Joe Dorman

Recent Articles

Take Me (and Oklahoma’ Children) Out to the Ball-Game

Oklahoma- On January 31, the Bricktown Rotary will honor Clayton Kershaw of the LA Dodgers with their annual Warren Spahn award, named after an Oklahoman who was one of the all-time great Major League pitchers. The upcoming award ceremony got me thinking about baseball in America and its unique relationship with race. Last year was the 70th anniversary of desegregation in Major League Baseball, a major milestone in the civil rights movement. Baseball has always been thought of as “America’s Pastime,” and the victory won by players like Jackie Robinson resonated far beyond sports. It was a cultural and political victory for all black Americans. Continue Reading →

Filed under: ,

Children’s Agenda for the New Year

For those who are involved in politics and policy at the Oklahoma State Capitol, 2017 feels like the year that will never end. Special legislative sessions, elusive budget deals, and an early start to political campaigning have given this year an endless “Ground Hog Day” vibe that makes it seem like 2018 exists only in the distant future. Nevertheless, the New Year is practically here, and it may surprise the public to learn that the bill-filing deadline for the 2018 legislative session is this Friday, December 8. Bills filed before Friday do not necessarily need to be in their detailed, final form; most are “shell bills” that simply identify a topic. In that spirit, the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy has identified five priority areas we hope our lawmakers make the focal point of their legislation. Continue Reading →

Filed under: ,

Be a Surrogate Santa: Support OK Foster Wishes

There are some projects that are so fun or rewarding that they just do not seem much like work.  One of those is an exciting new endeavor the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy is taking on that will help spread some holiday cheer!  We were recently asked to help OK Foster Wishes and the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) lead a gift drive that will ultimately deliver holiday presents to approximately 6,000 children in foster care. OK Foster Wishes has worked closely with DHS for years to assemble “wish lists” that foster kids and parents pass on to their caseworkers. OK Foster Wishes then matches those wish lists to Oklahomans who volunteer to buy a present on those lists, or to make a monetary donation that covers the costs. DHS then works to deliver those toys to the right children and families. This year, OICA is playing a lead role in raising toys and cash, and we are asking the public to help in one of two ways:
1.         Individuals interested in making a monetary contribution can donate online at okfosterwishes.org or by calling (405) 236-5437. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , ,

Feed the Children Joins OICA and DHS to Support Gift Drive for Foster Children

OKLAHOMA CITY – Feed the Children has joined a growing coalition of businesses and individuals helping the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) and the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) to deliver over 6,000 gifts to children in foster care this holiday season. The effort is part of the OK Foster Wishes program, which collects gift “wish lists” from foster children and matches them with those interested in donating. Feed the Children is providing warehouse space to store all of the donated gifts as well as some transportation support as needed. Due to the on-going relationship Feed the Children has had with DHS throughout the years, Travis Arnold, president and CEO of Feed the Children, believes this partnership was a natural fit for Feed the Children. “We have already committed to feeding 10,000 Oklahomans through our No Hunger Holidays initiative, and now we are excited to be a part of bringing 6,000 toys to children across the state,” said Travis Arnold. Continue Reading →

Filed under: ,

Be a Surrogate Santa: Support OK Foster Wishes

Oklahoma-There are some projects that are so fun or rewarding that they just do not seem much like work.  One of those is an exciting new endeavor the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy is taking on that will help spread some holiday cheer!  We were recently asked to help OK Foster Wishes and the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) lead a gift drive that will ultimately deliver holiday presents to approximately 6,000 children in foster care. OK Foster Wishes has worked closely with DHS for years to assemble “wish lists” that foster kids and parents pass on to their caseworkers. OK Foster Wishes then matches those wish lists to Oklahomans who volunteer to buy a present on those lists, or to make a monetary donation that covers the costs. DHS then works to deliver those toys to the right children and families. This year, OICA is playing a lead role in raising toys and cash, and we are asking the public to help in one of two ways:
1.         Individuals interested in making a monetary contribution can donate online at okfosterwishes.org or by calling (405) 236-5437. Continue Reading →

Filed under: ,

Leadership Change on Criminal Justice Committee Offers a Golden Opportunity to Build Consensus

Oklahoma – For years, bipartisan consensus has been brewing around the notion that Oklahoma locks up too many non-violent offenders. The cost of that over-incarceration has been borne by taxpayers, who are on the hook for the state’s prison costs, and families, whose homes are left broken when one parent (or both) winds up in prison for crimes often related to addiction or mental health problems.

More and more Oklahomans are now calling for criminal justice reform that emphasizes rehabilitation and treatment over lengthy prison sentences for non-violent offenders. Unfortunately, many of those reforms have hit a wall in the State Legislature. Oftentimes, that wall has been the chair of the Criminal Justice and Corrections Committee, Rep. Scott Biggs. More than a dozen potential laws were filed earlier this year that moved smoothly through the legislative process until Biggs exercised his authority as committee chair and refused to allow them to be heard.  Biggs’ actions essentially slammed the breaks on most of the state’s meaningful justice reform measures. Continue Reading →

Filed under: ,

Annual KIDS COUNT Conference to be Held Thursday, Nov. 2

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) is hosting their annual KIDS COUNT conference on Thursday, November 2. The conference brings together child advocates from across the state to raise awareness about key issues, share action strategies for meeting the needs of the state’s children and youth more effectively, and identify program and policy changes that will improve the health, safety, education and economic well-being of Oklahoma’s kids. The conference theme is “2018: Year of the Child.”

 Participants can register and view a preliminary agenda at https://forum-oica.nationbuilder.com/sign_up. Day-time activities begin at 8 AM at the Oklahoma State Capitol and include a gubernatorial candidate forum and a dozen different workshops for participants to choose from, covering subjects such as early childhood development, recognizing and reporting child abuse, and advocacy through the media. Workshops will culminate in participant-driven recommendations for a 2018 OICA Children’s Agenda. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , ,

OICA Builds on 35 Years of Advocacy

In 2018, the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) will celebrate its 35th Anniversary.  Our mission, “Creating awareness, taking action and supporting policy to improve the health, safety and well-being of Oklahoma’s children” is a role we take very seriously each and every day. We consider our advocacy to be a 24/7, all-year job: our work at the Capitol continues before, during and after the legislative session. This certainly includes the current special session, where lawmakers are grappling with the task of producing a balanced budget that adequately funds children’s services. OICA and our grassroots network are actively communicating to legislators the importance of filling the current budget hole, a $200M shortfall created when a cigarette fee was ruled unconstitutional. Beyond that, however, we are encouraging them to look at other new revenue raising measures that would allow us to shore up core services in the future, rather than simply addressing today’s crisis. Continue Reading →

Filed under: ,

Children’s Health Services Jeopardized by State and Federal Political Gridlock

Oklahoma- At the time of writing this column, our state elected officials are still at an impasse regarding a budget agreement and a resolution to the ongoing Special Session called by Governor Mary Fallin. OICA has been active in calling for Republicans and Democrats to work together to address the $215 million budget hole created after the courts struck down an unconstitutional cigarette fee. The $215 million reduction – which balloons to over $500M when federal matching funds are included — will either be spread across state government or, if no legislative action is taken, be shouldered exclusively by three agencies that oversee health care and social service programs. Neither scenario should be acceptable to voters or to our lawmakers. Several options for closing the budget hole have been discussed, including a (constitutional) $1.50 per pack cigarette tax hike, an increase in income taxes for high earners, and an increase in the gasoline tax. Other ideas presented have dealt with taxing “luxury” services, like tattooing and lawn care.  The increase in the gross production tax has been something discussed by the public, but has gained little traction inside the Capitol among the Republican supermajority.  Meanwhile, OICA has called upon our elected officials to reinstate at least a portion of the Earned Income Tax Credit which assists families struggling to make ends meet as a form of tax relief. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , ,

Actions and Consequences in Life and Politics

 

Sometimes in life, the actions we take and the relationships we form have consequences that only reveal themselves years later. I was reminded of this recently when I crossed paths with an individual I first met almost 15 years ago. When I was campaigning for my first election as a state representative in 2002, I was active in reaching out to students and asking them to get involved in the political process. Even if they couldn’t vote, these young men and women could knock doors, canvas neighborhoods and make a real impact on the election. My campaign benefitted from the work and energy of a small group of very dedicated student-activists, and they benefitted from making a meaningful connection with the political process. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , ,