Friday, February 09, 2007

Freshman Senators Already Making Mark

Burrage Files OHLAP Legislation To Increase Limits to $75,000; Rice Advances Bill to Create the Oklahoma Task Force on Hunger

When others in the Legislature are trying to make it harder for Oklahoma high schools students to obtain a college education, a freshman Senator from Claremore wants to increase access, calling it “vital” to the economic growth for the state.

"We should do more to make higher education a greater possibility for all Oklahoma students who want to further their education,” Senator Sean Burrage said. “Access to a higher education should not be determined by the size of a bank account, rather it should be determined on a child’s ability and eagerness to learn.”

He explained currently through the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program (OHLAP), also called Oklahoma’s Promise, thousands of Oklahoma students who might not otherwise be able to afford college, are offered scholarships if they agree to make good grades on a college prep curriculum, stay out of trouble and meet certain income requirements. Burrage filed Senate Bill 530, a measure aimed at increasing the income eligibility for OHLAP from $50,000 to $75,000. The bill, if passed, would make close to 75 percent of high school students eligible for Oklahoma’s Promise.


Oklahoma can no longer afford to ignore the growing crisis of hunger within its borders
according to State Senator Andrew Rice, author of SB 499, which would create the Oklahoma Taskforce on Hunger.

“We can’t ignore this problem any longer. We rank near the bottom five in the country for hunger,” said Rice, D-Oklahoma City. “I don’t think the general public realizes what a hunger problem we have - and I would put myself in that group until recently. For instance, we have an issue in Oklahoma known as “food insecure” which means there are people that get three meals a day, but they’re not nutritious or filling and therefore not meeting the medical benchmarks of being sufficient. This needs to be addressed.”

According to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, half a million Oklahomans are at risk of going to bed hungry, including one in five children, and the numbers are increasing at a disturbing rate.

No comments: