Lawyers march to state capital supporting Oklahoma teachers
By Robin Dorner
Editor in Chief
“They started this,” one Oklahoma Attorney cried out as she walked toward the Oklahoma state capital.
Today, nearly 200 Oklahoma attorneys marched from the Oklahoma Bar Association to the state capital in support of Oklahoma teachers.
“We believe in our future, we believe in our children’s future and we believe in these teachers who are here fighting for that future,” said Oklahoma attorney Dorothy Heim. “We’re 49th in pay for our teachers and we deserve better.”
Heim added, “But we are number one or two in prison incarceration. That’s why we’re here. For whatever reason, our legislature refuses to see how important our children are for the future of Oklahoma.”
Last year, the Bureau of Justice Statistics released its annual inmate census report detailing federal/state inmate populations and incarceration rates for 2016. The report showed Oklahoma was second in the nation in overall incarceration rates for 2016 - with 673 people incarcerated per 100,000 residents.
Only Louisiana incarcerates more residents than Oklahoma.
“Educators have been passionately advocating for their students and asking the legislature to provide more funding for our classrooms after a decade of neglect of Oklahoma’s public schools,” said Oklahoma Education Association (OEA) President Alicia Priest in a statement.
OEA stated their appreciation for the legislature passing the ‘ball and dice’ legislation (HB 3375) and the Amazon tax bill (HB 1019xx).
“Because of the educators, parents and students who have taken to the Capitol this past week, the new funding for Oklahoma’s students nearly doubled to $92 million,” Priest added. “While this is a step forward, the repeal of the hotel/motel tax, HB 1012xx, is just the opposite,” adding the bill is supported by the public and would be paid for by non-Oklahomans.
“We call on Governor Fallin to immediately veto HB 1012xx because it steals $42 million in funding away from Oklahoma’s students.”
OEA members will be at the capitol on Monday to fight for the passage of capital gains legislation. Teachers are using sick days or snow days to participate in the daily events. It is against the law for public employees to strike in the state of Oklahoma.
Copyright The Gayly, 4/9/2018 @ 2:24 p.m. CST.