Last Wednesday was Child Advocacy Day at the State Capitol, and I’d like to thank everyone who came out in support of policies that benefit children. We were joined by more than 100 Oklahomans who participated in advocacy workshops before meeting with lawmakers to discuss child-focused legislation.
During the event, the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) held a luncheon at the Governor’s Mansion, where we were honored to be joined by First Lady Sarah Stitt, Secretary of Health Jerome Loughridge, and Secretary of Human Services Steven Buck. We greatly appreciate the Stitt administration and First Lady Stitt directly investing so much of their time and energy into children’s issues and, specifically, combatting child abuse. Luncheon attendees also heard from Rodney Timms, founder of All Truckers Together Against Child Abuse (ATTACA), who detailed his own abuse and how his faith has led him to a life devoted to helping at-risk children.
OICA also began our drive to distribute free trigger locks to concerned Oklahoma gun owners on Child Advocacy Day. These were donated by the National Shooting Sports Foundation and are being provided free of charge to individuals wanting to secure their firearms when not in use. I personally want to thank my good friend Miles Hall for helping set up this collaborative effort and sending OICA 500 of these trigger locks to start our drive. If you would like one of these, please stop by our office or make arrangements, email us at us at email@example.com or call (405) 236-5437.
For those who were not able to make it to Advocacy Day, we are working with partner organizations, civic clubs and other groups to schedule advocacy trainings around the state. Our goal is to help our fellow Oklahomans effectively advocate for causes they care about with lawmakers. If you are a member of a civic group and interested in having a representative from the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) speak at one of your meetings, please contact us at the information provided above.
Meanwhile, there are roughly two weeks remaining in the legislative session. There is much work to still be done before lawmakers adjourn for the year. Legislators need to craft a budget, the criminal justice reform measures are still under review, and there is no word as of yet if a bill to create an “Oklahoma Plan” for increased access to federal health care dollars will be brought forward. The restoration of refundability of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is also a possibility and we are encouraging this as a final policy for passage this year. OICA will continue to be active at the Capitol and we will work to ensure kids are remembered as this session closes. Now, more than ever, is a great time for all Oklahomans to get involved and speak out on these important issues.