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Quotes of the Day

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March 14,

“My question … as a practicing lawyer and someone who cares about our citizens’ rights to access the courts without tremendous financial burdens, is, ‘Should this Legislature stop making people pay to access the courthouse and we in the Legislature should properly fund our courts?’”

-House Minority Leader Scott Inman, criticizing several bills that would raise court fees in order to provide funding for the judicial system (Source)

March 13,

“The district attorneys who opposed our reforms are very influential within the state legislature. They are good at scaring and pressuring and manipulating lawmakers into passing policies that ultimately benefit their position.”

-Oklahoma for Criminal Justice Reform Kris Steele, speaking about Oklahoma district attorneys’ efforts to roll back justice reforms passed by a large majority of Oklahoma voters as SQ 780 (Source).

March 10,

“This idea that voters didn’t know what they were voting on is wrong. I’ve heard from people inside my district and outside who said, ‘I knew exactly what I was doing.’”

– Rep. Emily Virgin (D-Norman), arguing against HB 1482, which would reverse some criminal justice reforms approved by voters in November. Proponents of HB 1482 have argued that voters didn’t understand what they were voting for. HB 1482 passed through the state House on Thursday (Source)

March 9,

“I believe that there is a level of core services that the citizenry expects. And I think a lot of people are tired of the perception – and not only the perception but probably some amount of truth – that we’re 49th in everything. We always thank God for Kansas and Mississippi and whoever else. I don’t know that people are happy knowing that we’re funding everything at 49th – mental health care, education. I think that they might want to invest a little more to have a better level of services.”

– House Appropriations and Budget Committee Chair Rep. Leslie Osborn (R-Mustang), on addressing this year’s budget shortfall and the possibility of raising revenues (Source)

March 8,

“What you have is a clever way of basically erasing the law that voters voted for. Legislators have attempted to once again turn simple possession into a felony, which is what their goal is. Certain legislators don’t seem to want to acknowledge the will of the voters.”

-Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform chairman Kris Steele, speaking about HB 1482, which would reverse SQ 780 by reinstating felony drug possession in nearly all populated areas of the state (Source).

March 7,

“Certainly the political reality is that there will be some agency cuts again. How much? Who knows?”

-Senate Pro Tempore Mike Shulz (R-Altus) (Source)

March 6,

“It’s really just a matter of common sense. Family caregivers save the state money. If they weren’t available and willing to take on these responsibilities, thousands more Oklahoma seniors would be in nursing homes at the state’s expense. . . . We urge the Oklahoma Legislature to fully fund DHS’ supplemental budget request of $42 million in support of our elders and family caregivers that rely on home and community based services such as adult day health. If the state doesn’t support them on the front end, it will likely be paying four times more to care for our elders on the back end.”

-LIFE Senior Services CEO Laura Kenny (Source)

March 3,

“We don’t have a public safety problem because we don’t imprison enough offenders. We are unsafe because we don’t spend our money on policies that truly prevent crime. We need to spend less on incarceration and more on proactive community policing strategies that have worked miracles in cities like New York.”

-Andrew Spiropoulos, criticizing efforts, like HB 1482, to reverse SQ 780 (Source)

March 2,

“A recent cut to the state’s personal income tax rate and tax breaks for the oil industry during periods of price declines have compounded the state’s revenue shortfall.”

– S&P Global Ratings, in a report lowering Oklahoma’s bond rating on Wednesday. The agency also lowered its rating Oklahoma’s appropriation debt (Source)

March 1,

“With revenue being difficult to raise, the Legislature often turns to cuts. Some lawmakers say that’s a good thing. Oklahoma families must control their spending; why shouldn’t the state? That’s a fair point, but here is the truth of the matter: our state government is not like a family that has bought a Ferrari and now must return it. We are like a family living in a house with a leaky roof and no heat, driving our kids around in a car that is about to break down. The solution to that problem is not less spending; it is investment with proper revenue.”

– Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy Executive Director Joe Dorman, calling on lawmakers to raise revenues (Source)

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