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.
Rep. David Dank said any bills assigned to his House Appropriations Subcommittee on Revenue and Taxation that have a negative fiscal impact on state revenues won’t be heard, no matter how worthy the cause. Lawmakers are reconsidering the taxpayer-funded incentives that been used by more than two dozen wind developments in the state in recent years. Gov. Mary Fallin has imposed a ban on any new hires or salary increases at state agencies without direct approval by the statewide elected official or Cabinet secretary who directs and manages the agency. On the OK Policy Blog, we examined signs that Oklahoma gaming revenues have peaked.
Oklahoma’s overcrowded prisons need another $26.1 million just to keep from bursting at the seams, says the Department of Corrections. Oklahoma Watch examined how since State Question 640 made it almost impossible to increase taxes, much of the burden of paying for corrections has been shifted to fines and fees on convicted criminals, traffic violators, inmates’ families and others. Oklahoma City Public Schools board members say they learned about a city plan to redirect more downtown tax revenue away from schools and other purposes only after the City Council voted to go ahead with evaluating the plan.
Two lawmakers want to greatly expand a program that would allow state money to be used for private or home schooling expenses. A Senate committee approved legislation aimed at helping protect schools from unknowingly hiring sexual predators. NewsOK reported that Medicaid expansion is still getting no traction in the state Legislature, despite a growing number Republican states that are moving forward to expand coverage. The Oklahoma House has approved prescription drug monitoring legislation that is one of Gov. Mary Fallin’s top priorities for the 2015 Legislature. OK Policy previously examined why a prescription monitoring program is needed.
The Tulsa World wrote in support of House Bill 1673, a proposal to allow some terminally ill patients to end their own lives with prescribed medication. With executions in Oklahoma on hold amid a constitutional review of its lethal injection formula, Republican legislators are pushing to make Oklahoma the first state to allow the use of nitrogen gas in executions. The Tulsa Healthcare Coverage Project is helping small restaurant owners get affordable health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Oklahoma Secretary of State Chris Benge has been named Gov. Mary Fallin’s Native American liaison.
Oklahoma recorded more than three times as many earthquakes as California in 2014 and remains well ahead in 2015. In a three part series (1, 2, 3), the Tulsa World examined the debate over the oil and gas industry’s role in causing earthquakes. Despite a strong consensus among national researchers that oil and gas wastewater injection wells cause earthquakes, the Oklahoma Geological Survey has not issued any final studies on the state’s most damaging earthquakes, and it shelved a plan to seek public comment on “best practices” for oil and gas operations after the energy industry protested.
The Number of the Day is the mean annual wage of a correctional officer in Oklahoma in 2013. In today’s Policy Note, The Crime Report examines how an overburdened court system has led to thousands of Americans, many of them poor, being wrongfully convicted each year for crimes that don’t make headlines.
continue reading In The Know: Oklahoma House chairman says ‘no more tax credits’