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.
Falling oil prices are having an increasing impact on the Oklahoma economy, according to a report from the state treasurer’s office. Gross production taxes dropped one-fifth, or nearly $8 million, from the previous January. However, state Treasurer Ken Miller reports that January saw record sales tax collections and total gross receipts. Oklahoma Watch reports that a loophole in state law is allowing people to get a handgun license without completing a live training requirement. Increasing interest at the Capitol in restricting wind industry tax credits may be placing plans for a $2 billion transmission line in jeopardy. Advocates for the transmission line say that it could transform the panhandle into a US energy hub.
A bill that would have increased the speed limit on Oklahoma turnpikes to 80 mph has been withdrawn by its sponsor, who says it needs to be rewritten. The bill may not be heard this year. OK Policy research fellow Brandon Crawford wrote that too many Oklahoma foster youth exit the system without a safety net, resulting in high levels of homelessness among former foster youth. Although Oklahoma’s teen pregnancy rate has declined, the state can and should do more, said the Tulsa World’s Editorial Board. Since the flu season began in September, over 1,600 Oklahomans have been hospitalized and 68 have died of the flu.
Although federal officials have backed off of a plan to end chronic homelessness by the end of next year, organizers in Oklahoma City believe it’s attainable. A count in January 2014 found that the city is hosted nearly 250 chronically homeless Oklahomans. Incoming Tulsa Public Schools superintendent Deborah Gist met parents and teachers in her first public forum in the state on Thursday. PostRock Energy Corp. has announced that it is trimming its Oklahoma City staff by one-quarter due to falling energy prices.
The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is holding its first-ever “Muslim Day” at the Capitol on Friday, February 27. At least four earthquakes have shaken Alfalfa County since late Wednesday, damaging part of the courthouse in Cherokee. The Number of the Day is the percent of Oklahomans with a Bachelor’s degree or higher. In today’s Policy Note, Bloomberg View examines the effects of mandating paid sick leave in Connecticut, San Francisco and Seattle, and found that the economic consequences were minimal.
continue reading In The Know: Falling oil prices increasingly impact state revenue