Bobby Cleveland | KGOU
KGOU

Bobby Cleveland

Jason Page and Paul Mullaney inside the state Capitol in 2018.
Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Low pay is at the center of Oklahoma’s struggle to keep its prison employees.

Six-year veteran corrections officer Paul Mullaney quit over pay and working conditions just months after lawmakers approved a $2.00 raise for prison employees. He worked in the mental health unit of Joseph Harp Correctional Center in Lexington.

The extra money wasn’t enough to keep him.

Three former legislators who left office in November are now lobbyists, embodying a practice that state ethics officials have unsuccessfully tried to ban in the face of opposition from the Legislature.

Rep. Bobby Cleveland, left, and Sherrie Conley, right.
Oklahoma House of Representatives / Provided

Tuesday is Oklahoma’s primary runoff election and in House District 20, an educator is campaigning to oust Republican incumbent Bobby Cleveland, who’s held the seat for six years.

Teachers, parents and students at a March 2018 education rally in downtown Tulsa.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

After months of gridlock and failed deal-making, the Oklahoma House and Senate have passed a nearly $450 million tax package designed to fund raises for teachers and avoid statewide school closures.

Gov. Mary Fallin said she’ll sign the tax package, which fell short of teachers’ demands. Educators still plan to march at the Capitol April 2 to pressure lawmakers to spend more on schools and public employees and continue a debate that has highlighted growing gaps and frustrations over taxes and government.

 

Nicholas Henderson / Flickr

Two House members have requested interim studies that would examine Oklahoma’s revenue streams. 

The requests come after Gov. Mary Fallin and her top budget advisor, Secretary of Finance, Administration and Information Services Preston Doerflinger, who serves as the governor’s top budget advisor, began stressing in December the impact allocation of state revenues to specific purposes has on General Revenue Fund collections.