It’s hard to believe summer already is over and school is starting in many districts around the metro and across the state. I encourage everyone to watch for school zones and youngsters walking to and from school. I also encourage parents to take time in the evenings to recap the school day with their children and work on homework and reading and math skills to boost their child’s achievement in the classroom. An involved parent is a major key to a child’s success in school. A big thank you to our teachers, school staff and administrators who help our young people reach their full potential.

On a personal note, I recently received the Liberty Bell award from the Oklahoma District Attorney’s Association for being a legislator who focused on legislation to keep Oklahomans safe. The award is presented to non-legal associated members of the community who contribute to the greater good of the state. It is an honor to be recognized for my legislative efforts.

At the Capitol, I am attending many of the interim studies being held by my fellow lawmakers. I also am holding a few studies of my own. One of my interim studies deals with the use of anti-psychotic drugs (chemical restraints) in assisted living centers. During the past legislative session, my bill was passed and signed by Governor Stitt that ensures nursing home residents or their legal representatives authorize consent before being given anti-psychotic drugs. Oklahoma is No. 1 in the prescribing of these drugs without a psychiatric diagnosis. This study will look deeper into this issue to give ideas for how the legislation can be broadened to protect our assisted living center residents in the same manner.

Another study will look at female incarceration issues in Oklahoma versus surrounding states. While we want to make sure we keep the public safe from career criminals and violent offenders, we also must examine alternatives for people who struggle with mental health issues or addiction as well as others issues such as systemic poverty or cycles of abuse. Our goal is to determine the best ways to help women who intersect with the criminal justice system.  One possible solution to be looked at is making available rehabilitation programs to ultimately reunite them with their children and families and give them education and skills so they can become productive members of society.

It is my honor to serve you at our Capitol. Please feel free to reach out to me if I can help you in any way.

God bless each of you,
Representative Tammy West

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