Whatzup Politics (1090)
OKLAHOMA CITY – Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill to improve government transparency in a ceremony at the State Capitol last week. Senate Bill 271 was authored by Sen. Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow) and Rep. Kyle Hilbert (R-Bristow).
The bill requires all state agencies to annually disclose and rank all federally affiliated funds, programs and priorities. Hilbert, who serves as the vice chair of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee, said any agency receiving and administering federal funds that require any level of security clearance in order to administer received funds is exempt from the disclosure requirements.
“As elected officials, we should always take into consideration transparency and accountability,” Dahm said. “Unfortunately, many agencies choose not to share all the information in order for fully-informed decisions to be made. This bill will allow us to better represent our constituents by having this information known when making budget decisions. And by having the agencies post it on their website, this financial information will be directly available to the citizens of Oklahoma as well. It’s a huge step forward for transparency in how agencies spend our money.”
“The Legislature currently does not have a clear understanding of how many federal dollars various state agencies are receiving, how they’re being used or what strings are attached to those federal dollars,” Hilbert said. “The state agencies already have this information available, and Senate Bill 271 will make this information readily accessible to state legislators while considering funding and appropriations.”
SB 271 was officially signed by Stitt on April 29 and will go into effect on Nov. 1.
OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Scott Fetgatter (R-Okmulgee) this week witnessed the ceremonial signing of Kaylee’s Law by Gov. Kevin Stitt at the Oklahoma Capitol.
House Bill 1881, named Kaylee’s Law after a constituent in Fetgatter’s House district, directs the courts to issue orders of no contact from people convicted of sexual abuse or exploitation crimes to their victims.
“The victim for whom this law is named was contacted by the man serving prison time for crimes against her,” Fetgatter said. “He sent her a birthday card, pictures and newspaper clippings talking about how beautiful she’d grown up to be. This is akin to a fresh assault against this young lady who had begun to heal and move on with her life. This law puts orders in place to protect such victims from such contact.”
Fetgatter was joined at the bill signing by Sen. Kim David (R-Porter), the Senate author of the bill, as well as the victim, other family members and victims’ rights advocates.
The bill takes effect Nov. 1
AGs Hunter, Stein, Lead 39 State Coalition in Sending letter to Congressional Leadership Urging Removal of Federal Barriers to Treat Opioid Use Disorder
OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General Mike Hunter, along with North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein have sent a letter to Congressional leadership in both chambers, asking for the removal of federal barriers that are currently preventing health care providers from offering treatment for opioid use disorder.
Opioid use disorder is the physical and psychological reliance on opioids. Symptoms of opioid addiction include uncontrollable cravings for the drugs and the inability to control opioid use despite its negative impacts.
Attorney General Hunter said it’s estimated that 2 million Americans struggle with opioid use disorder.
“States are on the front lines and are combining all of the resources at our disposal to stop the current crisis,” Attorney General Hunter said. “Although we have been successful in many ways, there is more that can be done by the federal government. By eliminating the barriers outlined in our letter, Congress can take meaningful, productive steps that will benefit those currently struggling with addiction before it’s too late.
“I appreciate my attorneys general colleagues, including North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, who acknowledge that addiction is a brain disease, not a moral failing, and the more help we can provide for those struggling the better.”
The letter outlines three areas that need to be addressed:
• Replace the cumbersome, out-of-date, privacy rules contained in 42 CFR Part 2 with the effective and more familiar privacy rules contained in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA);
• Pass HR 2482, the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act, which would eliminate unnecessary burdens on buprenorphine prescribing imposed by the Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000. Buprenorphine is one of three drugs used as part of Medication Assisted Treatment, the most effective treatment for opioid use disorder. Outdated and unnecessary federal requirements are discouraging doctors from prescribing this life-saving drug to patients who need it; and
• Fully repeal the Medicaid Institutions for Mental Diseases (IMD) exclusion. The IMD exclusion generally prohibits state Medicaid programs from receiving federal reimbursement for adults between 21 and 65 receiving mental health or substance use disorder treatment in a residential treatment facility with more than 16 beds.
“The opioid epidemic is tearing families apart all over our state and nation,” said Attorney General Stein. “Opioid addiction, like all chronic illnesses, requires treatment for people to get healthy. We must remove all unnecessary barriers between people with opioid use disorder and the treatment they need. I urge Congress to take these needed steps.”
Oklahoma and North Carolina is joined on the letter by attorneys general from Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
WASHINGTON— Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) released the following statement after both the House and Senate passed a short-term extension for the for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHC) program through September 13, 2019. The CCBHC pilot program in Oklahoma has provided assistance for those battling mental illness and substance abuse disorders for the last two years.
“Despite the opioid crisis leading to the deaths of more than 70,000 Americans by drug overdoses, only one in ten Americans with an addiction receives treatment,” Mullin said. “CCBHCs have dramatically improved access to community-based opioid addiction care in Oklahoma and the seven other states with pilot programs. While I am glad that a short-term extension will allow the services to continue, I hope the Senate can come to an agreement to further extend the program so that more people get the help they need.”
Funding for the CCBHC program ran out earlier this month.
In June, the House passed H.R. 3253, the Empowering Beneficiaries, Ensuring Access, and Strengthening Accountability Act, which will extend funding CCBHCs for two years. The Senate did not come to a long-term agreement, and as a result, both the House and Senate passed a short-term extension of funding.
By Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy CEO Joe Dorman
It was an amazing evening last Friday, as the Heroes Ball and Sidekicks Ball hosted more than 370 adults and 30 kids for a night of fun and celebration. We honored seven outstanding Oklahoma individuals and organizations who do great work for the children of our state. Our honorees included Karen Waddell of Count Me In 4 Kids, Judge Lisa Tipping Davis (recognized posthumously), Tulsa County Commissioner Ron Peters, former Norman State Representative Laura Boyd, the Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth, the United Methodist Circle of Care and Judy Payne of Palomar (Oklahoma City’s Family Justice Center). Each of these honorees were either selected by the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) board of directors or by a vote of the people.
The Heroes Ball helped raise funds for OICA for upcoming events and child wellbeing programs which are held throughout the year.
Galas like this also provide the opportunity to raise awareness about our work on behalf of children and to educate attendees about what remains to be done. We have many people to thank for making the Heroes Ball a success, but I especially want to thank the committees who oversaw each aspect of the event, our hardworking volunteers, and the OICA staff who spent many hours ensuring we had a great event.
Moving forward, we have a busy schedule at OICA and a lot of work to do. Our next upcoming project will be to purchase and distribute – with the generous support of Walmart, Express Employment and Simmons Bank – approximately 700 “back to school” backpacks to foster children. If you would like to contribute to this effort, please reach out to our office at (405) 236-5437 or to to learn more details.
We will also be preparing for the 2019 Fall Forum, to be held at OSU-OKC October 1 and 2. Early bird registration will be available at oica.org within the next few days, so we encourage you to sign up now and save on the cost to attend.
Finally, I want to thank Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat for approving so many interim studies that look at issues impacting the youth of our state. Senator Treat was honored by OICA a few years ago for legislation he carried to support at-risk youth; we certainly appreciate his continued focus on these issues as well as his passion for pursuing better outcomes in our criminal justice system.
Of the interim studies we hope to have a hand in are Study 14 by Senator Haste, looking at the Safe Babies Court Team program; studies 19, 20, 21 and 22 by Senator Ikley-Freeman, respectively at looking at disaster response protocols, youth access to mental health programs, seclusion and restraint policies in schools and childcare deserts; study 32 by Senator Montgomery which looks at the Earned Income Tax Credit; studies 46, 48, 49, 50, and 51 by Senator Scott analyzing DHS practices for investigating daycare facilities, summer feeding programs for youth, funding for storm shelter space and a study of the Family First Prevention Services Act; study 57 by Senator Simpson looking at our opioid crisis; and studies 60 and 64 on the DDSD waiting list and cyberbullying by Senator Standridge.
These and other studies can be reviewed at OkSenate.gov and we encourage you to contact lawmakers requesting the study if you want to be notified on when they will be held.
The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy was established in 1983 by a group of citizens, to create a strong advocacy network that would provide a voice for the needs of children and youth in Oklahoma, particularly those in the state’s care and those growing up amid poverty, violence, abuse and neglect, disparities, or other situations that put their lives and future at risk.
Our mission statement: “Creating awareness, taking action and changing policy to improve the health, safety and well-being of Oklahoma’s children.“
OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Melissa Provenzano (D-Tulsa) is set to begin work on an interim study into Oklahoma's student loan debt.
Provenzano hopes to use the recently approved study to work with local agencies to examine the student loan debt crisis in Oklahoma and to propose possible legislation that will lead to fewer Oklahoma students with extreme student loan debt.
“Student loan debt is a hurdle to a healthy Oklahoma economy,” Provenzano said. “By having so many of our college graduates hampered by student loan debt, we stifle entrepreneurship and innovation, which is necessary for our economy to grow.”
Provenzano’s study on virtual charter attendance was denied. This study was requested before recent allegations by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation surfaced against an in-state virtual charter school.
“It is disappointing that our requested interim study to examine the disconnect between attendance rates and student performance in the virtual charter school system was not approved,” Provenzano said. “Successful academic performance is tied directly to consistent student’s attendance. Our kids deserve better. We can and must get this right.”
Interim studies are approved or denied by Speaker of the House Charles McCall.
OKLAHOMA CITY – Education, health care and mental health services, criminal justice policies, and retirement issues are among the topics approved for interim studies in the Oklahoma Senate.
The Senate President Pro Tempore’s Office on Tuesday released the list of 72 interim studies.
The members of the Oklahoma Senate use interim studies to take a more in-depth look at and hear from subject-matter experts about potential legislation and policies on a variety of topics. Interim studies are assigned to the Senate committee with jurisdiction over the subject matter contained within the request. Committee chairs are responsible for scheduling meetings for interim studies. All interim studies must be completed by November 8. Meeting notices will be posted on the Senate website (www.oksenate.gov).
*indicates a joint request with a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives
Agriculture and Wildlife Committee
• Senator Mary Boren, D-Norman, a study on farm-to-table reforms.
• Senator Kevin Matthews, D-Tulsa, a study of urban agriculture.
• Senator Allison Ikley-Freeman, D-Tulsa, a study of disaster response funding protocols.
• Senator John Michael Montgomery, R-Lawton, and Senator Julia Kirt, D-Oklahoma City, a study on innovating state capital asset management.
• Senator Dave Rader, R-Tulsa, a study on digital service.
• Senator Paul Scott, R-Duncan, a study on funding systems providing storm-shelter space.
• Senator Ron Sharp, R-Shawnee, a study of how charter schools are funded and the real cost per student.*
Business, Commerce and Tourism Committee
• Senator Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, a study on blockchain, virtual currencies, and potential implementation in Oklahoma.
• Senator Brent Howard, R-Altus, a study on streamlining small business start-ups and entrepreneur growth.*
• Senator Matthews, a study on reducing poverty by increasing home ownership and entrepreneurship opportunities.
• Senator Casey Murdock, R-Felt, a study comparing Oklahoma pawn shop financing with other states.
• Senator Scott, a study of requirements for obtaining a barbering license.
• Senator Scott and Senator Howard, a study on stopping “robo calls”.
• Senator Rob Standridge, R-Norman, a study on how the state and subdivisions put Oklahoma first.
• Senator Standridge, a study of consolidation of workforce innovation boards.
• Senator Boren, a study on textbook adoption and funding reforms.*
• Senator David Bullard, R-Durant, a study on how best to use excess revenue from the Commissioners of the Land Office for schools.
• Senator Carri Hicks, D-Oklahoma City, a study of professional development requirements for school districts.
• Senator Ikley-Freeman, a study of school policies on seclusion and restraint.
• Senator Kirt, a study on access to arts education.
• Senator Scott, a study of amending the Reading Sufficiency Act.
• Senator Scott, a study of summer feeding programs for youth.
• Senator Sharp, a study on oversight responsibilities of charter school sponsors.*
• Senator Standridge, a study on Teacher and Leader Effectiveness (TLE).
• Senator Standridge, a study on the impact of cyberbullying on children and ways to combat it.
• Senator Gary Stanislawski, R-Tulsa, a study on House Bill 1017 school mandates.
• Senator Stanislawski, a study on the common education building equalization fund.
• Senator Stanislawski, a study on personalized learning.
• Senator Boren, a study on solar energy in schools.*
• Senator Boren, a study on affordable housing initiatives.
• Senator Tom Dugger, R-Stillwater, a study on Oklahoma Green Cards.
• Senator Matthews, a study on accessing community reinvestment act funds.
• Senator Montgomery, a study on conditional cash transfers, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and development.
• Senator Montgomery, a study on student loan debt and its impact on the state economy.
• Senator Montgomery, a study of consumer debt.
• Senator Montgomery, a study on debt affordability and areas of potential investment.
• Senator Paul Rosino, R-Oklahoma City, a study on the aerospace equipment resource program.
General Government Committee
• Senator Joe Newhouse, R-Broken Arrow, a study of municipal regulation of aesthetic design elements in residential construction.*
• Senator Standridge, a study on hospital districts.
Health and Human Services Committee
• Senator John Haste, R-Broken Arrow, a study of the Safe Babies Court Team program.
• Senator Hicks, a study of the cost of prescriptive medications.
• Senator Ikley-Freeman, a study on youth access to mental health programs
• Senator Ikley-Freeman, a study on child care deserts.
• Senator Greg McCortney, R-Ada, a study on raising the smoking age to 21.
• Senator McCortney, a study on medication assisted treatment for addiction.
• Senator Adam Pugh, R-Edmond, a study of requirements for assisted living/memory care units.
• Senator Scott, a study of Department of Human Services practices for investigating daycare facilities.
• Senator Scott, a study of the Family First Prevention Services Act.
• Senator Frank Simpson, R-Springer, a study on solutions to the opioid epidemic.
• Senator Simpson, a study of state services for children with Type 1 diabetes.
• Senator Standridge, a study of the Developmental Disabilities Services Division wait list.
• Senator Standridge, a study on improving Oklahoma health by pharmacy practice.
• Senator Julie Daniels, R-Bartlesville, and Senator Howard, a study of the Oklahoma Trust Act.
• Senator Sharp, a study on limited liability corporations.
• Senator Darrell Weaver, R-Moore, a study on recovering evidence from abandoned vehicles.
Public Safety Committee
• Senator Bullard, a study on transportation of mental health patients.
• Senator Daniels, a study of fines and fees in the criminal justice system.
• Senator Hicks, a study of current seatbelt laws.
• Senator Darcy Jech, R-Kingfisher, a study on cellular and electronic devices in Oklahoma prisons.
• Senator Mary Quinn, R-Claremore, a study on driver's license testing.
• Senator Wayne Shaw, R-Grove, a study of the felony larceny threshold.
• Senator Weaver, a study of workplace violence on medical professionals.
Retirement and Insurance Committee
• Senator Montgomery, a study on retirement security.
• Senator Lonnie Paxton, R-Tuttle, a study on pension law reform.
• Senator Rosino, a study of insurance coverage of Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Strep (PANDAS) and Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS).
• Senator Montgomery, a study of Article 10 of the Oklahoma Constitution.
• Senator Scott, a study on the 2020 Census.
• Senator Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, a study on county home rule.
• Senator George Young, D-Oklahoma City, a study on community impact studies.
• Senator Micheal Bergstrom, R-Adair, a study on advanced transportation technology readiness.
• Senator Bergstrom, a study of state and federal requirements for commercial driver’s license training and testing.
OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma House Minority Floor Leader David Perryman (D-Chickasha) has announced that he does not plan to seek a fifth term as House District 56’s state representative.
Perryman was elected to the Oklahoma House in 2012 and has served as Minority Floor Leader since 2016. Prior to serving as the floor leader for the Democrats, Perryman served one term as secretary of the caucus and has served on a number of House committees, including Agriculture, Banking, Pensions, County and Municipal Government as well as Judiciary and a number of Appropriation and Budget subcommittees.
“After much consideration, I have decided not to seek reelection in 2020,” Perryman said. “I am so thankful for my wife, Jo, and my children who have supported me during my terms in the legislature and who have covered so many personal obligations that have allowed me to faithfully and diligently serve the people of District 56.”
Known for his grasp of parliamentary procedure, Perryman has been one of the most respected representatives in the Oklahoma House.
“David has been a great resource for not only our caucus but the entire body,” Minority Leader Emily Virgin (D-Norman) said. “He has dedicated himself to understanding how the House works so that he can best serve his constituents and the state of Oklahoma. By doing so, he has made himself an invaluable leader in our caucus.”
Perryman has used his time as floor leader to mentor caucus freshmen on the nuances of legislative procedure. In addition to day-to-day duties of a floor leader, Perryman’s caucus presentations include in-depth analysis of legislative language and how to advance the purpose and message of the minority party and still comply with the House Rules that are imposed by the majority party.
“David’s service in the legislature has been a great inspiration to me,” said freshman legislator Rep. John Waldron (D-Tulsa). “He is a true son of Oklahoma.”
“David will leave a huge hole in the legislature,” said Rep. Trish Ranson (D-Stillwater). “He will be missed.”
“David is a gifted and very capable leader,” said Rep. Andy Fugate (D-Midwest City). I am glad that I was able to serve a term with him and have him ‘teach me the ropes’.”
“Leader Perryman is a tireless worker who will be impossible to replace,” said Rep. Shane Stone (D-OKC). “He is to be thanked for all that he has done for our caucus. I was already going to miss him, but now I know the rest of the caucus will too.”
Perryman’s service has focused on public education, rural economic development, rural infrastructure and the quality of life in rural Oklahoma. He has tirelessly devoted his service to the youth of the district in an attempt to give students the same opportunities that were available to him growing up.
“Sometimes it is an elementary teacher or a principal or an agriculture instructor that help open doors to leadership opportunities for young Oklahomans,” Perryman said. I see that as a part of my role as a State Legislator and believe that I have been successful in assisting to prepare tomorrow’s leaders today.
“I am very appreciative of both former Minority Leader Scott Inman and current Minority Leader Emily Virgin for allowing me to serve as their Floor Leader through both the 56th and 57th Oklahoma Legislatures. There have been wins and losses and I believe that many of our accomplishments, including restoring revenue for increased funding for education, will reverberate for years to come.
“Politics is all about timing,” Perryman said. “I see more youth and vigor and ability in our caucus than I have in a long time, and because of that optimism, I feel like it is time for me to move over and find a different way to apply myself. I look forward to continuing to mentor for the rest of my current term and am anxious to see how members of our caucus can effect positive change over the coming years and I plan to help them do so anyway that I can.”
Although Perryman is leaving the caucus early, he still plans to be involved in his community, resume his full-time law practice in Chickasha and to continue to advocate for Oklahoma families across our state.
“It has been a true honor to serve the people of District 56 for the past seven years, particularly since the district is where my great grandparents settled in 1902 and has been home to six generations of my family,” Perryman said.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (July 19, 2019) – Governor Kevin Stitt and State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister today called for an investigative audit of Epic Charter School and all related entities in a letter submitted by Gov. Stitt to State Auditor Cindy Byrd. The audit request will involve a three-year look back on all previously issued audits of Epic, to include any federal audits.
“Oklahoma is investing in public education at the highest levels in our state’s history, while also modernizing and developing new solutions for the delivery of education that ensures the best outcomes for Oklahoma’s children,” said Gov. Stitt. “As we progress towards becoming a Top Ten state, we must be equally committed to accountability and transparency across the public education spectrum. This is why we are requesting for the State Auditor to engage with an investigative audit of Epic Charter School and its related entities.”
“As every public education dollar is precious, it is critical that there be full transparency and accountability for how those dollars are spent. I commend Gov. Stitt In calling for this audit to help shed light on the matter,” said State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister.
WASHINGTON— Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) released the following statement after voting against H.R. 582, which would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025.
“We have seen record low unemployment rates and historic economic growth under President Trump, but this one-size-fits-all legislation would take all of that away,” Mullin said.
“The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that this bill would kill 3.7 million jobs, which is the population of the entire state of Oklahoma. This is unacceptable. Raising the minimum wage is not the answer to ensuring Americans have good-paying jobs. With 6.9 million open jobs in our country, we should provide people with the education and resources they need to succeed.”