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. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.
With the Legislature passing a budget and adjourning for the year last Friday, Oklahoma Watch looked at how the budget cuts might affect key state services. The Oklahoma House and Senate did not receive any cutbacks in the budget that slashes funding by as much as 7.25 percent for 49 other state agencies, and the House even found a way to increase its annual budget base by $1 million. On the OK Policy Blog, Steve Lewis discusses how a lawsuit could upend the process used for the past few years to pass a state budget.
Gov. Fallin called the legislative session a success despite the revenue shortfall. The Oklahoma Department of Human Services is closing a Tulsa emergency shelter for abused and neglected kids, even though the Department is still failing to recruit enough foster homes. The Oklahoman reported that kids at a a state-run emergency shelter in Oklahoma City have been handcuffed and threatened with pepper spray and Tasers by off-duty law enforcement officers. The Muskogee Phoenix reported on how a planned pop culture museum in Tulsa is moving forward now that lawmakers have approved a $25 million bond issue for the project.
The Legislature passed a bill Friday to extend for three academic years a program that allows probationary promotions for third-grade students who read below grade level. A group is considering a legal challenge to a new law that prohibits local municipalities from preventing fracking within city limits. A backlog of Tulsa County inmates continue to wait for competency evaluations as the state’s mental health facility for people charged with crimes has no spare beds.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court dismissed an appeal of a $1 billion divorce judgment by the ex-wife of Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm. In the face of volumes of contrary evidence, billionaire oilman T. Boone Pickens claimed that Oklahoma’s increase in earthquakes isn’t due to the energy industry, just to better monitoring. The drought that has gripped much of Oklahoma before recent rains has caused millions of dollars in damage to the state’s agricultural industry, and researchers say it is a glimpse of the kinds of conditions climate change in bringing to Oklahoma.
Oklahoma City was ranked last in energy efficiency among 51 major U.S. cities, in part due to a lack of building energy code enforcement. Jenks is the fastest-growing city in Oklahoma, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau figures. The Number of the Day is 9,572 people — the net population growth in Oklahoma City in 2014, an increase of 1.6%. In today’s Policy Note, The Week discusses two areas of America’s criminal justice system that are still tragically underfunded.
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