CapitolBeatOK Staff Report
OKLAHOMA CITY – The state Senate Education Committee will hold an interim study today (Wednesday, October 5), to discuss sexual abuse in Oklahoma schools. The study, requested by Sen. Kyle Loveless, R-Oklahoma City, will examine how predators are getting hired and the impact of Senate Bill 711.
The committee will look at failures in current law, how other states are dealing with the problem of predators in schools, and hear how students are affected by sexual abuse.The meeting will take place Wednesday, October 5 from 9:30-11:30 a.m. in Room 535. The meeting can be viewed live on the Senate website (www.oksenate.gov).
Speakers will include:
Stacy McNeiland, Chief Executive Officer, CARE Center
Brad Clark, General Counsel, Oklahoma State Board of Education
Terri Miller, President, Stop Education Sexual Abuse, Misconduct and Exploitation (S.E.S.A.M.E.).
In other news from the Oklahoma City Republican, data from a Sooner Poll conducted this summer found more Oklahomans than ever want to see Civil Asset Forfeiture reform. Support for reform is up to 73.7 percent in 2016 compared to 69.9 percent in 2015.
"These numbers clearly show Oklahomans are ready for lawmakers to act on Civil Asset Forfeiture," says Bill Shapard, President of Sooner Poll. "Despite overwhelming public support during the 2016 legislative session, for whatever reason, leadership decided to brush the issue aside. But, when almost 3 out of 4 Oklahomans want to see this issue addressed, lawmakers really need to pay attention."
Sen. Loveless has championed Civil Asset Forfeiture reform for more than a year and plans to re-introduce legislation in 2017. He has built a coalition spanning the political spectrum to push for substantive reform next year.
"The work to reform Oklahoma's Civil Asset Forfeiture system has always transcended partisan lines and this new poll only amplifies the call to end the practice of seizing money and property from Oklahomans who have not been convicted of any crime," says Ryan Kiesel, Executive Director of the ACLU of Oklahoma. "Oklahomans across the political spectrum understand that empowering the government to take a person's property or money with very little, if any, actual cause is an affront to our fundamental rights and freedoms."
In a press release, Loveless believes the burden now lies solely on the legislature to fix a broken system.
"This is not a law enforcement issue, this is an issue where government is wrong to take people's property without proving anything in court," Sen. Loveless said. "Oklahomans of all walks of life, metro area to the smallest town, blue or red, left or right, regardless of where they come from Oklahomans want serious forfeiture reform."
The poll surveyed 398 Oklahoma voters from July 20-25th and has a margin of error of 4.91 percent, according to the survey sponsors. The questions and results are posted at www.SoonerPoll.com.