Policy issues can take center stage in election year (Capitol Update)

This is the first week of election year 2022. The filing period for statewide and legislative offices will be April 13-15. Election years always provide a fascinating dynamic for the legislative session. A few legislators will already have announced opponents,… Read more [More...]

Working together to reduce developmental disability waitlist (Capitol Update)

Fate. I saw a news clip of President Biden last week in which he said he is a believer in fate. By that I suppose he meant that certain things in life happen—or have happened— that are beyond our ability… Read more [More...]

Prioritizing how tax dollars are spent (Capitol Update)

The monthly state revenue report by State Treasurer Randy McDaniel shows another large increase in receipts by state government for this November over November 2020. The collections for November totaled $600.7 million, which were $154.6 million or 34.7 percent above… Read more [More...]

Funding requests signal approaching session (Capitol Update)

It’s a sure sign the legislative session is close when the appropriations committees begin hearing from state agencies about how they are spending their funding for the current fiscal year and what their funding requests are for the next year.… Read more [More...]

Focus on the Pardon and Parole Board (Capitol Update)

Everyone who makes decisions in criminal cases — from judges to prosecutors and defense attorneys to the parole board and the governor — bears the weight of the decisions they are making. They live in apprehension that a wrong decision could cost damage, injury, or life. It goes with the territory. No one in the system is infallible. [More...]

Updating state’s drug court statute could reduce overdose deaths (Capitol Update)

The Center for Disease Control released figures recently showing that 100,000 Americans died from a drug overdose between April 2020 and April 2021, nearly 30 percent more than the previous year. Of those, 798 people died in Oklahoma, a 20… Read more [More...]

Lawmakers moving deliberately in allocating ARPA funds (Capitol Update)

Most every group that provides services paid for fully or in-part by state government is enormously interested in the impending distribution of the $1.87 billion coming to the state through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The funds will be… Read more [More...]

Five Republican House members urge Stitt to grant clemency for Julius Jones (Capitol Update)

It looks as though Gov. Stitt will need to decide this week about whether to follow the recommendation of the Pardon and Parole Board and grant clemency to Julius Jones who was convicted of murder in Oklahoma County and sentenced… Read more [More...]

Interim study examines defined-benefit pension plans for state employees (Capitol Update)

If Rep. Avery Frix, R-Muskogee, and Sen. Dewayne Pemberton, R-Muskogee, never did another thing during their 12-year service in the legislature, which of course is not the fact, successful passage of their House Bill 2486 next session would make their… Read more [More...]

Factors could create progress towards treating, rehabilitating criminal offenders (Capitol Update)

For years, DOC has advocated for more diversion along with more and better treatment, education, and training programs. That’s not surprising. DOC officials see the back end of the criminal legal system and often have no choice but to carry out expensive sentences of incarceration that add little or nothing to public safety and fail to treat and rehabilitate offenders. There is a convergence of three factors that could lead to real progress. [More...]