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. The podcast theme music is by Zébre.
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Today you should know that groups working to help Oklahomans sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act are seeing a surge of interest as the March 31 enrollment deadline approaches. News 9 reported on how more than 100,000 Oklahomans are blocked from obtaining affordable insurance while the state refuses to accept federal funds. National Affordable Care experts spoke to members of the LGBT community in Tulsa on how to enroll under the law.
A new poll shows that over the last year, support for cutting Oklahoma’s personal income tax has dropped significantly among voters statewide, and less than half now support the plan to reduce the state’s top rate. David Blatt’s Journal Record column discusses how lawmakers’ proposal to move new state employees to a 401(k) style retirement plan could endanger existing pensions and increase the state’s unfunded liabilities.
Despite Oklahoma’s high incarceration rates, a Senate committee approved a half-dozen bills Wednesday to increase the penalties for various crimes. They voted to dramatically increase fines for maintaining a house of prostitution and distribution of obscene materials. They also approved lengthening mandatory sentences for offenses related to child pornography, human trafficking, arson, stalking, and drug trafficking.
Oklahoma oil and gas regulators have approved tentative rules that would require more testing and data-gathering at wastewater injection wells, as part of an effort to determine causes of increased earthquake activity in the state. A chemical plant in Pryor run by LSB Industries has reached a settlement with the EPA over violations of the Clean Air Act. They will pay $725,000 in penalties and reduce their emissions of nitric oxide — an atmospheric pollutant and lung irritant.
The Oklahoman editorial board wrote that repealing Common Core standards could actually increase federal control of Oklahoma schools, because we could lose waivers exempting us from parts of the No Child Left Behind law. The Number of the Day is the percentage of registered Oklahoma voters polled who support income tax cuts. In today’s Policy Note, a freelance political cartoonist in Texas shares her family’s experience with health insurance under Obamacare.
continue reading In The Know: Health care signups expected to surge before March 31 deadline