Joe Dorman

Recent Articles

OICA Applauds Passage of SQ 802

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) expressed its gratitude to state voters for the passage of State Question 802, the proposal to expand Medicaid in the state. The question passed with just over 50.4 percent of the vote and a 6,488 majority. The organization’s Board of Directors endorsed the state question earlier this year. As part of the organization’s support, it produced and distributed a 30-second television commercial along with several digital and print advertisements and a dedicated web page on the OICA website focused on State Question 802. OICA’s advertising was fact-based. Continue Reading →

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OICA to Host Tele-Conference on Medicaid, Work with Lawmakers on Interim Studies

By the time that you likely read this, the June 30 party primary election will have been decided. Congratulations to the winners of each of those elections! We look forward to working with the outright winners tomorrow, and those who are elected in the November general election. OICA is currently in the planning stages of an online forum to discuss the merits of health care for Oklahomans based upon the outcome of State Question 802, which voters will have decided on June 30. Access to health care will require much planning as we go forward, no matter how the vote turns out. Continue Reading →

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Big Decisions for Voters on June 30; OICA Supports SQ 802

On June 30, Oklahomans have several decisions to make when they go to the polls. The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy has submitted to the candidates running for state and federal office a questionnaire on important issues relating to children. The survey allows those candidates to let voters know their positions on ten questions:

1. “What would you do to close the opportunity gap for the millions of children now being left behind?”

2. “What will you do to improve the early years of a child’s life? Continue Reading →

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OICA Names Rep. Mark Lawson “Children’s Representative of the Year”

OKLAHOMA CITY – After each session of the Oklahoma Legislature, the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) evaluates the work done by the Legislature. The 2020 session of the Oklahoma Legislature was abbreviated due to the impact of COVID-19. Despite that, OICA CEO Joe Dorman said one state representative distinguished himself as a staunch advocate for Oklahoma’s children. “State Rep. Mark Lawson fought for Oklahoma’s children with tenacity, creativity, and wisdom,” Dorman said. “For that reason, he has been named OICA’s ‘Children’s Representative of the Year.’ The citizens he serves in Creek and Tulsa counties have every reason to be proud of Representative Lawson.”

Lawson, a Republican from Sapulpa, introduced and advocated several measures relating to juvenile justice reform. Continue Reading →

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OICA Census Community Challenge Will Provide Donation to School in Most Improved Oklahoma Municipality

The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy recently issued our “Census Community Challenge” in the spirit of Bedlam to encourage local towns and cities to initiate competition between rival communities. The cities of Tulsa and Oklahoma City have been doing something similar for several months. It has helped the effort: as of Monday, June 8, Oklahoma City had an estimated 59.7% response rate, while Tulsa had 57.8%. Currently, the national response rate is at 60.7%, with Oklahoma as a whole showing a 54.2% rate, which is 44th in the nation. Participation in the census is vital as it means federal dollars coming to Oklahoma at an estimated $1,700 per person per year for ten years for programs funded by population numbers. Continue Reading →

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OICA Urges All to Work for “True Peace” for Children, State

“True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

The tragic death of George Floyd and so many others has sparked a response here in Oklahoma and across the United States which will, I pray, result in change with people’s hearts, minds, and the injustice under protest. The protests we see, sadly, are nothing new to our nation. Their impact is being amplified through the media and the Internet. As I type this column, I hear news helicopters flying overhead covering the mass gathering demanding changes to a system the protesters feel has failed them. The spark to this flame was the action by some who should never have held jobs of public responsibility, or certainly should have been removed following a prior incident, as was the case of the officer who killed Mr. Floyd. Continue Reading →

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OICA Urges Common Sense as State Reopens

Special Care Should be Taken to Protect Students and Student-Athletes

As Oklahoma government officials move our state into “Phase 2” of reopening after COVID-19, it is important for us to maintain safe practices. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued recommendations recently for those communities who are considering opening schools and events. 

The link – – on the CDC website recommends “schools can determine, in collaboration with state and local health officials to the extent possible, whether and how to implement these considerations while adjusting to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community. Implementation should be guided by what is feasible, practical, acceptable, and tailored to the needs of each community.”

They also recommend that “these considerations are meant to supplement – not replace – any state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which schools must comply.”

This is especially important with the plan that the Oklahoma Secondary Sports Athletic Association considered on Friday for phased return to practices, which they defeated by one vote. Their tentative plan was to open programs back up in some capacity on June 1, allowing coaches and athletes to have limited contact. Then on June 15, weight rooms could open with strict social distancing guidelines in place. Continue Reading →

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OICA Names Sen. Allison Ikley-Freeman “Children’s Senator of the Year”

OKLAHOMA CITY – As the curtain draws on the 2020 session of the Oklahoma Legislature, the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) has named Tulsa state Sen. Allison Ikley-Freeman as its “Children’s Senator of the Year.”

The award goes annually to the member or members of the Oklahoma Senate who has particularly distinguished himself or herself during the session. For 2020, the decision was easy, according to Joe Dorman, CEO of OICA. “Oklahoma is fortunate to have a number of lawmakers who write, support, and advocate for ‘child-friendly’ legislation,” Dorman said. “This year, the steadfast work of Senator Ikley-Freeman stood out among her colleagues. Her determination to make Oklahoma a better place for all its children was inspirational, and it is an honor for OICA to have her as our ‘Children’s Senator of the Year’.”

The lawmaker carried a series of bills encompassing many of the legislative goals of OICA, targeted to improving the lives of children. Continue Reading →

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Oklahoma Legislative Session “Moves Pretty Fast” to its End


OICA Stayed Busy Monitoring Children’s Issues Until the Final Gavel Fell

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”  – “Ferris Bueller” from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”

The above quote, from one of my favorite movies – “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, certainly can apply to the legislative session, which finally ended Friday evening. Advocates struggled to keep up with issues brought forth by lawmakers as language often is amended at the last minute. The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) monitors legislation on children’s issues and we will work through those last-minute changes to determine which ideas were in the best interest of children and families. Soon, OICA also will develop a legislative scorecard showing how “child friendly” the votes cast by lawmakers were. Continue Reading →

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Jobless Claims Break Records; Affects Families

Child Statistic of the Week Focuses on Water Safety Day, May 15

The way we all conduct business has changed due to COVID-19, with millions finding themselves without a stable income. Just last week, Oklahomans filed more than 68,000 jobless claims with the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) during the week ending May 2. That is up more than 15,000 claims from the week before. On the week ending April 25, OESC made compensation payments to nearly 155,000 people according to the U.S. Department of Labor data. U.S. unemployment rate for April hit a staggering 14.7 percent, the highest rate since the Great Depression. Continue Reading →

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