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.
Today you should know that Oklahoma is paying $350,000 to settle a federal lawsuit that blamed DHS for a 6-year-old girl’s death. While leading an interim study on the issue, Rep. Gus Blackwell called for a corrections funding increase to better compensate workers and to send more offenders to private halfway houses before full release. He also called for the immediate transfer of 1,000 inmates to private prisons. Sean Wallace, the director of Oklahoma Corrections Professionals Association, wrote that attempts to radically change pensions for state workers would make the bad prison situation worse.
Oklahoma state regents are making a case for a boost in funding to higher education, but state revenues are falling behind last year. The okeducationtruths blog explains why the funding Oklahoma provides to help students who are struggling on high stakes reading and end of instruction tests is seriously inadequate. A poll of Tulsans showed large majority support for local Superintendent Keith Ballard and for increasing education funding.
Multiple polls in Kansas show that Governor Brownback’s tax cut experiment is out of sync with what voters want. Oklahoma’s jobless rate rose to 5.5 percent in October, the highest level so far this year. While renegotiating tobacco tax deals with tribes, Oklahoma is making additional stipulations to reduce smoking and increase use of natural gas vehicles.
A new state website allows Oklahomans to search for public transit systems by county. Members of Dream Act Oklahoma are fasting to raise awareness about the need for immigration reform. M. Scott Carter writes that legislators are avoiding a requirement to allow voters to decide whether to have a constitutional convention. The Oklahoma Editorial Board writes that Oklahoma needs to reduce stigmas around suicide and mental health issues.
The Number of the Day is the number of children in Oklahoma who don’t have health insurance. In today’s Policy Note, PR Watch details the latest attempt from right-wing interest groups to block the Affordable Care Act — pass state laws to suspend the licenses of insurers that sell policies on the ACA marketplace.
continue reading In The Know: State to pay $350,000 in settlement over six-year-old’s death