Oklahoma fails to make gains electing women and people of color

by | November 10th, 2014 | Posted in Blog, Elections | Comments (2)
Oklahoma Legislature dedicates portrait of the state's first female legislator, Bessie McColgin, in 1920. Pictured L-R: Congressman Frank Lucas, Senator Charles Ford, President of the Oklahoma State Senate Historical Preservation Fund, Inc., Artist Mike Wimmer, Octavia DeBerry, daughter of Bessie McColgin, Senate Republican Leader Glenn Coffee, Lisa Coffee, great granddaughter of Bessie McColgin.

Oklahoma Legislature dedicates portrait of the state’s first female legislator, Bessie McColgin, elected in 1920.

Last week’s election raised the number of female members of Congress to 100 for the first time in history, according to a post-election article in Vox. Women now make up 19 percent of the Representatives and Senators serving in Congress.

Even such modest progress is elusive in Oklahoma. Prior to this year’s elections, just 20 legislators – 4 of 48 Senators and 16 of 101 House members –  were women. This ranked Oklahoma 3rd last, behind only South Carolina and Louisiana, in female representation. But of the 28 newly-elected members of the Legislature, just two – Democratic House member Claudia Griffith and Republican Senator Stephanie Bice – are women. With the retirement of three sitting female legislators – Skye McNeill, Rebecca Hamilton and Connie Johnson – the number of female legislators will decline from 20 to 19.

continue reading Oklahoma fails to make gains electing women and people of color

In The Know: Rep. Jeff Hickman reaffirmed as House Speaker

by | November 10th, 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 House Republican Caucus on Friday reaffirmed Rep. Jeff Hickman as speaker-elect.  The caucus also tapped Rep. Lee Denney, R-Cushing, as speaker pro tempore-elect. The Oklahoma Democratic Party selected three potential candidates Saturday for a proposed special election in Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District. State Democrats are asking for a special election for the seat because the Democratic candidate died in a car accident just days before the election. NewsOK reported that traditionally Republican Oklahoma County reported some of the best results for Democrats in this year’s election, while the former Democratic strongholds in southeast Oklahoma are turning more Republican.

On the latest OK PolicyCast, we analyze the election with OK Policy Director David Blatt. NewsOK reported that the 32 newly elected state representatives and senators come from a diverse range of professions, a change from days when most state legislators were attorneys. KGOU shared a list of the many state officials who took office without any opposition in the general election. Over the past five years, fewer and fewer Oklahoma communities are adding fluoride to their water, largely due to cost, a trend that concerns public health officials as the state’s dental health lags. The approval of minimum wage increases by large popular vote margins in several red states and is putting more scrutiny Oklahoma lawmakers’ decision to ban local minimum wage increases.

Superintendent-elect Joy Hofmeister said she wants to develop an eight-year plan to create a dedicated funding source to improve teacher pay. Susan Ellerbach — the managing editor of the Tulsa World since 1995 — has become the newspaper’s new executive editor, making her the first woman to ever lead the World’s newsroom. Chesapeake Energy Corp. has received subpoenas from federal and state authorities that are investigating the company’s royalty payment practices. As more states approve the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana, an Oklahoma-based company is looking to build a national franchise with cannabis e-cigarettes.

A Tulsa World investigation found that the annual number of people fatally shot by Oklahoma law enforcement officers has tripled since 2009, and all but one of the shootings were ruled justified. More than six months after Clayton Lockett’s execution drew international scrutiny, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections has released related emails requested by the Tulsa World. Gov. Mary Fallin’s office and the state Department of Public Safety still have not complied with the World’s open records requests. The Tulsa City Council discussed examples of improper spending by the Tulsa County Sheriff’s office, leaving at least two councilors adamant that the office be audited.

The Number of the Day is how much Oklahoma’s spending on incarceration increased from 1986 to 2013. In today’s Policy Note, the New York Times shares data showing exactly how many Americans have been denied health insurance by the US Supreme Court’s decision to make Medicaid expansion optional and states’ refusals to accept the expansion.

continue reading In The Know: Rep. Jeff Hickman reaffirmed as House Speaker

The Weekly Wonk November 9, 2014

by | November 9th, 2014 | Posted in Blog | 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 urged all Oklahomans to get a flu shot. In our continuing discussion of democracy and elections in Oklahoma, we examined why so few Oklahomans vote. In his Capitol Update, Steve Lewis discussed races worth watching in Tuesday’s election. Executive Director David Blatt suggested some goals for Gov. Fallin’s next four years in office in his Journal Record column.

On the OK PolicyCast, we spoke to Blatt about what this week’s elections mean for Oklahoma and the US, and also discussed some non-election news. You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunesStitcher, or RSS. Blatt also spoke to KGOU about the problems with Oklahoma’s many uncontested elections.

Tomorrow, on Monday, November 10th, OK Policy will host Dr. Lawrence R. Jacobs, a leading national expert on health care policy, for his lunchtime talk, “The 2014 Elections and the Future of Health Reform,” at the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. There are a few tickets left!

In our Editorial of the Week, Religion Dispatches discussed why Oklahoma’s two recent beheading murders by a “Muslim” and a “Christian” should challenge our narratives around religion and violence.

continue reading The Weekly Wonk November 9, 2014

OK PolicyCast Episode 13: Analyzing the Elections

by | November 7th, 2014 | Posted in Podcast | Comments (0)

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

radio micEach week the OK PolicyCast brings you the most important news affecting Oklahoma and what it means. This week, we speak with David Blatt about what this week’s elections mean for Oklahoma and the nation. We also share some non-election related news for the week.

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

In The Know: Superintendent-Elect Hofmeister Announces Transition Team

by | November 7th, 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.

Superintendent-Elect Joy Hofmeister announced on Thursday that she had selected a group of Oklahomans to advise her as she transitions into her new role as Superintendent of Public Instruction. The state Regents for Higher Education, which oversees Oklahoma’s 25 colleges and universities, is asking for nearly $100 million in additional funding for the next fiscal year, bringing their total requested appropriation to more than $1 billion. Oklahoma’s preterm birth rate has dropped, but still remains well above targets, prompting the March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card to award the state a ‘C’ grade.

 The Tulsa World argued that recent drops in oil prices are bad for Oklahoma because so much of the state’s economy relies on the industry. In his Journal Record column, Oklahoma Observer editor Arnold Hamilton suggested three takeaways from the recent elections. The Tulsa World’s Editorial Board praised new transparency laws that went into effect on Saturday. The state received $1 million in federal Affordable Care Act funds to help establish or expand behavioral health services for almost 3,000 people. State health officials say that at least 14 people have been diagnosed with the flu in Oklahoma since late September. We’ve written about why everyone should get a flu shot before.

A spate of domestic violence-related homicides in Tulsa this summer has prompted plans for a summit on the issue in early 2015. A blog post on the New York Times’ editorial blog praised the state Supreme Court for blocking two laws would have closed all but one of the state’s abortion providers. The state Supreme Court has elected John Reif to serve as the Court’s new chief justice, replacing Chief Justice Tom Colbert, who will rotate out of the position. 

The Chickasaw Nation is partnering with a tech start-up that’s developing an app to help women on WIC determine which grocery items are WIC-eligible and where they can be purchased. The Number of the Day is the number of obstetricians and gynecologists working in Oklahoma in 2013. In today’s Policy Note, Vox examines the plight of workers trapped in forced labor in the US.

continue reading In The Know: Superintendent-Elect Hofmeister Announces Transition Team

In The Know: Oklahoma voter turnout in governor’s race is lowest on record

by and | November 6th, 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.

Voter turnout in Oklahoma’s election Tuesday was possibly the lowest on record in a state gubernatorial election, according to an analysis of state voting data by Oklahoma Watch. Ervin Yen, the newly elected State Senator for District 40, will become the first Asian-American in the Oklahoma state legislature. David Blatt’s Journal Record column suggests an agenda for Gov. Mary Fallin’s second term, following a reelection campaign in which she said almost nothing about what she would do. Oklahoma’s Congressional delegation said they are ready to work with President Barack Obama on issues such as road building, the Keystone pipeline, foreign trade, financial reform and U.S. military actions in Syria.

A group home for juvenile offenders in Custer County will close after four years because runaways are causing concerns in the community. The deadline for a threatened takeover of the Oklahoma County jail passed Wednesday without a word from the U.S. Department of Justice. A 2009 agreement had given the jail five years to make changes to end civil rights abuses. Oklahoma’s Secretary of Veterans Affairs Rita Aragon suffered a “mini stroke” Tuesday and has been hospitalized. Oklahoma’s state treasurer says falling crude oil prices could darken an otherwise bright revenue picture for the state.

On the OK Policy Blog, we discussed why Oklahomans should get flu shots. Now that the election’s over, Tulsa’s Metropolitan Environmental Trust Director Michael Patton discussed the best way to dispose of campaign signs. OK Policy’s David Blatt will be among the honorees at the inaugural Dan Allen Social Justice Awards tonight. The city of Denton, Texas voted to ban fracking on Tuesday due to concerns about pollution of drinking water, but a state agency is attempting to override the ban.

The Number of the Day is the average amount of money saved, in medical expenses and lost productivity, for each suicide prevented in Oklahoma. In today’s Policy Note, the New York Times reports that only 11 percent of uninsured Americans know about the Affordable Care Act’s next open enrollment period beginning November 15.

continue reading In The Know: Oklahoma voter turnout in governor’s race is lowest on record

Go get your flu shot. Yes, you. Now.

by | November 5th, 2014 | Posted in Blog, Healthcare | Comments (0)
Photo by David Reber used under a Creative Commons license

Photo by David Reber used under a Creative Commons license

What’s highly contagious, put over 1,000 people in the hospital and killed nearly 60 people in Oklahoma last year alone?

It’s certainly not Ebola. It is, in fact, the flu – and flu season is upon us. The state recently announced its first confirmed cases this year. That means it’s time for your reminder that the flu is easily transmitted, miserably uncomfortable at best, and deadly at worst.

Fortunately, keeping the flu away requires neither travel bans nor hazmat suits. All it takes is a flu shot, which lessens the likelihood that you’ll get the flu and pass it on. While it’s recommended that everyone get vaccinated, it’s strongly recommended for particular groups: children age 6 months to 4 years; adults age 50 and older; people with chronic disorders or who are immunodepressed; pregnant women; and nursing home residents and health care personnel. But seriously, everyone should get one. And that includes you*.

continue reading Go get your flu shot. Yes, you. Now.

In The Know: GOP sweeps all state offices, grows majority in Senate

by and | November 5th, 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.

Gov. Mary Fallin won a second term yesterday, defeating Democratic state Rep. Joe Dorman in another GOP sweep of all statewide offices. Republicans also increased their majority in the state Senate by four seats. You can see Oklahoma’s statewide and federal election results here and local results here. Joy Hofmeister pulled away from rural educator John Cox to become Oklahoma’s next superintendent of public instruction. U.S. Rep Markwayne Mullin easily won reelection last night, but he might have to face another election because his Democratic opponent died from injuries in a car accident before the election. State law may allow parties to replace deceased candidates, even if it requires a special election. Republican Steve Russell captured the congressional seat representing Oklahoma City. He’s the first Oklahoma Congressman, at least in recent history, that didn’t actually live in the district when he was elected.

Oklahoma voters on Tuesday handily approved three state questions designed to clarify and expand laws related to military personnel and veterans. OK Policy previously examined SQ 769, which allows military guard members to hold elected office, and SQs 770 and 771, which expand property tax breaks for some veterans and their families. On the OK Policy Blog, we looked at reasons behind why Oklahomans are voting at some of the lowest levels in the nation. The Oklahoma Supreme Court put on hold two new laws that would make it more difficult for women to obtain abortions in the state. All state Supreme Court members were retained in office in yesterday’s elections.

Two energy sector companies may get up to $15.7 million in incentive payments through the state’s Quality Jobs Program over the next 10 years. An OK Policy report previously discussed concerns about the growing cost and gaps in oversight of this program. Six more counts have been filed against an Oklahoma City police officer after three more reported victims, including a 17-year-old girl, have come forth alleging he forced them to commit sex acts while he was on duty. NewsOK reported on how an Oklahoma man accused of damaging Ten Commandments monument has struggled with mental illness. Religion Dispatches discussed why Oklahoma’s two recent beheading murders by a “Muslim” and a “Christian” should challenge our narratives around religion and violence.

The Number of the Day is how many fewer Oklahomans voted in this year’s governor’s race compared to 2010, a 20 percent drop in turnout. In today’s Policy Note, The American Prospect looks at the red states that approved minimum wage increase ballot initiatives last night.

continue reading In The Know: GOP sweeps all state offices, grows majority in Senate

Why we don’t vote

by | November 4th, 2014 | Posted in Blog, Elections | Comments (5)
Photo by Vox Efx.

Photo by Vox Efx.

Sunday’s Tulsa Word featured a series of short articles by nine Tulsans explaining why they vote. These citizens spoke eloquently of their sense of civic obligation and responsibility. They spoke of the hard struggles that prior generations had fought to earn the right to vote for women and African-Americans, and of the journeys from distant lands their ancestors had traveled to gain the privileges of a free and democratic society.  They spoke of the importance of elections to ensure that they have a voice and that their representatives are held accountable.

And yet the World may have been asking the wrong question of the wrong people. In 2010, the last Gubernatorial election, less than half of Oklahoma’s eligible voters – 40.4 percent – cast a ballot. In 2014, turnout is likely to be even lower. When a majority of citizens don’t turn out to select their Governors, Congressmen, and other top state and federal elected officials, the question that most urgently needs to be asked may not be “Why I vote” but rather “Why I don’t vote.”

continue reading Why we don’t vote

In The Know: It’s Election Day, go vote

by and | November 4th, 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.

Want to know more about what’s on the ballot today? Check out OK Policy’s 2014 Oklahoma Elections page, with information on voting times, state questions, judicial elections, and more.

Oklahoma’s voter turnout has been one of the lowest in the nation in recent years, and political forecasters don’t expect the trend will change today. OK Policy has shared a series of posts on why democracy is broken in Oklahoma. A large number of state lawmakers have already been reelected because no one filed to challenge them in the general election. On the OK Policy Blog, Steve Lewis discussed a few close state legislative races to watch today. An 81-year-old Democrat challenging Rep. Markwayne Mullin for a U.S. House seat in eastern Oklahoma has died from injuries he sustained in a car accident.

The Oklahoma Attorney General ruled that the Workers Compensation Commission must hold its deliberations in public. The Tulsa World discussed why a woman with terminal brain cancer who moved to Oregon to obtain a physician-assisted suicide would not be able to do that in Oklahoma. OETA’s Executive Director said he had been asked by the Legislature to develop plans for operating the public television network without state funding. Oklahoma City Public Schools has nearly quadrupled the size of its curriculum department in recent months, but officials say the district remains severely understaffed compared to similarly sized districts.

Since new abortion restrictions took effect in Oklahoma on Saturday, one of the two abortion clinics in the state has been forced to halt its services. Another law taking effect Saturday makes several prescription drugs now subject to Oklahoma’s drug trafficking laws. Customers wanting to generate power from small wind turbines and solar panels without being assessed fees rushed to make their installations fully operational by Saturday. Controversial statements by Oklahoma Rep. Sally Kern and Rep. John Bennett were featured in a segment on John Oliver’s HBO show about the importance of voting in state elections. The Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice is launching a campaign against anti-gay and anti-Muslim rhetoric by state legislators.

Thousands of newly digitized American Indian records held by the Oklahoma Historical Society are now available to Ancestry.com subscribers. October revenue numbers brought more bad news for Kansas’ budget, which has faced huge shortfalls after the state approved major income tax cuts. The Number of the Day is the median annual wage of a substance abuse counselor in Oklahoma in 2013. In today’s Policy Note, Vox discusses why the most important elections happening today are for state offices, not Congress.

continue reading In The Know: It’s Election Day, go vote

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
  8. 7
  9. 8
  10. 9
  11. ...
  12. 238