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Today In The News
State House votes to reinstate drug felony voters axed on November ballot: By the slimmest margin, the Oklahoma House of Representatives decided Thursday that voters might not have fully understood what they were doing when they passed a criminal justice referendum in November. With 51 votes, the bare minimum needed, the members passed House Bill 1482, by Rep. Scott Biggs, R-Chickasha, which in its original form took a big hunk out of State Question 780, which reclassified many lesser drug and property felonies as misdemeanors [Tulsa World]. Learn more about HB 1482 and how to contact your Legislators here.
Missed opportunities for criminal justice reform this session (Capitol Updates): Legislators missed an opportunity with three bills that are now dormant for this session to make significant reforms in the criminal justice system. The bills were SB 364 and SB 369 by Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City, and HB 1730 by Rep. Meloyde Blancett, D-Tulsa. The bills were casualties of the legislative deadline requiring bills to be passed out of the committee to which they were assigned in their house of origin by last Thursday. None of the three bills received a hearing in committee [OK Policy].
Payday loan legislation resurfaces: A measure that riled up consumer protection advocates and religious leaders this year died in committee, or so they thought. A measure that would allow what opponents call predatory lending practices has resurfaced in the other chamber [HB 1913]. For a few years now, cash advance companies have pushed for what they’ve called flex loans or installment loans. They increase the cap on small loans [Journal Record]. Learn more about HB 1913 and how to contact your Legislators about it here.
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