Unequal justice: A three-day seminar on racial disparities in the justice system will begin Tuesday evening in Langston and continue Wednesday and Thursday at Tulsa’s Greenwood Cultural Center.
Participants will include former Oklahoma Speaker of the House of Representatives Kris Steele, Tulsa policing reform activist Tiffany Crutcher and state Sen. George Young, D-Oklahoma City.
The event is associated with the Square One Project, a New York-based initiative to address the intersection of the justice system, poverty and ingrained racism.
See https://squareonejustice.org/ok-roundtable-values-justice/ for full agendas and information.
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State of the State: Gov. Kevin Stitt will deliver his fifth state of the state address at approximately 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 6 to open the first session of the 59th Oklahoma Legislature.
The speech will be broadcast and live-streamed on OETA and several Oklahoma television stations.
Full disclosure: State Rep. Tom Gann, R-Inola, whose district includes the MidAmerica Industrial Park, introduced legislation this year forbidding non-disclosure agreements between government officials and businesses seeking tax-supported assistance or incentives.
An outspoken opponent of the $698 million set aside for an electric vehicle battery plant at MidAmerica that has not materialized, Gann said, “It is time the Oklahoma taxpayer is respected by the government they are compelled to support.”
Squat thrust: Sen. George Burns, R-Pollard, wants to eliminate the Oklahoma’s squatters rights law.
Some might be surprised that squatters’ rights actually exist, but they do and in all 50 states. In Oklahoma, a person can claim ownership of abandoned property after 15 years of continuous residence and five years of paying the taxes for it. The law probably most comes into play in disputes over property lines.
Burns, however, seems more concerned with short-term trespassers moving into vacant buildings. Generally speaking, such people can be legally removed only through eviction actions.
None for us: Sen. David Bullard, R-Durant, is recycling a familiar conservative talking point with SB 863, authorizing a 10-year phase out of federal money to the state’s public schools.
Doing so, Bullard and others argue, would free Oklahoma from federal education regulations.
It would also cost state school districts around $245 million just for programs targeting students and districts with particular needs, such as high concentrations of poverty or English language learners, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Education’s web site. And that doesn’t include money for nutrition programs or some forms of direct aid.
Oklahoma conservatives have talked for decades about ridding schools of federal funding but never pressed the button. Whether so-called “woke” ideology does it will soon be seen.
Scammers: State Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, said he was recently targeted by scammers trying to convince him he’d missed a court date. The caller claimed to be with the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office.
Treat said the caller quickly disconnected when Treat said he would call Oklahoma County Sheriff Tommy Johnson directly.
Scholarship: Application deadline is April 30 for the Republican Women’s Club of Tulsa County’s annual scholarship program.
The club awards two $2,000 scholarships to girls graduating high school this spring. Recipients must be registered Tulsa County Republicans or have a registered Republican parent or guardian living in Tulsa County.
Write firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
Meetings and events: That Purple, The National Women’s Political Caucus, will have a meet-and-greet 6-8 p.m. Wednesday at the Tulsa Press Club in the arcade of the Atlas Life Building, 415 S. Boston Ave. See thatpurple.org for further information.
Bottom lines: U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona met with American Indian parents during a roundtable discussion in Oklahoma City. … The Oklahoma Broadband Office said it submitted more than 10,000 challenges to the service map upon which the distribution of federal funds for highspeed internet access are distributed. … Leadership positions in the Oklahoma Legislature normally go only to members of the majority party, but House Democrats did get a vice chair position for the coming session — Rep. Ajay Pittman, D-Oklahoma City, is No. 2 on Tourism. … State Treasurer Todd Russ reported his office has completed a transition to a new bond trading platform, which Russ said is resulting in better returns for the state. … Stitt met by Zoom with Tulsa businessman and philanthropist George Kaiser, according to the governor’s office. No word on what was discussed. … First District Congressman Kevin Hern made the rounds of civic organizations between sessions, with visits to the Jenks Chamber of Commerce, the Bixby, Sand Springs and Tulsa Sunrise Rotary Clubs, the Sapulpa Kiwanis Club and the Oklahoma Alzheimer’s Association.
— Randy Krehbiel, Tulsa World
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