Collinsville, Oklahoma
February 24, 2014
Miscellaneous News
Park Vandalism Information Requested /
Kirby Twins Update /
Legislature Considering Texting Ban
& Female Incarceration Rate

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Copyright 2014 -- Collinsville, Oklahoma
Committee gives green light to bill to ban texting while driving
For Immediate Release:
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Senate Public Safety Committee approved legislation Wednesday that could save hundreds of Oklahoma lives. Senate Bill 442, by Sen. Ron Sharp, would make it unlawful to compose, send or read a text message while driving.

“Too many Oklahomans are tragically being killed or killing others because they are texting and driving,” said Sharp, R-Shawnee. “Studies have repeatedly shown that texting while driving is as dangerous as drinking and driving. We’ve outlawed drinking and driving – now it’s time we put a stop to this dangerous behavior as well before more lives are senselessly lost.”

Under SB 442, which was carried over from last session, anyone convicted of violating the law would be punished by a fine not to exceed $500, including court costs. The bill was amended in committee and the fine, including court costs, was lowered to no more than $30 for first offenses and $50 for second and subsequent offenses.

SB 442 was requested by AAA whose members are afraid for their safety on the road because of other drivers texting. Chuck Mai, vice president of public affairs for AAA, said the organization has been fighting for a ban on texting in Oklahoma for the last five years.

“I can’t think of anything more dangerous than for a driver to read, write or send a text message. Your eyes are off the road, your hands are off the wheel and your mind is not focused on driving,” said Mai. “AAA feels it’s time for the Oklahoma legislature to step up and join the 42 other states that have sent a clear and urgent message to their motorists that texting is so dangerous that they have outlawed it.”

According to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office there were more than 11,000 crashes in 2012 caused by distracted drivers.

The bill provides exemptions for law enforcement and safety personnel; drivers of authorized emergency vehicles; someone operating an amateur radio or who holds a current, valid amateur radio station license issued by the FCC; or those who use a cell phone solely to contact an emergency response operator, a hospital, physician’s office, health clinic, a provider of ambulance or firefighting services, or a law enforcement agency in emergency situations.

SB 442 will now move to the full Senate for further consideration.

For more information, contact:

Sen. Sharp: (405) 521-5539


Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
Bill approved to address
state’s high female incarceration rate
For Immediate Release:

OKLAHOMA CITY – Earlier this week, the Senate Appropriations Committee gave unanimous approval to a measure seeking to lower Oklahoma’s high female incarceration rate. Senate Bill 1278, by Sen. Kim David, would authorize the Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES) to enter into a Pay-for-Success (PFS) contract pilot program for those criminal justice programs that have had proven outcomes with reducing public sector costs associated with female incarceration.

“Oklahoma has had the highest female incarceration rate in the country for several years now. Oklahoma’s history of imprisoning nonviolent women, rather than treating them, is expensive, ineffective and damaging to families. It’s important that we offer alternatives to incarceration to get these women rehabilitated and back to the workforce and their families,” said David, R-Porter. “Incarceration and poverty are a vicious cycle in our state that we can stop by giving these women the counseling and education they need to get clean, find a job and be able to support themselves without returning to a life of drugs and crime.”

With a PFS contract, the government negotiates with a program to deliver a specific outcome, such as reduced incarceration. Private philanthropy provides upfront funding for the program. If, and only if, specific outcomes are achieved, the state would then re-pay a portion of the savings realized. Otherwise, the state does not pay anything. Therefore, the state transfers all risks to the nonprofit.

“Utilizing Pay-for-Success contracts is a fiscally-responsible way for Oklahoma to address our incarceration rates. The state only pays after services have been delivered and if specific outcomes and monetary savings are achieved; otherwise, the state owes nothing,” explained David. “Another financial benefit of using these contracts is that state payment will never exceed the state’s savings created through the contracted programs.”

A contract would only be paid once OMES verified that the diversion or reentry program was successfully completed by a participant.

Under SB 1278, only service providers with the capacity (size, scale, budget) to serve at least 100 high risk women would qualify for this initial PFS pilot.

The PFS contract would be delivered in Tulsa County, which is the largest contributor to the female offender population in Oklahoma. Since FY’12, Tulsa County has outpaced Oklahoma County and the rest of the state in its female offender receptions.

“This is a win-win opportunity for Oklahoma. OMES can find nonprofits that have successfully helped currently and formerly incarcerated women gain the skills they need to become self-sufficient, productive members of society again,” said David. “This will help decrease the length of sentences and lower recidivism rates, which will in turn help address the state’s prison overcrowding problem and save the state millions in incarceration costs. Once released, these women will also become taxpayers creating new revenue for the state and they’ll hopefully be able to support their families and get off state assistance saving the state even more money.”

The committee did strike title on the bill, which will next be heard by the full Senate.

– 30 –

For more information, contact:

Sen. David: (405) 521-5590

Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
Park Vandalism Slows New Sign Completion
City officials reported last Thursday (Feb. 20, 2014) that the new City Park entrance sign (on the east side near 15th Street) was damaged sometime during the previous day or evening by vandals. The sign is a miniature version of the larger sign on the west side of the park near 19th Street. The upper concrete blocks of the in-progress construction were knocked over and have since been restored. If you have any information on the vandalism please contact the city or police department.
Kirby Twins Basketball Update
From Enid -- Feb. 23, 2014
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