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.
An internal audit by Oklahoma City Public Schools shows a huge racial disparity in the rates of students being suspended from school. Twelve OKC elementary schools suspended more than 40 percent of their black students in 2011-2012. The Oklahoma Department of Education asked a testing vendor to deactivate a program that gave students immediate proficiency level scores, over concern about its demoralizing effect on students. The Oklahoma City Council called on the Legislature to head off further budget cuts at the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics.
OK Policy is now accepting applications for paid part-time or full-time summer interns. KJRH looked at the debate over whether Oklahoma should cancel or delay a planned tax cut when we’re looking at a $600 million budget shortfall. An online form to contact your legislators about the tax cut is available here. Oklahoma was second in the nation for job losses last month, behind only Texas. The Legislature has sent to Governor Fallin two proposals that would develop a system for evaluating tax breaks to determine their effectiveness.
The Oklahoma Geological Survey reported that it believes the majority of the earthquakes in central and north central Oklahoma have been triggered by wastewater disposal wells used in oil and gas exploration. Governor Fallin announced the launch of earthquakes.ok.gov, a website for sharing research, regulations, updates and news items related to Oklahoma’s recent earthquakes. Rep. Cory Williams, D-Stillwater, called for a moratorium on wastewater disposal wells in 16 counties experiencing the earthquake swarm.
More than two dozen people spoke before an overflow crowd in Stillwater on Monday as the city council considered whether to restrict oil and natural gas drilling in and near the city limits. The Legislature is considering bills that would take away cities’ rights to regulate drilling. The Wall Street Journal reported that a string of oil-field worker deaths, including one in Oklahoma, may be caused by asphyxiation or heart failure from inhaling hydrocarbon chemicals. A bill being considered in the Legislature has split Oklahoma’s small oil and gas producers from the larger operators in the state, with some alleging it would give large operators the right to steal oil.
The Oklahoma House defeated a resolution that would have added Oklahoma to the list of states petitioning Congress for a convention to alter the U.S. Constitution. Critics of the constitutional convention effort have warned that it could make radical changes to the Constitution and the outcome can neither be known nor controlled. The Oklahoma Senate approved legislation that would limit access by the public and media to audio and video recordings from law enforcement body cams or dash cams. Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill giving terminally ill patients access to certain medications that have not received full FDA approval.
Tulsa World columnist Ginnie Graham debunked eight myths about the food stamp program. Bobby Lorton, the former publisher of Tulsa World, announced plans for the May launch of a new media company in Tulsa. Attorney Chad Moody with “TheDrugLawyer.com” projected a giant marijuana leaf onto the state Capitol building Monday night to protest the state’s stand on the legalization of marijuana.
The Number of the Day is 49.6% – the percentage of the population of Cherokee County who identified as white and non-Hispanic in 2013, down from 55.2 percent in 2000. Cherokee County was one of two Oklahoma counties that became majority non-white since 2000. In today’s Policy Note, Stateline shares a Q&A on how the Great Recession has affected children.
continue reading In The Know: District audit details racial discrepancy in OKC schools suspensions