In 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.
Want to know more about what’s on the ballot Nov. 4? Check out OK Policy’s 2014 Oklahoma Elections page, with information on voting times, state questions, judicial elections, and more.
Three days of early, in-person voting is set to begin today at county election board offices across the state as most political experts predict turnout will be relatively light for next week’s general election. David Blatt’s Journal Record column discussed what’s behind the decline in voting among Oklahomans. On the OK Policy Blog, Ryan Kiesel makes the case for creating multi-member districts to expand the number of voices at the Legislature. See more from our series on Oklahoma’s broken democracy here.
Gov. Mary Fallin raised more than $932,000 from donors in the final push toward Tuesday’s election while her main challenger, Joe Dorman, raised more than $828,000, their latest campaign reports show. Overall, Dorman has received almost $1.5 million in contributions since beginning fundraising in December while Fallin, who began her reelection effort in 2011, has raised more than $4.5 million. Campaign finance reports show state schools superintendent candidate Joy Hofmeister has outraised and outspent her opponent, John Cox, heading into the closing days of their campaign. U.S. Rep. James Lankford collected $1.2 million in the last quarter, as former foe T.W. Shannon and a host of special interest groups kicked in cash for his U.S. Senate race.
Since it began operations in February, the state Workers Compensation Commission has not sought payment from businesses to replenish a fund that pays injured workers when self-insured companies cannot pay their claims, even though the fund is far below levels required by law. For more than two months, the state Workers Compensation Commission has refused to hear appeals involving injured workers’ claims until the Attorney General’s Office decides whether the commission can close its deliberations to the public. An appeals court ruled that Tulsa County will have to pay the legal fees for one of two couples involved in a lawsuit that led to Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriages being overturned.
The director of the Oklahoma State Climatological Survey said Oklahomans should prepare for a drought that could extend through the spring and possibly for years. State officials and researchers updated a legislative committee on their efforts to study the state’s ongoing earthquake swarm, which has been connected to wastewater disposal practices by the oil and gas industry. The Senate Insurance Committee examined applying the state’s unclaimed property laws to unclaimed life insurance benefits. NewsOn6 examined a new Oklahoma law that makes it easier for prosecutors to confiscate cars that belong to drunk drivers.
Oklahoma Department of Corrections Director Robert Patton told legislators that county jails are inadequate holding facilities for those with long-term criminal sentences, but the state still has a backlog of 240 inmates in county jails. The Tulsa World discussed why Oklahoma continues to lead the nation in incarcerating women. An Oklahoma Watch investigation found that serious violations by inmates plagued Oklahoma’s largest private halfway houses for three years before the state took action in January by removing all inmates from one and later demanding a corrective plan at the other.
The Number of the Day is the number of Atmospheric and Space Scientists who worked in Oklahoma in 2013. In today’s Policy Note, Vox shows how the Affordable Care Act is significantly reducing inequality as it expands access to health insurance.
continue reading In The Know: Early in-person voting begins today in Oklahoma