Greg Treat

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.

Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Multiple polls show the majority of Oklahoma voters support criminal justice reforms.

Survey data commissioned by Oklahoma Public Radio stations for the Oklahoma Engaged project also suggest a majority of voters believe the state’s sentencing laws need to be reworked.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Ryan LaCroix / KOSU

Oklahoma lawmakers are facing a deadline to finish their work in the next three weeks.

The most important duty before the 2019 legislature ends is crafting a budget for the 2020 fiscal year, which starts on July 1. But, so far, nothing has been released.

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

Energized by new conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court, abortion opponents believe that the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the U.S. could be overturned. If that happens, the regulation of abortion returns to the states. Some state legislatures led by liberal Democrats, such as New York, have decided to protect the right to an abortion.

The new anti-abortion tilt of the U.S. Supreme Court has inspired some states to further restrict the procedure during the first trimester of pregnancy and move to outlaw abortion entirely if Roe v. Wade ever falls. But the rush to regulate has exposed division among groups and lawmakers who consider themselves staunch abortion opponents.

LLUDO / FLICKR (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

With a huge freshman class and a promise for less gridlock, Oklahoma lawmakers filed more than 2,800 bills this legislative session. With a third of the session now over, the StateImpact team has an update on some bills we’re following.

 

Health

 

ok.gov

Gov. Kevin Stitt stood before the Oklahoma legislature to deliver his first State of the State address Monday. He outlined key pieces of his executive budget for fiscal year 2020. The legislature will craft its own budget during the 2019 legislative session.

Executive Power

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about the commitment from Republican leaders in the House and Senate for education funding,  a the Chair of the Canadian County Republican Party calls on his GOP lawmakers to, in essence, defund education and state Senators file bills to make abortions a homicide and allow anyone to carry a gun without a license.

Rachel Hubbard / KOSU

Every year, the foster care system in the U.S. is home to nearly half a million kids. A debate is now brewing in state legislatures and Congress about the best way to get these kids in permanent homes and who has the right to take care of them.

Kris Williams and Rebekah Wilson have been dating for four years. They live together in a modest white house on the west side of Oklahoma City with their two dogs and Ozzy, Kris’s son from a previous relationship.

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