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.
met will meet Sunday and Monday to hammer out details of their agenda for 2015, and House Speaker Jeff Hickman said they are focusing on increased funding for public schools and more scrutiny of state tax credits. Gov. Mary Fallin said she’s urging lawmakers to give careful scrutiny to the state-appropriated budget, especially the amount being diverted from Oklahoma’s general revenue fund. The Oklahoma Democratic Party chose not to pursue a new election in the Second Congressional District, even though the party’s original candidate died two days before the election.
A decade after casino gambling was approved in Oklahoma, the industry has boomed, but little has been done to measure how bad compulsive gambling is in Oklahoma. Compulsive gambling has been the motivation for several high profile embezzling cases in the state. Wagoner County Sheriff Bob Colbert defended a program that is providing military equipment at very low cost to local law enforcement. President Obama is planning an executive order to restrict this program, while creating new grants to improve police training and place body cameras on 50,000 officers across the country. Sheriff Colbert said his office is already testing out two body cameras and would be interested in a federal grant to put them on all of his deputies.
For World AIDs Day, the OK Policy Blog shared a Q&A with the director of H.O.P.E., a Tulsa-based HIV/AIDS testing and educational organization. Tulsa CARES, an organization that provides support to people in northeast Oklahoma living with HIV/AIDS, announced that they are building a new, much larger facility. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal from a Tulsa police officer who had refused to attend a law enforcement appreciation day event held by the Islamic Society in Tulsa. NewsOK reported that Oklahoma is relying on the honor system to enforce a new law prohibiting certain welfare funds from being used in casinos, liquor stores, tobacco shops and strip clubs.
The Tulsa School Board is looking at a $415 million bond proposal for facility and technology upgrades, which would set a new state record for total cost. A Tulsa World poll found that by a 2 to 1 margin, Oklahomans don’t think the state’s A-F system of grading public schools accurately reflects school quality. A monthly economic survey index of Oklahoma and eight nearby states has dipped again, pointing to much slower growth for the overall regional economy over the next three to six months. Falling oil prices have cost Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm $10 billion in lost stock value since August.
Oklahoma’s tobacco trust is on pace to generate as much in earnings for the fight against tobacco as it is taking in from tobacco companies as part of a nationwide legal settlement. A long-awaited train connecting passengers from Tulsa to Oklahoma City is arriving next year with plans to connect riders from downtown to downtown. Oklahoma officials said the state will have a hard time meeting stricter new ozone standards being proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Ground-level ozone fuels smog and can worsen respiratory and cardiovascular problems, including asthma.
The Number of the Day is the number of children in the custody of the state of Oklahoma at the end of FY 2013. In today’s Policy Note, the New York Times examined a growing parent backlash against overtesting in schools.
continue reading In The Know: Education funding, scrutiny of tax credits top Oklahoma Republican agenda for 2015