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Save the Date: Our 2019 State Budget Summit is January 24, 2019. Tickets will go on sale Monday, December 10th. 

Quotes of the Day

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“Prosecutors wield tremendous power, and they are wielding it to send more people to prison than ever before — and Oklahoma already incarcerated people at higher rate than any place in the world.”

-Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform Executive Director Kris Steele, speaking about a new report that shows some prosecutors in Oklahoma appear to be circumventing the intent of State Question 780 by sending more people to prison [Tulsa World]

“Oklahoma does have a vision care crisis, and for the better part of a decade, we as a state have not done much about it. … While I imagine those who do not believe in this crisis could easily blow holes in my unscientific analysis, they likely have not done what I have done. They have not begged vision professionals to volunteer their weekends; they have not turned away scores of low-income patients after an event’s capacity is met; they have not worked health care’s proverbial “back doors” to help dozens of newly diagnosed glaucoma or cataract patients; they have not held sobbing senior citizens as they wept tears of joy upon seeing a grandchild’s face for the first time.”

-NonDoc Editor in Chief William W. Savage III, calling on Oklahoma legislators and optometrists to take action to address Oklahoma’s gaps in access to vision care following the narrow defeat of SQ 793 [NonDoc]

“Folks here have seen the success of ballot initiatives in other states and would certainly consider beginning the process to putting this on the ballot in 2020 if the legislature doesn’t act.”

-Oklahoma Policy Institute Executive Director David Blatt, speaking about the success of Medicaid expansion ballot initiatives in in Idaho, Utah and Nebraska this year [Source: Healthcare Dive]

“The votes in Arkansas and Missouri are an indication the debate over raising the minimum wage is no longer a partisan issue. Clearly, Republicans and Democrats in those states are saying the federal wage of $7.25 an hour should be raised.The rift now appears to be between agenda-setting lawmakers and rank-and-file workers, not Republicans and Democrats.”

-Journal Record Editorial Board, discussing last week’s votes in Arkansas and Missouri to raise the minimum wage to $11 and $12, respectively [Journal Record]

“Straight-party voting serves no purpose other than putting power in parties, not the candidates. It’s a passive approach to democracy.”

-Tulsa World columnist Ginnie Graham, on Oklahoma’s straight-party voting box that was checked by more than one in three Oklahoma voters last Tuesday [Tulsa World]

“My qualifications are not just that I’m a woman, but that’s certainly important and we need more women’s voices. Our communities are a lot more diverse than the people that we’ve been sending to represent us. And when you get different viewpoints and lived experiences then we can create better legislation.”

-Kendra Horn, speaking after she became the third ever woman to be elected to Congress from Oklahoma [Source: KGOU]

“Twenty-two of 23 of the people that we helped with applications were mothers in prison serving decades had they not gone through this process. The impact beyond the incarceration on their families is just enormous.”

-Corbin Brewster, Tulsa County chief public defender, speaking about efforts to commute the sentences of Oklahomans serving a decade or more of prison time for crimes that are now misdemeanors after the passage for SQ 780 [Source: Tulsa World]

“It is an interesting time in Oklahoma history to have such a diverse ticket, from rural parts to Oklahoma City and Tulsa. It’s phenomenal to see the way all these candidates from different backgrounds and geographies worked together to turn out voters.”

-Michelle Tilley, director of the Oklahoma Future Fund, an initiative to increase voter turnout among populations with historically low turnout [Source: Journal Record]

“I do think this will be one of the better turnouts we have had in a midterm election in a long time. And, certainly, I expect it to be much, much better than the dismal turnout we saw in 2014.”

-State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax [Source: Tulsa World]

“It does not matter if you are disillusioned with Congress, the Legislature, the governor, the president, the rich, the poor, the Electoral College or even the Constitution. No one can hear your silence. Every vote counts, no matter if you’re a Democrat in a red state, a Republican in a blue state or an independent with no party affiliation — your vote counts even if you merely seek to cancel out your mother-in-law’s vote each year.”

-Bob Funk [Source: NonDoc]

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