In The Know: Cox wins Democratic runoff over Deskin in state superintendent’s race

by and | August 27th, 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.

Peggs Superintendent John Cox defeated Freda Deskin in Tuesday’s Democratic runoff for state superintendent. Cox will face Joy Hofmeister in the general election. The okeducationtruths blog and blogger Brett Dickerson discussed the big issues at play in Oklahoma’s superintendent race.

School choice advocate Chuck Strohm defeated Jenks school board member Melissa Abdo in the runoff for House District 69, after an outside group poured $30,000 into the race with ads saying Abdo’s support for education funding was a call for a tax increase. OETA reported on how “dark money” spent by groups that don’t disclose their donors is shaping Oklahoma politics.

Veteran prosecutor Steve Kunzweiler defeated state Rep. Fred Jordan in the race for Tulsa County District Attorney. State Sen. Connie Johnson defeated perennial candidate Jim Rogers in a runoff to determine the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate. Johnson will face U.S. Rep. James Lankford in the general election. Republican Steve Russell and Democrat Al McCaffrey won their respective runoffs and will face each other for the U.S. House seat being vacated by Lankford. You can see all state runoff election results here. OU political scientist Dr. Keith Gaddie questioned the cost of primary runoffs in Oklahoma and suggested a better alternative. 

Despite the legislature’s vote to abolish Common Core in Oklahoma, about half of the school districts in the state are keeping the standards. Alex Public Schools Superintendent Jason James wrote that teacher shortages are the number one problem facing Oklahoma schools. Two elected officials in Rogers County who were targeted by a multicounty grand jury investigation that yielded no indictments are suing the Rogers County Sheriff. The Tulsa Police Department’s Gilcrease Division was ordered by the chief to remove from its building a donation bucket for embattled Ferguson, Missouri, Police Officer Darren Wilson.

The Oklahoman examined the debate over what’s behind the huge increase of earthquakes in the state. State officials announced a $100 million initiative to improve safety at railroad crossings, funded by federal dollars and the sale of the Sooner Sub rail line. The Number of the Day is the direct spending by out-of-state and international travelers in Oklahoma in 2010. In today’s Policy Note, entrepreneur Nick Hanauer wrote that America cannot sustain its current levels of inequality without a serious backlash or a police state.

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In The Know: Primary runoff elections in Oklahoma

by | August 26th, 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.

Oklahomans go to the polls today to choose their candidates in primary runoff elections. Polls are open from 7am to 7pm. KGOU selected three races to watch today. Despite a surge of voters registered this summer by a medical marijuana petition drive, the number of registered voters in Tulsa, particularly registered Democrats, has declined.

The ACLU has filed a lawsuit arguing that reporters have the right to witness executions from beginning to completion. During the botched execution of Clayton Lockett in April, officials blocked the view of witnesses and reporters when it became clear that the execution was not proceeding as planned. You can read the ACLU’s statement here. Speaking to a national discussion of police accountability, the Choctaw Police Department spoke favorably of body cameras, which its on-duty officers began wearing five months ago. 

Researchers at the University of Tulsa have received a grant to provide free PTSD treatment, trying a new approach to treating the disorder. A post on the OK Policy Blog called for long-term solutions to address homelessness in Oklahoma. Following up a previous article on computer glitches delaying Medicaid enrollment for former foster youth in Oklahoma, NewsOK discussed how other states are dealing with the issue. Oklahoma health officials are concerned about the impact of e-cigarettes on youth smoking. We’ve written about the debate over e-cigarettes before.

A Supreme Court expert from Stanford University has joined the Oklahoma legal team fighting to overturn the state’s same-sex marriage ban. KJRH reports that the Tulsa County jail is $650,00 over-budget for overtime this year. County officials blame low staffing levels caused by the job’s high stress and low pay. In efforts to make college more affordable, four state universities have moved to a flat-rate tuition system, where students pay one rate regardless of hours taken, and OU has launched a debt-free teacher initiative that forgives up to $20,000 worth of student loan debt if a student agrees to teach in Oklahoma for four years.

Residents concerned that a potential retail development could impact Turkey Mountain sought answers at a town hall meeting on Tuesday. Ginnie Graham discussed news that a personal finance website ranked Oklahoma the 6th-worst state for women’s equality. We’ve written about the state of women in Oklahoma before (here and here). Tulsa recycling officials say that Tulsans are still disposing of trash in blue recycling bins, and are planning more public education to teach people how to use the recycling bins. KGOU reports that more Oklahoma water systems are implementing mandatory rationing – 27, up from 26 last year.

The Number of the Day is the percentage of people with diabetes in Oklahoma. The national average is 9.7 percent. In today’s Policy Note, The Atlantic discusses the ACLU’s lawsuit over witnessing executions in Oklahoma and the broader reasoning behind keeping executions open to the public.

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In The Know: School safe rooms on some ballots

by | August 25th, 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.

Although legislative efforts to make it easier for school districts to build safe rooms failed, four Oklahoma school districts will have safe room bonds on ballots on Tuesday’s election. Opponents of Common Core in other states are turning to Oklahoma for advice. We’ve written previously about how repealing Common Core could put Oklahoma schools under greater federal control because Oklahoma could lose exemptions from parts of the federal No Child Left Behind law. The Tulsa World’s Editorial Board wrote that the state’s teacher shortage is indicative of a troubled education system.

As many as one in three Tulsa Public Schools students speak Spanish at home, creating communication difficulties between school administrators and parents. TPS says that while they have strong language support in schools, more is needed. On Tuesday, voters will decide on two bond issues totaling more than $40 million for Sapulpa Public Schools.  Advocates warn that the state is moving too slowly in adjusting to allow foster youth to remain enrolled in Medicaid through age 26, as mandated by the Affordable Care Act. Volunteers with a group that assists youth aging out of foster care say they need more mentors.

Oklahoma Watch spoke with the executive director of Mental Health Association Oklahoma about mental health issues in Oklahoma. Data from the Tulsa Housing Authority shows that housing subsidy vouchers have gradually shifted south and east as families gravitate towards better schools and better jobs. The Oklahoman’s Editorial Board called for greater scrutiny to be employed in issuing tax credits, noting that state lawmakers don’t know how many tax credits will be handed out in a given year, how many will be cashed in, or if they generate any economic activity. We’ve written about tax credit reform before.

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In The Know: Medical marijuana petition falls short

by | August 22nd, 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.

A group circulating a petition to put a medical marijuana state question on the ballot did not collect enough signatures to do so. Organizers say they will try again next summer. While collecting signatures, the group registered an estimated 40,000 people to vote. A report from the American Cancer Society said that Oklahoma is lagging in the fight against cancer. The report cited a lack of palliative care programs, a below-average cigarette excise tax rate, and a failure to expand eligibility in the state Medicaid program. You can read the full report here.

A post on the OK Policy Blog examined the data to see if Medicaid recipients overuse the ER as much as commonly thought. Writing in the Journal Record, M. Scott Carter argued that lawmakers overutilize tax incentives without instituting measures to measure and judge their impact. Gubernatorial candidate Joe Dorman and incumbent Gov. Mary Fallin will face each other in a debate on Oct. 2 at OSU.

The state Corrections Department is considering decommissioning the use of towers at its facilities to save costs, but corrections officers say that removing personnel from the towers would put staff on the ground in jeopardy. The Oklahoman’s Editorial Board warned of the costs of an aging prison population. A rally held on the steps of the Capitol on Thursday in response to the police shooting death of unarmed Missouri teen Michael Brown warned that such incidents could happen anywhere. An Oklahoma City police officer has been arrested for allegedly raping at least seven women while on patrol. All of the victims were African-American women.

A criminal investigation into state schools superintendent candidate Joy Hofmeister’s campaign is underway. The investigation is looking for evidence of public corruption, campaign contribution violations and illegal collusion with political candidates. A top Tulsa Public Schools administrator who worked for the district for a year has been found to lack the necessary credentials to perform her duties.  An editorial in the Tulsa World chastised Tulsa County officials for giving themselves a raise to the highest salary allowed by law when many Tulsans, including correctional officers and teachers, are struggling to get by.

A state multicounty grand jury investigation concluded an 18-month investigation yesterday without handing down any indictments. The grand jury was investigation multiple allegations of wrongdoing in Rogers County. July traffic at Tulsa International Airport was up 11.8 percent compared to this time last year. Local officials attribute the growth to a strong local economy and success in recruiting new events into the city. StateImpact explained that upriver states have a significant impact on Oklahoma’s scenic river protection policy because pollution standards in other states determine water quality in Oklahoma’s rivers.

AAA is predicting a 2 percent boost in Labor Day travel compared to last year, slightly above the projected national average. AAA credits increased consumer optimism. The first human case of the mosquito-borne West Nile virus in Oklahoma was confirmed yesterday. The Number of the Day is the value of goods and services that can be purchased for $100 in Oklahoma, compared to the national average. In today’s Policy Note, the New York Times explains how the gender wage gap most significantly disadvantages mothers in low-wage jobs who need to take time off to care for children.

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In The Know: Gov. Fallin applied for $3 million Affordable Care Act grant

by | August 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.

A new report released by Oklahoma Watch reveals that Gov. Fallin applied for a $3 million Affordable Care Act grant designed help states develop innovation and efficiency in health care delivery. The Governor has previously steadfastly refused to consider accepting federal funds to expand health coverage to low-income Oklahomans. In his Journal Record column, Executive Director David Blatt discusses the release of 31 emails from the Governor’s office concerning with the state’s refusal to expand eligibility, noting that they deal far more with a 2012 blog post written by the right-leaning think tank Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs than they do with the impact of leaving 150,000 Oklahomans without health care.

NewsOK reports that Oklahoma has one of the highest teen birth rates in the nation, and that its teen birth rate has declined more slowly than most states. Vox discusses the falling teen birth rate nationwide. Oklahoma City Public Schools are considering expanding its partnership with the state Department of Human Services, including placing social workers in high-poverty schools to help connect students and parents with social services. OKCPS Superintendent Rob Neu is challenging local business leaders to play a greater role in funding schools and supporting students. Class started on Tuesday for students in the rebuilt Moore elementary school after the previous building was destroyed by a tornado, killing seven students. Previously, M. Scott Carter of the Journal Record had revealed that the old building had been constructed with code violations, without which it likely would have withstood the tornado. Confusion and glitches with a new enrollment process meant that hundreds of Tulsa Public School students were unable to start school on Wednesday. After struggling with years of lagging student achievement, three Tulsa elementary schools are opening with nearly all-new faculties.

The OK Policy Blog re-examined the novel Kind of Kin, which explores the fallout of immigration politics on a small Oklahoma town. We had recommended the book last summer, but revisited in light of recent immigration issues. The author, Oklahoman Rilla Askew, recently published an essay in This Land Press about growing up near McAlester. Some local officials say that the city of Lawton saw economic benefits from increased activity at Fort Sill when some 1,500 refugee children from Central America were housed there this summer. We’ve debunked some myths about the children at Fort Sill before.

A state senator  who helped write a law a law that took effect in 2013 giving the state Department of Mental Health greater oversight into Narconon Arrowhead expressed dismay over reports that the agency buried the results of an investigation into the facility.  Three Narconon patients have died at the facility since 2011. Al Jazeera America examined an Oklahoma juvenile sex offender program with very high success rates, which the program credits to its emphasis on not treating children like criminals. A Tulsa World editorial questioned why the state has so far refused to release its records of a botched execution in April. In their final debate, Tulsa county district attorney candidates discussed office operations and procedural issues. The state Ethics Commission is considering amending its rules to allow the agency to collect fees for training events and materials.

According to a new study, the state of Oklahoma’s gay marriage ban could be costing the state over $20 million in a three-year period. The state Banking Commission says that it is not planning to add any new legislation. The National Park Service has awarded two Native American tribes in Oklahoma nearly $100,000 in grants to assist in the return of human remains and cultural artifacts. The Number of the Day is the total number of motor vehicles registered in Oklahoma in 2011. In today’s Policy Note, FiveThirtyEight discusses why there aren’t good statistics on the number of Americans killed by the police every year.

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In The Know: Oklahoma schools begin academic year with more than 800 teacher vacancies

by and | August 20th, 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.

A new survey found Oklahoma public schools are still grappling with more than 800 teaching vacancies for the 2014-15 academic year. With the new school year beginning today, Tulsa Public Schools is still deciding where to send 600 3rd graders after reading testing results.  Oklahoma students taking the ACT exceeded the national average in meeting English and reading benchmarks, but they fell behind in math and science. Gloria Torres has become the first Hispanic woman to serve on the Oklahoma City school board. A new kind of partnership with three proposed charter schools in Tulsa could require a state attorney general’s opinion or change in law. An Oklahoma City substitute teacher shared his experience in an essay for This Land Press.

A federal indictment alleges that a Tulsa gang distributed $10 million worth of cocaine from Mexican cartels, murdered at least one witness, ran a dog-fighting ring and had a vast network of co-conspirators, including a former NFL player. Fifty-two members and associates of the gang were charged with 238 criminal offenses. Despite a decline in overall violent and property crime in Oklahoma over the past two years, the number of reported rapes has soared.  A second woman has joined a lawsuit against an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper accused of rape.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joe Dorman out-raised GOP incumbent Mary Fallin during the most recent state Ethics Commission filing period. The Oklahoma Democratic Party has asked for an investigation into alleged ethics violations by Gov. Mary Fallin, over her involvement in two public service announcements that began airing in August. An Oklahoma tea party leader convicted of felony blackmail for sending a threatening email to a state lawmaker was sentenced Tuesday to pay a $1,000 fine. The two Democrats still in the race for state schools superintendent took in close to $300,000 each through Aug. 11.

Oklahoma’s Teachers’ Retirement System investments grew 22.4 percent last fiscal year, performing among the top 1 percent in the country. A lawsuit against the state Department of Mental Health alleges that the agency buried an investigation into a drug rehab facility where 3 patients died because they did not want to get involved with litigation involving the Church of Scientology. The Lost Ogle reported that  David Stanley Chrysler Jeep Dodge was hit with a record $350,000 fine for airing deceptive and misleading commercials.

Federal funding has been utilized to open a new health clinic in Afton for low-income patients. Tulsa’s sales-tax returns for July and August came in 1.9 percent over the same period last year and 3.6 percent above budget estimates. While a growing chorus of scientific research has linked Oklahoma’s spike in earthquake activity to oil and gas industry disposal wells, a new study suggests such artificial earthquakes are less intense than naturally occurring ones.

The Number of the Day is the total acres of farmland in Oklahoma, comprising 77% of all land in the state. In today’s Policy Note, Kaiser Health News reports that as more Americans gain insurance under the federal health law, hospitals are rethinking their charity programs, with some scaling back help for those who could have signed up for coverage but didn’t.

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In The Know: Tax credits hinder Oklahoma’s budget projections

by and | August 19th, 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.

State officials are concerned that Oklahoma is handing out millions of dollars in tax credits a year, but the state lacks basic information to predict their budget impact. As the political dust settles on third grade reading, the OK Policy Blog examined how the modified law is playing out in schools. In Tulsa, 9 more kids passed the reading test at the end of the summer and will advance to the 4th grade. Superintendent Keith Ballard is recommending Tulsa Public Schools partner with three new charter school operators.

Former lieutenant governor Jari Askins has been named interim executive director of the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board. A lawsuit filed in federal court Monday alleges that the University of Tulsa failed to protect a student from one of its prominent basketball players who has a history of facing sexual assault allegations. The Tulsa World examined the various policies Oklahoma universities have in place to educate students about the dangers of sexual violence on campus and to deal with reports of assault. A new USDA report estimates that middle-income parents of babies born last year will pay about $245,340 for the child to reach legal adulthood.

Early voting for the Aug. 26 runoff election starts Thursday, and voters have until Wednesday to request an absentee ballot for the runoff. Patients of at least one Oklahoma medical center had their personal information stolen in a data breach affecting 4.5 million patients nationwide. Oklahoma City is partnering with Langston University’s Goat Research Extension Program to turn a small herd of goats loose along the canal between Northwest Expressway and Wilshire Boulevard to keep weeds and brush in check. Wind energy developers in the northeast corner of the state are facing opposition from both environmentalists and oil interests.

The Ethics Commission will seek additional public comment regarding whether its Financial Disclosure Statements will be made available online and, if so, what information they will contain. The Office of Juvenile Affairs may need to consider shutting down some juvenile facilities next fiscal year if the Legislature does not increase its appropriations. Members of the Alcoholic Beverage and Laws Enforcement Commission were informed Friday that federal funds intended as reimbursement for the agency were diverted to satisfy another Oklahoma state agency’s debt. Tulsa is conducting a study on barriers to fair and equal housing opportunities in the city.

Activists in Oklahoma City last week celebrated the second anniversary of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – a program that allows undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children to be protected from deportation. Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma expect each campus will have about 2,000 students from other countries for the fall semester. The Washington Post examined how Oklahoma’s increase in immigration is connected to the state’s strong economy. The Number of the Day is Oklahoma’s unemployment rate in July, up slightly from June’s unemployment rate.

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In The Know: Arrival of jail inmates puts most Oklahoma prisons over capacity

by and | August 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.

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections’ effort to shift thousands of state prisoners out of county jails has resulted in nearly two-thirds of state prisons being over capacity. In response, the agency is proposing to increase the capacity rating of prisons to include temporary beds. Tulsa-area educators responded positively to gubernatorial candidate Joe Dorman’s latest education proposal to create a commission of state educators at all levels to develop and oversee educational standards. The latest episode of the OK PolicyCast shares highlights from a panel of education leaders at the 2014 Summer Policy Institute.

Hundreds of Oklahomans lined up overnight to get free medical care at an event run by Rural Area Medical Oklahoma. The Stillwater News Press discussed emails showing Governor Fallin’s administration appears to have made health care policy decisions based on politics, without considering how to help struggling Oklahomans. The Oklahoman argued that talking about mental health issues needs to become routine in Oklahoma, and and a Q&A by Jaclyn Cosgrove looks at what it’s like to suffer a mental health crisis.

The Oklahoma Ethics Commission accepted an $11,000 settlement agreement with state Rep. Seneca Scott for violations of ethics rules. Though state revenue collections were up in July, officials are expecting a drop in August due to large number of amended returns that are claiming bigger tax refunds. The Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma is reporting more kids suffering from hunger. A $3.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education will help provide after-school tutoring and other programs at 13 high-poverty schools in Oklahoma. The City of Norman is considering a half-cent sales tax increase to fund $171 million in quality of life projects.

State officials and a former Narconon Arrowhead executive have been called to testify before a multicounty grand jury that is investigating the drug rehabilitation facility operated by the Church of Scientology. After years of revisions to laws concerning Oklahoma sex offenders, there is still confusion over the offender registry. The organizer of an effort to legalize medical marijuana in Oklahoma said it likely won’t be included on the November ballot because advocates won’t be able to collect enough petition signatures ahead of the deadline. As climate scientists predict hotter, dryer summers and more intense drought in the coming decades, state and local leaders in Oklahoma are trying to get residents to think differently about how they use water.

The Number of the Day is the average mortgage debt in Oklahoma in 2013. In today’s policy note, The Crime Report discusses why ‘Shock and Awe’ policing with military hardware fails to protect public safety.

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In The Know: Rising rate of unvaccinated children has schools bracing for outbreaks

by | August 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.

As classes begin for the fall in Oklahoma schools and measles rates climb in surrounding states, state health officials are concerned by the rise in numbers of unvaccinated students. Math and reading proficiency rates in reading and math declined sharply among Tulsa elementary and middle schools this year. School officials attribute the drop to a new requirement to give special education students the same test as is given to the rest of the school population. Tulsa-area high schools saw scores on end-of-instruction exams fall in a variety of subject areas, likely due to a recalibrated scoring system.

Students in over 50 Oklahoma City Public Schools will receive free breakfast and lunch this year via Community Eligibility, a new program offered by the US Department of Agriculture that provides free meals in schools that meet certain socioeconomic qualifications. We’ve written about how Community Eligibility can be used to help kids in poverty before. A guest on the OK Policy blog explained why a recent downgrade of Kansas’ credit rating was well-deserved. The CDC has awarded Oklahoma more than $1 million over the next three years to fight prescription drug abuse in the state. We’ve written about Oklahoma’s biggest drug problem before. NewsOK describes how Oklahoma’s rural hospitals are struggling to stay open and serve surrounding communities.

Thousands are expected to rally in favor of medical marijuana at the Capitol today. Meanwhile, organizers of a petition to legalize medical marijuana say they believe they have enough valid signatures to get it on the November ballot and will turn the petition in today. Tulsa Sheriff Stanley Glanz said he wants more federal inmates because the jail needs the revenue the inmates bring in to remain solvent. The George Kaiser Family Foundation has donated $350 million to the A Gathering Place for Tulsa park on Riverside, believed to to be the largest gift to a public park system in US history.

A former assistant attorney general has filed a wrongful termination claim. He had been dismissed after giving what Attorney General Scott Pruitt says was incorrect advice about compliance with the Open Meeting Act. The state Corporation Commissioner will hold a meeting to discuss a new law that would allow utilities to charge customers who generate electricity from solar panels or wind turbines. We’ve written about the possible meanings and impact of the law before. Oklahoma City’s immigration court will close on Friday, and future hearings will be scheduled in Dallas, adding further complications for immigrants seeking legal status who will now have to travel much further for hearings.

An environmental group is alleging that many US fracking operations, including some in Oklahoma, are illegally using diesel in hydraulic fracturing. A fracking site operator faces a contempt claim for failing to prevent pollution after 20,000 gallons of hydrochloric acid spilled in an oil field, the largest fracking-related accident in state history. The child support division of the state Department of Human Services has been recognized with a national award.

Despite recent rainfall, deep drought conditions persist over western Oklahoma, according to a US Drought Monitor report. StateImpact described the varied history of Oklahoma’s scenic river systems. Tulsa’s Arkansas River Infrastructure Task Force viewed plans for a low-level dam in Bixby, one of four such projects under consideration to keep more water in the river. CNN Money described the surprising boom industry of butterfly farming in Oklahoma.

The Number of the Day is the net annual energy savings from Oklahoma utility PSO’s energy efficiency programs in 2013, enough to power 6,500 homes for a year. In today’s Policy Note, the New York Times discusses how the uncertain and demanding schedules in many low-wage jobs can make it impossible for young workers to build sustainable futures. After the story was published, Starbucks announced that it would be revamping its scheduling policies.

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In The Know: Fallin supports medicinal use of cannabidiol oil from marijuana

by and | August 14th, 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.

Gov. Mary Fallin will ask state lawmakers to support legalization of cannabidiol, a medicine extracted from marijuana to treat seizure disorders, on a medically supervised, trial-only basis. She continues to oppose decriminalizing the drug or allowing use of medical marijuana more broadly. See the Governor’s statement here. OK Policy previously showed that Oklahoma’s marijuana laws are among the harshest in the nation. A former Oklahoma City doctor was sentenced to eight years in prison for over-prescribing pain and anxiety medications that killed eight of his patients. The OK Policy Blog discussed what’s behind recent large drops in tobacco tax revenue

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority board voted to approve a new “health home” model established by the Affordable Care Act to provide integrated care for Oklahomans with serious mental illnesses. Tulsa World reporter Wayne Greene speculated about what may have been behind Governor Fallin’s refusal to release emails related to her health care policy decisions until recently. Governor Fallin declined a request from Oklahoma labor leaders to ask for the resignation of the three members of the Workers Compensation Commission. The first month of fiscal year 2015 saw state general revenue collections significantly exceed last year and the estimate for this year.

In the coming school year, Moore Public Schools will reopen a newly rebuilt Plaza Towers Elementary School following the 2013 tornado that killed seven students. An Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School faces an uncertain future due to unclear language in the bill that created it. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $112,000 to the Chickasaw Nation in Oklahoma to administer the tribe’s environmental programs. OG&E filed an application to increase utility rates 15 percent by 2019 to pay for upgrades to meet national emissions standards and replace an aging Mustang natural gas plant. 

David Blatt’s Journal Record column discusses the legacy of Henry Bellmon, Oklahoma’s first Republican Governor. A federal judge has scheduled a hearing for next month in a lawsuit filed by a group of death row inmates over Oklahoma’s execution procedures. The Norman City Council voted 5-4 to approve a zoning change that will allow a new Walmart Supercenter. The vote came at a meeting that lasted nearly 7 hours with numerous residents protesting against the Supercenter.

A year and a half long study by consultants hired by the City of Tulsa found that city employees are paid 5 to 10 percent below average of comparable workers in the private and public sector. Officials with the Oklahoma Arts Council and many others pleaded with lawmakers to keep the Arts Council as an independent agency. The Number of the Day is the average household income in Oklahoma in 2013. In today’s Policy Note, The New Republic examines how political changes in Alabama and other Southern states are rolling back gains of the Civil Rights movement.

continue reading In The Know: Fallin supports medicinal use of cannabidiol oil from marijuana

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