Osburn, Nichols Hold Bipartisan Race Relations Study

Mike Seals - October 7, 2020 10:31 pm

OKLAHOMA CITY –  State Reps. Mike Osburn, R-Edmond, and Monroe Nichols, D-Tulsa, in partnership with state Sens. Adam Pugh, R-Edmond and Kevin Matthews, D-Tulsa, will hold a bipartisan study of race relations in Oklahoma beginning at 9 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 8, at the Oklahoma History Center in the Chesapeake Room.

The study will be held before the House Government Efficiency Committee, of which Osburn is the chair. The study will go from 9 a.m. to noon and continue after lunch from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The study will include a discussion of race relations and policing reforms as well as the potential resulting effects on incarceration, social safety nets, education, the workforce and other areas.

Presenters include:

  • Amber Widgery, program principal at the National Council of State Legislatures, speaking remotely giving an overview of national police reform;
  • Rep. Matt Windschitl, majority leader of the Iowa House of Representatives, speaking remotely on Iowa police reform;
  • Kevin McCarthy, first assistant attorney general of the state of Iowa, speaking remotely on accountability provisions in the Iowa Legislature;
  • Pastor Clarence Hill with Antioch Baptist Church of Norman, giving a perspective from the church;
  • Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin speaking remotely on Tulsa Police reform efforts;
  • Wade Gourley, chief of the Oklahoma City Police Department, speaking on training standards and reform efforts within that department;
  • Mark Holden, former senior vice president of Koch Industries and chairman of the board of Americans for Prosperity Foundation, presenting remotely giving recommendations for future legislation;
  • Dr. Preston J. Phillips with St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa; and
  • Estela Hernandez, Oklahoma State Board of Education member.

Livestreaming is available at https://www.okhouse.gov/Video/Default.aspx

*Please note, the livestream will be found in the module usually marked for Room 512-A in the Capitol even though the event is occurring across the street at the Oklahoma History Center.

Statement from Osburn: It is OK for everyone, regardless of their political stripe or race or residence, to have conversations like these. As elected leaders, it is our duty to have these conversations. Race relations and policing affect many other societal issues legislators confront as we try to craft fair, just, fiscally responsible public policies. Several legislative studies on these topics have occurred this interim, and my hope is this bipartisan study helps us begin to pivot from conversation to action on issues that matter to all of our constituents.

Statement from Nichols: My goal for this study is to have a policy conversation, not a political one. There are great examples across the country on how both sides of the aisle have come together for meaningful change and I’m excited we’re starting that conversation in Oklahoma. Growing up as the son of a police officer, I know law enforcement officers are important pillars to our community. I believe the reforms we will discuss will help shine a light on those officers who truly serve with honor while ensuring accountability within the profession, accountability not unlike every other high-profile profession in communities across the state.


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