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Quotes of the Day

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April 13,

“Education, like other core services, are being seriously jeopardized by the funding crisis. It’s one devastating blow after another and is only compounded by our severe teacher shortage. Schools have no stability or certainty with their current and future budgets. We are watching the state revenue collections for April and will vigorously advocate for what every student needs.”

– State Superintendent of Schools Joy Hofmeister on the news that April payments to schools have been cut due to low revenue collections, with reductions since January totaling almost $87 million (Source)

April 12,

“It is basically a slap in the face to voters who soundly voted ‘no’ on State Question 777 and an end run around what the people want. This is the creation of prosperity districts, which is as bad — or worse — than SQ 777.”

-Denise Deason-Toyne, president of Tahlequah-based citizen coalition Save the Illinois River Inc., arguing that “prosperity districts” created under HB 2132 would lead to areas not subject to state environmental regulations that could be exploited by foreign corporations (Source). Read why HB 2132 won’t create prosperity here

April 11,

“Just because you purchase coverage that doesn’t include cancer treatment because your family doesn’t have a history of cancer, insurance could then prove to be totally useless if, surprise, you develop an actual serious health condition like cancer. At that point, this health coverage might be slightly less expensive but it would also be useless in the case of a medical emergency.”

-OK Policy Analyst Carly Putnam, explaining how loosening health insurance mandates through HB 478 could lead to skimpy coverage that fails to cover important treatments and services (Source)

April 10,

“I understand the state is struggling, but the county is, too. We can’t afford to keep subsidizing the state.”

– Dennis Semler, Tulsa County Treasurer, on the shifting of the costs of government from the state to counties and cities (Source)

April 7,

“Keeping the state questions intact and supporting the governor’s task force bills saves taxpayers nearly $2 billion, makes us safer and restores lives. We’re optimistic that when this session ends, legislators will have built on the progress made by Oklahoma voters by enacting more historic reforms that send Oklahoma’s criminal justice system back in the right direction.”

– Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform chairman Kris Steele responding to news that HB 1482, which would have backtracked on criminal justice reforms approved by voters in November, is unlikely to advance in the Legislature (Source)

April 6,

“This is something that affects every single teacher, bus driver, custodian, and these are folks that not only serve our children directly, but also we know are already inadequately compensated.”

– Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Deborah Gist, on the proposed furloughs that are part of the district’s plan if their appropriation for the next fiscal year is cut as expected (Source

April 5,

“It’s very easy to look at a laundry list of things that exist and say, ‘Cut, cut, cut, cut,’ and say, ‘Well, this is wasteful spending’ without really understanding the true impact. The bottom line is a lot of our citizens depend on those programs.”

-Durant City Manager Tim Rundel, warning of the consequences of deep cuts to federal programs proposed by the Trump administration (Source)

April 4,

“I oppose this bill [HB 1913] because I’ve seen what it has done to a widow at my church. It has kept her strapped for money. She has not been able to get ahead because of these companies that charge her ridiculous fees for a small amount of money. I served nearly 21 years in the U.S. Regular and Reserve Army and I know that the military does not allow its service members to use these lenders. If the Army cares enough to protect its service members from such a practice why doesn’t our state government demonstrate the same level of concern for its citizens?”

-Davison, one of many Oklahomans who shared their experiences with the debt traps created by predatory lenders (Source)

April 3,

“We feel if children are going to be taken from their homes, they need to be provided for. The state has a duty to provide children good quality of life if we’re going to take them from their home.”

– Lisa Smith, Director of the Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth, calling on the state to address incidents of violence at DHS group homes. DHS says it is addressing these issues with a new restraint policy focused on behavioral health, but needs more money for mental health care. (Source)

March 31,

“I would suggest that if we don’t get our budget done pretty soon that we may have to look at having a special session or concurrent session. Certainly if we cut to where our agencies that are critical to core services are hemorrhaging, I am willing to look at vetoing a plan if it is not going to take care of the critical core services that I think our citizens demand that we take care of in our state.”

– Gov. Mary Fallin, urging lawmakers to develop a workable state budget before the Legislature adjourns on May 26 (Source)

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