A Positive Mindset as the Year Winds Down
December 5, 2022
“For the Children” Weekly Column by Joe Dorman, OICA CEO
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Joe Dorman, CEO – Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy
Telephone: (405) 833-1117
OKLAHOMA CITY –I have to admit that I am feeling pretty positive this week. A large part of this is the completion of the 2023 Children’s Legislative Agenda.
Each year, the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) works to bring together some of the brightest minds in children’s policy and the youth-serving workforce for our Fall Forum policy conference.
From the work done over the time the attendees are together, those thoughts are transformed into a proposed legislative agenda for the upcoming session. Interested lawmakers are able to take these ideas and submit them to their staff for drafting of the language for potential bills to be considered by the state House and Senate.
Overall, there were four main topics in which the policies discussed fell into four categories which we discussed: Child Well-Being, Economy (Workforce & Labor Issues), Health & Medicaid, and Tax Reform & Fiscal Policy. I would encourage you to go to https://www.oica.org and review the details for each of the suggested policy modifications and enhancements.
We provided an early look at this for lawmakers last week with the hope that some of these ideas will make it onto their list of bill proposals. The deadline for submitting those is Friday, December 9by the end of business. House members can file eight bills for full consideration in the upcoming session, while Senators can file an unlimited number, but usually limit themselves to a workable number.
We have many wonderful men and women who work in varying capacities for children, ranging from the nonprofit sector to public officials and agency employees, to generous foundations providing supporting funds. There are many different takes on what is the best pathway for helping children, which sometimes even creeps into the partisan political process, but not a single person out there would likely disagree that we need to do everything within means to help children lead healthy, happy, productive lives.
As we look to this future session, I am personally optimistic about what good might come. I will be honest that I generally feel this way each year when it comes to the bill filing season. To me, it is a little like wanting an Official Red Ryder carbine action two-hundred shot range model air rifle but hoping you do not get pink bunny pajamas from Aunt Clara.
We will not know the final list of bills until January 19, but OICA is working with several lawmakers to see some of those great policies which our advocates suggested come to fruition. I am thankful for those from both chambers and both parties for stepping up to consider many of these ideas. I am certain there will also be many other ideas brought forth by lawmakers that will be good steps forward for children’s policy as well.
Another reason for optimism is we have policymakers seriously considering significant improvements for services for expectant mothers who are at risk. We also have lawmakers looking at targeted tax reforms which should help working class families be able to meet their budgets and overcome the costs of inflation and supply chain issues for products. Additionally, we also saw collaborative efforts happen between progressive and conservative groups over this past year which benefit Oklahoma families.
For me, I am happy that I can have a positive feeling as we go into this upcoming session, at least for the time being. When it is all said and done, let’s hope there are fewer pink bunny pajamas delivered out from our State Capitol this year.