More ARPA fund spending decisions expected starting in July (Capitol Update)

It’s a little difficult to track, but I believe the Legislature so far has appropriated about $202 million of the $1.87 billion American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding from the federal government. The state has been a little slow out… Read more [More...]

Hits, misses regarding justice reform during the 2022 session (Capitol Update)

There were very few criminal justice reform measures passed this session. House Bill 3135 by Rep. Gerrid Kendrix, R-Altus, and Sen. Bill Coleman, R-Ponca City, will let misdemeanor cases be managed through the community sentencing system. HB 3316 by Rep.… Read more [More...]

Special sessions on the horizon (Capitol Update)

With legislators barely having time to unpack their bags after the four-month regular session ending May 27, Gov. Kevin Stitt has called them back to town for a special session on June 13. For lawmakers who don’t live in Oklahoma… Read more [More...]

A look back at the 2022 session (Capitol Update)

Throughout the years, quite a few legislative sessions have looked like they were going to end in a “trainwreck.” But they usually come together toward the end with legislative leaders finally agreeing with each other and — to a greater… Read more [More...]

Budget bills address economic development, disability waiting list, but miss the mark on education (Capitol Update)

Flush with cash due to federal pandemic funding and a booming energy economy, the legislature last week had to determine the most responsible way forward. A few quick observations are possible. First, legislators chose to park just under $1 billion… Read more [More...]

Expect a flurry of legislative activity as end of session nears (Capitol Update)

It is likely this will be the last week of the legislative session. Constitutionally, the session can continue until May 27, but, in the recent past, legislators have opted to recess at least one week early by resolution, with Sine… Read more [More...]

Proposed changes would imbue state judiciary system with unnecessary politics (Capitol Update)

Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, has introduced Senate Joint Resolution 43 that would abolish our current court system and establish a new judicial department. Among the far-reaching changes proposed in SJR 43 is a new way of… Read more [More...]

Risk assessment tool needs to be carefully crafted to best serve justice-involved youth (Capitol Update)

Senate Bill 1282 by Sen. John Haste, R-Tulsa, and Rep. Mark Lawson, R-Sapulpa, was presented on the House floor last week. The bill requires a risk-assessment screening tool approved by the Office of Juvenile Affairs (OJA) to be used when… Read more [More...]

Reopening window of opportunity for justice reform (Capitol Update)

It goes without saying that in a democracy, significant change in public policy happens slowly. That’s why, when the legislature gets a chance to pass something, it’s best not to miss the opportunity. The tide of events can turn, and… Read more [More...]

2022 Statewide Candidate Filing Period This Week (Capitol Update)

Sometime in the late fall preceding an election year, most politicians begin to occasionally sense an ever-so-slight tightening in the pit of their stomach that they can’t readily explain. It’s not too bad, but it’s there. Seemingly unrelated, they observe… Read more [More...]