Study requests approved in Senate
A couple of weeks ago, I talked about the upcoming interim studies, and I’m pleased to say that all of my study requests were approved by the Senate Pro Tem. If you’d be interested in participating in any of these, please contact my office. It’s important that we get as much public input for these studies as possible, so we have a well-rounded understanding of the issues.
Again, here are my studies –
n Foster parents’ rights
n Oklahoma’s ADvantage Waiver Program: is it being utilized appropriately for qualifying individuals?
n Are mental health diagnoses being considered during sentencing hearings?
n Does Oklahoma have an appropriate number of foster homes available in each county or region?
n Does Oklahoma have an appropriate number of child welfare workers to service the needs of Oklahomans?
n Should bonding assessments be used in child welfare cases?
n Are jury or non-jury trials the most effective in determining the outcome of child welfare cases?
n Do payment disparities between rural and urban providers create gaps in service to either type of community?
n Comparing graduation rates, attendance rates, school achievement, and student success between public, charter, online and private schools.
n Liability and property insurance: are there adequate resources available in comparing industry insurance options?
n Comparing provider settings to determine why Oklahoma’s healthcare settings are inadequately staffed.
Besides interim studies, work is moving forward to redraw the state’s five congressional districts. Just like the state legislative districts, the congressional districts have to be redrawn following each census to account for population changes. Oklahoma’s population has increased more than 5% since 2010. While we haven’t received the final numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Senate Select Committee on Redistricting has started holding their public town hall meetings to hear from citizens about what they’d like to see in the new districts. This public input will be used once the Legislature receives the final population numbers next month. We’ll then convene in a special session in October to formally approve the new districts.
The first meeting was last Thursday evening at the Capitol. Currently, there are no meetings scheduled in our district, but there are two virtual meetings you can join if you’re interested. They’ll take place at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, July 13 and Tuesday, Aug. 3. Both can be viewed at www.okhouse.gov/Publications/VirtualMeets.aspx. If you’re unable to participate, but have comments, questions, or concerns, please submit them at https://oksenate.gov/redistricting/feedback.
Last week, I mentioned that I had been named to the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy’s (OICA) “CEO’s Honor Roll,” for my support of legislation this session to improve the lives, health, and safety of Oklahoma’s children. I’m so excited to say that I later learned that I also received their “Freshman Lawmaker of the Year” Award. They picked two Senate freshmen, one from each party, and I’m proud to share this honor with my democrat colleague from Tulsa, Sen. Jo Anna Dossett, a former school teacher and strong child advocate.
In closing, don’t forget about the state’s $1,200 Back to Work Initiative. The first 20,000 applicants who had an active unemployment claim between May 2-15, 2021, and who have completed at least six full weeks of paid employment between May 17 and Sept. 4 of this year will be eligible for the incentive payment. Qualified individuals can apply for the program and upload their valid pay stubs at https://oklahoma.gov/oesc/individuals.html#return-to-work. Payments will begin going out in the next couple of weeks.
For those looking for employment or who have job openings to share, be sure to visit the state’s free job database at www.okjobmatch.com. It’s critical that all Oklahoma businesses, no matter how big or small, put their job openings on this site to help as many job seekers as possible.
If you have any questions or concerns on legislative matters, please contact me at the Capitol. Please write to Senator Jessica Garvin, State Capitol, 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd. Room 237, Oklahoma City, OK, 73105, email me at Jessica.Garvin@oksenate.gov or call (405) 521-5522.
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