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Quotes of the Day

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“This initial movement is encouraging but big impact bills are still out there and those have to pass, without being watered down, to stop skyrocketing prison growth.”

– Chairman of Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform Kris Steele, commenting on the House passage of a bill relaxing penalties for 21 low-level property crimes. The bill was part of a major package of reforms introduced last year (Source)

“The time to act is now. No more delaying. No more putting things off. No more kicking the can down the road. No more addressing long-term budget problems with short-term solutions. We can do this, and we must do this now.”

– Gov. Mary Fallin, using her final State of the State address to call for raising new revenues to pay for priorities including a teacher pay raise (Source)

“My salary is decreasing every year because of the frozen benefit allowance and the rising cost of our insurance. I went from $1,520 to $1,480 in net (pay) last month. I have coworkers who need state assistance.”

– Sheri Herren, a social service specialist for the Department of Human Services in Ponca City, whose pay is shrinking as her workload increases (Source)

“There are a lot of different reasons why I am not supposed to be here. A poor kid from rural Osage County isn’t quite supposed to make it to a Senate seat. And then the district — definitely I wasn’t supposed to make it here as a Democrat. I definitely wasn’t supposed to make it here as a gay person, being the first elected official from Tulsa County to be openly gay.”

– Sen. Allison Ikley-Freeman, who was sworn into office on Thursday (Source)

“It is my intent to see those move as quickly as possible.”

– Oklahoma House Speaker Charles McCall on previously stymied criminal justice reform legislation (Source)

“The Legislature has a chance to show it can do good things for the people of Oklahoma. It’s no secret that the voters have lost a great deal of confidence in state government.”

– Andrew Speno, Right On Crime Oklahoma Director, expressing optimism for criminal justice reform legislation in the 2018 session (Source)

“It’s a common theme of the last decade: The Indian Nations are stepping up to invest in our communities and our people, and the state of Oklahoma is pulling the rug out from under us. It’s not right. It’s the opposite direction that we should be going.”

– Cherokee Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin, Jr., commenting on tribes’ contributions to public services as state dollars declined in recent years (Source)

“Our current level of funding is one of the lowest in the nation. If we want to provide for our seniors and allow them to live in dignity and comfort, the current budget situation is unsustainable. We have got to get these facilities more resources or we will see more closures and more displacement of vulnerable and frail Oklahomans. I hope our lawmakers are paying attention and discussing solutions. Our senior citizens need to know that help is on the way.”

– Nico Gomez, CEO of the Oklahoma Association of Health Care Providers, pointing out that Oklahoma nursing homes have lost over $93 million in state and federal appropriations since 2010 (Source)

“We stopped the movement for income tax repeal, and we’ve seen growing recognition … that there is a structural budget deficit, that we do have a revenue problem, that we need more revenue. And we have seen real, unprecedented openness to new taxes in the state.”

– David Blatt, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Policy Institute, speaking at our annual Budget Summit on the state of the Oklahoma Budget as we begin a new legislative session (Source)

“It’s less disruptive to the family right now, but I’m not sitting at home and tweaking my lessons as much as I would like. I’m not researching internet technology ideas for my teachers as much as I’d like. I’d be able to do those things, if it wasn’t working an additional 10-20 hours a week on top of a full-time teaching job.”

– Bartlesville middle school teacher Brian Davis, who has several part-time jobs, including driving for Uber, in order to make ends meet (Source)

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