“If Medicaid expansion is a good idea for parts of the state, why not the whole state? Don’t all working poor Oklahomans deserve the same health care coverage?”

-Tulsa World editorial on a bill by House Speaker Charles McCall that would make Oklahoma counties individually apply for Medicaid expansion and pay for the state share with local sales or property taxes [Source: Tulsa World]

“All of us should remember, there is nothing partisan or agenda-driven about taking an accurate headcount of our population. We all want properly funded roads, schools and health care programs, and all of that hinges, in part, on the results of the U.S. Census.”

-Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy CEO Joe Dorman, writing about the importance of accurately completing the 2020 Census [Source: Ada News]

“Oklahoma correctional officers are losing their lives at an alarming rate, and people are not speaking up.”

-Rep. Justin Humphrey, R-Lane, who wrote that correctional officers and prison employees are working for too many hours supervising overcrowded, rundown faculties [Source: NewsOK]

“To understand the scope of the crisis Oklahoma faces because we lead the nation — and the world — in incarceration, consider this: If Oklahoma released half of our people behind bars today, we would only drop to the national average while still locking up more people than any other country in the world.”

-Alison Buxton, policy director for Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform [Source: NonDoc]

“We are going to make another investment in education this year, but I will tell you that over the past 10 years of the history of agencies, a lot of agencies were cut significantly. I believe all ships rise with the tide, so there will be other investments in other agencies.”

-House Appropriations and Budget Committee Chairman Kevin Wallace, R-Wellston. Out of 65 appropriated agencies, 39 remain 20 percent or more below their FY 2009 funding, without adjusting for nearly a decade of inflation. [Source: Tulsa World]

“The Census Bureau wants you to know completing the census is safe, it’s confidential and it’s easy. Each Oklahoman is counted as $1,675 in federal funds available from the federal government for programs we utilize in the city and the state.”

-Tricia Woodward, a partnership specialist with the U.S. Census Bureau [Source: Tulsa World]

“Recently, after assisting with an expungement, an older client said ‘I can hold my head up now and die with a clean record. I can’t tell you how much that means to me.’”

-Attorney Peter Scimeca, writing about a new law that allows Oklahomans convicted of nonviolent felony crimes to become eligible for expungements after not receiving any other convictions for seven years [Source: Journal Record]

“Even in the best times we’ve had in 30 years, still we’re slowly bleeding folks with bachelor’s degrees.”

-Economist Chad Wilkerson, whose study found that Oklahoma’s population growth rate is at its lowest since 1990 because the state is losing college graduates to other states [Source: KGOU]

“In the 2010 Census, Native Americans were undercounted at about 4.9 percent less, a rate more than double the next-closest population group.”

-Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby, speaking at a news conference on the importance of getting an accurate count during next year’s Census. Undercounting can mean lost funding for education, health care, housing and other services treaties require of the federal government. [Source: Public Radio Tulsa]

“I realized in seeking such an extreme sentence for her, I had denied her the opportunity to prove she could grow, change, rehabilitate and show she was worthy of a second chance. I was wrong about her. And current policies that deny children the opportunity to demonstrate that they can be rehabilitated are also wrong, both legally and morally.”

-Rep. Ben Loring, writing about a 17-year-old whom he prosecuted with a life without parole sentence when he was a district attorney [Source: Tulsa World]