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Quotes of the Day

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June 20,

“That is a huge jump. I think that part of it is because we had students that rolled over from last year that were already homeless [and] hopefully, better identification within the schools.”

Kathy Brown, the homeless education coordinator for the Oklahoma City public schools, where the number of identified homeless students jumped from 3,600 in 2016 to more than 5,400 this past year (Source)

June 19,

“I was very disappointed. There is a lot of expense in criminal justice. We spent $1.3 billion this year on prisons, and we are incarcerating so many people – a majority of them non-violent. I couldn’t believe those bills got hung up in committee and it kind of made everybody upset. Those bills could save us tens of millions of dollars in the coming years.”

-Sen. Dewayne Pemberton (R-Muskogee) speaking about the Criminal Justice Reform Task Force bills that did not pass the legislature this year (Source)

June 16,

“It is likely we’ll be back here next spring talking about a crisis. Unless we change our method of governing and leading, that will most likely happen. My hope is legislative leaders get together this fall, create a plan and pass that next February instead of waiting until May.”

– Shawn Hime, executive director of the Oklahoma State School Boards Association, on education funding in Oklahoma (Source)

June 15,

“You cannot sentence one of an abuser’s victims to 30 years in prison for failure to stop his crime, particularly when that abuser walks free the day he pleads. That creates an incredible injustice.”

– American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma Legal Director Brady Director, on the ACL’s plan to file a lawsuit challenging the 30-year prison sentence given to Tondalao Hall in 2006 for failing to protect her children from her abusive boyfriend, who was sentenced to two years (Source)

June 14,

“I think roads are important but I think schools are more important. I can dodge a pothole, I can repair a car tire, I can’t re-educate my child if it doesn’t get done right the first time. We need to invest in our future and that’s our children. Oklahoma is doing a terrible job at it and we need to do better.”

– Oklahoma City parent Nick Singer, arguing for a portion of city sales taxes to go to local schools (Source)

June 13,

“This wage increase is being proposed now because the district was waiting for some certainty regarding common education funding. We would have loved to make this decision earlier, but the Legislature didn’t fund education in a timely manner.”

– Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Aurora Lora, on providing pay increases to the district’s teachers (Source)

June 12,

“Oklahoma’s ill-considered state income tax cuts have devastated the state’s ability to fund public schools, higher education, health, mental health and public safety. The promise of short-term economic growth never appeared, and the state’s long-term prospects are being cut short by these self-inflicted wounds.”

– Tulsa World Editorial Writers regarding Kansas’s decision last week to rollback many of the tax cuts of 2012 (Source)

June 9,

“The stakes of this case for the public cannot be overstated.”

– From a lawsuit filed by Philip Morris USA, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co, and other plaintiffs claiming the $1.50 per pack tobacco ‘fee’ passed by lawmakers earlier this spring is unconstitutional. If the fee is struck down, it would leave a multimillion dollar hole in the state budget (Source)

June 8,

“Now we have a source of money. Then we can work our way out of the hole that we’re in. It’s almost like you can breathe.”

– Kansas state Rep. Barbara Ballard (D-Lawrence), describing state Legislature’s override of Gov. Sam Brownback’s veto of a $1.2 billion tax increase, including rolling back his landmark tax cuts. Kansas faced a $900 million budget shortfall this year (Source)

June 7,

“Some have said we are doing this too fast, that it took Texas six years to accomplish what we are trying to do in two. Let’s not forget, we are facing a dire financial situation to the tune of an additional $2 billion to incarcerate even more Oklahomans. While disappointed with the lack of progress this session, I remain committed to criminal justice reform and will continue the push to make Oklahoma smarter on how we confront crime.”

– Gov. Mary Fallin, on the need to pursue criminal justice reform after the bulk of the proposals put forth by the Justice Reform Task Force fell short of passage this year (Source)