In The Know: Treatment of immigrants divides Tulsa police and sheriff’s office

by | June 9th, 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 or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or RSS. The podcast theme music is by Zébre.

Download today’s In The Know podcast here or play it in your browser:

Today you should know that the New York Times examined tensions between the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office and Tulsa city police over how to treat undocumented immigrants. While the County Sheriff has led a crackdown on immigrants, city police say it is hurting their ability to fight dangerous crime by scaring immigrants from reporting when they are victimized. The New York Times also tells the story of an undocumented immigrant in Tulsa who had to give up his successful business due to Oklahoma’s 2007 anti-immigration law. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said it plans to use Fort Sill in Lawton to house up to 1,200 children fleeing violence and poverty in Central America.

A multiple-article feature in the Oklahoman discusses the problem of “food deserts” in Oklahoma, places where residents don’t have nearby access to fresh, healthy and affordable food. The Tulsa World gave a round-up of the three Republicans and four Democrats running for state superintendent. The OK Gazette shared a profile of new Oklahoma City Schools superintendent Robert Neu, who previously served as superintendent of a district south of Seattle. A new Pew Report finds that Oklahoma releases the 4th highest percentage of inmates directly to the streets without any supervision or services.

The Red Dirt Rangers wrote an op-ed for the Oklahoman on their struggles to access health care after a helicopter crash and why Oklahoma should accept federal dollars to expand coverage. A new music video by the Red Dirt Rangers and 50 other Oklahoma musicians seeks to raise awareness about Oklahoma leaders’ refusal to expand coverage. The Tulsa World spoke to residents of Yale, Oklahoma, a small town that’s experienced some of the largest earthquakes in the state. The Muskogee Phoenix examined how much still needs to be done to complete the American Indian Cultural Center, which is in limbo after costing about $91 million so far. The Oklahoman editorial board praised an OK Policy blog post showing how lawmakers used accounting tricks to conceal what’s really happening in the FY 2015 state budget.

The Number of the Day is the percentage of Oklahoma inmates who were released directly to the streets with no parole supervision or services in 2012, more than twice the national average. In today’s Policy Note, Demos discusses some ideas that experts on both the left and right agree could help reduce long-term unemployment.

continue reading In The Know: Treatment of immigrants divides Tulsa police and sheriff’s office

Weekly Wonk June 8, 2014

by | June 8th, 2014 | Posted in Blog | Comments (0)

the_weekly_wonk

The 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 shared some of the secrets hidden in the FY2015 state budget.  Our breakdown of the budget can be found here, and our suggestions for filling the budget hole can be found here. We explained why repealing Common Core could mean greater federal control of Oklahoma schools.

In a guest post, OK Policy Research Fellow JeVonna Caine discussed barriers to growing the state’s supply of primary care physicians. We welcomed our two newest board members, NBC Oklahoma bank chairman Ken Fergeson and Edmond Public Schools superintendent David Goin.

In his Journal Record column, Executive Director David Blatt wrote that upcoming painful cuts to the state’s health care system are an avoidable disaster. Earlier this year, we suggested ways in which lawmakers could avoid such cuts. Policy Director Gene Perry talked about the reasons behind the state’s budget shortfall with the Associated Press.

Watchdog.org included analysis from OK Policy’s analysis in its discussion of misleading strategies used by lawmakers in designing this year’s state budget. Our discussion of the FY2015 budget can be found here.

Numbers of the Day

  • 8,922 – Number of female students in Oklahoma who took AP exams in 2013, compared to 6,903 male students.
  • 35.4% – Percentage of Oklahomans without consistent access to the Internet as of July 2011.
  • 340,395 – Total number of veterans living in Oklahoma as of September 30, 2013.
  • 13.6% – Percentage of Oklahoma community college students in 2011-12 that earned an associate’s degree within three years of enrollment as a new freshman.
  • 790 million – Pounds of dairy milk produced by Oklahoma cows in 2013, which is about 92 million gallons of milk.

Policy Notes

 

In The Know: Gov. Fallin signs Common Core repeal

by | June 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 or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or RSS. The podcast theme music is by Zebre.

Download today’s In The Know podcast here or play it in your browser:

Today you should know Gov. Fallin signed into law a bill (HB 3339) repealing Common Core in Oklahoma. The educational standards had been championed by the National Governor’s Association, of which Gov. Fallin is the chair. We’ve written about why repealing Common Core, which opponents view as an attempted federal takeover of local schools, could actually lead to more federal control because Oklahoma may lose its No Child Left Behind waiver as a result. Local educator’s blog A View From the Edge explains that the decision of whether Oklahoma loses its waiver will be up to US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Repealing Common Core could cost Oklahoma as much as $125 million due to the cost of developing new standards, according to a report released this week. Oklahoma Watch explained what the repeal could mean for Oklahoma students.

OK Policy announced its two newest board members, NBC Oklahoma bank chairman Ken Fergeson and Edmond Public Schools superintendent David Goin. State policy wonks from both OK Policy and OCPA expressed disappointment with misleading strategies used by lawmakers in designing this year’s state budget. We’ve written about the secrets buried in the budget before, and our breakdown of the budget can be found here. A forthcoming lawsuit regarding the tax break for oil and gas drilling signed into law this session could raise big constitutional questions according to StateImpact Oklahoma. House members requested interim studies on off-the-top appropriations and the use of revolving funds.

An Oklahoma Board of Corrections meeting on a botched execution ended with no action taken taken by the Board. Officials say an investigation is continuing. A Tulsa World analysis found that two Tulsa-area legislators led the Legislature in missed votes. A Tulsa construction firm won a multi-million dollar bid to build a new Air Force training facility at Altus Air Force Base. Oklahoma Forestry Services has launched a new website to help users determine their wildfire risk. A new law designed to eliminate a tax on precious metals for investors incidentally makes gold and silver coins legal tender in Oklahoma. In a continuing profile of immigration in America, The New York Times featured Oklahoma City’s Lopez Foods, which is the primary beef supplier for McDonald’s.

The Number of the Day is the pounds of dairy milk produced by Oklahoma cows in 2013. In today’s Policy Note, the Associated Press discusses how states’ questionable efforts to boost their post-recession economies is widening the wealth gap.

continue reading In The Know: Gov. Fallin signs Common Core repeal

Banker, education leader join OK Policy Board

by | June 5th, 2014 | Posted in Blog, OK Policy | Comments (0)

Oklahoma Policy Institute is pleased to announce that NBC Oklahoma Chairman Ken Fergeson and Edmond Public School Superintendent David Goin have joined the organization’s Board of Directors.

“We are delighted to be adding two outstanding individuals, Ken Fergeson and David Goin, who have made great contributions to the state through their professional careers and community service,” said Vince LoVoi, OK Policy’s Board Chair. “David and Ken will add to our tradition of building a strong board that reflects the political, geographic, and professional diversity of our state.”

continue reading Banker, education leader join OK Policy Board

In The Know: New Oklahoma law requires class before many divorces

by and | June 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 or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or RSS. The podcast theme music is by Zebre.

Download today’s In The Know podcast here or play it in your browser:

Today you should know that a new Oklahoma law requires married couples with minor children seeking a divorce to pay for and complete a class on the impact divorce has on children. State Treasurer Ken Miller argued that next year’s budget is bigger than this year’s, contrary to claims by legislators. OK Policy previously explained that while next year’s budget is slightly smaller, the drop is much less than descriptions of the budget deal made it seem.

David Blatt’s Journal Record column discussed impending cuts to health care for low-income adults and Oklahomans with disabilities, and why this was an avoidable disaster. On the OK Policy Blog, JeVonna Caine discusses why Oklahoma is finding it difficult to recruit more primary care physicians, despite the huge need. OK Policy previously laid out policy recommendations to increase the supply of primary care providers.

Governor Fallin has until Saturday to decide whether she will repeal Common Core State Standards just as districts are supposed to be implementing the standards for the 2014-2015 school year. On the OK Policy Blog, we explained how repealing the Common Core could actually lead to more federal control of Oklahoma schools. Civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson came to Oklahoma to support an initiative to fund storm shelters in Oklahoma schools.

 With no new funding for the American Indian Cultural Center coming from the state, private sponsors of the project say a plan for moving forward needs to come together in the next 45 days. The City of Norman is considering whether to pipe in more water from outside the city or to increase wastewater reuse and conservation to ensure adequate supplies. The Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma has signed an agreement with the state to clean up contaminated waste leftover from decades of mining at the Tar Creek Superfund site.

Some suburban police chiefs questioned the timing of the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office proposal to assess fees for holding uncharged inmates in the Tulsa Jail. The Tulsa World profiled the StoneSoup nonprofit initiative to establish a pay-what-you-can-afford cafe in Tulsa. An Oklahoma telephone companyhas been charged by federal authorities in a $25 million scheme to defraud a federal telephone subsidy program for low-income customers. The New York Times published a long feature on Tulsa’s St. Thomas More Catholic Church, which has become a center of the city’s Hispanic community.

The Number of the Day is the percentage of Oklahoma community college students who earned an associate’s degree within three years of enrollment as a new freshman. In today’s Policy Note, a new study showed that Medicaid expansions in previous decades have reduced the rate of high school dropouts and increased college attainment.

continue reading In The Know: New Oklahoma law requires class before many divorces

Oklahoma needs more primary care physicians, but we’re still putting up barriers (Guest post: JeVonna Caine)

by | June 4th, 2014 | Posted in Blog, Healthcare | Comments (0)

JeVonna_CaineJeVonna Caine, one of OK Policy’s 2013-14 Research Fellows, is pursuing a Masters of Public Health in Health Administration and Policy from the OU Health Sciences Center, while also working at the State Department of Health in the Health Planning & Grants department. She has an extensive background in community health education and research with previous positions at Georgetown University and Youth Services of Tulsa.

With the influx of insurance enrollment through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka ACA, aka Obamacare), nationwide uninsured rates are at their lowest since 2008. This signals an impending increase in the demand for primary care services. However, Oklahoma is currently ranked 48th in the nation for access to primary care physicians (PCPs). Oklahoma needs to do better to grow the supply of primary care physicians, but we still put up significant barriers. Work-related stress, declining reimbursements and increasing administrative requirements all discourage medical students from training to be PCPs, particularly in rural communities.

continue reading Oklahoma needs more primary care physicians, but we’re still putting up barriers (Guest post: JeVonna Caine)

In The Know: Governor signs state budget bill, dozens of other measures

by and | June 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 or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or RSS. The podcast theme music is by Zebre.

Download today’s In The Know podcast here or play it in your browser:

Today you should know many state workers will receive pay raises for the first time in nearly a decade, but most state agencies will face budget cuts of more than 5 percent under a budget bill signed Tuesday by Gov. Fallin. The OK Policy Blog previously shared a few secrets that aren’t being shared in press releases about the budget. Oklahoma’s state treasurer says collections from the state’s major revenue sources indicate the state’s economy remains strong. Oklahoma utility companies expressed tentative support for new carbon emissions regulations announced by the Obama administration. 

Governor Fallin met with representatives from about a dozen Oklahoma school districts to gather input about a controversial bill that would repeal Common Core standards. The Governor is still considering whether to sign the bill. The OK Policy Blog discussed how the bill could actually lead to more federal control of Oklahoma schools, because the state would lose exemptions from the federal No Child Left Behind law. Oklahoma City Public Schools teachers missed an average of 11 days of class last school year, matching the national average, according to a national report on teacher absenteeism released Tuesday.

The Tulsa County Sheriff notified municipalities that the Tulsa Jail is going to stop accepting inmates who have not been formally charged with crimes unless the Sheriff’s Office is compensated for holding them. Bartlesville city councilors have instituted a hiring freeze for the city due to stagnant sales tax revenues. A new cafe in Tulsa will allow diners to pay whatever they can afford in cash or volunteer hours. The “Comanche Children” day care center in Lawton is teaching the Comanche language to children to try to save it from extinction.

The Number of the Day is the total number of veterans living in Oklahoma. In today’s Policy Note, the five largest private health insurers in the US a planning to release a huge trove of health care cost data to the public. The Brookings Institute discussed side effects to watch out for from this new health cost transparency.

continue reading In The Know: Governor signs state budget bill, dozens of other measures

Common Core repeal could put Oklahoma schools under more federal control

by | June 3rd, 2014 | Posted in Blog, Education | Comments (0)

275px-No_Child_Left_Behind_ActWith the legislative session now adjourned, attention shifts to Governor Mary Fallin, who has 15 days from the day bills reach her desk to sign or veto legislation (she can also exercise a ‘pocket veto‘ by taking no action on a bill).  Her toughest decision, and the one generating the most attention, is over HB 3399, the bill aiming to repeal Common Core standards. While there is much at stake for Oklahoma’s education system in the bill, one of the most serious consequences is that Oklahoma could lost its waiver exempting the state from parts of the federal No Child Left Behind law.

No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is the federal education bill passed by Congress in 2001 that requires schools show Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)* in student performance on standardized tests.  Schools that failed to meet AYP goals were subject to various improvement measures and sanctions. By 2014, every child in 3rd through 8th grade was expected to be testing on grade level in reading and math.

continue reading Common Core repeal could put Oklahoma schools under more federal control

In The Know: DHS to miss child welfare goal; needs more foster homes, lower caseloads

by and | June 3rd, 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 or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or RSS. The podcast theme music is by Zebre.

Download today’s In The Know podcast here or play it in your browser:

Today you should know that a monthly report on the progress of Oklahoma’s child welfare system confirms that Oklahoma is not meeting court-ordered goals. The system needs more foster homes, less use of emergency shelters for children 6 and older, and lower caseloads for its workers. OK Policy previously discussed how Oklahoma is falling short in efforts to fix the foster care system. The OK Policy Blog shared a few of the secrets buried in the state budget. The Oklahoman editorial board discussed how the Legislature has protected its own budget while pretending to take the same cuts as most state agencies.

The state Department of Transportation will start next fiscal year with $28.5 million less to spend due to budget cuts and funding changes last legislative session. Scott Meacham wrote in the Oklahoman that budget cuts will harm science, technology, and commercialization efforts in Oklahoma. Wind farms are set to collect nearly $12 million from a tax rebate program that has more than tripled in value in the past three years. Governor Mary Fallin has until June 25 to decide whether rules adopted by agencies over the past year will take effect after the Legislature failed to do so.

A host of schools across the state say their fifth- and eighth-grade writing test scores are deeply flawed, but state education officials are standing by the scores issued by controversial vendor CTB/McGraw-Hill. A lawsuit by Tulsa County and Bryan County against the state Department of Corrections alleges that DOC isn’t paying the true cost of keeping state inmates until there is room for them in prisons. Oklahoma health officials are launching a new initiative to boost child immunization rates in Bryan County. 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved more than $166,000 in grants to pay for equipment and training for firefighters and emergency responders in Oklahoma. Possibly dozens of drunken-driving suspects were never charged because highway patrol troopers failed to turn in paperwork to prosecutors. Oklahoma County prosecutors have begun filing charges against those suspects months after their arrests.

The Number of the Day is the percentage of Oklahomans without consistent access to the Internet as of July 2011. In today’s Policy Note, a report by Demos examines why raising wages and improving schedules for women in the retail industry would benefit America.

continue reading In The Know: DHS to miss child welfare goal; needs more foster homes, lower caseloads

Games legislators play

by | June 2nd, 2014 | Posted in Blog, Budget | Comments (0)

truefalseIn the final days of session in May, the legislature approved SB 2127, the annual General Appropriations (GA) bill providing funding for most state agencies.  The press release issued by the Governor, House Speaker and Senate President claimed that the agreement reduces spending by $102.1 million, or 1.4 percent compared to the FY 2014 appropriated budget.

Given that the budget negotiators started with $188 million less of available revenue, limiting FY 2015 cuts to $102.1 million might seem like an accomplishment to be proud of. But under closer scrutiny this story doesn’t quite hold up, and neither do several other assertions made in the wake of the budget agreement. In this post we shed light at a few of the secrets buried in the budget.

continue reading Games legislators play