An open public forum Monday night will be about a “fix” state Senator Ralph Shortey is proposing for state questions 780 and 781 passed in November by a vote of the people.
He is the author of Senate Bill 512 intended to correct certain problems Shortey believes the voters were not aware of when then voted the measures in.
Controversy has swirled around SB 512 because some voters believe Shortey is trying to repeal what the voters approved.
He is encouraging the public to attend the forum in rooms CU 1 & 2 at Oklahoma City Community College, 7777 S. May Avenue in Oklahoma City. It will begin at 6:30 p.m.
“State Questions 780 and 781 changed 23 sections of law in three different titles and resulted in many unintended consequences that most people didn’t realize, given the description on the ballot was only 200 words long,” Shortey said in a press release.
SQ 780 & 781 were criminal justice reform measures intended to reduce the sentences for various property and drug crimes and set up a mechanism for the state to put some low-level drug offenders in treatment instead of prison.
State questions are bills the legislature chooses to submit to the general vote of the people rather than just the legislature.
State questions 780 an781 were intended to give partial relief to what even conservatives now agree is an overwhelmed prison system costing the state millions each year.
The state prison system has been filled beyond capacity by a wave of tough-on-crime legislation passed after Republicans took control of both houses of the state Legislature in 2008.
That legislation established new criminal offenses, shifted some crimes from misdemeanors to felonies, increased the length of sentences and created numerous mandatory sentences.
Shortey represents Senate District 44 which includes a broad spectrum of south Oklahoma City neighborhoods and small parts of Canadian County near Yukon.
SD 44 includes the following ZIP codes: 73097, 73099, 73102, 73106, 73107, 73108, 73109, 73119, 73127, 73128, 73129, 73139, 73149, 73159, 73169 and 73179.
A map of the district can be found on this HERE.