The Nine Oklahoma Senate Democrats gain a share of Interim Studies

Outnumbered 38-9 in the upper chamber of the Oklahoma Legislature, the Democratic Caucus nonetheless secured a share the limited number of Interim Studies approved last week by Senate President Pro Temp Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City.  

Senate Minority Leader Kay Floyd will have two important interim studies as a result of Treat’s process. 
With the General Government Committee, the Oklahoma City Democrat will lead a “Study regarding state employees teleworking, the effects of telework, and access to technology pre- and post- COVID-19.”
With the Health and Human Services Committee, Sen. Floyd will direct a “Study regarding hotline reporting for various state agencies and advocacy groups in Oklahoma.”

Floyd’s fellow Democrats from the Oklahoma City gained approval to study a significant cluster of issues between now and year’s end. 

George Young will work with Rules Committee on timely issues

Sen. George Young, D-Oklahoma City, will lead a pair of studies, both through the Rules Committee. The first is a “Study on equality issues relating to racial discrimination and bias, state agencies and employees, communities, organizations and businesses of this state.” The second is “A study on community racial impact statements, specifically proposed legislation’s effects on the incarceration rate of certain demographics and burgeoning DOC [Department of Corrections] population.”

Senator Kevin Matthews of Tulsa also has a pair of approved studies. Though the Education Committee he and colleagues will study Oklahomans “suffering from deafness or dyslexia, which often go undiagnosed.” 
Matthews also the guiding force behing a look at “Officer & Citizen safety options – Ways to address officer safety without utilization of excessive force (Best Practices)” in the Public Safety Committee. 

Sen. Michael Brooks-Jimenez, D-Oklahoma City, secured support for a study focused On “Minority Businesses: to explore ways to incentivize and grow minority businesses in historically disadvantaged locations,” to be managed with the Senate Business, Commerce and Tourism Committee. 

Sen. Carri Hicks, D-Oklahoma City, will guide, with the Senate Retirement and Insurance Committee an IS (independent study) “Examining the diabetes standards of care and needed insurance coverage to prevent negative health outcomes for individuals with diabetes.”
Sen. Hicks will also guide, through the Health and Human Services Committee, “A consumer safety inquiry into the sale of padded crib bumpers and risks of suffocation and strangulation.”

Senator Julia Kirt, D-Oklahoma City, will — also with the Health and Human Services Committee – work on “A study on transitions for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities from public schools to further education, employment, and independent living.” 
A top Republican leader in the upper chamber, Roger Thompson of Okemah, will work with Sen. Kirt on “Examining the potential for the Pay for Success (PFS) innovative contracting model to be used in more areas of Oklahoma’s social programs to improve outcomes.” That study will work through the Appropriations Committee, another powerful panel each and every legislative session. 

Senator Mary Boren of Norman gained approval for “A study on the state’s use of debit cards to deliver state benefits and if it could be accomplished within the state of Oklahoma without having to use a company like Conduet.” The first-term Democrat’s study will be under the umbrella of the Business, Commerce and Tourism Committee. 

Senator J.J. Dossett, D-Owasso sought and gained a study to focus “on the value of the Earned Income Tax Credit,” which will be part of the Finance Committee’s work. 

As reported in CapitolBeatOK’s story focused on Republican-led studies, the full list of approved interim work is available at the state Senate website.
When meetings for the interim studies are scheduled, Senate committees will send hearing notices, which also will be published on the Senate website.
Treat said interim studies must be completed by Friday, October 30.

NOTE: Publisher Pat McGuigan contributed to this report.