“Oklahoma’s current bail policies cost counties millions and detain citizens who have been convicted of nothing for weeks before trial just because they can’t afford bail. Bail should not be a punishment tool. We can do better than jailing our citizens just for being poor.”

-Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform executive director Kris Steele [Journal Record]

“There are too many real needs that have been placed on the back burner due to successive revenue failures and mismanagement of funds at some state agencies to be giving the governor what amounts to a $19 million slush fund.”

-Muskogee Phoenix Editorial Board, objecting to lawmakers’ appropriation of $19 million to the Quick Action Closing Fund, which has little accountability and a poor track record of improving the state economy [Muskogee Phoenix]

“They’re going to do absolutely nothing.”

-Tim Tanksley, a rancher in Bokoshe, predicting what state regulators will do now that the EPA has approved Oklahoma to be the first state to take over permitting and enforcement on coal-ash sites. Over three decades, a coal ash dump near Bokoshe has grown five stories high despite protests from residents. [KTUL]

“Despite financial struggles, Angela had secured financial aid, scholarships and extra jobs so she could afford college. After a misdemeanor drug arrest, she remained in jail for five months because she couldn’t afford $500 bail. She lost her housing, belongings and car. Saddest of all, she was forced to give up her college admission and tuition because she couldn’t complete her coursework. Taxpayers also lost — paying nearly $10,000 to hold Angela in jail. Under SB 252, Angela would have been home within 48 hours and back in class.”

-Sue Ann Arnall, writing in defense of a bill to reform bail in Oklahoma [The Oklahoman]

“The citizens of Oklahoma told us the number one incarceration rate in the world is not acceptable. They want low-level offenders not to be incarcerated. This bill will lower incarceration rates, but it also allows for those records to be expunged, so that people can get back into the workforce and not have to carry that felony.”

-Rep. Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City, speaking about a bill to make SQ 780 retroactive that is close to final passage in the Legislature [Journal Record]

“In the past two years, there has been more organized advocacy among public education parents and supporters than ever before. Not coincidentally, in the past two years there has been more support for public education among legislators than ever before.”

-Jenks school board Melissa Abdo [Tulsa World]

“I often hear that this type of thing should be happening in the home and the parent should be educating their child on these issues. My response to that is, well generations of people in Oklahoma never got that themselves — how on Earth can they teach the next generation when they were never taught these things?”

– Stacey Wright, an advocate for requiring consent education in Oklahoma public schools, after a bill to do so failed for a third year [OU Daily]

“I am very frustrated whenever I hear our elected officials say that victims of crime are not being deported. I see it, and I have seen it, and I continue to see it, and I’m tired of it.”

-Molly Bryant with Domestic Violence Intervention Services, who is among the community members calling on Tulsa County commissioners to end a contract that provides assistance to ICE through the sheriff’s office [Tulsa World]

“If we aren’t open, where do these people go?” … “They’ll go to the cemetery. If we’re not here, these people don’t have time. They’ll die along with this hospital.”

-Employees at Fairfax Community Hospital, which has dropped down to just an ER and is facing permanent closure [Washington Post]

“There’s been a lot of talk about the additional money in the rainy day fund. But when you’re spending $137 million on turnover costs, to me the investment would be better to put into your employees.”

-Oklahoma Public Employees Association Executive Director Sterling Zearley, calling for a $2,500 raise for underpaid state workers [Source: OKC Fox]