Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
For Immediate Release: March 8, 2010
Sen. Harry Coates
Senate Approves ‘Smart on Crime’
Legislation to reduce recidivism and help more Oklahomans
pursue better paying jobs has been approved by the full Senate.
Coates, author of Senate Bill 2070, said the bill would simply
enable individuals who have been convicted of a felony crime and
have completed their sentence to later apply for a professional
license as long as it is in a field unrelated to their crime.
“If a person commits a crime, they should be held fully accountable.
But after they’ve served their time, we ought to encourage
them to become productive members of society,” said Coates,
R-Seminole. “It’s not enough to be tough on crime—we
have to be smart on crime too, which means looking at ways to ensure
those who have done their time can reenter society and become productive
citizens. That’s what this bill is designed to do.”
Coates explained there are dozens of occupations in Oklahoma which
require a license by the state, from architecture to occupational
therapists, however under current law a convicted felon is barred
from seeking employment in any of those areas regardless of the
crime committed. Coates, Chairman of the Senate Business and Labor
Committee, explained SB 2070 would broaden opportunities for those
Oklahomans who want to turn their lives around.
“According to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation,
8.2 percent of Oklahomans have been convicted of a felony. That’s
more than a quarter of a million people in our state who have been
banned for life from certain careers and professions,” Coates
said. “In many cases, this prevents them from being able to
provide a good living for themselves and their families and becoming
productive members of society. Changing that will benefit our entire
Coates said the legislation, which passed unanimously in the Senate,
was requested by The Education and Employment Ministry (TEEM) based
in Oklahoma City, an organization that helps guide individuals into
more productive roles in society, including former inmates.
SB 2070 now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.
more information contact:
Sen. Coates: 405-521-5547