All articles by Kate Richey

In The Know: Oklahoma ranks third in rate of women killed by men

by | September 10th, 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.

Oklahoma again ranked third for the rate at which men killed women, according to a new study released by the Violence Policy Center. The ACLU of Oklahoma asked the Oklahoma Supreme Court to nullify a lower court’s decision that Gov. Fallin could use “deliberative process privilege” to withhold records from the public.

A Ponca City legislator hosted an interim study for constituents concerned that oil and gas drilling activities have contaminated water wells or caused wells to go dry. Representatives from the Oklahoma Geological Survey provided the Corporation Commission with an update on their study of the state’s ongoing earthquake swarm.

At a hearing on Capitol Hill, Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn criticized the practice of making military equipment available to state and local law enforcement agencies. The Oklahoma City Council is considering new ridesharing regulations in response to services like Uber that compete with taxi cabs.

The OK Policy Blog reports on where the children previously held at Ft. Sill are now and what their futures look like. The Number of the Day is the average mortgage debt in Oklahoma.  In today’s Policy Note, examined state variation in a new report on food insecurity across the country.

continue reading In The Know: Oklahoma ranks third in rate of women killed by men

In The Know: Oklahoma loses federal flexibility waiver after Common Core repeal

by | August 29th, 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.

The U.S. Department of Education denied Oklahoma’s request to extend a flexibility waiver under the No Child Left Behind Act, a decision that will place restrictions on nearly $30 million a year in federal funding for local school districts.

Newly released autopsy records from Oklahoma’s botched execution do not appear to support earlier DOC statements that Clayton Lockett’s vein collapsed or that he died from a heart attack; records show extensive bleeding near an IV site in the groin and that the doctor supervising the execution discovered the lethal drugs were leaking into tissue and not entering the vein.

In response to online testing failures that disrupted end-of-instruction exams for thousands of students, the state Education Department announced it will not use fifth- and eighth-grade writing scores in this year’s A-F report cards. Pennsylvania’s Governor accepted federal funds to expand Medicaid, becoming the 27th state and the 9th Republican governor to do so. 

A district court ruled Oklahoma’s use of public funds to send students with disabilities to religiously affiliated schools is unconstitutional. The OKPolicy Blog presented two takes on education reform in response to the book, “The Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got That Way.”

The Number of the Day is the year that the aquifer supplying water to Oklahoma City, Moore, and Norman is expected to be 50 percent depleted. In today’s Policy Note, the Brennan Center suggested broad reforms to how federal grants are administered to state and local law enforcement. 

continue reading In The Know: Oklahoma loses federal flexibility waiver after Common Core repeal

Debunking myths about migrant children at Ft. Sill

by and | July 22nd, 2014 | Posted in Blog, Immigration | Comments (45)

As most Oklahomans have heard and seen on the news, there are currently between 1,000 and 1,500 migrant children being housed in dormitories on Fort Sill, an Army base in southwestern Oklahoma near Lawton (among other places across the country). The vast majority are from three Central American countries: Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

The response by federal agencies has been swift and represents a coordinated effort between agencies with very different missions and mandates – from the U.S. Border Patrol, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Military to Health and Human Services (HHS). The children are currently being cared for by the Administration for Children and Families (a division of HHS) with the assistance of countless volunteers working on behalf of churches and charities.

These children’s entry into the U.S. and into Oklahoma has sparked a large amount of commentary and speculation about their situation. In the hopes of providing some clarity for Oklahomans interested in these developments, this post responds to some common misconceptions about who they are, why they came, and what’s being done.

continue reading Debunking myths about migrant children at Ft. Sill

Watch This: Expanding Opportunity in Oklahoma

by | June 20th, 2014 | Posted in Blog, Watch This | Comments (0)

OK Policy staffer Kate Richey recently participated in a panel discussion in Oklahoma City titled “Expanding Opportunity in Oklahoma: Earned Success and the Paths to Prosperity.”  Kate coordinates Oklahoma Assets Network (OAN), which represents individuals and organizations working to promote proven tools for all Oklahomans to build stronger financial foundations.

Watch the clip below for a discussion on opportunity in Oklahoma which also included Ryan Kiesel (Executive Director, American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma), Jonathan Small (Vice President for Policy, Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs), and Dr. Jason Sorens (Lecturer, Department of Government, Dartmouth College).

Most full-time minimum wage workers don’t live with their parents

by | May 2nd, 2014 | Posted in Blog, Financial Security | Comments (0)

Oklahoma made national news in April when it enacted a new law barring cities from establishing a mandatory minimum wage.  Oklahoma is not the only state with a blanket ban on raising the minimum wage; a handful of other states passed similar measures over a decade ago.  Governor Fallin defended the law with sweeping claims about who worked for the federal minimum of $7.25/hr in Oklahoma:

“Most minimum wage workers are young, single people working part-time or entry-level jobs.  Many are high school or college students living with their parents in middle-class families.”

Is this true?  Both local and national news outlets have produced good overview analysis to try and address the claims of Governor Fallin and others (Oklahoma Watch here and Pew Research here).  But since the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) only provides demographic details for minimum wage workers at the national level, it’s hard to know exactly who these workers are in Oklahoma from their standard reporting tables.

continue reading Most full-time minimum wage workers don’t live with their parents

Out of work and out of luck in Oklahoma

by | April 30th, 2014 | Posted in Blog | Comments (0)

Some Oklahomans who work full-time and lose their job unexpectedly are eligible to apply for unemployment insurance (UI). Created in 1935, the program provides workers with limited replacement income to help them survive while they look for another job.  A bill just passed by the state legislature will likely exclude many newly jobless workers who would otherwise have been eligible for UI benefits.  This post explains how the state’s unemployment program operates now, and how the new law could leave too many workers out in the cold.

Most workers in Oklahoma today are not eligible to file for unemployment benefits, even if they’re laid off or lose their job through no fault of their own.  In fact, even among workers who are eligible for unemployment, most claimants who file for benefits (54.8 percent) are denied.  As a result, fewer than 1 in 5 jobless workers in Oklahoma received weekly compensation between 2010 and 2012.

continue reading Out of work and out of luck in Oklahoma

Calling all college students! Apply for the 2014 Summer Policy Institute (SPI)

by | April 4th, 2014 | Posted in Blog, OK Policy | Comments (0)

Oklahoma Policy Institute is excited to announce our second annual Summer Policy Institute (SPI) from August 3-6, 2014.

The SPI brings together over 50 highly-qualified undergraduate and graduate students for an exciting and in-depth learning experience. SPI will offer participants a unique opportunity to become better informed about vital Oklahoma policy issues, network with fellow students and leaders in the policy process, and prepare for their future studies and work in public policy-related fields.

The Institute is hosted and led by the staff of OK Policy and involves leading policy experts from government, academia and community organizations throughout Oklahoma. Keynote presentations and panel discussions will provide a chance to hear from Oklahoma’s top practitioners and observers on:

    • Budget and Taxes
    • Campaigns and Elections
    • Reporting on State Government
    • Healthcare
    • Poverty & Opportunity
    • Criminal Justice
    • Race & Gender
    • Energy & Environment
    • Careers in Public Policy
    • Common & Higher Education

For more information about the Summer Policy Institute, go to The application deadline is May 30th, 2014.

Click here to apply for the 2014 Summer Policy Institute (SPI)

Please share this announcement with any students, classmates, or other interested parties.

MyRA: New options for working Oklahomans

by | April 2nd, 2014 | Posted in Blog, Poverty & Opportunity | Comments (1)

retirement-fund-copyDuring the 2014 State of the Union address, President Obama announced a new savings initiative, appropriately titled ‘MyRA’.  Created by executive order, the MyRA is a simple retirement savings account that will be available (after an initial pilot period) to many workers through their employers.  This post explains the rationale behind the new initiative, how MyRA accounts work, and how they could help move thousands of working Oklahomans toward a more secure retirement.

We know that not enough Oklahoma workers are saving for retirement.  More than a quarter of the state’s workers (and more than half of part-time hourly employees) don’t have access to a retirement plan through their employer, as shown in the chart below:

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Weekly Wonk March 23, 2014

by | March 23rd, 2014 | Posted in OK Policy | Comments (0)

the_weekly_wonkThe Weekly Wonk is a summary of Oklahoma Policy Institute’s events, publications, blog posts, and coverage. 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 OK Policy released the results of a new poll that shows support for cutting Oklahoma’s personal income tax has dropped significantly among voters, and less than half now support a plan to reduce the state’s top tax rate.  The poll was covered on Public Radio Tulsa and discussed by The Norman Transcript.

The OK Policy Blog shared three trends to watch from Oklahoma’s Annual Report — Oklahoma’s reliance on federal funds has dropped significantly since 2011, the size of state government continues to shrink, and education spending is down $50 million since 2012 and $610 million from 2009.  

Ryan Gentzler wrote a guest post about efforts by lawmakers to stop the development of wind energy in Eastern Oklahoma.  We shared a graph showing that taxation does not deter drilling for oil and natural gas – in fact the biggest growth in horizontal drilling occurred in the state with the highest effective tax rate.  

David Blatt’s Journal Record column discussed how lawmakers’ proposal to move new state employees to a 401(k) style retirement plan could endanger existing pensions and increase the state’s unfunded liabilities.

continue reading Weekly Wonk March 23, 2014

Watch This: Study ranks Oklahoma near the bottom for family financial security

by | March 21st, 2014 | Posted in Blog, Watch This | Comments (0)

Despite an improving national economy and a low statewide average unemployment rate, nearly half (49.1 percent) of Oklahoma households are in a persistent state of financial insecurity, according to a recent report by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED).  We blogged about the report here, noting that the percentage of households with little or no savings to cover emergencies or to invest in building a better life has jumped markedly from last year’s 43.8 percent level.

In this segment of the Oklahoma News Report, OETA examines the causes and consequences of state residents’ growing financial insecurity. 

continue reading Watch This: Study ranks Oklahoma near the bottom for family financial security

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