- Call to Action
- Top Priorities
- Other issues to watch
- Upcoming events
- Advocacy tips
Call to Action
Are you nervous to talk to your legislators? Use the buddy system! Decide todaywho can go with you to the capitol for regular visits, who can help you practice telling your story, remind you to make calls and send hand-written letters, and keep notes on who is doing what they said they’d do. You can cheer each other on and make it so much easier!
Each week we send easy action items to help you KNOW the issues, CONNECT with lawmakers, and COMMUNICATE your values and priorities. For example, this week you can:
KNOW: Check out our handy dandy 2014 Legislative Primer so you can know who has what power and how it gets done!
COMMUNICATE: Your story matters! Legislators don’t need you to be an expert for your opinion to matter. They need to know what matters to the people in their district and why, Your story helps them explain the positions they take. Take some time in advance to write about why each one of our three priorities personally matters to you. Use your own words and specific examples now so that you are ready to share the points that matter most to you!
TOK Top Priorities
Support these three priorities this year because:
- They each make waves
- They aren’t too much to ask
- We can get these done and move on!
Restore Education Funding
(to at least 2008 levels. COME ON! Right?)
Fast Fact: The number of children in the Oklahoma Public school system has increased by 31,000 since 2008. At the same time Oklahoma has cut funding for primary and secondary schools by 20% after adjusting for inflation. (Source)
Quotable comment: “March 31st is about kids needing additional funding, less high-stakes testing, and more local control. being funded at 2008 levels with more kids and higher fixed costs like fuel, electricity and water is simple math.” – Sand Springs Superintendent Loyd Snow, on why Oklahoma school districts are cancelling class for students and teachers to attend an education rally at the state Capitol (Source)
Learn more about countries with the highest performing students in the world and how they got that way on the Schooled podcast.
Protect essential revenues
(Let’s spend our taxes on the core services that improve life and make Oklahoma a business friendly economy!)
Stop unaffordable tax cuts
Fast fact: Under Governor Fallin’s tax cut plan, middle-income families would get an average tax cut of $29 per year and 41% of Oklahomans would see no tax cut at all, while the wealthiest 1 percent would get more than $2,000 per year. (Source)
Quotable comment: “At some point you have to realize that you have to have revenue: you have to pay for core services that our citizens depend on. You can’t continue to erode the revenue stream. -State Treasurer Ken Miller talking about the Governors tax cut plan (Source)
Read more about how Budget cuts plus tax cuts don’t add up.
Reign in unnecessary tax breaks
Fast fact: Even without large tax breaks for horizontal drilling. Oklahoma’s taxes on these drills would be lower or nearly the same as other major oil producing states. (Source)
Quotable comment: “The tax break was given over a period of time so they could experiment with horizontal drilling, and it worked. It has done a great job, but the period of experimentation is over…. The companies are coming to Oklahoma because the oil is in the ground” – Rep. Pat Ownbey, R-Ardmore, who is co-authoring a bill to raise Oklahoma’s minimum teacher salaries and pay for it by reducing a tax break for horizontal drilling (Source)
Learn how some lawmakers want to reign in horizontal drilling to fund raises for Oklahoma teachers.
Expand health coverage
Fast fact: Nearly 25,000 Oklahomans have chosen health insurance plans on the Affordable Care Act marketplace as of February 1st. (Source)
Quotable comment: “Poverty and access to health care are interrelated in rural Oklahoma. … I worked with small family farmers in western Oklahoma… most had accepted the reality that health insurance was out of reach, and few asked.”
Read more about enrollment in the ACA increasing in Oklahoma and across the nation.
Be brief, clear, accurate, persuasive, timely, persistent, grateful, and polite when presenting your position and communicating what you need/want from a legislator or legislative staff member.
You might have heard the saying, “Washington is Hollywood for ugly people”. You may feel that same way about our state legislators. The truth is that your legislators are just regular people. Some are better at their jobs than others but none of them are superstars who should look down their noses at constituents. After last week, you have looked up who your lawmakers are and how to contact them. Now it’s time to find out what they care about and what committees they are on. Information can be found on their legislative page (House here and Senatehere) and on their personal website. Ask your legislative buddy to research them with you!