Oklahoma has the highest incarceration rate in the nation. This crisis impacts some communities more than others. Contact your state representative today and ask them to support HB 1855 (by Rep. Brian Hill). This bill would require community impact statements for criminal justice legislation. A community impact statement reveals a proposed bill’s impact on underserved communities and makes sure legislation wouldn’t unfairly impact marginalized populations.
One mistake shouldn’t derail someone’s opportunity to support themselves and their family. Please contact your state representative and ask them to vote yes to HB 1373 (Rep. Zack Taylor) and HB 2134 (Rep. Cyndi Munson). These bills would prohibit blanket bans of individuals with a criminal history — only crimes that are violent or sexual in nature or that relate directly to the duties of the particular job or occupation could automatically disqualify an individual from a license. Find your state representative here.
SB 605, a bill which would expand access to health coverage, passed out of committee last week on a unanimous, bipartisan vote and has now been assigned to the full Senate Appropriations Committee. Unfortunately, it has not been brought up for a vote and is not on the agenda to be heard. The deadline for bills to make it out of committee is this Thursday.
February 7, 2019. It was Lending Reform day at the Capitol, and many advocates were eager to talk about better lending practices with their legislators. A week earlier, Together Oklahoma (TOK) held several events across the state for members of the community to join in on the conversation about predatory lending. It was here that three TOK members from the Carter County chapter decided to take action. On February 7th at 9 o’clock in the morning, those three determined members and TOK Southeast Field Coordinator, Kyle Lawson braved icy roads and a slick parking lot. “We had a unique group, each with their own area of concern,” he reflected.
Oklahoma House members approved another teacher pay raise last week. HB 1780, which increases teacher pay by $1,200, passed unanimously and now heads to the Senate. This is good news for teachers, but a small raise will do little to address the conditions teachers have endured over the past decade.
For many Oklahomans, visiting a legislator is something new. Even those of us have been to a rally on the lawn may not have working knowledge of how to do one of the most important things you can do at your state Capitol — and that is to have a productive conversation with legislators. This tipsheet will go through each of these steps for how to do it:
Oklahoma’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is modeled on an a federal tax credit that has been proven to be effective in encouraging work and supporting low-income families with children. But in 2016 , the Legislature slashed the state EITC for over 200,000 Oklahoma families by making the credit “non-refundable,” meaning it does nothing for families who pay sales taxes and property taxes but don’t earn enough to pay state income taxes.
This year, Oklahoma lawmakers have the opportunity to bring Oklahomans the health care they need. SB 605, authored by Sen. McCortney, represents an important first step in the discussion about expanding access to health insurance in Oklahoma. SB 605 is up for a vote in the Senate Retirement and Insurance committee TODAY at 10am. Please call committee members and ask them to vote YES on SB 605.
Oklahoma leads the nation in incarceration. Oklahomans are put behind bars for things as minor as simple drug possession and inability to pay a fine or a fee. This practice costs our state millions of dollars which could go towards real solutions like job training and mental health and substance abuse treatment. Additionally, it is not making us any safer. Fortunately, there is something you can do right now. Please call your legislators and ask them to vote YES to two bills that will help break this cycle of over-incarceration.
The next legislative session starts on February 4th. A new class of legislators is headed to the Capitol soon to start tackling important issues. So now what do we do? For people like you and me who advocate for policies that improve the lives of Oklahomans, our work doesn’t end after election day. With so many new legislators, it’s key time to let them know who we are and what we care about. Here are three things you can do to start the next legislative session off on the right foot.