Welcome to Saturday and, if you stopped by the center yesterday, I hope you enjoyed checking out all the interesting organizations and companies that were a part of the health fair. And, just as I thought it would be, my bag was full of pocket and purse items and I got to meet lots of nice people with information for the asking. And, since I am a person who is used to asking lots of questions, I came away with lots of information.

Welcome to Saturday and, if you stopped by the center yesterday, I hope you enjoyed checking out all the interesting organizations and companies that were a part of the health fair. And, just as I thought it would be, my bag was full of pocket and purse items and I got to meet lots of nice people with information for the asking. And, since I am a person who is used to asking lots of questions, I came away with lots of information.

But this is Saturday and the big questions now are based around the upcoming election on Nov. 6. If the news is to be believed this is going to be a busy day for all those people who check your ID and look for your name on their lists and then ask you to sign before they will give you a ballot. And because everyone should vote (because that’s the only way I believe you have a right to complain about government) I am going to fill you in on one of the state questions (SQ) that is on the ballot.

SQ 794 is called “Marsy’s Law.” Marsy was a young student in California who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend while at the University of California in Santa Barbara in 2008. Marsy’s brother, Dr. Henry T. Nicolas, became the key backer and proponent of Marsy’s Law after he and Marsy’s mom walked into a grocery store a week after her murder and were confronted by Marsy’s accused murderer. They presumed he was still in jail only to realize he must have gotten out on bail (which he had).

Dr. Nicholas researched victim’s rights and found that there were virtually none. The Constitution spells out 20 individual rights for those who commit crimes but none for the victims or their families. Marsy’s Law is not a partisan issue and both Republicans and Democrats are unified in supporting this change which allows crime victims equal rights under the law.

Passage of Marsy’s Law has changed the rights of victims in California, Illinois, North Dakota, South Dakota and Ohio. In these states victims of violent crime must, by law, be treated with respect and dignity by the criminal justice system. Courts in these states must consider the safety of victims and their families when setting bail and release conditions. With the passage of SQ 794 in Oklahoma, the rights of crime victims will be protected.

Now here is the legalese version of the proposed: Crime victims and their families will have the right to be present in all proceedings involving their case, the right to be heard in any proceeding during which a right of the victim is implied including discussions concerning the case. The victim and/or their family also have the right to a timely notice of any release, escape, or death of the accused while they are in custody.

Now this is a what that legalese means as described to me by Kate Joyce our executive director: The victim and/or family members will have the right to be present during any and all proceedings related to the case. From bail hearings all the way to “his sorry self died in custody.” That means plea discussions, sentencing, appeals, parole, the works.

As I step down from my soapbox now, have a great week. Remember that Kate Joyce is usually the sparring partner the senior center provides for Mike Askins on “Mike the the Morning” every Wednesday at 8:35, so listen in and see what’s going on at the Shawnee Senior Center.

The website is shawneeseniors.org, the Facebook page is “Shawnee Senior Center,” and at the center there is always something fun going on and you can always check it all out by getting a calendar at the front desk.

And, as always, see you at the center!