Greg McCortney

Lenora LaVictoire / StateImpact Oklahoma

A controversial proposal in the Oklahoma state legislature would delay the age kids would be eligible to start kindergarten and put Oklahoma on-trend with dozens of other states. But some childhood experts say the trend may not serve Oklahoma kids well.

Vaccination has become a dirty word at the Oklahoma Capitol.

Public health policies that drew little attention for decades are now so politically toxic that few lawmakers want to take a recorded vote on the issue. And fewer still feel comfortable talking about updates to the state’s vaccination schedule or getting rid of certain vaccine exemptions. Even bills mandating vaccine information for adults are shot down as they wend their way through the legislative process.

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Red Bud Dispensary in Marlow, Okla. looks like an Apple store, with white walls and track lighting. The dispensary is packed with people, but they aren’t here to buy medical marijuana. The dispensary hasn’t technically opened yet, so it doesn’t even have THC products – the mainly middle-aged crowd is standing around empty glass cases. They are here for something else – a doctor’s recommendation.

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

A bill that would raise the age children can start pre-K and kindergarten is moving through the Oklahoma State Senate.

Right now, a child must turn four-years-old before September 1st to enroll in pre-K or five-years-old to enroll in kindergarten. Senate Bill 11, authored by Greg McCortney (R-Ada), would change that to August 1st, meaning the youngest kids would have to wait a year to enroll.