By Eric Storlie, Wisconsin
Some CONA media delegates were given an opportunity not many are given; the chance to directly influence the development of real state legislation. CONA Adviser and Oklahoma Rep. Joe Dorman is currently working with Oklahoma Sen. Ralph Shortey, a former CONA delegate and CONA adviser, on developing a bill that would create penalties for not reporting the death of anyone in your care in a reasonable amount of time. The idea for this bill arose out of the recent decision in the Casey Anthony case, in which there was no punishment for not reporting the death of a child for 31 days.
Dorman has been speaking with delegates over the course of CONA this year, and says that their input has greatly influenced how he will go forward with his state bill. The proposed legislation cannot be filed or discussed until next February, and so, Dorman and Shortey will have several months to continue their work. The bill ultimately could fix what Dorman called a shortcoming in state law, which truly is the point of CONA; the finding of faults in our governmental system and subsequently finding ways to fix those faults.
When Oklahoma media contacted their state legislators about this proposed legislation, the two CONA advisers offered to send the reporters taped interviews on their positions on this proposed legislation. CONA media delegates interviewed the state legislators, packaged the interviews and sent them to a number of media outlets in Oklahoma for broadcast today or later in the week.
One aspect of the CONA program that concerns Dorman is the apparently negative attitudes delegates have taken when discussing politicians. He believes that the view that politicians are crooked and do not wish to serve the people whom elected them is a poor view to uphold. “Taking a negative approach will never fix the problem,” he said.
Having state legislators at CONA formulating legislation is a unique and interesting development, and one which could benefit the CONA program for years to come. Keep a close eye out for Dorman and Shortey’s bill, coming up in Oklahoma in February.