Collinsville, Oklahoma
May 10, 2016
Miscellaneous News
Summer Library Activities /
Tyler Forrest Recognition /
Dossett State Senate Report(s)

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Copyright 2016 -- Collinsville, Oklahoma

Criminal Justice Reform


Senate Review by Senator J.J. Dossett

As a government teacher, I probably had a better feel about making laws and policy than some—but reading about government, lecturing about it is one thing. Actually serving in a legislative body and seeing and participating in the process is definitely giving me an entirely new insight.

I’ve learned there are intelligent, good people from all parts of the state and on both sides of the aisle. I’ve also learned elected officials have to deal with a lot of pressure from a lot of sources. Contentious issues bring pressure from people on each side, trying to persuade lawmakers. Sometimes there are political pressures that can result in officials opposing or supporting things they may not believe in 100 percent, but they are worried about how their stance could be used against them later on.

I think that political pressure is one of the reasons it’s taken so long to enact meaningful criminal justice reform in Oklahoma. No politician wants to be portrayed as being soft on crime. For decades this state has passed laws requiring longer and longer prison sentences for more and more crimes. A lot of the discretion to look at the merits of individual cases has been taken from judges and juries with mandatory sentences.

Oklahoma now has the second highest incarceration rate in the nation, and we have the highest incarceration rate for women. And over half of the people behind bars are there for nonviolent offenses. Our state appropriation for Corrections has more than quadrupled over the past 30 years, and our prisons have remained chronically overcrowded.

If there is anything positive to be gleaned from the current budget crisis, it’s that people have finally come to an agreement that we have to start doing a better job of using the limited resources we have. As many have said before, it isn’t enough to be tough on crime. We also have to be smart on crime.

This session a slate of criminal justice reform measures were approved in both the House and the Senate on wide margins with bipartisan support. These reforms target nonviolent offenses in ways that still hold those who break the law accountable, but allows for greater use of things like drug-court and returns some discretion to prosecutors and judges. Felony limits that were badly outdated have been adjusted.

The reforms had the support of conservative and liberal organizations alike, and were supported by district attorneys from throughout the state. These measures have now been signed into law by the governor.

I want to applaud the courage of both chambers for addressing the critical issue of prison overcrowding and doing it in such a way that helps make sure our most dangerous criminals are kept behind bars, as they should be. This was the right thing to do, and if ever there was a time to do it, it’s now.

I welcome your comments on state government and the issues before us. Please feel free to contact me by writing to Senator J.J. Dossett at the State Capitol, Room 521-A, Oklahoma City, OK, 73105; call me at (405) 521-5566.

Collinsville Library Activities
Tuesday, May 31 from 3-4 pm Cartooning Workshop with Morgan Taylor - guides students through a step-by-step character-building project focused around his own work on the award-winning Gustafer Yellowgold DVD/CD series. Topics include anatomy, character study and development. For ages 10-18.

Monday, June 6 from 6-7:30 pm Summer Reading Program Kick-off party - Wear your favorite sports team gear while playing games including balloon tennis, target golf, bean bag toss. We will also have button making; make your own maracas; give hula hooping a try; demonstrations; and much, much more. Snacks and prizes while supplies last. For all ages.

Monday, June 8 from 3-4:30 pm Sukikyo! Anime Club - Shrinky Dinks! Color your favorite anime characters then bake-to-shrink to create charms, key rings, and more. Gaming and snacks. For ages 10-18.

Monday, June 13 from 3-4 pm Cheryl Foster presents make and take jewelry for everyone. For ages 10-18.

Monday, June 15 from 3-4 pm PAWS for Reading - Registered therapy dogs are excellent listeners. Children ages 5-12 are invited to read their favorite book to a furry, four-pawed friend. Each reader will receive a free book provided by the Tulsa Library Trust.

Monday, June 20 from 3-4 pm American Indian Flute Making hosted by Choogie Kingfisher For ages 10-18.

Monday, June 27 from 3-4 pm The Hypnotic World of Coldthorn the Mentalist – See your friends’ heads grow and shrink merely by suggestion! Observe as someone loses and regains his ability to read! Unbelievable, interactive demonstration of “hypnosis” and mind reading.

-- Robin Bushyhead (May 4, 2016)
Teen Library Associate
Collinsville Library (918) 549-7528

Oklahoma Budget Legislation

Senate Review by Senator J.J. Dossett

With three weeks left in the 2016 legislative session, we’re finally beginning to vote on bills that will shape the 2017 fiscal year budget. On Thursday the Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget approved a slate of tax credit and incentive reform measures that will help reduce the state’s $1.3 billion budget gap by $190 million—and more such bills will be voted on in the coming days.

I’m disappointed that there wasn’t enough support to suspend the 2016 income tax cut this year. Only the wealthiest Oklahomans received any significant tax savings from this change, but it resulted in $147 million fewer dollars available to fund our schools, health and mental health.

I fully support capping and reforming tax credits for businesses that have not resulted in the job creation and economic benefit to the state that they were supposed to produce. With school districts across the state being forced to eliminate teaching positions, thousands of Oklahomans at risk of losing access to health and mental health services, we simply can’t afford to leave such credits and incentives in place.

I am pleased that we will soon be voting on legislation to place a $25 million cap on tax rebates for at-risk oil and gas wells, which are wells operated at financial risk. It’s estimated that cap will save $105 million a year. However I am opposed to eliminating credits that working families rely on during these tough economic times. These were highlighted recently by the Oklahoma Policy Institute and include the earned income tax credit, the sales tax relief credit and the child tax credit. According to OK Policy, more than 400,000 households depend on these credits. That’s more than 40 percent of all the families in our state.

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority has been among those supporting the idea of raising the tax on cigarettes by $1.50 a pack. Due to anticipated budget cuts, they’ve already announced plans to reduce healthcare provider payments by 25 percent, a move which many say will result in the closing of rural hospitals and most of the state’s nursing homes. That would be devastating for Oklahoma.

The question is whether there would be enough support to pass a cigarette tax hike in the Legislature. State Question 640, approved by Oklahoma voters in 1992 requires all tax increased to be approved by three-fourths of the Legislature and the governor, or by a vote of the people. Only two tax increases have been referred to the voters since SQ 640 was adopted; a tobacco tax increase in 2004, which passed, and a proposed fuel tax increase in 2005 which failed.

It will be interesting to see if this measure actually comes to the floor and if it does, what kind of support it will receive. I’ll keep you posted.

I welcome your comments on state government and the issues before us. Please feel free to contact me by writing to Senator J.J. Dossett at the State Capitol, Room 521-A, Oklahoma City, OK, 73105; call me at (405) 521-5566.

Tyler Forrest Receives the 2016 All-American (Strength & Conditioning) ) Athlete Award
Press Release -- For Immediate Release 4/29/2016

(Tyler Forrest is recognized for his outstanding accomplishments as a student athlete.)

Colorado Springs, CO - The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) is proud to announce Tyler Forrest as a 2016 All-American Athlete Award recipient. This award recognizes Forrest’s athletic accomplishments and his dedication to strength and conditioning. Nominated by Coach Hass, of Collinsville High School, Forrest’s determination to improve in athletics while maintaining academic prominence is a great model for all student-athletes at Collinsville High School.

“We are proud to have Coach Hass join the NSCA in its mission to safely improve athletic performance,” says Coach Scott Caulfield, the NSCA’s Head Strength and Conditioning Coach, “Supporting our student-athletes like Tyler Forrest guarantees a stronger future for the NSCA.”

Congratulations to Tyler Forrest, and for an updated list of the All-American Athletes of the Year award, visit

About the National Strength & Conditioning Association
The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) is an international nonprofit educational association founded in 1978. Evolving from a membership of 76, the association now serves nearly 30,000 members in 52 countries. Drawing upon its vast network of members, the NSCA develops and presents the most advanced information regarding strength training and conditioning practices, injury prevention, and research findings.
Unlike any other organization, the NSCA brings together a diverse group of professionals from the sport science, athletic, allied health, and fitness industries. These individuals are all in pursuit of achieving a common goal—the utilization of proper strength training and conditioning to improve athletic performance and fitness.

Central to its mission, the NSCA provides a bridge between the scientist in the laboratory and the practitioner in the field. By working to find practical applications for new research findings in the strength and conditioning field, the association fosters the development of strength training and conditioning as a discipline and as a profession.

Headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the NSCA serves as a valuable resource for its members, the fitness industry, general public, and the media. The association provides a wide variety of resources and opportunities designed to strengthen, build, advance, and unify.