All articles by Gene Perry

In The Know: Fallin starts petition to close facility housing child immigrants

by and | July 22nd, 2014 | Posted in Blog, In The Know | Comments (1)

In The KnowIn The Know is a daily synopsis of Oklahoma policy-related news and blogs. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or RSS. The podcast theme music is by Zébre.

Gov. Mary Fallin’s re-election campaign launched an online petition calling for the closure of the facility housing child immigrants at Fort Sill. The petition criticized President Obama for meeting the “transportation, education and health care of illegal immigrants, even as Washington ignores the very real needs of American citizens.” The American Mental Health Counselors Association estimates that 122,000 Oklahoma with mental health issues are being denied care because Governor Fallin has refused federal funding to expand Medicaid for Oklahomans. The Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs Executive Director said the agency is operating a dangerously low staffing levels due to state budget cuts.

Nearly 1 in 4 Oklahoma children live in poverty and the number of children living in high-poverty areas has more than doubled since 2000, according to a national study released Tuesday. Oklahoma City Public Schools is among 60 of the nation’s largest districts throwing their support behind a presidential initiative meant to ensure more students of color are succeeding academically. Two elementary schools in the Oklahoma City district are facing critical teacher shortages as the start of school draws near. Teachers say they repeal of Common Core Standards won’t greatly affect their teaching methods, but some expressed concern that tests will be less rigorous. The OK Policy Blog examined a new initiative that is seeking  to coordinate the thousands of people working to improve education in Tulsa.

NewsOK examined challenges faced by grandparents who are the primary caretakers of their grandchildren. Oklahoma Watch examined why Moore has not received federal storm damage prevention aid, even as other cities in Oklahoma at less risk for storms are receiving aid. Residents in north Tulsa are unsure where they will get affordable groceries after the impending closure of the area’s only grocery store.

The Number of the Day is the number of women in the Oklahoma legislature out of 149 legislators. In today’s Policy Note, Vox discusses the evidence that expanding Medicaid coverage has improved lifelong health by improving care for pregnant mothers.

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In The Know: Oklahoma’s ban on gay marriage ruled unconstitutional

by and | July 21st, 2014 | Posted in Blog, In The Know | Comments (0)

In The KnowIn The Know is a daily synopsis of Oklahoma policy-related news and blogs. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or RSS.. The podcast theme music is by Zébre.

A federal appeals court struck down Oklahoma’s same-sex marriage ban as unconstitutional, though the ban remains pending an expected appeal of the decision. You can read the full decision here. Governor Fallin released a statement condemning the decision. A new poll by Rasmussen finds the Oklahoma governor’s race between Mary Fallin and Joe Dorman is within the margin of error. Dorman said Oklahoma should accept federal dollars to expand Medicaid program to cover low-income Oklahomans. The Tulsa World shared the colorful history of runoff elections in Oklahoma.

Speaking at the annual Oklahoma PTA conference, Gov. Fallin seemed to back off her position for relying on one high-stakes reading test to determine whether a third-grader should move on to fourth grade. Hundreds of Oklahoma City students are participating in a summer reading academy to try to pass the reading test before a new school year begins. The tiny Panola School District may close its doors after 102 years due to a budget shortfall. A Tulsa World op-ed discusses how Tulsa Community College is getting national recognition for a program that provides free tuition and fees for all Tulsa County students who graduate high school with at least a 2.0 grade point average.  The University of Oklahoma College of Education is offering a new program to forgive student debt for graduates who stay in Oklahoma and enter high-need teaching areas.

The Tulsa World reported that the state Workers Compensation Commission repeatedly discussed budget decisions in meetings that the public was not allowed to attend, a possible violation of the Open Meetings Act. Upcoming community meetings in Tulsa and Oklahoma will make a case for extending foster care to age 21. The Oklahoman editorial board argued that Oklahoma still has a long way to go on corrections reform. The Tulsa County Jail and Sheriff Stanley Glanz are facing multiple lawsuits alleging extreme neglect, abuse, and needless death of inmates.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol has seen a significant increase in the number of applicants, which department officials attribute to a pay increase and reduced education requirements approved this legislative session. The Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs is cutting funding for Community Intervention Centers by about $610,000, which law enforcement officials said will take police officers off the streets to take care of juveniles in custody.

A consumer survey found Oklahomans have a better view of the economy than neighboring states Arkansas and Missouri, but all three states trail the national average. The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined to 4.5% in June and is down a whole percentage point from this time last year. The 2014 Farm Bill is contributing $26.4 million in federal funds to assess and rehabilitate dams in Oklahoma. A study examining oil and gas wastewater wells in Oklahoma found that certain wells may be able to trigger earthquakes as far away as 21 miles. About 300 residents of Boise City in the Oklahoma Panhandle came to a town meeting to discuss a dozen members of a fundamentalist Mormon group settling in the town.

The Number of the Day is the number of beginning farmers in Oklahoma in 2012, down about 26 percent from 2002. In today’s Policy Note, Al Jazeera America looks at the growing criminalization of homelessness in American cities.

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In The Know: Fallin’s office says Barresi not being considered for secretary of education

by and | July 17th, 2014 | Posted in In The Know | Comments (0)

In The KnowIn The Know is a daily synopsis of Oklahoma policy-related news and blogs. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or RSS. The podcast theme music is by Zébre.

Download today’s In The Know podcast here or play it in your browser:

Today you should know that Governor Fallin’s office denied a rumor that the Governor is considering outgoing State Superintendent Janet Barresi for her Secretary of Education. A Jenks school administrator said the district is not scrambling to adopt a new set of standards after the repeal of Common Core, because they will continue using their own Continuum of Standards. David Blatt’s Journal Record column discussed how huge tax cuts in Kansas have opened a deep budget hole while not showing any signs of boosting the economy. On the OK Policy Blog, we look at the data to see whether term limits have actually changed how long legislators serve in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma prosecutors accused the Pardon and Parole Board of having an anti-victim and anti-district attorney bias, but they also appealed to legislative leaders and Governor Fallin to increase funding for the agency. Oklahoma City police said they continue to be overburdened with transporting psychiatric patients across the state because Oklahoma has not funded enough mental health beds. Oklahoma Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Colbert said that dozens of bills introduced in the state Legislature this year would have had a “lethal and devastating” effect on Oklahoma’s judiciary if enacted into law. 

State Rep. Fred Jordan asked the Oklahoma Supreme Court to get involved in the race for Tulsa County District Attorney. Another candidate for the DA position, Steve Kunzweiler, has challenge Rep. Jordan’s candidacy based on a constitutional ban on lawmakers being elected to any office in which the pay had been increased during the lawmaker’s term. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control said they continue to oppose a state question to legalize marijuana but are preparing for its possible passage.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt said some state agencies are concerned about potential legal complications from unaccompanied children being housed at Fort Sill, in light of a state law banning the use of state money to provide services to people who enter the country illegally. Federal officials have previously said few if any of the children at Fort Sill will wind up in Oklahoma. Minors appearing in immigration courts without attorneys are deported 90 percent of the time while those with lawyers are removed at a rate of 54 percent, according to an analysis released Tuesday by a New York-based nonprofit. A group of TU law students have joined the “Immigration Rights Project” to help represent the children at Fort Sill.

The Number of the Day is how many Oklahoma high schools had a dropout rate above 40 percent for the Class of 2012. In today’s Policy Note, CNN Money discusses how the prosperity of the American middle class has fallen below Japan, Canada, Australia and much of Western Europe, even as a few very wealthy Americans skew the average wealth upwards.

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In The Know: State Supreme Court upholds Common Core repeal

by and | July 16th, 2014 | Posted in Blog, In The Know | Comments (0)

In The KnowIn The Know is a daily synopsis of Oklahoma policy-related news and blogs. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or RSS. The podcast theme music is by Zébre.

Download today’s In The Know podcast here or play it in your browser:

Today you should know that only a few hours after hearing oral arguments, the Oklahoma Supreme Court upheld a bill repealing Common Core standards and giving legislators more influence over any new standards. Superintendent Janet Barresi asked parents and educators to apply to join committees that will develop new academic standards. Information about the committees and how to apply is available here. CareerTech Director Robert Sommers, who also serves as Governor Fallin’s secretary of education and workforce development, announced he will resign both positions August 15.

Oklahoma’s General Revenue Fund collections for the full Fiscal Year 2014 came in barely above prior year collections and 4.8 percent below the official estimate. With a critical shortage of judges for deportation hearings, all of Oklahoma’s hearings have been moved to Dallas. President Obama has put forward a plan to appoint additional judges, but it still needs Congressional approval. In a continuing series on federal and state disaster aid in Oklahoma, Oklahoma Watch examined how thousands of disaster aid requests end in rejection.

The Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma just wrapped up the largest distribution year in its history. The food bank provided 17.3 million meals this year, a 20 percent increase over the previous year. The OK Policy Blog previously discussed a new school meals program that provides a more efficient way to feed kids in poverty. The Oklahoma City Jesus House’s Adopt-A-Block initiative is sending a group of people enrolled in the homeless shelter’s sobriety program into low-income communities to mow lawns, provide emergency food aid, and deliver box fans for people without air conditioning. The Oklahoma City Council voted to allow northeast Oklahoma City hospital to continue housing adult psychiatric patients, despite protests from residents who said they were afraid of people with mental illness.

Fifteen teachers from Spain will be joining Oklahoma City Public Schools this year under a memorandum of understanding with the country to bring guest teachers to Oklahoma. The volume of payday lending in the state and number of lenders has declined over the past two years after spiking in 2011. The OK Policy Blog previously shared stories of how payday loans impose very high costs on some of the poorest Oklahomans. RH Reality Check examined how the issue of health care access and Governor Fallin’s refusal to accept federal funds for Medicaid are affecting Oklahoma’s gubernatorial race.

The Cherokee Nation is constructing a new 28,000 square-foot health center in Washington County. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is reaching out to people who have completed a firearm safety training course but have not yet applied for a handgun license because time is running out on their certifications’ validity. The U.S. Geological Survey recorded three more earthquakes yesterday in Oklahoma, including one that shattered windows and put cracks in the wall of the Harrah police station.

The Number of the Day is how many journalists report full-time from the Oklahoma statehouse. In today’s Policy Note, the Washington Post reports on how 18 cities in Texas have passed rules to reign in some of the worst practices of payday lenders.

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In The Know: Oklahoma may reverse course on oil train shipment disclosures

by and | July 15th, 2014 | Posted in Blog, In The Know | Comments (0)

In The KnowIn The Know is a daily synopsis of Oklahoma policy-related news and blogs. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or RSS. The podcast theme music is by Zébre.

Download today’s In The Know podcast here or play it in your browser:

Oklahoma officials are taking a second look at confidentiality agreements signed with railroads that prevent disclosure of information to the public about shipments of oil coming through the state. A new poll finds that Governor Fallin’s favorability with Oklahoma voters has fallen to 52 percent in early June, a 19-point drop from her high of 73 percent in September. The OK Policy Blog explained how despite Governor Fallin’s attempt to shift the blame to President Obama, the real reason behind state Medicaid cuts is Oklahoma leaders’ mismanagement of the state budget.

Authorities preparing for the renovation of Oklahoma’s state Capitol plan to authorize preliminary design work before millions of dollars in bond money becomes available. Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett and Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett are beginning a campaign for changes in state law to reduce cities’ reliance on sales taxes, a sometimes volatile revenue source that can pit city against suburb in battles over big-box retailers.  The Tulsa Regional Chamber released findings of a workforce analysis project with recommendations on improving job opportunities and skilled workers in Tulsa. You can find the full report here.

The Tulsa World reported that all of the immigrant children have been given vaccinations, and kids who test positive for communicable diseases have been quarantined in non-military facilities. A growing backlog of immigration cases has caused the average wait time for a hearing in an immigration court to exceed 1.5 years.

Oklahoma Watch continued a special report on how federal and state aid funds are helping to rebuild from damaging storms in Oklahoma. The latest stories look at who is receiving public disaster assistance and the recovery effort for Moore Schools. The Tulsa World editorial board discussed how Oklahoma’s decision to repeal Common Core standards is costing the state money and leaving teachers without clear guidance for the coming school year. The OK Policy Blog previously discussed how Common Core repeal could lead to more federal control of Oklahoma schools. The okeducationtruths blog discussed concerns about the non-profit Oklahoma Public School Resource Center’s (OPSRC) connections with groups pushing for controversial education reforms. The OK Policy Blog previously featured a guest post on services that the OPSRC is offering schools.

A student at Southwestern Christian University in Oklahoma City said she was expelled from the private college because she married her same-sex partner. Oklahoma City Public Schools is teaming with Oklahoma Caring Foundation and Oklahoma City County Health Department to offer mobile immunizations at selected schools through July 24. The Tulsa Port of Catoosa brought in its 75 millionth ton of cargo since opening 43 years ago. The Number of the Day is the total tonnage processed by the Port of Catoosa in 2013. In today’s Policy Note, Quartz looks at how companies like QuikTrip, the grocery store chain Trader Joe’s, and Costco Wholesale are proving that the decision to offer low wages is a choice, not an economic necessity.

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In The Know: Department of Corrections proposes reducing number of officers on security posts

by and | July 14th, 2014 | Posted in Blog, In The Know | Comments (0)

In The KnowIn The Know is a daily synopsis of Oklahoma policy-related news and blogs. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or RSS. The podcast theme music is by Zébre.

The Department of Corrections is proposing to eliminate 12-hour shifts in state prisons by reducing the number of officers on security posts. Oklahoma Corrections Professionals, a group representing corrections officers in Oklahoma, wrote a letter stating that they have grave concerns about how this move would affect the safety of staff and inmates. House Speaker Jeff Hickman approved more than 80 interim studies to go forward in the Legislature, including studies of lethal injection alternatives and monitoring of prescription drugs. You can see the full list of House interim studies here and Senate interim studies here. The Ethics Commission will consider a series of proposed amendments to its new rules during upcoming meetings.

School districts in Oklahoma have been hit hard in recent years with retirement notices from teachers who are leaving for better-paying industries. The state Department of Education has released an Oklahoma Indian Education Resource guide with lesson plans and tools for studying the state’s sovereign tribes. You can view the guide here.

A Tulsa Veterans Affairs clinic is struggling to meet the rapidly rising demand for care from veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan wars. An advisory board member for a hospital in Creek County wrote that Oklahoma’s refusal to accept Medicaid funds could force rural hospitals to close their doors. KGOU reported on the benefits for Oklahoma Native Americans of signing up for SoonerCareEmergency medical service fees are set to rise in Tulsa, about a year after city officials extended allowed response times to keep down fees.

Oklahoma Watch released the first part of a special report on how federal and state disaster aid is being spent in the wake of the violent tornadoes and storms of spring 2013. A study of the Gerber-Wellington aquifer, which covers 3,000 square miles of the most densely populated areas in Oklahoma, found that under current policies the water could be depleted in 35 to 41 yearsThe Oklahoma Corporation Commission plans to seek the public’s input in the placement of wind farms and the regulation of rooftop solar panels. Infectious diseases once unknown in Oklahoma are showing up because of changes in climate, the urbanization of previously forested areas and people traveling to once-remote regions.

Tulsa World columnist Ginnie Graham discussed her experience trying to commute on the Tulsa bus system. The Number of the Day is the average time patients with broken bones had to wait before receiving pain medication in Oklahoma emergency rooms. In today’s Policy Note, Huffington Post discusses new legislation by Democratic Senator Cory Booker and Republican Senator Rand Paul that aims to break the cycle of incarceration for nonviolent offenders.

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In The Know: Oklahoma City sees surge in low-wage jobs

by and | July 10th, 2014 | Posted in Blog, In The Know | Comments (0)

In The KnowIn The Know is a daily synopsis of Oklahoma policy-related news and blogs. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or RSS. The podcast theme music is by Zébre.

Download today’s In The Know podcast here or play it in your browser:

Average earnings in the Oklahoma City metro area dropped as a surge in low-wage jobs are replacing a shrinking number of jobs at the top end of wages. Governor Fallin’s top budget official Preston Doerflinger said he agrees with State Treasurer Ken Miller’s analysis of shortcomings in Oklahoma’s budget planning. Miller said the state has balanced the budget with one-time fixes, sometimes ignored the long-term consequences of a deal, misapplied a temporary windfall, shortchanged pension obligations and ignored financial checks and balances. The jobs of 16 state workers’ compensation system employees have been eliminated as Oklahoma continues the transition from a court-based workers’ compensation system to an administrative system.

Sen. Rob Standridge, R-Norman, has asked for an interim study on the possibility of increasing the speed limit on the Turner Turnpike, but the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority director said the road would not be safe at a higher speed limit. The Tulsa World praised Tulsa Public Schools’ efforts to catch up the hundreds of third graders who did not pass a reading test. The principal of a school for homeless students in Oklahoma City wrote that third grade retention won’t solve the reading problem in Oklahoma without broader support for basic needs. Tulsa World columnist Ginnie Graham argued that Oklahoma does not provide adequate job protections for pregnant women and new parents.

Members of Tulsa’s faith community have scheduled a second meeting designed to help the children being housed at Fort Sill. A bipartisan group of business and policy leaders in Oklahoma said the migrant children crisis is further proof that the United States needs comprehensive immigration reformDavid Blatt’s Journal Record column and Carly Putnam on the OK Policy Blog discussed how a one-year extension of Insure Oklahoma still leaves hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans without coverage. OK Policy previously discussed how Insure Oklahoma can become a long-term solution for the uninsured if we accept federal funds to extend it.

The president of AARP Oklahoma praised a new state law that allows patients admitted to the hospital to designate a caregiver who will be informed of how to care for them when they go home. Senator Inhofe said a deal has been reached between the EPA and the Department of Defense that will allow local firefighters to continue receiving surplus military equipment. Oklahoma’s tourism and recreation department is considering selling or leasing three state parks in northeast Oklahoma to make up for budget cuts. The Oklahoma Corporation Commission has begun a study of wind farms at the request of Senate leader Brian Bingman, who previously sought to put a moratorium on all new wind farms in east Oklahoma.

The Number of the Day is the number of utility-scale wind turbines in Oklahoma as of 2013. In today’s Policy Note, a report by Good Jobs First examines what metro regions are doing to end job piracy, where companies play nearby communities off each other for escalating subsidies.

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In The Know: Full Supreme Court to hear Common Core challenge

by and | July 9th, 2014 | Posted in Blog, In The Know | Comments (0)

In The KnowIn The Know is a daily synopsis of Oklahoma policy-related news and blogs. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or RSS. The podcast theme music is by Zébre.

Download today’s In The Know podcast here or play it in your browser:

On July 15, the state Supreme Court will hear arguments on the constitutionality of a law that repealed Common Core education standards and allows the Legislature to change any new standards as it sees fit. State health officials expressed concern over money that was pulled from an account that pays for trauma care for Oklahomans who suffer serious injuries but can’t afford to pay for treatment. OK Policy previously discussed how revolving fund grabs by the Legislature is creating shortfalls for many state agencies and how clinics that provide care to the poorest uninsured Oklahomans are threatened by state budget cuts.

A new study shows Oklahoma ranked in last place in the country for state spending on prison health care from 2007 to 2011. Over those years, per inmate spending on health care dropped 17 percent even as the number of inmates age 55 or older grew to nearly 8 percent of the total prison population. The Oklahoman editorial board discussed a trend of college becoming less affordable in Oklahoma as shrinking state funding is replaced by tuition and fee increases.

On the OK Policy Blog, we shared information about the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition and an upcoming conference on ways to promote self-sufficiency and prosperity in Oklahoma’s Native communities. United Nations officials are pushing for the Central Americans fleeing to the United States, many of whom are being detained at Fort Sill in Oklahoma, to be protected as refugees displaced by armed conflict. Tulsa’s mail-processing plant is again being targeted for closure as part of a U.S. Postal Service consolidation plan to save money. It could close as soon as next year, and local mail would be delayed one to three days as it is hauled to Oklahoma City for sorting and then returned to Tulsa.

The Tulsa Area United Way announced $370,000 in funding for projects to end chronic homelessness, prevent teen pregnancy and elevate student achievement. The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department says budget cuts are forcing it to close Walnut Creek State Park in Osage County. The names of Democratic candidates will appear first on the ballot in November’s general election in Oklahoma. Ballot order is determined by a drawing held at the state Capitol.

The Number of the Day is the percentage of Oklahomans living in areas with concentrated poverty in 2010. In today’s Policy Note, Vox shares how the $3.7 billion would be spent that President Obama has requested to address the migrant children crisis.

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In The Know: Federal highway funds to Oklahoma to be reduced beginning August 1st

by and | July 8th, 2014 | Posted in Blog, In The Know | Comments (0)

In The KnowIn The Know is a daily synopsis of Oklahoma policy-related news and blogs. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or RSS. The podcast theme music is by Zébre.

Download today’s In The Know podcast here or play it in your browser:

Today you should know that federal reimbursements to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation will be reduced beginning August 1 unless the Federal Highway Trust Fund receives an infusion of cash. The Trust Fund, which is an important source of funding for road infrastructure projects across the US, is running out of money because the gas tax has not been adjusted for inflation since 1993. A new law repealing Common Core standards has led to a tangle of legal challenges, regulation changes and financial costs that has injected uncertainty among Oklahoma school districts about the coming school year. Oklahoma agencies have $6.7 million less in funding than originally budgeted, after lawmakers’ attempt to divert money from Oklahoma’s Promise scholarships was revealed to be unconstitutional.

Al Jazeera reported on how the immigrant children being detained at Fort Sill are dividing the community of Lawton. The Regional Food Bank’s summer food program is feeding a record number of kids across 73 locations in central and western Oklahoma. Former Oklahoma Congressman J.C. Watts wrote a Tulsa World op-ed in support of a “Right On Crime” initiative to create more alternatives to incarceration for non-violent offenders in Oklahoma. State Rep. Lee Denney, R-Cushing, hopes to use an interim study to push for DNA testing of anyone arrested or charged with a crime in Oklahoma. 

Rep. Ben Sherrer, D-Chouteau, asked for Gov. Fallin and legislative leaders to call a special legislative session to block a strip club that he says is rumored to be coming to Mayes County. The Tulsa World wrote that an agreement to extend Insure Oklahoma for another year is only a first step towards making sure the thousands of working poor Oklahomans don’t go without coverage. OK Policy previously discussed how the Insure Oklahoma extension could pave the way to a longer term solution for Oklahoma’s uninsured.

Oklahoma officials have signed a confidentiality agreement with railroad companies to keep information about large crude oil shipments passing through Oklahoma on freight trains secret. The federal government ordered railroads to disclose the information to state authorities after several accidents and explosions involving rail shipments of Bakken oil, including one in Canada last year that killed 47 people. After several years of crippling drought, a wetter-than-average spring in southwest Oklahoma is bringing hope to farmers. NewsOK examined the runoff for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination between perennial candidate Jim Rogers and state Senator Constance Johnson.

El Taco Loco, a Tulsa restaurant operated by a 16 and 11-year-old brother-sister team has closed due to problems with the building. A continuing Tulsa World series is sharing the stories of people and places along the 16 miles of Peoria Avenue. The Number of the Day is how many Oklahoma K-12 students qualified for special education programs during the 2011-12 school year. In today’s Policy Note, the Immigration Policy Center discussed how the United States’ three- and ten-year bans on immigration applicants are keeping families apart.

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In The Know: Hearings for thousands of injured workers delayed

by and | July 7th, 2014 | Posted in Blog, In The Know | Comments (0)

In The KnowIn The Know is a daily synopsis of Oklahoma policy-related news and blogs. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or RSS. The podcast theme music is by Zébre.

Download today’s In The Know podcast here or play it in your browser:

Today you should know that hearings for thousands of injured workers will be delayed this month while the state’s workers compensation system is split into two agencies— each with its own staff, offices and equipment. Due to a difficult job market, enrollment in CareerTech programs is increasing among workers who already have college degrees. The number of out-of-state students attending Oklahoma’s public universities and colleges has more than doubled since 2000 as schools increasingly rely on nonresident tuition to supplement their budgets. The University of Oklahoma is introducing new residential colleges to its campus holding student living facilities, internal dining facilities, study halls, seminar rooms, and professor’s offices all in one building.

Rep. Ann Coody, R-Lawton, wrote an op-ed on the path forward for educational standards in Oklahoma after the repeal of Common Core. A group of city and school district officials are backing a successful-but-expensive summer learning program in northeast Oklahoma City, hoping to expand the concept to other inner city schools. The small Panola School District has missed a Department of Education deadline to raise enough funds to continue operating, but the community is still fighting to save the district.

Poverty has become more concentrated in Oklahoma over the past decade, with nearly one-third of the state’s population living in communities with concentrated poverty. NPR examined what is happening in President Obama’s ‘Promise Zones,’ five areas across the United States, including the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, where the federal government has launched a focused effort to tackle poverty. At a downtown public-safety seminar, Tulsa police said an increasing number of homeless people and beggars are not causing an increase in crime. Catholic Charities of Oklahoma City is seeking volunteers to help with the intake and explanation of rights to immigrant children being housed at an Oklahoma military base while they wait for deportation hearings.

State Treasurer Ken Miller criticized the legislature’s overuse of one-time funds to balance the state budget, even as they reduce recurring revenues by cutting taxes. Legislators criticized an initiative petition to install storm shelters and safe rooms in every Oklahoma public school, saying it would overstress the General Revenue Fund. The Oklahoma Attorney General’s office has approved the latest ballot language of the petition and cleared the way for supporters to begin collecting signatures. The Oklahoma County jail’s kitchen has been inoperable since June 19 because of a collapsed sewer line under the jail.

 A new paper in the journal Science suggests a small number of high-volume wastewater wells used in drilling operations could be responsible for many of Oklahoma’s earthquakes. Oklahoma oil and gas drillers defended the wells as the easiest way for them to dispose of millions of barrels of toxic water produced in the drilling process. The OK Policy Blog discussed the failure of a bill to require doctors to check a prescription monitoring database before prescribing powerful painkillers. Oklahoma’s Nursing Board said they are dealing with a large number of cased of prescription drug abuse among Oklahoma nurses. The number of licensed nurses in Oklahoma has grown more than 40 percent over the past decade.

The Number of the Day is the average number of minutes patients spend in the emergency room in Oklahoma before being seen by a doctor. In today’s Policy Note, Vox explains why the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision does not erase most of the reproductive health gains achieved by the Affordable Care Act.

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