Recent Articles

Interim studies examine police reform measures (Capitol Update)

It is an open question whether any sort of law enforcement reform will make it across the finish line during the session next year. The call for reform increased exponentially after the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota and other… Read more [More...]

Education Secretary appointment may set up interesting dynamic (Capitol Update)

Gov. Kevin Stitt recently announced the appointment of Ryan Walters, a young former classroom teacher from McAlester, as his new Secretary of Education. Walters, who was McAlester Teacher of the Year in 2015 and a finalist for State Teacher of… Read more [More...]

Oklahoma’s move away from private prisons (Capitol Update)

Due to a $24.4 million budget cut for FY 2021, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections (ODOC) cancelled its contract with the Cimarron Correctional Facility, a private prison in Cushing. During negotiations, ODOC offered to decrease the number of beds in… Read more [More...]

Varied backgrounds of elected officials can bring innovative solutions (Capitol Update)

The Health Services and Long-Term Care Committee of the Oklahoma House of Representatives will be holding an interim study to explore a possible job training partnership between Oklahoma CareerTech and the Department of Corrections (DOC) that would train incarcerated non-violent… Read more [More...]

Eviction crisis likely to be important issue next session (Capitol Update)

One of the important but complex issues likely to come up next session is evictions. The economic dislocation occurring because of the coronavirus pandemic has illuminated this already existing crisis facing many Oklahomans. In a ranking of the top 100… Read more [More...]

Much to consider in reform movements for criminal justice and police (Capitol Update)

There are two movements going on today that are related but not the same thing. One could generically be called police reform, and the other is criminal justice reform. Criminal justice reform is in the midst of a near decade-long… Read more [More...]

Reflecting on public service and ‘the highest calling’ (Capitol Update)

I caught several portions of the various ceremonies celebrating the life of U.S. Rep. John Lewis this past week. Rep. Lewis was first elected to Congress in 1986 then re-elected 16 times before he died. His long service in Congress,… Read more [More...]

House, Senate announce slate of approved interim studies (Capitol Update)

Interim studies approved by House and Senate leaders were announced last week. The House had previously announced the request of 92 interim studies, and 74 were approved. The Senate did not reveal study requests but announced approval of 39 of… Read more [More...]

Pardon and Parole Board turmoil is a reaction to progress in criminal justice reform (Capitol Update)

The turmoil occurring among members of the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board is an extension of the larger conflict among many of those who administer the criminal justice system in Oklahoma and those who are trying to change it. Despite… Read more [More...]

Possible paths to fund Medicaid expansion (Capitol Update)

It is good news to see that most of the legislative leadership who have spoken have said the legislature is now obligated and will find a way to fund the state match for Medicaid expansion, despite the narrow margin of… Read more [More...]