In The Know: Fallin rejects lawmaker’s call for ‘Catastrophic Health Emergency’ over migrant children

by and | July 23rd, 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 or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or RSS. The podcast theme music is by Zébre.

Today you should know that Governor Fallin rejected a call by Rep. Mike Ritze to declare a Catastrophic Health Emergency related to the immigrant children being held at Fort Sill. The OK Policy Blog debunked several myths that have emerged about these children. Tax credits that help 55,000 Oklahomans purchase insurance on the federal marketplace were thrown into question when separate federal appeals courts came down on opposite sides of the issue. OK Policy released a statement on the rulings. Oklahoma Watch shared a Q&A on how the rulings will affect Oklahomans.

Rep. Mike Shelton requested an Attorney General’s opinion on the constitutionality of legislation that diverted $5 million from a fund earmarked for trauma care assistance. Backers of school tornado shelters and legalized marijuana are quickly running out of time to place these issues before voters in November. About 600 of the 800 Tulsa third graders who failed a state reading test should soon learn how they did on a make-up test. The Tulsa World praised the efforts of the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma to address huge problems of hunger in Oklahoma.

The Enid News & Eagle reported on OK Policy awarding our annual Good Sense/Good Cents award to former Governor Henry Bellmon. Creek County Rural Water District No. 2, which serves about 4,700 customers in south Tulsa, Jenks, Mounds, Glenpool and Sapulpa, has violated drinking water standards going back to 2012. Tulsa came in at number four on a list of cities with high rates of fatal DUI accidents.

The Number of the Day is the number of laboratory-confirmed cases of rabies in Oklahoma during 2013. In today’s Policy Note, the New Yorker examines how in some cases the “alternatives to incarceration” industry is profiting by sending Americans who can’t afford traffic fines into deeper debt.

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In The Know: Fallin starts petition to close facility housing child immigrants

by and | July 22nd, 2014 | Posted in Blog, In The Know | Comments (1)

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 or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or RSS. The podcast theme music is by Zébre.

Gov. Mary Fallin’s re-election campaign launched an online petition calling for the closure of the facility housing child immigrants at Fort Sill. The petition criticized President Obama for meeting the “transportation, education and health care of illegal immigrants, even as Washington ignores the very real needs of American citizens.” The American Mental Health Counselors Association estimates that 122,000 Oklahoma with mental health issues are being denied care because Governor Fallin has refused federal funding to expand Medicaid for Oklahomans. The Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs Executive Director said the agency is operating a dangerously low staffing levels due to state budget cuts.

Nearly 1 in 4 Oklahoma children live in poverty and the number of children living in high-poverty areas has more than doubled since 2000, according to a national study released Tuesday. Oklahoma City Public Schools is among 60 of the nation’s largest districts throwing their support behind a presidential initiative meant to ensure more students of color are succeeding academically. Two elementary schools in the Oklahoma City district are facing critical teacher shortages as the start of school draws near. Teachers say they repeal of Common Core Standards won’t greatly affect their teaching methods, but some expressed concern that tests will be less rigorous. The OK Policy Blog examined a new initiative that is seeking  to coordinate the thousands of people working to improve education in Tulsa.

NewsOK examined challenges faced by grandparents who are the primary caretakers of their grandchildren. Oklahoma Watch examined why Moore has not received federal storm damage prevention aid, even as other cities in Oklahoma at less risk for storms are receiving aid. Residents in north Tulsa are unsure where they will get affordable groceries after the impending closure of the area’s only grocery store.

The Number of the Day is the number of women in the Oklahoma legislature out of 149 legislators. In today’s Policy Note, Vox discusses the evidence that expanding Medicaid coverage has improved lifelong health by improving care for pregnant mothers.

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In The Know: Oklahoma’s ban on gay marriage ruled unconstitutional

by and | July 21st, 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 or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or RSS.. The podcast theme music is by Zébre.

A federal appeals court struck down Oklahoma’s same-sex marriage ban as unconstitutional, though the ban remains pending an expected appeal of the decision. You can read the full decision here. Governor Fallin released a statement condemning the decision. A new poll by Rasmussen finds the Oklahoma governor’s race between Mary Fallin and Joe Dorman is within the margin of error. Dorman said Oklahoma should accept federal dollars to expand Medicaid program to cover low-income Oklahomans. The Tulsa World shared the colorful history of runoff elections in Oklahoma.

Speaking at the annual Oklahoma PTA conference, Gov. Fallin seemed to back off her position for relying on one high-stakes reading test to determine whether a third-grader should move on to fourth grade. Hundreds of Oklahoma City students are participating in a summer reading academy to try to pass the reading test before a new school year begins. The tiny Panola School District may close its doors after 102 years due to a budget shortfall. A Tulsa World op-ed discusses how Tulsa Community College is getting national recognition for a program that provides free tuition and fees for all Tulsa County students who graduate high school with at least a 2.0 grade point average.  The University of Oklahoma College of Education is offering a new program to forgive student debt for graduates who stay in Oklahoma and enter high-need teaching areas.

The Tulsa World reported that the state Workers Compensation Commission repeatedly discussed budget decisions in meetings that the public was not allowed to attend, a possible violation of the Open Meetings Act. Upcoming community meetings in Tulsa and Oklahoma will make a case for extending foster care to age 21. The Oklahoman editorial board argued that Oklahoma still has a long way to go on corrections reform. The Tulsa County Jail and Sheriff Stanley Glanz are facing multiple lawsuits alleging extreme neglect, abuse, and needless death of inmates.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol has seen a significant increase in the number of applicants, which department officials attribute to a pay increase and reduced education requirements approved this legislative session. The Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs is cutting funding for Community Intervention Centers by about $610,000, which law enforcement officials said will take police officers off the streets to take care of juveniles in custody.

A consumer survey found Oklahomans have a better view of the economy than neighboring states Arkansas and Missouri, but all three states trail the national average. The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined to 4.5% in June and is down a whole percentage point from this time last year. The 2014 Farm Bill is contributing $26.4 million in federal funds to assess and rehabilitate dams in Oklahoma. A study examining oil and gas wastewater wells in Oklahoma found that certain wells may be able to trigger earthquakes as far away as 21 miles. About 300 residents of Boise City in the Oklahoma Panhandle came to a town meeting to discuss a dozen members of a fundamentalist Mormon group settling in the town.

The Number of the Day is the number of beginning farmers in Oklahoma in 2012, down about 26 percent from 2002. In today’s Policy Note, Al Jazeera America looks at the growing criminalization of homelessness in American cities.

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In The Know: State Attorney General dismisses death-row inmates’ concerns

by | July 18th, 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 or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or RSS. The podcast theme music is by Zébre.

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The Oklahoma Attorney General’s office said Thursday that death-row inmates’ concerns about the risk of cruel and unusual pain and suffering during executions by lethal injection are unfounded. A group of 21 death-row inmates had filed the lawsuit following the botched execution of Clayton Lockett in late April. An editorial in The Oklahoman argues that although the state Supreme Court has upheld a bill repealing Common Core in Oklahoma, the bill itself is nonetheless flawed because it grants state lawmakers the authority to write new educational standards. State schools Superintendent Janet Barresi has expressed concern that the two-year time frame given to develop new educational standards might not be enough.

A guest post on the OK Policy blog warns against the influence of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in Oklahoma, a secretive organization that connects corporate lobbyists with state lawmakers. The state Workers’ Compensation Commission approved its budget on Thursday, which includes the termination of 16 employees. The teen birth rate in Tulsa dropped by 20 percent between 2012 and 2013, outstripping the state’s overall drop of 9 percent. Advocates credit the evidence-based, comprehensive sex education available in Tulsa County. KGOU explained why a coalition of 18 Oklahoma counties planning to build a pipeline to pump water from southeastern Oklahoma fell apart. The Oklahoma Water Resources Board has announced forthcoming in-depth water studies in three of Oklahoma’s most water-challenged regions to address potential supply issues.

A Senate panel has approved funding for all seven AWACS planes at Tinker Air Force Base. The Department of Defense had previously planned to retire the planes to save money. A task force dedicated to figuring out funding for dams on the Arkansas River has suggested creating a trust fund for the dams supported by sales or property taxes. Officials say that badly-needed repairs on the state Capitol building could begin by the end of the year. A new federal earthquake map places parts of Oklahoma in the top-two hazard zones. State agriculture officials say the ongoing drought, a late spring freeze and late spring rains have produced the worst wheat crop in nearly half a century.

The Number of the Day is the percentage decline in Oklahoma’s teen birth rate between 2012 and 2013. In today’s Policy Note, Bloomberg View examines the concept of participatory budgeting, in which citizens have a hand in allocating resources.

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In The Know: Fallin’s office says Barresi not being considered for secretary of education

by and | July 17th, 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 or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or RSS. The podcast theme music is by Zébre.

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Today you should know that Governor Fallin’s office denied a rumor that the Governor is considering outgoing State Superintendent Janet Barresi for her Secretary of Education. A Jenks school administrator said the district is not scrambling to adopt a new set of standards after the repeal of Common Core, because they will continue using their own Continuum of Standards. David Blatt’s Journal Record column discussed how huge tax cuts in Kansas have opened a deep budget hole while not showing any signs of boosting the economy. On the OK Policy Blog, we look at the data to see whether term limits have actually changed how long legislators serve in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma prosecutors accused the Pardon and Parole Board of having an anti-victim and anti-district attorney bias, but they also appealed to legislative leaders and Governor Fallin to increase funding for the agency. Oklahoma City police said they continue to be overburdened with transporting psychiatric patients across the state because Oklahoma has not funded enough mental health beds. Oklahoma Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Colbert said that dozens of bills introduced in the state Legislature this year would have had a “lethal and devastating” effect on Oklahoma’s judiciary if enacted into law. 

State Rep. Fred Jordan asked the Oklahoma Supreme Court to get involved in the race for Tulsa County District Attorney. Another candidate for the DA position, Steve Kunzweiler, has challenge Rep. Jordan’s candidacy based on a constitutional ban on lawmakers being elected to any office in which the pay had been increased during the lawmaker’s term. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control said they continue to oppose a state question to legalize marijuana but are preparing for its possible passage.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt said some state agencies are concerned about potential legal complications from unaccompanied children being housed at Fort Sill, in light of a state law banning the use of state money to provide services to people who enter the country illegally. Federal officials have previously said few if any of the children at Fort Sill will wind up in Oklahoma. Minors appearing in immigration courts without attorneys are deported 90 percent of the time while those with lawyers are removed at a rate of 54 percent, according to an analysis released Tuesday by a New York-based nonprofit. A group of TU law students have joined the “Immigration Rights Project” to help represent the children at Fort Sill.

The Number of the Day is how many Oklahoma high schools had a dropout rate above 40 percent for the Class of 2012. In today’s Policy Note, CNN Money discusses how the prosperity of the American middle class has fallen below Japan, Canada, Australia and much of Western Europe, even as a few very wealthy Americans skew the average wealth upwards.

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In The Know: State Supreme Court upholds Common Core repeal

by and | July 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 or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or RSS. The podcast theme music is by Zébre.

Download today’s In The Know podcast here or play it in your browser:

Today you should know that only a few hours after hearing oral arguments, the Oklahoma Supreme Court upheld a bill repealing Common Core standards and giving legislators more influence over any new standards. Superintendent Janet Barresi asked parents and educators to apply to join committees that will develop new academic standards. Information about the committees and how to apply is available here. CareerTech Director Robert Sommers, who also serves as Governor Fallin’s secretary of education and workforce development, announced he will resign both positions August 15.

Oklahoma’s General Revenue Fund collections for the full Fiscal Year 2014 came in barely above prior year collections and 4.8 percent below the official estimate. With a critical shortage of judges for deportation hearings, all of Oklahoma’s hearings have been moved to Dallas. President Obama has put forward a plan to appoint additional judges, but it still needs Congressional approval. In a continuing series on federal and state disaster aid in Oklahoma, Oklahoma Watch examined how thousands of disaster aid requests end in rejection.

The Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma just wrapped up the largest distribution year in its history. The food bank provided 17.3 million meals this year, a 20 percent increase over the previous year. The OK Policy Blog previously discussed a new school meals program that provides a more efficient way to feed kids in poverty. The Oklahoma City Jesus House’s Adopt-A-Block initiative is sending a group of people enrolled in the homeless shelter’s sobriety program into low-income communities to mow lawns, provide emergency food aid, and deliver box fans for people without air conditioning. The Oklahoma City Council voted to allow northeast Oklahoma City hospital to continue housing adult psychiatric patients, despite protests from residents who said they were afraid of people with mental illness.

Fifteen teachers from Spain will be joining Oklahoma City Public Schools this year under a memorandum of understanding with the country to bring guest teachers to Oklahoma. The volume of payday lending in the state and number of lenders has declined over the past two years after spiking in 2011. The OK Policy Blog previously shared stories of how payday loans impose very high costs on some of the poorest Oklahomans. RH Reality Check examined how the issue of health care access and Governor Fallin’s refusal to accept federal funds for Medicaid are affecting Oklahoma’s gubernatorial race.

The Cherokee Nation is constructing a new 28,000 square-foot health center in Washington County. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is reaching out to people who have completed a firearm safety training course but have not yet applied for a handgun license because time is running out on their certifications’ validity. The U.S. Geological Survey recorded three more earthquakes yesterday in Oklahoma, including one that shattered windows and put cracks in the wall of the Harrah police station.

The Number of the Day is how many journalists report full-time from the Oklahoma statehouse. In today’s Policy Note, the Washington Post reports on how 18 cities in Texas have passed rules to reign in some of the worst practices of payday lenders.

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In The Know: Oklahoma may reverse course on oil train shipment disclosures

by and | July 15th, 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 or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or RSS. The podcast theme music is by Zébre.

Download today’s In The Know podcast here or play it in your browser:

Oklahoma officials are taking a second look at confidentiality agreements signed with railroads that prevent disclosure of information to the public about shipments of oil coming through the state. A new poll finds that Governor Fallin’s favorability with Oklahoma voters has fallen to 52 percent in early June, a 19-point drop from her high of 73 percent in September. The OK Policy Blog explained how despite Governor Fallin’s attempt to shift the blame to President Obama, the real reason behind state Medicaid cuts is Oklahoma leaders’ mismanagement of the state budget.

Authorities preparing for the renovation of Oklahoma’s state Capitol plan to authorize preliminary design work before millions of dollars in bond money becomes available. Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett and Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett are beginning a campaign for changes in state law to reduce cities’ reliance on sales taxes, a sometimes volatile revenue source that can pit city against suburb in battles over big-box retailers.  The Tulsa Regional Chamber released findings of a workforce analysis project with recommendations on improving job opportunities and skilled workers in Tulsa. You can find the full report here.

The Tulsa World reported that all of the immigrant children have been given vaccinations, and kids who test positive for communicable diseases have been quarantined in non-military facilities. A growing backlog of immigration cases has caused the average wait time for a hearing in an immigration court to exceed 1.5 years.

Oklahoma Watch continued a special report on how federal and state aid funds are helping to rebuild from damaging storms in Oklahoma. The latest stories look at who is receiving public disaster assistance and the recovery effort for Moore Schools. The Tulsa World editorial board discussed how Oklahoma’s decision to repeal Common Core standards is costing the state money and leaving teachers without clear guidance for the coming school year. The OK Policy Blog previously discussed how Common Core repeal could lead to more federal control of Oklahoma schools. The okeducationtruths blog discussed concerns about the non-profit Oklahoma Public School Resource Center’s (OPSRC) connections with groups pushing for controversial education reforms. The OK Policy Blog previously featured a guest post on services that the OPSRC is offering schools.

A student at Southwestern Christian University in Oklahoma City said she was expelled from the private college because she married her same-sex partner. Oklahoma City Public Schools is teaming with Oklahoma Caring Foundation and Oklahoma City County Health Department to offer mobile immunizations at selected schools through July 24. The Tulsa Port of Catoosa brought in its 75 millionth ton of cargo since opening 43 years ago. The Number of the Day is the total tonnage processed by the Port of Catoosa in 2013. In today’s Policy Note, Quartz looks at how companies like QuikTrip, the grocery store chain Trader Joe’s, and Costco Wholesale are proving that the decision to offer low wages is a choice, not an economic necessity.

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In The Know: Department of Corrections proposes reducing number of officers on security posts

by and | July 14th, 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 or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or RSS. The podcast theme music is by Zébre.

The Department of Corrections is proposing to eliminate 12-hour shifts in state prisons by reducing the number of officers on security posts. Oklahoma Corrections Professionals, a group representing corrections officers in Oklahoma, wrote a letter stating that they have grave concerns about how this move would affect the safety of staff and inmates. House Speaker Jeff Hickman approved more than 80 interim studies to go forward in the Legislature, including studies of lethal injection alternatives and monitoring of prescription drugs. You can see the full list of House interim studies here and Senate interim studies here. The Ethics Commission will consider a series of proposed amendments to its new rules during upcoming meetings.

School districts in Oklahoma have been hit hard in recent years with retirement notices from teachers who are leaving for better-paying industries. The state Department of Education has released an Oklahoma Indian Education Resource guide with lesson plans and tools for studying the state’s sovereign tribes. You can view the guide here.

A Tulsa Veterans Affairs clinic is struggling to meet the rapidly rising demand for care from veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan wars. An advisory board member for a hospital in Creek County wrote that Oklahoma’s refusal to accept Medicaid funds could force rural hospitals to close their doors. KGOU reported on the benefits for Oklahoma Native Americans of signing up for SoonerCareEmergency medical service fees are set to rise in Tulsa, about a year after city officials extended allowed response times to keep down fees.

Oklahoma Watch released the first part of a special report on how federal and state disaster aid is being spent in the wake of the violent tornadoes and storms of spring 2013. A study of the Gerber-Wellington aquifer, which covers 3,000 square miles of the most densely populated areas in Oklahoma, found that under current policies the water could be depleted in 35 to 41 yearsThe Oklahoma Corporation Commission plans to seek the public’s input in the placement of wind farms and the regulation of rooftop solar panels. Infectious diseases once unknown in Oklahoma are showing up because of changes in climate, the urbanization of previously forested areas and people traveling to once-remote regions.

Tulsa World columnist Ginnie Graham discussed her experience trying to commute on the Tulsa bus system. The Number of the Day is the average time patients with broken bones had to wait before receiving pain medication in Oklahoma emergency rooms. In today’s Policy Note, Huffington Post discusses new legislation by Democratic Senator Cory Booker and Republican Senator Rand Paul that aims to break the cycle of incarceration for nonviolent offenders.

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In The Know: Another 5,000 unaccompanied immigrant children may be placed at U.S. military bases

by | July 11th, 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 or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or RSS. The podcast theme music is by Zébre.

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Yesterday, Fort Sill allowed a limited number of members of state and national media to tour its barracks, where over one thousand refugee children from Central America are being housed until they can be placed with family and sponsors. The average child stays at Fort Sill for 15 days before being placed. The White House has asked the Department of Defense for the authority to house another 5,000 children along side the 3,000 already housed on three bases. It is not yet clear if more children would be brought to Fort Sill.

Gubernatorial candidate Joe Dorman unveiled a proposal to better fund schools without costing taxpayers more money by diverting funds generated by the franchise tax. Dorman estimates his proposal would add an additional $50 per pupil. Franchise tax revenues currently go to the General Fund that supports most state agencies, including education. A guest post on the OK Policy blog introduced the Oklahoma Public School Resource Center (OPSRC), which helps supply schools with a variety of resources they would otherwise be unable to afford. A new report finds that four in five Oklahoma adults who receive publicly-funded mental health services are unemployed. State advocacy groups are calling for greater assistance from public officials in aiding those with mental illness to find jobs.

Over a year after tornadoes hit the town of Moore in late May, residents are still struggling with insurance companies, who some residents say are not settling fairly. A Tulsa mother who says her daughter’s severe epilepsy has been successfully treated with medical marijuana in Colorado is campaigning to make medical marijuana legal and accessible in Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission expressed dismay that the legislature approved a $3 million withdrawal from the Commission’s revolving fund to balance this year’s state budget. The Commission receives no appropriations and was not consulted about the withdrawal. The City of Tulsa is considering partially automating its 911 service in an attempt to reduce wait times for callers. The automated system would direct callers to dispatchers from the specific emergency department needed. The Tulsa County Commissioner is calling to have a new city-county jail agreement in place by September. The city and county have previously disagreed on how much the city should be charged to hold an inmate in the county jail and how a ‘municipal inmate’ should be defined.

The state Department of Health has announced that the state’s first case of the West Nile virus this summer has been found. The virus is spread by mosquitoes and the highest-risk months are July through October. Thursday was Tulsa’s rainiest day of 2014 so far, with nearly two inches of rain recorded at Tulsa International Airport. Researchers from Oklahoma State University have received a $750,000 grant from NASA to develop a material that will protect astronauts from radiation while in space.

The Number of the Day is is the number of organ and tissue transplants in Oklahoma in 2013. In today’s Policy Note, FiveThirtyEight argues that as economics and demographics of migration in America shift, immigration has changed much faster than the immigration debate.

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In The Know: Oklahoma City sees surge in low-wage jobs

by and | July 10th, 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 or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or RSS. The podcast theme music is by Zébre.

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Average earnings in the Oklahoma City metro area dropped as a surge in low-wage jobs are replacing a shrinking number of jobs at the top end of wages. Governor Fallin’s top budget official Preston Doerflinger said he agrees with State Treasurer Ken Miller’s analysis of shortcomings in Oklahoma’s budget planning. Miller said the state has balanced the budget with one-time fixes, sometimes ignored the long-term consequences of a deal, misapplied a temporary windfall, shortchanged pension obligations and ignored financial checks and balances. The jobs of 16 state workers’ compensation system employees have been eliminated as Oklahoma continues the transition from a court-based workers’ compensation system to an administrative system.

Sen. Rob Standridge, R-Norman, has asked for an interim study on the possibility of increasing the speed limit on the Turner Turnpike, but the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority director said the road would not be safe at a higher speed limit. The Tulsa World praised Tulsa Public Schools’ efforts to catch up the hundreds of third graders who did not pass a reading test. The principal of a school for homeless students in Oklahoma City wrote that third grade retention won’t solve the reading problem in Oklahoma without broader support for basic needs. Tulsa World columnist Ginnie Graham argued that Oklahoma does not provide adequate job protections for pregnant women and new parents.

Members of Tulsa’s faith community have scheduled a second meeting designed to help the children being housed at Fort Sill. A bipartisan group of business and policy leaders in Oklahoma said the migrant children crisis is further proof that the United States needs comprehensive immigration reformDavid Blatt’s Journal Record column and Carly Putnam on the OK Policy Blog discussed how a one-year extension of Insure Oklahoma still leaves hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans without coverage. OK Policy previously discussed how Insure Oklahoma can become a long-term solution for the uninsured if we accept federal funds to extend it.

The president of AARP Oklahoma praised a new state law that allows patients admitted to the hospital to designate a caregiver who will be informed of how to care for them when they go home. Senator Inhofe said a deal has been reached between the EPA and the Department of Defense that will allow local firefighters to continue receiving surplus military equipment. Oklahoma’s tourism and recreation department is considering selling or leasing three state parks in northeast Oklahoma to make up for budget cuts. The Oklahoma Corporation Commission has begun a study of wind farms at the request of Senate leader Brian Bingman, who previously sought to put a moratorium on all new wind farms in east Oklahoma.

The Number of the Day is the number of utility-scale wind turbines in Oklahoma as of 2013. In today’s Policy Note, a report by Good Jobs First examines what metro regions are doing to end job piracy, where companies play nearby communities off each other for escalating subsidies.

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