Skip to Content

In The Know: GOP health bills would cost Oklahoma rural hospitals millions, study says

by | July 25th, 2017 | 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

GOP health bills would cost Oklahoma rural hospitals millions, study says: he U.S. Senate is expected to vote on a health care plan Tuesday that could cost Oklahoma hospitals millions in lost revenue. The Senate is expected to take up the American Health Care Act, the House’s plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Oklahoma hospitals would lose more than $25 million after one year under the AHCA, according to projections from the Chartis Center for Rural Health. The center is part of a nonpartisan health care consulting group [NewsOK].

Oklahoma teacher panhandles to raise money for school supplies: An Oklahoma teacher frustrated by having to dig into her own pocket to pay for classroom supplies took to panhandling to get her point across. Teresa Danks, 50, of Claremore, Oklahoma, has spent the summer shopping at garage sales and thrift stores to stock her third-grade classroom with supplies for next year. A conversation with her husband last week about the money she was spending on her classroom sparked a bigger idea [ABC News]. Oklahoma leads the nation in cuts to both K-12 and higher education since 2009.

EPA Chief Scott Pruitt Flew Home to Oklahoma Most Weekends on Taxpayer’s Dime, Records Show: Records show the head of the Environmental Protection Agency spent weekends in his home state during his first three months in office, frequently flying to and from Oklahoma at taxpayer’s expense. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s expense reports from March, April and May were released following a Freedom of Information request filed by Environmental Integrity Project, a non-profit watchdog group [TIME].

Continue Reading »

In The Know: Attracting New Industries To Oklahoma Is Serious Business

by | July 24th, 2017 | 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

Attracting New Industries To Oklahoma Is Serious Business: Even as the state’s unemployment rate has made a steady decline in recent months, the work of those whose job is to try and create more jobs is certainly not done. It never is, especially in a state like Oklahoma where the economy can be very fragile. The tendency for crude oil and natural gas prices to fluctuate wildly, and unexpectedly, has made it abundantly clear in recent decades that the bottom can fall out of the state’s leading industry at, seemingly, a moment’s notice. [NewsOn6]

State’s most vulnerable citizens in jeopardy: Though detractors continue to insist the DHS needs to “live within its means,” cuts imposed by the Legislature have made that almost impossible. The agency has slashed 1,200 jobs just over the past two years, about 15 percent of its workforce. Staffers are forced to share the burden in addressing client needs, and that has become an almost insurmountable task with the skeletal resources now allocated. [Tahlequah Daily Press] In dispute between Republican leaders over DHS funding, here are the facts [OK Policy]

Senator seeks to nail down state’s cost for defending unconstitutional laws: In the past few years, Oklahoma lawmakers have passed more than a dozen bills that later were found to be unconstitutional. Sen. Kay Floyd wants to determine how much that has cost the state. Her idea is among 44 interim studies approved last week and assigned to legislative committees. Committee chairs will have the final say on whether a study is conducted. [Tulsa World]

Continue Reading »

The Weekly Wonk: Do lawmakers have a backup plan for the budget?

by | July 23rd, 2017 | Posted in Blog, Weekly Wonk | Comments (0)

the_weekly_wonk_logoWhat’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

Policy Director Gene Perry broke down the latest version of the Senate Republican health care bill, pointing out that this bill doesn’t fix the core problems of their first draft – it actually makes some of them worse. Perry also urged state leaders not to neglect early childhood education in his Journal Record column.  Oklahoma has had success with our pre-school programs and we need to continue working to preserve those educational gains.

In his Capitol Update, Steve Lewis wonders in state lawmakers have a budget backup plan if the courts find that parts of next year’s budget are unconstitutional. Perry helps us to understand the dispute between Speaker McCall and Rep. Osborn about the recent cuts announced by DHS.

OK Policy in the News

Perry spoke with The Oklahoman about the Senate Republican’s difficulty passing a health care reform package – the Affordable Care Act did benefit millions of Americans and taking away those benefits now would be reckless. OK Policy data made an appearance in two stories about education funding – the Tahlequah Daily Press discussed the consequences of cuts to higher education funding in the state, while Yahoo! News introduced us to a Tulsa teacher who is panhandling to buy classroom supplies.

Continue Reading »

Do lawmakers have a Plan B if the court throws out their budget? (Capitol Update)

by | July 21st, 2017 | Posted in Capitol Updates | Comments (1)

Steve Lewis served as Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 1989-1991. He currently practices law in Tulsa and represents clients at the Capitol.

I’m hoping — wondering without knowing — if anyone is doing some serious planning for what will happen if the Oklahoma Supreme Court holds a substantial portion of the funding for the current state budget unconstitutional. Most of the legislative leaders I’ve heard speak since the adjournment last May have acknowledged without admitting that an adverse ruling is a pretty good possibility.

The Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments for the lawsuits challenging the revenue increases for August 8th. The Justices are likely researching and circulating opinions in advance of oral argument, and if nothing is said to significantly change their opinions, I think we can expect a ruling within a fairly short time after the oral arguments.

Since the fiscal year began July 1st, the state agencies are already depending on that money. If the court rules the funding unconstitutional, it will likely create an immediate revenue failure. Allocations of state funding go out to the various state agencies on a one-twelfth per month basis, so if there is a revenue failure, monthly allocations will be cut across the board in whatever percentage the court rules unconstitutional, plus whatever amount has already been spent that may have to be returned. The longer the court takes to rule, the more aggravated the problem could become.

If the legislature is required to go into special session to deal with the budget crisis, it would sure be a good thing if the governor and legislators have a plan. If they start from scratch and begin wrangling as they did during the regular session, throwing one potential tax increase after another against the wall to see if it sticks, the problem will simply get worse. It’s not only state agencies that will suffer, but schools and providers that contract with the state to provide state services — to say nothing of the Oklahomans who rely on the services. It’s a sobering prospect, and it will likely be happening about the time school starts.

In The Know: Millions of dollars headed back to Oklahoma state agencies

by | July 21st, 2017 | 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

Millions of dollars headed back to Oklahoma state agencies: State agencies will be getting $34.6 million back. The money was taken when the state cut agency budgets in February when it appeared the state was likely to experience a revenue failure. It is being returned now that the state fiscal year is over and the state received enough tax revenue to fall within a 5 percent budget cushion. [The Oklahoman]

Tulsa teacher turns to panhandling to raise money for classroom supplies: A Tulsa teacher is making a bold statement about the state of education as she pleads for money at a local intersection in order to pay for classroom supplies. Teresa Danks is a third grade teacher in the Tulsa Public Schools systems. As a result of serious education budget cuts, Danks says she is now spending between $2,000 and $3,000 of her $35,000 salary on supplies for her students. [Fox23] Oklahoma continues to lead U.S. for deepest cuts to education [OK Policy]

Oklahoma fiscal-year general revenue fund receipts below forecast: Oklahoma’s general revenue fund receipts were $175.9 million below estimates for fiscal year 2017, undercut by lower-than-projected corporate income tax returns, the state’s Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES) said on Thursday. The fund took in $5.04 billion for the fiscal year ended in June, compared with a projected $5.22 billion in revenue, according to the government’s website. Corporate income tax returns were $165.7 million below their fiscal year estimate, a 55.9 percent shortfall, the OMES said in a statement. [Reuters

Continue Reading »

In The Know: Women Often Ignored In The Conversation On Criminal Justice Reform

by | July 20th, 2017 | 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

Interim study to probe restraint policies for special needs students: An Oklahoma lawmaker is continuing his fight against policies that allow educators to use restraints and seclusion to punish students with special needs.
State Rep. Josh Cockroft, R-Wanette, has introduced bills that would ban the practice under specific circumstances, but those measures never made it out of committee. This year, he requested an interim study on current restraint and seclusion policies and how to best train teachers and other staffers on those policies. [Journal Record]

Women Are Often Ignored In The Conversation On Criminal Justice Reform: For all the popularity of Orange Is The New Black, women in prisons are often not given enough attention, according to experts on the topic. “Criminal justice reform” may have been a buzzword recently, but problems specific to female prisoners — including mental health, drug problems, and motherhood — just haven’t been talked about enough. We have to do a better job specifically thinking about women in jails and their needs. [Elite Daily]

Gov. Mary Fallin outlines the costs of Oklahoma’s high female incarceration rate: The female prison population is growing faster than any other group, but the issue does not get the attention it deserves, said Holly Harris, Justice Action Network executive director. Fallin acknowledged her state has work to do. “Oklahoma has the dubious honor of having the highest incarceration rate of women in the nation,” she said. “That is not something I am proud of.” [Tulsa World] Incarceration is not the most effective way to reduce crime [OK Policy]

Continue Reading »

In dispute between Republican leaders over DHS funding, here are the facts

by | July 19th, 2017 | Posted in Budget, Poverty & Opportunity | Comments (10)

Rep. Leslie Osborn and House Speaker Charles McCall

It’s been an eventful week for the Oklahoma Legislature, especially considering they are not even in session. The week began with House Speaker Charles McCall and Majority Leader Mike Sanders blasting the Oklahoma Department of Human Services for making cuts to services for seniors, foster families, and in-home support for people with developmental disabilities. Three days later, three Republican legislators, including House Appropriations and Budget Chair Leslie Osborn, spoke out in defense of the agency, laying out why the cuts could not have been avoided given insufficient funding to cope with rising needs. The next day, Speaker McCall removed Osborn from her position as Appropriations and Budget committee chair.

Although the Speaker’s office said Rep. Osborn’s public disagreement was “absolutely not” the reason for her ouster, they gave no other reason for the decision, and the timing makes it hard to believe it was unrelated. While we don’t know what internal politics of the House Republican caucus may have contributed to these events, we can look at the facts of the dispute over the DHS cuts.

Continue Reading »

In The Know: Oklahoma Speaker ousts budget chair day after public disagreement

by | July 19th, 2017 | 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 Speaker ousts budget chair day after public disagreement: Oklahoma Speaker Charles McCall has replaced Appropriations and Budget Committee Chair Leslie Osborn a day after she and others publicly disagreed with him. McCall emailed some members of the House notifying them that Osborn, R-Mustang, would be replaced by Wellston Republican Kevin Wallace, who served as vice chair last session. On Monday, Osborn and two House appropriations subcommittee chairs disputed claims that the Department of Human Services was to blame for program and service cuts that were announced last week [NewsOK]. 

US Senator joins Oklahoma ethics complaint against Scott Pruitt: A United States Senator has joined an ethics complaint against former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island, has joined a complaint filed March 21 to the Oklahoma Bar Association against Pruitt. The complaint states that Pruitt violated Oklahoma’s rules of professional conduct while stating he did not use a personal email address to conduct business while Attorney General of Oklahoma. A FOX 25 investigation revealed that Pruitt in fact did use a personal email address to conduct state business [Fox 25].

Lankford still believes Senate will act on health care: U.S. Sen. James Lankford said Tuesday morning that Republicans can and must pass health care reform legislation this session. Speaking on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends,” Lankford said: “I’m still optimistic that we can because we must. This is kind of a ‘no fail’ moment (when) we have to resolve all of these issues.” Lankford said Republican leadership should “get all the people that disagree in one room and let’s hammer this out in one moment.” [Tulsa World]

Continue Reading »

In The Know: Oklahoma representatives throw support behind DHS, fire back at House leadership

by | July 18th, 2017 | 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 representatives throw support behind DHS, fire back at House leadership: It seems like the fireworks involving Oklahoma lawmakers are not over, even though the legislative session has come to an end. Last week, the Department of Human Services announced that service reductions are necessary following a $30 million budget shortfall. Among the expected reductions are community-based and nutrition programs for seniors, assistance payments for foster homes and adoptions and in-home support for people with developmental disabilities [KFOR].

Groups weigh in on cigarette ‘fee’ legal challenge: Various groups are weighing in on a lawsuit that challenges a $1.50 “fee” on cigarettes passed last session. Cigarette companies and others have filed a legal challenge to the measure, Senate Bill 845, in the Oklahoma Supreme Court. The court is expected to hear oral arguments on Aug. 8. The suit alleges the measure, which raises $257 million, violates three key provisions of law. Revenue raising measures must originate in the House, receive a super majority in both chambers and can’t be passed in the final days of the session [Tulsa World].

Women step up to run for local, state, federal offices: About this time two years ago, Carol Bush and Kendra Horn were sitting in a Starbucks in Tulsa’s Utica Square. Bush was considering running for office in Tulsa’s House District 70. She wasn’t sure if she should take the plunge, and a friend recommended she talk with Horn. Bush, a Republican, didn’t have the same kind of political experience or fervor that Horn was known for. The latter is the executive director of Women Lead OK, an organization that guides women toward and prepares them for public office [Journal Record].

Continue Reading »

New Senate health care draft does not fix bill’s core problems and makes some of them worse

by | July 17th, 2017 | Posted in Healthcare | Comments (0)

Last week, Senate Republican leaders released a “new” version of their health care bill. We wrote before about how the first draft of this bill would make Americans pay more for worse health coverage and how it would undercut the health care safety net. Unfortunately, the new draft does not fix the original Senate bill’s core problems and makes some of them worse.

The Senate bill would drastically cut Oklahoma’s Medicaid program, SoonerCare, reducing federal support an estimated 26 percent by 2026, with larger cuts to come as health care costs grow. Oklahoma would have to make up the difference either by raising taxes or cutting services for the hundreds of thousands of low-income people with disabilities, seniors, and families with children who rely on SoonerCare. These cuts would also threaten thousands of jobs in the state, since health care is Oklahoma’s largest employment sector and 25 percent of those jobs are supported by Medicaid.

Continue Reading »

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
  8. 7
  9. ...
  10. 369