For The Children Weekly Column

People’s Choice Award Nominations Open as Lawmakers Return for Special Session

June 13, 2022



Contact: Joe Dorman, CEO – Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy

Telephone – (405) 833-1117

Email –

OKLAHOMA CITY – Lawmakers returned to the State Capitol for a special session called by the governor to discuss tax cuts and how to use unused funds for the FY-23 budget. Among the issues will be whether to repeal the state’s grocery tax.

The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) will remain engaged on this issue, a prominent part of our 2022 legislative agenda voted upon by attendees to our Fall Forum conference last year. We will keep you updated on what happens.

Through the work done this year in the regular session, OICA has announced scores lawmakers received in the annual Children’s Legislative Scorecard. We were especially happy that 20 lawmakers received perfect scores on children’s issues selected by our Advocacy Committee.

Those receiving perfect scores are Reps. Carol Bush, Dick Lowe, Jadine Nollan, Daniel Pae, John Pfeiffer, Preston Stinson, Judd Strom, and Kevin Wallace. Senators with perfect scores include Bill Coleman, Julie Daniels, Jessica Garvin, John Haste, John Michael Montgomery, Dewayne Pemberton, Adam Pugh, Brenda Stanley, Zack Taylor, Roger Thompson, Darrell Weaver and Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat.

There were 35 salutatorians – those who voted “pro-children” on all but one issue. That list includes House Speaker Charles McCall, incoming House Democratic Leader Cyndi Munson, Senate Democratic Leader Kay Floyd and Senate Majority Leader Greg McCortney. OICA appreciates all the lawmakers who achieved high scores with their votes supporting the youth of Oklahoma. You can go to to see the bills scored and how your representative and senator voted.

In addition, OICA presented special awards to seven lawmakers. Our Senate “Lawmakers of the Year” are Kay Floyd and Jessica Garvin, with special recognition to retiring Sen. Kim David for 12 years of service to our state, including her time as Senate Majority Leader shepherding beneficial policies through the process.

The House of Representatives “Lawmakers of the Year” are Jeff Boatman and Forrest Bennett, with special recognition presented to Carol Bush and Emily Virgin for their work filing legislation, promoting policy, and working above and beyond for better opportunities for children.

We have additional awards which will be presented at the OICA’s Heroes Ball to be held July 30 simulcast from locations in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and on the Zoom platform. I am honored to announce those winners.

The Jay Scott Brown Award for Child Advocacy will be Wanda Felty for her work with support for those with developmental disabilities in Oklahoma. The Organizational Advocate of the Year will be Hunger Free Oklahoma for their work in support of the Double Up Oklahoma Program. The Kate Barnard Lifetime Achievement winner will be Dr. Barbara Bonner for her efforts to educate Oklahomans about childhood trauma.

The Henry Bellmon Public Servant Award will be presented to former Rep. Fred Perry for his efforts supporting the Parent Child Center of Tulsa. The Laura Boyd Public Servant Award will be given to former state Superintendent Sandy Garrett for the education initiatives she championed following her elective service.

We also are opening nominations for our Anne Roberts People’s Choice Award. Anne was the longest serving executive director for OICA and has continued working in the nonprofit arena helping Oklahomans in need. You can submit your nomination for who you feel should be the outstanding individual and organization championing children at

Finalists selected by our Board of Directors will be announced on our social media once those have been selected. Please help us find those champions who deserve recognition.