This week all bills must be out of their house of origin! Read on to see how several of our priorities are doing and what you can do to help them along.
Get Smart on Crime:
HB 2168, which will make it easier for Oklahomans with a felony record to obtain job licenses to work, will be heard THIS WEEK by the House of Representatives. Legislative Liaison Damario Solomon-Simmons will be at the Capitol all week talking with legislators to help get this passed, but your voice is needed. So, please call your Oklahoma House of Representative and ask them to vote YES on HB 2168!!
Criminal Justice bills to watch:
- HOUSE BILL 2168 by McCullough– Allows Oklahomans with a felony record to obtain job licenses for professions that do not substantially relate to their crime.
- Download the talking points for this bill HERE.
- HOUSE BILL 1518 by Peterson and Shaw– Allows courts to deviate from mandatory minimum sentences when they are not in the interest of justice and doing so would not endanger the public. OK Policy discussed this bill in the blog post, Oklahoma’s mandatory minimum punishments too often don’t fit the crime
- HOUSE BILL 1574 by Williams- Changes mandatory life without parole sentence for some drug trafficking convictions to twenty years to life imprisonment.
- SENATE BILL 112 by Shaw– Allows offenders convicted of crimes that require them to serve 85 percent of their sentence to earn credits for good behavior before reaching 85 percent. This bill has been requested by corrections officers to give them more leverage to encourage good behavior by inmates. A similar House bill (HB 1117) has been approved by committee but was severely weakened by amendment that applies it only to inmates sentenced in 2016 or later.
- SENATE BILL 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.
Boost Electoral Participation:
Some bills are on the move and your legislators need to hear from you! SB 315 and HB 1559 that allow for permanent absentee status, as well as SB 312 consolidating the dates for local elections, and SB 173 that increases the cap on notarized ballots have all made it through the first chamber. However, other election reform bills including HB 2181 to reduce the party petitioning requirement and SB 313 and HB 1846 that allow eligible citizens to register to vote online are still awaiting votes. Remember all these bills must be out of their chamber of origin by the end of this week. Ask your legislators to vote YAY on HB1846, HB2181,SB312,SB315, and SB173 to help us repair Oklahoma’s Broken Democracy
Election Bills to watch:
- HOUSE BILL 1846 by Inman and Bass and Senate Bill 313 by Holt – This allows eligible citizens with a driver’s license to securely register to vote online. Over half the states offer this modern accommodation. Over a third of eligible Oklahoma voters are not registered to vote. Younger voters especially are not used to a world where such tasks cannot be accomplished online.
- HOUSE BILL 2181 by Hickman Makes it easier for third parties to get on the ballot. (include some language from above)
- SENATE BILL 312 by Holt – This consolidates all local candidate elections to one cycle in the spring or one cycle in the fall. Currently, for example, in Oklahoma City this year, school board and career tech board elections were held in February, but city council elections will be held in March.
- SENATE BILL 315 by Holt and SENATE BILL 173 by Fry and Banz– SB315 allows voters to request to be placed permanently on the absentee voter list, rather than the current practice of requiring an application each year. SB173 increases the number of absentee ballots a notary may notarize from 20 to 100 ballots per election.
- Download the Election Reform Factsheet HERE
Oppose Constitutional Convention:
Please call both of your legislators this week and tell them we need them to vote NAY on HB1804, NAY on HJR 1018, NAY on SB 53, and NAY on SJR 4.
A Constitutional Convention cannot be controlled once it is called, so a runaway convention could make extreme, unexpected changes to our system of government.
The stated purpose for convening a constitutional convention is to add a balanced budget amendment to the federal Constitution and impose other limits on federal powers. But even if one supports the proponents’ goals, a constitutional convention poses an untested, uncertain, and uncontrollable approach to the problem.
Constitutional Convention bills to watch:
- HOUSE BILL 1804 and HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION 1018 by Banz and Brecheen– Calls for a constitutional convention to amend the U.S. Constitution in order to approve a federal balanced budget amendment, among other changes.
- SENATE BILL 53 and SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION 4 by Standridge and Echols (passed committee 8-5)-Calls for a constitutional convention to amend the U.S. Constitution in order to approve a federal balanced budget amendment, among other changes.
How together we are making a difference
Together we are crafting a better future for Oklahoma!