Okla. panel approves justice reinvestment bill

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Associated Press

Posted on April 5, 2013 at 9:04 AM

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma Senate committee has approved a bill to change the way members of a committee overseeing the state's plans to reduce prison overcrowding are appointed.

The Justice Reinvestment Initiative was signed into law last May and is meant to reduce violent crime and the state's prison population. The Senate Public Safety Committee cleared the bill 6-0 Thursday.

The bill calls for the governor, House Speaker and Senate President Pro Tem to each select three committee members. Current law says the panel's members must come from a diverse criminal justice background, but the bill allows the three to pick whomever they want.

Former House Speaker Kris Steele and Oklahoma County Prosecutor David Prater resigned from a similar committee in protest of the bill last month, saying it weakens the initiative.

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