This week, the House Children, Youth and Family Services Committee hosted an interim study to learn about the effects of incarceration on families. I serve as vice chair of this committee, but I had the privilege to preside over this week’s meeting in the absence of our chair.
One area heavily discussed in our meeting was the monetary cost of incarceration for families of those incarcerated, especially in situations where the mother was incarcerated. Colleen McCarty from Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform said that one in three families with someone incarcerated end up in debt because of piling legal fees, court fines and fees, bail, pre-sentencing investigations and other costs.
We learned that over 21,000 Oklahoma children have fathers incarcerated and 46,000 Oklahoma children have an incarcerated mother. While mothers typically spend a shorter amount of time imprisoned because the majority are incarcerated for low-level charges, they are much more likely to be the only parent in the home, which leaves their children without a caretaker.
There is a severe lack of nonprofits and community resources to aid these mothers and other family members leaving the corrections system.
The meeting was very insightful, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to consider legislative solutions to aid these families!
We’re continuing to hear interim studies, and there are several coming up in my committees that I think would be of interest to House District 33:
• IS21-023, filed by Rep. Jon Echols, will examine what is needed to make Oklahoma a “Top Ten” state for college attendance and graduation percentage. This meeting will be held on Monday, Sept. 27 before the House Higher Education and Career Tech Committee.
• IS21-041, hosted by Rep. Todd Russ, will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 28 before the House Children, Youth and Family Services Committee. The study will focus on understanding how the federal food subsidy program works in schools and child care centers, as well as consider possible fraud issues and improvements to the program.
Last weekend’s Walk for Trey event in Yale was a success! We saw more than 150 attendees and collected over $800 for Trey’s Memorial Fund.
I was invited to speak to the group, and I talked about the importance of giving not just money, but also time and love to help others. There was a reading of the names of loved ones lost to suicide, followed by a balloon release and the walk itself.
This was a very special event to remember Trey Morphew, and I hope everybody left that morning even more committed to recognizing the signs of someone struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts.
This week, I was honored to receive the 2021 Conservation Champion Award from The Nature Conservancy (TNC) of Oklahoma. I’ve hunted public lands all my life and I know the value these areas hold for their community and for all people. It’s important that we protect these lands so that future generations, like my son and grandson, can continue to enjoy the beauty of Oklahoma’s natural assets.
Last session, I ran House Resolution 1002 with the support of TNC to draw attention to our public lands so we don’t risk losing them. I appreciate my colleagues in the Legislature who supported the resolution.
As always, please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns. You can contact me at email@example.com and 405-557-7304.
Thank you for allowing me to serve House District 33!
Rep. John Talley, a Republican, serves District 33 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which covers Logan and Payne Counties.