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17 Jan
0

House Completes Bill Filing Process for 2020 Session

Communications & Public Affairs
Jan. 17, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Tori Garrett
Phone: (405) 962-7671
Email: [email protected]

House Completes Bill Filing Process for 2020 Session

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma House of Representatives completed bill filing Thursday for the second session of the 57th Legislature. A total of 1,361 House Bills, 16 House Joint Resolutions and 4 House Concurrent Resolutions were filed.

The full text of the bills, along with additional information including authors and coauthors, can be found online at www.okhouse.gov.

Last year, the Clerk of the House reported 1,733 House bills and 21 House Joint Resolutions were filed. For the 2018 session, 1,193 House bills and 32 House Joint Resolutions were filed.

The House is comprised of 23 Democrats and 77 Republicans, with one vacant seat. The second session of the 57th Legislature will begin Monday, Feb. 3 at noon with the State of the State address from Gov. Kevin Stitt in the House Chamber.

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16 Jan
0

Legislation Filed To Tackle Homeless Youth Quality-of-Life Issues

Communications & Public Affairs
Jan. 15, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: State Rep. Chelsey Branham
Phone: (405) 557-7409

Legislation Filed To Tackle Homeless Youth Quality-of-Life Issues

OKLAHOMA CITY — State Rep. Chelsey Branham has filed legislation that hopes to increase opportunity and improve the quality of life among Oklahoma’s homeless youth population.

House Bill 2927, authored by Branham, would create the “Unit for Runaway, Homeless and At-Risk Youth,” which would be a public-private partnership between the Oklahoma Department of Human Services and organizations working with Oklahoma’s homeless youth population. The legislation would also establish criteria that allow homeless youth to voluntarily seek assistance from the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.

“Last January, during the coldest time of the year, 85 metro youth had no place to live,” Branham said. “This legislation and the mission of this coalition speaks directly to the needs of those children. We have a duty as lawmakers to protect and speak up for our vulnerable citizens. This legislation hopes to begin a movement that ushers in a new way of thinking and new solutions to the problems facing our state’s homeless population.”

By offering an avenue to have DHS act as an administrative guardian, Branham’s legislation would make it easier for homeless youth to take part in regular activities like play sports, receive healthcare, and apply for a driver’s license.

“These young people still need the same things as other youth,” said Pivot President and CEO Jennifer Goodrich. “Birth certificates, social security cards, IDs, mental health and medical health services. Representative Branham’s willingness to address this issue has opened up new avenues of understanding of current statutes that provide allowances and identifying areas where work needs to be done. Statutes aren’t enough – it will take continued understanding, education and partnership to change the way things are currently responded to.”

Goodrich and Branham were joined at a press conference today announcing the legislation with Sisu Youth Executive Director Jamie Caves. Sisu Youth is the only 18 and under homeless youth shelter in Oklahoma

“Sisu Youth is thrilled to work with Representative Branham to bring forward legislation aimed at improving outcomes for youth experiencing homelessness,” said Sisu Youth Executive Director Jamie Caves. “This bill will encourage even greater communication between the Department of Human Services and service providers around our state, making it easier to obtain health care, housing, and identification on behalf of youth in the absence of a parent or guardian. We look forward to continuing collaboration and additional legislation that will assist in bettering the lives of this vulnerable population.”

In a statement released today, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services Director Justin Brown praised the coalition’s efforts and advocated for the legislation.

“This has truly been a collaborative effort between Rep. Branham, Sisu Youth Services, Pivot, former Oklahoma foster youth, David Hall, and OKDHS to meet the needs of this unique population of youth,” Brown said. “These are youth who do not have the supports afforded in a typical family situation and they have also not been adjudicated deprived and brought into foster care. This legislation will meet these youth right where they are, giving them the support they need to thrive and build tools to help them successfully enter adulthood.”

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15 Jan
0

Provenzano Files ‘Student Borrower Bill of Rights’ Legislation

Communications & Public Affairs
Jan. 15, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: State Rep. Melissa Provenzano
Phone: (405) 557-7330

Provenzano Files ‘Student Borrower Bill of Rights’ Legislation

OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Melissa Provenzano (D-Tulsa) has filed legislation aimed at protecting students borrowing money to pay for their education.

House Bill 2922, authored by Provenzano, would establish the “Student Borrowers Bill of Rights,” which would be a series of statutory provisions aimed at protecting students from predatory student loan lenders.

“When we talk about student loan debt, we shouldn’t look at it through the lens of the lender and debtor,” Provenzano said. “We should look instead look through the lens of ‘how is this affecting society?’ Right now, student loan debt is hampering our communities by limiting the number of people that have the economic flexibility to achieve. ”

Provenzano hosted a study on student loan debt over the summer. The study showed that the average debt load carried by students is $31,678, totaling over $14.5 billion in outstanding debt with 2.26 billion of that in delinquency. Throughout the United States, student loan delinquency has risen to more than $1.5 trillion.

“There is a reason that presidential candidates continue to talk about the burden of student loan debt,” Provenzano said. “This issue is not going away and it is currently choking the economic viability of many communities across the country and in Oklahoma.”

There are many factors that have led to this historic amount of delinquent student loan debt. Provenzano’s legislation deals with one of the biggest, which are predatory lending tactics.

“The Borrower’s Bill of Rights would create a fair, common-sense approach to lending that protects potential, current and former students that have had to borrow money to pay for their education,” Provenzano said.

According to the Student Borrower’s Bill of Rights, no student loan lender shall:

  • Directly or indirectly employ any scheme, device or artifice to defraud or mislead student loan borrowers.
  • Engage in any unfair or deceptive practice toward any person or misrepresent or omit any material information in connection with the servicing of a student education loan, including, but not limited to, misrepresenting the amount, nature or terms of any fee or payment due or claimed to be due on a student education loan, the terms and conditions of the loan agreement of the borrower’s obligations under the loan.
  • Obtain property by fraud or misrepresentation.
  • Misapply student education loan payments to the outstanding balance of a student education loan.
  • Provide inaccurate information to a credit bureau, thereby harming a student loan borrower’s creditworthiness.
  • Fail to report both the favorable and unfavorable payment history of the student loan borrower to a nationally recognized consumer credit bureau at least annually if the student loan servicer regularly reports information to a credit bureau.
  • Refuse to communicate with an authorized representative of the student loan borrower who provides a written authorization signed by the student loan borrower, provided the student loan servicer may adopt procedures reasonably related to verifying that the representative is in fact authorized to act on behalf of the student loan borrower.
  • Make any false statement or make any omission of a material fact in connection with any information or reports filed with a governmental agency or in connection with any investigation conducted by the Oklahoma Banking Commissioner or another governmental agency.
  • Fail to inform borrowers of the federal income repayment options before offering forbearance as an option.

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14 Jan
0

Dunnington Legislation Looks to End Oklahoma’s Death Penalty

Communications & Public Affairs
January 14, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: State Rep. Jason Dunnington
Phone: (405) 557-7396

Dunnington Legislation Looks to End Oklahoma’s Death Penalty

OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Jason Dunnington (D-Oklahoma City) on Tuesday filed House Bill 2876 for consideration during the 2020 legislative session. If passed and signed into law, the measure will remove the death penalty from among the options in Oklahoma for sentencing in capital cases.

“I’m proud to be a part of the important progress we’ve made toward criminal justice reform,” Dunnington said. “Oklahomans are becoming more aware of the wasted costs of capital punishment, a system that provides no deterrent to crime while flushing millions down the drain that could be better spent on responses to violence that actually work.”

Dunnington’s legislation found support from The Most Rev. Paul S. Coakley, Archbishop of Oklahoma City.

“This is a bold proposal that addresses the disturbing realities and inequity of capital punishment,” Coakley said. “We don’t end the cycle of violence by committing more violence. In all of these crimes, we lost a life, and the death penalty only serves to further devalue human dignity. When available, we should choose non-lethal ways to ensure justice and protect society.”

“This is neither a partisan nor an ideological proposal,” Dunnington said. “The profound problems with the death penalty are a concern for all Oklahomans, indeed for all Americans. That is why Republicans and Democrats from Alabama to Oregon are increasingly embracing the call for a repeal of the death penalty.”

Dunnington detailed the primary objections to continued use of the death penalty:

For every 10 inmates executed on death row in the US since 1976, one inmate has been exonerated;
The taxpayer cost of incarceration for death row inmates is more than twice that of inmates with life sentences;
There is no evidence to support that use of the death penalty is an effective crime deterrent;
Families of victims routinely testify that executing the convicted offers little consolation for their pain and loss.

The measure will be assigned for a committee hearing in February.

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14 Jan
0

Walke Legislation Would Protect Email Data of Oklahomans

Communications & Public Affairs
January 14, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: State Rep. Collin Walke
Phone: (405) 557-7335

Walke Legislation Would Protect Email Data of Oklahomans

OKLAHOMA CITY — State Rep. Collin Walke (D-OKC) filed legislation this session to protect email users’ data from being collected by corporations.

House Bill 2810, dubbed “The Oklahoma Email Communication Content Privacy Protection Act,” would make it illegal for companies, like Google or Microsoft, that host email servers to glean information from users.

“Tech companies have profited off of our private information for years, and it’s time we start reclaiming our privacy,” Walke said. “House Bill 2810 is what I hope to be the first of many steps toward a more balanced and fair use of private information.

“In its infancy, email was a quick and efficient communication tool. However, in today’s world, email is a necessity, and we should not have to choose between participating in modern society or having our personal information exploited. I no more want the United State Postal Service knowing when and how I read my mail than I do Google my email. If tech companies want to be treated as public goods, then ensuring that they do not harness our information for their own personal benefit is an absolute necessity.”

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