Just like my grandma used to say, “Many hands make light work.” We are aiming to make the work of advocating for our shared priorites a bit lighter this year via the Together Oklahoma Coalition. You all did some great advocating last year, and If you have friends who aren’t getting our action alerts, now is a great time to invite them to sign up on our Together Oklahoma website right here. Now is also a great time for you or your organization to invite us to speak about what is going on at the state Legislature and how we can affect their decisions. The speaker slots fill up fast, so use this form to invite us to speak to your group.
While Oklahoma faces many challenges today, the following priorities have been chosen by our team because they are the right combination of urgent, important, and achieveable for the 2015 legislative session.
We hope you’ll join our chorus of voices calling for these policy initiatives. Together we have the ability to improve the quality of life for all Oklahomans!
Together Oklahoma Priorities for 2015
Oppose Constitutional Convention
Something fishy is brewing and you need to know about this threat to American democracy. A well-funded, nationwide effort is pushing state legislatures to pass resolutions calling for a new constitutional convention (or Con Con for short) to add a balanced budget requirement and make other changes to the U.S. Constitution. This dangerous Con Con plan could not be controlled once convened, and a balanced budget requirement would pose a serious threat to our economy.
Curb Unnecessary Tax Breaks
Legislators on both sides of the aisle have realized that Oklahoma has too many unnecessary and unaffordable tax breaks for businesses who don’t need the extra incentives to invest in Oklahoma. Funding to every core service that you depend on is lost when we don’t have the necessary oversight to rein in wasteful tax subsidies.
Boost Electoral Participation
As you know from Oklahoma Policy Institute’s Repairing Oklahoma’s Broken Democracy issue brief, Oklahomans’ participation in electoral democracy has reached a historic low. Several reasonable and innovative bills have been introduced this session that can make it easier to vote and allow more choices at the ballot box.
Restore Education Funding
In order to be economically competitive, Oklahoma needs to restore our investment in education. Our cuts to per-pupil education funding have been the largest in the nation, and many of our most talented and effective educators are leaving for other states or professions. It’s time to pay attention to our future and invest in Oklahoma kids.
Get Smart on Crime
Oklahoma needs to move quickly to reduce the number of non-violent offenders being sent to prison, eliminate barriers to ex-felons who want to do the right thing and rejoin society, and expand evidence-based substance abuse and mental health treatment programs that are our most needed alternatives to prison.
Expand Health Coverage
Today we have a huge opportunity to save lives and protect struggling health care providers by expanding health coverage to uninsured low-income workers and their families, at little cost to the state. As long as we continue to refuse federal funds, Oklahomans’ tax dollars will be paying for medical care in other states while our citizens go without.
Those are our priorities to kick off the session. Click here to download and share our 6 priorities as a single 2-page fact sheet.
In the coming weeks we’ll keep everyone on the Together Oklahoma list aware of adjustments we make in response to action in the Legislature. We hope that you will begin communicating about these important topics with your legislators right away (find contact info for your legislators here). A lot happens in the first few weeks of session, and your call or visit can be the one that makes a difference to make sure these important issues are given consideration this spring.
Thank you for your time and all you do to make Oklahoma a great place to call home!
Kara-Joy McKee and the Together Oklahoma team