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Today you should know that Gov. Fallin is backing a measure to let individual school districts vote to go above their bond limits to fund storm shelters and school safety. Rep. Joe Dorman is seeking a statewide vote to issue a $500 million bond for school storm shelters.
Governor Fallin and Republican leaders in the House and Senate reiterated their support for cutting the state’s income tax, but Fallin and Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman both said they would need to come up with ways to offset the lost revenue at a time when Oklahoma is already facing a $170 million budget shortfall. State Impact Oklahoma examined the legacy of State Question 640, which requires a 3/4ths supermajority in the Legislature to approve tax increases.
David Blatt’s Journal Record column explained how Oklahoma’s progress on mental health is being put in jeopardy by lawmakers’ push for more tax cuts and refusal to accept federal funds. The OK Policy Blog discussed why both Soonercare and Oklahoma’s mental health agency need millions more just to continue existing services. A parents’ group held a legislative forum on Oklahoma’s declining education funding.
Rep. Tom Newell filed legislation to dissolve the Oklahoma Board of Corrections and allow the governor to appoint the Department of Corrections director. A bill by Rep. Pat Ownbey would add carrying large amounts of prescription drugs to the list of drug trafficking crimes in Oklahoma. The city of Tulsa will pay a $425,000 to a man who was sent to prison by corrupt Tulsa Police officers. A coalition of non-profits is working to establish an electronic medical records system for health care providers throughout northeast Oklahoma.
The Number of the Day is the share of the unemployed in Oklahoma who have been jobless for 27 weeks or more. In today’s Policy Note, the Associated Press examines how stagnant wages and an increasing gulf between low-wage and high-skill jobs have forced more working Americans to rely on food stamps.
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