In The Know: CTB/McGraw-Hill backs out of consideration for winter testing contract

by and | September 30th, 2014 | Posted in Blog, In The Know | Comments (0)

In The KnowIn 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.

CTB/McGraw-Hill, the testing vendor at the center of controversy after two years of statewide testing disruptions, is withdrawing itself from consideration for a new contract for Oklahoma’s winter testing. The state Department of Education had earlier requested CTB/McGraw-Hill be awarded a no-bid contract to administer the testing, but the State Board of Education tabled that recommendation. The Tulsa World examined by many of Oklahoma’s teachers of the year have ended up leaving the classroom. On the OK Policy Blog, we discussed the conservative case for raising the minimum wage.

Gov. Mary Fallin and Democratic challenger Joe Dorman will meet Thursday at Oklahoma State University for their only debate before the Nov. 4 general election. The debate will air live on OETA and stream online at www.oeta.tv. OETA is encouraging viewers to discuss the debate on social media using the hashtag #okvotes14. While most state schools face a rising non-English-speaking Hispanic population, Enid Schools are working with a growing number of students from the Marshal Islands. Enid has the fourth largest concentration of Marshallese nationals in the United States. Tulsa County commissioners voted Monday to set the daily cost to house inmates at the Tulsa Jail.

An Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper arrested earlier this month on accusations that he raped and sexually assaulted three women during traffic stops has resigned from the patrol. A former Wewoka police officer was jailed Monday on charges of statutory rape of a 15-year-old girl multiple times while on duty. The widow of a man who died after a struggle with law enforcement in the Warren Theatre parking lot is suing the City of Moore for $10 million. Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is taking over a stalking case from the Rogers County District Attorney’s Office because he is concerned about the victim’s safety. The Oklahoman examined some of what’s faced by the one in three Oklahoma women who experience domestic violence.

KGOU shared audio from a panel on the legacy of Governor Henry Bellmon at OK Policy’s Summer Policy Institute. The Oklahoman shared arguments made in a lawsuit over the state’s latest income tax reduction measure. We previously examined what’s behind the lawsuit on the OK Policy Blog. Severe drought is causing numerous water lines to leak and break in Chickasha. Many of Chickasha’s water lines were laid as long as 80 years ago. Boeing plans to move most of its defense and support-related services from Washington state to cities that include Oklahoma City and St. Louis.  The company says about 900 jobs could move to Oklahoma City in three years. Union workers with Spirit AeroSystems voted an overwhelming “no” on a new contract that was presented as a “best and final offer” from company management. Spirit is trying to sell its Tulsa operations which employ 2,300 people, and workers are afraid a sale will mean massive layoffs and loss of benefits. Oklahoma Corporation Commission staff and commissioners revisited their ongoing effort to update decades-old laws and regulations for rapidly changing drilling processes.

The Number of the Day is the median hourly wage for statisticians in Oklahoma. In today’s Policy Note, The Atlantic discusses how police have a much bigger domestic abuse problem than the NFL.

continue reading In The Know: CTB/McGraw-Hill backs out of consideration for winter testing contract

The conservative case for raising the minimum wage

by | September 29th, 2014 | Posted in Blog, Economy, Poverty | Comments (0)
Fast food workers strike at McDonald's in Chicago. Photo by Steve Rhodes.

Fast food workers strike at McDonald’s in Chicago. Photo by Steve Rhodes.

For many working Oklahomans, low-wage jobs aren’t paying enough to support themselves and their families without public assistance. Raising the minimum wage would boost the overall economy while properly shifting the responsibility for ensuring family economic security back towards the private sector and away from government and taxpayers.

Oklahoma is a state with a high concentration of low-wage jobs. Nearly one of every three jobs in Oklahoma (31.9 percent) is in an occupation where the median annual pay is below the federal poverty threshold for a family of four, the fifth highest prevalence among the states. Of this low-wage population, some 60,000 workers earned the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour in 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Between 2008 and 2012, some 67,000 Oklahomans worked full-time year round yet earned less than $15,000 for the year, four-fifths of whom were supporting or helping to support an entire household with their wages. 

continue reading The conservative case for raising the minimum wage

In The Know: Harold Hamm rewriting his company’s history to stave off divorce payout

by and | September 29th, 2014 | Posted in Blog, In The Know | Comments (1)

In The KnowIn 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.

A Reuters investigation found that Continental Resources has been rewriting its history on the company website – diminishing the company’s accomplishments and changing the dates of key achievements – in ways that could help CEO Harold Hamm reduce a record divorce settlement owed to his wife. The Oklahoma Parent Teacher Association is joining the chorus of calls for state Superintendent Janet Barresi to resign from office immediately. The Oklahoman editorial board discussed OK Policy’s recent blog post on the state’s faltering democracy. You can see our original post here. Republicans and Democrats have been showcasing candidates and registering voters at the Tulsa State Fair.

In the latest OK PolicyCast, we discuss the growing crisis in Oklahoma’s prisons and signs that state leaders might actually do something about it. The Tulsa World reported that nearly 1,500 inmates have been freed from prison since March under an early-release system restoring “earned credits” lost due to misconduct. Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said the suspect in a gruesome beheading at a Moore food processing plant should have been in prison longer for prior convictions of drug possession and assaulting a highway patrol trooper. The Tulsa World reported on how prescription medications, often coming from a legitimate prescription, have become the biggest cause of drug overdoses in the state. The Arkansas Times wrote that an Oklahoma lawmaker’s suggestion to create a public online list of everyone with meth convictions, similar to the sex offender registry, could create a permanent underclass in the state.

This year’s health insurance enrollment period begins Nov. 15 for Oklahomans wanting to get health insurance from the federal marketplace and for anyone wanting to make a change to the plan they got during open enrollment last year. You can find more resources and information about the health insurance marketplace here. On the OK Policy Blog, Steve Lewis discusses the beginnings of this year’s state budget process. Three Canadian County school districts are scrambling to resolve budget turmoil following the discovery that business personal property taxes paid by several oilfield companies had been allocated to the wrong school districts. KGOU reported on how an Oklahoma City nonprofit is working to provide educational opportunities for undocumented students. Regents Chancellor Glen Johnson authored an op-ed discussing Oklahoma’s successes in increasing the number of college degrees and certificates awarded.

In the midst of a budget crisis following major tax cuts, Kansas is auctioning off numerous sex toys confiscated from an adult entertainment purveyor for nonpayment of taxes. The U.S. Supreme Court is meeting today to discuss whether they’ll review challenges to same-sex marriage bans in Oklahoma and four other states. An environmental researcher speaking at a Water Symposium at the University of Oklahoma said that as demand for water grows and scientists warn of drier years ahead, Oklahoma could learn much from how developing countries address water security issues. A Tulsa trash board plan to burn curbside green waste would take a previous plan to invest in an active composting facility for Tulsa off the table. The Number of the Day is how much suicide deaths in Oklahoma outnumber homicides. In today’s Policy Note, Wonkblog explains why the U.S. is actually doing better at fighting poverty than the poverty rate shows.

continue reading In The Know: Harold Hamm rewriting his company’s history to stave off divorce payout

The Weekly Wonk September 28, 2014

by | September 28th, 2014 | Posted in Blog, OK Policy | Comments (0)

the_weekly_wonkThe Weekly Wonk is a summary of Oklahoma Policy Institute’s events, publications, blog posts, and coverage. Numbers of the Day and Policy Notes are from our daily news briefing, In The KnowClick here to subscribe to In The Know.

This week on the OK Policy Blog, we explained how funding cuts are leaving Oklahoma’s community health centers in dire straits. We’ve previously discussed funding woes for community health centers. We illustrated how indiscriminate DNA testing could put innocent Oklahomans at risk. In this week’s Capitol Updates post, Steve Lewis describes the advent of the state budget process and the discomfort that ensues when agency directors trying to do good fight over limited funds. We also welcomed our new class of Research Fellows and interns.

This week on the PolicyCast, we talked about the growing crisis in Oklahoma’s prisons and signs that state leaders might actually do something about it; yet another controversy around state Superintendent Barresi; how the Oklahoma governor’s race is heating up on the airwaves; and more. You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunesStitcher, or RSS.

In his Journal Record column, Executive Director David Blatt evaluated new poverty data and noted that Oklahoma’s economy is only as good as political leaders say it is if you’re not poor or middle-class. Ozy Magazine quoted Blatt in an article on past and impending income tax cuts across the US. The Enid News previewed and covered a Together Tuesdays event. Learn more about Together OK‘s Together Tuesdays here.

KGOU aired audio from a panel on Oklahoma’s fiscal challenges. The panel had convened as part of our 2014 Summer Policy Institute. In our Editorial of the Week, former CEO of Oklahoma Health Care Authority Mike Fogarty explained why accepting federal funds to expand Medicaid in Oklahoma would be good for the state’s health.

Quote of the week:

“There’s supposed to be two per cell but there’s, like you know, five or six in a cell. People are sleeping under beds and in walkways; some aren’t on mats but on the floor.”

- A woman whose husband was in the Okmulgee County jail, which is currently housing more than double the 150 inmates it was designed to hold. A riot early this week caused $10,000 in damage and sent one inmate to the hospital. Prison officials blamed the riot on “extreme overcrowding.” (Source: http://bit.ly/Y4immr)

See previous Quotes of the Day here.

Numbers of the day:

  • 18.3% – The poverty rate for women in Oklahoma, 1.5 percentage points higher than the state as a whole.
  • 28.06% – Percentage of Oklahoma nursing homes with “severe deficiencies,” defined as violations of state or federal law that resulted in resident injury, abuse, neglect or death.
  • 22.9% – Poverty rate for Native Americans in Oklahoma in 2013, 6.1 percentage points higher than the US as a whole.
  • $2.55 million – How much Oklahoma put in a fund to reimburse uncompensated care at community health centers this year — less than one-third of what they said they will need, and even less than the $3.12 million FY 2014 funding that ran out before half the year was over.
  • 2,300 – Unintentional injury deaths in Oklahoma in 2012, 1 out of every 16 deaths in the state that year. The leading causes of unintentional injury death include poisonings, motor vehicle crashes, and falls.

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

What we’re reading:

OK PolicyCast: Episode 9

by | September 26th, 2014 | Posted in Podcast | Comments (0)

radio micYou can subscribe to the podcast on iTunesStitcher, or RSS. The podcast theme music is by Zébre.

This week we discuss the growing crisis in Oklahoma’s prisons and signs that state leaders might actually do something about it; yet another controversy around state Superintendent Barresi; how the Oklahoma governor’s race is heating up on the airwaves; & more.

You can download the podcast here or play it in your browser:

Oklahoma’s budget process begins (Capitol Updates)

by | September 26th, 2014 | Posted in Blog, Capitol Updates | Comments (0)

Steve Lewis served as Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 1989-1991. He currently practices law in Tulsa and represents clients at the Capitol. You can sign up on his website to receive the Capitol Updates newsletter by email.

Steve Lewis

Steve Lewis

This is the time of year when state agency boards and directors are approving their budget requests for FY 2016.  Most agencies had a set of internal deadlines to prepare their budget request for consideration at their September board meetings.  The requests are due to the Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES) on October 1st

continue reading Oklahoma’s budget process begins (Capitol Updates)

In The Know: State Board of Education delays rehiring testing vendor

by | September 26th, 2014 | Posted in Blog, In The Know | Comments (0)

In The KnowIn 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.

The State Board of Education chose Thursday to delay the decision to rehire testing company CTB/McGraw-Hill. The company had previously been fired following two consecutive years of statewide disruptions during testing. Despite calls for her resignation from a Board member and a state legislator following accusations of cronyism, state schools Superintendent Janet Barresi says she is not stepping down.

The Tulsa World’s Editorial Board is calling for Barresi’s resignation, arguing that she has lost the confidence of the state Board of Education and the people of Oklahoma. The state Board of Education also unveiled and approved membership of a standards creation steering committee on Thursday, over Barresi’s attempts to amend the motion. The committee will oversee the standards creation process approved this year following the repeal of Common Core. The Tulsa World spoke to three retired educators on the eve of their inductions to the Oklahoma African-American Educators Hall of Fame about their memories of desegregation in Tulsa. We’ve written before about how Tulsa schools are still largely segregated by race and income.

Oklahoma’s remodeled execution chamber, complete with reformed protocols, will be completed in time for executions in November, according to state Department of Corrections director Robert Patton. A federal judge had previously expressed concern regarding the state’s ability to meet the November deadline. A statewide campaign against “smurfing,” wherein a third party purchases pseudoephedrine for a meth cook who may be barred from purchasing the drug, kicked off Thursday. State officials hope the campaign will stem the production of methamphetamine in Oklahoma. In his Journal Record column, Arnold Hamilton argued that legislators’ recent efforts to push for a religious monument at the state Capitol is a cynical power play. The Oklahoma Gazette described tensions over energy production in Oklahoma, from earthquakes to taxation.

State officials have announced that Oklahoma exceeded its year-two Complete College America goals, achieving more than double the target number of degrees and certificates. The initiative aims to increased the number of degrees and certificates earned in the state by 1,700 per year through 2023. KGOU described how a growing trend of renting properties in downtown Oklahoma City could force people looking for affordable housing to outlying neighborhoods.

StateImpact explained confusion and controversy over the ‘Waters of the United States’ designation, the federal government’s attempt to define which bodies of water qualify for protection under the Clean Water Act. Some state officials claim it represents a federal takeover of Oklahoma’s waterways and an additional headache for the state’s farmers and ranchers. Due to worsening drought, Oklahoma farmers have begun to plant winter wheat earlier than normal this year, hoping to use what little moisture remains in the soil.

The Number of the Day is the number of unintentional injury deaths in Oklahoma in 2012, 1 out of every 16 deaths in the state that year. The leading causes of unintentional injury death include poisonings, motor vehicle crashes, and falls. In today’s Policy Note, The Atlantic makes the economic case for paternity leave.

continue reading In The Know: State Board of Education delays rehiring testing vendor

In The Know: State Education Department officials want to rehire fired testing vendor

by and | September 25th, 2014 | Posted in Blog, In The Know | Comments (0)

In The KnowIn 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.

The Oklahoma State Department of Education is asking the state Board of Education to approve a no-bid contract with the same vendor the department fired after two years of statewide testing disruptions. Oklahoma Watch discussed why the state may have little choice but to rehire CTB/McGraw-Hill to handle winter testing. Outgoing State Superintendent Janet Barresi has created a new assistant state superintendent position and hired the husband of a top Education Department official to fill it, raising questions about cronyism.  The state Department of Education will hold town hall meetings across the state to discuss the academic standards Oklahoma is reverting to after the repeal of Common Core and how the loss of the No Child Left Behind waiver will influence local schools.

Ozy Magazine reported on how tax cut politics are evolving across the country in the wake of Kansas’ huge budget shortfalls and faltering economy. David Blatt’s Journal Record column discusses why Oklahoma’s economy has not recovered as well as some state politicians are claiming. Former Oklahoma Health Care Authority Director Mike Fogarty wrote an op-ed in the Oklahoman refuting arguments made by the paper against expanding Medicaid. The OK Policy Blog discussed how Oklahoma’s community health centers are threatened by falling state funding for uncompensated care.

The Oklahoman editorial board wrote that the state needs to move into the 21st century in how we think about mental illness. A new study shows nearly three out of four young Oklahomans are ineligible for military service for reasons related to obesity, lack of education or having a criminal record. You can read the full report here

A Center for Public Integrity analysis shows that nearly two of every three dollars spent on TV advertising in the state school superintendent race were spent attacking candidates. Biologists say a prehistoric fish native to the Arkansas River is on the brink of being wiped out in Oklahoma. The Choctaw Nation has broken ground on a new $10 million tribal complex in McAlester.

The Number of the Day is how much Oklahoma put in a fund to reimburse uncompensated care at community health centers this year. In today’s Policy Note, the New York Times examines how economic insecurity has contributed to falling marriage rates in America. On the OK Policy Blog we previously discussed why the decline in marriage is a symptom of poverty, not the cause.

continue reading In The Know: State Education Department officials want to rehire fired testing vendor

Flatline: Funding cuts threaten Oklahoma’s community health centers

by | September 24th, 2014 | Posted in Blog, Healthcare | Comments (0)
flatline

Photo by Sean Dreilinger.

Last winter, Oklahoma’s community health centers (CHCs) received some unwelcome news. A state fund for cover uncompensated care had run dry seven months early. Community health centers, which are among the very few places that low-income Oklahomans can get care regardless of ability to pay, struggled to cut costs without cutting essential services until the state fiscal year ended in July. 

This year, CHCs calculated that they would need $9 million to cover fiscal year 2015 uncompensated costs.  But by the time the budgetary dust settled, CHCs were allocated just $2.55 million – less than one-third of what they’d asked for, and even less than the $3.12 million FY 2014 funding that ran out before half the year was over.

continue reading Flatline: Funding cuts threaten Oklahoma’s community health centers

In The Know: Okmulgee County jail director blames overcrowding for recent riot

by and | September 24th, 2014 | Posted in Blog, In The Know | Comments (0)

In The KnowIn 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.

The Okmulgee County jail director said extreme overcrowding was the cause of a recent violent outbreak that caused $10,000 in damage and sent one inmate to the hospital. The ACLU of Oklahoma said they’ve seen a scary increase in the number and severity of complaints they are receiving from inmates at the Lexington Assessment and Reception Center. The director of Oklahoma Corrections Professionals wrote that a federal takeover of Oklahoma prisons may be the last hope for corrections officers. The Oklahoma wrote an op-ed defending the media’s role in witnessing executions, which the state attorney general’s office argued does not “play a particularly positive role in the functioning of the process.”

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is investigating the death of a man who was being held at the Tahlequah City Jail. A state medical examiner’s autopsy report found that a man who fatally stabbed an Oklahoma City police dog was shot four times in the back while running away from the officer who shot him, which contradicts police accounts of the shooting. Although fewer numbers of methamphetamine labs are being discovered across the state, the number of meth-related overdose deaths continues to rise.

Key members of the Oklahoma House met recently with top backers of the half-finished American Indian Cultural Center and Museum in Oklahoma City to discuss the way forward for the long-stalled state project. Hillcrest Medical Center will begin offering perinatal palliative care for infants expected to live only hours or days after birth. This will be the first hospital in Oklahoma offering the service, though in February legislators voted to require abortion providers to tell women whose children will not survive long after birth that the service is available. Osage Nation Chief Geoffrey M. Standing Bear announced the tribe will boycott FedEx due to its relationship with the Washington Redskins NFL team.

Enid News reported on Together Oklahoma’s forum in Enid, the first stop of a tour helping Oklahomans understand and get involved in public policy. You can read more about the Together Tuesday tour here. Oklahoma is one of seven states joining the push to add a civics exam requirement to graduate high school. Oklahoma Policy Institute announced our latest class of research fellows and interns. Supporters of an initiative petition to place storm shelters in every Oklahoma public school say they are launching a final push to get enough signatures to put the measure on a statewide ballot with just four weeks left to gather them.

An essay in This Land Press discusses Oklahoma’s dramatic political shifts over the state’s history. As summer ends, drought conditions are still prevailing in much of the state with little relief in sight. Tulsa World editor Adam Daigle discussed his struggles taking a five-day challenge to survive on a food stamp budget. OK Policy previously explained the policy basics of Oklahoma’s food security safety net. The Number of the Day is the poverty rate for Native Americans in Oklahoma in 2013, 6.1 percentage points higher than the state as a whole. In today’s Policy Note, CityLab examines why Americans moving between states has reached a historic low.

continue reading In The Know: Okmulgee County jail director blames overcrowding for recent riot

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
  8. 7
  9. 8
  10. ...
  11. 230