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...]

An early look at requested interim studies in the House (Capitol Update)

Typical of an election year, there were only 88 interim study requests in the House of Representatives this year compared with 146 last year. The Senate has not published its interim study requests. In the House, studies must be approved… Read more [More...]

Medicaid expansion can address Oklahoma’s mental health and criminal justice needs (Capitol Update)

Last week, the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) board approved the agency’s FY 2021 spending plan. The bad news is the budget contained a $14 million cut from the previous year. ODMHSAS had requested a… Read more [More...]

Current events demonstrate need for task force reviewing community policing standards (Capitol Update)

Rep. Monroe Nichols, D-Tulsa, has announced he will introduce three measures next session dealing with police use of deadly force. The bills will be:  establish a state task force to review and recommend community policing standards in Oklahoma regarding use… Read more [More...]

Building a new momentum (Capitol Update)

State Treasurer Randy McDaniel announced that gross receipts to the state in May were down 14.1 percent from the previous May, a drop of $150.5 million following a drop of 30 percent in April. Presumably, these declines were already accounted… Read more [More...]

State obligated to address systemic racism through legislative action (Capitol Update)

One victim of the abbreviated 2020 Legislative session was criminal justice reform. In the 2019 session, numerous reform bills made their way through the legislative process only to stall at the end. Kudos to the authors who carried those measures.… Read more [More...]

Examining the rift between legislators, Governor (Capitol Update)

It looks like a lot of work will need to be done if the relationship between the Legislature and Gov. Stitt is to be repaired. What began as a lovefest in 2019 deteriorated to a slugfest by the closing days… Read more [More...]