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 or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or RSS.
Download today’s In The Know podcast here or play it in your browser:
Today you should know that Oklahoma led the nation in insurance claims due to damage from natural disasters in 2013, passing its closest rival by a half-billion dollar margin. The House approved HB 2624, which would require the Legislature to cover the state’s publicly-funded pension plans each year. House Speaker Jeff Hickman said he will visit with his caucus before deciding whether a bill to take out bonds to fix the Capitol will be heard.
The OK Policy Blog shared the latest numbers on how Governor Fallin’s proposed tax cuts would affect Oklahomans. Middle-income families would get an average tax cut of $29 and 41 percent of Oklahomans would see no tax cut at all, while the wealthiest 1 percent would get more than $2,000. Former Tulsa World editorial page editor Ken Neal wrote that the Governor’s tax cut proposal would starve state government. A bill co-authored by Rep. Pat Ownbey, R-Ardmore, would raise minimum teacher salaries and pay for it by reducing the tax break for horizontal drilling.
Speaker Hickman appointed Rep. Mike Ritze to take his place as chair of the House Public Safety Appropriations Subcommittee. Hickman asked the committee’s Vice Chair Bobby Cleveland to take the lead on finding solutions to the crisis facing state prisons. The Department of Corrections said private prison company Avalon Correctional Services will need to make significant changes before the Department considers repopulating the company’s Tulsa halfway house. Officials had closed the halfway house amid allegations that administrators were setting up inmate fights for sport and gambling.
The Oklahoma Senate Energy Committee passed a bill to give counties more ability to regulate wind farms with zoning laws. Oklahoma ranked in the middle for health insurance prices on the Affordable Care Act marketplaces. Twenty-seven years after its inaugural meeting at the University of Oklahoma, a symposium dedicated to reducing racial tensions and improving access to higher education is expected to draw more than 2,500 attendees to Indianapolis in May.
The Number of the Day is the amount insurance companies paid out in claims resulting from natural disasters in Oklahoma in 2013. In today’s Policy Note, Demos discusses the racist history behind felon disenfranchisement laws.
continue reading In The Know: Oklahoma leads nation for disaster losses in 2013