Archive for 2012

Watch This: Illegal

by | June 28th, 2012 | Posted in Blog, Immigration, Watch This | Comments (1)

Illegal is a compelling 6-minute documentary about undocumented American youth.  The film was financed, produced, and directed by a diverse team of independent advocates and professionals from across the country.  Through a series of interviews, this short film illuminates the plight of immigrant youth and urges the viewer to confront the tensions and bald injustice embedded in our current immigration policy.

While the Obama administration’s decision to halt deportations of some undocumented residents was an important first step, executive orders are easily changed by successive administrations, and legislative action is necessary to make permanent changes to repair a broken system.

Post-session review: So whatever happened to…

by | June 18th, 2012 | Posted in Blog, OK Policy | Comments (0)

Of the 1,934 bills filed this past legislative session, only a small fraction of those saw any significant action by legislators.  Most bills are never heard by a committee, and almost all of them fall short of a hearing on the floor of either legislative chamber. This post reviews the bills from this session that OK Policy provided commentary and analysis on, some in-depth and some in passing, and reveals how far they made it through the legislative process.

As we previously noted, there were far fewer bills this session targeting immigrants than in previous legislatures.  HJR 1088, sponsored by Rep. Terrill would have denied bail to a person who has entered or remained in the country illegally. It was not heard in committee.  Another Terrill bill, HB 3014, was a draconian proposal to implement English-only restrictions. It was similarly denied a committee hearing.

Out of a wave of bills targeting the poor and people receiving public benefits, only a handful were successful.  HB 2388, a bill to drug test welfare recipients that we criticized early on, was substantially revised (for the better, for the most part) and eventually passed both chambers.

continue reading Post-session review: So whatever happened to…

2012 Session: Prospects look better for immigrants, worse for the poor, loaded for gun enthusiasts

by | February 15th, 2012 | Posted in Blog, Capitol Matters, Immigration, Poverty | Comments (3)

The 2012 legislative session convened last Monday and will run until the end of May (click here for a complete run-though of how this works in our handy Legislative Overview). With 1,934 new bills  filed, it takes awhile before we know for certain which priorities will dominate the session. But now that our merry gang of bill-trackers have taken a first look, a few themes have emerged.

One is a subject more notable by its absence than its presence: immigration. Last year, some two dozen immigration bills were introduced, most looking to impose tighter law enforcement and verification restrictions on undocumented immigrants. Most of the bills were killed by House and Senate leadership over the course of session. Ultimately a single bill, HB 1446, emerged out of conference committee but was defeated on a bipartisan vote in the House.

continue reading 2012 Session: Prospects look better for immigrants, worse for the poor, loaded for gun enthusiasts

The Weekly Wonk – July 15, 2011

by | July 15th, 2011 | Posted in Blog, OK Policy | Comments (0)

What’s up this week at Oklahoma Policy Institute? The Weekly Wonk is dedicated to this week’s events, publications, and blog posts.

This week at OK Policy, we reported that June General Revenue (GR) collections came in $66.2 million, or 13.0 percent, above the official certified estimate.  While revenues are on an upwards swing, they still face a steep upward climb and will have little, if any, impact on the current year budget.

Also this week, we detailed the toll of budget cuts to education on programs promoting high-quality teaching and schools.  If Oklahoma is to have any chance of improving our students’ educational performance, we need to support excellence in our teachers and administrators.  Read an interview on OK Policy’s Blog with Dr. Thomas Benediktson about the University of Tulsa’s new focus on urban education.

continue reading The Weekly Wonk – July 15, 2011

Watch This: Panic Nation preview trailer

by | July 11th, 2011 | Posted in Blog, Immigration, Watch This | Comments (5)

A few months ago, we blogged about a special screening of the feature-length documentary Panic Nation at the University of Tulsa, and the film did not disappoint.  Filmaker George Adams was on hand to discuss the movie and the rise of state-sponsored immigration laws in the U.S.  The film addresses Oklahoma’s HB 1804 in depth, which at the time it passed in 2007 was seen as the most restrictive state immigration law in the country.

Panic Nation is available for sale online.  If you’ve seen the film, share your thoughts in the comments section below.  If you’re curious, check out this preview trailer:

Where Are They Now? Bills we kept our eye on

by | May 31st, 2011 | Posted in Blog, OK Policy | Comments (3)

It was a busy session.  Last Friday marked the deadline for Governor Fallin to take final action on bills that landed on her desk. Now that sine die has passed, we thought it would be useful for OK Policy to do inventory and update you on the status of the bills we wrote about this session on our blog.

There were over two dozen immigration bills introduced this session.  Neither of the ‘English only’ bills, HB 2083 and SB 905, intended as implementing legislation for State Question 751, were approved by the legislature.  On our blog, we advised against passage and pointed out that the bills would have imposed new and draconian restrictions on speech and potentially entangled state officials in a legal double bind.  We also blogged about two bills, SB 683 and HB 1446, that sought to rescind resident tuition eligibility for undocumented high school students enrolling in public colleges and universities.  The stand alone bill, SB 683, died in House committee and the sections pertaining to resident tuition eligibility were removed from HB 1446 in conference committee.  We have blogged extensively about other sections of HB 1446, the omnibus immigration legislation which went through several incarnations and was eventually defeated on the House floor by a vote of 62 (N) to 31 (Y).

continue reading Where Are They Now? Bills we kept our eye on

Upcoming Event: 'Panic Nation' Screening at TU College of Law, April 11

by | April 8th, 2011 | Posted in Blog, Upcoming Events | Comments (2)

With Oklahoma again debating bills to impose new restrictions on immigrants, a documentary that looks at the impact of the state’s first foray into the immigration field will have a showing in Tulsa next week.  Panic Nation, a multi-award winning documentary on the rise of state-sponsored immigration laws will be shown at the University of Tulsa’s John Rogers Hall on Monday, April 11, at 6 p.m.  The documentary film examines how laws like Oklahoma’s HB 1804 and Arizona’s SB 1070 are affecting more than just those without documentation.  Panic Nation approaches these recent state moves towards stricter immigration policy from a unique prospective:

This distinctive motion picture examines state sponsored immigration laws with an open, direct approach.  There must be a balance among subjects including national security, job protection, labor concerns, and our economy.  We need to create a dialogue sitting at a table rather than yelling at each other from across the street.

continue reading Upcoming Event: 'Panic Nation' Screening at TU College of Law, April 11

The Weekly Wonk – April 4-8, 2011

by | April 8th, 2011 | Posted in Blog, OK Policy | Comments (0)

What’s up this week at Oklahoma Policy Institute? The Weekly Wonk is dedicated to this week’s events, publications, and blog posts.

This week OK Policy released a new issue brief outlining 2011 immigration legislation.  To clarify the key issues and help you interpret the debate, our Overview of 2011 Immigration Legislation provides a clear and concise summary of the four remaining bills before the 53rd Legislature.  The issue brief also provides in-depth coverage of the central omnibus bill, HB 1446, with a breakdown of each provision’s potential implications.  Along with the brief, yesterday’s blog post surveys the political landscape surrounding the immigration debate in Oklahoma.  Next Monday April 11th, the University of Tulsa will screen Panic Nation, a multi-award winning documentary on the rise of state-sponsored immigration laws.

continue reading The Weekly Wonk – April 4-8, 2011

Where Angels Fear to Tread: Oklahoma wades back into immigration debate

by | April 7th, 2011 | Posted in Blog, Immigration | Comments (7)

© 2011 Caroline Cook

Immigration is back on the agenda in Oklahoma, four years after passage of  HB 1804, a law intended to give the state new powers to stem illegal immigration.  The issue is once again highly contentious, as Oklahoma wades further into areas of law traditionally reserved for the federal government.  Some are urging Oklahoma to push beyond HB 1804 and pass legislation akin to Arizona’s SB 1070 that received national attention as one of the strictest immigration laws in the country.  On the other side,  prominent business, religious, and community leaders caution lawmakers against enacting sweeping measures that target working families, are likely unconstitutional, and tarnish the state’s image.  They point to the mounting economic toll of similar legislation in other states – 45 million in hotel industry losses alone in Arizona – and worry that laws targeting employers scare off prospective investment and slow economic development.

Out of two dozen immigration bills introduced during the 2011 Legislative session, four are still active. Attention has focused on HB 1446, co-authored by the chairs of the special Joint Immigration Reform Committee, Rep. George Faught and Sen. Ron Justice, which legislative leadership has identified as “a starting point for the discussion” on immigration.  HB 1446 covers vast territory, with provisions pertaining to day labor, hiring, record-keeping, ‘human smuggling,’ and higher education.  Those who support additional state legislation on immigration cite the need to expand the authority of law enforcement to deal with drug trafficking, gang activity, human trafficking and human smuggling, problems which are seen to be exacerbated by illegal immigration.  Yet, HB 1446 (and sections of SB 908) only address the human smuggling concern and would make it arguably more difficult to isolate perpetrators of human smuggling.

continue reading Where Angels Fear to Tread: Oklahoma wades back into immigration debate

The Weekly Wonk – April 1, 2011

by | April 1st, 2011 | Posted in Blog, OK Policy | Comments (0)

What’s up this week at Oklahoma Policy Institute? The Weekly Wonk is dedicated to this week’s events, publications, and blog posts.

This week OK Policy released a fact sheet on gross production tax exemptions.  Gross production of oil and gas is normally taxed at seven percent, but various types of production are fully or partly exempt from the tax.  Monday’s blog post, “I don’t need it but I’ll take it,” ponders the fiscal wisdom of handing out tens of millions of dollars in exemptions when even oil industry executives admit the breaks are of the least importance in their decision to drill.  The Tulsa World reports on OK Policy’s research and the millions in lost revenue from oil and gas exemptions.

Tuesday’s blog highlighted legislative efforts to rescind higher education benefits for undocumented students.  Two bills working their way through the legislative process seek to turn back the clock by repealing a 2003 law that allowed undocumented Oklahoma high school students to be eligible for resident tuition status at public colleges and universities.  Despite the claim that tax-payers are subsidizing ‘illegal aliens,’ the amount in tuition and fees paid into the higher education system by undocumented students – $1,074,693 between 2005 and 2009 – far exceeded the amount the state waived for in-state status ($254,026).

continue reading The Weekly Wonk – April 1, 2011