                           scott.biggs@okhouse.gov                (405) 557-7405

Rep. David Brumbaugh               david.brumbaugh@okhouse.gov     (405) 557-7347

Rep. Chad Caldwell                      chad.caldwell@okhouse.gov           (405) 557-7317

Rep. Kevin Calvey                        kevin.calvey@okhouse.gov             (405) 557-7357

Rep. Dennis Casey                        dennis.casey@okhouse.gov             (405) 557-7344

Rep. Josh Cockroft                       josh.cockroft@okhouse.gov            (405) 557-7349

Rep. Jon Echols                            jon.echols@okhouse.gov                 (405) 557-7354

Rep. Katie Henke                         katie.henke@okhouse.gov              (405) 557-7361

Rep. John Paul Jordan                 jp.jordan@okhouse.gov                   (405) 557-7352

Rep. Scott Martin                        scott.martin@okhouse.gov             (405) 557-7329

Rep. Jason Murphey                    jason.murphey@okhouse.gov         (405) 557-7350

Rep. Charles Ortega                     charles.ortega@okhouse.gov          (405) 557-7369

Rep. Pat Ownbey                         pat.ownbey@okhouse.gov              (405) 557-7326

Rep. John Pfeiffer                        john.pfeiffer@okhouse.gov             (405) 557-7332

Rep. Dustin Roberts                     dustin.roberts@okhouse.gov           (405) 557-7366

Rep. Todd Russ                             todd.russ@okhouse.gov                  (405) 557-7312

Rep. Mike Sanders                       mike.sanders@okhouse.gov            (405) 557-7407

Rep. Earl Sears                             earl.sears@okhouse.gov                 (405) 557-7358

Rep. Jason Dunnington               jason.dunnington@okhouse.gov     (405) 557-7396

Rep. Scott Inman                         scott.inman@okhouse.gov              (405) 557-7370

Rep. Steve Kouplen                     steve.kouplen@okhouse.gov           (405) 557-7306

Rep. Ben Loring                            ben.loring@okhouse.gov                 (405) 557-7399

Rep. Eric Proctor                          eric.proctor@okhouse.gov              (405) 557-7410

Rep. Shane Stone                        shane.stone@okhouse.gov              (405) 557-7397

Rep. Emily Virgin                         emily.virgin@okhouse.gov              (405) 557-7323

 

Talking Points

  • Information about who pays taxes is critical for making well-informed decisions on tax policy, but it’s largely unavailable to most legislators and their constituents.
  • The committee substitute for HB 2209 directs the Oklahoma Tax Commission to prepare a “who pays report” – formally known as a tax incidence report – on any bill that increases, decreases, or redistributes income by more than $20 million, upon the request of the Chair of the committee to which the bill is assigned.
  • Oklahoma already requires that revenue measures include a fiscal impact statement estimating how total tax collections will be affected. Knowing who would be the winners and losers under different tax proposals is equally valuable information that should be readily  available to policymakers and engaged citizens alike.

You can look up your Senator and Representative here, call the House switchboard at 405-521-2711, and call the Senate switchboard at 405-524-0126.

See our Advocacy Toolkit page for more information and resources.

Tuesday, February 21

Click here for our fact sheet on HB 1482.

Last year Oklahomans voted by a large margin to approve SQ 780, which changed drug possession charges from felonies to misdemeanors punishable by no more than 1 year in jail. Voters also approved SQ 781 to direct the savings from reduced incarceration into county mental health and addiction treatment. Oklahoma voters’ choice aligns with plentiful research and experience showing felony charges and incarceration are costly and ineffective at dealing with the problems created by drug abuse and addiction, and reducing felony charges would save lives and free up resources to address the real problem.

HB 1482 would ignore the evidence and the will of the voters by reinstating felony charges for drug possession across virtually all of Oklahoma City and Tulsa and large parts of the rest of the state. The bill claims to be aimed at protecting children, but the expansive definition it uses for drug possession “near children” would effectively nullify SQ 780. It also ignores that a parent or caregiver facing felony charges and incarceration can often be far more damaging to a child’s well-being than taking a smarter approach to substance abuse.

What You Can Do

HB 1482 has passed out of a House committee and could be voted on by the full House this week. Find your legislators here and tell them to vote NO on HB 1482. (more…)

Friday, February 17

Even while policymakers scramble to find ways to address the state’s continued budget crisis, expanding tax credits that primarily benefit low- and moderate income working families and seniors should be part of the tax policy discussion. Lawmakers should undo last year’s cut to the Earned Income Tax Credit as well as increase the Sales Tax Relief Credit.

Several bills have been introduced this session that would expand tax credits for working families:

What You Can Do

 1. The bill to increase the Sales Tax Relief Credit, HB 1383, has passed the House Finance subcommittee and awaits a hearing in the full Appropriations & Budget Committee, chaired by Rep. Leslie Osborn (R-Mustang). Please call or email Rep. Osborn and urge her to allow HB 1383 to be heard and voted on.

Rep. Leslie Osborn: 405-557-7333 leslie.osborn@okhouse.gov (more…)