Whatzup Politics (1233)
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The keynote speaker, breakout leaders and the legislative panel has been announced for a youth provider summit focused on Oklahoma’s homeless and displaced youth population. The summit, hosted by State. Rep. Chelsey Branham, will be broadcast virtually for attendees Sept. 10.
Oklahoma DHS Child Welfare Director Dr. Deb Shropshire is scheduled to be the keynote speaker for the event. Shropshire is a pediatrician and associate professor at the Children’s Hospital at OUHSC. She joined the Oklahoma Department of Human Services - Child Welfare Division in 2014 and was named its director in June 2019. Her advocacy and heart for traumatized children and families have been nationally recognized.
“Dr. Shropshire is a wealth of knowledge and experience,” Branham said. “She is going to be able to help attendees understand the breadth and depth of this issue as well as ways to address it.”
The summit will also include a series of breakout sessions after Shropshire’s address. Each breakout session will focus on a different topic related to homeless and displaced youth. The leaders of the breakout are Jamie Caves, SISU Youth Services; Amy Curran, Generation Citizen; Jennifer Goodrich, Pivot; Keith Pirtle, Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth; Dr. Peter Messiah, Oklahoma Association of Youth Services; The Youth Board, Oklahoma Department of Human Services.
“Young people want to participate in their community in valuable ways,” Curran said. “Often, there is a lack of effective communication between youth and their adult community members. When civic development among youth is partnered with intentional community engagement, significant transformation happens. Our involvement in this summit comes from a desire to foster better communication between these stakeholders.”
The summit concludes with a bipartisan, bicameral legislative panel to discuss efforts currently being made in the Legislature to address the issues of homeless and displaced youth.
Legislative Panel Members include:
Senate Democratic Leader, Sen. Kay Floyd
Sen. Adam Pugh
Rep. Mark Lawson
House Democratic Minority Chair, Rep. Cyndi Munson
“We aren’t going to solve all the problems facing this vulnerable Oklahoma population,” Branham said. “We hope that we can continue to push for more education, resources, and collaborative solutions that lead to safer more prosperous outcomes for our young people.”
SUMMIT SIGN UP LINK: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60b0e4ca8af2ca1fe3-youth
Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) released the following statement after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service downlisted the American burying beetle (ABB) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), from endangered to threatened.
"For 45 years, the Endangered Species Act has not fulfilled its mission and instead created burdensome red tape and unnecessary obstacles for landowners, small businesses, and communities to comply with," Mullin said. “In Oklahoma, the American Burying Beetle continued to be on the endangered species list, despite a substantial increase in conservation efforts which should have removed it from the list. I applaud the Trump Administration for finalizing the rule to downlist the American Burying Beetle and give regulatory certainty to landowners."
More information on the decision can be found here.
OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Lewis Moore, R-Edmond, today held an interim study focusing on ways to serve first responders.
Presenters at the study discussed current resources and techniques first responders have available, and also shared some stories of programs designed to address this issue, such as one implemented two years ago by the Tulsa Police Department. Additionally, presenters highlighted training and funding needs to better equip first responders and their families in the future.
“Recent years have put a greater spotlight on the mental health needs of our first responders and their families,” Moore said. “Our first responders daily are on the frontline serving the public while also dealing with stress and trauma and other effects within their own ranks. They need proper training and equipment, and it is urgent that we secure additional funding, especially for our police departments.”
Moore has been a leader on this issue at the state Capitol. He has worked with Landmark Recovery to serve individuals with drug and alcohol addiction.
Speakers at today’s interim study included:
Carrie Slatton-Hodges, commissioner of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services; Verna Foust, CEO of Red Rock Behavioral Health Services; John Graham, EMSA Chief of Staff; and Sgt. Amber McCarthy with Tulsa Police Department.
Help for first responders can be found at Red Rock’s crisis line 405-987-ROCK (7625) or online at the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, https://www.ok.gov/odmhsas/.
Interim studies give lawmakers a chance to hear from experts, asked detailed questions and examine issues in greater depth than is often possible during the legislative session. Today’s study was one of more than 70 approved by the speaker of the House.
Lewis Moore serves District 96 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which includes parts of Eastern Oklahoma County.
Study Looks at Admissions Process to Expand Higher-Ed Removing Barriers to College Important Aspect of CJR
OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Melissa Provenzano, D-Tulsa, and State Rep. Trish Ranson, D-Stillwater, hosted an interim study Tuesday focused on expanding higher education opportunities for Oklahomans released from prison.
‘Beyond the Box: Equity in Admissions in Oklahoma’ evaluated Oklahoma’s college admission processes that may potentially hinder individuals from receiving access to education.
“As we continue to reform our criminal justice system, we are going to move away from being the number one state for incarceration and become the number one post-incarcerated state,” Ranson said. “We know that education is the quickest way to upward economic mobility and stability, as well as breaking the recidivism cycle. This study is about assessing where we are now and where we can grow higher education to include this marginalized population.”
Each presenter provided firsthand accounts and empirical data that supports the removal of barriers like asking about criminal history on a college application. In many situations, applicants with even minor offenses will simply discontinue the application process upon being asked this question.
Speakers participating in the study included:
Patricia DeBolt - University of Tulsa
Shad Hagan - Langston University
Aleigha Mariott -- Oklahoma State University
Colleen McCarty -- Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform
Brooke Randels -- Higher education professional
Mike Reilly -- American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers
Dr. Judith Scott-Clayton -- Columbia Professor expert of ‘Ban the Box’
Damion Shade - Oklahoma Policy Institute
Kallie Watkins -- Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform
Provenzano pointed to the fact that the widely used “Common App” has already removed this question from their application, and the handful of universities in Oklahoma that utilize it have put in place post-application procedures that ensure safety standards remain.
“Campus safety is something that we cannot and will not compromise,” Provenzano said. “The data presented yesterday clearly highlights the fact that our campuses are actually pretty safe spaces. We learned today that what crimes are committed on a campus are by and large by first time offenders – those with no prior criminal history. It is time for us to consider as a state whether answering this question on a college application is serving its intended purpose, or if it is serving as a deterrent for those who have paid their debt to society and are seeking to better their lives through education.”
Talk About Hypocrisy
By Congressman Markwayne Mullin
Last week, Speaker Nancy Pelosi called President Trump and Republicans in Congress “domestic enemies.” Honestly, I’m not even a little bit surprised she said it.
Here are just a few examples of how the radical left feels about President Trump and people who disagree with them:
“Our democracy is under siege. People need to start taking to the streets. This is a dictator!” – MSNBC contributor Donny Deutsch on 2/2/2018
“If we were in high school, I'd take him [President Trump] behind the gym and beat the hell out of him.” – Former Vice President Joe Biden on 3/21/2018
“I just don't even know why there aren't uprisings all over the country. And maybe there will be.” – Speaker Nancy Pelosi on 6/14/2018
“If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.” – Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) on 6/25/2018
“Get up and please get up in the face of some congresspeople." – Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) on 7/25/2018
“When they go low, we kick ‘em.” – Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on 10/7/2018
“You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about." – Hillary Clinton on 10/9/2018
“Show me where protests are supposed to be polite and peaceful.” – CNN’s Chris Cuomo on 6/2/2020
“If people loot, so what? Burn it to the ground.” – Kim Olson, Democratic candidate in Texas’s 24th Congressional District on 6/9/2020
“They’re [protests] not gonna stop before election day in November, and they’re not gonna stop after election day. And that should be – everyone should take note of that.” – Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) on 6/18/2020
“We cannot stop at the criminal justice system, we must begin the work of dismantling the whole system of oppression wherever we find it.” – Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) on 7/7/2020
“There needs to be unrest in the streets for as long as there is unrest in our lives.” – Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) on 8/15/2020
Since the day President Trump was elected, the radical, left-wing Democrats have been all about resisting him, no matter the cost. Cities are literally in flames. Businesses are being lost to rioters and looters. People are getting hurt. But Speaker Pelosi is the one calling Republicans the enemies? Talk about hypocrisy.
Want to stay up-to-date on what I’m doing in Oklahoma and Washington on your behalf? Sign up for my newsletter by visiting Mullin.house.gov/newslettersignup.
OKLAHOMA CITY – In a historic move, all Oklahomans will have direct representation in the House of Representatives redistricting process after House Speaker Charles McCall appointed all House members to redistricting committees Monday.
“House members work directly for the people. Because these are the people’s districts, the House is putting the people in charge of the redistricting process,” said McCall, R-Atoka. “With this approach, more Oklahomans than ever are involved in their redistricting. This process has the highest level of accountability for the people because they directly elect their representatives.”
Eight regional redistricting subcommittees will go directly to the public to ask citizens how House districts should look for the next decade. In-person and virtual town halls, online submissions, citizen surveys and more will be used to gather extensive public input throughout the fall and winter ahead of the 2021 legislative session. Each House member will serve on a regional subcommittee.
Using the public’s input, subcommittees will produce regional maps used to build the statewide House district map.
“Public input from each region of Oklahoma is the foundation of the House’s inclusive, transparent and fully legal process to produce fair representation for all Oklahomans for another decade,” McCall said. “Oklahoma has a more than century-long track record of successful redistricting without any court determinations of improper gerrymandering. This process will maintain and improve upon that positive history.”
Every ten years, the Oklahoma Constitution requires each legislative chamber to redraw its own districts and congressional districts following the release of decennial U.S. Census data.
The 2020 census count ends Sept. 30 and final data will be delivered to states in spring 2021, at which point the Legislature is constitutionally required to enact a redistricting plan for the next decade.
A standing House Redistricting Committee will receive each regional subcommittee’s plan and be responsible for producing a statewide map for consideration by the full House in the 2021 legislative session.
McCall appointed Rep. Ryan Martinez, R-Edmond, as chairman of the Redistricting Committee. Appointed as vice-chairs were Rep. Emily Virgin, D-Norman, and Rep. Brad Boles, R-Marlow.
“The diverse, bipartisan leadership of the standing committee and regional subcommittees will listen to all Oklahomans and empower them to shape their districts fairly, legally and transparently,” McCall said.
The full Redistricting Committee will be appointed after the seating of the 58th Legislature in November.
“Our job is to give the public an open forum to redraw their districts,” Martinez said. “Each House member represents nearly 40,000 Oklahomans on average, and by involving each House member directly, we are involving all Oklahomans more than ever before. I look forward to citizens really taking ownership of this process and telling us what they want in their districts.”
Following the 2010 Census, Oklahoma’s 101 House districts had a population target of 37,142 constituents per district. District populations are expected to grow after the conclusion of the 2020 Census.
“Oklahoma’s diversity is our strength. We will prioritize gathering all perspectives – urban, rural, age, gender, race, profession, socioeconomic status and many others – to produce House districts that truly represent Oklahoma,” Boles said.
To assist the redistricting committees, a House Redistricting Office has been established to provide technical support to the committees. As it was a decade ago, the office is comprised of nonpartisan, professional staffers with expertise in redistricting process, law, mapping and more.
“The House redistricting process ten years ago was generally well-received, and we are hopeful this one is, as well. Our Caucus will work to ensure fairness, transparency and accountability in redistricting, and we appreciate Speaker McCall’s bipartisan approach to this matter to date,” Virgin said.
House members whose districts fall in multiple regions may choose one regional subcommittee to serve on for the purposes of voting on regional maps. Once these selections are made, final subcommittee lists will be released.
While members can serve on one subcommittee only for voting purposes, they can participate in any regional subcommittee’s public input activities as they see fit based on the needs and requests of constituents.
Tentative regional subcommittee membership is as follows:
- Chair: Rep. Carl Newton
- Vice Chair: Rep. Brian Hill
- Rep. Rhonda Baker*
- Rep. Denise Crosswhite Hader*
- Rep. Kenton Patzkowsky
- Rep. Todd Russ*
- Rep. Mike Sanders
- Rep. Jay Steagall
- Rep. Harold Wright*
- Chair: Rep. Trey Caldwell
- Vice Chair: Rep. Toni Hasenbeck
- Rep. Brad Boles
- Rep. Marcus McEntire
- Rep. Charles Ortega
- Rep. Daniel Pae
- Rep. David Perryman
- Rep. Rande Worthen
- Chair: Rep. Tammy Townley
- Vice Chair: Rep. Ronny Johns
- Rep. Merelyn Bell
- Rep. Sherrie Conley
- Rep. Tommy Hardin
- House District 28 – vacant
- Rep. Chris Kannady
- Rep. Dell Kerbs
- Rep. Mark McBride
- Speaker Charles McCall
- Rep. Cynthia Roe
- Rep. Danny Sterling
- Rep. Jacob Rosencrants
- Rep. Emily Virgin
- Chair: Rep. Ty Burns
- Vice Chair: Rep. John Talley
- Rep. Chad Caldwell
- Rep. Kyle Hilbert
- Rep. Mark Lawson
- Rep. Ken Luttrell
- Rep. Garry Mize
- Rep. John Pfeiffer
- Rep. Trish Ranson
- Rep. Sean Roberts
- Rep. Kevin Wallace
- Chair: Rep. Nicole Miller
- Vice Chair: Rep. Ajay Pittman
- Rep. Kelly Albright
- Rep. Forrest Bennett
- Rep. Chelsey Branham
- Rep. Mickey Dollens
- Rep. Jason Dunnington
- Rep. Jon Echols
- Rep. Andy Fugate
- House District 89 – vacant
- Rep. Jason Lowe
- Rep. Robert Manger
- Rep. Ryan Martinez
- Rep. Lewis Moore
- Rep. Cyndi Munson
- Rep. Mike Osburn
- Rep. Marilyn Stark
- Rep. Collin Walke
- Rep. Kevin West
- Rep. Tammy West
- Chair: Rep. Sheila Dills
- Vice Chair: Rep. Monroe Nichols
- Rep. Meloyde Blancett
- Rep. Jeff Boatman
- Rep. Denise Brewer
- Rep. Carol Bush
- Rep. Ross Ford
- Rep. Dean Davis
- Rep. Regina Goodwin
- Rep. T.J. Marti
- Rep. Stan May
- Rep. Jadine Nollan
- Rep. Terry O’Donnell
- Rep. Melissa Provenzano
- Rep. Lonnie Sims
- Rep. Mark Vancuren
- Rep. John Waldron
- Chair: Rep. Jim Olsen
- Vice Chair: Rep. Rusty Cornwell
- Rep. Scott Fetgatter
- Rep. Derrel Fincher*
- Rep. Avery Frix*
- Rep. Tom Gann
- Rep. David Hardin
- Rep. Mark Lepak
- Rep. Ben Loring
- Rep. Kevin McDugle
- Rep. Matt Meridith
- Rep. Logan Phillips*
- Rep. Chris Sneed
- Rep. Judd Strom*
- Rep. Josh West
- Chair: Rep. Randy Randleman
- Vice Chair: Rep. Jim Grego
- Rep. J.J. Humphrey
- Rep. Lundy Kiger
- Rep. Dustin Roberts
- Rep. David Smith
- Rep. Johnny Tadlock
* = members whose districts are in multiple regions and may elect to change regions
NOTE: This map shows the regional subcommittee boundaries, which are based on county lines.
OKLAHOMA CITY -- State Rep. Chelsey Branham, D-OKC, is scheduled to host a Youth Provider Summit on Sept. 10 to amplify the need to act on Oklahoma’s homeless and system-involved youth problems.
The OKC Metro lawmaker plans on inviting providers of youth homeless, foster care, and juvenile affairs services from across the state. Branham also wants to invite state lawmakers to the summit to hear from the people working on these issues.
“The summit will have several presenters available to paint a more realistic picture of Oklahoma’s youth population than one that is commonly thought of by many Oklahomans,” Branham said. “Several of my colleagues, through no fault of their own, may believe that homeless youth, youth aging out of care, and youth incarceration is strictly an urban population. That’s just not the case. These phenomena are an issue in nearly all of Oklahoma’s 77 counties.”
Lawmakers in attendance will be presented with data specific to their district.
In the last Fiscal Year, more than 1,700 Oklahoma youth took refuge in one of the Oklahoma Association of Youth Services Child Emergency Response Centers, and the numbers are even higher when you consider those that are not system involved.
“We live in the richest nation in the history of the world,” Branham said. “It would be irresponsible for us as a society not to use our resources to help these children.”
The summit will also focus on the state’s growing number of juvenile offenders and the resources available to them. Oklahoma has thousands of juvenile offenders each year.
“Homelessness and incarceration go hand in hand at every age,” Branham said. “Connecting these issues and solving them at the youth-level is a form of proactive societal prevention that will pay dividends for generations to come.”
Little Things Can Make a Big Difference By Congressman Markwayne Mullin
The Bible teaches in Matthew 25 to lend a hand to our neighbors as we would Christ: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” Jesus explains: “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
As Christians, we are called to give back to the less fortunate and help those in need. During these tough times, neighbors have stepped up to help neighbors just like we always do; it’s the Oklahoma Standard.
Giving back to our community and living the Oklahoma Standard shouldn’t be something we only do during the difficult times. It should be something we do all the time.
Donating money isn’t the only way you can help. Sometimes, the best way to give back is to volunteer your time. Help a soup kitchen prepare a meal or collect canned good for a local food bank. Coach a youth sport or tutor a student. Write letters to seniors in nursing homes or servicemembers deployed overseas. While it may seem like a small commitment on your part, it can make a huge difference in peoples’ lives.
Earlier this week, I met with Volunteers for Youth in Claremore, which aims to help at-risk youth succeed. This group was started in 1998 when a group of volunteers saw a need in their own backyard and wanted to make a difference. Their programs are now helping at-risk youth across Rogers County.
It’s often said the little things can make a big difference. I encourage you to take some time to extend the Oklahoma Standard to someone who needs a little extra help in your community. It just might make a big difference in their life.
Want to stay up-to-date on what I’m doing in Oklahoma and Washington on your behalf? Sign up for my newsletter by visiting Mullin.house.gov/newslettersignup.
State Task Force Would Provide Leadership to End Pandemic
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus today held a press conference to call on Gov. Kevin Stitt to create a bipartisan, expert-led task force to end the COVID-19 Pandemic in Oklahoma.
The House Minority Caucus recommends at a minimum the task force consists of members of leadership from all four legislative caucuses, public health experts from Oklahoma’s two largest counties, Interim Commissioner of Health Lance Fry, and State School Superintendent Joy Hofmeister. Democrats want the task force to regularly brief the public on information attained and publicly provide the governor with recommendations on how to proceed.
“The worst thing you can do as a public official is to lose the trust of your constituents,” House Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman, said. “Unfortunately, by hiding information from citizens and mischaracterizing recommendations from the White House, the governor has shown an unwillingness to be forthright about this pandemic. This task force would provide some much-needed transparency regarding Oklahoma’s efforts to protect our citizens.”
Democrats cited several decisions by the governor or his administration that lack transparency:
- Hiding White House COVID Task Force information from communities as many city councils were deciding how best to protect their citizens.
- Refusing to follow the recommendations of the White House Task Force.
- Creating a color-coded COVID Alert System that is less effective than the one used by the CDC.
- Not reporting positive rapid antigen tests with daily COVID-19 numbers.
- Not identifying the date of COVID deaths to help paint a better picture of how the pandemic is affecting Oklahoma.
- Blatantly misrepresenting the visit from White House Task Force Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx.
“We aren’t trying to take the ball out of the governor’s hands because he messed up once,” State Rep. Monroe Nichols, D-Tulsa, said. “This is about the impact to our constituents and communities across the state. The pattern of deception and misleading the public from the governor’s office is hampering our state’s ability to respond to this pandemic.”
The most recent White House Task Force recommendations sent to the governor were dated Aug. 23. After pressure from both the media and public, the governor’s office released the recommendations on Aug. 26. That document showed that Oklahoma’s positivity rate was currently eighth in the country.
“House Democrats wholeheartedly object to Governor Stitt’s belief that COVID-19 has to be Oklahoma’s ‘new normal,’” Virgin said. “We believe that Oklahomans can beat this pandemic, but we are trending in the wrong direction. This task force is an opportunity to reverse that trend and end COVID-19 in Oklahoma.
We understand the governor currently has a task force, but Oklahomans deserve their own. As our positivity rate climbs into the top ten in the country, it’s clear the governor’s task force is not working. It’s also not providing information to the public. By bringing bipartisan voices to the table, we can create an environment that is conducive to transparency and producing better results for our citizens.”
OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Nicole Miller, R-Edmond, hosted an interim study in the House Health Services and Long-Term Care Committee to examine reporting requirements and consumer protection in memory care facilities.
Miller said the purpose of the study was to consider long-term care options for people with cognitive impairments and review their reporting requirements to ensure consumers have the necessary information to make well-informed decisions for their loved ones.
“Approximately 100 Oklahomans turn 65 years old every day, and by 2030, seniors will outnumber children for the first time in our state history,” Miller said. “More and more Oklahomans will need memory care facilities in the next decade, but we must ensure that there are measures in place to verify that a facility is memory care capable and can provide quality care for our aging Oklahomans.”
Currently under the Alzheimer’s Disease Special Care Disclosure Act, when a facility promotes itself as providing special care to patients with Alzheimer’s, dementia or other forms of cognitive impairment, a disclosure form is required. The form functions as a resource to detail the services provided and how the services meet the needs of residents with forms of cognitive impairment.
However, Miller said one issue is that there is currently no way to enforce what is considered memory care.
Miller filed House Bill 3757 in the 2020 session to address this issue. The legislation passed the House unanimously prior to the legislative session being interrupted by COVID-19 in mid-March, but Miller said she plans to refile the legislation this year.
Rep. Nicole Miller represents District 82 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Her district includes parts of Edmond and Oklahoma City.