This past week, I attended an interim study held by Rep. Jacob Rosecrants that focused on the benefits recess provides our school kids. Hearing how recess furnishes interactive learning opportunities was fascinating. The educators involved in the study said having more frequent recesses can lead to better academic outcomes and fewer behavioral issues. They explained how more free play can help retain a student’s attention in class and reduce the need for disciplinary actions. Recess also can help children learn better social skills. The presenters at the study suggested the Legislature should protect recess as a student right but leave the details, such as how long breaks are, to teachers and their school districts. I will continue to watch this issue as I think it could greatly benefit both our educators and our children, as well as their families.

There are more upcoming interim studies that I believe my constituents will be interested in.

IS21-109, by Reps. Carol Bush and Andy Fugate, Creating a 360 Degree Agency View of Children in Foster Care, begins at 1 p.m., Monday, Oct. 18, before the Children, Youth and Family Services Committee.

As our state begins to update computer agency systems, it is important to examine data-sharing opportunities and challenges. This study will explore creating a single, comprehensive record of children in state custody looking at which agencies are involved, which agencies own the data, interoperability and data-sharing, as well as privacy issues, efficiency, avenues for improvement and best practices from other states.

IS21-006, by Rep. Jim Grego, Rural Ambulance Service on County Lines, begins at 8:30 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 21, before the House County and Municipal Government Committee.

Residents who live in rural areas on or near county lines report trouble receiving 911 and ambulance service from emergency service providers who say they can’t cross county or other jurisdictional boundary lines. The study will look for viable solutions to this problem.

Both studies will be held in Room 206 at the Capitol.

Just a reminder that these meetings are open to the public. They also can be viewed online by going to https://okhouse.gov/Video/Default.aspx and looking for the name of the committee and the date. Video also is archived for viewing after the meeting for those unable to livestream.

On a separate note, I want to mention that the First Americans Museum recently opened in Oklahoma City, and I had the pleasure of touring this remarkable facility. I like the fact that it is named for the “First Americans,” because that’s really a more accurate way to describe the native tribes who first inhabited this land. As modern Americans, it’s easy to forget there were people living on this continent before it was colonized by Europeans.

I enjoyed the family-oriented atmosphere and seeing how each of Oklahoma’s 39 federally recognized tribal nations featured in the museum has their own unique culture. I encourage visitors to go when they have a couple of hours to browse and just take in the wonder of this place. I hope many classroom teachers will bring their students to go through the museum and learn about our rich heritage. As COVID case numbers are declining, this is a great activity to get your family out of the house.

It is an honor to serve you. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me at 405-557-7304 or John.Talley@okhouse.gov.

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