Together Tuesdays Update: almost half way there!

Photo from pslee999

Thanks for staying engaged! We are nearing mid-session and we have some really great opportunities to work together for the common good.  Your calls to your legislators are making a difference that we can see.  

As you know, last week was the deadline for passing bills through their house of origin.  That means some bills are off our to-do list.  Whew!

What happened in the past week and what we hope you’ll do about it?

We’ve had some great progress on Criminal Justice, Election Reform, and Curbing Unnecessary Tax Breaks!

Criminal Justice

Several Criminal Justice bills gained approval last week. Now we need you to keep the pressure on your legislators to continue to vote YAY for:
HB 2168 by McCullough and Newberry, Allows Oklahomans with a felony record to obtain job licenses for professions that do not substantially relate to their crime. Talking points HERE
HB 1574 by Williams and Griffin– Changes mandatory life without parole sentence for some drug trafficking convictions to twenty years to life imprisonment.
SB 211 by Anderson and Williams– Reduces the maximum sentence for an offender committing a non-violent crime within ten years of a previous conviction to 20 years instead of life.
Download the Smart On Crime Fact sheet HERE.

Election Reform

Healing our broken democracy is something that matters to us all and these Elections Reform bills really get that ball rolling. Five election reform bills have made it through their house of origin. Call your legislators and give them your list of these bills they need to vote YAY on to get them passed: 
SB 313 by Holt and Banz  – This allows eligible citizens with a driver’s license to securely register to vote online. 
HB 2181 by Hickman and Quinn and Makes it easier for third parties to get on the ballot.
SB 312 by Holt and Echols – This consolidates all local candidate elections to one cycle in the spring or one cycle in the fall.
SB 315 by Holt and Hall– Allows voters to request to be placed permanently on the absentee voter list, rather than the current practice of requiring an application each year.
SB 173 by Fry and Banz– Increases the number of absentee ballots a notary may notarize from 20 to 100 ballots per election.

Download the Election Reform Factsheet HERE

Speaking of elections check out and share this hilarious video made by an Oklahoman who would really like us to put out the fire because our village seems to be burning.

Curbing Unnecessary Tax Breaks

Many of our legislators seem to realize that we can’t go on giving out tax breaks without knowing who has them, how much they are for, and whether or not they are even working.  Ask them to continue voting YAY for SB 806 / HB 2183 by Bingman and Hickman and SB 815 / HB 2182 by Bingman and Hickman to make sure we know what is going on with the tax breaks and that all new ones have clearly stated goals.

Another big fight this session seems to be shaping up around the Constitutional Convention. Your legislators need to hear from you!

Oppose the Constitutional Convention

The Constitutional Convention resolution passed both the House and Senate by a narrow margin with their titles stricken.  That means that when these resolutions come up for a final vote they could still go either way. Leave no doubt with your legislators about where you stand!  Your legislators can be found HERE and they need to know that you know that calling a Con Con is a dangerous plan with potentially catastrophic results for our nation.

Tell your legislators to vote NAY on SJR 4 by Standridge and Echols and NAY on HJR 1018 by Banz and Brecheen!  It is not safe to assume that your legislators know this.  Please call them today! 

Issue Spotlight: Ways to Fill the Budget Hole

Our $600 million budget shortfall is putting the squeeze on Oklahoma state services that have already suffered many years of cuts .  Our legislators have some important choices to make about the state budget and we hope they’ll pay attention to OK Policy’s seven suggestions in our new fact sheet, Closing the Budget Gap:Options for a Balanced Approach.  Please make sure you share this fact sheet with your legislators and let them know that you know that they have options!

How together we are making a difference

We need some feedback from you to help us know if Oklahoma Policy Institute and our two coalitions, Together Oklahoma and Oklahoma Assets Network, are providing you with the information you need in the best way you can receive it.  Want to help us do this better?  Now is your chance by taking this brief survey and sharing it with your friends!

Thanks for being on the team!  Together we are creating a better future for all Oklahomans.