Monday, April 30, 2018
Economic Security Initiatives
Paid Family Leave
Senate Bill 1581 underwent a makeover with a floor substitute replacing the previous bill language prior to the full House floor vote last week, passing unanimously. The new language ensures state employees will have access to a paid shared leave bank to be streamlined and consistent across all state agencies. The bank allows for interdepartmental donation of shared leave hours, allowing for all state employees to request shared leave from the larger bank of hours for a variety of personal and family medical situations. After passing the House, we shepherded Senate Bill 1581 back to the Senate to accept the amended version of the bill. The Senate voted unanimously to accept and pass the updated bill, which now heads to the Governor’s desk for her signature.
The Coalition worked with bill author Sen. Kay Floyd, Oklahoma Public Employees Association (OPEA), Oklahoma Office of Management & Enterprise Services (OMES), AARP, and other stakeholders to ensure the updated language was reflective of the original intent, which has always been to broaden and undergird paid family leave access for state employees. We will continue to work with state agency heads and administration to ensure implementation of Senate Bill 1581 is efficient and successful.
To say we are disappointed with the failure of House Bill 1530 is a tremendous understatement. If you have followed the Coalition’s efforts over the years, you know implementing pay transparency as a necessary component in closing the wage gap in Oklahoma has consistently been one of our top priorities. For the 3rd year, we introduced, shepherded, and fought for multiple vehicles which would have provided women a pathway to advocate for equal pay in the work place, simply by ensuring employees can inquire regarding their pay compared to that of their counterparts without reprimand or retaliation.
After passing House committee and the House floor, House Bill 1530 failed in Senate Business, Commerce and Tourism Committee with a 4-5 vote. Senate Bill 1527, an additional pay transparency bill, failed to secure a House Appropriations Committee hearing due to internal politics after passing Senate Committee and the Senate floor.
It is difficult to summarize the long hours of debating, crossing hurdles, facilitating meetings, correcting misinformation, educating potential supporters, and working tirelessly to find any pathway to success for pay transparency and other economic issues impacting women in the face of blatant and aggressive discrimination and denial. However, we.will.not.give.up. We will continue to work with our legislative champions and partners to challenge the status quo for women in the workplace, and we will need your voice as we labor to do so.
Thank you for calling, emailing, and visiting with your legislators in support of pay transparency and other key policy issues. YOU are the lifeline and the backbone of the Coalition, and we are deeply grateful for your passion and commitment.
Gov. Fallin has signed into law House Bill 1124, which prohibits sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet and loitering within 1,000 feet from their victims’ homes. Under current Oklahoma law, sex offenders are banned from living near places like schools and playgrounds, but it does not apply to a sex offender living near his or her adult victim. House Bill 1124 was named the ‘Justice for Danyelle Act of 2018’, after Danyelle Dyer, of Bristow, whose attacker moved next door to her last year.
Sincere thanks to Representative Hilbert and Senator Leewright for advocating for increased protection and rights for victims across our state.
Health & Wellness
House Bill 3393, which would prohibit the shackling of pregnant inmates during labor, has received the necessary number of signatures needed to pass through conference committee and is now eligible to be heard on the House floor. With a looming deadline this week, your voice is needed to urge Representative Jon Echols, House Floor Leader, to schedule the bill for a full House floor hearing.
Alternatives to Incarceration
Just last week, Governor Mary Fallin signed into law seven criminal justice reform bills which were carried over from 2017 and amended following compromise between the Legislature, district attorneys, and other stakeholders. While these bills are receiving criticism from some for being ‘watered-down’ versions of the original bills, partners represented by the Oklahoma Criminal Justice Reform Coalition- OWC included – agree these bills represent necessary first steps in the process of adopting impactful and aggressive criminal justice reform. There is much work to be done — we will continue to build on the momentum and overwhelming public support for increased reform as we work toward implementing smart and effective criminal justice reform policies.