HB 2218 Waive Court Costs for Criminals Act This bill waives fines, costs, and fees if a parolee is enrolled in work training, school, or vo tech center. The law credits the value of a forty hour week at minimum wage against court fees and costs. Nothing states that the parolee or ex con has to complete the classes or pass, attendance alone will chop off $290.00 per week so in ten weeks of class the average convicted felon will have his court fines and fees paid. Considering that the vast majority of convicts rarely pay a cent of their court fines and fees and if they do it is at $40.00 per month, this seems excessive. It also drives a lot of career criminals into school for a few months without asking if they are even a candidate for straightening up their lives. A change to requiring a completion of a degree would help, as would allowing them $40.00 per month credit to keep the court off their back while they are in school. But allowing over $1,100.00 in fees and fine credit for nothing is a very bad idea and subject to abuse.
The bill also makes a maximum of two years on DA supervision and limits the cost to $40 per week. That is actually a decent idea although $40.00 a month plus drug testing would be enough for a parolee. The law also allowed a judge to consider if the convict was working a job and allow weekend incarceration instead of revocation and prison yet judges already have the ability to do this and more. The law also limits deferred sentences to four years and community supervision to one year. And what is community supervision? The Court supervises the convicts, they walk in the door, lay down a check, and leave. Parts of this bill are good and meet the idea that once a criminal pays his price to society they are helped to get back on their feet but if they don’t pay their fines and fees all they have lost was a few months or years of their liberty and lets face it, if that was precious to them they wouldn’t be criminals. With work this bill could meet the Trump standard but it doesn’t in the current form.
HB 2273 The Parolee Protection Act waters down the parole violation process and allows acceleration in the last six months of the convict’s sentence. Keep in mind how little of a sentence is actually served, from one fifth to one third of the time the sentence lists. You will find convicts with six year sentences going into prison one year and coming out the next and this legislation would cut that time in half if a pardon was requested. Again, this doesn’t help an convict that has served his time, it shortens his time to a ridiculous amount and provides a graduated scale of punishments, limits the sentence after a parole violation to two years.
HB 2367 Workers Comp Subsidy To Insurers Expands the ability for workers to get benefits for repetitive injuries by striking out the clause that required 180 days of work at the company before repetitive injuries could be claimed. This bill was pushed by the corrupt Rep. Chris Kannady to pay off his lawyer donors. The half year requirement made sense to avoid workers comp fraud by workers. Working in a factory is physically demanding but workers get used to it and shouldn’t expect a workers comp check for normal aches and pains from working.
HB 2369 created the Criminal Justice Coordinating Commission, a new 13 member commission studying soft on crime solutions to the prison over crowding. No good will come of this committee as they left out law enforcement and the bail industry representatives in favor of liberal non profits that are bleeding the criminals dry by shuttling them through one of their own non profits that charges hundreds of dollars a month.
HB 2739 Gov.’s Closing Fund Subsidy This is pure corporate welfare, a slush fund for the Governor, added $5 million dollars to the quick closing fund.
SB 184 DNA on arrest bill. This law allows the capture of DNA on arrest and it throws the door wide open on who is allowed to collect the DNA instead of relying upon trained law enforcement officers. It also changes the use from law enforcement purposes to DNA identification purposes.
SB 200 expanded tax credit for films. Another Lt. Gov. Matt Pinell supported scheme to provide corporate welfare for campaign donors. The legislation was passed years ago but Pinell bragged in one of his mail outs about extending the corporate welfare program.
SB 252 Catch and Release Bill This law would have made judges lower bail bonds as bail cannot be set higher than the person can afford to pay or high enough that the lack of ability to pay might prevent their release. In other words, a mentally ill person will simply be let out of jail as they have no income to pay for bail. Or career criminals that refuse to hold a job so as to avoid paying court fines and fees or restitution. It doesn’t matter if the defendant’s family has the ability to pay, it is his ability to pay that has to be considered. If no bail granted the judge must make a finding of clear and convincing evidence that the person is guilty of the crime, which is a scary thing when a court pre judges someone guilty of a crime.
The law would also remove the ability to withhold bail for those caught manufacturing drugs or drug addicts that commit crimes to pay for their drug habit. In place of that the law would allow a pre trial release program to vouch for the inmate. The bill aslo allows OR, own recognizance bonds, someone’s promise to show up for court to be given to all defendants except those that have already escaped jail or prison, those charged with domestic abuse, violation of a protective order, or stalking. Basically if a man commits a crime against a woman he isn’t eligible for OR bond at no cost. Other changes in the law are requiring a specific threat must be present to a specific person, changing the law from a history of violating court orders to a history of violating protective orders, and again it removes the drug or alcohol use history of the criminal from being considered.
SB 608 Liquor distribution law change. This was pushed by a big donor to Rep. Chris Kannady, a guy named Hendershot out of Tulsa who runs a liquor operation. Hendershot and Kannady were very bold in skirting ethics rules and state law to the point of distributing checks during the legislative session and making it very obvious that the checks were quid pro quo for supporting this legislation. The law basically forces suppliers to sell to all wholesalers regardless of quality standards and regardless of the amount of markup on the liquor. Whether it is good for consumers or not isn’t being debated; but the strong handed corruption involved is enough to question anyone that took Hendershot’s cash and voted for this legislation. The measure also may well violate the state constitution by restricting free choice of who a manufacture can sell to.
SB 749 Infrastructure Funding Assistance to Corporations serving Military. Sounds good but it actually expands Oklahoma Development Finance Authority loans to for profit businesses. AKA corporate welfare for companies that would have zero problem qualifying for a loan from a bank.