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.
The House Republican Caucus on Friday reaffirmed Rep. Jeff Hickman as speaker-elect. The caucus also tapped Rep. Lee Denney, R-Cushing, as speaker pro tempore-elect. The Oklahoma Democratic Party selected three potential candidates Saturday for a proposed special election in Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District. State Democrats are asking for a special election for the seat because the Democratic candidate died in a car accident just days before the election. NewsOK reported that traditionally Republican Oklahoma County reported some of the best results for Democrats in this year’s election, while the former Democratic strongholds in southeast Oklahoma are turning more Republican.
On the latest OK PolicyCast, we analyze the election with OK Policy Director David Blatt. NewsOK reported that the 32 newly elected state representatives and senators come from a diverse range of professions, a change from days when most state legislators were attorneys. KGOU shared a list of the many state officials who took office without any opposition in the general election. Over the past five years, fewer and fewer Oklahoma communities are adding fluoride to their water, largely due to cost, a trend that concerns public health officials as the state’s dental health lags. The approval of minimum wage increases by large popular vote margins in several red states and is putting more scrutiny Oklahoma lawmakers’ decision to ban local minimum wage increases.
Superintendent-elect Joy Hofmeister said she wants to develop an eight-year plan to create a dedicated funding source to improve teacher pay. Susan Ellerbach — the managing editor of the Tulsa World since 1995 — has become the newspaper’s new executive editor, making her the first woman to ever lead the World’s newsroom. Chesapeake Energy Corp. has received subpoenas from federal and state authorities that are investigating the company’s royalty payment practices. As more states approve the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana, an Oklahoma-based company is looking to build a national franchise with cannabis e-cigarettes.
A Tulsa World investigation found that the annual number of people fatally shot by Oklahoma law enforcement officers has tripled since 2009, and all but one of the shootings were ruled justified. More than six months after Clayton Lockett’s execution drew international scrutiny, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections has released related emails requested by the Tulsa World. Gov. Mary Fallin’s office and the state Department of Public Safety still have not complied with the World’s open records requests. The Tulsa City Council discussed examples of improper spending by the Tulsa County Sheriff’s office, leaving at least two councilors adamant that the office be audited.
The Number of the Day is how much Oklahoma’s spending on incarceration increased from 1986 to 2013. In today’s Policy Note, the New York Times shares data showing exactly how many Americans have been denied health insurance by the US Supreme Court’s decision to make Medicaid expansion optional and states’ refusals to accept the expansion.
continue reading In The Know: Rep. Jeff Hickman reaffirmed as House Speaker