Last week, the House held two interim studies that I thought yielded good conversations and policy ideas.
The first study was on expungement reform and was hosted by Rep. Nicole Miller. Expungement is the process a person goes through to have their record of criminal conviction destroyed or sealed. An expungement order essentially removes the criminal conviction from the defendant’s criminal record and directs the court to treat the conviction as if it had never happened.
Only certain people or crimes are eligible for expungements. In Oklahoma, people who aren’t eligible for expungement include those convicted of violent crimes that require the perpetrators serve 85% of their sentence or crimes that result in registration as a sex offender.
I have visited prisons across Oklahoma and personally helped former inmates get back on their feet, so this is very important to me. The most effective means of rehabilitation is a job, and I believe expungement is an avenue that could unlock that opportunity for many Oklahomans who have paid their debt to society.
Another study held last week considered issues arising from the increase of medical marijuana production across the state.
I have heard from many constituents who are concerned about how marijuana grow operations in their community affect them and their neighbors. I’m in regular contact about this with officials from the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority and the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.
As policymakers, we want to ensure that marijuana grow operations are running within our current laws and regulations. I was pleased that this interim study examined what further safeguards may be put into place.
There are several more interim studies coming up that may be of interest to the people of House District 33.
IS21-048 will focus on state-owned broadband infrastructure assets to help us gain an understanding of what we currently utilize and what we may be lacking. This study will be heard before the House Technology Committee on Sept. 20 at noon.
On Sept. 22, the House Criminal Justice and Corrections Committee will hear IS21-103. This bipartisan study will examine details about the treatment, safety and well-being of our inmates and correctional officers in our state correctional facilities. That study will commence at 9 a.m.
If you’re interested in watching one of these studies live, the House website will have a livestream available. Visit www.okhouse.gov, click on the “Media” tab and follow the “House Audio/Video” link. The link will be labeled with the name of the committee and will go live shortly before the study begins.
Additionally, I want to share details about an upcoming program offered by Resilient Payne County. On Sept. 28 at 4 p.m., they will host a crisis intervention summit at the Fred Schultz Conference Center at Meridian Technology Center in Stillwater.
Nisha Wilson from the Oklahoma Dept. of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services will present on the ongoing transformation of behavioral health crisis care in Oklahoma. Officer Chris Vasser with the Stillwater Police Dept. Crisis Intervention Team and Kimberly Hill-Crowell, a licensed social worker at Grand Lake Mental Health Center, will be speaking as well.
If you would like further details about the summit or upcoming interim studies, please reach out to my office. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 405-557-7304.
Rep. John Talley, a Republican, serves District 33 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which covers Logan and Payne Counties.