All articles by Kate Richey

How a profitable Postal Service could pad your pockets (Part One)

by | October 21st, 2014 | Posted in Blog, Financial Security | Comments (0)

140814_JURIS_USPS.jpg.CROP.promo-mediumlargeTo say that the United States Postal Service (USPS) has struggled to find its place in a changing information age is an understatement. Facing the exponential growth of digital communication, stiff competition from private firms, and draconian budget cuts, USPS hobbles into an uncertain future. Yet the public post remains an important part of American life and it still plays an indispensable role in rural commerce, culture, and medicine.

This post is the first in a series that examines a new opportunity for USPS to diversify its revenue base, fill urgent and unmet needs for millions of households, and secure its place as the socioeconomic touchstone of remote and sparsely populated areas long-neglected by private development. Part one in this series reviews the history and record of postal financial services, in the U.S. and around the world. Part two examines the suite of financial products and services that USPS is uniquely positioned to provide, and explores which business model would serve the community (and the taxpayer) best.  Finally, part three reviews the benefits of the endeavor for all the parties involved and affected – banks, consumers, and the faltering U.S. Postal Service.

continue reading How a profitable Postal Service could pad your pockets (Part One)

In The Know: Oklahoma leads the U.S. in education cuts for 2nd straight year

by | October 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.

Oklahoma leads the nation for the second straight year in the percentage of per-student spending cuts, according to a new report. The Governor’s Coordinating Council on Seismic Activity held its first meeting earlier this month, but the council can’t write rules, it has no formal responsibilities or authority and it is not planning on preparing a report or making any policy recommendations.

OK Policy wrote about how the state’s judges are chosen, what’s at stake in the elections, and how you can learn about the candidates. The blood lead levels of children living in Ottawa County and the Tar Creek Superfund cleanup site have been falling since 1997

The Oklahoman Editorial Board argued that the state was right to continue to postpone pending executions. The large gap between educational attainment and workforce needs continues to grow in Oklahoma; only two in ten high school graduates earn a post-secondary certificate or degree.

The Number of the Day is the percentage of Oklahoma’s elementary school teachers who are women. In today’s Policy Note, a new study has found that the number of emergency room visits falls dramatically within a year when low-income adults are enrolled in public health coverage. 

continue reading In The Know: Oklahoma leads the U.S. in education cuts for 2nd straight year

In The Know: State Supreme Court hears arguments in tax cut challenge

by | October 15th, 2014 | Posted in Blog | 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 Supreme Court justices interrupted the state’s solicitor general repeatedly with questions during oral argument in a case challenging the constitutionality of an income tax cut passed earlier this year. State Health Commissioner Terry Cline says no cases of Ebola have been reported in Oklahoma, but the state is ready in case of outbreak.

The OK Policy Blog examines two state ballot questions that would expand property tax breaks for certain military personnel and their families. An editorial in The Oklahoman pointed out that a bill to expand DNA testing of persons charged with some crimes might be set back by testimony from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation that thousands of tests already mandated under existing law go undone. 

Only 2 percent of U.S. colleges and universities are giving students the best tools for success, according to a new report by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, and The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma is among them. Protesters are planning to demonstrate at Oklahoma City University’s International Energy Conference this week.

The Number of the Day is the number of active underground storage tanks in Oklahoma carrying hazardous substances or petroleum. In today’s Policy Note, Politico surveys the fluid, confusing legal environment facing immigration courts as thousands of migrant children from Central America process through the system, many without representation.

continue reading In The Know: State Supreme Court hears arguments in tax cut challenge

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, Fivethirtyeight.com 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 http://okpolicy.org/summer-policy-institute. 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.

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