McCall Taps A&B Subcommittee for Criminal Justice Reform Interim Studies

House Speaker Charles McCall has chosen the House Appropriations and Budget Subcommittee on Public Safety as home to the interim studies looking at criminal justice reforms. The specific reforms are in legislation which was blocked from moving through the Legislature this year.

McCall wants an impartial approach to the issues. Many of the bills involved were recommendations from the Governor’s Oklahoma Justice Reform Task Force. Lawmakers, who mostly are former prosecutors, raised concerns about the impact of the bills.

“These are very emotional issues, and they are issues that could have an enormous impact on both public safety and the state budget,” said McCall, R-Atoka. “Our incarceration rates are among the highest in the nation, which puts a lot of pressure on our budget. We have to make sure we get this right, so we can protect the public from violent offenders and also be good stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars. We are trying to accomplish in two years what it took Texas six years to do. These interim studies will allow all those who are interested to have their voices heard, and we will take what we learn and work on these bills in 2018.”

Rep. John Bennett chairs the subcommittee. Rep. Terry O’Donnell, who carried several criminal justice bills, will preside over the interim studies.

No specific dates have been set for the studies. They can be held either on Tuesdays or Wednesday between August 1 and November 8.

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