“We had a funding-neutral bill with state agencies that can implement it and community-based organizations that are willing to support it and implement it, and it got hung up by ignorance and ideology. “I don’t understand how lawmakers up there couldn’t see that we need to make this a priority in Oklahoma with our awful statistics.”

– Stacey Wright, founder of Yes All Daughter, on the failure of a bill that would require schools to teach about consent and healthy relationships (Source: NonDoc)

“They’re back in their communities and many have skill set that could get them good jobs, (so) this would just give them more of a chance. Those who can get good jobs and housing have much less of a chance of going back to prison.”

– Rep. Cyndi Munson (D-OKC), on her bill (HB 2134) to reduce barriers to occupational licenses for people with prior criminal convictions [Source: Journal Record]

“Our teachers are spending a lot of their own money out of pocket to ensure their students have supplies, and we certainly intend to address classroom funding during the budgeting process. But this is one way we can get money directly into the classroom and also help those teachers recoup those costs so they don’t have to choose between their families and their students.”

– Oklahoma House Speaker Charles McCall, speaking in favor of HB 2502, a proposal to provide a $1,000 tax credit that teachers can claim for classroom expenditures and fees associated with the teacher certification process [Source: Skiatook Journal]

“It’s been 11 years [since the last cost-of-living increase for state pensioners]. I think it’s time. I think it’s the right thing to do.”

– Rep. Avery Frix, on the passage of HB 2304, which provides for a 4 percent cost of living adjustment from all six of the state’s retirement funds [Source: Tulsa World]

“We just can’t get people to come around and realize the economic benefits and health benefits. It’s very frustrating. That’s probably … the greatest detriment that this political rhetoric at the Capitol is having on the state of Oklahoma. It makes no sense whatsoever to leave federal funds on the table.”

– Rep. David Perryman (D-Chickasha) on the difficulty of moving legislation to expand Medicaid in Oklahoma [Source: CNHI]

“I think it’s a real mistake on their part, a failure to see the need and necessity of trying to make us as they say, ‘a Top 10 city’. One of those things is you help those folk that are most vulnerable, and I think they miss out on that every time.”

– Senator George Young lamenting the failure of legislation that would have increased the minimum wage this year  [Source: Norman Transcript]

“Each of the 157,083 babies in Oklahoma was born with a bundle of unlimited potential and the first three years of their life will shape every year that follows. But, far too many babies face persistent hardships — such as food insecurity, unstable housing and exposure to violence — that undermine their ability to grow and thrive.”

– Myra Jones-Taylor, chief policy officer of Zero to Three, a nonprofit child advocacy group. Research by Zero to Three and Child Trends found that Oklahoma was one of the worst states in the US for children up to three years old [Source: Enid News & Eagle]

“We are the ones who are directly affected by the decisions of our legislators and we are not fooled by vague promises. Oklahoma continues to have budget problems because of ill-advised tax cuts and a lack of high expectations for public education. Hoping the economy continues to do well is not the leadership our representatives should demonstrate. It’s defeatism. It’s treading water. We deserve better.” 

– Bartlesville High School senior Liza Williams [Source: Tulsa World]

“Our responsiveness is certainly diminished.”

– James Joslin, assistant deputy director of protective health services at Oklahoma State Department of Health Jail Inspection Division, on the challenges to inspecting the state’s 131 jails each year, as well as complaints or critical incidents in jails, with only one full-time and one part-time employee [Source: The Frontier]

“The proposal [to make State Question 780 retroactive] isn’t just a matter of reducing the number of people in prison, although it would do that. It is also a matter of justice. The intent of SQ 780 was a new way of thinking about nonviolent crime. It only makes sense to extend the same justice to people convicted prior to the vote.”

– The Tulsa World Editorial Board, urging the Legislature to approve HB 1269 [Source: Tulsa World]