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All articles by Gene Perry

In The Know: 2 injection wells shutting down, 1 reducing activity after earthquakes

by | July 29th, 2015 | Posted in In The Know | Comments (0)

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

Today In The News

2 injection wells shutting down, 1 reducing activity after earthquakes: Stephens Production and Devon Energy each voluntarily closed one well, and Stephens reduced operations at another well by 50 percent, Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner Matt Skinner said. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage in the area, although people reported feeling the 4.5 quake as far as 650 miles away in Indiana and Minnesota, according to the USGS [Associated Press].

Job growth shifts away from Oklahoma and other oil patch states: Jobs in construction, education and health, and leisure and hospitality have rebounded broadly over the past year, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data released on Friday. In contrast, combined employment in six states that rank near the top in both oil and gas production – Texas, Louisiana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico and Oklahoma – has now fallen for the past four months [Reuters]. Oklahoma shed a total of 2,100 jobs last month and the unemployment rate climbed to 4.5 percent [Associated Press].

But we’re hiring: OK Policy is seeking an experienced and effective policy analyst to lead our work on economic issues affecting low- and moderate-income Oklahomans [OK Policy Blog]. The full job description and information on how to apply is available here.

continue reading In The Know: 2 injection wells shutting down, 1 reducing activity after earthquakes

In The Know: State will open up tax amnesty later this year

by | July 28th, 2015 | Posted in In The Know | Comments (0)

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

Today In The News

State will open up tax amnesty later this year: Under a bill introduced in the closing days of this year’s session to help with the state’s large budget shortfall, Oklahomans with delinquent state taxes will have from Sept. 14 through Nov. 13 to pay or set up a payment plan without owing any penalty or interest. Oklahoma Tax Commission researchers estimate that the amnesty will bring in $35 million over two months [Journal Record].

Oklahoma Supreme Court reaffirms Ten Commandments monument at Capitol must go: The justices denied a request by the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission to rethink the court’s June 30 decision that the statue’s placement violates the state constitution’s ban on the use of state property for the benefit of religion. Earlier in July, Governor Mary Fallin had said she would keep the monument in place while lawmakers sought a way to block the decision. [Reuters].

Americans with Disabilities Act is a gift to all Americans: On July 26, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the civil rights law for people with disabilities, was signed into law, making discrimination against people with disabilities illegal. It affected all sections of public life and gave people with disabilities the same rights as everyone else. It told society that people with disabilities were not worth less than others [OK Policy Blog].

continue reading In The Know: State will open up tax amnesty later this year

In The Know: Oklahoma Democrats allow independents to vote in primary elections

by | July 27th, 2015 | Posted in In The Know | Comments (0)

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

Today In The News

Oklahoma Democrats allow independents to vote in primary elections: Oklahoma Democratic Party delegates voted 314-137 during a Saturday meeting at Oklahoma City Community College to open primaries up to the 261,000 voters in Oklahoma who are registered as independents. Party spokeswoman Sarah Baker said the change will take effect in September [NewsOK].

Younger Oklahomans not voting, citing political disillusion: The number of registered voters in Oklahoma ages 18 to 24 has declined nearly 40 percent in the past decade, according to a Tulsa World analysis of voter registration records. In 2005, there were some 224,000 registered voters between the ages of 18 and 24 years old, the analysis shows. By January 2015, there were about 138,000 Oklahoma registered voters in that age range [Tulsa World].

Americans with Disabilities Act falls short in employment opportunities: For people with disabilities, the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) unequivocally improved their access to buildings, public services and telecommunications. But 25 years later, employment opportunities for the disabled still fall considerably short. Among the 56.7 million Americans with disabilities, unemployment is nearly 13 percent — or more than double the rate for able-bodied individuals [NewsOK]. NewsOK also shared stories of Oklahomans who have benefited from the legal protections of the ADA [NewsOK].

continue reading In The Know: Oklahoma Democrats allow independents to vote in primary elections

The Weekly Wonk: Income inequality at all-time high, the benefits of SNAP, and more

by | July 26th, 2015 | Posted in Blog, Weekly Wonk | Comments (0)

the_weekly_wonkWhat’s up this week at Oklahoma Policy Institute? The Weekly Wonk shares our most recent publications and other resources to help you stay informed about Oklahoma. Numbers of the Day and Policy Notes are from our daily news briefing, In The Know. Click here to subscribe to In The Know.

This Week from OK Policy

This week on the OK Policy Blog, summer intern Chan Aaron looked at data showing income inequality in Oklahoma is at its highest point in the state’s 107-year history. David Blatt discussed how the SNAP program is among the most effective ways that our nation helps hard-working families to stay afloat and ensures that children have enough to eat.

Summer intern Derek Wietelman weighed the pros and cons of Oklahoma’s push to shift us to natural gas-powered vehicles. Steve Lewis compared recent comments by President Obama and Governor Fallin in support of smart on crime reforms, and he discussed why Oklahoma to do much more to reduce incarceration.

David Blatt’s Journal Record column talked about why it’s important to listen for the more civil voices when political controversies bring out a lot of divisive rhetoric.

continue reading The Weekly Wonk: Income inequality at all-time high, the benefits of SNAP, and more

In The Know: Study finds Oklahoma City and Tulsa roads among worst in nation

by | July 24th, 2015 | Posted in Blog, In The Know | Comments (0)

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

Today In The News

Study finds Oklahoma City and Tulsa roads among worst in nation: The Oklahoma City urban area ranks fifth among large urban areas in the annual cost to motorists of driving on rough roads and 16th in the percentage of roads in poor condition. Tulsa ranks fourth among large urban areas in the cost to drivers and 17th in the percentage of roads in poor condition [NewsOK]. You can read the full report here.

State yanks accreditation for Langston-sponsored charter school: The Oklahoma State Board of Education are questioning Langston University’s oversight of its growing number of sponsored charter schools. The board took the unusual step Thursday of not only withholding state funds, but also yanking the 2015-16 accreditation of a Langston-sponsored charter in Oklahoma City called Alexis Rainbow Arts Academy. Langston sponsors three Tulsa charter schools, and three or four more Langston-sponsored charters could open in Tulsa this fall [Tulsa World].

Oklahoma wants to lead a shift to natural gas-powered vehicles. Is it a good idea?: CNG-powered vehicles have been more popular in Oklahoma than in any other state. It’s cleaner burning and often cheaper than conventional gasoline. But does it make sense to rebuild our transportation infrastructure around another fossil fuel? [OK Policy Blog]

continue reading In The Know: Study finds Oklahoma City and Tulsa roads among worst in nation

In The Know: DHS cuts clothing vouchers for foster children

by | July 23rd, 2015 | Posted in In The Know | Comments (0)

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

Today In The News

DHS cuts clothing vouchers for foster children: The Oklahoma Department of Human Services blames a $45 million budget cut for getting rid of its clothing voucher program, except for a handful of exceptions. Foster parent Kia Shiever said the money had been a big help because her two foster children came with very little clothing and pretty much nothing they could wear during the summer [News9].

How the mentally ill “boomerang” in and out of Oklahoma jails: For years it has been a truism that Oklahoma’s prisons have become de facto mental institutions, with about a third of inmates showing current signs of mental illness. Less often mentioned are the mentally ill in jails – places that have fewer resources to treat people with mental disorders. Jails also serve as regular, off-and-on destinations for many offenders each year who repeatedly commit non-violent crimes such as trespassing, theft and public intoxication [Oklahoma Watch].

Interim study will explore creation of state bank: State Rep. John Montgomery requested on a state bank that could potentially loan money to students to attend college or help finance projects for schools or municipalities. One other state — North Dakota — has a state bank that could be used as a model [Claremore Daily Progress].

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In The Know: Grand jury sworn in for investigation of Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office

by | July 22nd, 2015 | Posted in In The Know | Comments (0)

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

Today In The News

Grand jury sworn in for investigation of Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office: The inquiry is a culmination of a nearly 45-day petition effort by Marq Lewis and We the People Oklahoma. The 12 jurors and 3 alternates will conduct an extensive investigation that could result in Sheriff Stanley Glanz’s ouster from office [Tulsa World].

Committee recommends sales tax hike to build new Oklahoma County jail: A committee that spent seven months studying options for the problem-plagued Oklahoma County jail voted Tuesday to recommend building a new facility. It would be paid for with a county one cent sales tax increase for up to five years [NewsOK].

Governor Fallin executive order gives attorney general new power: Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has issued an executive order granting the state attorney general’s office expanded authority over proposed actions of numerous state regulatory boards. Board members who reject the attorney general’s advice will be subject to removal for misconduct [NewsOK].

continue reading In The Know: Grand jury sworn in for investigation of Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office

In The Know: Legislators to study privatization of Commerce Department

by | July 21st, 2015 | Posted in In The Know | Comments (0)

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

Today In The News

Legislators to study privatization of Commerce Department: A joint House-Senate interim study led by Sen. Ron Justice and State Rep. Leslie Osborn will look at privatizing all or part of the state Department of Commerce. Several other states have handed over business recruitment to privately run boards. Greg LeRoy, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based think tank Good Jobs First, said they’ve found that allowing businesses to run an economic development agency is inherently corrupting [Journal Record].

Oklahoma environmental violators fund projects in lieu of fines: Fines for dumping or polluting don’t always have to be paid in cash. Since 1995, the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Policy has allowed polluters to fund what it calls supplemental environmental projects as part of their fine. DEQ recently added water loss audits as a qualifying initiative, to help municipalities find how and where aging pipeline infrastructure leaks [Journal Record].

‘Illegal activity’ fine print compounds an Oklahoma tragedy: Monroe Bird III, a 21-year-old Tulsan, was shot by a security guard while sitting in a car with a friend and left paralyzed from the neck down. Mr. Bird’s insurance company declined to cover his medical bills, claiming that his injuries resulted from “illegal activity.” Yet Mr. Bird was not convicted of any crime in connection with the incident. He was not even charged. Without insurance, he was discharged from the hospital and died at home last month from a preventable complication often seen in paralyzed patients [New York Times].

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In The Know: Earthquake restrictions announced for some Oklahoma injection wells

by | July 20th, 2015 | Posted in In The Know | Comments (0)

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

Today In The News

Earthquake restrictions announced for some Oklahoma injection wells: The Oklahoma Corporation Commission has ruled the oil and gas wastewater injection wells in 21 Oklahoma counties fall under a seismicity watch. The well operators have until August 14 to prove they are not injecting below the Arbuckle geological formation, which scientists say is increasing earthquake risk [OK Energy Today]. St. Gregory’s University, a Catholic university and monastery in Shawnee, is still dealing with hundreds of thousands in costs from a damaging earthquake in 2011 [StateImpact Oklahoma].

Judge tosses out Oklahoma Attorney General’s lawsuit against EPA Clean Power Plan: More than two weeks after filing another lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency over its Clean Power Plan, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s suit has been tossed by a Tulsa U.S. District court judge. In the ruling issued Friday by Judge Claire Eagan, she said the lawsuit was premature and lacked jurisdiction. She said his claim that the EPA’s plan to cut power plant carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 would harm Oklahoma’s electricity system was “exaggerated” [OK Energy Today].

Funding drops again for Oklahoma schools: Even though the Oklahoma legislature was able to keep the budget for the State Department of Education from seeing a decrease for this fiscal year, initial allocations for some area school districts are not faring as well. SDE had to hold out more money for charter schools and virtual schools, as well as about $3.5 million for changes to the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship that provides vouchers for students with disabilities to attend private schools [Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise]. Since 2008 Oklahoma has made the largest cuts to per-pupil education funding in the nation [OK Policy].

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In The Know: Oklahoma House leader approves 122 interim studies

by | July 15th, 2015 | Posted in In The Know | Comments (0)

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

Today In The News

Oklahoma House leaders approve 122 interim studies: At least five of the 122 interim committee studies announced by Oklahoma House leaders will delve into earthquakes and the oil and gas industry, water, electricity and the Corporation Commission [OK Energy Today]. You can see the full list of approved House interim studies here.

Oklahoma Republican Party compares SNAP recipients to animals: After a cascade of criticism, the Oklahoma Republican Party deleted its Facebook post equating food stamp recipients to animals in national parks that receive food handouts. “Last night, there was a post on our OKGOP Facebook page, and it was misinterpreted by many,” state Republican Party Chairman Randy Brogdon said. “I offer my apologies for those who were offended — that was not my intention” [NewsOK].

OK private colleges must allow their employees to access contraception: The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver overturned a U.S. District Court ruling that temporarily stopped enforcement of a mandate imposed on Southern Nazarene University, Oklahoma Baptist University, Oklahoma Wesleyan University and Mid-America Christian University. The universities can opt out of providing the drugs they deem offensive, but they cannot block third party insurance companies from providing them [NewsOK].

continue reading In The Know: Oklahoma House leader approves 122 interim studies

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