OKLAHOMA CITY – There is a misconception that state lawmakers only work four months out of the year.
As a former state representative, I can assure you that these men and women are always “on the clock” to address constituent services, either while in district or through their assistants in their offices at the Oklahoma State Capitol.
To that point, over the summer months, many lawmakers will file reviews of policies called “interim studies.” These are requested by senators and representatives to do a “deep dive” into specific issues, which might lead to legislation, or to review a policy or program already implemented.
Many of these ideas come from constituents, the people who live within the district boundaries of a lawmaker. Others come from organizations like ours, the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA), while some will come from the lawmaker’s own interest on an issue.
The Oklahoma House of Representatives closed their filing period two weeks ago, and the State Senate finalized theirs last week. Speaker of the House Charles McCall finalized study approvals last week; representatives will conduct 104 studies. The next step is for the Speaker to examine filings with the committee chairs with responsibility of the study topics; the Speaker and chair will agree on which will be heard.
We expect the Oklahoma Senate to release their list of approved studies soon.
Of the House studies requested, more than a dozen deal with children’s and family issues. OICA reached out to lawmakers regarding several topics, and we are thankful that many agreed to request those hearings. We thank the many advocates who submitted the ideas OICA forwarded on to lawmakers. I want to highlight a few of the studies and encourage you to either attend or watch online when they happen.
Of those which I have the space to write about this week are: Study 23-009 by Reps. Roe, Hasenbeck, and Sterling – Physical education in schools.
Study 23-021 by Rep. Talley – Evidencedbased behavior interventions for students with disabilities in Oklahoma public schools.
Study 23-029 by Rep. Roe – The impact of medical marijuana edibles on children.
Study 23-041 by Rep. Roe – Dental therapy.
Study 23-044 by Reps. Bennett and Pae – Exploring development of and access to affordable housing.
Study 23-045 by Rep. Randleman – Maximizing Oklahoma Human Services subsidy dollars.
Study 23-057 by Rep. Miller – Review of current policies regarding the administration of anaphylaxis medication in school in response to life-threatening medical emergencies.
Study 23-061 by Rep. Turner – Oklahoma free and reduced meals in public school.
Study 23-065 by Rep. Strom – Child labor laws.
Study 23-075 by Rep. Boatman – Food inequality in Oklahoma.
Study 23-086 by Reps. Swope and Talley – Juvenile justice.
Study 23-099 by Reps. Waldron & Menz and Sen. Garvin – Free school lunches.
Study 23-102 by Rep. Waldron – Truth-telling initiatives for survivors of child abuse.
This final study was a request from HARUVUSA, a youth-serving organization headquartered in Israel with an office in Tulsa. This study will be an exciting look at what is done internationally with child abuse prevention and compare with what is being done in Oklahoma.
If you have an interest in one of these studies, or would like to look at the complete list, you can go to https://www. okhouse.gov/ and click on the committee link, then review the interim study list. Thank you to those lawmakers who filed these and other studies to benefit Oklahomans!