“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]

“If we’re going to meet kids where they are, we first have to be very honest and frank about the conditions that our children are right now trying to learn, and what is happening at home impacts classrooms.”

– State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister, speaking about how Oklahoma having more than 100,000 children with parents who are or have been incarcerated is affecting classrooms [Source: OKC Fox]

“Today’s vote opens doors to opportunity and employment for thousands of Oklahomans looking for meaningful employment and a second chance.”

-Jenna Moll, deputy director for the Justice Action Network, speaking about the Oklahoma Legislature’s passage of HB 1373, which removes broad-but-vague rules that allow occupational licensing boards to deny applications for any individual with a felony in their past [Source: Reason]

“So if they need to hire new teachers to get lower classroom sizes, they can use that money and their hands aren’t tied. If they want to give a pay raise, their hands are not tied. They can do that. If they want to hire more counselors to be able to get mental health professionals into the education arena — which we’re in desperate need of — they could do that.”

-Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, speaking about why he favors increasing general funding for schools rather than requiring it to go to another teacher raise [Source: NonDoc]

“There is really only one path that leads to growth and prosperity for Oklahoma’s future. A highly trained, taxpaying workforce driven by bright entrepreneurs starts with a robust higher education system. For too long, the state’s top leaders have acted as if tuition, donations and good luck would be enough to produce that. They are not.”

-Tulsa World Editorial Board [Tulsa World]

“I think they’ll see way too much incarceration of people who don’t need to be incarcerated. They’ll come to realize that money plays an unbelievable part in the criminal justice system, that people who can’t afford to pay for programs, who can’t afford to pay probation officers, are sometime incarcerated and lose their jobs. The system is more interested in the dollar than in rehabilitating the individual.”

-Public Defender Bob Ravitz, speaking about what he expects students at OCU’s new Center for Criminal Justice will discover about Oklahoma’s justice system [Journal Record]

“There’s 1,600 people in the jail, many of them triple celled. … They’re in cells, 10 by 10, three to a person, with zero air flow. Something has to be done. It clearly violates every person in there’s constitutional rights. … You cannot have this happen. The potential loss of life — the potential harm to individuals in that jail — needs to be addressed.”

-Public Defender Bob Ravitz, speaking about the Oklahoma County Jail’s air conditioning system which has been off since March 8 while extensive pipe repairs are being made [Source: NewsOK]

“Increasing access to health care for hard-working Oklahomans is good for our district, our hospitals, our health clinics and our state. Being a business person like Governor Stitt, I see the 900% return available to us on the tax dollars we pay to the federal government and I want to bring those dollars back to Oklahoma.”

-Rep. Marcus McEntire (R- Duncan), on why he is advocating for a plan to expand health coverage in Oklahoma [Source: Duncan Banner]

“As it now stands, our criminal justice system utterly fails rural Oklahomans. It incarcerates them disproportionately, offers inadequate treatment resources and is not in line with the wishes of the communities themselves.”

-Lee Denney, a former state Representative and the Oklahoma state director for USDA Rural Development [Source: Journal Record]

“We can’t just say, ‘Don’t vote for that.’ We can’t just keep saying, ‘No, no, no.’ We have to come up with a plan to improve health care in Oklahoma.”

-Gov. Kevin Stitt, speaking about the possibility of Medicaid expansion going to a ballot question [Source: Enid News & Eagle]