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...]

SB 1337 would provide managed care provisions for state Medicaid (Capitol Update)

Note: Capitol Update is a guest column from former Oklahoma House Speaker Steve Lewis’ weekly newsletter focused on major events occurring in the state capitol. — Senate Bill 1337 by Sen. Greg McCortney, R-Ada, and Rep. Marcus McEntire, R-Duncan, was… Read more [More...]

Chamber of origin deadline brings heavy workload this week (Capitol Update)

Note: Capitol Update is a guest column from former Oklahoma House Speaker Steve Lewis’ weekly newsletter focused on major events occurring in the state capitol. — Last week was a short week for the legislature. Both the House and Senate… Read more [More...]

HB 3903 would place strict limits on reviews of death penalty cases (Capitol Update)

House Bill 3903 by Rep. John Pfeiffer, R-Orlando, that passed out of the Judiciary-Criminal Committee last week, exposes an ongoing dispute between the state’s prosecution forces and the Pardon and Parole Board and governor. A recent battle between the Oklahoma… Read more [More...]

A look at criminal justice sentencing reclassification efforts this session (Capitol Update)

It looks like the criminal justice reform effort to reorganize the Oklahoma Criminal Code by arranging various crimes into classes with an appropriate range of punishment for each class has begun to fall on hard times already. The reorganization effort… Read more [More...]